Sense and Sensibility (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Sense and Sensibility (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility is a wonderfully entertaining tale of flirtation and folly that revolves around two starkly different sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. While Elinor is thoughtful, considerate, and calm, her younger sister is emotional and wildly romantic. Both are looking for a husband, but neither Elinor’s reason nor Marianne’s passion can lead them to perfect happiness—as Marianne falls for an unscrupulous rascal and Elinor becomes attached to a man who’s already engaged.

Startling secrets, unexpected twists, and heartless betrayals interrupt the marriage games that follow. Filled with satiric wit and subtle characterizations, Sense and Sensibility teaches that true love requires a balance of reason and emotion.

Laura Engel received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her MA and PhD from Columbia University. She has taught in independent schools in New York city and is now a visiting assistant professor of English at Macalester College. Her previous publications include essays on the novelists A. S. Byatt and Edna O’Brien. Her forthcoming book is a biography of three eighteenth-century British actresses.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593081256
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 40,702
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.15 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Engel received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her MA and PhD from Columbia University. She has taught in independent schools in New York city and is now a visiting assistant professor of English at Macalester College. Her previous publications include essays on the novelists A. S. Byatt and Edna O’Brien. Her forthcoming book is a biography of three eighteenth-century British actresses.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

From Laura Engel’s Introduction to Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s first published novel, tells the story of the lives, loves, and longings of two sisters, the sensitive, romantic Marianne and the practical, even-tempered Elinor. With its extended cast of supporting characters, including the garrulous Mrs. Jennings, the stern Mr. Palmer, and the censorious Mrs. Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility revolves around two narratives: the possible romances of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood and the day-to-day existence of everyone else. The constant anxiety that pervades the story stems from the possibility that the sisters may have to make do with the mundanity of country life, cluttered with gossip, clamor, and superficiality, instead of being swept away by the men of their dreams. In typical Austen fashion we are made aware from the outset that Marianne’s choice of suitor, the dashing and theatrical Willoughby, may be a disaster. Elinor’s more subdued love object, the shy and awkward Edward Ferrars, on the other hand, just might prove himself worthy if he could manage to articulate a full sentence.

Austen began working on Sense and Sensibility in 1795 with an epistolary fragment entitled “Elinor and Marianne” (now lost). The final version was not published until 1811, with a second edition issued in 1813 (Austen-Leigh, Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters). Once described as “bleak, dark, and nasty” compared with the “brightness” of Pride and Prejudice or the complexity of her more mature works Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility has recently undergone a critical renaissance. New editions, renewed scholarship, and a critically acclaimed film version have put the novel center stage.

Sense and Sensibility is a coming-of-age novel, and also a work that chronicles Austen’s own “coming of age”—her development as a writer. When she began working on “Elinor and Marianne” she was only twenty, a young woman with the possibility of courtship, marriage, and family open to her. By the time the second edition of the novel was released, Austen had moved from Hampshire to Bath, lost her adoring father, been disappointed in love, rejected a marriage proposal, and relocated again with her mother and sister to Chawton, where she turned her attention to writing. Austen’s sense of herself in the world must have been influenced by her close relationship with her only sister, Cassandra, who similarly was disappointed in love and in the awkward position of elder spinster aunt to a large and noisy upper-middle-class country family.

The only surviving portrait of Austen, a watercolor sketch by her sister, depicts the author as a plain, pensive subject with large eyes and a slight hint of a smile. She appears proper and subdued, unlike the description of her by a family friend, who pronounced her “certainly pretty—bright & a good deal of colour in her face—like a doll” (Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life). Austen’s niece Anna’s view of her aunt matches Cassandra’s portrayal of her: “Her complexion [is] of that rare sort which seems the particular property of light brunettes: a mottled skin, not fair, but perfectly clear and healthy; the fine naturally curling hair, neither light nor dark; the bright hazel eyes to match the rather small, but well shaped nose” (Austen-Leigh).

In keeping with Austen’s status as a respectable daughter of a clergyman, Sense and Sensibility was first published anonymously. The initial advertisement for the novel, which appeared in the Morning Chronicle on October 31, 1811, refers to the author as “A Lady.” A subsequent notice in the same paper on November 7, 1811, bills the work as “an extraordinary novel by A Lady.” A few weeks later the book was announced as “an Interesting Novel by Lady A” (Austen-Leigh, p. 254). Austen apparently made some money on the first edition. Her biographers Richard and William Austen-Leigh note that the £140 profit from the first edition of Sense and Sensibility was a considerable sum compared to the lesser proceeds her female contemporaries earned from their novels—the £30 Fanny Burney gained from sales of Evelina or the £100 Maria Edgeworth received for Castle Rackrent.

Austen was influenced by the writers of her youth. She adored Samuel Richardson, read Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Dr. Johnson, Alexander Pope, William Cowper, Henry Fielding, and Daniel Defoe, and recited passages from Fanny Burney aloud (Gay, Jane Austen and the Theatre). In Sense and Sensibility Austen echoes earlier novelists while at the same time anticipating the format of the nineteenth-century novel. Austen’s choice of translating “Elinor and Marianne” from an epistolary narrative (a novel in letters) into a story told by a central narrator allowed her to juxtapose the internal and external facets of her heroines. What we see Elinor do is often contrasted with what we know she is thinking. This gap between thought and action is highlighted repeatedly throughout the novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 731 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 732 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    Sense and Sensibility

    In Jane Austen¿s Sense and Sensibility, the classic tale of love and its consequences is told through the lives of the young and beautiful Dashwood sisters. Marianne, an imprudent and impulsive young lady, immediately falls in love with the handsome, yet unpredictable Mr. Willoughby, scandalously displaying her affection for him. Elinor, although always reserved and collected, also falls in love, but unlike her sister, keeps her affection for her admirer concealed even from those she dearly loves. Through the opposite characterization of the two main characters, Austen criticizes the folly of not leading a balanced lifestyle, whether it is cold and distant or spontaneous and brash. The novel also depicts the troubles caused by love in a society where wealth and social standing are top priorities. Through a variety of characters ranging from a frantic, gluttonous sister, to a humble and kind colonel, Austen condemns the social institutions of her time that encouraged the priority of wealth and status when forming an opinion of a person. Throughout the novel, readers are hooked, held in suspense as they eagerly await to discover the results of the Dashwoods¿ adventures with love. Humorous, heartbreaking, and humbling, Austen combines lessons of life, love, and society defining Sense and Sensibility as a classic.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read!

    I really love all of Jane Austen's books but Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorites! It is an endearing story of two sisters who finally get their true happiness! If only this happened in real life! If you love the book you will also love the DVD made by BBC Video and shown on Masterpiece Theatre.

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    Lovely

    You can't go wrong with Austen but Sense and Sensibility is not nearly as romantic as Pride and Prejudice.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sense and Sensibility

    This is the 2nd book that I have read from the B&N Classic list, but the first Jane Austin book. Some people have told me that her writing style is difficult to read, but I found that I had no problems. It is a classic tale of love and pain. I find it surreal that people fall in love so quickely! Or maybe the book doesn't give an accurate interpretation of the timeline. It is neither hear nor there, I actually enjoyed the first Austin novel and looking forward to the next one on the B&N list. I am curious to find out if all of her novels are about the trials of love or is there a surprise in store for me?!?!? I am a firm believer in the classics always being a perk in any book club, but reality is that I believe this is a wonderful book for a raining day, curl up with a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa:)
    Stay tuned for my next book review from the classic list: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Story

    This is a great book. It illustrates two types of women that are still very prominent in society today. I like the fact that it showed more than one side to everyone's personality. Great rainy day read.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin

    SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austin is a Historical classic. It is a true classic love story. The Insight Edition has relevant information about England, their customs and Jane Austin's life during the Regency era. It has likable characters, romance, and family. If you enjoy Jane Austin this is a must read. It is one of the all classic books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Love it

    When I first started this book, I was a bit confused, but as I read on I fell in love with the time and setting of the novel. You really fall in love with the characters and get a sense of what marriage and especially money meant in that time and how they where related to one another.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Charming...

    A charming edition to anyone's Austen library, this story contains wit and stimulating plot that leaves you fascinated with the misshaps and joys of Austen's characters. A must-read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2008

    Wonderful

    This novel was fantastic. Jane Austen is an amazing author, and this is a great book! Everyone should read it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2006

    Sense and Sensibility

    This was not one of Jane Austen's best works. It was fairly enjoyable, but the other novels were so much better. The story was very slow. The best parts were the last few chapters. I did like how Elinor became more passionate, and Marianne became more sensible. The love story was very good, but hardly worth the tedious pages.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    For Those Who Enjoy Reading About Everyday Social Situations

    Sense and Sensibility was the first book I was forced to read as a young person. At the time, I hated it. I could not understand what people saw in Jane Austen. I read twenty-two chapters before I quit, and to my mind at the time, NOTHING happened. There were no murders, no life-altering circumstances, nothing dramatic. Jane Austen pretty much depicted the petty squabbles, jealousies, and annoyances of backward people. It wasn't really a romance, and yet the whole story seemed to be supported on the disappointments and triumphs in love of the two major characters.

    Many years later, I have read it--and managed to finish it. I can't believe that I was able to pick up and appreciate the social commentary that I failed to appreciate as a teenager. Though I think Pride and Prejudice is better, Sense and Sensibility has its merits. The characters are well-developed, and some are sympathetic--like Colonel Brandon.

    However, I do think this is a book that requires a person to reach a certain stage in their life where they can appreciate "people watching." It probably helps if the characters remind you of people that you know or situations you have experienced. Having been disappointed in love myself, I was able to relate to Marianne more than I could as an inexperienced teenager.

    Of course, sometimes knowing people who remind you of the characters can be a drawback if you really hate the people. However, I would say it is a definite MUST, to appreciate Jane Austen, that you be content with a book that deals with social commentary and doesn't require action or dramatic events. If you need a helicopter crash, an explosion, or someone being brutally murdered to get you through a book...then Jane Austen is definitely not for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Bad

    Do not like at all

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Liars

    The people who claim to like this book have probably never read it. They assume that watching a Jane Austen movie is the same as "reading" Austen. Pride and Prejudice is a long, boring book about nothing. You'd be better off to rent the DVD because the book can easily put an insomniac into a coma.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Boring

    This is super boring. Women will like it, but Men will not.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Poorly rendered

    With so many grammatical errors, it almost seems purposeful in an effort to force readers to buy it! But .99 for her entire works is worth the price. Save yourself the headache and pass this mess by.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    This book was very poorly transfered into a text format. It makes teading extremely dificult.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Do not download this one

    The text is very badly scanned. There are plenty of typos and errors. Impossible to read. :(

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The BEST of Jane Austen!!

    Sense and Sensibility was written superbly well. The story is rich in details and surprises. Its dramatic, exciting, and most of all hopeful. The characters have real meaning and integrity. This book is for the hopeless romantic. My favorite of the Jane Austen novels. I would highly recommend this read for book clubs because there are many conflicts and twists that make great discussions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2000

    What a writer!

    Great story, great audiobook. Kate Winselt did a tremendous reading. Gets better everytime I listen to it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Hello everyone!!

    It's Jessica stan. I don't know if you have heard of me but I post reviews about stoping bullying. Please stop bullying you know who you are!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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