Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen

“Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”
      Sense And Sensibility

In 1811 Thomas Egerton of the publishing house Military Library (Whitehall, London) published a novel by “A Lady”.  The young nineteen year old author paid for its publication – the cost of which was roughly one third of her annual household income - and then paid the publisher a commission on sales. Entitled Sense And Sensibility, it was her first published work.

This young writer was to have four major novels published during her lifetime and two posthumously.  Sadly, it was only after her death that she was identified by name as author of her works.

Born a country clergyman’s daughter on December 16, 1775 at Steventon Rectory in Hampshire, Jane Austen was educated at home, drawing from her father’s extensive library and the educational atmosphere created with Mr. Austen’s live-in pupils.  Even as a child, Jane entertained her family with poems, stories and plays.  And she has continued charming countless readers ever since.

Sense And Sensibility was originally written sometime around 1795 in the epistolary style and was called Elinor And Marianne. Jane Austen then worked on and completed another novel, First Impressions that her father sought to have published but which was met with a rejection letter.  Returning to Elinor And Marianne, she changed the form to third person narrative and after much revision the work became Sense And Sensibility. There is not enough information to know for sure how much of the original work was retained but we do know that a depth of philosophical thought was added.

Set in the Southwest England of the 1790s Sense And Sensibility explores the necessity of finding a workable mid-ground between passion and reason.  Over the years biographers have questioned what Ms. Austen herself believed in regards to this question…  Should sensibility triumph in the end? And what of passionate love and romantic hope?

Filled with satire, humor and sharp social commentary, Sense And Sensibility carries us into the heart of a family and the devoted love and friendship between two sisters – a fertile ground that Jane Austen thoroughly understood herself.

Our next High Tea and Book Discussion will take place on Saturday the 19th of January 2013.  After happily exploring British Victorian Authors from 2010 through 2012, we are now returning to revisit Jane Austen and her six major works in the order in which they were published.

Our first selection will be Sense And Sensibility and there is plenty of time to walk the lovely path that this book offers.  Don’t pass this masterpiece by and miss the experience!


  1. So inspired by this! Sense and Sensibility is one of my three favorites by Austen. Emma is first, then Pride and Prejudice. Good luck with you reading plan and I hope you let us know how your discussion goes. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Sunday! It's always wonderful to hear from a fellow Janeite!