Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: Amazing Reads (2010)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Cost: Rs. 98 (Paperback), Rs. 138 (Hardcover)
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sisters with opposing temperaments – Elinor is prudent, rational and responsible; Marianne is passionate, excitable and emotional. When Marianne is abandoned by an unscrupulous suitor, she is disconsolate, driving herself to a serious illness. Elinor, meanwhile, is dealing with her own betrayal but is stoic, refusing to reveal her emotions to even those closest to her.
The sisters must navigate the misery of heartbreak in a society where status and money determine the outcomes of love and marriage. And to find happiness, they must learn to accept that both sense and sensibility are intertwined.
The dichotomy between "sense" and "sensibility" is most clearly symbolized by the psychological contrast between the novel's two chief characters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Elinor, the older sister, represents qualities of "sense": reason, restraint, social responsibility, and concern for the welfare of others. In contrast, Marianne, her younger sister, represents qualities of "sensibility": emotion, spontaneity, impulsiveness, and enthusiastic.
Austen wrote this novel around the turn of the eighteenth century, on the cusp between two cultural movements: Classicism and Romanticism.
Although Austen is famous for satirizing the "cult of sensibility," in this novel she seems to argue not for the dismissal of sensibility but for the creation of a balance between reason and passion. Fanny Dashwood's violent outbreak of feeling towards the end of the novel reveals that too little feeling is as dangerous as too much. Both Elinor and Marianne achieve happiness at the end of the novel, but they do so only by learning from one another: together they discover how to feel and express their sentiments fully while also retaining their dignity and self-control. The novel's success is not a result of the triumph of sense over sensibility or of their division; rather, Sense and Sensibility serves together as the compound subject of Austen's novel.
Milestones of the Book:
- The novel, which sold out its first print run of 750 copies in the middle of 1813, marked a success for its author. It had a second print run later that year.
- The novel has been in continuous publication since 1811, and has many times been illustrated, excerpted, abridged, and adapted for stage and film.
- In March 2020, there were 20 different editions available as new books.
- It was the first Austen title to be republished in England after her death, and the first illustrated Austen produced in Britain, in Richard Bentley's Standard Novels series of 1833.
Film and television adaptations:
• 1971: This adaptation for BBC television was dramatized by Denis Constanduros and directed by David Giles.
• 1981: This seven-episode TV serial was directed by Rodney Bennett.
• 1995: This theatrical release was adapted by Emma Thompson and directed by Ang Lee.
• 2000: A Tamil version called Kandukondain Kandukondain stars Mammootty (Colonel Brandon), Ajith Kumar (Edward Ferrars), Tabu (Elinor), and Aishwarya Rai (Marianne).
• 2006: The film Material Girls is a loose adaptation of the novel, based on a script by John Quaintance and directed by Martha Coolidge.
• 2008: This three-episode BBC TV series was adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by John Alexander.
• 2011: The Spanish- and English-language film From Prada to Nada is a loose adaptation of the novel directed by Angel Gracia.
• 2011: Scents and Sensibility (theatrically released in Brazil as Aromas e Sensibilidade) is a loose adaptation of the novel directed by Brian Brough.
• 2014: Kumkum Bhagya, an Indian-Hindi television series which is an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.
• 2015: Dedunnai Adare, a Sri Lankan-Sinhala television series which is an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and an influence of Kumkum Bhagya television series.
• 2018: Kasthooriman, an Indian-Malayalam television series which is an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.
• 2019: Siri Siri Muvvalu is an Indian-Telugu television series which is an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and an influence of Kasthooriman and Kumkum Bhagya television series.
• 2013: Sense & Sensibility, the Musical (book and lyrics by Jeffrey Haddow and music by Neal Hampton) received its world premiere by the Denver Center Theatre Company in April 2013, as staged by Tony-nominated director Marcia Milgrom Dodge.
• 2014: The Utah Shakespeare Festival presented Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan's adaptation.
• 2016: The Bedlam theatrical troupe mounted a well-received minimalist production that was adapted by Kate Hamill and directed by Eric Tucker, from a repertory run in 2014.
• In 2013, author Joanna Trollope published Sense & Sensibility: A Novel as a part of series called The Austen Project by the publisher, bringing the characters into the present day and providing modern satire.
• 2009: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is a mashup parody novel by Ben H. Winters, with Jane Austen credited as co-author.
• 2016: Sense and Sensibility: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen's Classic by Sarah Price.
• 2016: Manga Classics: Sense and Sensibility published by UDON Entertainment's Manga Classics imprint was published in August 2016.
About the Author:
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics. Though she published her works anonymously, Austen was so successful that she enjoyed personal and professional independence uncommon to women in Georgian middle-class society.
She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era’s novel of manners, but they also became timeless classics that remained critical and popular successes two centuries after her death.