Currently Reading: Sense and Sensibility

It has been a long time since I’ve read a classic, and since picking up Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, I’m at a loss as to why. It is my renewed opinion that if you do not know which book to read next, or you have not run into anything memorable in more time than is tolerable, reach back to the classics. They are a perennial sight on bookshelves for a reason, and considering the infinite number of choices we have in reading material, it is reassuring and exciting simply knowing that the book you are reading is of immense cultural value.
 
I am by no means a Janeite. I have only read the rite of passage that is Pride and Prejudice, but her cultish appeal is made obvious in Sense and Sensibility. I am most surprised by the book’s fresh, almost contemporary, humor. Austen is witty, sarcastic, and takes her time in revealing the true nature of her characters. The story follows the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and juxtaposes their very different approaches to life and love. Elinor is the model for “sense,” as she is calm, practical, and able to control or hide her emotions when necessary. Marianne embodies “sensibility,” as she indulges her emotions and finds no reason to hide her thoughts and feelings about anyone or anything. By the time I had reached the 100th page, both girls had suffered heartbreak, and the way each handles her grief is a study in sense versus sensibility. The vocabulary and sentence structure takes getting used to, though I am enjoying the challenge. It took three mentions of the word “society” for me to understand that it meant “company,” as in, “I enjoy his society.” The more you know . . .
Labels: Classic, Currently Reading, Fiction, Reflections, ,

Comments

  1. I love Jane Austen’s novels! They’re still so relevant to today and they all have hidden morals about how to treat people and life lessons to learn. If you haven’t read Emma you should read that next, it’s my fave 🙂
    Jenny

  2. I’m actually reading this one for my Blog’s book Club. I haven’t read it since college, but once you get into the rhythm of the language, it’s actually kind of fun. I love this story so much. 🙂

  3. Such a lovely edition!
    While also not being a Janeite (I didn’t even know it was possible to be one, but I love the expression!), I really care very much for Austen’s work. She was indeed very clever and humorous, and it’s very interesting to track her development throughout the 6 novels. And I must say that if you particularly like her for the witticism then you should “Northanger Abbey” next, which is undoubtedly her funniest 🙂

  4. I love the cover art of this edition! Sense & Sensibility is such a great classic, but I have to say my memory of it mainly comes from the film version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.. (it’s so good!).

  5. I absolutely love reading classics- and Jane is one of my favorites. It took me forever to pick up something other than Pride & Prejudice, but I tried Emma and loved it! Will have to add Sense & Sensibility to my ‘next’ list.

  6. I have such a hard time getting through Jane Austen books- I admit I prefer them as movies. There are always too many character names and family relationships and I can never keep them straight. I do appreciate classics though and since you said there is some humor in it maybe Ill give this book a try <3 Bee

  7. I haven’t read any Jane Austen’s novels yet, (which is a shame) but Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are definitely on my reading list! I came across articles on comparing Jane Austen and D.H Lawrence’s works the other day, and I find it amusing as my sister is a Janeite who’s never read any works by D.H Lawrence, whereas I’m the total opposite!

  8. “It is my renewed opinion that if you do not know which book to read next, or you have not run into anything memorable in more time than is tolerable, reach back to the classics.” Thank you! This is excellent advice that I plan to follow from now on. 🙂

  9. Lovely post! I always return to the classics as the stories are timeless, the writing distinctive. My father gave me a copy of Pride & Prejudice when I was a girl, and I was hooked on Jane Austen’s stories. Reading Jane Austen as an adult gives me a deeper appreciation for the writing.

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