Sense & Sensibilty - One Jane Austens's Finest
By: Adrian Carpenter
A recent and very successful BBC production of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" has brought to the fore one of England's most successful authors although, her six novels remain popular throughout the world. The writer, George Eliot, has said that Jane Austen was "The greatest artist that has ever written."
Jane Austen was born in 1775, at the Rectory in Steventon, a little village in north-east Hampshire, on 16th December 1775. She was the seventh child and second daughter of the rector, the Revd George Austen, and his wife Cassandra Leigh in an affectionate and high-spirited family. She lived in the area for most of her life and never married.
She began to write early for her own and her family's amusement. Her novels, set in her own English countryside, depict the daily lives of provincial middle-class families with wry observation, a delicate irony, and a good-humored wit. She is now considered by many scholars to be the first great woman novelist writing as well as Sense & Sensibility, Emma and Pride & Prejudice.
Jane Austen was a keen amateur musician with a large collection of music. Jane Austen was a moralist as well as an entertainer. She was quite a harsh judge of the society in which she lived, and in her novels she presents us with her own carefully considered judgements.
Jane Austen was a provincial lady who wrote about the provincial society she knew so well. Yet in spite of her curiously restricted life, during which she never married and rarely left the company of her affectionate family, she used sharp wit and irony to expose the snobbery and hypocrisy she witnessed in that society.
Her writings mark the transition from the eighteenth century neo-classicism to 19th century romanticism.
The first draft of "Sense and Sensibility" was a sketch in letter form, written in 1795 and entitled Elinor and Marianne. The final version was published at the author's expense by Thomas Egerton, Whitehall, in November 1811. The first edition sold quite quickly: 'It is exhausted, ' wrote Jane Austen on July 3rd 1813, 'and has brought me £140, besides the copyright, if that should ever be of any value. '
Jane Austen here tells the story of Elinor and Marianne, two sisters who represent "sense" and "sensibility," or restraint and emotionalism.
The impetuous Marianne falls passionately in love with John Willoughby, who seems to be a romantic lover but in reality is an unscrupulous fortune hunter. Meanwhile, Elinor and Edward Ferrars feel a mutual attraction; yet he is secretly engaged to another woman. Each sister is deserted by the young man from whom she has been led to expect an offer of marriage. Elinor bears her deep disappointment with quiet dignity while Marianne violently expresses her grief. Eventually the two sisters are happily settled, Elinor with Edward, when he is at last freed of a commitment he deeply regretted, and Marianne with a quiet, worthy man, once she sees that her passionate "sensibility" would hardly have brought her happiness.
Adrian Carpenter is the publisher of http://www.ibooks4you.co.uk providing downloadable audiobooks for ipods, mp3s, cds and for all the family
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