Sense And Sensibility

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Sense And Sensibility

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Ros Ballaster
Editor Ross Ballaster

Penguin Publishing Group | April 29, 2003 | Trade Paperback

Sense And Sensibility is rated 3.7273 out of 5 by 11.
Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen''s first published work, meticulously constructed and sparkling with her unique wit. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Ros Ballaster, University of Oxford Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor''s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. This edition also includes explanatory notes and textual variants between first and second edition. Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. Austen began writing at a young age, embarking on what is possibly her best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, at the age of 22. She was the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.69 × 5.04 × 1 in

Published: April 29, 2003

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141439661

ISBN - 13: 9780141439662

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from no the best I love miss austen's works. But sadly to say this is not the best book I've read by her, but it is worth the read. It's a bit of a bore and is not the same slight comical lines and remarks as Emma or Pride & Prejudice.
Date published: 2013-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The most romantic of all Austen’s novels. The first of her published novels, Sense and Sensibility tells the story of Dashwood sister’s Elinor and Marianne who although basically penniless, are determined to move towards what they believe to be the perfect love. Marianne being thoroughly romantic and ardent in her vision is ready to die for love, but Elinor is more thoughtful and self-controlled and puts much more sense into it. They will each have to overcome grief and despair to achieve what they hope will be marital bliss. In my opinion, this first novel of Austen is by far her most romantic and depicts sisterly love in a beautiful way. Each time I read it, I can help but feeling for either of the sisters as they grow apart or closer in their quest for Edward Ferrars or John Willoughby. The whole novel is well plotted, not matter what some people have said about the unraveling of the love triangle that is Lucy Steele, Elinor and Edward. And even though every deadly romantic individual will hope for a happy ending in between Marianne and Willoughby, I find that her marrying sensible Colonel Brandon, although almost twice her senior, is much more suitable than her ending with Willoughby. For more about this book and many more, visit my blog at: ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Yawn Not the worst of the worst but a yawn... didn't get through it... too boring. It was the audio book version and listened to during the last half of a 13 and a half hour drive, so I may not be the best judge.
Date published: 2011-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! Something about this story made me love it. I think it was her sister's love affair in the background. I love that it didn't shadow over the main love affair but in a way complimented it. In true Austen Style she has a quiet and responsible character and a wild and outspoken one with Gentlemen at the ready.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic! I quite enjoyed this book and am a fan of Jane Austen. Although some may find it boring you really need to get into it and read the first few chapters so you can get a picture and understanding of the characters and you will be drawn in!
Date published: 2010-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A new twist to Sense and Sensibility I’ve been considering getting one of Jane Austen book for a few years now but I never did so far. Yes I am honestly saying to you that I have never read one of her book before. When I had the opportunity of reviewing a new edition of Sense and Sensibility, I thought it was the perfect opportunity of revising this lack in my bookworm life. So as many of you probably know, this is the story of two sisters and their love ones. So I won’t expand on the story per say for this review since this is apparently a classic in English literature. Being French Canadian, I had not gotten to know Jane Austen in the past. But I am now and I am glad to have read one of her book. But I must be honest to say that at times, I was having trouble to understand the old English style of writing and reading. For example, when talking about the age of someone, they would say of me one and forty instead of forty-one. So I figure that part pretty easily. But other terminology and words were harder to understand. Well the insight edition will bring various notes throughout the reading of the book to help clarify what the reader comes upon. There are historical and cultural details and definitions from England in the early 1800s. I really like these as it helped me to picture and situate the culture of that time. There are also facts and tidbits from Austen’s life that parallel or illuminate the novel. This information was interesting but I suspect that die-hard fans of Austen would really enjoy them. The reader will also have access of references to Sense and Sensibility to today’s culture, unscientific ranking of the novel’s most frustrating characters, themes of faith drawn from the novel or Austen’s life as well as comments and asides on the book’s characters and plot. As I said previously, I am having some issues with the way it is written – old English style- but I also believe that a person shall make the effort of reading something out of her comfort zone once in a while. And this novel is definitively out of my own comfort zone. The story is a classic brought many times on TV and movie. The author is well known around the world. It is my duty as a woman who loves to read to get exposed to this kind of writing to expand my knowledge and my taste. So I pursue the reading every night and I discover a little bit more about the Dashwood sisters and their life in the 1800s in England. I find it interesting. Another thing that I particularly appreciate in this book is the fact that the reader will find a series of questions that are perfect of a book club. This review was possible because I received a copy of Sense and Sensibility from Bethany House.
Date published: 2010-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book Review: Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen This fantabulous classic was part of my read for the Everything Austen Challenge. Due to my love for anything and everything Victorian, I can say that it was only natural that I’d fall in love with this timeless piece. This story of the very different Dashwood sisters and their clashing tastes in their choices of men to love, was endearing as well as very frustrating at times. Just when I thought the obvious about Colonel Brandon, Edward or Willoughby- the story took a different turn just to add to the intrigue of it all; classic Austen at its best. The story revolves around love-sickness, love-triangles, a marriage of convenience, age and love, differences of choices and opinions, wealth and social status, influence, family conflict, secret-filled pasts and ultimately…and appropriately so: sense and sensibility. I’m still not sure which of the sisters I concurred with the most; Elinor or Marianne... Austen brilliantly shifts us from one perception to the other while embracing both depending on the situation. Ultimately the girls’ reconciliation and love for eachother blends the disparities of state helping them come to terms with their own serenity. Love can then be found and accepted under a new light. Sense and Sensibility is a light read embedded with deeper meaning that brings comfort, peaks interest and offers a colourful variety of figures (the comical busy-body Miss Jennings is indeed very special!) On the whole, this read meshed excitement, passion, drama as well as ‘sagesse’ in the lives of two otherwise very ordinary ladies of the times. The book doesn’t skip a beat with essential meanings and turn of events within every paragraph- With this one, you won’t want to blink:) One can never get enough of elegantly written suspense-filled love twists and pangs. At least I can't- Loved it! -
Date published: 2009-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the best! This delightful re-covered copy of the classic was given to me as a gift and I honestly can't think of a better gift. The story of Maryanne and Elinor is one of my all-time favourites. The Dashwoods have to move after Mr Dashwoods' death (the male child inherits); they move to a cottage on the property of a relative. It is here that Marianne meets two suitors - Colonol Brandon and Mr Willowby. Elinor had met Edward Ferrars (Fanny's brother) right before the move and is not sure if he likes her. The sisters both show their love in different ways......... Truly a classic!
Date published: 2009-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More Depth Having seen and loved the Ang Lee movie with Emma Thompson's screenplay, I didn't know what the book would add. As usual, though, the book gives more depth to the characters and plot, and Willoughby's actions are more understandable, although still wrong. A few other changes, like a wife and children for Sir John Middleton, but overall, an enjoyable read. The character change in Marianne, from a vivacious to sedate, is such a departure that I find it hard to believe, broken heart, or not.
Date published: 2008-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wicked in a Sophisticated Way For me, this is one of my favorites of all times. The sisters in the story are so very different, anyone can relate with one of them. This story will take you up and down on the wings of love and in the end, Austen skillfully ties the story in a nice bow. Enjoy!
Date published: 2006-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sense and Sensibilty EXCELLENT!!!!!!! Funny and charming.... romantic and sad... for all the family. I recomend the book then the movie with Kate Winslet. Such a excellent written screen play. I enjoyed it very much for the romantic at heart!!!!!!! enjoy! =)
Date published: 2000-02-28

– More About This Product –

Sense And Sensibility

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Ros Ballaster
Editor Ross Ballaster

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.69 × 5.04 × 1 in

Published: April 29, 2003

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141439661

ISBN - 13: 9780141439662

About the Book

New chronology and further reading; Tony Tanner's original introduction reinstated
Edited with an introduction by Ros Ballaster.

Read from the Book

Chapter I The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park,in the centre of their property, where, for many generations,they had lived in so respectable a manner, as to engagethe general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance.The last owner but one of this estate, was a single man, who livedto a very advanced age, and who, for many years of his life,had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister.But her death, which happened ten years before his own,produced a great alteration in his home; for, to supplyher loss, he invited and received into his house the familyof his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritorof the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intendedto bequeath it. In the society of his nephew and niece,and their children, the old Gentleman''s days werecomfortably spent. His attachment to them all increased.The constant attention of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwoodto his wishes, which proceeded not merely from interest,but from goodness of heart, gave him every degree of solidcomfort which his age could receive; and the cheerfulnessof the children added a relish to his existence. By a former marriage, Mr. Henry Dashwood had oneson: by his present lady, three daughters. The son,a steady respectable young man, was amply providedfor by the fortune of his mother, which had been large,and half of which devolved on him on his coming of age.By his own marriage, likewise, which happen
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From the Publisher

Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen''s first published work, meticulously constructed and sparkling with her unique wit. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Ros Ballaster, University of Oxford Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor''s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. This edition also includes explanatory notes and textual variants between first and second edition. Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. Austen began writing at a young age, embarking on what is possibly her best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, at the age of 22. She was the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.

From the Jacket

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. She is also the author of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Ros Ballaster is Professor of 18th Century Studies at Mansfield College, Oxford.

Editorial Reviews

"As nearly flawless as any fiction could be."
—Eudora Welty

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION

It is now almost exactly two centuries since the first two of Jane Austen''s six completed novels—Sense and Sensibility andPride and Prejudice—were published, and for much of that time writers and critics have passionately disagreed about the true caliber of her work. Austen''s books received a few respectful reviews and lively attention from the reading public during her lifetime, but it wasn''t until nearly thirty years after her death that some critics began to recognize her enduring artistic accomplishment—and others to debate it.

In 1843, the historian Thomas Macaulay called Austen the writer to "have approached nearest to the manner of the great master" Shakespeare; Charlotte Bronté felt, on the contrary, that "the Passions are perfectly unknown to her.... Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete, and rather insensible (not senseless) woman." Anthony Trollope made up his mind as a young man that "Pride and Prejudice was the best novel in the language," while Mark Twain claimed to feel an "animal repugnance" for Austen''s writing.

Austen herself would probably not have disagreed with many of her detractors'' objections. She acknowledged that her themes and concerns were limited; she described them as "human nature in the midland counties." "Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on," she wrote in a letter to her niece; and in another, now famous letter to her brother Edward, she described her art as "the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as to produce little effect, after much labour."

It is true that great historical events and political concerns appear only obliquely, if at all, in the background of Austen''s stories; that she deals with the spiritual condition of the human soul only insofar as it manifests itself in her characters'' manners and taste in spouses; that the intellectual issues of her day appear in her novels primarily as a vehicle for revealing character and spoofing fashion. Even Austen''s great early champion, the critic G. H. Lewes, had to admit the truth of Charlotte Bronté''s objection that Austen''s style lacked poetry, and that her "exquisite" work would appeal only to readers who didn''t require "strong lights and shadows." But in spite of these limitations, the particular genius and lasting appeal of Austen''s writing has only become clearer and more certain as the decades pass and literary fashions come and go.

What is Austen''s particular genius? And what might account for the renaissance of popular interest in her work today—one reflected in the recently acclaimed television and feature film productions of Sense and Sensibility (with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Emma Thompson), Pride and Prejudice (an A&E miniseries), the art house hit Persuasion, and the upcoming release of Emma, as well as the Emma-inspired Clueless, now atop video rental charts?

"Of all great writers," Virginia Woolf said, "she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness." But perhaps Austen herself gave us a clue to the standards for greatness she set herself, and a way to judge her achievement, when in Northanger Abbey she has a character say: "''Oh! it is only a novel!'' or, in short, only some work in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusion of wit and humour are to be conveyed to the world in the best chosen language."

Austen''s delightful wit is certainly one of the great pleasures of her work. As to "the best chosen language," while her writing conveys none of the lyricism of the Romantics (like Bronté) who would succeed her, it is full of intelligence and precisely crafted to convey its often subtle meaning. But Austen''s strongest suit is her thorough knowledge and happy delineation of human nature. We can still, despite the vast differences between her society and our own, recognize ourselves in the ways her characters think and behave. We all know people as cleverly manipulative and outwardly affectionate as Lucy Steele or Miss Bingley; as self-involved as Fanny Dashwood or Lady Catherine de Bourgh; and as charming but as lacking in scruples as John Willoughby or Colonel Wickham. We are in turns impulsive and hyper-responsible like Marianne and Elinor Dashwood; conceal ourselves with arrogance like Mr. Darcy; assume we understand more than we do like Elizabeth Bennet; and revel in gossip, like Mrs. Jennings. And while the great events and philosophical movements of history play themselves out around us, it is our own nature and actions, and the nature and actions of the people around us, that most influence our lives.

In her own day, Austen''s work signified a break with the Gothic and sentimental novels that had long been fashionable, in which heroines were always virtuous, romance was always sentimentalized, and unlikely but convenient coincidences and acts of God always occurred to bring about the dramatic climax. Instead Austen represented the ordinary world of men and women as it—sometimes mundanely—was, a place where love and romance were constrained by economics and human imperfection; where women had distinct and often sparkling personalities; where characters were never simply good or evil but more complicated amalgams, reflecting both their own moral nature and the virtues and failings of the families and society that shaped them.

In these ways, Austen seems very much in tune with today''s sensibilities. We love her strong, unpretentious heroines ("Pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked," Austen said of them), who think for themselves and say what they mean when appropriate and don''t take themselves too seriously. They are not, in today''s parlance, victims. We are as interested as ever in Austen''s favorite subjects of love and marriage, while also identifying with her steadfast refusal to romanticize romance; with her acknowledgment that money, class, and what other people think matter in the real world; that marriage does not result in a happy ending for everyone; and that it is dangerous to let passion blind us to reality. Living amidst the cultural fallout from the self-absorbed, sensibility-prone 1960s, we appreciate Austen''s emphasis on reason, moderation, fidelity, and consideration for others.

Austen wrote her books at the dawn of the nineteenth century, when vast social changes were already encroaching on the way of life she so loved and rendered with such exquisite artistry. We read her books today on the cusp of a new century, with an unfathomable world creeping up on us, too—one globally interconnected, technologically complex, economically uncertain. Perhaps we find on Austen''s rural estates and in her charming, insular society the same peace and pleasure she found there; and an analogue for the simpler, more circumscribed world of our own childhoods, itself passing quickly away into history.

About the Title

Marianne Dashwood, trusting the evidence of her senses, falls passionately in love with a man who in truth is less good than he seems. Elinor Dashwood quite sensibly "thinks very highly of, greatly esteems, and likes" a man whose worthiness in her eyes only increases when she learns why he cannot marry her. Through the sisters'' stories, and the moral dilemmas they raise, Jane Austen explores in the form of a delightful and dramatically satisfying romance the limitations and pitfalls of the Romantic aesthetic in a world where money matters.

Though Northanger Abbey (originally called Lady Susan) was Austen''s first novel to be accepted for publication, the publisher never issued it, and by the time Austen bought back the rights in 1816, she didn''t think it was good enough to publish. Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, is considerably more ambitious than Northanger Abbey, both thematically and technically, and is generally considered Austen''s first major novel.

 


ABOUT JANE AUSTEN

Jane Austen, seventh of the eight children of Reverend George and Cassandra Leigh Austen, was born on December 16, 1775, in the small village of Steventon in Hampshire, England. Her childhood was happy: her home was full of books and many friends and her parents encouraged both their children''s intellectual interests and their passion for producing and performing in amateur theatricals. Austen''s closest relationship, one that would endure throughout her life, was with her beloved only sister, Cassandra.

From about the time she was twelve years old, Austen began writing spirited parodies of the popular Gothic and sentimental fiction of the day for the amusement of her family. Chock-full of stock characters, vapid and virtuous heroines, and improbable coincidences, these early works reveal in nascent form many of her literary gifts: particularly her ironic sensibility, wit, and gift for comedy. Attempts at more sustained, serious works began around 1794 with a novel in letters—a popular form at the time—called Lady Susan, and in the years immediately following with two more epistolary novels—one called Elinor and Marianne, the other First Impressions—that would evolve into Sense and Sensibilityand Pride and Prejudice. Lady Susan, later revised and entitled Northanger Abbey, also was begun in that period.

From 1799 to 1809, little is known of Austen''s life or literary endeavors, other than that upon her father''s retirement she moved unhappily from her beloved home in Steventon to Bath; that he died a few years thereafter and she moved to Southampton; and that she began, but did not complete, a novel called The Watsons. A move back to the country in 1808—to a cottage on one of her brother''s properties in Chawton—seems to have revived her interest in writing.

Her revised version of Elinor and Marianne—Sense and Sensibility—was published, like all the work which appeared in print in her lifetime, anonymously, in 1811; and between the time Pride and Prejudice was accepted for publication and the time it actually appeared, she wrote Mansfield Park. Emma appeared in 1816 and was reviewed favorably by the most popular novelist of the day, Sir Walter Scott, who said:

The author''s knowledge of the world, and the peculiar tact with which she presents characters that the reader cannot fail to recognize, reminds us something of the merits of the Flemish school of painting. The subjects are not often elegant, and certainly never grand; but they are finished up to nature, and with a precision which delights the reader.

Scott also insightfully pointed out Emma''s significance in representing the emergence of a new kind of novel, one concerned with the texture of ordinary life.

Though all her novels were concerned with courtship, love, and marriage, Austen never married. There is some evidence that she had several flirtations with eligible men in her early twenties, and speculation that in 1802 she agreed to marry the heir of a Hampshire family but then changed her mind. Austen rigorously guarded her privacy, and after her death, her family censored and destroyed many of her letters. Little is known of her personal experience or her favorite subjects. However, Austen''s reputation as a "dowdy bluestocking," as literary critic Ronald Blythe points out, is far from accurate: "she loved balls, cards, wine, music, country walks, conversation, children, and bad as well as excellent novels."

In 1816, as she worked to complete her novel Persuasion, Austen''s health began to fail. She continued to work, preparingNorthanger Abbey for publication, and began a light-hearted, satirical work called Sanditon which she never finished. She died at the age of forty-two on July 18, 1817, in the arms of her beloved sister, Cassandra, of what historians now believe to have been Addison''s disease.

The identity of "A Lady" who wrote the popular novels was known in her lifetime only to her family and a few elite readers, among them the Prince Regent, who invited Austen to visit his library and "permitted" her to dedicate Emma to him (unaware, no doubt, that she loathed him). But Austen deliberately avoided literary circles; in Ronald Blythe''s words, "literature, not the literary life, was always her intention." It was not until the December following her death, when Northanger Abbey andPersuasion were published, that "a biographical notice of the author" by Austen''s brother Henry appeared in the books, revealing to the reading public for the first time the name of Jane Austen.

The time in which Jane Austen wrote her novels was a period of great stability just about to give way to a time of unimagined changes. At that time most of England''s population (some thirteen million) were involved in rural and agricultural work: yet within another twenty years, the majority of Englishmen became urban dwellers involved with industry, and the great railway age had begun. Throughout the early years of the century the cities were growing at a great rate; the network of canals was completed, the main roads were being remade. Regency London, in particular, boomed and became, among other things, a great centre of fashion. On the other hand, England in the first decade of the nineteenth century was still predominantly a land of country towns and villages, a land of rural routines which were scarcely touched by the seven campaigns of the Peninsular War against Napoleon.

But if Austen''s age was still predominantly one of rural quiet, it was also the age of the French Revolution, the War of American Independence, the start of the Industrial Revolution, and the first generation of the Romantic poets; and Jane Austen was certainly not unaware of what was going on in the world around her. She had two brothers in the Royal Navy and a cousin whose husband was guillotined in the Terror. And although her favourite prose writer was Dr. Samuel Johnson, she clearly knew the works of writers like Goethe, Worsdworth, Scott, Byron, Southey, Godwin and other, very definitely nineteenth-century, authors.

If Jane Austen seems to have lived a life of placid rural seclusion in north Hampshire, she was at the same time very aware of a whole range of new energies and impulses, new ideas and powers, which were changing or about to change England—and indeed the whole western world—with a violence, a suddenness, and a heedlessness, which would soon make Jane Austen''s world seem as remote as the Elizabethan Age. It is well to remember that in the early years of the century, when Thomas Arnold saw his first train tearing through the Rugby countryside he said: "Feudality is gone forever." So close was it possible then to feel to the immemorial, static feudal way of life; so quickly was that way of life to vanish as the modern world laboured to be born.

Adapted from the Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Mansfield Park.

Related Titles

Northanger Abbey

Edited with an Introduction by Marilyn Butler

This lighthearted romance, generally agreed to be Austen''s earliest major novel, though it was not published until after her death, is also a high-spirited burlesque of the sentimental and Gothic novels of her day. When the charmingly imperfect heroine, Catherine Morland, visits Northanger Abbey, she meets all the trappings of Gothic horror, and imagines the worst. Fortunately, she has at hand her own fundamental good sense and irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney. Real disaster does eventually strike, but doesn''t spoil for too long the happy atmosphere of this delightful novel.

0-14-043413-5

Mansfield Park

Edited with an Introduction by Tony Tanner

More varied in scene and conceived on a bigger scale than Austen''s earlier books, Mansfield Park (1814) can be seen as an image of quiet resistance at the start of what was to be the most convulsive century of change in English history. In telling the story of Fanny Price, the quiet and sensitive daughter of a lower-middle-class Portsmouth family who is brought up in—and after much suffering eventually becomes mistress of—elegant Mansfield Park, Austen draws on her usual cool irony and psychological insight while also portraying a less immediately winning heroine in a more complex light.

0-14-043016-4

Emma

Edited with an Introduction by Ronald Blythe

Many writers and critics consider Emma (1816), the last of Austen''s novels published in her lifetime, the climax of her genius. Dominating the novel is the character of Emma Woodhouse—vital, interesting, complex, and predisposed to playing power games with other people''s emotions. Austen called her a heroine "no one but myself would like," but she endures as one of Austen''s immortal creations. Charting how Emma''s disastrous foray as a matchmaker precipitates a crisis in the small provincial world of Highbury, and in her own heart, this novel of self-deceit and self-discovery sparkles with intelligence, wit, and irony.

0-14-043010-5

Persuasion

Edited with an Introduction by D.W. Harding

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth had met and separated years before. Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart. The characters who embody those values are the subjects of some of the most withering satire that Austen ever wrote. Like its predecessors, Persuasion (published after her death in 1818) is a tale of love and marriage, told with Austen''s distinctive irony and insight. But the heroine—like the author—is more mature; the tone of the writing more somber.

Also included in this edition is the pioneering biography of Austen written fifty years after her death by her nephew, J. E. Austen-Leigh, which outlines the essential facts of Austen''s life while also reflecting the Victorian era''s limited comprehension of her achievements.

0-14-043005-9

Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon

Edited with an Introduction by Margaret Drabble

These three works—one novel unpublished in her lifetime and two unfinished fragments—reveal Austen''s development as a great artist. Lady Susan is a sparkling melodrama, written in epistolary form, featuring a beautiful, intelligent, and wicked heroine. The Watsons, probably written when Austen resided unhappily in Bath and abandoned after her father''s death, is a tantalizing fragment centering on the marital prospects of the Watson sisters in a small provincial town. Sanditon, Austen''s last fiction, reflects her growing concern with the new speculative consumer society and foreshadows the great social upheavals of the Industrial Revolution.

0-14-043102-0

Also available from Penguin Classics:

The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronté
Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronté
Edited by Frances Beer

This collection provides the opportunity to discover the first examples of Austen''s neoclassical elegance and Bronté''s mastery of the romantic spirit.

0-14-043267-1

Available on audiocassette from Penguin Audiobooks:

Emma 0-14-086106-8
Persuasion 0-14-086058-4
Pride and Prejudice 0-14-086060-6
Sense and Sensibility 0-14-086245-5
Boxed Set: Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Pride and Prejudice 0-14-771107-X

Penguin Classics wishes to thank and credit the following writers and books for information used in creating this Penguin Classics Guide:

Joseph Duffy, "Criticism 1814-70"; Brian Southam, "Criticism 1870-1940" and "Janeites and Anti-Janeites"; A. Walton Litz, "Criticism 1939-83"; J. David Grey, "Life of Jane Austen"; all in The Jane Austen Companion, J. David Grey, Managing Editor; Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986.

Lloyd W. Brown, "The Business of Marrying and Mothering," and Norman Page, "The Great Tradition Revisited," in Jane Austen''s Achievement, edited by Juliet McMaster, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., Barnes & Noble Import Division, New York, 1976.

W. A. Craik, Jane Austen: The Six Novels, Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York, 1965.