Sense and Sensibility is one of the best loved of Jane Austen's novels, populated by great comic creations like Mrs. Jennings, the unscrupulous cad Willoughby, and guileless and artful women. As ever, Austen suffuses her work with great ironic observation and tremendous wit, producing a masterpiece of romantic entanglement that time and a very different set of mores cannot diminish.
Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be published, coming out in 1811. It had a long gestation, beginning as Elinor and Marianne, an epistolary novel that Austen wrote in the 1790s. The novel centers on the sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who are forced to leave their home with their mother and younger sister, Margaret, and move in reduced circumstances to the West of England. Elinor, the sensible sister, and Marianne, the overimaginative romantic, must rely on a good marriage as a means of support. As their excellent schemes are intruded upon, Austen subtly explores the marriage game of her times, as both sense and sensibility affect the sisters' chances of happiness and comfort.