Sense and Sensibility

Austen, Jane

Jane Austen (ô´stən), 1775–1817, English novelist. The daughter of a clergyman, she spent the first 25 years of her life at "Steventon," her father's Hampshire vicarage. Here her first novels, Pride and Prejudice,Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey, were written, although they were not published until much later. On her father's retirement in 1801, the family moved to Bath for several years and then to Southampton, settling finally at Chawton Cottage, near Alton, Hampshire, which was Jane's home for the rest of her life.

Northanger Abbey, a satire on the Gothic romance, was sold to a publisher for £10 in 1803, but as it was not published, was bought back by members of the family and was finally issued posthumously. The novels published in Austen's lifetime were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Persuasion was issued in 1818 with Northanger Abbey. The author's name did not appear on any of her title pages, and although her own friends knew of her authorship, she received little public recognition in her lifetime.

Jane Austen's novels are comedies of manners that depict the self-contained world of provincial ladies and gentlemen. Most of her works revolve around the delicate business of providing husbands for marriageable daughters. She is particularly noted for her vivid delineations and lively interplay of character, her superb sense of comic irony, and her moral firmness. She ridicules the silly, the affected, and the stupid, ranging in her satire from light portraiture in her early works to more scornful exposures in her later novels. Her writing was subjected to the most careful polishing. She was quite aware of her special excellences and limitations, comparing herself to a miniaturist. Today she is regarded as one of the great masters of the English novel. Her minor works include her Juvenilia, the novel Lady Susan, and the fragments The Watsons and Sanditon.

See her letters (4th ed., ed. by D. La Faye, 2011); biographies by J. A. Hodge (1972), J. Halperin (1986), P. Honan (1988), V. G. Myer (1997), D. Nokes (1997), C. Tomalin (1997), C. Shields (2001), and P. Byrne (2013); studies by A. W. Litz (1965), F. W. Bradbook (1966), A. M. Duckworth (1971), K. Kroeber (1971), F. B. Pinion (1973), S. M. Tave (1973), C. Johnson (1988), C. Harman (2010), R. M. Brownstein (2011), R. and L. Adkins (2013), and J. Barchas (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Sense and Sensibility: Selected full-text books and articles

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
Jane Austen.
Modern Library, 1933
Librarian’s tip: includes "Sense and Sensibility"
Student Companion to Jane Austen
Debra Teachman.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Sense and Sensibility (1811)"
A Companion to Jane Austen Studies
Robert Thomas Lambdin; Laura Cooner Lambdin.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Sense and Sensibility: A Convergence of Readers/Viewers/Browsers," and Chap. 2 "A Critical History of Sense and Sensibility"
CliffsNotes on Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Norah Smaridge.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Cliff's Notes
Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Palmer: The Path to Female Self-Determination in Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Anderson, Kathleen; Kidd, Jordan.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 30, Annual 2008
Sense and Sensibility: Uncertain Knowledge and the Ethics of Everyday Life
Weiss, Deborah.
Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Speaking Fictions: The Genres of Talk in Sense and Sensibility
McMaster, Juliet.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 33, Annual 2011
"He to Defend: I to Punish"; Silence and the Duel in Sense and Sensibility. (Conference Papers)
Brewton, Vince.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 23, Annual 2001
The Narrator's Voice and the Sense of Sense and Sensibility
Folsom, Marcia McClintock.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 33, Annual 2011
Jane Austen and Religion: Salvation and Society in Georgian England
Michael Giffin.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Sense and Sensibility"
Of Woman Borne: Male Experience and Feminine Truth in Jane Austen's Novels
Morrison, Sarah R.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 1994
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Jane Austen and the Fiction of Her Time
Mary Waldron.
Cambridge University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Sense and the Single Girl"
The Sense and Sensibility of Betrayal: Discovering the Meaning of Treachery through Jane Austen
Jackson, Rodger L.
Humanitas, Vol. 13, No. 2, Fall 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
"Wealth Has Much to Do with It": The Economics of Sense and Sensibility
Craig, Sheryl.
Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 33, Annual 2011
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