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Sense & Sensibility Readalong IV: The Rest (Ch. 37-End)…

This final stretch of Sense and Sensibility, in my view, is a bit of an anticlimax. So far, Jane Austen has been torturing the reader – and even more so, her protagonists Elinor and Marianne – with the agonies of difficult and seemingly impossible love affairs. As Yvann over at Reading Fuelled by Tea wrote last week, perhaps even for a bit too long. But it was engaging, you know, with this bitter-sweet pang disappointed loves of literary characters provoke in a reader. You feel for them, and you just want to know how it continues.

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Sense & Sensibility Readalong III: Ch. 23-36

Sense & Sensibility Readalong III: Ch. 23-36

While in the previous part, I particularly appreciated the character development, in this part it was the change of scene that in my view contributed the key factor to events. We follow the Miss Dashwoods to London, where lots of diversions await – but unfortunately for Marianne, events in the capital are marked by the awful discovery that her knight in shining armour is much less shiny than anticipated. Vile Willoughby (thank you, Alex, for this lovely description, it fits perfectly!) has forgotten her just as quickly as he had previously lured her in.

As a consequence, she suffers intensely and has no remorse about letting all the world know how terrible she’s doing. As Sense and Sensibility unfolds, I find myself getting more and more impatient with Marianne. OK, you have it tough, but get your act together and stop whining, girl! Before anyone accuses me of being heartless, I do feel for her, but I think it would be so much easier to be compassionate for her if she made even the tiniest effort of self-control. As things stand, I feel much more sympathetic towards Elinor’s suppressed grief than towards Marianne’s over-the-top teenager-y woes. Laura at Devouring Texts also has an urge to slap her – thank you, at least I’m not alone 😉 .

One character I was completely wrong about initially is Mrs Jennings. I really thought she was just a blabbering, slightly idiotic woman, but now I completely coincide with Alex’s assessment that while she’s a gossip and often more well-meaning than well-doing, the fact of the matter is that she is well-meaning. And loyal to the Miss Dashwoods. And lovely in her own, special way of recommending a good sip of Constantia wine to cure Marianne’s lovesickness.

As for the remaining characters, Brother Dashwood is possibly one of the shallowest literary characters I’ve ever met. Lucy Steele is the period equivalent of today’s It-girl wannabe, and her misuse of the past tense is sending the language control freak inside me into hyperventilation. Developments with Willoughby are, in my humble opinion, not hugely surprising – he’s all that Jane Austen has been setting him up to be. Finally, Colonel Brandon is the PERFECT match for Elinor. Could we just get it over with and let them get together now, please?


Sense & Sensibility Readalong II (Ch. 10-22)

If last week’s post was a cop-out, this is the Mother of All Cop-Out Posts. While I’ve made good progress on Sense and Sensibility and am quite far ahead of schedule at the moment, I’ve not made such good progress on my dissertation this week and need to do some catching up RIGHT NOW. So I’ll just leave you with a couple of disconnected thoughts on these chapters:

  • Last week, I wasn’t such a fan of character development. This has definitely changed: the characters have become a lot more lively, although Austen manages to keep up the mystery surrounding all the important male characters (Edward, Colonel Brandon and Willoughby). This is great, it keeps you interested in the story! What’s gonna happen next?
  • Marianne is definitely annoying now. What a self-centred, childish, puberty-ridden teenager!
  • And Lucy Steele? Don’t even get me started. What a little b****.
  • Elinor is still extremely sensible, but more likeably so than in the first nine chapters. She seems less dried up and has more of a personality – I feel like what Austen is starting to do in these chapters is to guide the reader more as for whom they ‘should’ like.

Voilà. Back to the thesis.


Sense & Sensibility Readalong I (Ch. 1-9)

Other people have already said very clever things about Sense and Sensibility (either as part of the Advent with Austen readalong or independently), so I have a high standard to live up to. But since this is a time of challenges, here are my two cents on the first 9 chapters.

I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I got back into Austen. I have to confess that this is only the second novel of hers I’m reading – the first was Pride and Prejudice many, many years ago. So there goes another bit of what little bookish street cred I ever had – Only the second Austen?! I hear you cry. What in the world has she been doing with her life the past ten years? Truth be told, I’m not quite sure myself. Because I loved Pride and Prejudice and I really don’t know what kept me from reading more Austen until now. My wild guess is other books (and, of course, stuff), but if anyone can provide a pointer as to where the last 10 years have vanished I’d be grateful to hear it. Alas, I digress.

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AwA Kickoff: Sense & Sensibility

Let the Advent with Austen fun begin! Yesterday I picked up my copy of Sense and Sensibility from the post office. (It seems that one of the drawbacks of my new flat is that the parcel delivery guy can’t get to the letterbox unless someone lets him in. Note to self: future deliveries to work address.) So here it is in all its glory:

I started last night, but have to confess that I was going cross-eyed before I’d even finished the introduction by some very learned person that comes included with my edition. So I went to sleep instead. Maybe I should just start with the actual novel, but I wanted to cheat a bit and get a first idea of what I’m in for, since I haven’t read the novel before. Perhaps I’m treading so cautiously because such an introduction is something I’m sorely missing at the moment with Yo el Supremo which, to be honest, has me utterly lost and confused. I’d really appreciate a word of advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about. But on the other hand, this might leave me with preconceptions about the novel that might impair my own reading of it?

What do you think? Is it better to dive straight into novels, or do you appreciate getting in some expert knowledge upfront?


Advent with Austen Excitement

I just bought “Sense and Sensibility” for the Advent with Austen readalong!

Much excitement! Although I’m crazy busy at the moment what with the new job, the dissertation, and life in general, I can’t wait to start. Also there is maybe an element of escapism from Yo el Supremo (again). I just can’t seem to warm up to the guy.