Posted by: rearadmiral | September 15, 2011

Sense and Sensibility

This is from the Pasadena Area Reading Group

At the last meeting, it was decided that we would be switching topics.
 We will not be reading The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska
Orczy until the meeting after next.  (The date of this meeting has not
yet been chosen.)  The members present wanted to read and discuss
Sense & Sensibility prior to the Annual General Meeting in Oct. The
theme contains three different components.  Below is the info. on the
theme provided on the 2011 AGM page at

Sense and Sensibility is a novel of duality as well as a social satire
directed at the leisure class of Regency England. It is also the novel
that many of us find “troubling.” The 2011 JASNA AGM will explore
these three themes.
Duality permeates the novel and Jane Austen goes to great lengths to
give us examples of the importance of balancing sense and sensibility
without condemning either. She shows us the dangers of both hasty and
examined judgments (of Willoughby, Brandon, Edward), portrays both
devotion and disregard for one’s family (contrasting Marianne and
Elinor with John, Fanny, and Mrs. Ferrars), and emphasizes the
availability of  “manly pursuits” for men while exposing women’s
exclusion from them.

The moral complexities of class, money, and status illustrated in the
novel make up the second theme of the conference. Jane Austen, through
her characters and plots, questions the importance of these things to
one’s happiness and well-being, but at the same time acknowledges that
class, status, and money cannot be ignored in the society in which she
and her characters lived. The “double standard” in regard to the legal
rights of men vs. women is also explored (why did things end so badly
for Eliza Brandon and not her husband?).

The final theme addresses the subjects in the novel that don’t make
“sense” to the reader. Why is Marianne called Colonel Brandon’s
reward? Why do Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele end up with all of the
money? Was Edward’s engagement to Lucy at so young an age legal? Why
did Edward remain silent about his engagement to Lucy Steele even when
Marianne asked him about the “ring with a plait of hair”? This theme
could provide enough material for a separate conference!

I was tasked with finding some articles on S & S which relate to the
Ft. Worth AGM themes.  I was aided in this search by the fact that the
Ft. Worth Committee put together an extensive list of articles related
to the themes.  If one goes to, on the right hand side of
the home page is a box entitled Announcements.  The second item is
“Reading about Sense & Sensibility.  Click on this and you will be
taken to a page which lists articles under the themes.  These are
active links which will take you directly to the articles.
I chose 3 articles of interest to me.
“Whose Sense? Whose Sensibility?” by Eva Brann.  Persuasions 12 (1990): 131-33.
“Colonel Brandon: an Officer and a Gentleman in Sense and Sensibility”
by Geoff Chapman.  Persuasions On-Line 21.1 (Winter 2000).
 “Jane Austen as an Historical Novelist; Sense and Sensibility” by
Karl Kroeber.  Persuasions 12 (1990): 10-18



%d bloggers like this: