The Advent with Austen‘s readalong of Sense and Sensibility is being hosted by Yvann over at Reading Fuelled by Tea.
Summary of the novel here.
Let the great readalong begin! I’m looking forward to what everyone else has to say about Jane Austen’s first published novel. This is the second time I read S&S and it’s surprising how different if fells and how influenced I’ve been by the adaptations.
Just 9 chapters in and I’m already convinced that of all of Austen’s books, S&S is the one that benefits most from screen adaptations. She leaves a lot to our imagination and I missed scenes like the one where Margaret hides in the library, but I especially wanted to see more of Elinor and Edward’s relationship development. There’s a whole chapter with just one conversation of Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood, but so far no exchanges between one of the book’s main couples.
Still, that chapter was great, so witty, so clever, so Austen! You could see she had fun writing it, but it was also very useful to help us understand the injustice suffered by the Dashwood women, Fanny’s meanness and John’s meekness.
These first chapters also set the scene for the sisters’ relationship: unity and deep affection, but also a conflict of conduct and values. I couldn’t help thinking how alone Elinor must have felt at times. Clearly Marianne and her mother are of one mind, and young Margaret is going the same way. It must be tough on Elinor to constantly be the family’s voice of reason, Super-Ego and bad-cop.
I thought that this time around (now that I’m older and wiser, you see?) I’d find Marianne more annoying, but again, I take my hat off to Austen for creating a character like her. She has everything to be an exasperating teen, but instead I find myself thinking that what we need is more people who think and live like her: intensely and in a world of superlatives. I don’t want Marianne to be taught a bitter-but-necessary lesson. I want her to find the man she wants at 16, who reads Cowper with due passion and has an immaculate character.
And maybe Austen thought the same. Maybe she was sorrowful about the dirty job that lay ahead, or Marianne wouldn’t have been such a great character.
Now, please imagine that I said something thoughtful about parenting in Austen’s books, or social mobility, while I continue to muse about how my own idea of the ideal man evolved.
See you all at the joint viewing of Bride and Prejudice this Sunday?