Sense and Sensibility was the first novel that Austen published, in 1811. The book, written “by a lady,” was even a financial success. The book is a romance — the two young Dashwood girls are having their first real adventures in love. Marianne is involved in a full-fledged romance with handsome neighbor Mr. Willoughby and can’t understand what her sister sees in the shy Edward Ferrars. She even complains about his lack of verve to her mother:
“Oh! Mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward’s manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!”
Marianne is fond of exclamation marks. But Sense and Sensibility is also about putting forth Austen’s philosophy of love — passion versus intellect. And Austen definitely weighs in favor of the latter.
xoxoxoe, #33, The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, edited and annotated by David M. Shapard, #CBR3