The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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February 22, 2017

A year with our Jane: something (five things) new in Sense and Sensibility

I finished re-reading Sense and Sensibility last night, and so far, my hope that I'd find something new in each of the novels this year has gotten off to a wonderful start. :)

Here are five things that I didn't remember, or that surprised me ... possibly with some spoilers.

  1. As I noted before, Mrs.Jennings tells Elinor, early on in their acquaintance, and in Elinor's with him, that Colonel Brandon has a love child. It seemed a rather shocking thing for Mrs. J. to reveal (although it's in keeping with her good-natured gossipy personality). So, I was wondering ... then, later, Colonel Brandon tells Elinor that Eliza, the young girl that Willoughby seduced and abandoned, is his ward, the daughter of the woman he loved, and he mentions almost off-handedly that some people think he is her daughter, 
  2. In the same later conversation, Colonel Brandon tells Elinor that he has had an.'unvoidable' meeting with Willoughby {'We met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned inwounded...'} A duel!
  3. Some of the characters are much more interesting than I remembered.  Lucy Steele is so manipulative {though Elinor sees through her early on, and gives it right back to her}, and even Miss Grey, Willoughby's eventual wife, has her moment.
  4. When Marianne is desperately ill at Cleveland, and Willoughby comes to see Elinor there, there's a long scene where he explains and justifies his conduct toward Marianne and his marriage to Miss Grey. I had to read this chapter more than once because I couldn't  understand why what he says softens Elinor's feelings about him. She moves from anger to pity, seemingly because what he has done will never make him happy, and later, because she's able to reassure Marianne that Willoughby had remained constant.  Wouldn't have worked for me.:)
  5. Though he's clearly in love with Marianne, both Mrs. Jennings and John Dashwood decide that Colonel Brandon should marry Elinor, and plot in their own ineffectual ways to encourage this match. (I didn't remember this at all, and it was very funny. even if you knew how things were going to work out.)
Before I go on to Pride and Prejudice, do you have a favorite character, moment, or memory from this one?


JoAnn said...

It's been far too long since I last read S&S and P&P. May just pick one of them up after Trollope!!

Karen K. said...

I need to reread this also. I do remember loving Mr. Palmer and his silly wife Charlotte, but I may just be remembering the wonderful Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton from the 1995 film version.

And Fanny Dashwood and Lucy Steele are two of the nastiest villains in Jane Austen.

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