The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility

Time for the great Jane Summer Re-Read!  We're talking about Sense and Sensibility@emily_m_deardo

We’re doing this slightly out of order–I read S&S first this year, so we’re starting there.

Since this is the first post on the Jane Re-Read, let’s do some basic ground rules:

1) Yes, she’s Jane here. I can’t call her “Austen” like I would “Dickens.” Jane just seems like a friend to me. Hence, Jane.

2) Abbreviations: S&S–Sense and Sensibility; P&P–Pride and Prejudice; MP–Mansfield Park; E–Emma; P–Persuasion; NA–Northanger Abbey; JA–Juvenilia, (not her initials. 🙂 )

3) In each entry–which will come up every two weeks–we can talk about anything related to the book. I’ll post links to other things I’ve written about the particular book, and I’ll also post my favorite movie version of each book (there are multiple versions of every book except NA, I think.)

4) I won’t summarize the book. You can google it for that. I’m assuming you’re going to read (or have read) the book. So it’ll just be notes. So, if you haven’t–spoilers, y’all.

Ready, y’all? Let’s start with Jane’s “darling child,” S&S.

I wrote two pieces about S&S here and here, and my favorite version of the movie is the 1995 one, although the BBC’s latest effort is more faithful to the book, overall.

S&S was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, and Jane took time off between the first draft and the published version we know as S&S. She wrote the first draft when she was younger, but it wasn’t published until several years later. Her family relocation to Bath, the death of her father, and the fallout from that made for a peripatetic life. Finally, her brother Edward settled Jane, her mother, and her sister and best friend Cassandra , at Chawton Cottage in the village of Chawton. It was there that Jane revised S&S, P&P and NA, and wrote MP, E, and P. 

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

The Dashwood sisters: (l-r) Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor.

Much of S&S deals with a topic Jane was intimately familiar with–what happens to the wife and daughters of a man when he dies. The Dashwood women do not fare nearly as well as the Austen women did. Jane’s brothers all pooled their resources to provide for Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen. (Cassandra was engaged, but her fiance died in a shipwreck.)  Regency society was very hard for unmarried and widowed women, and that’s illustrated well in the novel. Without Sir John’s easy rent terms for Barton Cottage, the family would’ve been very hard pressed to find anything near their former situation. While the Dashwood women now live in a cottage instead of handsome Norland Parkthey still have at least one maid and a manservant, and are able to live in an approximation of their former life (none of the women have to work, for example, to earn money). But their lives could’ve been much easier if John Dashwood had kept his promise to his dying father.

The closeness of the two sisters is also true to life for Jane. Jane endowed Marianne with several of her qualities: Marianne adores Cowper (Jane’s favorite poet), and shares some of Jane’s personality; also, Jane was the younger sister (and second youngest child in the Austen family). It is easy to imagine Cassandra as Elinor, especially since Elinor is an artist, as Cassandra was. The closeness of sisters is examined in many of Jane’s novels, but particularly here and in P&P (with Jane and Lizzie). In Persuasion, Anne Elliott isn’t close to either of her sisters; Fanny Price in MP is close to one of her younger sisters, and Emma’s older sister, Isabella, is a sort of non-entity since she is married and lives in London, not Highbury, with her husband and children.

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Col. Brandon gives Marianne (Kate Winslet, second left) a new piano.

It’s interesting that only MP deals with brothers–Fanny is very attached to her brother William, who serves in the Royal Navy (as did almost all of Jane’s brothers). Edmund Bertram treats Fanny like a sister for much of MP, but they’re cousins. There are no “true” brothers in any of the other novels: In S&S, he’s the girls half-brother, from their father’s first marriage; there are no Bennet boys, which is a major plot point, and both the Woodhouse and Elliott families have only girls. (This is also a major plot point in Persuasion, not so much in MP.)

I have a lot in common with Marianne. We both love music and romance and poetry, but I also have a bit of Elinor in me. I would never act like Marianne does in the ballroom scene in London, for example. The old-fashioned girl part of me waits for the man to approach and to do the asking. Like Elinor, I’m aware of social norms and what’s acceptable behavior, and 99% of the time, I follow it. (The other 1%…well, sometimes we all go nuts. :-)) But I also am fiercely loyal, like Marianne is, and don’t take fools lightly, although I generally use my Elinor side to refrain from saying whatever I think. (See, Marianne and the Middletons.)

Am I the only one who wanted Edward to buck up? You are not in love with Lucy anymore–break off the engagement! I totally support him keeping his word, but come on, Edward! You were willing to spend your life with a woman who drove you crazy because when you were young you made a mistake and got engaged?! Boo.

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Edward (Hugh Grant)

I think every girl has her Willoughby–that man she falls head-over-heels for, the one that seems so perfect. And then you find out he’s not. Maybe he’s not a scoundrel, a la Wickham, but he’s not perfect, and he’s not the man for you.

It’s a fine line between Marianne and Elinor. If you stay silent, like Elinor does, you could miss your chance. But if you’re overly eager, as Marianne is, it can cause you problems later on. I always wondered what Margaret would end up like–more Elinor, or Marianne? Or a good mixture of both?

Like all of Jane’s heroines, Marianne learns a lesson by the time she weds the Colonel (who, incidentally, is never given a first name in the books. He’s just Colonel Brandon.), but I think she’s happier for it. I think she and Elinor both have good, solid marriages, where both of them can love and esteem their husbands (as Mr. Bennet exhorts Lizzie to do in P&P). 

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) after their wedding.

What do you think of S&S? Are you more a Marianne or an Elinor?

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Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 62/ Weekend Rewind

Outside my window::

Man, it’s a gorgeous Memorial Day. Sunshine, blue sky, a few clouds, nice and warm. (The swim this morning was excellent due to weather.) One of my neighbors is grilling out and it makes everything smell yummy.

In the CD player::

The Bridges of Madison County. Oh my gosh, people. This show is awesome. I’m sad it’s closed.:( Here’s a clip of Kelli O’Hara, who plays the female lead, Francesca, singing the show’s opener. It’s a stunner.  (I mean, of course, it’s Jason Robert Brown, but still. It’s so much better than you may think.) I’m alternating between this and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, because who doesn’t need some 80s music every once in awhile?

Reading::

Sense and Sensibility (Marianne just met Willoughby), Watership Down (I’m about finished and it’s really good), The Pickwick Papers, Keeping Home (a Christian perspective on housekeeping).

 

Around the house::

Getting ready for the Disney trip which is rapidly approaching! SO excited. I may have mentioned how excited I am. 🙂  So I’m packing clothes and books and toiletries and all the gear I need for a trip to the House of Mouse. Also doing regular cleaning so that when I leave the house (and come back to said house) it won’t be a disaster of Epic Proportions. I also have to make sure I have all the meds ordered and ready to go for the trip, since I don’t want to track down a pharmacy in Orlando that may or may not carry the drugs I need. 🙂

 

Theater::

Only one rehearsal this weekend, and it was to run through our existing Act I blocking, block Trouble and work on polishing Iowa Stubborn, which is going really well. I love this show and the cast more every rehearsal, which is great and really exciting, since we also get better every rehearsal.

Fitness:
Well, blocking for three hours counts, right? 🙂 There has also been much swimming since the pool officially opened on Thursday. (I’ve gone twice, which is good for me.) And of course there will be lots of swimming/walking at WDW.

Fun links::

This Jane  discovery.  (Everyone needs more Jane in their lives) and where Richard III will be buried.  So, yes, a British flavor to these today. 🙂

Weekend Rewind::

There was swimming, there was X-Men: Days of Future Past (I will say it is probably helpful to have seen the other movies before this one, but I don’t think you’ll be irrevocably lost if you haven’t seen them before seeing this), there was a cookout with perfect burgers. In general, great summer kick off. 🙂

X-Men, by the by, is definitely worth seeing, especially for James McAvoy’s disillusioned and mournful Charles Xavier. Also, Ellen Page has a small but very well done and important role in this installment. And Jean-Luc Picard! (I know, I know. Patrick Stewart, Okkkayyyyy! I grew up with a Trekkie Dad, what do you expect? )

Plans for the week::

More rehab (W and Fri), packing, and then The Happiest Place on Earth. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found: A “Lost” note from Jane Austen

Found: A “Lost” note from Jane Austen

A handwritten note by Jane Austen “hidden” for 150 years on the back of a fragment of paper has been revealed.

Experts have linked the text on both the front and back to themes in the author’s novel Mansfield Park.

The fragment was stuck to a letter discovered in a first edition of her memoirs, written by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh.

The revealed text is part of a sermon apparently composed by her brother, the Reverend James Austen in 1814.

 

(more at the link) 

Seven Quick Takes No. 45

7_quick_takes_sm1

I.
You may have noticed it’s been Jane Austen week here at LA. If you missed them, here are links: Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility; Femininity in Sense and Sensibility; Northanger Abbey’s Unlikely Heroine; The Relationships in Pride and Prejudice. Today is the last day in the series, so I’ll have a post on that up later today (on Emma, I think).

II.

And, also, here are my retreat recap notes.

III.

This week I also turned 32 (on Wednesday). Yeehaw! I always get excited when I get a year older. I defy people who do not acknowledge how old they are. 🙂 I had a really nice birthday, got lots of books and got myself some Doctor Who Series 2 on sale, so even better. We had ice cream cake and there were hockey victories and overall it was glorious.

IV.

OK, so on Goodreads, I notice that everyone who reads Moby-Dick likes it but me. Am I the only one who really despises it, or are my friends on GR just crazy literate and/or nuts? Help?

Fun fact: I actually got into an argument with one of my boyfriends about this topic. That’s my life, folks.

V.

Rehab continues apace. It seems to be going really well so we might actually extend it. I’m fighting a cold so I’m going to be on increased steroids, which means I’ll probably want to eat the table. Oh well. Whatever, right? Could be worse. I have to do the treadmill today–dratness–but it’s also Friday so that’s happy.

VI.
Today is also National Blue and Green Day for Organ Donation Awareness. Are you an organ donor? If not, please be one.Thank you. I’ll be at Lifeline of Ohio’s Candlelight Vigil for Donation tonight. Actually, all of April is Donate Life Month. It’s very a propos for me. So, if you’re not an organ donor–be one? Please? 🙂

VII.

And finally: went to yoga class this week for the first time in a long time. It was pretty epic and I had a blast.