“Jane Austen? I feel I am approaching dangerous ground. The reputation of Jane Austen is surrounded by cohorts of defenders who are ready to do murder for their sacred cause.” Arnold Bennett, 1927, Literary Critic
If you are someone who loves Austen, welcome. We are excited to hear your commentary!
If you are someone who has never read Austen, but maybe you’ve seen the movies, and you want to know what all the fuss is about, welcome! At some point, we need to talk about the novels vs. the movies. I will make what might be an astounding claim right now: I have never seen a movie based on an Austen novel. (Don’t fight me on this yet—we can discuss later. 😉
If you have tried to read Austen in the past, and it just didn’t work for you, I’m hoping you’ll give Sense and Sensibility a chance. It is filled with social commentary and wit, terrific family dynamics—especially the relationship between sisters, and wonderful romance. As with all Austen novels, we have at least two villains, and they will promote a lot of discussion.
I love Austen’s style of writing, but it might take awhile for you to adjust. That’s fine. Please point out sentences you don’t quite get, and we’ll jump in and help. Also, Austen can be outright and sharply funny, but she also often writes in a very nuanced fashion. When you first begin to read her, you might find that you are missing things. So please, if you think you are missing something, share. And those of you who notice an interesting nuance, please point it out. Every time I read Austen, I find new points to consider. This delights me. I see her work as being quite rich.
What is happening this week:
- We will discuss the first three chapters beginning at noon, Monday, June 1.
- Our plan is to read 3 chapters a day, every day.
- Before noon tomorrow, I will post some thoughts about the initial chapters, which you can use or ignore as you wish.
- For those of you interested in commentary on Northanger Abbey, that is still available and will be forever on the blog. I am notified every time there is a post, so if you feel like a conversation about any of the chapters, please post, and I’ll respond within 24 hours.
- For people in Cleveland, if you don’t have a copy of the book, it is available as an ebook from Cleveland Public Library. You could also order it from Mac’s Backs or Loganberry Books.
- If you are outside of Cleveland, like say, in Texas, how about supporting your independent bookstore by ordering from Bookshop?
- Sense and Sensibility is also available free through the Gutenberg Project online.
- Please don’t give away any spoilers—stick with the three chapters for the particular day or what has come before.
- Thank you so much for being a part of this. Thinking about reading Austen right now makes me feel giddy and grounded, and in these times, that is something that I need.