Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility is a novel by the English novelist Jane Austen. Published in 1811, it was Austen's first published novel, which she wrote under the pseudonym "A Lady".

The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love.

The book has been adapted for film and television a number of times, including a 1981 serial for TV directed by Rodney Bennett; a 1995 movie adapted by Emma Thompson and directed by Ang Lee; a version in Tamil called Kandukondain Kandukondain released in 2000; and a 2008 TV series on BBC adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by John Alexander. An upcoming adaption is an American drama-romantic comedy film titled From Prada to Nada which was adapted by Luis Alfaro, Craig Fernandez, and Fina Torres to be a Latina version of the novel with an expected release date of January 28, 2011.


Plot summary

When Mr Dashwood dies, his estate – Norland Park – passes directly to John, his only son, and child of his first wife. Mrs Dashwood, his second wife, and their daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, are left only a small income.

On his deathbed, Mr Dashwood had asked John to promise to take care of his half-sisters but John's selfish and greedy wife, Fanny, soon persuades her weak-willed husband that he has no real financial obligation in the matter, and he gives the girls and their mother nothing. John and Fanny move into Norland immediately on the death of Mr Dashwood and take up their place as its new owners. The Dashwood women, now treated as rather unwelcome guests in what was their home, begin looking for another place to live – a difficult task because of their small income.

Fanny's brother, Edward Ferrars, a pleasant, unassuming, intelligent but reserved young man, comes to Norland for a visit. He and Elinor are clearly attracted to each other and Mrs Dashwood cherishes hopes that they will marry. Fanny makes it clear that their mother, Mrs Ferrars, a wealthy widow, wants her son to make a career for himself and to marry a woman of high rank or great estate, if not both, and offended with the ill-disguised hint, Mrs Dashwood indignantly resolves to remove her residence as quickly as possible. Although Edward is attentive to Elinor, his reserved behaviour makes it difficult for her to guess his intentions. Elinor does not encourage her relatives to hope for the marriage, although in her heart of hearts she secretly hopes for it.

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