Sense and Sensibility
If you start reading the book early, skip the introduction. Start at chapter one. Links to audio book below.
- Possible essay topics for Sense and Sensibility. Spoiler Alert.
- Map of England PDF with brief
Tree PDFs (I adapted these from the genealogy found on Pemberly.com. Those include
spoilers and I tried to clarify relationships and minimize spoilers on
- Character Log PDF.
Most online character logs inlclude spoilers about the text and give
away who ends up with whom. I copied this list of characters from
Wikipedia, but I deleted all the spoilers. You're welcome to make your
own log if you want to create one based on the family trees.
Sensibility has three volumes and was orignally published in three
separate texts. If you’ve
reading it, you’ll want to re-read it. It’s meaty and worth the
re-read. I've re-read this text more than a dozen times and I enjoy it
each time. If
you’re listening to the audio, you’ll want to pair that with the text.
listen together. There is a free audio version on itunes. If you choose
download it, please read the book as well. You will not be able to
essays and pass the quizzes without doing the reading part.
Study Questions (If you can answer the study questions, you'll do fine on the test.)
- Here is a doc of my
general notes PDF about reading this book successfully. (I will pass this out in class
when we begin the book. The notes about watching the movie in class and
doing the study questions only apply to 110A.) I've taught Sense and Sensibility and Pride
and Prejudice with many groups of
students, ranging in skill from the ESL reader and struggling academic
to the English major. My students have been high school teens to
grandparents; they have come for all parts of the world with all kinds
backgrounds and values. And,
they’ve all been able to read and enjoy
books. Give it a chance.
the lessons structure this way and give you the advice I do
is how students will be most successful and get the most enjoyment out
book. I want you to learn, but I also want you to enjoy this text. It's
your attention and will reward your efforts. Jane Austen was not
laziness and ignorance and her books don’t reward it.
NOT read the introduction—it contains spoilers and will be confusing.
You can come back to it after you've finished the whole text if you
want, to see what that writer had to say about the themes and ideas
present in the novel, but it's not necessary.
- Chapters are in
roman numbers on the left top and cardinals are on the
right. (Roman Numeral conversions are in a
chart on this web site if you want to practice.) This
is the version of the text we are using: Sense and
Sensibility, ISBN: 978-0141439662.
- If you use
Sparknotes/Cliffnotes/Bookrags or other web sites offering
summaries/analysis, please do so
you've read the text. I think knowing what these web sites have to say
will influence your ability to think critically about the text in
negative ways and the
many nuances involved in the social situations and relationships. You can
understand the text if you put the effort into it. The book will reward
your patience. I also know what these sites have to say; I've been
there too--if you can find it on the web, so can I. But, truly, what
these sites have to say is not that interesting. I'd rather hear what
not what some English major dropout thinks who makes his living writing
commentary for cheat sites.
- Look up words
and use the notes on pp. 398-409 to find out about things you don't
understand. Here is the link to the Notes from Pemberly.com
if you want more detail about the finer points in the text. Don't
worry about the 'textual variants' section of the book we have; it's
important for our purposes, though if you're interested you're free to
careful as you pace the book. If you read too fast you'll not remember
anything that happens; if you read too slow, you'll get stuck at the
word-level and lose the flow and meaning of the text. If you're
struggling with the reading, buzz through the chapters first for
overall sense of plot and then re-read more slowly to pick up the finer
detail. Yes, I said re-read. Smart students, successful students, they
re-read. This is one of the things that helps them be successful.
- When you read
the book, I suggest breaking it up into the same sections I have it
broken into for study questions (scroll down for details).
- Jane Austen said she did not write for dull elves, so let's not disappoint her.
Questions contain spoilers--they ask direct questions about what
in the text, so if you read them ahead, you'll know what happens.
You wont know why or how--that's what you're supposed to
answer in the questions.
Austen & Regency Era Information
Austen lived and wrote during a period of time in
England generally called the Regency Era.
She was born on December 16, 1975 in Steventon, Hampshire and died at
the age of 41. She published some novels while she was alive, but made
no money from her writing. Her other completed novels were
published after her death. There are pieces of unfinished work, things
she wrote as a youth and a small collection of letters that are all
part of the Jane Austen collection today. Many scholars make their
professional work researching and writing about Jane Austen and her
For all things
Jane Austen online, visit:
of the text
- I'm finding
this resource about the customs and culture of the regency
period so helpful.
demographics and incomes of
the British Realm in 1814
- Rank and Address of the "peerage"
in Regency England (scroll down for the list of heirarchies; marriage
divorce laws are toward the bottom.)
Wikipedia site for "Landed Gentry" is pretty good
discussion from http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/austen-l.html#X8
adds to our information
on the money issue: The widowed
Mrs. Dashwood and her
daughters are not necessarily
impoverished by an entail in Sense and
Sensibility. The money that Mr.
Henry Dashwood's first wife
had brought into the marriage was reserved by marriage
her own offspring (namely John Dashwood), and could not
be given to Mr. Henry Dashwood's daughters by his second wife. And the
uncle of Mr. Henry Dashwood chose to put stipulations in his will which
effectively held his estate in trust for John Dashwood's son Harry (see
the Family Trees
The first of these legal devices is not an entail, and the second does
to be. And in fact, marriage settlements are actually designed to
(as opposed to an entail, which keeps wealth away from women), since
settlements ensure that the wife's money will revert to her or her
and prevent the husband from misappropriating the money for other
he would otherwise be entitled to do).
couldn't find an article specifically talking about the use of bricks
to warm carraiges, but here is an interesting peice about various forms of warmers used over the years.
- Excellent picture of letter written across and folded. And another.
- Regency games and amusements. Card games.
- British reality TV: Regency House Party.
- And of course, Jane Austen Fight Club
listen together. There is one version of a free audio book—in
itunes, and there are pay versions which are of better quality. I
believe there versions available at the public library, though they may
be checked out. There are apps for the
iphone and ipad too.
Here is the link to the free version on itunes.
itunes > Podcasts > Arts
> Literature > LibriVox
> Sense and Sensibility by Austen, Jane
Another source for the audio, that is not on itunes.
Another source that has seems to have better audio
and has the ebook as part of the itunes download.