Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (a review)

Why, oh why doesn’t anyone write this beautifully today? Deliciously complex sentence structure, social commentary and subtle sarcasm. And humour too, though Austen doesn’t sacrifice her charcters on the altar of irony as contemporary writers do. She leaves some room for them to breathe and to live. Generally, it was a pleasure to read this book.

However, there is one question that keeps rising for me whenever I read Austen’s writing. Her characters are constantly talking about money, worrying about money, making arrangements and engagements based on money or the lack thereof, yet I have yet to encounter a charcter of Austen’s who holds a job. They are all living on interest, though Austen never sees fit to mention the source of the principle. If her characters are all so very concerned about their finances, would it not behoove them to find some manner of gainful employment? Perhaps this simply was not done among the upper (or upper-middle) classes of England in the 19th century.

I guess this is why although I love Austen’s writing, the plot of Sense and Sensibility seems a little thin to me. I just can’t identify with the lifestyle of her protagonists, envious though I may be of their excesses of leisure time.

Well, one Jane Austen novel down, two others previously read (Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey – I haven’t decided whether I’ll re-read them). That leaves three works, unless I’m mistaken; Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion. I’m off to a good start on at least one of my projects for 2010, reading all of Austen’s novels.


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