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Sense and Sensibility – Location, Location, Location by Mary Simonsen — 16 Comments

  1. That’s very interesting, Mary. Even as a Brit, I’d absolutely no idea about that aspect of our history (didn’t get to study that time period at school) and that the places in S&S were so significant. I’ve bookmarked the link to the complete article so that I can read it later. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    Thanks also for the offer price on your book. I grabbed my copy yesterday.

    • Hi Anji. I found the article fascinating. There is so much that Austen’s contemporaries understood that we don’t. I remember the first time I read about the differing lengths of candles at dances. As soon as you walked in, you would know how long the dance would last just by looking at the candles! I hope you enjoy When They Fall in Love. Thanks for buying it.

  2. I never realized the extent that hunger played in the English as Ireland as been more written about.

    I never could warm toward Marianne even though she changed somewhat after her illness. In my eyes she didn’t deserve Colonel Brandon and I could never see what he saw in her.

    That being said, Alan Rickmans portrayal of Colonel Brandon is forever going to be the benchmark for that character.

    • Actually, when the potato crop didn’t fail, the Irish poor were better off than the English poor b/c the potato is much more nutritious than bread. I’m with you on Marianne not deserving the colonel, but then she was really, really young when all this was going on. Love Alan Rickman! Brilliant portrayal.

  3. Intriguing. I knew that place was a major theme in S&S–one of my favorites that actually got me kicked out of my university’s reading room while in grad school (writing an essay on civility in P&P, S&S, and MP for my Gender & Satire seminar) because I was laughing too much. 😉 But I never knew how the economics of Austen’s time played so keen a role in this novel. Thank you, Mary! 😀

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  4. Very helpful analysis of S&S. It’s like reading the Bible, as many stories need to be understood in context; facts that readers of the time knew, we need to learn.

    I also agree that Colonel Brandon was a doll, and Alan Rickman was excellent in the role. Marianne got a real prize in him!

    • I’m afraid we miss so much b/c Jane assumed that we would know the background and context, like when Lydia ordered a cucumber sandwich, an extravagence for the time. Good to hear from you.

  5. I always find the historical analyses so priceless. History is my favorite thing anyway, so associated with Austen is just loveliness. Fascinating that the places had so much to do with character building blocks. Marianne and Brandon is a personal peeve. It’s not the age thing, it’s personality types. LOL Col Brandon is my second favorite Austen character and I always feel he was a little shortchanged at the end of the day. 😉 Great post!!

    • I’m with you. Brandon is more suited to Elinor. But I once attended a lecture by Dr. Ray (Jane Austen for Dummies), and she said that if you only watch thge movies, you will never see Brandon and Marianne as a couple. But if you read the book, you will. She made a compelling case. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Excellent information! I wish I had know that historical background when I first read S&S.
    Very enlightening.

    Re: Maryanne: I was very young when I read S&S and I was disappointed in the outcome, not do much about Colonel Brandon, but that the romantic young love didn’t last. As I grew older, I realized what a true love is and it all made sense that as M matured, she would realize that too.
    Now, the whole Edward, Elinore…losing the inheritance and having to live in her younger, less sensible, less virtuous sister’s parsonage house…just irritated me and still does. I thought E deserved more.

    • I agree. I wish I had known about the economics background, but to modern readers, there is so much that lays hidden in Austen’s books b/c she did not explain as her readers would know. Despite the disparity in incomes, I think Elinor will be happier than Marianne. Her expectations are more realistic. Thanks for commenting.

  7. I appreciate the information you have imparted.

    Your question regarding Maryann and Brandon. So many do not consider the ramifications of her father’s recent demise, the significant change in their circumstances, or their lack of exposure to society. They led a sheltered, quiet life. Maryann was immersed in books, music, and the romantic notions of a teenager. Willoughby was the fairytale hero. Handsome, young, and very attentive with many of her same interests. How many young woman have fell for the same? He did intend to marry her. For all the disdain of that, poverty was a truly ugly thing then and the loss of the family estate would of have destroyed any man in that situation then. He had a duty there then.

    Brandon’s ward was reported as head strong and wild. Not much is divulged about this, the how or the why of it. Willoughby never addresses it. There could have been far more to this story…Wise was the epitomy of him IMO.

    Brandon deserved every happiness and desire. Rickman was awesome, indeed. I think he would be happy with Maryann, but it was a relationship that would grow with time. I would not be surprised if they adopted Elizas child… I don’t see wild passion here. I see earnest dedication, respect, and a love that is as beautiful in a different way. Maryann might find herself more comfortable in this environment with maturity. She also might come to realize in time that Brandon is the real fairytale hero. I think she saw the beginnings of it, when she almost died due to the grief she suffered from the lack of constancy from the other. Romance and love are beautiful things. One has to have some sense though. Throughout many novels, Wuthering heights and Gone with the Wind…etc. The reality is someone has to have some kind of money. You cannot eat, live, or survive without it. A tent in the woods…I think not…

    • Thanks, Stephanie, for your thoughtful comments. You are right: One has to have something to live on. It’s that reality that caused Charlotte to accept Mr. Collins. I think Marianne will have a comfortable life with Col. Brandon, but you have to wonder how often she will think about Willoughby.

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