Kingwood College Library Assignment Guide

Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen

Born - Steventon, England on December 16,1775
Died - Winchester, England on July 18, 1817

Jane Austen was the seventh of eight children born to the rector of the parish at Steventon, England.  Although the Austens were neither wealthy nor noble, Reverend Austen had a keen interest in education, even for his daughters.  Although her novels focused on courtship and marriage, Jane Austen never married.

Jane Austen's first published novel was Sense and Sensibility in 1811.  It was printed anonymously with "By a Lady" on the title page, enabling Austen to keep her privacy and her femininity in the eyes of society.  The text originally was a series of letters between two sisters, but evolved into novel form. The sisters represent Sense (possessed by Elinor) contrasted with Sensibility (possessed by Marianne).




Main Characters -

-Elinor Dashwood, a nineteen year old woman of sense
-Marianne Dashwood, her seventeen year old sister with sensibility
-John Dashwood, her greedy brother, heir to the Norland estate
-Fanny Dashwood, John's selfish and manipulative wife
-Edward Ferrars, Fanny's sensible older brother
-Sir John Middleton, a jovial but vulgar Dashwood relation
-Colonel Brandon, Sir John's honorable friend
-John Willoughby, deceives Marianne who loves him
-Lucy Steele, in love with Edward
-Robert Ferrars, conceited younger brother of Edward and Fanny

Plot -
In this comedy of manners, it is evident that JaneAusten clearly admires individuals with sense.  Trusting her senses, Marianne Dashwood falls hopelessly in love with a dashing man who is in fact deceitful.  In contrast, sister Elinor sensibly evaluates her opinions of men and romance.  The sisters' stories along with the moral issues that surface comprise a romantic novel in a setting where money matters.

Setting -
Nineteenth-century England

Theme -
-expectations vs. reality
-appearance vs. reality
-expectation and disappointment

Search for literary criticism by typing Jane Austen in the subject search in the library catalog.

Jane and her gentlemen : Jane Austen and the men in her life and novels - PR4036.H35, Includes chronology of Austen's life  and Austen family tree

A Jane Austen encyclopedia - REF PR4036.A28,  biography and bibliography of Austen's works

World Literature Criticism, edition(s) 1:149, 155 - REF PN523.W67

Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism - REF PN761.N5, volume(s) 1:30, 32-4, 37, 39, 41,
44, 46-7, 50-1, 53-4, 59-61, 63-4, 66; 13:67, 73, 76, 96-8, 106-107,19:4, 6, 32, 38, 42, 44; 33:66, 68-9, 74, 76, 90-3, 96; 51:12, 16, 47, 55; 81:1-90; 95: 2-3, 11-12, 16-17, 21, 56, 74, 76, 79-80

Reference Guide to English Literature - REF PR106.S7, edition(s) 2:1841-42

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Databases: Most scholarly research will be found by using databases to locate articles in scholarly literary journals.  The following links will take you to databases containing information about Sense and Sensibilty and Jane Austen's literary career.

Academic Search Premier- Scholarly, multi-discipline database, with many full text articles.  Choose the Advanced Search feature and select Full Text and Scholarly (Peer reviewed) to get good results.

Literature Resource Center - Full text articles from reference books and Twayne's Masterworks books.  Journal articles, some full text and some excerpted.  Search for information by author, title or use custom search to combine the two.

MLA - One of the oldest and most authoritative sources for citations to literary criticism, this index from the Modern Language Association will help you locate articles from scholarly literary journals.  It is now accessible through Literature Resource Center. This database must be used with microfiche located in the library.

PA Research II/ProQuest - Over 1900 journals in all subjects, mostly full text. Search for peer reviewed articles, and use the backfile as well as the current file.

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Internet: Although most of your resources will be found in books and databases, the Internet can be a useful source for research about Jane Austen and Sense and Sensibility.  Evaluate Internet sites for quality, scholarly level, author and validity before using them as resources for your paper.

 Jane Austen Info Page - gain bibloigraphic information, e-texts to her six novels and minor works, and brief discussions of each work. this site offers information about the author and her work.

 The Jane Austen Homepage - summaries of books, essays and links to literary sites.

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