Sense and Sensibility: Significant Bibliography

To Janeites

Re: Sense and Sensiblity: Recent critical/interpretative works

Sense and Sensibility has at long last come into its own as an novel every bit as important as Austen's others. Beginning in the later 19th century, both Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensiblity were treated as "juvenilia." Nowadays both are of especial interest: Northanger Abbey participates in the gothic as well as parodying its flaws; Sense and Sensibility is Austen's frankest novel about sexual repression and social tyranny. It situates her in a tradition of women's and subjective novels that are still being mined today.

There are three "must read" recent books: Isobel Armstrong's Sense and Sensibility, a Penguin Critical study; Gene W. Ruoff's Sense and Sensibility, and Moreland Perkins's Reshaping the Sexes in Sense and Sensibility. There is a book which places Sense and Sensibility, in the tradition it belongs to: Margaret Cohen's The Sentimental Education of the Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999). There have been some remarkable individual essays (mostly printed as introductions to editions of the novels) of which I'll cite particularly Patricia Meyer Spacks's afterward to the Bantam classics edition of the novel (on money and power in the novel), Margaret Anne Doody's Introduction to the Oxford World classics edition of the novel (on sex), and Margaret Drabble's introduction to the Signet classic edition of the novel (a sensitive reading in traditional terms). There are of course the series of casebooks.

Finally I suggest that Emma Thompson's screenplay for the 1995 film adaptation of the novel may be read as a sensitive reading of the novel from a 20th century woman's point of view: Emma Thompson, The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries. New York: Newmarket Press, 1995.

Ellen Moody

Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Update 16 March 2003