Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sense & Sensibility — Good Writership or Naiveté ?

I just finished  Jane Austen's first novel „Sense and Sensibility”. And I must say, I'm confused. It is a well written novel, no question. But the level of naivete, of narrowness of the characters' outlook of life — and what is more — of admiration of the gentry-mindedness and heroes idleness — keeps me away from writing a positive, or even any longer review. It also overshadows some passages of true irony and good comedy, that, perhaps give the true value to this book !

I'm not literary critic, so my opinion may not be taken too seriously. And I know, that many bright people (like Leo Strauss) admired Jane Austen's prose. Maybe, I could change my mind after reading some other of Austen's novel. But I still have in mind the another book of the genre and of Victorian age — Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Only 30 years between them, while the difference is of enormous proportions in favour of Bronte....


  1. I`ve read many books by miss Austen. Most of them I read when I was a girl or a teen-ager. I think the books by Austen are sort of "girlish". No great romantic or tragedic effects like in the books by Bronte.But I do like Sense and Sensability a lot. Must I confess it seems to be naive if you look at it comparing to her other novels. But keep in mind it was her first published book. And I think it is a real satir. The manners and habits of Victorian age are all very formal and makes people at modern time think like Austen thought - ironically.
    I read a book by Singer on my Christmas vacation. I think you don`t like him either?

  2. Marilluusia,

    You may be right, the first book is always the least matured ... (With exception to Wuthering Heights :-) )

    Which Singer's book did you read?

    I read different things. Since I discovered audio books 7 years ago, I try to repair years of very little reading (because of hardship of life here...)
    So I may try Singer's too - just tell me more details !


  3. I think Polish people should at least read Singer, what a great storyteller was he ! Thought he lived in America most of his life, I suppose he wrote some jiddish short stories too?

    This time I read the Slave. It´s always hard to describe the details about the book. But it is a historical novel as well as a love story and a book about morality and religions and a book concerning about problems to be a human being. A good friend of my lend it to me. I´ve read some short stories (ages ago)and a novel Shosha from Singer. But I´m planning to read Enemies, the love story from him next.
    I haven´t had courage to listen audio books in English - maby I should try. I hope you find Singer or other good Sounds to your life through books.
    End I this comment by a nice quote from Singer

    "When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am grown up, they call me a writer. "
    — Isaac Bashevis Singer

  4. Marilluusia,

    First, I was not exactly sure which Singer-writer you had in mind. Its quite popular name and there are writers with the same name (like Samuel Singer)

    Of course we now very well Isaac Bashevis Singer - as he was Polish writer writing in Jidish, and he is close to my heart and to all people who have both Polish & Jewish roots.

    Surprisingly, as his books are rarely rendered in audio so I did not have occassion to read them yet recently. But I must have been reading some in my youth (most probable "The Magician of Lublin")

    I now read (in paper) the fantastic book of another Polish Jewish person - the sermons of Rabbi Ozjasz Thon (
    (review will soon be here)

  5. Just quickly I wanted to say, you have a wonderful blog. And also, I did not enjoy Sense and Sensibility as much as Jane Austin's other novels; it does lack something the others have but being her first makes it understandable. My favourite was Pride and Prejudice, which I read at the age of ten and re-read at least once a year. I would highly recommend it. On another note, Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd is another well written classic.

  6. Thanks Charlotte !

    Thanks for the tip — I will certainly look for Thomas Hardy's book !