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Mansfield Park / Pride and Prejudice / Sense…
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Mansfield Park / Pride and Prejudice / Sense and Sensibility

by Jane Austen

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I've been wanting to read Jane Austen for a few years now, partly because I want to have some knowledge of her books when I finally get around to watching The Jane Austen Book Club, and partly out of curiosity. The only movie adaptation that I've ever seen is Emma (which I LOVE!).

It took me a good third to half of the first novel (Sense and Sensibility) to get into the book. The language is so quaint that it slowed me down quite a bit at first. Quaintness aside, I did - once I acclimated to the flow of the language - enjoy the stories immensely. It's obvious that Austen had a keen eye for the absurdity of Victorian society and an even keener wit, and - despite the language and the settings being dated - the plots themselves are not. Yes, they're all love stories at heart. Will the bright, misfit girl get the rich, handsome man (or the moral, reserved one)? Of course she will! But even more than being your typical boy meets girl story, these novels are about families and the many ways that they can either lift us up or hold us back - often at the same time!

Out of these first three novels, I have to admit that Mansfield Park was my favorite. Maybe it's only because I read it last and, therefore, it is freshest in my mind, but I really felt for Fanny and despaired of things ever turning out well for her and Edmund. I also enjoyed Pride and Prejudice more than Sense and Sensibility, partly because I struggled through most of the first novel, perhaps, but I doubt it. While I liked the Miss Dashwoods well enough, I really couldn't have cared less about the romance aspect of that one.
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  kjpmcgee | Sep 9, 2015 |
I am impressed with the clarity and classical balance of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. From the balanced structure with three sections of almost equal length to the deliberate, yet pleasing, way that the story advances the novel seems designed to display both an intimate and timeless story with a reasonableness that does not deny the underlying emotions on display. Mr. Bennet's apparent sedate approach to life provides counterpoint to the dizzying distress displayed by Mrs. Bennet. Life's little problems (yes they are little, in retrospect), while they seem large and insoluble at the time, will work themselves out, despite the immediate concerns over whether daughters will marry. Will the young Bennet women be able to demonstrate their marriageability, much less choose among the landowners, the clergyman, the overly-proud (?) and the gamester to find fitting matches? Interweaving the misunderstanding of misplaced perspective and the imprecision of unwarranted judgements Austen has created a classic comedy of manners and marriage with a sensible narrative. Within a limited time and space she illumines both the rational and irrational in the humanity on display in this seemingly sheltered world (the turmoil of the outside world is indirectly displayed in the presence of the militia). Austen would go on to more mature demonstrations in Emma and Persuasion, but this book continues to delight the discerning reader. ( )
  jwhenderson | Apr 15, 2007 |
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Contains 3 novels: Sense and sensibility -- Pride and prejudice -- Mansfield Park
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