Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811, anonymously. By A Lady appears on the cover page where Jane’s name might should have been and sold out its first print run of 750 copies in the middle of 1813, marking a singular success for her. It had a second print run later that year. The novel tells the story of sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, respectively representing the “sense” and “sensibility” of the title. With their mother, their sister Margaret and their stepbrother John, they are the Dashwood family. When wealthy Mr. Henry Dashwood dies, he leaves his second wife and their three daughters somewhat impoverished by the rules of inheritance, with but a small financial bequest to mete out their existence, his estate, Norland Park, being inherited by John, his son by his first marriage.
On his deathbed, he urges John to provide for the Dashwood ladies, and John promises that he will do so, being already wealthy because he has a fortune from his mother and married the wealthy Fanny Ferrars now Dashwood. However, hardly is Henry cold in the ground, when the greedy Fanny moves into the lavish estate and artfully persuades John not to make any provision for his stepmother and stepsisters. Mrs. Henry Dashwood, dislikes Fanny intensely (!) and wishes to quit Norland Park with haste, but Elinor manages to restrains her until they are able find a house within their financial means. Eventually her cousin, Sir John Middleton welcomes them into local society when they move to a small cottage in the vicinity of his estate — meeting his wife, Lady Middleton, his mother-in-law, Mrs Jennings and his friend, Colonel Brandon.
Sense and Sensibility is the story of two young sisters on a edge of burgeoning sexual and romantic discovery. When they take up residency in Barton Cottage, it becomes the setting for love, romance and heartbreak!
Watch this definitive version by director Ang Lee, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in the starring roles.