Jane Austen’s final novel shows her at her most moving and mature. Introduced by Siri Hustvedt, and illustrated by Deanna Staffo.
Sense and Sensibility
Illustrated by Philip Bannister
Introduced by Elena Ferrante
Jane Austen’s first novel, produced in series as part of the Folio Jane Austen Collection.
Jane Austen began Sense and Sensibility when she was barely 20. It was published 16 years later, in 1811, at her own expense; the only clue to the novel’s authorship was the inscription ’By a lady’. In her introduction to this edition, the best-selling Italian author Elena Ferrante – a notoriously private figure whose true identity remains unknown – suggests that Austen’s anonymity only makes her work more intriguing. Whoever Austen was, writes Ferrante, she was ’an extremely cultured, extremely perceptive lady who was well acquainted with the ways of the landed gentry, who knew the rituals of the London bourgeoisie, who was aware of how unstable the world is – of how everything changes in spite of sense and in the tumult of sensibility’.
This Folio edition is bound in gold cloth with a blocked slipcase to match the Folio editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The illustrations are by Philip Bannister, whose work for Folio includes Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier.
Bound in blocked metallic cloth
Set in Baskerville
Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations
9½˝ x 6¼˝
The battle between heart and head
When Elinor and Marianne Dashwood’s father dies, the sisters are left – thanks to the manipulation of their spiteful sister-in-law – without a home or prospects, unless they find themselves a suitable match. Calm, prudent Elinor’s relationship with the eligible but depressive Edward Ferrars proves complicated, while impetuous, romantic Marianne finds herself torn between glamorous but unreliable Willoughby and the patient war hero Colonel Brandon. At its heart, Austen’s extraordinary first novel is a portrait of the relationship between two loving but very different sisters: the battle between heart and head, Elinor and Marianne, sense and sensibility, is one of the best-loved in English literature. It brims with Austen’s characteristic wry humour, her sharp eye for the nuances of class and conversation, and her sympathy for the plight of unmarried women at a time when marriage and money were the only guarantees of a respectable future.
About Jane Austen
Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775, the seventh child and youngest daughter of George Austen, rector of Deane and Steventon, and his wife, Cassandra. She began writing poems, plays and stories for her family from a young age, and her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, was released by Thomas Egerton to sell-out acclaim in 1811. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815) followed, and these were the last of Austen’s works to come out in her lifetime. Her novels, including the posthumously published Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818), are today considered amongst the finest in the English language. She died at Winchester in 1817.
About Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of The Days of Abandonment (2005), Troubling Love (2006) and The Lost Daughter (2008). Her Neapolitan novels include My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014) and The Story of The Lost Child (2015).
About Philip Bannister
Philip Bannister was born in Yorkshire and studied at the Batley College of Art. He went on to work in education, advertising and design before becoming a full-time artist in the 1980s. His distinctive watercolours have graced numerous Folio Society editions, including various Henry James novels, The Good Soldier (2008) and Germinal (2010).
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