Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be published, in 1811. A second edition came out in 1813 with author corrections, and that edition was used as the definitive version by Dr. Chapman who noted changes from the first edition. This annotated version also uses Chapman’s second edition, and changes from the first edition are recorded in the footnotes; I appreciate having that information available with other comments/explanations.
At the center of the novel are sisters, Elinor & Marianne Dashwood, who live with their younger sister Margaret and their widowed mother. The plot revolves around these two sisters and their love stories, though the novel is much more than that: it is also a social commentary on the limited options for gentlewomen with small incomes and a critique on extreme sensibility (or “emotional extravagance,” “a matter of concern in the eighteenth century” – Introduction, p. 1).
Patricia Meyer Spacks previously edited an annotated version of Pride and Prejudice. Like that annotation, Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition contains footnotes that:
- define/explain terms no longer used or used today in a different sense;
- describe geographical locations;
- illuminate characters
- explain some of the incidents and importance thereof; and
- offer literary criticism/opinion (both Spacks’ own and those of other scholars/critics).