Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks – A Review

Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen and Patricia Meyer Spacks (2013 )From the desk of Kathleen Elder:

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).
Illustration from Sense and Sensibility by Hugh Thomson, Macmillian (1901)Mrs. Jennings assured him directly that she should not stand upon ceremony,” illustration by Hugh Thomson for the Macmillian edition (1901). John Dashwood looks tentative, Elinor looks prim, and Mrs. Jennings looks jolly; all very appropriate. p. 269

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Preview of Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Bharat Tandon & Giveaway!

Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Bharat Tandon (2012Holiday book giving is just around the corner, and top on my list to many of my Janeite friends will be Harvard University’s new annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Emma. It will be officially released tomorrow, so mark your calendars and wait for the fireworks.

I was agog over their two previous volumes, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, so when the next in their publishing quest to bring all of Jane Austen’s six major novels to us in sumptuously illustrated and enlightened editions arrived on my doorstep, I needed my aromatic vinegars to revive myself. Filled with hundreds of side notes and over 119 color illustrations, this new volume is the heavy weight of the set at four pounds and 576 pages. Wow!

The beautiful cover illustration is an inset from Sir James Dromgole Linton’s Waiting. If you think that the enticing folds of the opulent fabric of the lady’s frock is a herald of what awaits inside, then hold on to your bonnets. It gets even better. Here is a brief description from the publisher:

“Bharat Tandon’s edition of Emma is a delight to read, as pleasurable as it is thought provoking. He captures both the delights of Austen’s novel and the way that those delights are shadowed by the dark intimations.”  – Deidre Lynch, University of Toronto

Inside the World of Emma Woodhouse
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