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Written by Barbara
(9/22/2006 3:47 p.m.)
In the Norton Critical edition of Sense and Sensibility, there are several "modern views" essays of literary criticism included. One of these is from Jane Austen: a Literary Life by Jan Fergus.
She writes that early in the same year S&S was published (1811) a novel by Mary Brunton called Self-Control appeared.
Fergus says this implies that for JA, self-control was a central theme to S&S.
So far we have seen varying degrees of this ability. The very last sentence in this section is Marianne's censure at Elinor displaying self-control, and her memory of Edward possibily doing the same. However, Marianne attributes this to being cold and composed.
When she says "How cold, how composed were their last adieus! How languid their conversation the last evening of their being together! In Edward's farewell there was no distinction between Elinor and me: it was the good wishes of an affectionate brother to both."--it makes me wonder what she expected? Probably some weeping and passionate declarations?
Jane Austen was not terribly impressed with the novel's heroine, Laura Montreville, once she did read Self Control. She later wrote. "I declare I do not know whether Laura's passage down the American river is not the most natural, possible, every day thing she ever does."
Marianne has so far shown no inclination to display the kind of self control Elinor has, but yet I do not find her behaviour unrealistic or overdone so far. Any thoughts? Agreements or disagreements?
Here is a the very first paragraph of the novel, just to give you an idea:
"It was on a still evening in June, that Laura Montreville left her father's cottage, in the little village of Glenalbert, to begin a solitary ramble. Her countenance was mournful, and her step languid; for her health had suffered from confinement, and her spirits were exhausted by long attendance on the death-bed of her mother."
I've linked to it below, for your interest:
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