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Written by Barb JA
(9/11/2009 10:03 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Of sensibility and suchlike, penned by Anselm
I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but since you mentioned in a newer thread about historical usage of words, I though that perhaps you were laughing a bit at me for my consulting a modern dictionary. What defense can I offer except to link to another dictionary? ;-)
While googling (a dangerous thing), I found Samuel Johnson's dictionary was originally written in 1755, though I could not find it online to offer some definitions. However I did find Johnson's updated by Todd in 1836. I'm linking the page with the definitions of sense and it's variants. (BTW, my googling also found that OED was first published in 1835.)
I did not originally reply because I thought I agreed with most of what you said. But now I must ask, are you saying that the "idea of sensibility, feelings as a guide" precludes Marianne from having any common sense (capability of understanding) or for that matter her mother? Are saying that when Austens says "Marianne is sensible", and that Margaret has Marianne's romance(sensibility -my equation) but not her sense, that she means feelings only? Wouldn't that be redundant in the Margaret statement?
I'll offer the quote from ch.1 again to support my point
Notice Austen says, sensible, but eager. But implies contrary. I think that it is the second part: eager=excess sensibility that Elinor sees with concern. Also her thoughts on her mother- that eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence. seem to imply her mother's sensibility.
I still don't take from this that Mrs. Dashwood is without all sense, because Mrs. Dashwood can be reasoned with, she can meet Elinor in reasonable conversation though she relies on her feelings more to make her judgement. I think of Mrs. Bennett from P&P as someone without sense, who does not see reason.
If Austen had said
I hope this does not seem argumentative and perhaps I'm too dense to have understood your full meaning. I'm just trying to get an accurate understanding before we move on to the future chapters. As TomP2 has quoted Mr. Knightley above, and who could ever doubt Mr. Knightley, I believe it's possible to have sense and not use it. :-)
|Definitions in Johnson's 1836 dictionary|
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