Mind and feeling

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Title page of the first edition of Understanding and Feeling (1811)
Illustration by Hugh Thomson

Mind and feeling (original title Sense and Sensibility ) is a novel by Jane Austen . Together with Pride and Prejudice ( Pride and Prejudice ) and Northanger Abbey ( Northanger Abbey it belongs) to her early novels, which she wrote around 1795 when not yet twenty years author. The novel was not published until 1811.


In this novel, two sisters take center stage, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. After the death of their father, they and their mother and younger sister Margaret are forced to leave their previous home (the Norland Park estate), as Mr. Dashwood's son from his first marriage inherits the property and claims it for himself.

Elinor, the eldest of the Dashwood sisters at nineteen, is reluctant to leave home because of her brother-in-law Edward Ferrars, whom she fell in love with soon after they met. However, since his mother wants a financially adequate partner for her son, the pretty, but almost destitute Elinor does not have exaggerated hopes from the start. As a result, her younger sister Marianne at times doubts Elinor's affection for Edward because she doesn't believe that true love can be suppressed as easily as Elinor seems to be.

Marianne is "rescued" by the handsome Mr. Willoughby soon after moving, when she sprained her ankle during a walk and can no longer walk. The open and emotional Marianne doesn't take long to fall in love with her charming savior, who seems to reciprocate her affection. So it is no wonder that Marianne shows no interest in the older and more reserved Colonel Brandon, who in turn has fallen in love with her.

After some time of mutual rapprochement and joint ventures, Willoughby leaves hastily and hastily for London without giving Marianne a reason. Marianne - who was expecting a marriage proposal that day - is deadly unhappy and sinks into self-pity. An invitation from the neighbor Mrs. Jennings, which she and Elinor wants to take with her to London, comes in handy. Her sister is less enthusiastic because she has since learned that Edward - who is also in London - has been engaged for five years. Out of consideration for mother and sister, who already suffer enough from Willoughby's behavior, and because this information was entrusted to her as a secret, Elinor did not tell anyone about it, which is why Marianne firmly believes that Elinor should be happy about this opportunity. Elinor is outvoted by her mother and sister, and both travel to London with Mrs. Jennings.

There they meet again at a ball with Willoughby, who has not replied to any of Marianne's tender letters. Contrary to Marianne's expectations, he treats her coolly. She is devastated when she learns of his engagement to a rich lady soon after. Again Marianne suffers endlessly and gives in to her grief. Shortly thereafter, Colonel Brandon visits Elinor and Marianne in London. He wants to help Marianne - who is still attached to Willoughby - to break away from him and tells Elinor that Willoughby seduced his ward - a young girl and daughter of his childhood sweetheart, Eliza - and then left them pregnant. Marianne is now preoccupied with the question of whether he might have planned something similar with her. The news of Edward Ferrari's engagement distracts her temporarily: She is horrified that Elinor was able to keep this fact from her for so long, and blames herself because her sister also suffered from lovesickness and she only looked after herself. Edward himself is asked by his mother to break the engagement, as his chosen one is poorer than Elinor, but he wants to keep his word and is therefore disinherited. The helpful Colonel Brandon - who has suffered a similar fate - wants to help the young couple and offers Edward a benefice through Elinor, which Edward accepts after a moment's hesitation.

Marianne now wants to go back to her mother. Unfortunately, she catches a cold along the way. Her illness - the severity of which Marianne ignores - eventually becomes so severe that her life is in danger. On one of the following nights a broken up and now married Willoughby arrives, who has heard of Marianne's condition and wants to inquire and apologize for his behavior to her. He states that he would have married Marianne if his aunt had not disinherited him because of his previous misconduct towards Eliza's daughter. Elinor promises to pass his explanations on to Marianne, who at least knows that Willoughby loved her.

After all these entanglements and adventures, both sisters are happy to be back in their tranquil home with mother and sister. This calm, however, is soon destroyed by the news of the marriage of Mr. Ferrar, which makes it clear to Mrs. Dashwood for the first time that Elinor suffers as much as Marianne, just doesn't show it so much. Elinor is indeed deeply saddened and does not know what to do with it at first when Edward is at their door a little later. After a few questions regarding "Mrs. Edward Ferrars “it emerges that Edward's former fiancée abandoned the disinherited clergyman and married his younger brother Robert. Edward proposes to Elinor the same day and both of them settle in Delaford, near Colonel Brandon, after the wedding. Since Mrs. Dashwood is now also campaigning for Marianne to marry Colonel Brandon in addition to Elinor and Edward, this connection is only a matter of time. Marianne marries the colonel in love with a feeling of genuine appreciation that only becomes love over time.

main characters

Elinor Dashwood - Elinor Dashwood represents the "mind" of the title. She is the nineteen-year-old eldest daughter of Henry Dashwood and his wife. She is intelligent, but much more reserved than her mother and sisters. She has strong feelings, but can control them and subordinate them to her sense of reality. Her always controlled and polite demeanor makes her appear cool and emotionless at times, especially in the eyes of her sister Marianne.

Marianne Dashwood - Elinor's seventeen year old emotionally inclined sister who represents "feeling". She is impulsive and exuberant in all her feelings - at the same time quite intelligent - and rigorously represents her taste and her views. Her sometimes ruthless honesty often offends those around her, but she is basically kind-hearted and magnanimous and admits her faults when she sees them.

Henry Dashwood - Elinor and Marianne's father dies early, leaving little behind to his wife and daughters. The Norland Park estate, on which they lived until then, goes to John, Henry Dashwood's son from his first marriage. His widow, Mrs. Dashwood, and her daughters are forced to leave Norland Park.

Mrs. Dashwood - The mother of Elinor, Marianne and Margret. She resembles Marianne in essence; she is also open and emotional, her feelings occasionally defeating her sanity.

Margaret Dashwood - The youngest of the Dashwood sisters (13 years old) is more like Marianne and her mother than Elinor. She is romantic and open, but without the intelligence of her two sisters.

John Dashwood - Henry Dashwood's first marriage son is the heir to Norland Park. He is friendly, but always looks at the financial situation of his counterpart. The richer it is, the friendlier it is. In addition, he is gullible, so that his wife can always dissuade him from actually good and good ideas (e.g. helping his half-sisters with money).

Fanny Dashwood - John Dashwood's wife is very careful about her money and her wealth. She is selfish, snobbish and for this reason cannot bear that her brother Edward Ferrars could marry the almost destitute Elinor.

Edward Ferrars - Fanny's older brother, unlike her - is magnanimous, kind, and has firm principles. He secretly got engaged a few years ago out of boredom, which stands in the way of his incipient affection for Elinor. His mother expects great things from him. He would prefer a quiet life as a clergyman in the country.

Robert Ferrars - Edward's younger brother is superficial and his mother's favorite. Fashion and his new carriage are his main interests.

Mrs. Ferrars - The mother of Edward, Fanny and Robert is a bossy person who, like her daughter, is very concerned about social positions. Her behavior towards Elinor is unfair and offensive as she is determined to marry off her eldest son well.

Colonel Brandon - The silent (and, for a bachelor, thirty-five year old) Colonel falls in love with Marianne soon after they first meet, but is aware of the age difference and Marianne's apparent disinterest. In his youth he was in love with a woman similar to Marianne, who suffered a cruel fate and asked Colonel Brandon to look after her daughter before she died.

John Willoughby - Charming, handsome, twenty-five-year-old Willoughby shares Marianne's exuberance and interests that she fell madly in love with him shortly after they first met.

Lucy Steele - Edward Ferrars secret fiancée. She is pretty, but selfish and scheming. Money and reputation are more important to her than love.


Original editions
  • Sense and Sensibility . A novel, in three volumes. T. Egerton, London 1811 (first edition).
  • Sense and sensibility. Authoritative text, contexts, criticism . Edited by Claudia L. Johnson. Norton, New York 2002, ISBN 0-393-97751-X .
German translations
Audio book
  • Jane Austen: Sense and Sensuality . Abridged reading by Sibel Kekilli. Random House Audio, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-89830-974-6 .
  • Jane Austen: Mind and Emotion . Unabridged reading. German by Ursula and Christian Grawe. Director: Vera Teichmann. Read by Eva Mattes. Argon-Verl., Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-8398-9011-0 .


  • Jane Austen: Sense & Sensibility . Graphic novel by Nancy Butler (text), Sonny Liew (drawing), Marvel Comics, New York 2010, ISBN 978-0-7851-4819-7 .

Film adaptations

Secondary literature

  • Isobel Armstrong: Jane Austen: Sense and sensibility . Penguin, London 1994, ISBN 0-14-077270-7 .
  • Gene W. Ruoff: Jane Austen's sense and sensibility . Harvester Wheatsheaf, New York 1992, ISBN 0-7450-0888-7 .

Web links

Commons : Sense and Sensibility  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfried Geldner: New BBC three-part series of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" ( Memento of the original from March 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on: cineastentreff.de @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.cineastentreff.de