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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Kell

Jane Austen Book Group - Sense and Sensibility

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I found Sense & Sensibility very entertaining and in some ways similar to P&P. So I hope you keep trying Kell. That said I am having similar problems with Mansfield Park!!! Its very verbose, much more than any of the others, but I am plodding on. I think it probably does help to see a film version, especially if it done by the BBC. I have seen Mansfield Park recently and it is only because of that that I am carrying on with the reading.

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Have just finished a weekend of S & S-fest! Not only finished off the novel, but at the same time watched two of the film versions of the book.

 

One point I noted was that neither version was very accurate to the actual book story itself. In both, the relationship of Edward and Elinor was seen to be formed initially through Margaret (who hardly gets a mention in the actual novel) where we see the character of Edward showing promise as a kindhearted chap, with quite a sense of humour. In the actual novel this never occured, and we're left to realise Edward's capability of humour through his "appreciation" of being brought back from "the dead" by his mother, when she decides to excuse him for having a mind of his own, in choosing Elinor for a bride. This was the second time that Edward made his own choice of wife. His first - Lucy - was a poor one, but he showed loyalty to her when he chose to carry his promise to marry her through, despite his mother's objections... and cutting him off with barely a penny to his name.

 

Although the behaviour of Marianne (in her relationship with Willoughby) was not seriously critized by anyone in the novel, it was actually very shockin' for that day and age! - and fortunate for her (and the mother who let her behave so) that they were living in a little community in the country with the nearest neighbours not only family, but generous (or indifferent) enough to overlook the unwise behaviour of a young girl, and a rather silly mother. If Marianne had behaved so "loosely" in town - she'd have been "ruined" as far as polite society went....and probably Elinor, Margaret and their mother along with her. Willoughby was probably more aware of that than Marianne,but since he'd already deflowered a maiden previously, and then deserted her, he probably didn't care. As Elinor stated later - his actions were all based on selfishness, even though he wasn't a bad person at-heart.

 

One other thing - while I was reading the chapters concerning the absence of Mrs Jennings at her daughter's home (previously and shortly after the birth of her grandchild) it was brought home to me the suffocating restrictions of society for young women, in that day.

Two young women of nineteen and sixteen couldn't be seen out and about without an escort. An older lady, or a married lady of any age - or some male family friend or relative would have to accompany them. Lacking this - the only option of Elinor and Marianne was to accept a lukewarm offer of their sister in law Fanny, to spend their days with her, and Nancy and Lucy "at home" - and none of those 3 actually liked the girls, or wanted them. Their alternative was to stay alone in Mrs Jenning's house all day.

 

For two girls brought up in the comparitive freedom of Norland - free to go about the extensive grounds where they wished - and then moving to Barton, where, still in the country, they could also have considerable freedom of movement, (if not society) it must have been tiresome, to say the least. Young ladies of that age were certainly pretty self-disciplined!

Edited by Booknutt
fixing type-ohs! etc.,

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I plan on reading this very soon, I borrowed the book of someone and must give it back soon as I'm feeling guilty I've had it too long. Looking forward to it. I enjoyed the recent tv adaptation so in theory should love the book!

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I am sure mon ami you will do well. It is like perhaps learning a foreign language and in the beginning you sort of understand but the way words are spoken and put together are frustrating. Just keep reading and voila I am sure you will get into it. I am proud of y ou for trying.

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Well put, Genevieve - reading Jane Austen (or any classic novel) is indeed like learning a foreign language, for people not only behaved, but spoke, much differently a hundred years plus, ago!

 

For me - that's part of the beauty of it - enjoying the differences in speech and form, from a time when expresson was more beautiful (at least among the middle and upper classes) than nowadays. Grammer was certainly better, and I'm not discounting myself there, either!:eek2:

 

Stick with it, Chrysalis - don't try to read the book as quickly as you'd expect to read a modern novel, where you are familiar with the mode of speech used, and understand the meaning without trying. Ask your friend if you can keep S & S a bit longer, or order it in the Library, or pop into a Charity shop locally - there are usually quite a few classic novels in great condition about, for a few pennies. It's well-worth taking a little extra time and "listening" to what the characters say. One of J.A's great gifts was helping us to know each character through the conversations they held. Communication - spoken and written - was much more exact and personal in those days. So relax and don't rush - you'll get into the swing of it in no-time. :lol:

 

Has anyone else ever noticed that the "feel" of a book is important? The actual feel of the book itself? I have all the Austen novels in a matched set, and each one "feels" just right to me. Comfortable to hold, just the right weight, immediately familiar to my hands ... just right. It makes such a difference to the enjoyment of the book.

 

Even though I read S & s just a few weeks ago - I've started it again in the last few days. I came across another version of the book which drew me right away - it felt so comfortable in my hands, and the story seems fresh again in it's new format - what else could I do but get :D

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Ah yes mon ami, the feel, it is all important oui. In Sense and Sensibility there is a charming scene where, Miss Maryanne is lying on davenport of sorts and her rescuer, Willoby and she are discussing Shakespeare, my true love, :) and this Willoby, he takes from his pocket a tiny book of sonnets, he says he carries it with him always. It is so romantic and you knew that every time that tiny leather bound book is opened, the exquisite words will float off the page and waft upwards to repose in one's mind and heart. I have as gift, a first printing of Pride and Predjudice, it is so lovely and fits the hand like a favorite glove. ahhhhhhhhh..

 

By the way, it is even more romantic to me to know that the man who played Willoby married 'Eleanor' in real life and they have a beautiful child. Imagine my friends, all the time he is making love in words to Miss Maryanne, he is wildly in love with Eleanor. Life is indeed more fascinating than the fiction, oui?

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I didn't realise there was another love-affair going on while S & S was being filmed, Geneveive! It might have been very difficult all around if the actresses and actor concerned weren't such professionals! :welcomebcf:

 

How fantastic - to have a first edition of P & P! Think of the stories that little book could tell, of all the people who have enjoyed hours of pleasure from it. Books can be so personal, can't they? E-books (electronic books) may be useful, but they just don't make the same connection with the reader.

 

Speaking of the size of a book - I have all the Austen novels published by "Collector's Library" which produce classic novels like Austen, Dickens, etc., in the original novel-size available at the time of the writing. They're beautiful, and a gift for life, and feel snug and comfortabe to hold.

 

Are your "ears on" out there, Chrysalis?

Have you got S & S started yet? :D

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How pretty, how romantic to have all the novels in that size. I hope you have them displayed somewhere beautiful oui, to look at and shiver with pleasure. :irked:

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Are your "ears on" out there, Chrysalis?

Have you got S & S started yet? :lol:

 

Stick with it, Chrysalis - don't try to read the book as quickly as you'd expect to read a modern novel, where you are familiar with the mode of speech used, and understand the meaning without trying. Ask your friend if you can keep S & S a bit longer, or order it in the Library, or pop into a Charity shop locally - there are usually quite a few classic novels in great condition about, for a few pennies. It's well-worth taking a little extra time and "listening" to what the characters say. One of J.A's great gifts was helping us to know each character through the conversations they held. Communication - spoken and written - was much more exact and personal in those days. So relax and don't rush - you'll get into the swing of it in no-time. :(

 

Hello Booknut, I do plan on holding on to the book a little longer than planned. :lol: I hope to get my own copy too as well. I agree I need to give it my full attention. I have put it too one side at the moment with all my work I have to do at the moment taking up alot of my headspace and put my attention to an easier read for bedtime. I was enjoying it though and plan on finishing it very soon. I have read up to chapter twelve. :irked:

 

By the way, it is even more romantic to me to know that the man who played Willoby married 'Eleanor' in real life and they have a beautiful child. Imagine my friends, all the time he is making love in words to Miss Maryanne, he is wildly in love with Eleanor. Life is indeed more fascinating than the fiction, oui?

 

Oh that is beautiful! :D

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Hi all - This may sound dreadfully disloyal, but - isn't it nice when we can find a bit of romance sometimes ... away from the pages of a book?

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Having read so far 5 of Jane Austen's novels, I'm struck by the formulaic writing at times. From the start we know of one couple who will win through, and have to guess at the other. I admired Elinor and Edward in this. Found Marianne for the most part a spoilt brat, though she did partly redeem herself, by eventually accepting Brandon ( though I felt that was family pressure). Edward's family in my eyes were despicable, valuing wealth and rank above humanity.

 

The insight Jane brought to the novel is commendable, but it will never eclipse Persuasion or P&P. For those that consider such social attitudes presented in the novel are long dead I can vouch that they are not, from personal experience as an observer

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Just answering some of the questions from the first page-

 

1- What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters?

How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

 

Not much has changed where I come from from - only for a few years now are inheritance laws are being questioned, challenged, and debated for change.

 

I'd like to think that the laws were this way - (inheritance only through male heirs) - as woman had no role in business or money transactions.

They were always expected to be taken care of by the male in the family - fathers, brothers, husbands, and then sons.

 

Of course things back fire and blood attachments and relationships are thrown out of the window by many, when money enters the equation - so though the law may have worked in theory - in reality it put women in a rather helpless and completely dependent position.

 

2- Who was your favourite character and why?

I loved Elinor's maturity - her silence - and her ability to observe and interpret others silences.

And her deep, healing love for her sister.

 

3- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

I struggled a bit in the beginning. After reading Pride and Prejudice, the narrative felt rather flat and it took a while for me to appreciate it for what it was.

 

4- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

I recently read Pride and Prejudice, and intend to go on and read the rest of Austen's novels.

 

5- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Edward's character and his choices.

In the flush of youth he fell in love with Lucy. Later as he grew - met Elinor - he felt a much deeper and stronger love for her.

But at no point did he tell one of the other - or made sure he got out of one attachment before forming another.

Which is not so bad.

 

But when everything comes to light, he's willing to "sacrifice" his feeling, those of Elinor's and their relationship, and is ready to live his life with a farcical love - all in name of keeping his word and being honourable to Lucy.

 

Elinor, not just accepts this - but even rejoices in his sense of duty and correctness.

 

Something about this doesn't feel right to me. It feels very dishonest to one's self and the person you love the most, and person to whom you're supposedly being honourable towards.

 

It makes me want to question - Is being true to yourself really selfishness? And if yes, is such a selfishness wrong?

 

6.- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

It was a thought-provoking experience, and I'm glad I read it.

 

7. In your opinion, does Sense and Sensibility have a happy ending?

Yes, I suppose - but that was only incidental.

Elinor and Edward got together because Lucy chose his brother - and not really because of any initiative from him.

But, I also think it was a convenient ending - as there seemed to be no other road map laid out for Elinor.

No hints on whether their was another suitor in the shadows, or whether she'd live a spinster in the cold comfort of her love doing what was expected of him.

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5- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Edward's character and his choices.

In the flush of youth he fell in love with Lucy. Later as he grew - met Elinor - he felt a much deeper and stronger love for her.

But at no point did he tell one of the other - or made sure he got out of one attachment before forming another.

Which is not so bad.

 

But when everything comes to light, he's willing to "sacrifice" his feeling, those of Elinor's and their relationship, and is ready to live his life with a farcical love - all in name of keeping his word and being honourable to Lucy.

 

Elinor, not just accepts this - but even rejoices in his sense of duty and correctness.

 

Something about this doesn't feel right to me. It feels very dishonest to one's self and the person you love the most, and person to whom you're supposedly being honourable towards.

 

I had a problem with this too - far from being honorable, I think he's being unfair to THREE people - Elinor (who loves him), himself (because he'll be miserable in a loveless marriage), and Lucy (who will be made miserable by realising her husband loves another woman). The honorable thing to do would be to man up immediately, tell Lucy, formally break things off with her, and then marrying the woman he loves.

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But that's the point Austen is making - the majority of marriages in the upper classes in this period were for duty, money, status or security, and if you were either in love or came to love your spouse, you were considered lucky. Edward wants to shy away from the society life his mother has planned for him and enter the church, so you know he's someone who believes strongly in morals and a sense of right, and everything about him and the rules of society at the time, would have led him down the route of honour and a sense of duty to fulfil the promise he made to Lucy. If they had married, you would have ended up with the same marriage as Mr and Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, but that would have been his own fault and he would have made the best of it. Elinor understands this, and accepts it, because she knows that's the moral backbone of the man she's fallen in love with, and she have expected it of him.

 

In our society today, then yes, the honourable outcome would have been to confess and break the engagement with Lucy, but that's placing our own modern views on marriage, which don't compare with theirs.

Edited by chesilbeach

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Of course, you're right, but it still always sat wrong with me, which is entirely down to my modern sensibilities, I know. ;)

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I used to feel the same, but after reading Fay Weldon's Letters to Alice, it made me think much more about the society of the time, and the need for upper class women to marry to safeguard their future, regardless of whether they loved the man they married.

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But that's the point Austen is making - the majority of marriages in the upper classes in this period were for duty, money, status or security, and if you were either in love or came to love your spouse, you were considered lucky.

 

That's a good point chesilbeach. I just wish he wasn't so society-bound, and dared to make a choice.

Letters to Alice sounds interesting - will look it up.

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Good review bree . I still haven't read S &S but will very soon in the new year.

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Good review bree . I still haven't read S &S but will very soon in the new year.

Will look forward to your thoughts on it, vodkafan.

Meanwhile, this thread is full of spoilers - so you shouldn't be here! :o

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