Secrets in Sense & Sensibility at ‘My Jane Austen Book Club’

The year of celebrating Sense & Sensibility at the blog My Jane Austen Book Club continues this month with my post on “Secrets in Sense & Sensibility”:

“Come, come, let’s have no secrets among friends.”


[Image: Vintage Classics cover]

Mrs. Jennings may request “no secrets among friends,” and Marianne may “abhor all concealment” (p. 53), but Sense and Sensibility is chock full of both – many secrets, much concealed – within each character, between characters, and between the author and the reader

P. D. James, in her essay “Emma Considered as a Detective Story,” defines the detective story as one “requiring a mystery, facts which are hidden from the reader but which he or she should be able to discover by logical deduction from clues inserted in the novel with deceptive cunning but essential fairness.  It is about evaluating evidence…it is concerned with bringing order out of disorder and restoring peace and tranquility to a world temporarily disrupted by the intrusions of alien influences” (James, p. 243-44)  

Such is Emma, truly a mystery, where Jane Austen gives us clues and puzzles and hints along the way, whereby we the reader can solve the underlying mystery right along with Mr. Knightley, who gets awfully close, but not quite close enough, to the solution….

… Continue reading at My Jane Austen Book Club


The Giveaway: You can comment either here or on Maria Grazia’s blog to be entered into the giveaway:

Can you remember the first time you read Sense and Sensibility? What secret in the novel most surprised you?
Random drawing for one of my favorites of the numerous Jane Austen gift books:  Jane Austen Speaks to Women, by Edith Lank (2000) . As usual, please, don’t forget to add your e-mail address to your comment.
The giveaway is open worldwide . Winner will be announced on June 30th.
“Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”  [Elinor in Sense & Sensibility

The monthly S&S posts on Maria’s blog can be viewed here:

1. January:  Jennifer Becton    Men, Marriage and Money in Sense and Sensibility
2. February:  Alexa Adams        Sense and Sensibility on Film
3. March:  C. Allyn Pierson   Property and Inheritance Law in S &S
4. April:  Beth Pattillo    Lost in Sense and Sensibility
5. May:    Jane Odiwe   Willoughby: a rogue on trial
6. June:   Deb @JASNA Vermont  Secrets in Sense and Sensibility
7. July:   Laurie Viera Rigler   Interview with Lucy Steele
8. August:  Regina Jeffers     Settling for the Compromise Marriage
9. September:   Lynn Shepherd The origins of S&S: Richardson, Jane Austen, Elinore & Marianne                            
10. October:   Meredith @Austenesque Reviews   Sense and Sensibility fanfiction
11. November:  Vic @Jane Austen’s World  Minor characters in Sense and Sensibility
12. December:   Laurel Ann @Austenprose  Marianne Dashwood: A passion for dead Leaves and other Sensibilities                

[Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont]

4 thoughts on “Secrets in Sense & Sensibility at ‘My Jane Austen Book Club’

  1. I read Sense and Sensibility just after reading Pride and Prejudice, right about the time of the 1995 movie. I found the book of the screenplay and Emma Thompson’s notes about making the movie. I then read everything she wrote. 16 years later and I can’t get enough of Jane Austen and her time period.


    • Thanks for commenting Karen – will add you to the random drawing…

      Yes, it is a grand obsession with Austen, isn’t it?! What were your thoughts about S&S after reading [and seeing!] P&P?


  2. I first watched the 1995 Sense and Sensibility before I read the novel. I then decided to read the book and I was shocked when I read that Willoughby came to the Palmer’s home when Marianne was ill. I guess that wasn’t a secret but it totally took me by surprise!!


    • Yes, Kelli, that is a surprise for those who start out seeing the movie! [it is in the other adaptations] – Emma Thompson chose to leave the scene out [she explains it in her S&S Diaries – at least she unlike the other movies gave Margaret a role in the movie!] – a number of writers have addressed this Willoughby confession as seeming not to be an Austen scene at all – I think it is much more a Bronte-like scenario! – and it is a secret really – certainly Elinor was surprised to find him there – just one of the many surprises in the book..

      Thank you for stopping by!


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