September is my Austen Month—and what better way to kick-start my Jane Austen Marathon than with her first published work (and a personal favorite), Sense and Sensibility? Yes, I do intend to get swept off my feet by the wicked and dashing Willoughby. I also fully intend on immersing myself completely in Marianne’s and Elinor’s affairs. Never mind that I’ve read this novel far too many times for my own good—five times, but who’s keeping count, right? I will reread each of Austen’s novels and review each work. If all goes well, I’ll also be making side-by-side comparisons when it comes to character development, technique, and the general plot.
That may seem like a tall order, but ever the Girl Scout, I have started reading Sense and Sensibility. I started a couple of days ago and things are just about to get juicy. Just anticipating what will happen next creates a strange feeling in my bosom. A feeling that can only be accurately described as nerdgasmic.
Now, over the last few years, I’ve formed certain opinions about Austen’s works. Let’s see if this year’s marathon will change any of them:
Favorite Work: Sense and Sensibility
Favorite Character: Elinor Dashwood (S&S)
Favorite Villain/s: Lucy Steele (S&S), Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park)
Favorite Love Interest: Fitzwilliam Darcy (P&P)
Least Favorite Character: Fanny Price (Mansfield Park)
Least Favorite Work: Mansfield Park
I can see a few changes in that list happening. But I refuse to replace anything without having finished all six of Austen’s novels. Now, I plan on reading her works by order of publication—which means I’ll start off with Sense and Sensibility (1811), followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), then Mansfield Park (1814), then Emma (1815), then Northanger Abbey (posthumous, 1818), and finally, end with Persuasion (posthumous, 1818). Should be a great month, I think. And, back to reading.
Image: Jane Austen as drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen. (1810)