A modernised interview with Jane Austen, Ideal for Austen fans! please rate and read.
|Title: Sense and sensibility.|
Written by: Jane Austen.
Interviewed by: Tosca Panicco
“Hello and welcome to tonight’s show, I am your host Tosca Panicco. Tonight we have a very special guest joining us and we will be interviewing her about one of the most classical novels of our time, Sense and Sensibility. Ladies and Gentle men please put your hands together for Jane Austen.”
Tosca-“Good-Evening Jane, it’s so wonderful for you to join us tonight.”
Jane Austen-“Thank-you, I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Tosca-“We will get straight into our interview, starting with the first question. The title sounds so interesting but many readers don’t understand it. What exactly does Sense and Sensibility mean?”
Jane-“In this case the word sense means intelligence and logic and sensibility means awareness and deep feeling, Together the title Sense and Sensibility provides us with a novel that illustrates the relationship between virtue and honour and sympathy and feeling.”
Tosca-“What is the story about?”
Jane-“The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. They had a large estate and their residence was at Norland Park. They for many years had lived in respectable manner. Mr Henry Dashwood is the legal inheritor of the Norland estate. By a former marriage, Mr Henry Dashwood had one son and by his present lady three daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret. His son, Mr John Dashwood had come of age and inherited a large sum of money from his mother and since his own marriage happened soon afterwards he added the money to his wealth. The Norland estate wasn’t as important to him as it was to his sisters because their fortune was very small, their mother had nothing and their father only had seven thousand pounds. Mr Henry Dashwood died leaving his estate to his son and Mrs Henry Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret were offered to live in a cottage in Devonshire and accepted the invitation. The story evolves around the two sisters Elinor and Marianne and their struggles to achieve respectability from the surrounding acquaintances of their new home and their romantic love affaires.”
Tosca-“What inspired you to write this particular story?”
Jane-“What inspired me to write this story was many women in the 1800’s did not receive the respect of economic or political power and the correct judgment like they should have. It was very hard to accomplish respect from the surrounding associates and I was fond of the idea to combine a story of two completely different sisters, one independent and free (Marianne) and the other timid and calm (Elinor). I thought it was a great idea to mix survival between young ladies at that time and include romance”.
Tosca-“Do you have a favourite character? If so who and why?”
Jane-“My favourite character would be Elinor Dashwood because her sister Marianne is so beautiful and very independent and gets the most attention but Elinor is very patient and is very lady like. I wrote her as the oldest daughter she is nineteen and very mature and well behaved compared to her sister Marianne.”
Tosca-“Excuse me for interrupting but I don’t know many well behaved nineteen year olds? Is this not unrealistic, for a nineteen year old to be well-behaved and mature?”
Jane-“No not at all, because in the 1800’s many young ladies were brought up to be well behaved and to act like young adults at an early age, they were very disciplined so for this novel it was very realistic. Elinor has a very good heart and her advice is very effectual and she has strength in understanding. Towards the middle of the book I changed Marianne and Elinor’s characters around by writing a conversation between her brother Sir John Dashwood and another gentleman Colonel Brandon, I wrote,
“Poor Marianne!” said her brother to Colonel Brandon, “She has not Elinor’s constitution; and one must allow that there is something very trying to a young women who has been a beauty, in the loss of her personal attractions. You would not think it perhaps, but Marianne was remarkably handsome a few months ago- quite as handsome as Elinor. Now you see it is all gone.”
Tosca-“I find this quote to have a lot of information about gender attitudes and how men thought of ladies in those days, can you tell us a bit more about the gender differences?”
Jane-“Yes I must admit this topic of gender differences was very much different in my time. Ladies had very little political or economic power as I said earlier and they were expected to cater to their families every whim and to please their in-laws, especially their mother in-laws. It must be reminded that ladies spent their time reading novels, corresponding, visiting or being involved with music such as playing the pianoforte, these were their main occupations.”
Tosca-“Throughout the story you seemed to be following a strategy that you planned, Explain what the strategy was about.”
Jane-“ Yes I was following a strategy, I’ve used the same strategy in one of my other books called ‘Pride and the Prejudice’ Basically what the strategy was about was Elinor and Marianne think they fall in love with these two young gentlemen. Elinor fell in love with her sister-in-laws brother, Edward Ferrars but soon learns that he is secretly engaged and has been for four years, it breaks her heart but she does not want to show her disappointment. Marianne falls in love with a very handsome and wealthy gentleman called Mr Willoughby and she thinks he will propose marriage to her but in fact learns he is in love and engaged to be married to another lady. She doesn’t hide her disappointment like Elinor does but lets everyone see it so they can feel sorry for her and so she gets even more attention. This is were I wrote Marianne’s beauty to start vanishing and to bring Elinor more involved with the story.”
Tosca-“Why did you decide to follow this strategy? And what advantages did it have on the novel?”
Jane-“ I wanted to follow this strategy because it gave a twist to the novel and it made the story more unpredictable because just as you thought the two sisters would live happier ever after something drastically happens that turns the whole story into another direction and it makes the readers more interested. I think the advantages in had upon the novel was it made the readers express a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings came out like frustration and confusion and many were caught unaware and surprised and I think feeling is the main importance to have in a story, it makes the story more surreal. I think this was a big advantage for the book. I like my readers to experience the story through my imagination and the best way in doing that for me is through feeling.”
Tosca-“If you could change an incident taken place in the story which one would you change and how?”
Jane-“The one incident I would have changed about the story is making the love affair that happened between Marianne and Mr Willoughby last a lot longer because I think the shock of him being engaged would make the whole story even more wild. When Marianne did find out about his engagement I made her feel very hurt and I put her through a lot of pain, mainly to bring Elinors character out much more but I think I should of allowed Marianne to get over the incident much more easily so the readers that did take a liking to Marianne wouldn’t have gone off her so easily and like Elinor instead. I wanted both the characters of the sisters to be liked so that it made the readers hard to choose which sister they preferred. In some parts of the book I made it easy for the readers to go off whichever character I wanted them to dislike and I also made it harder for them to dislike that character.”
Tosca-“Were you satisfied with the way the novel turned out?”
Jane-“ I was very happy with the way my novel turned out and I enjoyed writing every part of it there was not a down side and I was especially glad that it is been published as a, and still is a classical book to read and I am happy that most of my writing has stayed complete and unabridged especially when the old English makes my book more classical and traditional.”
Tosca-“As with all your other books Jane, myself and many other readers enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. I hope we won’t have to wait too long for your next book. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to appear on our show. Join in next week when we will be interviewing Charles Dickens.”
Introduction and notes based on Sense and Sensibility, written by Stephen Arkin.
Sense and Sensibility novel, written by Jane Austen
The Concise Oxford companion to English Literature, written by Margaret Drabble and Jenny Stringer.