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This version includes a detailed introductory annotation on how the book and the plot were created.
To contend, however, for a moment that the present volume is Miss Austen's greatest, as it was her first published, novel, would be a mere exercise in paradox. There are, who swear by "Persuasion;" there are, who prefer "Emma" and " Mansfield Park ;" there is a large contingent for "Priide and Prejudice;" and there is even a section which advocates the pre-eminence of ''Nor thanger Abbey." But no one, as far as we can remember, has ever put "Sense and Sensibility" first, nor can I believe that its author did so herself. And yet it is she herself who has furnished the standard by which we judge it, and it is by comparison with "Pride and Prejudice," in which the leading characters are also two sisters, that we assess and depress its merit. The Elinor and Marianne of "Sense an Sensibility" are only inferior when they are contrasted with the Elizabeth and Jane of "Pride and Prejudice;" and even then, it is probably because we personally like the handsome and amiable Jane Bennet rather better than the obsolete survival of the sentimental novel represented by Marianne Dashwood. Darcy and Bingley again are much more "likeable" (to use Lady Queensberry's word) than the colourless Edward Ferrars and the stiff-jointed Colonel Brandon. - Austin Dobson.