Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, published in 1811. It was published anonymously; By A Lady appears on the title page where the author’s name might have been.
Henry Dashwood, his second wife, and their three daughters live for many years with Henry’s wealthy bachelor uncle at Norland Park, a large country estate in Sussex. That uncle decides, in late life, to will the use and income only of his property first to Henry, then to Henry’s first son John Dashwood (by his first marriage), so that the property should pass intact to John’s three-year-old son Harry. The uncle dies, but Henry lives just a year after that and he is unable in such short time to save enough money for his wife Mrs Dashwood, and their daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, who are left only a small income.
The novel follows the three Dashwood sisters as they must move with their widowed mother from the estate on which they grew up, Norland Park. Because Norland is passed down to John, the product of Mr. Dashwood’s first marriage, and his young son, the four Dashwood women need to look for a new home. They have the opportunity to rent a modest home, Barton Cottage, on the property of a distant relative, Sir John Middleton. There they experience love, romance, and heartbreak. The novel is likely set in southwest England, London and Sussex between 1792 and 1797.
The novel, which sold out its first print run of 750 copies in the middle of 1813, marked a success for its author. It had a second print run later that year. It was the first Austen title to be republished in England after her death, and the first illustrated Austen produced in Britain, in Richard Bentley’s Standard Novels series of 1833. The novel continued in publication throughout the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries and has many times been illustrated, excerpted, abridged, and adapted for stage and film