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'Sense and Sensibility' Summary

Overview of Jane Austen's Famous Novel


Study Guide



  • Title: Sense and Sensibility
  • Author: Jane Austen
  • Type of Work & Genre: Romance, narrative
  • Time & Place (Setting): Southwest England, 1792-1797
  • Publisher: Thomas Egerton, Military Library (Whitehall, London)
  • Publication Date: 1811


  • Great English literary classic
  • Jane Austen's first book, initially published by "A Lady"

How It Fits In


  • Elinor Dashwood - 19 years old heroine. Daughter of Henry Dashwood (eldest). She falls in love with with Edward Ferrars.
  • Marianne Dashwood - 17 years old heroine. Daughter of Henry Dashwood (second oldest). She falls in love with John Willoughby. She recognizes the misjudgment and eventually marries Colonel Brandon.
  • Edward Ferrars - The older brother of Fanny Dashwood and Robert Ferrars. He falls in love with Elinor and marries her (he was secretly engaged to Lucy Steele).
  • Colonel Brandon - Retired. Sir John Middleton's friend. In love with Marianne Dashwood.
  • Mrs. Dashwood - Mother of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. Henry Dashwood's second wife.
  • Henry Dashwood - His children are: John Dashwood (first marriage) and Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret Dashwood. He dies in the first chapter.
  • Fanny Dashwood - John Dashwood's manipulative wife. Sister of Edward and Robert Ferrars.
  • John Dashwood - Norland Estate heir. Fanny Dashwood's husband.
  • Margaret Dashwood - 13 year old. Daughter of Henry Dashwood (youngest, with Mr. Dashwood's second wife).
  • Mrs. Ferrars - The wealthy, manipulative mother of Edward and Robert who disinherits her first son when he refuses to marry a rich heiress.
  • John Willoughby - He was the object of Marianne Dashwood's affection, but he eventually marries Miss Sophia Grey.
  • Robert Ferrars - The younger brother of Edward and Fanny. Robert inherits his mother's fortune. He marries Lucy Steele.
  • Miss Sophia Grey - Wealthy heiress. She becomes Willoughby's wife.
  • Mrs. Jennings - Lady Middleton's mother.
  • Lady Middleton - A distant relation of the Dashwoods who lives at Barton Cottage with her husband Sir John Middleton and their four spoiled children
  • Sir John Middleton - A relation to the Dashwoods. Mrs. Dashwood goes to live (with her daughters) at Barton Cottage, upon his invitation.
  • Mr. Thomas Palmer - Mrs. Palmer's husband.
  • Mrs. Charlotte Palmer - Mrs. Jennings' talkative and foolish daughter who invites the Dashwood sisters to stay at her home in Cleveland on their way from London to Barton.
  • Anne Steele - Lucy Steele's older, unmarried sister who accidentally reveals her sister's secret engagement to Edward Ferrars.
  • Lucy Steele - Mrs. Jennings' cousin. She marries Robert Ferrars (she was secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars).

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