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Austen: Sense and Sensibility

4. Point of View

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In this module, we think about the point of view from which the novel is narrated, focusing in particular on: (i) the exclusive focus on Elinor's point of view from Chapter 6 onwards; (ii) Austen's use of free indirect style; (iii) the extent to which the narrative reflects Elinor's thoughts and feelings, both when she is being rational and self-controlling – and when she is not; and (iv) the occasions in the text where Elinor's thoughts are dramatized in the grammar of the sentence ("In Edward—she knew not what she saw, nor what she wished to see;—happy or unhappy,—nothing pleased her;—she turned away her head from every sketch of him").


In this course, Professor John Mullan (University College London) explores Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. In the first module, we think about the role of money in the novel. After that, we think about the themes of engagement and marriage. In the third module, we explore the significance of 'sensibility', before turning in the fourth module to consider the point of view from which the novel is narrated. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the ending of the novel, looking specifically at Marianne's marriage to Colonel Brandon.


Professor John Mullan holds the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College, London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature, currently writing the 1709-1784 volume of the Oxford English Literary History. Most recently he is the author of How Novels Work (2006), Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature (2008) and What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved (2012). A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Mullan, J. (2022, February 07). Austen: Sense and Sensibility - Point of View [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Mullan, J. "Austen: Sense and Sensibility – Point of View." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Feb 2022,

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