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Austen: Sense and Sensibility

5. The Ending

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the ending of the novel, focusing in particular on the marriage of Marianne and Colonel Brandon. As we move through the module, we consider: (i) Marianne's previous attitude to Colonel Brandon; (ii) the description of Marianne as Colonel Brandon's "reward" and the group of people encouraging her to marry him as "a confederacy against her"; (iii) the difference between the way Marianne speaks when we first meet her and the way she speaks following her third, almost fatal illness; and (iv) the extent to which the awkwardness of the relationship between Marianne and Colonel Brandon is reflected in the awkwardness of the prose at this point in the novel.


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 - The Ending [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Mullan, J. "Austen: Sense and Sensibility – The Ending." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Feb 2022,

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