锦绣·中旬刊 2021年11期


I was once lucky to watch a ballet show in Moscow Bolshoi theatre, Aoniejin. Pushkin wrote a figure based on his own love story and in this Russian story, sense and sensibility is shown everywhere. And after all the love and hate, there is a duel between Aoniejin and the other gentleman and after that Aoniejin left St Petersburg. That music is still in my head and this sad love story will be in my head always. However, there is also another great book written at the same period of time, and that happened in another great country at the same time period in the island in England. It is also a story happened in a big family and love story of the young men and women. This story is more emotional, happier, more elegant, and more sensible. This great book is called Sense and sensibility, written by Jane Austen.

As Austen writes, “Marianne was all the time busy in observing the direction of the wind, watching the variations of the sky and imagining an alteration in the air.” (Austen, page 192) Marianne is this kind of lady, full of sense and sensibility, emotional as gorgeous. She is a darling, “Marianne persevered, and saw every night in the brightness of the fire, and every morning in the appearance of the atmosphere, the certain symptoms of approaching frost.” (Austen, Page 192) “Marianne, too restless for employment, too anxious for conversation, walked from one window to the other, or sat down by the fire in melancholy meditation.”

Brenton and Willoughby are the two young men around her in this story. The sisters in this house, the affair between Willoughby and Marianne and Marianne between Elinor, make the story around the topic of sense and sensibility. That is a story of sense and sensibility, also of traditional British gentleman and lady. When Marianne is happy, she danced, she played piano and she read poems. When she is sad:” Marianne, wholly dispirited, careless of her appearance, and seeming equally indifferent whether she went or staid, prepared, without one look of hope, or one expression of pleasure. She sat by the drawing room fire after tea, till the moment of Lady Middletons arrival, without once stirring and insensible of her sisters presence…”(Austen, Page 198)She is so elegant the she is happy. She is such adorable when she is sad. Marianne is a figure that is very successfully drown in the story and as the particular 18th-19th century British women who lived in Britain. When an empire is at its glorious point, the ladys sense and sensibility is a natural phenomenon. Womens sense and sensibility is always there and in a peaceful period of time and in a top leading country in the world, it can be greatly showed. The elegance is shown in the playing of piano, the step of dance and the words and emotion expressed by a lady. When England is great the most, I would say in the 18th century. When London is the best ever city, I would say in the 18th century. “Let us move to London!” The hope in a young ladys heart and pursue of love in the youth is also a reflection of a strong nation at its time. When we say Italian literature, probably medieval and renaissance period are better well known, while when we talk about British literature, maybe Shakespeare and Jane Austens time are better well known. Valuable literature can be greatly made and kept when a country is at its glorious time. And womens happy time about sense and sensibility can be greatly shown in a countrys peace and glorious time. That is how the conditions of making the novel Sense and sensibility made such a great book appear in the world. There is also filmed in 1971 and 1995. There are some difference between those two films. While the film in 1995 is more like normal English family life and a lot of things are more realistic and audience can get a clear picture of everything happened. In 1971 in the film everything is happening inside the beautiful house and the story-telling is in a more romantic way. It became less “sense and sensibility”. The structure of story-telling is in a Hollywood style.

There is another novel I want to mention it here, “Wuthering Heights”, which is also about a girls love story between two men. Brute states, “But as soon as she saw him vexed again, she kissed his hand, and said she would sing him to sleep. She began singing very low, till his fingers dropped from hers, and his head sank on his breast.” How much sensibility the words are of. Even a bit erotic. (Bronte, 1845) “ ‘I have run the whole way from wuthering Heights! she continued, after a pause. ‘Except where I‘ve flown--- I couldnt count the number of falls I‘ve had –Oh, I am aching all over! Dont be alarmed—There shall be an explanation as soon as I can give it --- only just have the goodness to step out and order the carriage to take me on to Gimmerton, and tell a servant to seek up a few clothes in my wardrobe.”

In the “Wuthering Heights”, the atmosphere is really wet. It is as wet as a valley just after rain. There is taste of soil, there is taste of flower. However, we cannot say it is happy, neither it is sad. It is just full of sense, full of sensibility. It is just sensible, as bright as Van Goghs heliotrope, as sad as Richard Claydermans autumn leaves. It is so sensible, you can never laugh by admiring it. Neither can you cry out. There is some feeling that you cannot even speak it out. Great writers can write into peoples heart, to touch the softest place, and then record the greatest and sadness of a time. Jane Austen can made it. She wrote a traditional British love story. Emily Bronte can made it. She wrote a typical “American-style” love story between white and black. They are all sensible. However, the taste is so different. Can we say the love story of Mariam is more happy and with a more happy ending? Can we say the death of Catherine is a tragedy? “I sought, and soon discovered, the three head-stones on the slope next the moor—the middle one grey, and half buried in heath---Edgar Lintons only harmonized by the turf, and moss creeping up its foot—Heathcliffs still bara. I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

What is the ending of the love story between black and white. Does anyone tell you so? Does it write on the textbook that there is some kind of ending .However, the ending of the Wuthering Heights seems like predicting everything. That is also the great point of Emily Bronte. She wrote something that above her time for three hundred years. “It wanted to get its nest, for the clouds touched the swells, and it felt rain coming. This feather was picked up from the heath, the bird was not shot—we saw its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons.”(Bronte, P120)The sense is so quiet, the emotion is so wet. “The period of reflection succeeding this silly action, compelled me to admit the necessity of smothering my pride, and choking my wrath, and bestirring myself to remove its effects.”(Emily, B, P137) The sensibility is very gentle. “Summer drew to an end, and early Autumn— it was past Michaelmas, but the harvest was late that year, and a few of our fields were still uncleared.”(Emily, B, P203) In “Wuthering Heights” There are a lot of sense and sensibility are expressed by environment description. The using of description of atmosphere is successful and outstanding.

There is another book Mother by Maxim Gorky in 1906. “Every day the factory whistle bellowed forth its shrill, roaring, trembling noises into the smoke-begrimed and greasy atmosphere of the workingmens suburb; and obedient to the summons of the power of steam, people poured out of little gray houses into the street. With somber faces they hastened forward like frightened roaches, their muscles stiff from insufficient sleep. In the chill morning twilight they walked through the narrow, unpaved street to the tall stone cage the waited for them with cold assurance, illumining their muddy road with scores of greasy, yellow, square eyes. The mud plashed under their feet as if in mocking commiseration. Hoarse exclamations of sleepy voices were heard; irritated, peevish, abusive language rent the air with malice; and, to welcome the people, deafening sounds floated about—the heavy whir of machinery, the dissatisfied snort of steam. Stem and somber, the black chimneys stretched their huge, thick sticks high above the village.”(Gorky, P1) The sense of the environment description at the beginning of this book set the whole book an atmosphere. This twist of Mother is similar as Wuthering Heights. There is not much dialogue between people. But the expression of sense and sensibility is stronger than the words somehow. While Sense and Sensibility is different than both of those. It is another twist. It is full of dialogue. The story is told by dialogue. The plot is set based on dialogue. The sense and sensibility is based on dialogue. Austen states,“ One of many attempts at the time to define sensibility, the article personifies “Sense” as the time to define sensibility, the article personifies sense as the male offspring of Genius and learning who must contend with the temptations of susceptibility for the favours of the fair sensibility descended from Modesty and Truth.” (Austen, P12) The novel of Wuthering Heights and Sense and sensibility are both happening in the similar period of time in a same country. While the content and spirit expressed are very of difference. What is similar is the taste of sense and sensibility. That is a unique taste in 19th century British literary. And that is what happened in a particular historical time, before the Great War around the world happened, before the revolutionary thought appeared. If we say Emily Bronte is fighting through her time and life, we can say Jane Austen is accepting her time and life. One is doubting about it and the other is singing the praises of it. They both record it and the taste of England in 19th century. They are both great recorder of its time.

In those two books which are more sensible, I guess Sense and sensibility does. In the ending, “Colonel Brandon was now as happy, as all those who best loved him, believed he deserved he deserved to be; --in Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction;-- her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his sprits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend.”(Jane, A, P380) And for Willoughby, the ending is “ Willoughby could not hear of her marriage without a pang; and his punishment was soon afterwards complete in the voluntary forgiveness of Mrs Smith, who by stating his marriage with a woman of character, as the source of her clemency…” (Jane, A, P380) And it also shows the ending for Marianne.” For Marianne, however—in spite of his incivility in surviving her loss—he always retained that decided regard which interested him in every thinf that befell her, and made her his secret standard of perfection in woman;--and made her his secret standard of perfection in woman…” (Jane, A, P381)Those three characters in the book and the description of their endings in this story is of sensibility. Author uses three paragraph to state the ending of them. She describes it in such a peaceful way. The peace also shows the sense and sensibility. Laughing and Crying is not sense and sensibility. Strong love and strong hate as Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet is not sense and sensibility. Sense and sensibility is hidden in the peaceful heights. Sense and sensibility is shown in traditional 19th century English family life. That is the real sense and sensibility.

In 1811, the thought in Sense and Sensibility is quite emotional under the peace of centuries. In 1847, the atmosphere in Wuthering Heights is already wet and there is some problem lack of solution. In 1906, the Mother tells the world that the revolution is coming, the world is changing and even the war is coming. Gorkys revolutionary thought is predicting and recording the great social change of the world. In the few 100 years time. The spirit of artwork changed greatly. The thought of the artworks changed greatly. The taste of sense and sensibility of the artworks changed greatly. How greatly the change is and how greatly the world changed. Look, how the social structure influences peoples soul and artwork itself. And how writers artwork reflect on it and record the world itself. The worlds change is in writers eyes and showed in their artwork. And right now what should womens literature show and record in the current time. What is the sense and sensibility reflecting and influencing in 2020? That is a question writers need to think about.

(廣联航空 150080)