Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last completed novel, was published posthumously in 1817. By some it is considered her best work. Despite its subject: Anne Elliot who broke off the engagement with Frederick Wentworth 8 years before the book starts, taking the advice of her very good friend Lady Russel, the novel is not depressing, but rather uplifting. Her family, vain as they are, need to rent out their mansion to someone, and who should that someone be but Frederick (who in the meantime becomes Captain) Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law Admiral and Mrs Croft? A lovely couple of loving people. With a fortune of £25, OOO, Captain Wentworth is in search of a wife and is thrown in the way of Anne again. But, he has grown indifferent to her and seems rather to prefer the company of Anne’s cousins-in-law: Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove. After a severe accident and a total surprise, the two meet again in Bath, where Anne’s family has moved. Captain Wentworth does not seem indifferent anymore, but what is to happen when Anne’s cousin Mr William Elliot seems to have his eyes fixed on her and everyone in Bath seems to be convinced that the two will marry soon? Fortunately, there is an old school friend Mrs Smith who will help Anne out. The novel ends in a comparison of attachment between man and woman which will cause a sublime éclat. The sparkling satire from before results in the soft pop of a cork that opens a sparkling bottle of vintage champagne. --Submitted by kiki1982
Persuasion begins seven years after the heroine, Anne Elliot, has jilted her lover, Fredrick Wentworth, upon the request of a most beloved mother figure. Although at the time of the refusal the man seems an inadequate match, the tables are now turned: as in most Austen novels--the girl is poor, the boy is rich. To add insult to injury, Anne’s father is going bankrupt and must rent his house to none other than Fredrick’s sister and brother-in-law, bringing Anne and Fredrick in contact again. Through twists and turns of jealousy, romance, poetry, rumors and a serious head injury, Anne and Fredrick always find themselves in uncomfortable situations that brew up old feelings (that were probably never lost). As Jane Austen’s last completed novel, some critics dismiss it as her darkest; however, others see it as her most honest and universal. Whatever your opinion, the whole novel is worth reading just for the letter (correspondence) in chapter twenty-three: it will make you melt. --Submitted by Amber Bradshaw
It seems so to me Anne Elliot is determined to think the best of Captain Wentworth, when he was arguably mean to her on at least four occasions. She is not as forgiving to her cousin, Mr Elliot, although his behaviour is at least as good as Wentworth's. Sunday travelling is not a very great sin. As a captain of a warship, Captain Wentworth must have done much worse. (BTW Captain Bentwick does not seem tough enough to be a captain of a warship, but Jane Austen should know). Another thing is that Anne Elliott does not seem very charitable to Mrs Clay, a widow. So what if Mrs Clay wants to marry Anne's father? Why shouldn't her father re-marry?
I have started reading Persuasion. I know a couple of Jane Austen's brothers were in the navy tighting in the Napoleonic Wars, but this is the first book of hers that I have read that has given any indication of that. I have the advantage of having read all the Patrick O'Brien books, so I have some clue when they talk about white admirals and prizes. Captain Wentworth's naval career seems to have been a little similar to Captain Aubrey's. They both had the good luck to be in command of relatively small ships with which they could tackle privateers and French frigates, and thus become wealthy. If theh had been in command of ships of the line enforcing the blockade of the French ports, they would have had a more tedious time and less opportunity to make their fortunes.
moved to Wuthering Heights
Forum note August 11, mollie writes: “Lady Russell's motivations are recognized as being kindly intentioned, by both Anne and Wentworth. I think it is not our place to second guess them.”....“I think what Austen is getting at is the great beauty of this novel. When I read it at sixteen, and twenty, and twenty three and twenty five, I did not appreciate it as I do now, at thirty five.” I'm delighted at the implied recognition that Austen is for 'grown-ups'. That is mentally, but chronologically as well, since it implies life's experience in understanding Austen. A concept well expressed that rereading a great work changes as we mature. In the in the introduction to Modern Critical Interpretations, Bloom writes of Persuasion : “The word goes back to a root meaning “sweet” or “pleasant,” so that the good of performance or non-performance has a tang of taste rather than of moral judgment about it.... The sadness enriches what I call the novel's canonical persuasiveness, its way of showing us its extraordinary aesthetic distinction.” There's the word – aesthetics , that a certain English major disparaged. What irony to state - “We all know what Bloom has to say, or at least, understand well enough as he only has 3 or 4 ideas he keeps rehashing”. Well, only two brilliant ideas would be enough in a lifetime for a critic, in contrast to an Austen major who exhausted the subject and hasn't displayed yet one. In Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations, Stuart Tave, A Litz, Gene Ruoff, Julia Brown, Susan Morgan, Tony Tanner, Claudia Johnson, John Wiltshire, Adele Pinch and Claude Rawson, have happily contributed essays, under Harold Bloom as editor. Ten in all who share a fascination of Persuasion and are happy to share with us the “Anne Elliot as a threshold figure, poised in between two houses, her father's and her prospective husbands”, as Bloom succinctly summarized. I have extracted the more unusual themes from the essays. One's that particularly I found striking, but I would strongly urge all to read the full essays since each has a particular view and style on Austen that is impossible to catch in a summary. Thus in no particular order I'll sketch some of the essays. Gene W. Ruoff – Anne Elliot's Dowry: Reflections on the Ending of Persuasion. “The simple fact that Jane Austen's heroines, heroes, and other characters of value invariably find their proper rewards suggests a belief that nothing is so radically wrong with self or society that good sense, moderation, patience, and humor cannot finally make things work out. Few would claim that such a belief would be deeply Romantic”. In the word 'Romantic' lies possible confusion, in equating its meaning with the contemporary term 'romance'. A natural extrapolation, for after all is Pride and Prejudice, not a story of love and marriage? But such confusion does a disservice to the Austen's art. Bloom points to the difference - “That kind of communication in Persuasion depends upon deep “affection”, a word that Austen values over “love”. “Affection between woman and man, in Austen is the more profound and lasting emotion.” Paradoxically Ruoff in the guise of a contemporary reader, posses the question: “why should the people be unhappy? Are there not landed gentry, country parsons, and even wealthy naval commanders for them to marry?” Why shouldn't Persuasion be read as a 'love story'? G. Ruoff adds the caution of reading Persuasion as a 'love story', by noting the meaning of 'estate' in which the theme of the novel evolves.”In seeking the grounds of community in Persuasion, one might recall that a primary function of the estate in earlier endings was to stimulate familial and cultural memory”..... “Jane Austen's earlier emphases on discovery of a secure center and maintenance of familial bonds, however inadequate the parents, are signs of her interest in cultural continuity.” “Jane Austen's earlier emphases on discovery of a secure center and maintenance of familial bonds, however inadequate the parents, are signs of her interest in cultural continuity.” .... “Jane Austen's novels do affirm the values of a social order is undeniable; but how a proper society comes into being within them, how its values are grounded, and how its structure relates to the commonplace hierarchies of wealth and rank are problematic.”....”Without fixed geographical center, proximity can play no role in these newly formed relationships, nor to a large degree do a number of other familiar Austenian bonding agents – blood ties, cultural backgrounds, ages, and even dispositions.” The ending of Pride and Prejudice is govern by motifs of physical and psychological distance. In the reformed social order which closes the book, Pemberly has become the center of societal values, just as its inhabitants are the center of human values. The worth of other characters is mapped in terms of their proximity and access to Pemberly. ...”Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other.”... Mr. Bennett “delighted in going to Pemberly, especially when he was least expected.” ... Lydia is “occasionally a visitor” but Wickham could “newer receive him at Pemberly.” Alistair Duckworth in The Improvement of the Estate notes that in Persuasion the estate has been abandoned, the geographical center is absent. “The conclusion of Persuasion differs from from those of the preceding novels:” the final marriage of the novel is not a 'social' marriage in the way that previous marriages are in Jane Austen; Anne's union with Wentworth. fails to guarantee a broader union of themes and attitudes in Persuasion as say, Elizabeth's union with Darcy does in Pride and Prejudice. Nor, uniquely among Jane Austen heroines,, does Anne return to the stable and rooted existence of the land; she has 'no Uppercross-hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family'”. In Persuasion Austen's style undergoes a deepening realism. But at a price. William A. Walling remarks of Persuasion that “Austen's art conveys to us a peculiarly modern terror: that our only recourse amid the accelerations of history is to commit our deepest energies to an intense personal relationship, but that an intense personal relationship is inevitably subject to its own kind of terrible precariousness.”
With the poll officially closing tomorrow, and Persuasion being the clear winner, I thought now would be a good time to create our first discussion thread. For those who are new, you can visit the original thread here: http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45670 This book club will continue for a long time and i'm sure we will both lose and gain people along the way. With that said, you are welcome to join in and leave the discussion at any point. If you have no particular interest in reading one of the books then you are welcome to simply join in at a later date. In short - everybody is welcome to come and go as they please. Please don't feel the need to contribute a great deal to the discussion, you don't even have to at all. If we've bled the book dry before the three months are up, that's okay too, however, I would love to see us finish all of the novels so please don't forget to come back at the end of every set of three months. I'll create a new thread for every new Austen book we read which will include a link to both this thread, and the original. Phew. Based on the poll, I have compiled a list of the books we'll be reading, the order we'll be reading them in, and the time period we will be discussing them in, etc. If there is any mistake with the list, please let me know :) Persuasion - From the 21st of July to October the 21st Sense and Sensibility - From October the 22rd to January the 22rd Mansfield Park - From January the 23th to April the 23th Pride and Prejudice - From April the 24th to July the 24th Emma - From July the 25th to October the 25th Northanger Abbey - From the 26th of October to January the 26th Let the reading begin ;)
Oh, my God, what a book! It is the only thing I can say. This could indeed be the best book she wrote. The end just sparkles with energy from both sides. When Waptain Harville and Anne Elliot are talking, it is so beautiful what they say there. It is so profound. What struck me in this, is that Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are very similar in plot: both deal with the pride of a man, first impressions that are not right, mistunderstandings... The both have a heroine who knows what she wants. But Captain Wentworth is so much more deeply drawn than Mr Darcy. Also Anne Elliot is more of a woman than Elizabeth. Anne and Wentworth are not 'types', but they are humans, people that move around in this world. Austen's look on that same world from twenty years before has become so much calmer. She still laughed at the world, but that same world had become a necessity/a normality. What Captain Harville and Anne said there, I will always remember it, and re-read it, over and over again.
Near the end of chapter 12, it says that Anne would have attended on Louisa zealously for Captain Wentworth's sake, "Without emulating the feelings of an Emma towards her Henry." Is this a reference to Emma, and if so what is it supposed to mean? I've never read Emma, so just curious.
Last night, Masterpiece Theatre began a 3 months presentation of the works of Jane Austen on film. Last night was a new version of Persuasion with Sally Hawkins - dated November 2007. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0844330/ I read Persuasion 8 years ago, so I did not remember the plot. However, I read Pride and Prejudice twice last year and spent over 30 hours watching several film versions, so I am familiar with Jane Austen's style and the time period in which she places her stories. Unfortunately, shortly after the beginning of the film, our heroine, Anne, writes in her diary that she is sure that Captain Wentworth has not forgiven her. I say unfortunately because the naughty Austen did not catch me unawares of her tricks. I knew most certainly from that point on that he had indeed forgiven her and so the rest of the film was less intriguing for me. My overall impression of the film is that we kept racing from place to place, never stopping long enough to get to know anybody. I did like Sally Hawkins' acting. I found Captain Wentworth quite handsome and likable. The overall plot was good, and the script was probably well-written for what it was, but as seen with Pride and Prejudice, it is incredibly difficult to cram a Jane Austen story into 2 hours, or 93 minutes, as in this case. While I acknowledge it is a typical innocuous Jane Austen story, I can't help but believe the film did her no justice at all. Based on the film, I would never be tempted to read the book. And though I cried at the happy ending, I have no desire to see the film again. I can't help but feel the film had no depth. An analogy escapes me. I guess maybe it was like reading the Cliff Notes. We just got a basic overview of the story without being invited to know the characters. I suppose if I knew the book intimately, I would have enjoyed the film more because my memory would have filled in the gaps that were lacking.
I find it fascinating how a new perspective can be thrown on a subject about which you thought had all been said that was possible. Jane Austen continues to surprise and fascinate. C.S. Levis in the essay – A Note on Jane Austen, compares four passages from four Austen novels, how the heroines experience and respond to 'disillusionment'. Let me illustrate with two. Pride And Prejudice - “As to his real character, had information been in her power, she had newer felt a wish of inquiring. His countenance, voice, and manner had established him at once in possession of every virtue ... She perfectly remembered everything that had passed in conversation between Wicham and herself, in their first evening at Mr. Philip's ... She was now struck with the impropriety of such communications to a stranger, and wondered that it had escaped her before. She saw the indelicacy of putting himself forward as he had done, and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct ... She grew absolutely ashamed of herself ... “how despicable have I acted!” she cried; “I who have prided myself on my discernment ... who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blamable distrust. How humiliating is this discovery! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly ... I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away ... Till this moment I newer knew myself.” Sense and Sensibility - “Oh! Elinor, you have made me hate myself forever. How barbarous Have I been to you! - you, who have been my only comfort, who have borne with me in all my misery, who have seemed to be suffering only for me!” ... Marianne's courage soon failed her, in trying to converse upon a topic which always left her more dissatisfied with herself than ever, by contrast it necessarily produced between Elinor's conduct and her own. She felt all the force of that comparison; but not as her sister had hoped, to urge her to exertion now; she felt it with all the pain of continual self-reproach, regretted most bitterly that she had never exerted herself before; but it brought only the torture of penitence, without hope of amendment. ... an apparent composure of mind which, in being the result, as she trusted, of serious reflection, must eventually lead her to contentment and cheerfulness ...”My illness has made me think, ... I considered the past: I saw in my behaviour nothing but series of imprudence toward myself, and want of kindness to others. I saw that my own feelingshad prepared my sufferings, and that my want of fortitude under them had almost led me to my grave. My illness, I well knew had been entirely brought on myself, by such negligence of my own health as I felt even at the time to be wrong. Had I died, it would have been self-destruction. I wonder ... that the very eagerness of my desire to live, to have time for atonement to my God and you all, did not kill me at once ... I cannot express my own abhorrence of myself.” Northanger Abbey's passage is almost a burlesque while the humiliation of Emma has a quality comic high tea. All four heroines experience a moral awakening from self deception. This undeception is not confined to the heroines but spans the minor characters. General Tilney realizes the mistake he made about Catherine and Mr. Bennet about Lidia. By such means Austen establishes the social bounds and moral clarity of her novelistic world. In Persuasion Austen breaks the pattern of histrionics of self disillusionment. Anne Eliot thinks the breaking of her engagement to Wentworth a mistake but she feels that she was right, guided by Lady Russel, who's advice was that of a parent. Anne commits no errors and there is no 'undeception'. Anne does not hold to the truism indirectly attributed to Austen, “it is wrong to marry for money, but it was silly to marry without it.”. Anne and Fanny of Mansfield Park are depicted as plain. They are of 'no consequence' and do not 'matter' in the family circle. They are alone, and suffer in their solitude more so than Elizabet or Marianne who have understanding sisters to turn to. C.S. Lewis judges, “for Persuasion, from first to last, is, in a sense in which the other novels are not, a love story.” Anne knows passion, though it is not of the sort for public display. Lewis finishes the essay with,”but we are then at the frontier of Jane Austen's world.”
Please help I'm doing a language study on the role of women, and need some help PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE what would you say was the role of women in persuasion
Please submit a quiz here.