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The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen
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The Annotated Persuasion (2010)

by Jane Austen, David M. Shapard (Editor)

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I'm surprised whenever I hear that this is someone's favorite Austen novel. It's a difficult read -- dark and bleak. There's not one happy moment or event that doesn't hinge directly on unhappiness or outright misery. There isn't much humor, and when there is, it's rather over-broad.

Of course, it's still Austen. So it's still brilliant. We can all be grateful that she had the time and strength to rewrite the "proposal" scene into the magnificent passage it is. It gives me the shivers at a time. I have to slow my reading speed to a walk. (If hearing that there's a proposal in an Austen novel counts as a "spoiler," you need to stay inside more. With a good book.)

As in all the "Annotated" editions, David Shapard is meticulous and generous. Even a reader new to Austen will have no difficulty navigating her way with Shapard to help. And he always gives fair warning about spoilers. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
This is an excellent edition for the reader coming to Persuasion for the second time, especially one who wants a greater familiarity with the physical reality of the setting and some insight on a literary level into the writing.

I'm very fond of annotated versions of novels, especially novels written before the 20th century. Words change meaning and implication over time. Social mores change, styles of living change, even what it means to be rich and poor change. In the case of this, Jane Austen's last complete novel, someone who does not have a certain amount of familiarity with late 18th/early 19th century English society and culture will lose much of the nuance of the story -- the obstacles appear absurd and contrived, the situations dull, the various difficulties faced by the characters ridiculous without that knowledge. This annotated version gives all that information in a fairly unobtrusive but convenient way, by placing notes on each facing page of the text.

It includes maps of areas, references to Austen's letters as source material, interesting facts, definitions of words as used at the time, and much more detail, trivia, and observation by the editors which add to the novel without interfering with it. I enjoyed the Annotated Pride & Prejudice I read a few years ago, and I'm looking forward to starting the Annotated Sense & Sensibility by the same editors. ( )
1 vote Murphy-Jacobs | Mar 30, 2013 |
If as an adult, you are going to read Jane Austen, and I have only read Austen as an adult, you should do yourself a favor and read Austen with the aid of the Annotated versions edited by David Shapard.

Here in Persuasion we have a great amount of detail to add to this rather short tale. It makes the reading that much more enjoyable having at hand what otherwise would have required a full 100+ volume library to understand much of what Austen took or granted when writing this 200 years ago.

The story, is perhaps one of my favorites, for here we have love placed on hold and when our protagonists meet, can they act like adults and remember that they have got on with their lives. Or is there still some fire left in them for each other.

A true love story of course has the latter, but the journey is handled with a deft hand and with depth. We do not see the Hero's thoughts until the end, and that may have made the journey much more rounded. Still, with that we see through the annotated version, we get a full look at these thoughts and reflections. We also see how Jane finally gets the war that was prevailing into the tales. She had her brothers away as Naval officers and she honors them with this tale.

A worthy read and reread. ( )
  DWWilkin | Feb 10, 2013 |
Jane Austen's novel, "Persuasion," written near the end of her brief life, tells the story of a woman, Anne Elliot, who regrets yielding to the persuasion of friends and family and breaking off her engagement to Captain Wentworth, a naval officer with little money and few prospects.

Several years later, now 27 and seemingly destined for spinsterhood, Anne gets a second chance when she and Wentworth, who has gotten rich in a recent war, are brought together again. The captain, however, still stung by Anne's rejection, seems more interested in two younger women. Whether he will ultimately marry Louisa or her sister Henrietta becomes the main topic of conversation in their circle.

In time Anne and Captain Wentworth do reunite, and this time it is the friends and family who are persuaded that the match will be a good one.

Written by anyone else, this would have been a long-forgotten romance novel. Thanks to Austen's wit and amazing use of the English language, it remains worth reading nearly 200 years after it was published. And its message has not become dated: Be careful about yielding to the persuasion of others rather than following your own heart. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jul 22, 2012 |
I enjoyed this book a bit more than others, but I also liked the editor's Annotated Pride and Prejudice. For me, these editions are a way to re-read one of my favorites in a new way. While it's not a heavy scholarly-type work, the Annotated Persuasion gives the reader some additional knowledge and insight, a bit of added information which adds to their reading experience. ( )
  Ann_Louise | Nov 25, 2010 |
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Jane Austenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shapard, David M.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307390780, Paperback)

Anne Elliot, heroine of Austen's last novel, did something we can all relate to: Long ago, she let the love of her life get away. In this case, she had allowed herself to be persuaded by a trusted family friend that the young man she loved wasn't an adequate match, social stationwise, and that Anne could do better. The novel opens some seven years after Anne sent her beau packing, and she's still alone. But then the guy she never stopped loving comes back from the sea. As always, Austen's storytelling is so confident, you can't help but allow yourself to be taken on the enjoyable journey.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:53 -0400)

This editor presents a volume that juxtaposes the complete text of Persuasion with more than 2,000 historically and culturally informative annotations on facing pages.

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