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Persuasion (Norton Critical Editions) (original 1817; edition 1995)

by Jane Austen

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Member:Marensr
Title:Persuasion (Norton Critical Editions)
Authors:Jane Austen
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Persuasion (Norton Critical Edition) by Jane Austen (1817)

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My favorite by Austen, one of my favorite books of any kind. Autumnal, mature, with main characters who have both had to grow up and come into themselves before they can repair their relationship. Persuasion has one of the best portrayals of a realistic, cheerful, and successful marriage I have ever seen in print, that of the the Admiral and Mrs. Croft. ( )
  equusregia | Sep 11, 2013 |
This was the last of Jane Austen's six for me, I'd read the other five 'in youth' as the saying is, but never picked up Persuasion. Then we stayed with friends in another city and there was a copy in the bookshelf in the bedroom. I read it fairly uncritically and enjoyed the story. Picked up the Norton edition at a second-hand sale last year and set out to re-read it with the question whether Jane Elliot is the most attractive of Austen's heroines?
I'm still not sure.
In some ways she is the most mature, as of course at 27 she should be. Perhaps it's the influence of the multiple film versions of Pride and Prejudice that leave me feeling that Elizabeth Bennett is a much more prominent and dominant heroine than Anne is in this. Although this book centres on Anne, I don't sense her as being a prominent or distinctive personality. Perhaps that is a back-handed tribute to the skill of the author, Anne Elliot is the central character but of course she is anything but prominent in her family and in her social circles, "she was only Anne."
In coming back to the book a couple of years after reading it for only the first time and remembering it as most enjoyable, I wanted to enjoy and approve it wholeheartedly but confess I was laughing at the awful seriousness with which the seemingly slight accident of Louisa's concussion is treated. There were one or two moments too that were a touch too reminiscent of the wearisome moralising of the preceding generation of novelists to whom Austen is usually such a delightful contrast. (Sorry I didn't mark them and can't cite any now.)
The added value of this edition is the numerous essays, contemporary and modern. There is an excellent review published very soon after Austen's death and the posthumous publication of Persuasion with Northhanger Abbey and some provoking and stimulating articles by more recent writers. ( )
1 vote klerulo | Jul 2, 2013 |
Reading Jane Austen is like sitting on a lazy summer day and soaking in the sun on a grassy field. It's been such a long time since I read one of my favorite writers, and I had forgotten how enjoyable the experience can be.

A friend of mine, who is also a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, recommended this title as being one of Austen's best works. The novel is different from her others - in this case, the heroine has already discovered her true love, only to lose him to cautiousness, whereas the other books end with the unfolding of that initial love - yet it shares the writer's touch that have endeared those earlier novels to me. Her skill in crafting minor characters, and the way she views them with irony and humor yet is still affectionate with most of them (except the truly terrible ones). Her spunky and intelligent heroine, and her equally engaging male love interest. Her sharp wit. All of these characteristics are still present in this, her final novel.

The story, as I mentioned above, is unusual, though. Anne and Wentworth have already met and fallen in love. They have already overcome their diverse backgrounds - he a sailor in the navy and she a daughter of landed gentry - and felt their love surpass these obstacles. They have already passed the prime of youth, even. Yet that time came and went without their happy ending. Anne acceded to the wishes of her family and friends and broke off their engagement. Not because she believed that Captain Wentworth was ill suited for her, but because she was persuaded that such a move was in the best interests of them both. Now that many years have elapsed, Anne realizes she was wrong, but feels that it is too late to rectify the situation.

Fortunately for her, circumstances conspire to bring Wentworth back in her life. Anne receives that rarest of treasures: a second chance. The melancholy of the first half of the book is gradually effaced by joy and rebirth.

I enjoyed my rediscovery of Austen. I wouldn't call this story equal to Pride and Prejudice, and that might just be the nostalgia talking, but it was a fine novel. I liked every page and was surprised at how quickly I read the book. Also, this was the Norton edition, which means a collection of commentary and critiques supplemented the novel. Literary geek that I am, I always get excited about the fine scholarship in Norton Critical editions. A solid addition to my library, and I am glad that I finally read the only book by Austen that was missing in my reading pursuits. ( )
  nmhale | Apr 27, 2011 |
One of my favourite Austens. A book to be read, and reread, on a windy, rainy Autumn day. ( )
  mmyoung | Aug 4, 2010 |
Enjoyed this much more than Pride and Prejudice. ( )
  reeread | Jan 31, 2010 |
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Sir Walter Elliott, of Kellynch hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393960188, 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:59 -0400)

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Austen's last novel is the crowning achievement of her matchless career. Her heroine, Anne Elliot, a woman of integrity, breeding and great depth of emotion, stands in stark contrast to the brutality and hypocrisy of Regency England. Includes a new Introduction by Margaret Drabble, famed novelist and editor of The Oxford Companion to the English Language.… (more)

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