Persuasion

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Persuasion

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Amy Bloom

Random House Publishing Group | June 12, 2001 | Trade Paperback |

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Called a ''perfect novel'' by Harold Bloom, Persuasion was written while Jane Austen was in failing health. She died soon after its completion, and it was published in an edition with Northanger Abbey in 1818.

In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called ''almost too good for me,'' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time. ''She is a prose Shakespeare,'' Thomas Macaulay wrote of Austen in 1842. ''She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.''

Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 12, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375757295

ISBN - 13: 9780375757297

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– More About This Product –

Persuasion

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Amy Bloom

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 12, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375757295

ISBN - 13: 9780375757297

Read from the Book

Sir Walter Elliot, 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 as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed. This was the page at which the favourite volume always opened:-- ''ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL'' ''Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq., of South Park, in the county of Gloucester; by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue, Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5, 1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791.'' Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer''s hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary''s birth:--''Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove, Esq., of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset,'' and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife. Then followed the history and rise of the an
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From the Publisher


Called a ''perfect novel'' by Harold Bloom, Persuasion was written while Jane Austen was in failing health. She died soon after its completion, and it was published in an edition with Northanger Abbey in 1818.

In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called ''almost too good for me,'' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time. ''She is a prose Shakespeare,'' Thomas Macaulay wrote of Austen in 1842. ''She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.''

Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.

From the Jacket

Called a ''perfect novel'' by Harold Bloom, "Persuasion was written while Jane Austen was in failing health. She died soon after its completion, and it was published in an edition with Northanger Abbey in 1818.
In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called ''almost too good for me, '' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time. ''She is a prose Shakespeare, '' Thomas Macaulay wrote of Austen in 1842. ''She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.''
"Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.

About the Author

Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775. Her father, the Reverend George Austen, was rector of Steventon, where she spent her first twenty-five years, along with her six brothers (two of them later naval officers in the Napoleonic wars) and her adored sister, Cassandra. She read voraciously from an early age, counting among her favorites the novels of Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Fanny Burney, and the poetry of William Cowper and George Crabbe. Her family was lively and affectionate and they encouraged her precocious literary efforts, the earliest dating from age twelve, which already displayed the beginnings of her comic style. Her first novels, Elinor and Marianne (1796) and First Impressions (1797), were not published. The gothic parody Northanger Abbey was accepted for publication in 1803 but was ultimately withheld by the publisher. In 1801 the family moved to Bath, where for four years Austen was able to observe the fashionable watering place that would later figure prominently in her fiction. Austen was sociable in her youth, and was briefly engaged in 1802. Two years later she began work on The Watsons, a novel that remained unfinished. After the death of her father in 1805, she lived with her mother and sister in Southampton for a few years before moving with them to a cottage at Chawton in Hampshire. This would be her home for the rest of her life, and she wrote many of her novels in its parlor. She continued to revise her earlie
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Editorial Reviews

"Critics, especially [recently], value Persuasion highly, as the author's 'most deeply felt fiction,' 'the novel which in the end the experienced reader of Jane Austen puts at the head of the list.' . . . Anne wins back Wentworth and wins over the reader; we may, like him, end up thinking Anne's character 'perfection itself.'" -from the Introduction by Judith Terry


From the Hardcover edition.

Bookclub Guide

1. Lady Russell persuades Anne to break off her engagement to avoid
"youth-killing dependence." Does she ultimately succeed in sheltering Anne from this?

2. Persuasion is the aim of rhetoric, yet in this book it often hinders lives and harms feelings. What is Austen commenting on? Consider what happens when Lady Russell or Mrs. Clay persuade others as opposed to what happens when Anne persuades others.

3. Look at how Anne''s feelings and perceptions are shown-never through her direct words or thoughts but through an approximate report of these through a distant narrator. What does Austen accomplish by doing this?

4. Consider how sailors such as Wentworth and Admiral Croft have made their fortunes-by capturing enemy ships and enjoying the spoils. With their newfound wealth, they re-join English society in higher social standings. What is Austen''s opinion of this? In what ways and situations does she relay this opinion?

5. Many of Austen''s earlier works take place in the spring, but this story plays out in autumn. Very often, the characters and narrator notice the colorful leaves and cool air around them. How does the season promote this story?

6. The narrator describes the Christmas scene at the Musgroves'' as a "fine-family piece." What is Austen implying with her sarcasm? Do you think she is antifamily?

7. Admiral and Mrs. Croft have the most successful and loving relationship in the novel, even though they are unromantic, eccentric, and deeply rooted in realism. Yet many of the idyllic lovers look to their marriage as a model. What is Austen commenting upon with this ironic reversal?

8. Mr. Elliot is the catalyst for the reunion of Anne and Captain Wentworth, provoking jealousy in Wentworth, which in turn prompts him to reconsider his love for Anne. However, Austen chooses not merely to make Mr. Elliot Anne''s unwanted lover but instead to reveal him as a rich and immoral scoundrel, to be cast out of the story. What does Austen accomplish by doing this? What is she saying about the world of property and rank?

9. Compare the original ending chapters and the "real" ending chapters. Why did Austen make these changes? What did she accomplish with them?

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