Persuasion by Jane AustenPersuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion

byJane AustenIntroduction byAmy Bloom

Paperback | June 12, 2001

about


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.
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 earl...
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Title:PersuasionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 0.45 inPublished:June 12, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375757295

ISBN - 13:9780375757297

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Insight Great storyline with authentic characters!
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sweet A quaint read that lovers of Austen will thoroughly enjoy.
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Classic A quaint read that lovers of Austen will thoroughly enjoy.
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quaint A quaint read that lovers of Austen will thoroughly enjoy.
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Relateable With loveable and diverse characters that are very realistic and an iconic writing style that depicts the humor in life with romance and drama, this is a personal Jane Austen favorite
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Relateable With loveable and diverse characters that are very realistic and an iconic writing style that depicts the humor in life with romance and drama, this is a personal Jane Austen favorite
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Classic With loveable and diverse characters that are very realistic and an iconic writing style that depicts the humor in life with romance and drama, this is a personal Jane Austen favorite
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Charming Sweet, charming and heartwarming, Austen fans will thoroughly enjoy this book despite it being very similar to every other Austen book
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sweet Sweet, charming and heartwarming, Austen fans will thoroughly enjoy this book despite it being very similar to every other Austen book
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic My first time reading Jane Austen. I was completely thrilled. This book is excellent. Her writing is so savory, the story is so entertaining. Recommending this to everyone who loves romance.
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a favorite My favorite Jane Austen book. And that letter... swoon
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still relevant today Jane Austen's stories are vibrant and full of life even today. Her characters learn lessons that are valuable in any century. This is no exception - listen to your own hear and mind. You can hear what others have to say, but you must make up your own mind and not let well-meaning friends sway you.
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from That indomitable persuasive power... This is a lesson to us Anne Elliots of the world: listen, consider, decide for yourself. Thank you Miss Austen. The message is still relevant.
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Wonderful story about second chances
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unappreciated beauty This is actually my favourite Austen, even though it doesn't get as much attention as her other work. This is beautiful angst and heart wrenching emotion. Slow starting but once you are in, you are in until the most lovely ending you can imagine.
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it Loved this story! The letter Wentworth writes in the end tore me apart as much as Darcy. It was a fun short Austen book.
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Austen Story Despite how much I love Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion remains my favourite Austen book. Captain Wentworth is just so swoon worthy.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite Jane Austen Book. This is a must read for all, great story my favorite work by Jane Austen.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Persuasion is a good book, but definitely not my favourite from Austen
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE I read this after a long break from reading Jane Austen. This was a great way to get back into her works. This is her last novel and it's her most mature. Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine. She's such a wonderful person. Even though other people influenced a decision she made that caused her to suffer she didn't blame anyone but herself. The romance is beautiful and warms your heart. If you've never read Jane Austen start with this one.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite of Jane's work I've read Jane Austen's entire works and this one is my favourite. This edition is also gorgeous, as are all the vintage classics. Strongly recommend if you're interested in reading a Jane Austen novel and haven't before.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolute favourite This is my favourite Jane Austen novel and I love the Vintage Classics edition.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it I enjoyed this one from Jane Austen more then the others because its not her traditional romance story
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic This is one of Austen's best works in my opinion. It's a gentle love story about second chances.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masterpiece While at some parts it felt very rushed, probably because Austen was writing this while dying, I still thought Persuasion was one of her best novels. I thoroughly enjoyed nearly everything about this, and I really loved how she valued the individual over the community, especially seeing how horribly Anne was treated by her family. I think Austen matured a lot before writing this novel, and you can really see that. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from ... All that needs to be said is that this book has, to my knowledge, the greatest love letter in literature.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh I didn't find this novel to be her best. It was hard for me to get into the storyline, which I almost immediately forgot after putting it down. Her works tends to be too forumlaic and this novel doesn't deliver the same memorable characters to make the novel intriguing or impossible to put down.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from lovely the older I get, the more I appreciate Persuasion.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Austen I am a total fan of Austen's works, but Persuasion is by far my favourite. There is all the wonders of the classic Austen novel and somehow there is an added element that elevates the whole story. A must-read for those who love classic literature.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Very well written. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from As the last one written, you should also read it last. Last of the novels to be completed during her lifetime, Jane Austen’s Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot who almost ten years after breaking her engagement to then penniless Captain Wentworth, sees their acquaintance revive as his sister and her husband take hold of the ancestral Elliot manor now in need of tenants. Though Anne, who at first believed she had forgotten him, is still in love with him, it does not seem that his feelings remained the same for he is cold and unforgiving. That is up until a certain accident in Lyme and an encounter with a distant cousin of Anne, will change irrevocably the faith of many. I particularly enjoyed this novel as it is quite different from all of Austen’s other novel. Where originally unpardonable mistakes are usually punished through the showcasing of others good morality, here the novels puts forward the concept of mistakes and second chances as Anne Elliot, who suffers silently on the account of her proud father and elder sister who do not think highly of her, and Captain Wentworth, now rich and respectable in the eyes of many, rekindle their feelings for one another and persuade themselves to give love another try. Throughout the novel, you can't help but suffer with Anne and hope for the best and wish for Captain Wentworth to warm up to her again. This goes without saying that, in some cases, people need to believe that second chances in love may be worth it, if they are convinced of it. For more about this book and many more, visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Persuasion is like an old friend ... Persuasion is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, second only to Pride & Prejudice. Persuasion follows the life of Anne Elliot and her struggles to find love and happiness. Anne had turned down a proposal of marriage 8 years earlier to a Captain Wentworth; but Anne had never stopped loving Captain Wentworth. This novel shows the flaws of Miss Elliot's family and connections, as well as her own. Wonderful story of lost love found again.
Date published: 2009-05-24

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 ancient and respectable family in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire, how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff, representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II with all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two handsome quarto pages, and concluding with the arms and motto:--'Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset,' and Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:--'Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great-grandson of the second Sir Walter.''Vanity was the beginning and end of Sir Walter Elliot's character: vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth, and at fifty-four was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could the valet of any new-made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion. His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment, since to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to anything deserved by his own. Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable, whose judgment and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards. She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she was called on to quit them. Three girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an awful charge rather, to confide to the authority and guidance of a conceited, silly father. She had, however, one very intimate friend, a sensible, deserving woman, who had been brought, by strong attachment to herself, to settle close by her, in the village of Kellynch; and on her kindness and advice Lady Elliot mainly relied for the best help and maintenance of the good principles and instruction which she had been anxiously giving her daughters. This friend and Sir Walter did not marry, whatever might have been anticipated on that head by their acquaintance. Thirteen years had passed away since Lady Elliot's death, and they were still near neighbours and intimate friends, and one remained a widower, the other a widow. That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not; but Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation. Be it known, then, that Sir Walter, like a good father (having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications), prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughter's sake. For one daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up anything, which he had not been very much tempted to do. Elizabeth had succeeded at sixteen to all that was possible of her mother's rights and consequence; and being very handsome, and very like himself, her influence had always been great, and they had gone on together most happily. His two other children were of very inferior value. Mary had acquired a little artificial importance by becoming Mrs. Charles Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way--she was only Anne. To Lady Russell, indeed, she was a most dear and highly valued goddaughter, favourite, and friend. Lady Russell loved them all, but it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again. A few years before Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her bloom had vanished early; and as, even in its height, her father had found little to admire in her (so totally different were her delicate features and mild dark eyes from his own), there could be nothing in them, now that she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had never indulged much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in any other page of his favourite work. All equality of alliance must rest with Elizabeth, for Mary had merely connected herself with an old country family of respectability and large fortune, and had, therefore, given all the honour and received none: Elizabeth would, one day or other, marry suitably. It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been neither ill-health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth, still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago, and Sir Walter might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else; for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood worsting, and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him. Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment. Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall, presiding and directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have given the idea of her being younger than she was. For thirteen years had she been doing the honours, and laying down the domestic law at home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and dining-rooms in the country. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood afforded, and thirteen springs shown their blossoms, as she travelled up to London with her father, for a few weeks' annual enjoyment of the great world. She had the remembrance of all this, she had the consciousness of being nine-and-twenty to give her some regrets and some apprehensions; she was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever, but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two. Then might she again take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth, but now she liked it not. Always to be presented with the date of her own birth and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister, made the book an evil; and more than once, when her father had left it open on the table near her, had she closed it, with averted eyes, and pushed it away. She had had a disappointment, moreover, which that book and especially the history of her own family, must ever present the remembrance of. The heir presumptive, the very William Walter Elliot, Esq., whose rights had been so generally supported by her father, had disappointed her. She had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to be, in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to marry him, and her father had always meant that she should. He had not been known to them as a boy; but soon after Lady Elliot's death, Sir Walter had sought the acquaintance, and though his overtures had not been met with any warmth, he had persevered in seeking it, making allowance for the modest drawing-back of youth; and, in one of their spring excursions to London, when Elizabeth was in her first bloom, Mr. Elliot had been forced into the introduction. He was at that time a very young man, just engaged in the study of the law; and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable, and every plan in his favour was confirmed. He was invited to Kellynch Hall; he was talked of and expected all the rest of the year; but he never came. The following spring he was seen again in town, found equally agreeable, again encouraged, invited, and expected, and again he did not come; and the next tidings were that he was married. Instead of pushing his fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot, he had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of inferior birth. Sir Walter had resented it. As the head of the house, he felt that he ought to have been consulted, especially after taking the young man so publicly by the hand; 'For they must have been seen together,' he observed, 'once at Tattersalls, and twice in the lobby of the House of Commons.' His disapprobation was expressed, but apparently very little regarded. Mr. Elliot had attempted no apology, and shown himself as unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family, as Sir Walter considered him unworthy of it: all acquaintance between them had ceased. This very awkward history of Mr. Elliot was still, after an interval of several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot's eldest daughter. There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal. Yet so miserably had he conducted himself, that though she was at this present time (the summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could not admit him to be worth thinking of again. The disgrace of his first marriage might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it perpetuated by offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse; but he had, as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends they had been informed, spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and the honours which were hereafter to be his own. This could not be pardoned.From the eBook 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?

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