Persuasion by Jane Austen

Monday 31 December 2007
by  Ingrid S
popularity : 2%

Not a big fan of Austen ? Obliged to widen your knowledge of 19th century literature ? Yes, that’s a common case. However do not despair. Be patient with Jane Austen’s last finished novel and you might find that before long you will have yielded to its charming spell.

To give you an idea, this is how it goes :

Anne Eliott is 19 when her close friend, Lady Russell, persuades her to break off her engagement to a young man with neither family nor fortune. Some years later (eight to be precise), Anne and Frederick Wentworth (her lover) are thrown back into each other’s company. He has made his fortune at war and is now described as "the most handsomest man that ever was to be seen" ; the toast of every young lady’s eye. Unfortunately, he still can’t get over Anne’s refusal and Anne herself is full of remorse. So he becomes entangled with Louisa Musgrove while Anne receives the attentions of Mr. Eliott, her cousin, who intends to marry her. Yet it doesn’t take long for those attentions of his to become UNwelcome and for Anne to realize that her cousin is in fact a "disingenuous, artificial man." How, then, will Anne get her Wentworth when it seems that their only chance of happiness is about to slip away... again ?

Even if you are not accustomed to 19th century "exchanges of civil manners required" and get stuck between Austen’s long and complicated sentences, you should give "Persuasion" a go and see what you can make of it. Just crawl into bed after a warm bath and hopefully you might recognize yourself in this delightful satire of polite English society. Ever-lasting love, untiring remorse and impossible hopes for the future are never lacking. I especially enjoyed Jane Austen’s approach of the feelings of young women at the time. I realized that after all, people haven’t changed that much.

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Monday 7 January 2008 agrave 10h48, by  (^°^)

Witty, classy and entertaining, Jane Austen draws us into her world of love, society and family conflicts.

Anne Elliot is a much quieter heroine than we usually have in Jane Austen’s books, but we love her immediately. She’s the opposite of the rest of her family : her father, Sir Walter Elliot and her older sister Elizabeth are self centered and her sister Mary, even though we like her better than the other two, still seems petty next to Anne.

Persuaded by her dead mother’s oldest friend and her godmother, Lady Russel, Anne had broken off an engagement at the age of nineteen with the charming Frederick Wentworth, who, though kind-hearted and handsome, didn’t have any fortune or family title, so is disliked by her godmother. Now, years later, because of a financial crisis and her family’s being forced to move to Bath, Anne stays with her younger sister’s family for a while and discovers the brother of Mrs. Croft, Admiral Croft’s wife who purchased their old house, is in fact the sister of the man now known as Captain Wentworth. Thrown into a situation that demands a great deal of social manoeuvering, Anne attempts to repair her past mistakes to ensure a happy future.