Kelly's Reviews > Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen
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Jul 12, 10

bookshelves: fiction, brit-lit, regency, owned, 19th-century, its-the-quiet-ones
Recommended for: fans of Romantic style
Read in March, 2006

This is the least Austen like of the Austen novels. Her famed satirical, biting wit in large part takes second place to a growing Romantic sensibility. There is a focus on beautiful imagery, improbable romances and feelings, and heroes that are rather more gothic than realistic. Melancholy emotions rule this novel, even more so than Sense and Sensibility. They're mostly relentless up until the end. Even then, the tone changes in a rather dramatic style that is not at all typical of Austen. My problem with this novel is that she started off mocking, satirizing, and tearing apart overly sentimental novels. And then she ended up writing a novel that while not 'sentimental' per se, seems to get involved with the sensibility she once made fun of. Don't know if I'm saying that correctly.

Don't get me wrong, it's still beautiful. I still loved reading it. Her wry voice peeks through at times, she can't help it. But I can't help but wonder what happened to make her change so completely. I know this was written when the Romantic movement had taken firm hold. It's often taught as a proto-Romantic novel, and that actually does seem to fit. I really like it. The story is suitably melancholy and lovely for what it is trying to do, and I certainly read enough novels like this. This sort of thing is just not generally what I look for when I look to Jane Austen, that's all. Still! Recommended!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Tristan I can see what you mean. There is some wit, but it is very unlike any of the novels published during Austen's lifetime. While I liked this better than Mansfield Park or Sense and Sensibility, I thought it a completely different beast from Austen's other work, evaluated almost on an entirely different set of criteria.

Kelly Yes, it's a very different author than the person who wrote Northanger Abbey.The humor is still there, the insight, but with totally different priorities.

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