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Persuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel. She began it soon after she had finished Emma, completing it in August 1816. She died, aged 41, in 1817; Persuasion was published in December that year (but dated 1818). Persuasion is linked to Northanger Abbey not only by the fact that the two books were originally bound up in one volume and published together, but also because both stories are set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which Austen was well acquainted, having lived there from 1801 to 1805. Besides the theme of persuasion, the novel evokes other topics, such as the Royal Navy, in which two of Jane Austen's brothers ultimately rose to the rank of admiral. As in Northanger Abbey, the superficial social life of Bath-well known to Austen, who spent several relatively unhappy and unproductive years there-is portrayed extensively and serves as a setting for the second half of the book. In many respects Persuasion marks a break with Austen's previous works, both in the more biting, even irritable satire directed at some of the novel's characters and in the regretful, resigned outlook of its otherwise admirable heroine, Anne Elliot, in the first part of the story. Against this is set the energy and appeal of the Royal Navy, which symbolises for Anne and the reader the possibility of a more outgoing, engaged, and fulfilling life, and it is this worldview which triumphs for the most part at the end of the novel.

149 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 20, 1817

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About the author

Jane Austen

3,019 books64k followers
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 30,537 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,864 reviews54.2k followers
July 24, 2022
welcome to...PERSUAS(JULY)ON?

god, that was the worst attempt at a title/month pun yet. i'm so sorry. if it helps, i wish i never started this, but now here we are, all of us in a sisyphus situation at the start of every new project. except worse. the guy who's getting his guts eaten on the daily by a big bird. prometheus.

(isn't that kind of the most torturous part of that punishment - that he clearly has it so much worse than sisyphus and yet in comparison, zero household name recognition? tough stuff.) (like, prometheus is obviously famous, but you don't throw his example around like my boy sisyphus. sad.)

ANYWAY. welcome back to Project Long Classics, the series in which elle and i read a long classic over the course of the month, too make it less scary!

some updates here: 1) we're rereading, 2) this isn't long, and 3) it's not coming from a place of fear. but otherwise, we're all set.

we're also reading this for our book club -
join the discussion here
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let's go!!!

we're immediately late (today is july 2), and yet that's fine, because i love this book and also i only have to read one chapter a day this time around. living the dream.

something i love about anne elliot is that she should be quite boring - a real fanny price, if you will - and yet she isn't.

and relatedly, i get why people are upset by what appears to be her fleabag-ification in the upcoming adaptation...but i am capable of separating the adaptation from the book (on rare and special occasions, like arbor day and half-birthdays) and i think it seems fun.

look at us, catching up!

i love how in old times you could just call people "unsuitable." i wish we still had that. "i find that acquaintance to be one well below your standing, and altogether unsuitable" (or something like that) sounds so much better than "you are my friend, and i like hanging out with you, but i find your friend very annoying."


genuinely...the yearning already...you gotta give it up for jane.

a day behind because i was drinking to make it through our nation's birthday. bleh. escapist reading time!

i just...left this blank yesterday.

read the chapter. added this to my update feed. didn't say a thing.

the first few chapters of this are (i think) even more uneventful than usual austen books. maybe because it's less funny? i don't know. it's a lot of past to establish, where we're usually picking up right in the swing of things relatively speaking.

i don't like, also, the pity-party we have to throw anne every other paragraph at the beginning. yes she is lonely and her sisters are annoying. let's get to the romance part!! or give her a hobby at least.

but here is some drama! another slay for miscommunication, a trope that endures through the centuries.

wait why did jane go this hard: "The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before." like jane he's dead! take mercy you have already killed him!

wentworth!!! i'll kill you!!! poor anne. suddenly the pity party is working on me.

"But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days." slay mrs croft.

poor anne again!

well, folks. persuasion (2022) has debuted on rotten tomatoes with a score of 27%.

i can no longer pretend it's extremely likely that i'll watch it, but! onward.

all the best crushes come from one (1) completely inane moment.

catching up! (took another day off to be drunk. this is a tradition, at this point.)

there are so many Charleses in this. it seems to be a personal affront.

lmao the whole gang is taking a road trip to visit wentworth's friend, who ol' captain thinks loved his dead wife more than any man has ever loved a woman, and anne NO JOKE thinks "he has not, perhaps, a more sorrowing heart than I have."

pull it together, girlfriend.

action chapter!!! i love immersing myself in a 19th century understanding of medicine. when you jump up and down too many times, you almost die, and them's the breaks.

one of anne's most relatable characteristics is being like "hopefully i'm too old to blush now" and then blushing constantly.

"Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish them happy, but internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt, that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed by a Louisa Musgrove." this rules. i cannot be a lady russell hater for this alone.

at the i-look-forward-to-my-daily-chapter-every-day phase of this :)

goddamn. anne can PULL.

"The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scarecrows as the streets were full of!" this is the funniest and most relatable passage in the whole thing. as someone who has a rule that i should not be forced to view anyone ugly when watching television (a guideline continually broken by basketball coaches and the existence of most conservative politicians), i have to stan sir walter.

anne's life really seems like such a snooze, from one girl who is always right to another. but at least i have indoor plumbing. and refrigerated cookie dough.

the thing about jane austen books that we can forget when it's adaptation time is that the love interest is often not the most handsome of the gang. wickham is probably handsomer than darcy. mr elliott is certainly more handsome than wentworth.

but still. how can we be expected, as a society, to root against henry golding??

anyway. a kinda boring Anne Is Perfect chapter.

come on, jane...give me some yearning today!

asked and answered.

every day has to be a yearning day at this point.

WOO!!! things are picking up!

i will say i feel like anne's family lacks nuance compared to, say, the bennets or the woodhouses, who are flawed characters but have their arcs and their positive traits. elizabeth and mary and sir nobility what's his name feel a little black and white by comparison.

and speaking of things i will say... "the handsomest and best hung of any in Bath" is a great description. should have been used somewhere besides curtains.

"A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not." AHHHH!!!!!!

oh boy. yearning city. this whole section is everything. and the letter soon!!!

ahhhh!!! jane sure knows how to cancel a guy.

the amount of drama in this chapter...my sister is watching below deck in the background as i write this and their screechy voices pale in comparison!!!

the penultimate day!!! i'm going to miss this so much. should i do this all the time???

...no. the last thing i need is the excuse for yet another project.

THE LETTER!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD.

not only is this the most romantic love letter of all time (and it's not close! i openly read this out loud to someone i was with on the STREET!!! not as a declaration but just because it's really good and everyone should know about it), but the FRAMING. the conversation anne has with harville! her confusion at wentworth's dismissal! the yearning! her reaction to his coming back! and her feelings after! AHHHH.

jane, no one does it like you. it'd be five stars for this alone.

the end of an era. i have so enjoyed our time together.

this is a cute kind of epilogue-y chapter, like at the end of movies that were Based On A True Story when they tell you what happened to all the goofballs you've gotten to know. i love it. every book should either have a chapter like this or a sequel.

unless i didn't like the book. then it shouldn't have anything.

this is still coming it at a close third in austen rankings for moi (after emma and pride & prejudice) but damn is it still good. that letter! that yearning! anne being a Nice Girl who isn't boring!

what a gift!
rating: 5

general update


reread update

if you ever have the opportunity to spend an hour or so rereading this in a park on an unseasonably warm fall day, i recommend you take it

original review

find a long version of my original review + a review of sense & sensibility at https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...!
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
February 1, 2023
There’s something about this novel, out of all Jane Austen’s work, that wounds me with so much tenderness. It’s been weeks, and I feel like Persuasion is still excavating feelings from me.

Persuasion is heartbreakingly lovely. In this novel, Austen accesses the universal—how we love, how we yearn, how we survive in perpetual loss—by painting a very intimate portrait of a woman caught in the never-ending ache of love and sorrow. It’s a story about regret and family, about loss and remembrance, about the past and the future, about fear and uncertainty and desire and our attempts and failures to love people and to stand up for ourselves.

Persuasion has been called Austen’s most mature novel. It’s an apt description for the last novel Austen completed in her lifetime. In Persuasion, Austen’s irony feels more subdued but somehow more heightened for all its subtlety. The critique of British society that Austen routes through Anne’s social exclusion is sharp, exposing what lurks beneath social surfaces, the vacuous performance of class, and the tragedy of young women so full of life yet isolated, confined to a straitly defined existence by selfish societies that predicate their worth on how useful they can be. The story is also more melancholy—suffused with the sense of an ending, approaching, inexorable—even as it wades through the darkness with heart. And where Austen’s earlier novels are about the wide-eyed wildness of youth and first love, Persuasion is instead the tale of aftermath: of what happens after love has been found and lost, when all the details of youth have faded away and one can no longer afford to be so careless, so unfettered, and so unburdened.

When we meet Anne, she is blank and bereft, undone with pain and hiding it in plain sight. Since giving up Wentworth—an indelible failure, marked on Anne as surely as a scar—her life has become like a wall which she runs against and can go no further. The years had slipped away so absurdly fast, protected by the silences and acquiescences that dull loss, and Anne remained only more awkward in her own body, terrified of the space it takes up. Austen does such a good job of involving us in Anne’s feelings, revealing them as simply as one lifts back a sheet: Anne’s loneliness which she cannot explain to anyone, her matchless ability to suffer quietly, her selflessness (or rather her constant surrender to the selfishness of others), her naked desire to be useful, to be needed, which only conceals an unbearable longing to be wanted.

When Anne sees Wentworth again, taking him whole into her eyes—his solidity, his carefulness, and the subtlest hints of pain too—she feels the shock of that old love between them, a piercing echo of those old conflicts which have never resolved in her. A feeling that, for Anne, mingled sweetness, longing, and sorrow. But Anne and Wentworth have been apart long enough to know the shape of each other’s absence, and Wentworth’s love for Anne seems to have been drained to the dregs, leaving nothing but a hard crust of disdain and resentment behind. Now that he is back, it seems inconceivable to Anne that they might go back, heal what is laying so badly between them, as if they had each already crossed to the opposite sides of some tremendous divide. Everything has been said, and there is nothing more to say. They’ve each made their choices, built lives untouched by the other, and became different people, unrecognizable to each other. Now there is only the need to leave one another… but they can’t quite bring themselves to do it.

So goes Persuasion, a novel that probes, painstakingly, at those terrible spaces that always seem to lie between people who are filled with things they cannot articulate without the countervailing threat of rejection or separation, the terrible gulfs that have to be crossed for even a simple touching, for the faintest hints of recognition. Throughout the novel, Anne and Wentworth are like two people stuck in connecting rooms with the door shut between them, which they aim to find in the dark but miss each time—everything separates them, even their efforts to join each other. Austen captures it all: the sense of how tender, difficult, and deeply complicated our attachments to people are, the pain and humiliation we purposefully endure in the name of love, and above all, the danger of going through our whole lives missing each other but never finding out who we are to one another.

Austen makes us taste the unspeakable, unbearable, vanished agony of such a possibility, but thankfully, never realizes it. Hope runs quietly through Persuasion, beneath every thread of conversation between Wentworth and Anne, like the simmer of distant thunder. But there is, still, something that hurts so much in all of this. As if Austen has written a happier version for a story that has already ended badly. That story haunts the pages, a reminder that the tragedy does not lie upon the lost years that Anne and Wentworth spent apart, deprived of each other. The tragedy lies upon the fact that Anne and Wentworth might have spent the rest of their lives aiming to find each other and missing each time—until they lost sight completely of one another. Longing as a lifetime sentence, sighing for something beyond our reach, forever inconsolable.

(By the way, I'm still so mad at Netflix for ruining this masterpiece. Like... Jail to everyone involved.)
Profile Image for Ted.
15 reviews136 followers
March 31, 2008
One of the major sources of contention and strife in my marriage is the disagreement between my wife and me over what is the best Jane Austen novel (yes, we are both more than a bit geekish in our love of words and literature--our second biggest ongoing quarrel is about the merits of the serial comma).

For my money, there are three of Austen's six finished novels that one can make a good argument for being her "best":

"Pride and Prejudice" (the popular choice, and my wife's)
"Emma" (the educated choice--most lit profs go with this one)
"Persuasion" (the truly refined choice)

Harrold Bloom in "The Western Canon" calls it perhaps a "perfect novel," and while I disagree with some of his interpretations of the characters (yes, blasphemy, I know), I wholeheartedly concur with his overal assessment.

While all of Austen's novels are generally comic, "Persuasion" is the most nuanced. It's been described as "autumnal" and that word suits it. There's a bittersweetness to it that you just don't get in Austen's other work.

The novel it comes closest to in terms of character and plot is probably one of her earliest novels "Sense and Sensibility." Like Eleanor in that novel, Anne is older and more mature than the typical Austen heroine. In fact, she's dangerously close to being "over the hill" at the age of 27(!). Love has passed her by, apparently.

But unlike Eleanor, who one always feels will muddle through even if she ends up disappointed in affairs of the heart, there's something more dramatically at stake with Anne. She is in great danger of ceasing to exist, not physically, but socially. When we meet her, she's barely there at all. Although a woman of strong feelings, she is ignored and literally overlooked by most of the other characters. In the universe of Austen's novels, the individual doesn't truly exist unless connected with the social world, and while Anne has a stoic strength, we understand that she is in some senses doomed if things don't change for her.

This is where we see what the mature Austen can do with a character type that she couldn't when she was younger.

This edition also has the original ending of the novel included as an appendix, which gives us a rare and fascinating look in to Austen as a technical artist.

I read this novel as an undergraduate, and have reread it several times since. I even took the novel with me to Bath on a trip to England, and spent a wonderful summer evening reading it while sitting in Sidney Gardens, across the street from one of the homes Austen lived in during her time in Bath, listening to Mozart's Piano Concerto #27. It's one of my favorite memories.

More than any other of her novels, "Persuasion" shows how Austen dealt with profound existential questions within the confines of her deceptively limited setting and cast of characters. Those who think Austen is simply a highbrow precursor to contemporary romance novels or social comedies are missing the colossal depth of thought that is beneath the surface of any of her novels, this one most of all.

Austen is nearly unique in the history of the novel for the consistency of her excellence. While most novelists have a clear masterpiece that stands out among their work, and usually a fairly sizable number of works that are adequate but not enduring, all of Austen's novels stand up to repeated readings and deserve a wide audience among today's readers.

Having said that, "Persuasion" is simply the best of the best.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.4k followers
January 29, 2022
I wanted to read this before the new Netflix adaptation comes out later this year.

I found it quite slow paced but things do pick up in the last 100 pages. I still love Austen's writing, humour and wit but didn't care as much about this book compared to Emma and Pride and Prejudice.

Loved when Anne corrected a man about "women being more fickle in love" by mentioning that he was basing his opinion on books... written by men!

I did watch the 2007 movie and that kissing scene has given me enough secondhand embarrassment for a lifetime XD

Not my favorite by her but also not my least (sorry Northanger Abbey!)
Profile Image for Audrey Hope.
3 reviews11.6k followers
August 18, 2021
I’m a firm believer in reading a book before the movie comes out. In this case, I revisited Persuasion, by the incomparable Jane Austen before the 2022 movie. Say what you will, but I think you can get something new out of a Jane Austen novel every time you return to it. Persuasion is a good reminder that true love is worth fighting for and no one can tell you who or what is worth your time, but you.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews65.8k followers
October 31, 2016
Jane Austen never disappoints me! This was the first time I've read this book, and, since it's one of her less popular novels, I didn't know what to expect. However, I quickly was swept up into the story and felt all of Anne's emotions like they were my own. I really enjoyed how, unlike the other Austen novels I've read, this one focuses on love lost and how, over time, people change in some ways but remain the same in other ways. Anne and Captain Wentworth aren't my favorite Austen characters, but I still very much enjoyed how they were forced to face many obstacles, reflect, and mature before getting their happily ever after. My only complaint is that I wish we got to know more about Captain Wentworth, so I could feel the love for him as strongly as Anne does.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
April 11, 2020
Jane Austen is ruthless and brilliant; she is sarcastic, subtle and superbly witty. She writes in such a matter of fact way that the absurdity of her characters is in plain sight. Sir Walter Elliot is a complete fool. Austen doesn’t need to tell her reader this, she shows it to them. The man is completely bankrupt, but he completely refuses to cut down on his ridiculously high expenditure or sell of any of his lands. He is so obsessed with his outer image that he risks all to keep it in a state of, what he perceives as, perfection.

Then there is the way he perceives his daughters. Elizabeth is vain and stupid like her farther, but, to him, she is wonderful. She adheres to the strict code of womanly/daughterly custom; she is also a self-absorbed flatterer; thus, her pig headed farther loves her dearly. The protagonist Anne, on the other hand, is intelligent, kind and occasionally speaks her mind; thus, her father and sister view her as furniture. She is “only Anne.” There is no affection for the younger sister because she isn’t so fixated upon her outer image. She is pushed aside and rarely listened to. At the start of the novel, this is so much so, that it doesn’t even feel like she is present. The initially quiet heroine is overshadowed by her overbearing farther and the ridiculous nature of society.

And now, with Austen at my back, I’m going to slate Sir Walter to death. Let’s start with the opening of the book. Just look at the mastery of the tone:

“SIR WALTER ELLIOT, of Kellynch-hall, in Somerset- shire, 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:



This symbolises is high self-regard along with his obsession with his personal status; it is all that is important to him: it is all he wants to read about. As a result, he spends hours reading and editing the entries, and turns to it when in need of comfort. Traditionally, the book that would be taken in an individual’s time of need would be the Bible. This demonstrates that to Sir Walter, his status is the most important aspect of his life; it’s all he truly cares about. There is also a degree of significance in the fact that all the edits Sir Walter makes are past instances, there are no new entries to signify the recent decrease in monetary fortune. The book, and him, both belong in the past; he is constantly looking back at his family’s foundations, but doing very little, prior to Lady Russel’s intervention, to actually improve their current situation. This is both comic and contemptible because when his estate is falling into ruin, he only cares about its outward appearance making him a caricature of the old class; it, suggests that they, perhaps, need to go or at the very least change.

This is where the new, more attractive, navel gentlemen come in. The idea of what constituted gentlemen was becoming more flexible during the Romantic era and nineteenth century. Previously, the higher societies predominantly consisted of those who received their status at birth: the landed gentry. The idea of what makes a gentleman was moving forward with the changing opportunities afforded by the Napoleonic wars. The war meant that men from common birth like Admiral Croft and Captains Wentworth and Benwick, could climb the social ladder due to fortune and title granted by successful soldering. They’d earnt the money that was associated with a higher place within society. They could enter it with a degree of equality.

description-Captain Wentworth

So, worthy men have an increase in fortune; they’ve earnt their rank. But Sir Walter, as caricature of the old class, opposes this notion vehemently. This can be seen with, you guessed it, is obsession with outer appearance. This time it’s with his physical beauty. He artificially attempts to cling to his youth, which can be seen when he converses with Anne later in the novel. He has a surprisingly large amount of knowledge about skin treatments that defy age. His self-absorbency with his physical appearance is symbolic of his perceived appearance within society. To him, a gentleman is supposed to possess certain outward qualities. He finds the idea of Admiral Croft disturbing, common and ungentlemanly. He remarks that he has only two objections to sailors:

“First, as being the means of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it cut’s up a man’s youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old sooner than any other man; I have observed it all my life.”

According to him, this can lead to one becoming an object of disgust such as Admiral Baldwin who is “all lines and wrinkles” and “rough and rugged to the last degree.” Sir Walter is practically disgusted at this “wretched life” of a sea fairer. Never mind the fact that he has spent his life in service to his, and Sir Walter’s, country, which contrasts with how Sir Walter has spent his whole life in service to himself. Yet, his position in society is higher and more esteemed. The navy is deserves his respect; they helped to facilitate an England that remained under English rule and not one under the thumb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The disapproval of Sir Walter is suggestive of Austen’s approval. She is arguing for the benefits of a system like the navy; it promotes its members based upon merit and due distinction. This is in direct contrast to the old system that Sir Walter reveres. There is a certain degree of irony in the fact that Admiral Croft can afford to live in Sir Walter’s home when Sir Walter cannot. It is a symbolic demotion, one that leaves the self-made man living in deserved splendour. This is where Austen uses free indirect style to suggest that the narrator’s opinions are similar to our protagonist’s. She has a choice between the old breed of gentry, a man resembling her father’s class, or a young romantic naval officer who represents the benefits of an increase in social mobility. It’s obvious which one she chooses. Anne is not a fool. She was persuaded once, but she now sees with clarity and focus. She can see the worth of the two men and knows which one is worth her time.

description-William Elliot (The young shadow of Sir Walter)

From analysing the representation of the contrasting gentlemen, it becomes apparent that Austen gives social mobility positive connotations. Sir Walter Elliot remains in a position of higher social rank, but his so called social inferiors are afforded with gentlemen like qualities, ones that he so clearly lacks. They are admitted to high social circles despite their birth. They possess more honour, sense and purpose than the old class of gentlemen that Sir Walter represents. Therefore, when a man such a Sir Walter, one who is vein and self-obsessed, is resistant to the idea of social mobility, it becomes rather difficult not to be persuaded by the benefits of its progress that Austen evokes.

I love Jane Austen’s novels. Admittedly, I’ve only read two, but I can already see the brilliance of the author. Her novels are so subtly clever with hidden suggestions. I really admire what she does. I’m sticking with my rule from here on out though. I attest that each Austen novel needs to be read at least twice, perhaps even thrice, to get the full effect of what she does. I missed so much of it on my initial reading. It’s quite surprising, but sometimes you need to have seen the entire picture before you can judge each individual part. There’s just so much to take from this. I’ve only focused on one angle in my review, though there is so much going on. I’ve actually cut this down a little because it was starting to get far too long for a review. This is an English student’s dream. I need to go and read more Austen novels! Why can’t I have an entire module on her!

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Profile Image for Ilse (away until November).
475 reviews3,119 followers
January 31, 2023
We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.

Perhaps many this year have inwardly uttered similar sighs, more or less confined to their house, weeks without a chance to see friends or loved ones turning into months, perhaps even missing the everyday routine of having a chat at the coffee machine in the office. Things can get pretty dark without seeing a perspective.

Readers however can rely on a priceless panacea : when our own thoughts, emotions or tribulations simply are getting too much, we can at least escape or find relief by submerging into someone else’s by picking the right book. During the first lockdown Persuasion was such a book for me. How not to care for Anne Elliot? She turned out an ideal heroine, making me forget for a few hours my own woes purely by empathizing with hers and eventually exulting in the happiness that will be her part.

A delectable novel, incarnate grace.

Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
287 reviews558 followers
December 19, 2020
"There is hardly any personal defect which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."

Wow, this is an amazing read - I'm not sure how it could get any better. I never imagined any of Austen's books coming any closer to the place I hold Pride and Prejudice, but Persuasion made me make more space in that place for one more book. I found, Persuasion to be just as good, if not better in almost all aspects. I loved every little bit of it and haven't skipped one word.

"To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least better than being rejected as no good at all;"

The striking difference, I found, while reading Persuasion - compared to author's other books - is that it seemed a lot more real. Persuasion's way of empathizing with the protagonist felt to be in a much deeper level, while most experiences of Anne Elliot are easily relatable for the reader - fore those were a lot real and less fictional. However, the majority of other characters does share the characteristics of pride, vanity and prejudice which all other books did have in common.

"It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on."

As for how well written everything is: it is incredibly fulfilling. I don't understand how it was possible for the author to do so, but everything is narrated perfectly. In retrospect, had I disliked any part or even most of the story, even then, I sure would've loved this book, for, the way each sentence is written is amazing, and it will keep the reader immersed thoroughly. Now add it to the fact the story itself being great, and it is not a surprise that we have one of the best books of all time.

"My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation;"

"There are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late."
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
April 28, 2020
‘you pierce my soul. i am half agony, half hope. i have loved none but you.’

get yourself a man who understands the swoon-worthiness of a well-written love letter, amirite ladiesss??

this is my first jane austen novel and the reading experience was exactly how i imagined it would be.

as with the majority of classic novels i have read, i found the writing to be sooo dense. maybe my brain just isnt equipped to process that kind of writing, but this definitely took me much longer to read than im used to. i also found it quite heavy in the narration - so much telling and not enough showing through dialogue and action. but i get that was the style of writing for the time period, so its not JAs fault.

i do appreciate the commentary this story provides not only on love, but on womens position in society, duty to family, and the handling of regret. i found anne to be very likeable and a character worth rooting for.

overall, not a bad experience and i am definitely open to trying more of JAs other novels.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books775 followers
December 25, 2022
Jane Austen understood that nothing is sexier than standing seven feet away from someone, making brief eye contact, and then going home. You got to love her for that.
Profile Image for Bella.
561 reviews15k followers
April 13, 2022
Why did no one tell me mama Austen was the founder of second chance romance and yearning
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
430 reviews4,210 followers
September 14, 2023
I’m going there. I do not like Jane Austen.

Oh, Persuasion. Persuasion.

He was the most cheerful, agreeable, respectful, charming, hospitable, warm, friendly, kind, pleasant, courteous, delightful person who ever lived.

This is how Jane Austen writes. It is so over the top. Can anyone just be normal?

Also, the dialogue. It is so unrealistic. Why do the characters have these huge monologues when they are supposedly speaking to someone else? It is so boring.

In Persuasion, Anne Eliot once held a flame for Frederick Wentworth. She was all set to marry the poor guy, but she was persuaded that he wasn’t rich enough. Now, it is 8 years later, and she bumps into him again.

What will the predictable Jane Austen do?

The only redeeming quality of Persuasion is Anne’s family. They think that they are so great, but the only thing that they have managed to do is run their estate into the ground and tell themselves how awesome they are for doing next to nothing.

As for the Netflix video that was such a scandal, I thought it was great. At least it was shorter than the book.

Well, another book off the 100 Books to Read According to the BBC AND 1,000 Books to Read by James Mustich.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews39 followers
August 22, 2021
(Book 933 From 1001 books) - Persuasion, Jane Austen

Persuasion is the last novel fully completed by Jane Austen. It was published at the end of 1817, six months after her death.

The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt.

They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife’s brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years.

This sets the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second "bloom".

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «وسوسه»، «اغوا»؛ «ترغیب»؛ اثر: جین اوستین (آستن)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و دوم ماه آوریل سال1989میلادی

عنوان یک: وسوسه، اثر: جین اوستین (آستن)؛ برگردان: شهریار ضرغام، تهران، انتشارت اکباتان، 1368؛ چاپ دیگر سمیر، 1390؛ 312ص؛ موضوع: داستان‌های نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 19م

عنوان دوم: اغوا، همراه با سرگذشتی از جین آستین، نویسنده: جین آستن؛ مترجم: سارا برمخشاد؛ تهران، ابر سفید: مهتاب‏‫، 1391، در 310ص، شابک9786009254514؛

عنوان سوم: ترغیب؛ اثر: جین آستن؛ مترجم: رضا رضایی؛ تهران، نشر نی‏‫‬، 1388، در ‏308ص، شابک 9789641850250؛ چاپ دوم 1388؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛ چاپ ششم 1392؛

داستان در باره ی: «آن الیوت»، یک زن بیست و هفت ساله ی «انگلیسی» است، که خانواده اش به خاطر بدهی، تصمیم به نقل مکان، به جای ارزانتری را دارند؛ در همین زمان، جنگ نیز پایان میابد؛ آنها خانه ی خود را، به یک فرد از خانواده «ادمیرال»، و همسرش اجاره میدهند؛ برادر خانم صاحبخانه تازه ی ایشان، کاپیتان نیروی دریایی «فردریک ونت وورث» است، که در سال 1806میلادی، با «آن» نامزد بوده، و حالا آنها باز هم با هم دیدار میکنند؛ هر دو مجرد هستند، و در طول هشت سال بگذشته نیز، هیچگونه رابطه ی دیگری نداشته اند؛ و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 31/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 30/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
June 18, 2019
4.5 stars ... and 10 million stars for The Letter.

"I must go, uncertain of my fate...”

I adore Jane Austen, and I love the plot of Persuasion: Two people who loved each other deeply and parted badly, meeting again after eight years apart. Everything seems to combine to prevent Anne and Captain Wentworth from ever being able to come to an understanding again: his bitter feelings, her faded looks (mostly through unhappiness; she's only 28 or 29), and other, younger girls vying for his attention, which he's only too happy to give them.

Austen's intelligence, dry wit and humor are evidenced on every page. The melancholy, autumnal feel of the first part of the book, when all you can see is Anne's blighted hopes and how she is disregarded and mistreated by almost everyone around her, is wrenching. Then, like springtime, comes the slow, gradual return of joy and hope to Anne's life.

I loved the energy and achievements of the military characters, as opposed to the stagnant, superficial aristocracy. And mostly: That Letter. *sigh*

I do have a few beefs: The actual writing here doesn't seem as nuanced and deep as some of Austen's other works. The characters tend to be a little bit one-dimensional: Anne Elliot is so unfailingly noble and kind and self-sacrificing; her family members are so invariably shallow and hard-hearted and self-centered. I got quite tired of Anne's nerves or whatever getting overwrought and her needing to retire to meditate in solitude to recover her self-possession; it happened All. The. Time. Anyone who thinks Fanny in Mansfield Park is a bit of a stick in the mud needs to take a closer look at Anne. And the last line of the book is still vaguely anticlimactic to me; I keep thinking Jane might have come up with a better ending if she'd had more time to polish the book.

Still, there's so much to love in Persuasion, and the good far outweighs the bad for me. And I'm a romantic and a hopeful person at heart, so the persistence of love through the years, and the ability of the characters (with a little luck) to work through injured pride on the one side, and unsupportive family and friends on the other, and find lasting happiness together, warms my heart.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
529 reviews488 followers
September 27, 2022
Persuasion is said to be the best work of Jane Austen. While I have reservations on that point, I do see why it is said so. Persuasion is quite different from most of her preceding work. In many of them, her writing is light and glows with "sparkle and spirit". But in Persuasion, her spirited and sparkle writing is replaced by more mature writing. It is still light but there are more warmth and emotion in her writing as well as more depth and colour. In short, Jane Austen has written Persuasion with so much feeling to make it stand tall among all her other work.

The main female protagonist, Anne Elliot, is a mature heroine who has lost her "youth and bloom" over the years as a result of her pining for a lost love. She is unloved and neglected by the family except by the dear friend Lady Russel. But she is courageous and has a superior, cultivated mind to bear all indifference and to endure her loss without resentment. Anne reminded me of Cinderella; the only difference was that she had an indifferent father instead of a wicked stepmother. Anne is strong. She is self-made, kind, and has a keen intelligence. She secures her happiness more or less by her means supported by circumstances rather than any support rendered by family or friends. Anne stands out from most of Austen heroines. Perhaps she is equal in stamina to the much loved Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. And I don't know if it is because of my partiality and obsession with Elizabeth Bennet over the years, but I couldn't help feeling that Anne is sort of a mature version of Elizabeth, only that Elizabeth would not have been easily persuaded.

Captain Wentworth is yet another beloved hero and could easily be placed in line with Darcy, Knightley, and Colonel Brandon. I'm amazed at Jane Austen's ability to create these heroes and heroines who are felt so real and who would undoubtedly occupy a place in all reader's hearts. No Austen hero or heroine is ever forgotten and for centuries they have survived to become "immortal".

Like in all Jane Austen's work, Persuasion too has a sweet love story. But unlike in others, it is a mature love; one that was found, lost, and found again; one that has endured an eight and half years of separation. And what is more striking is Austen's excellent and emotional writing of Anne's feelings: her pain and suffering for having given up the man she loved; her painful situation at having to meet him after eight and half years; her pain at his cool reception of her; her agony in watching of him pursue another woman very much younger than her; her knowledge that her once pretty looks and youth have been robbed over the years and she would no longer be attractive in his eyes.; her knowledge that she has lost her chance to be happy again; and above all her profound realization that she still loved him deeply and dearly. All these emotions are detailed and beautifully and touchingly expressed that they almost broke my heart.

In addition, there is also Austen's social commentary, criticism, and realism. Through the characters of Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Mary, she exposes the vanity of the titled and mocks them for their air of superiority. At the same time, she gently hints at the decline of superiority maintained by the titled class through the declining in a wealth of Sir Walter and shows the emergence of a new wealthy class in Naval Officers who would gradually elevate their position in the society with their wealth, gaining respect and admiration. Two brothers of Jane Austen were Navy officers and perhaps, this was her tribute to them.

Overall, it is a beautiful book. I loved every minute of reading it. And I believe this will be my most favourite of Jane Austen novel.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
March 23, 2022
Anne fucked up and turned down the love of her life.


Not that she'd really admit it.
Even at the end! She was all, I was right to listen to advice from my elders, but she did admit that they should have revisited the he's not eligable situation a lot sooner.
Also, she was kind of doing the best she could with what she had to work with back in the day. And honestly, how was she (at such a young age) to know the difference between a guy who says he's going to work hard and make it big and does, and a guy who says he's going to work hard and make it big, but turns out to be a lazy doofus?
Because we all know that one poor idiot who didn't ask enough questions, thought that love was the only thing you needed, and trusted in her man's good sense too much.


So, yes. Anne did lose the love of her life due to caution. But! She also didn't end up with some hippie stoner who sat on her couch all day and talked about his plans to teach the cat to play the harmonica.
Life's a balancing act, ladies.


I like this one. Anne isn't some twit who sits around blubbering about it, but you also get that she loved Frederick very much. It's the age-old story of the one that got away and you're genuinely rooting for her the entire time.
I gotta admit, I wasn't all that crazy about him at the beginning of the book when it looked like he was flirting with the cute young ladies in front of her. But then I realized that she had broken his seafaring heart into sad little pieces, and maybe he deserved a bit of payback.


Ok, so the most memorable part of the story to me was this scene where this married couple were driving along in their carriage and she kept telling him how to drive. <--you nailed it, Jane!
Just goes to show you, underneath it all, things aren't really much different.
And it's nice to know that people have always been kind of nuts.


Recommended for Austen fans.

Greta Scacchi was the narrator of the audiobook I listened to and she did a lovely job if you're interested in listening rather than reading.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
April 26, 2023
Dear Miss Austen,

Ummm... Anne Elliot is past her youth and bloom??? Heh? She is MY AGE! Scratch that - she is younger than me.

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..........Basically, get off my lawn, kids. I mean it..............

In all seriousness, this is the first Jane Austen book that does not feature a pretty and charming teenager looking for a perfect match in a cultured and rich gentleman. Instead, her protagonist Anne Elliot is well into the respectable age of seven-and-twenty, equipped with composure and maturity that only age can bring. (Hey, maybe advanced age is not so bad, after all! But I happily maintain that mentally I'm still eleven. Oh, and as I said, get off my lawn!)

Anne finds herself in a quite uncomfortable situation. Years ago, she was engaged to a dashing young sailor whom she subsequently rejected on the well-meaning but ultimately flawed advice of a trusted friend. Now that sailor, having transformed into a respectable and well-to-do, and still dashing Captain Wentworth, reenters Anne's circle of acquaintances, clearly still resenting Anne, and appears to be actively looking for a younger prettier future spouse. All that while Anne, ruined by age (just kidding, she is still quite pretty, as it turns out) realizes she still harbors her old affection for him but needs (of course!) to maintain all the necessary societal proprieties.

On top of all of that, Anne has the most rotten family! Her father is a pathetic handsome gentleman unhealthily obsessed with his own good looks (I mean, the man has a bedroom full of mirrors! Puh-lease.) Her younger sister will claw your eyes out if she were to think you'd eclipse her as a center of attention even for a minute (this is a woman who feels slighted if her dying son gets more attention than she does), and will spend hours sending little verbal put-downs in Anne's direction while shamelessly using her help for anything imaginable. And yet, this pathetic creature is still "not so repulsive and unsisterly as Elizabeth", the older sister.
"To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least better than being rejected as no good at all."
And all of Anne's family members seem to compete with each other in how to best put down Anne - the treatment that she easily sees but tolerates without complaining and in good spirits. Oh, and they have to downsize because all the vain and shallow family members are quite rotten at preserving the family fortune.

Basically, to sum up: .

Anne Elliot is a well-mannered, reasonable, proper, and sensible heroine. Good thing she is NOT the one narrating this story, or it would have been quite bland. Instead, we are treated to a quite snarky (albeit within strict early-19th-century British sensibilities) narrative voice, picking apart all of our characters and their environment with a lovely and a bit sarcastic commentary. Ah, Miss Austen, you were really getting fed up with your well-mannered society, weren't you? And I love it.

I love how delightfully drama-free this story is. No huge events, no shocking twists, nothing except for reasonable behavior and not-too-exciting provincial life (well, in all honesty, excepting two near-fatal falls, at least one of which was getting me all worried about epidural vs. subdural hematoma, which is no joke). The only hint of strong passion is in a short letter from Wentworth to Anne, and even then the declaration of love is done in a subdued epistolary form. And it is precisely this quiet flow of the story that creates an enjoyable atmosphere, strangely.
"But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days."
And another thing that I came to appreciate is the attempt to decry the classism of English society. The most admirable people in this book are not the gentlemen by birth, unlike the proverbial Mr. Darcy (ughh) but the naval officers and their circles - Wentworth and the Crofts especially. It's like Austen was finally acknowledging that it's not only the birth into the gentry class that makes you a decent person. Way to go, Miss Austen! Congratulations on succeeding in making all your hypocritical gentlemen with overblown feeling of self-importance appear to be total idiots like they should be:
"A man is in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other line."
A lovely 3.5-star book. It does not quite reach the 4-star enjoyment of Jane Eyre, but it is a delightful book with which to spend an overcast day filled with bronchitis cough.
"Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness as a very resolute character."
Profile Image for Fionnuala.
791 reviews
August 11, 2023
While ploughing through Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport recently, the frequent references to Jane Austen's Persuasion prompted me to take this neat book down from its place on a high shelf alongside its five sisters and keep it within view as a kind of incentive to finish Ellmann's 1000 page tome.

As it turned out, I didn't need an incentive to finish Ducks because it self-propelled in the second half, but even so, I still offered myself the pleasure of re-reading Persuasion once I'd finished it. There's nothing I like better than when one book leads naturally to another without me having to scratch my head and wonder what might make a good follow-on to what I've been immersed in.

The narrator of Ducks is well versed in all of Jane Austen's novels. She ponders on the dilemma of Marianne and Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility when confronted with an issue between her temperamental daughter and a good-for-nothing boyfriend. She mentions Emma Woodhouse a few times, and several characters from Pride and Prejudice too—indeed Mrs Bennett's famous line, "You have no compassion for my poor nerves" becomes a kind of unspoken mantra in Ellmann's book.

But the Austen character who is most often referenced is Anne Elliot, the main character of Persuasion. Ellmann's narrator identifies strongly with Anne. They both spent their childhoods in beautiful houses which their families no longer have access to. They are both very attached to the memory of their mothers whom they lost in their early teens, and the loss of the mother continues to influence their lives in different ways.

Of course the two books are very different in other respects, Ellmann's being a wide-ranging commentary on contemporary world issues, and including vast numbers of references to film, literature and poetry, while Austen's is a very contained account of a little slice of English life in the early 1800s, with very few literary references. The two such references I found are brief and easily glossed over—if I noticed them in previous reads, I moved on from them just as quickly. But I'm a different reader now and I love to find hints of other works in the literature I read. The first reference I spotted was to 18th century poet, Mathew Prior's Henry and Emma which tells of a test of loyalty which a lover imposes on his loved one: Emma must overcome a series of challenges in order to prove her constancy to Henry. Austen inserts the reference to Prior's poem just when Anne Elliot is being asked by the man she has loved for years to nurse back to health the girl he now seems to be in love with, so the story of Henry setting trials for Emma seems very apt indeed. And as we read on through Anne Elliot's story, we see the parallel more and more as Anne's constancy is further tested.

The second literary reference I came across is less significant to the plot and more connected to Austen's people-watching skills, the aspect of her writing I admire the most. How perceptive of people's foibles she must have been to be able to transfer to the page brief character sketches which manage to contain a host of subtle information especially relating to the more ludicrous traits of the personalities of her characters. In her other novels, there are portraits of ridiculous figures aplenty: Mrs Bennet, Mr Collins, Miss Bates, Mr Woodhouse, and several others I could mention, but surely none are so comically outrageous as super-conceited Sir Walter Eliot and his equally puffed-up daughters Elizabeth and Mary. The very modest Anne Eliot is sorely tried, as if she needed the extra challenge, in having them for family!

However, there is one occasion when Anne makes an effort to put herself forward in the pushy manner of her family, but she is immediately self-aware enough to laugh at herself for the attempt : She could not do so, without comparing herself with Miss Larolles, the inimitable Miss Larolles.
As there is no character called Miss Larolles in this book, and Jane Austen doesn't elaborate further, I guessed the inimitable Miss Larolles must be a literary figure who would be familiar to Austen's readers. And so she is, as I found when I looked her up. She is a very ridiculous character from Fanny Burney's Cecilia, which was written about thirty five years before Austen wrote Persuasion. As I've never read anything by Fanny Burney, I decided there and then to begin Cecilia as soon as I finished Persuasion which I did all too quickly.

Burney's is a long book, quite as long as Ducks, Newburyport, but I'm happily reading it at the moment, finding other parallels with Austen's books, and relieved once again that one book has led me directly to another.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews13.9k followers
September 5, 2016
4.5 stars

I was nervous that the hype surrounding Jane Austen would make this book seem subpar to me. I'm not a huge reader of classics-- a fact i'm working on rectifying-- so when I wasn't very much enjoying the first two chapters, I got nervous. But as soon as I pushed through to the heart of the storyline, I began to crave in-class discussions over this book. I absolutely loved Anne as a main character, and Captain Wentworth was such a fitting companion for her that I was hooked, dying to find out how their lives played out. This book made me feel a lot of things-- especially the feeling that comes with crying at 4 AM about fictional men-- and I'm thoroughly surprised that such an old book still remains touching and relatable. I just wish that Austen implemented more dialogue in her writing, which is why I took off half a star; I feel like sometimes the book was bogged down with too many paragraphs of thought and not enough spoken word. But regardless, I am definitely intending on picking up Pride & Prejudice soon to see if it grabs me just as much as this one!
Profile Image for Luís.
1,939 reviews602 followers
March 31, 2023
It is always a pleasure to immerse ourselves in Jane Austen's work, especially its original English version!
I like this author. However, Persuasion didn't pardon the pun; it persuaded me. I found that one slipped on the plot without going into the deep feelings of Anne Elliot, who is supposed to be the main character.
I say "supposed" because the young woman is ultimately not put forward. She is present throughout the novel but only exists concerning the other characters. Her own love story only comes in the last chapters.
Maybe that's what disappointed me about this book. Still, perhaps it was also Jane Austen's goal to show how young girls in 19th-century English society only exist through their social condition and the place that their male entourage is willing to grant it.
The writing is still relatively fluid, and the novel is without too many lengths (even if, it must admit, not much is happening).
It was a pleasant reading, especially the "British 19th-century" side.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
September 3, 2020
Are second chances possible ? Readers of this marvelous book by Jane Austen her last completed, will find out...Anne Elliot 19, tense and insecure, had broken an engagement to Frederick Wentworth 23, the family objected to the poor sailor with no apparent prospects, her father Sir Walter Elliot, baronet, a proud man with a luxury loving streak, ( his late wife, had kept him in check) living in Kellynch- Hall, Somersetshire, the widower was greatly supported by his eldest daughter, selfish Elizabeth now 29, the two are very much alike, handsome, arrogant, cold, looking down at people they think are beneath them, she is the prettiest of his three children, the youngest Mary frequently claiming illness to get attention, would marry easy going Charles Musgrove, scolding him for his perceived neglect, and be unable to control the children. Even Anne's only friend, intelligent, influential, Lady Russell had not looked kindly to the marriage. Eight years have passed, the then teenager is now 27, much more sure of herself and her emotions Anne is, nevertheless always ignored by others, regrets turning down Wentworth who has become a captain with his own ship, war spoils have made him rich, when peace is finally declared, ( Napoleon in exile ) he is free to come home...Extravagant Sir Walter just can't stop himself from spending all his money, a position to maintain in society, dignity demands living like the superior being he thinks he is, the baronet believes and is entitled to this. But going broke fast, Lady Russell and his lawyer friend Mr. Sheperd, urges something , to fix the problem swiftly or ruined soon, Mr. Elliot; the haughty man refuses at first, however reality finally sets in. Sir Walter has to rent Kellynch -Hall quietly to pay the creditors, the shame must be hidden though. Moving to the elegant resort town of Bath with Elizabeth, the most famous in England, seeing important members of the upper class, more his style and enjoys it immensely. Admiral Croft, Captain Wentworth's wise brother- in - law, his pleasant sister Sophia as bright as her husband, married the now retired naval officer, courageously following him from ship to ship, takes ironically Sir Walter's, (the insolvent baronet) fabulous mansion , with war's end there are a lot of unemployed sailors around . The meetings between Anne, ( she stayed behind, for a few months ) and Frederick, are quite uncomfortable you can imagine but with their families and friends so entangled, it can not be avoided. The former couple are nervous, what can they talk about at dinners and parties, traveling to visit a friend, living by the riveting sea, their eyes pretending not to notice each other, which is silly, both are tongue tied and embarrassed, speak very little between themselves, afraid to make the the first move, but in a room full of noisy, interesting people, many are admirers of Frederick and Anne, still only the two, are important to the duo. Will the Captain and Anne, forget the painful past, and be persuaded to resume their love, can the future bring happiness that has been denied the pair for too many years. Wasted by unperceptive family and friends, who never knew their real feelings ? This brilliant novel, asks that question, and the answer while not a surprise, makes for a splendid reading experience...
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,301 reviews22k followers
July 9, 2008
What can I possibly tell you about Jane Austen? I really enjoyed this. I really like that by the end you get to move a bit out of the head of the main character, away from her self-deprecations and almost masochistic lacerations and get to see what Captain Wentworth actually did think of her – rather than her-less-than-self-congratulatory version.

Okay, it is all very romantic – but what I found most interesting in this book was how I felt compelled to consider how much of the world we learn by having it reported to us. There is the life we live and know first hand, well, more or less, and then there is the world that we know from ‘trusted sources’. And all of this adds to make up the whole of our perspective of ‘reality’, whatever that might be.

There is always a layer of reality below which we can only ever guess at – and that is what is really going on in the minds of others. Sometimes we do discover something of this – and that might either bring joy or pain – but otherwise we construct and reconstruct the world on the best narrative we can make from the frowns or smiles of those around us, glimpsed however imperfectly in the twinkling of a moment.

A while ago I took a very dear friend of mine to the local art gallery and showed her a couple of little statue things they have there of two old women. The artist has created these two miniature people – two homunculi who are engrossed in the conversation they whisper between themselves. If you view them from the front they look to be talking away quite contentedly – almost conspiratorially - but as you move around to view them from the back you see that one of them looks very anxious, perhaps almost about to cry, perhaps oddly frightened. This fear isn’t something you notice at all from the front. But in life we don’t get to have this 360 degree perspective on the people we meet and talk to – and so only one of these views is open to us. The guesses we make on the motivations and desires of others are always partial, always mixed up with our own motivations and desires and misattributions.

So it is that Anne Elliot spends much of the novel – perhaps a woman a little too good for this world. She can even watch on with quiet resignation as the man she loves seems to be choosing someone else to marry.

There are many interesting themes in this book – class distinctions and their worth in judging the value of someone, when to take the advice of someone and when not to, how jealousy has much to recommend it in regaining the love of your ex. But one of the things I was most interested in was the theme of ‘love and property’ which Marx and Engels talk about in the Manifesto. It is a knee jerk reaction now to say we should marry for love – but in the immortal words of an Irish folk song:

“Love is pleasing
And love is teasing
And love is a pleasure when first it’s new
But as it grows older
Sure the love grows colder
‘Til it fades away like the morning dew.”

This is a romance, so we don’t get to see this happen to our protagonists, but the relationships of those around them would hardly make one seek to rush into the married state. From the bizarre and almost incestuous relationship between Anne’s father and her older sister, to the marriage of her younger sister, Mary – and the marriage of Benwick to Louisa is surely destined to crash and burn.

Everyone in Anne’s family is unspeakably awful – when Austen wants to create a character that is a pain in the bum she does so with unerring perception. Mary and her father are masterworks in the description of the obnoxious in human form – the botched soul.

Ms Austen also obviously had a bit of a thing for the ‘strong, silent types’ (think Mr Darcy without the fairytale quest bit in the middle) – but there is also something of the Enlightenment about this book. The idea that real feeling, the hope of a truly happy marriage, can only be based on the common rationality of the couple at hand. Love is a mingling of minds, rather than bodies. And this isn’t some sort of nineteenth century prudishness, or at least, not only, but more a hypothesis that is played out in the marriages of the major characters.

Love, then, is a version of that highest type of friendship that our old mate Aristotle was so fond of – and that life cruelly teaches us is so incredibly rare for us with people of either sex. To have both sexual attraction and mental attraction with one single ‘other person’ is perhaps really asking too much and just being greedy.

Still, I guess all would be well if not for those damn hormones. And of everyone in the book poor old Benwick probably cops the worst press - for not being constant enough to the memory of his recently departed ex-wife. The discussion at this point reminded me a bit of Hamlet whinging about his mum and uncle. But this does all end up with that most wonderful of quotes – where Anne says that women may not love deeper, but that they do love longer, even after all hope is gone. If you are going to get a slap in a piece of classic fiction, it is probably best that it happen in a way that results in such a line. The fact she is almost moved to tears after saying this line and that it is basically the turning point of the entire book really is a lovely thing.

If only in life it could be that saying the utterly perfect thing would reap such rich rewards… But then, I guess that does rather put the onus on finding the utterly perfect thing to say.

Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
February 6, 2018
to persuade (verb)

“to make someone do or believe something by giving them a good reason to do it or by talking to that person and making them believe it”

Jane Austen delivers a PERSUASIVE analysis of the concept of PERSUASION, slowly PERSUADING the reader that being of a PERSUADABLE temper, commonly regarded as a virtue in young women of her time, is a weakness and a barrier to personal happiness.


The answer is quite simple, and still as valid as two centuries ago: more often than not, the kind, caring and sensitive characters tend to be PERSUADABLE, whereas the egotistical, narcissistic, and stubborn bullies tend to be PERSUASIVE.

Anne Elliot, the classical Cinderella in a vain, ambitious and superficial family, sacrifices her love to accommodate the pride and prejudice of those who call themselves her friends and allies. Eight years pass during which she PERSUADES herself that her role is that of a supporting member of the family, patiently attending to the tantrums of her sisters and accepting the disregard of her conceited father.

When her former love unexpectedly enters the stage again, they both remain PERSUADED that the other one is lost forever, and play a PERSUASIVE game of dissimulation before finally reaching the PERSUASION that love conquers all - even society’s coercive directives.

The lesson learned from this social study is that there is hardly a case in which PERSUASION is unbiased and truly beneficial. The moment a person needs to be convinced to do something against his or her natural inclination, all kinds of complications, sacrifices and frustrations are likely to follow.

Listen to yourself before you listen to PERSUASIVE bullies, is my PERSUASION, after reading Jane Austen.

I was thus a PERSUADABLE reader.
Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,671 followers
April 20, 2016
It's a worrisome affair if you have to plod through an Austen work all the while unsuccessfully battling the urge to slap more than half of the central characters. And this comes from someone who is well-accustomed to Austen's often whiny, vain, and hilariously self-deluded characters who serve as comedy gold and tools of subtle social commentary. But somehow in this posthumously published work, I feel she focused her attentions on lathering an extra layer of vindictiveness on to many of the players. Additionally, the first three quarters of the narrative progressed in the most lacklustre manner possible with little to no development on any front. No dramatic confrontations, emotionally charged conversations, simmering sexual tension or witty, flirty banter to spice things up. The overwhelming blandness of it all felt too close to real life situations.

But of course, this is Austen. The same woman whose remarkable insight on the condition of women is reflected in a letter to one of her correspondents a hundred years ago.
Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor-which is one very strong argument in favour of Matrimony.

The same woman who rescued the English novel from the tenacious grip of the age of sentiment and genre trope hysterics of the gothic novel to give it a truly modern form. The same woman who tried to challenge the laws that governed social interaction of the times by placing as great an emphasis on moral behaviour as on class-based identity.
And this very same woman makes Anne Elliot her mouthpiece while arraigning the convention of woman-shaming that contemporary male novelists upheld with gusto and a latent smugness.
Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.

So yes my dwindling interest in the book and abrupt loss of faith in Austen's brilliance lasted only for a few disappointing pages before she turned things around quite climactically. At the ripe age of twenty-seven, Anne Elliot maybe one of Austen's least remarkable heroines. Neither does she possess Emma's sass and cool confidence nor does she exude Elizabeth's unwavering self-esteem and channel a sardonic indifference towards her social superiors. And yet she never backs down from defending members of her own sex from unsavory remarks based on hollow prejudices.
It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof. We each begin probably with a little bias towards our own sex, and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has ocurred within our circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence, or in some respect saying what should not be said.

So persuasion. The excellence of this book's central premise is that it establishes Anne Elliot as a woman who is consistent in love and errs only on the side of caution even though outwardly she is perceived as a pushover, one who yields easily to persuasion and incitement. Long story short, Austen ingeniously misled both her hero and her reader to the wrong conclusions about the heroine. And she knew how exactly to subvert the power dynamics of hierarchical social structures while simultaneously preserving the veneer of conformity. If that's not genius, I don't know what is.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,075 reviews59k followers
February 3, 2018
Persuasion by Jane Austen is a 2016 Enhanced Media publication. (Originally published in 1817)

A wonderfully pleasant classic by one of my favorite writers.

When I was invited to review a new book, the premise of which, is a modern -day retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I accepted immediately.

But, once I’d signed on, it occurred to me that I didn’t remember any of the details of Persuasion. Surely, since Jane Austen has written some of my very favorite books, and I consider her to be one of my top five favorite authors, I have read every one of her books, right? Maybe I just needed a refresher. But, for the life of me, I have no memory of ever having read this one.

So, despite my tight reading schedule, I just had to stop the assembly line and squeeze this one in.

While there are already plenty of reviews for this book, I just wanted to share my experience of it with you.

Up front, I must confess, this book, while listed as a favorite by many, is not mine, mainly because of the time it took to get to the meat of the story, and I felt the momentum dragged in some places.

However, I did appreciate the more serious tone, the way Anne managed to dodge traditional female roles, and for her time, she is written as a strong, mature, character, who didn’t mind pointing out the advantages men had in the way of education and the way they often thought of women as being ‘inconstant’. She wasn’t exactly ironical, but she makes her point. I loved that!

I also enjoyed the themes explored, concerning character traits, and the misjudgment, or maybe the PRE- judgment of those traits, while also touching on the disadvantages of remaining totally one- dimensional. This story also delves into the complexities of family, friendship, and of course love, and is well balanced and rounded.

The writing of course is quite different from what we are accustomed to, or I should say, what I'm accustomed to, and at times the wordiness was challenging, but I did appreciate the manners, and activities described, and the characterizations.

While this one isn’t quite as sharp as other Austen novels, in my opinion, and is a just a bit more pensive than usual, I still found myself looking forward to the time I could spend with Anne inside her pre-Victorian landscape.

4 stars
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