Sunday, May 16, 2010

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
Year of Publication: 1818
Genre: Fiction, romance
Pages: 254
First Line: "Sir Walter Ellio, 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 thealmost 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 favorite volume always opened: 'Elliot of Kellynch Hall.'"

Summary: Like the earlier works Persuasion is a tale of love and marriage, told with the irony, insight and just evaluation of human conduct which sets her novels apart. But the heroine -- like the author -- is more mature; the tone of the writing is more sombre. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth have met and separated years before. Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart. The characters who embody those values are the subjects of some of the most withering satire that Jane Austen ever wrote.

Source: Back of book

Review: Definitely enjoyable. I read this one for school and I ended up taking a hiatus from it because the essay test we were doing in class on it was further in the future than I had imagined and I really had started reading it too early to write a decent in-class essay on it, but like all of Austen's novels, it was enjoyable. Most people seem to like P&P best, but I really like Sense and Sensibility more. I think I also like Persuasion more as well. I feel this book's plot translated better to my own life, but I have very little experience in the relationship department, so I can't say this is her ONLY novel that can translate to modern day society more completely than the others. Of course, as Austen's style usually is, it can be verbose and kind of like walking through a marsh at some points, but the novel as a whole is interesting. I found the ending to be more romantic than the other four novels I have read of Austen. Unlike P&P where the union (even before marriage) was fairly vague, this one was more descriptive and more enjoyable. I might even venture to say that I prefer Wentworth to Darcy.

Worst part: I think a problem with a lot of Austen's novels is that because there are so many characters (and often with similar names), it's difficult to keep them all straight. Persuasion owns this flaw as well. While it may have been easier for its original readers who lived in such society and had the time to really pick apart the book, it's not so easy for a modern-day reader who isn't reading intently.

Best part: I liked how alike Anne and I were. As mentioned in the summary, she is considered to be one of Austen's more mature leads. Although I like the more whimsical characters as well (such as in S&S), I felt Anne was refreshing.

Grade: B++

Other Books by This Author: Mansfield Park, Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Lady Susan, (unfished) Sanditon and Northanger Abbey

34 / 50 books. 68% done!

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