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review 2018-01-28 20:41
Persuasion
Persuasion (Wisehouse Classics - With Illustrations by H.M. Brock) - Jane Austen,H.M. Brock

Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.

When I first read Persuasion, I must have been out of my mind, preoccupied, or distracted with something because how else could I not have enjoyed this book back then as much as I have enjoyed it now?

 

Austen's last book is a masterpiece of subtlety and quiet power.

 

Anne Elliot is not as fierce or outspoken as my other favourite Austen heroines but she is such an awesomely strong character in her own way. She knows her own mind but also takes on advice from others. This ability be persuaded is, of course, at the heart of this story, and Austen plays with the concept of persuasion throughout the book - culminating in a debate between Anne and Captain Harville over whether men or women suffer longer after the loss of love. A debate which is overheard and influences a letter that within Austen's works is eclipsed only be the declarations of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice

 

There are a number of elements in this story that are similar to Austen's other books - the focus on women in Georgian society being confined to their roles as wives and daughters, the class snobbery, the importance of reputation, financial mismanagement, the plotting of romantic entanglements for position and wealth. 

 

Austen pokes fun and she admonishes - 

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 anything.

She does it quietly, by implication more often than by expressing it in words. It's a subtlety that needs some focus to absorb it, but that is ever so rewarding. 

 

Despite this, Persuasion for me will also be the book I will remember for Jane Austen calling an off-page character a ...

He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him “poor Richard,” been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.

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review 2017-12-25 01:30
Second read through.
Persuasion - Jane Austen,Gillian Beer

Probably top-two for Austen novels. I love the slightly older and more care-worn main couple, and all the pining (so much pining). I like how reserved and miserable Anne is at the start and how much she goes as the story continues. Wentworth is a bit more of a puzzle, as he seems to be a dashing young officer, but we don't get much of that until the very end. I did like all the navy stuff, and the Crofts are some of my favourite background characters.

 

I felt the last third was a little weaker, since no one is ever going to care about Mr. Elliot, and he wasn't a convincing red herring OR plot device (other than to make Wentworth jealous), and we get more of the horrible family and less of the fun cousins and sailors.

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review 2017-11-06 23:17
My seventy-sixth podcast is up!
Marketing the Third Reich: Persuasion, Packaging and Propaganda - Nicholas O'Shaughnessy

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Nicholas O'Shaughnessy about his new book looking at the sophisticated political marketing techniques the Nazis developed to craft their "brand." Enjoy!

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review 2017-09-24 17:34
"Persuasion" by Jane Austen, performed by Juliet Stevenson
Persuasion - Jane Austen,Juliette Stevenson

I read "Persuasion" on a wave of enthusiasm for Jane Austen created by reading "The Jane Austen Project". I'd never read the book before and knew nothing of its plot or its ending. I found that this ignorance significantly enhanced my enjoyment of this book about lovers frustrated by circumstance and the things that they have persuaded themselves of or have been persuaded of by well-meaning advisors..

 

I listened to the audiobook version read by Juliet Stevenson who delivered every line with an ease and confidence that made the whole book at once easily accessible and tantalisingly complex.

 

The clarity of the language, the dryness of the wit and the unhurried pace of the book all added to my enjoyment.

 

I was surprised at the vigour of the social commentary in the book. The vain and incompetent Baronet, who takes pride in looks he has convinced himself are not declining year by year and a rank he gained by birth but lacks the acumen to sustain in life is practically vivisected in the text, even though he is the father of the mild-mannered main character.  There is also a spirited championing of the capabilities of women and the role that men play in disadvantaging the development and use of those capabilities.

 

Some of the novel is set in Bath, a city I lived in for many years, so I was amused to see references to streets that apart from the addition of traffic signs and double yellow lines, have remained unaltered since Jane Austen's time. I used to live in the building occupied by the baddy of the plot. It was great fun to imagine these familiar streets populated by Regency sailors and a ladies so unused to exercise and so bound up in corsets that walking up Milsom Street was an achievement.

 

The story itself is rather unremarkable but achieves a considerable level of engagement in  the lives of the protagonists for a plot built on so slight a premise. I enjoyed myself immensely and am now encouraged to move on to the rather more substantial "Emma".

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text 2017-08-02 14:06
Chawton: Jane Austen's Home
Jane Austen's Hampshire - Terry Townsend
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen,Gillian Beer
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen,Marilyn Butler,Claire Lamont
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Emma - Jane Austen,Fiona Stafford
Teenage Writings (Oxford World's Classics) - Kathryn Sutherland,Freya Johnston,Jane Austen
Lady Susan - Harriet Walter,Carole Boyd,Kim Hicks,Jane Austen
Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed - Marie Dobbs,Anne Telscombe,Jane Austen

... during the last 8 years of her life, during which she wrote all of her major novels (and saw four of them published during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma).

 


The dining room, with Jane's writing table tucked away in a corner next to the window.


Jane's bedroom (also the room where most of her family said goodbye to her before she died).


A replica of the blue dress and bonnet that Jane is wearing in the portrait sketched of her by her sister Cassandra.



A quilt handmade by Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother, and a muslin shawl embroidered by Jane.

 

And last but not least ...


The museum's resident cat! :D

Merken

Merken

Merken

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