Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Persuasion (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Just as Jane Austen is the favorite author of many discerning readers, Persuasion is the most highly esteemed novel of many Austenites. It has the deep irony, the scathing wit, the droll and finely drawn characters of Austen's other novels, all attributes long beloved of her readers. But it is conventionally said that as her last novel, the novel of her middle age, it additionally has a greater maturity and wisdom than the "light, bright and sparkling" earlier novels, to use Austen's own famous description of Pride and Prejudice, her most popular work. In other words, Persuasion has often been seen as the thinking reader's Pride and Prejudice.
But Persuasion is less "light" in more than one sense; Anne Elliot, its heroine, is introduced as more unhappy and constrained by her situation than any heroine of Austen's since Fanny Price of Mansfield Park. In contrast to Elizabeth Bennet's or Emma Woodhouse's sparkle and volubility, Anne's "spirits were not high," and remain low for much of the novel. But whereas Fanny Price, like Anne ignored and held in low esteem by family members, is perfectly poised to be rescued by love, in fact Anne is barely a Cinderella figure, and not only because she is wellborn, of a better social rank than even the heroine of Emma. In fact, Anne Elliot has more in common with Charlotte Brontë's Victorian heroine Jane Eyre in that she seems at first distinctly ineligible for the role of a beloved, appearing to the world as apparently unlovable and without much physical charm. Anne, however, has none of Jane Eyre's ready temper, tongue, and fire; she tends to think and feel alone and in silenceexcept, of course, that we, her readers, share the literary mind she inhabits and see the world with her through her finely discerning eyes. Heroines are always subjected to surveillance in nineteenth-century fiction; here the heroine is invisible but voluble in her mind, as Lucy Snowe is in Charlotte Brontë's Villette.
Anne Elliot is a creature of thought and feeling, not what she seems to others. The same may be said of Jane Austen herself, whose life and writing often appear as one thing in the popular mind, yet turn out to be far more complex than convention allows when closely examined. There is the real Jane Austen, who left little in the way of biographical material (no diary has ever been found, and most of her letters were destroyed by their recipients or their heirs); and then there is the Jane Austen of the contemporary imagination. This latter version has colored the many films and television productions of her work, not to mention the societies and cultish fan enthusiasm, which constitute what the critic Margaret Doody calls "Aunt Jane-ism," a phenomenon she defines as "imposed quaintness."
It is easy to see why Austen's novels have become a kind of cinematic fetish: Film adaptations selectively focus on the clear trajectory of the courtship plot, the fine detail, the enclosed, knowable, seemingly nonpolitical world in which everyone seems to know his place. In fact, for many the novels have come to stand for a nostalgia of pre-Industrial Revolution England, an idyll of country houses, gentrified manners, and clear moral standards, an Old World apart from the chaos of urban, technologized life and the struggle for modern capital. So solidified has this mythical vision become that there is now a popular series of mystery novels by Stephanie Barron that feature Jane Austen as the amateur detective, similar to Agatha Christie's spinster figure Miss Marple, solving fictional mysteries with pert and ingenious wit in her quaint village.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Glad to have revisited this book and will revisit others but don't think they will be by Jane Austen. My book was downloaded onto my Kindle from Amazon.
Character development is on par with other Austen novels. In fact, you will notice many similarities between this cast of characters and other Austen novels. Not that it's a bad thing if it ain't broke don't fix it.
I ended up enjoying Emma just as I had the other two Jane Austen books that I read. There is a shallowness to her books, which is something that only becomes clearer to me as I get older, but the books are also very aware of their shallowness, which is what makes it enjoyable to me. The books are great at examining the culture they are set in, and I find that culture both fascinating and frustrating at times. The frustration in Emma definitely came through for me in the way that Emma focused on people's class. She is very clear at the beginning of the novel that if Harriet marries someone of a certain status, they will never be able to be friends again. As someone coming from a different time, such an outlook really angered me, even though I knew that it was realistic to the time period.
Honestly, even though that was a bit frustrating, I really did like Emma as a character. I'd read before that she was supposed to be unlikeable, and while I found her a bit irritating, I did care for her and want things to turn out the best for her. I think that was only helped by Mrs. Elton's presence later in the novel. While Emma and Mrs. Elton strike me as very similar in many way, Mrs. Elton was far more unlikeable to me, perhaps just because of the narration. At any rate, she made Emma a far more likeable character as far as I'm concerned, and I found myself sympathizing with Emma more and more as I read, even though there was never a point where I completely disliked her.
I did really enjoy this book, and it made me look forward to reading more of Jane Austen's novels this summer. While it's a bit on the shallow side, it's enjoyable, and I enjoy exploring what life was like for women of Emma's status in this time period. It's shallowness really indicates a lot about what women who were at least relatively well off were concerned with and what their lives were like, and I think that's what fascinates me the most about Austen's books.
Catherine is offered the opportunity to vacation in the resort town of Bath by family friends. In Bath, she falls in with people her own age, who will provide her with some hard lessons. Catherine also meets Henry and Elinor Tilney, an older brother and sister who introduce her to walks and intellectual discussion. Their father, the imposing General Tilney, invites Catherine to visit the family estate of Northanger Abbey. Catherine eagerly accepts the invitation, in part to stay close to Henry, and to see the ancient abbey, sure to be the embodiment of her cherished Gothic Romances.
Catherine's willingness to see dark secrets in ordinary events leads her on a search of the Abbey for clues to the suspected murder of General Tilney's wife, a search that will bring on a fateful confrontation with the General. Fortunately, fate will offer Catherine a second chance...
This isn't "Pride and Prejudice" or "Mansfield Park". "Northanger Abbey" is a fun book on its own terms, very much a Jane Austen product and likely to be enjoyed by her fans. It is highly recommended as an entertaining read.