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Persuasion (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – June 12, 2001
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“Critics, especially [recently], value Persuasion highly, as the author’s ‘most deeply felt fiction,’ ‘the novel which in the end the experienced reader of Jane Austen puts at the head of the list.’ . . . Anne wins back Wentworth and wins over the reader; we may, like him, end up thinking Anne’s character ‘perfection itself.’” –from the Introduction by Judith Terry
From the Inside Flap
Called a 'perfect novel' by Harold Bloom, "Persuasion was written while Jane Austen was in failing health. She died soon after its completion, and it was published in an edition with Northanger Abbey in 1818.
In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called 'almost too good for me, ' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time. 'She is a prose Shakespeare, ' Thomas Macaulay wrote of Austen in 1842. 'She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.'
"Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.
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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.