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Persuasion (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 29, 2003
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About the Author
GILLIAN BEER is King Edward Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and President of Clare Hall.
- Publisher : Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (April 29, 2003)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141439688
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141439686
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Lexile measure : 1120L
- Item Weight : 7.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.75 x 5 x 0.6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Mrs. S on January 21, 2020
I ENJOY being alive. I ENJOY breathing the air. I ENJOY being able to sleep, to dream, to think, to write. I ENJOY reading books. And I especially ENJOY writing personally-revealing reviews of personally-revealing books that ignite the imagination and send the mind flying!
OK. OK. Enough about me. What about you? Why might you want to read Jane Austen's "Persuasion"? Why, to ENJOY the book of course! To ENJOY reading Ms. Austen's writing!! But why stop there? Why not launch ourselves beyond the ENJOYMENT of reading the book? Why not keep going until we arrive at the ECSTASY of seeing, hearing, experiencing something imaginary, something ideal, something unreal, as if it were really happening right here, right now, in real life.
Sounds great! But how? By bringing the book to life in one's mind. Yes. Yes. Yes. But how? How?? By seeing/hearing the 2007 movie “Persuasion,” starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, BEFORE reading the book. That's how.
I did see/hear the movie BEFORE I read the book. And I'm glad I did. As I was reading the book, the movie kept coming back to life in my mind. In addition, the book supplemented and expanded the movie by revealing, in depth and in detail, all those thoughts, feelings, incidents, and other little things that did not make their way into the movie.
By means of the written word, a book can open a character's heart and mind to the reader. By means of voice-over, a movie can do the same kind of thing. But not to the EXTENT that a book can. OK. Point granted. But still! Whatever the movie may lack in such EXTENT is made up for, many times over, by the movie's astounding EFFECT.
Indeed, as far as EFFECT goes, there is something in the movie that surpasses anything and everything in the book; in any other book I have ever read; in any other movie I have ever seen; and in any experience I have ever had in my entire life. That extraordinary "something" that I am raving about is the kiss scene. Not to mention the love letter -- and the race against time -- leading up to the kiss scene. Not just the kiss, mind you. The scene!
There, in the kiss scene, a moment of time becomes an eternity of bliss. The infinity of space shrinks to nothing. Nothing except! Nothing except a small warm pocket of space wherein there is room enough for only two human beings, two people, a man and a woman, this man and this woman. Each is the whole world of the other. What will become a kiss evolves and revolves between the two of them, binary stars, paired, gradually encircling one another, beyond the reach of all the universe that is not their own. It is just the two of them. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Try as I may, I cannot tell you in words. The book cannot tell you in words. You have to see the movie to believe it. Seeing it, hearing it, you will believe it, even though it is nothing but make-believe.
"Nothing but make-believe"?? What a thing to say! As if make-believe were of little or no value. A next to nothing sort of thing. A waste of time! of money!! of life itself!!! Ah, but think. Just stop for a moment and think. What would thinking be like without the make-believe of imagination? What would life be like without the make-believe of dreaming? Such questions answer themselves. We cannot think without imagining. Nor can we live without dreaming. Nor can we make the most of life without make-believe. Gotta have it. Can't do without it. So, no more down-talking make-believe.
OK. Agreed. Now that's settled, I can turn my back on things that do not interest me, and return to what does -- "Persuasion" -- the book and the movie (both of which are "nothing but make-believe").
Much as I much prefer books to movies, the 2007 movie of "Persuasion" is exceptional. So exceptional that, if I had to choose one over the other, either the book or the movie, I would choose the movie. By the grace of good fortune, however, I don't have to choose between the two. For, I have both: the movie and the book. Each is excellent. Both are superb. And the two together are scintillatingly synergistic.
When push comes to shove, however, my mind must admit, and my heart must confess, that, to my way of thinking and feeling, the movie is even better than the book, simply because of the kiss scene. That kiss scene is so good, so well done, so realistic, so believable, that I believe it to be real, even though it is "nothing but make-believe."
Is believing in make-believe such a bad thing? I think not.
Speaking of thinking, consider this:
Once you have seen/heard the love letter, the race against time, the kiss scene, and the other scenes in the movie, you can replay them in your mind by conducting "search and enjoy" missions: just pick up the book; flip to the juiciest pages; and read to your heart's content.
What could be easier? What could be more enjoyable?? Certainly not the realities of everyday life. Ugh! Why get into that when you can get into this: a good book.
ETA: This is for paperback version with the bland cover.
I enjoy Austen's work and it was nice having it read aloud to me, I just expected more than I got. If you can find another narrator I suggest you purchase that version.