Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Persuasion is the last novel to be written by Jane Austen. It was published in 1817, six months after she had passed away. Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot, a young woman whose family is moving in order to reduce their expenses. The family ends up renting their home to another couple. The wife’s brother was previously engaged to Anne but their engagement was broken over the objections of Anne’s sister and father, who thought him unworthy of their estate (the title of the book seems to stem from this persuasion on the part of the family). After leaving, Frederick Wentworth (Anne’s fiancé) joined the military and advanced in both status and fortune. Despite the seven year interlude, Anne is still in love with Wentworth.

Persuasion was entitled Jane Austen died, by her brother. Austen herself seems to have referred to the work as The Elliots. While dealing with the traditional Austenian themes of class and society, persuasion itself is an important theme throughout the book. Anne allows herself to be persuaded by her family to give up on Frederick (whom she is still in love with). This speaks to the norms and mores of the day where women were eminently pressured – by their family as well as society at large – to act a certain way. To persuade or be persuaded, rightly or wrongly, is an important part of society; and whose persuasion one falls under can have a significant impact on their life (as well as the life of another, as is the case in Persuasion).

Like all of Jane Austens works, Persuasion has been adapted to multiple mediums of media. If you want to do a deep dive into the text the Norton Critical Edition is ideal. If you’d like a full set of Austens works, this is an affordable option.