Thursday, 10 June 2010


This month's book is Persuasion. We've read Jane Austen's major novels in six months with a small mixed -aged group of female readers at the public library here in our small town . Since my JA reading club's latest meeting (which was rather disappointing, do you remember?)   I've started thinking about how the same girls/ ladies who said they didn't like Emma (some of them without even reading it) will approach to this mature work, to Jane's Anne Elliot and to her Captain Wentworth. If the younger ones didn't like naughty sparkling Emma, will they like loyal, generous but  rather plain Anne?
Well, let's say , I just love this novel and  I simply want to  get caught in its re-reading for my own pleasure without worrying too much. I'm not lucky in my real life. I know very few people who like the same things I do, but in the blogosphere I'm sure there are plenty who can understand my deep esteem for such a talented, unique writer. I 'm so glad to the Net for the many satisfying, interesting, challenging, enriching acquaintances I've made in less than two years!

Our meeting should be on the last Saturday of June and tonight I'll start leafing through Persuasion again in search for the pleasure it has always succeeded in giving to me.
I checked my blogs to see how much I had already written about Persuasion but ... not so much! Only one post. Here it is. You 'll find also videos from the 1995/2007 adaptations as well as a clip of Greg Wise reading one of the best passages from the novel. It's all for today. Just to have a start. I'll be back in the next days with other posts about Persuasion.


Persuasion was Jane Austen's last completed novel, written between summer 1815 and summer 1816. In 1816 the author fell into the lingering illness which eventually killed her, in July 1817.
Austen herself may have suspected the plot lacked her normal sparkle, since she thought the original ending was 'tame and flat', and rewrote it (the revised ending has a number of hanging threads which, perversely, leave a piquant taste). In March 1817 she told her niece Fanny Knight that she had another novel ready
for publication, but added: 'You will not like it, so you need not be impatient. You may perhaps like the Heroine, as she is almost too good for me.' Discriminating critics have, more often, found it her most mature—if least funny—work. The novel was published posthumously in a four-volume bundle along with  Northanger Abbey (her least mature work), by John Murray, in December 1817 (dated 1818 on the title page), together with an informative 'Biographical Notice of the Author' written by Jane's brother (and sometime unofficial literary agent) Henry Austen. The novel's action can be precisely placed (thanks to the Baronetage entry on the first page) as being over nine months,summer 1814 to spring 1815.

As  usual , preparing my next meeting at the library, I'll propose some questions from my curious quiz book. You'll find the answers here on my blog before the meeting takes place. Let's see how well you know Persuasion.

I / I How old is Anne Elliot?

1/2 What is the dominant element in Sir Walter's character?

1/3 Why is the period (1814) propitious for the letting out of fine country houses like Kellynch Hall? And who duly rents the establishment?

1/4 How are the Crofts related to the Wentworths?

1/15 What is the 'domestic hurricane' in the Musgrovehousehold?

1/16 Bath rings to the bawling of street vendors (such as muffinmen and milk-men) and the 'ceaseless clink of pattens'? What are these?

1/17 What does Sir Walter regret in his heir, William's, otherwise satisfactory appearance?

1/18 How long must Mr William Elliot decently mourn his deceased wife, before being able to remarry?

1/19 How big is the blister on Mrs Croft's heel?

1/20 What, in Admiral Croft's view, is James Benwick's principal failing?

1/21 What kind of acquaintance does Sir Walter tell the Dalrymples he has with Captain Wentworth?

1/22 How old is William Elliot?

1/23 How much has Captain Wentworth in prize money, to support him in civilian life?

1/24 When Captain Harville tells Anne 'if I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at his wife and children, and watches the boat he has sent them off in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, "God knows whether we ever meet again!",' what, exactly, is he picturing?

1/25 What is Anne's final good turn in the novel to those less fortunate than her lucky self?

This post is part of the event Jane in June hosted at Book Rat by Misty.
So leaving your comment  here you can get a chance (or another chance) to win two Austen based books!
This double giveaway will go on all the month through and the winner will be announced on the 30th.
Please, do not forget your e-mail address!



Alexa Adams said...

You are not alone! Persuasion is my very favorite Austen novel, and as I believe she wrote the six greatest novels in English literature, that's saying a lot. While your book club participants may not always enter the conversation with the same adoration for JA that you have, I must believe that your enthusiasm leaves them with a better appreciation and understanding of the great lady than they began with. That's saying a lot! Please don't be discouraged - I think it is wonderful what you are doing!

Maria Grazia said...

@Alexa Adams
And you are the best , supportive, kind, Janeite and Austen expert, (cyber)friend that one can have!
Thanks a lot.

Kals said...

I love Persuasion. I found it amazing, the kind of tension Austen builds between the lead characters. It's a mature. gorgeous novel that is second only to Pride and Prejudice in my list :)

Captain Wentworth's letter just makes the book even better!

To echo Alexa, don't worry much. Your love for Austen is admirable and contagious :)

Eliza said...

I am sure that this time your meeting won't be a diappointment. I always found it easier to like Anne than Emma. I just didn't like Emma from the first time I opened the novel (oh, the novel is great, but Emma herself will never become a friend of mine).
At least I hope your club members will give the book a try.
And even if not: You can be sure that there are more persons on earth who value Jane Austen like you do. It's just the wickedness of life that one encounters them rarely in one's own neighbourhood ;-)

And there are a few difficult questions on your list... "I'll to my book", to quote Persuasions ;-) and try to solve those.

(this time the emailaddress for the give away:

Anonymous said...

I've just finished rereading "Persuasion". One can really see that Austen was much mature when she wrote this lovely story. It made me think a lot about our own days and how we lost many things that were important back then and that should be important now. I truly hope you'll have a better meeting this time Maria. And I really understand how sad it is to have so little people in the real world that like the same things as you.

Anonymous said...

Persuasion is my favorite novel tied with P&P. I think all of Austen's main women characters are intelligent no matter what their station in life which is appealing. They don't have to be beautiful. I think too few people appreciate Persuasion and Northanger Abbey for that matter. One of my favorite descriptions of a character is that of Harriet Smith. I think she is described with such eloquence which really is not touched on in any of the movies. It really can't be since the movies would take days instead of hours if done by the book. Read her description it will take your breath away. Of course Wentworth and Anne are perfect characters. I never really enjoyed Emma but that's because I don't enjoy those kind of matchmaker know-it-all types anyway. I prefer the often overlooked or underdog person. I do think Mr. Knightly is a true hero.

Classic movie fan said...

I've re-read persuasion a few months ago and I believe it is my favorite Jane Austen book too...reading the books she wrote pleases me the most. Like you,I know very few people who like the same things I like(specially people my age),I'm 15 and everybody gets shocked when I tell them I prefer reading to going to a party.
Each time you read a book you see more shades of it,pay more attention to the details... Persuasion is a beautiful story,elegantly constructed - introducing people to jane austen's world is admirable,don't give up (^__^)

CaRiiToO said...

I haven't read this one!
I am looking forward doing it this month!

Lúthien84 said...

Persuasion is one of my favourite Jane Austen novel. It is a tie between this and Pride & Prejudice. When I was 10 years younger, I prefer Elizabeth Bennets' wit and vivacity. Now, I love the quiet Anne and the hero Captain Wentworth. For me, I think Wentworth is the true hero which I'm still searching for in real life.

MG, don't be disappointed that your book club mates does not have the same enthusiasm as you. As long as you have given your best, I'm sure Jane Austen will approve of all that you have done to promote her novels. :) You still have cyber friends whom you can share your joys and delight on all JA things.


Unknown said...

Until I've read Emma, Persuasion was my 2nd favourite Austen novel (now Emma is in a tie with P&P, maybe it's because I'm young and the pace and mentality of Emma and Lizzie is closer to my age right now).

I love Persuasion's subtlety, maturity and gentle tenderness. Oh and of course it's enough just to think of Captain Wentworth's passionate love letter to make my heart flutter! What powerful and passionate words, they convey such strong emotions that one cannot stay unaffected!

Anonymous said...

I also love Persuasion, I'm never sure if it or P&P is my favourite.
I just came across this post which is timely as I just re-read Persuasion last week, whilst staying in Bath for the Christmas market. Perfect place to read it (if not at Lyme) I visited lots of JA sights too.
Thanks for posting.