Jane Austen's Persuasion Study Guide

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Persuasion was first published in 1818, after Jane Austen’s death. The novel was hardly reviewed at all when it appeared, but over time has become probably the favourite Austen book after Pride and Prejudice. One was written when Austen was a young, marriageable woman, the other when she was in her forties, and it features a heroine who, at twenty-seven, could in those days be destined, like Austen herself, to life as a spinster. The atmosphere of the two books is quite different, like the social world they depict – one “light and bright and sparkling” as Jane Austen herself called it, the other more sombre, shadowed by several deaths, and sometimes gentle and sometimes savage in its irony. But Persuasion has endeared itself to readers because the romance it celebrates takes place so convincingly within a constrict- ing and believable social world. It’s a love story for adults.

All you need to know about Jane Austen's Persuasion is in this advanced guide to the text. Connell Guides are advanced guide books that offer sophisticated analysis and broad critical perspectives for higher-level GCSE and A Level English Literature students. Written by leading academics, Connell Guides are clear, concise and beautifully designed to help students understand, and enjoy, great works of literature. They are perfect for coursework, revision and exam preparation. Connell Guides are also great reads themselves scholarly, yet approachable and entertaining.

ISBN-paperback: 978-1-911187-31-8

Introduction

A summary of the plot

What is Persuasion about?

Why is the opening of Persuasion so striking?

How does Anne survive?

What kind of hero is Captain Wentworth?

How does Jane Austen treat sex in Persuasion?

Is Persuasion a sentimental novel?

Does Anne Elliot change? If so, how?

Is Lady Russell “a very good woman”?

How much of a villain is Mr Elliot?

Why did Jane Austen rewrite the end of Persuasion?

What happens when Anne and Wentworth are finally reunited?

What makes Persuasion unique among Jane Austen’s novels?

NOTES

Dr Johnson and Persuasion
The historical setting of Persuasion
Was Persuasion really “ready for publication”?
Bath
The navy
Ten facts about Persuasion
The narrative voice
The comedy of Persuasion
Twelfth Night and Persuasion
Reading and books in Persuasion
Captain Wentworth’s pen
How much can be said for the Musgroves?
A short chronology
Bibliography

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