SUNDAY, February 12th @ 2pm: TEA TIME with Jane Austen

This week: we begin Persuasion.

Persuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel. She began it soon after she had finished Emma, completing it in August 1816. She died, aged 41, in 1817; Persuasion was published in December that year (but dated 1818).

Besides the theme of persuasion, the novel evokes other topics, such as the Royal Navy. The significance here is that two brothers of Jane Austen used persuasion to later achieve the rank of admiral. As in Northanger Abbey, the superficial social life of Bath—well known to Jane Austen—is portrayed extensively, and serves as a background for the second volume. Persuasion marks a clear break with Austen's previous works, for the warm attitude of positive characters she portrays in stark contrast to the often dull heroine:

More than seven years prior to the events in the novel, Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome young naval officer named Frederick Wentworth, who is intelligent and ambitious, but poor. Sir Walter, Anne's father and lord of the family estate of Kellynch, and her older sister Elizabeth are dissatisfied with her choice, maintaining that he is not distinguished enough for their family. Her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's deceased mother, persuades her to break off the match.
Now, aged 27 and still unmarried, Anne re-encounters her former fiancé when his sister and brother-in-law, the Crofts, take out a lease on Kellynch. Wentworth, now a captain, is wealthy from wartime victories in the Royal Navy and from prize-money for capturing enemy ships. However, he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection of him.

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Join Caledonia in Voice, by the fireside in the lower level of the Library.

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