As I have opined before; I have more than a few copies of Persuasion by Jane Austen, when people discover you are a fan of Jane Austen, copies arrive as gifts on occasion. I have a couple of particularly lovely copies, one very special edition and a delightful little pocket sized hardcover.
Don’t get me wrong I love each and every one, they connect me to the people that love me and are willing to listen to me endlessly dissect her novels and sequels of her novels and other literature that I love…
Well I have found the best Persuasion so far,
The Annotated Persuasion: Annotated and edited by David M. Shapard
It is amazing how much the mind skips over or assumes more modern values when reading books of this vintage. It opened my eyes about somethings and confirmed some others. The novel really focuses on constancy and love versus other considerations in choosing a marriage partner. The question arises, what are differences in modern terms of the the feelings of the characters mentioned in the novel.
For instance; In Miss Austen’s time, a gentlemen who had proposed to a lady couldn’t break that engagement without a scandal. It was presumed that he had a lot of time to think over this decision, and a change of mind could ruin both his reputation and particularly hers. It could turn into legal action on the part of her family. However the lady could change her mind and release him, provided that she didn’t repeat this with someone else, which would label her as a jilt. Jane Austen herself accepted a proposal and the following day changed her mind. She never married.
Conclusion: Highly recommend this book. However If you haven’t read Persuasion at least once, I wouldn’t start here. If you are rereading it and want to understand more about the world of the novel this is an excellent, very approachable academic examination of the novel. Very well laid out with text on left page and notes, drawings, and diagrams on right page.
(see also her other novels which have received this Annotated treatment)
Other Annotated reviews: