Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Gently Persuaded

Raise your hand if you prefer Pride and Prejudice.

All right, now raise your hand for Emma.

How about Sense and Sensibility?

Mansfield Park? Okay.

Northhanger Abbey? Just asking.

And the rest of you? It’s got to be for Persuasion–right?

Well, Jane only wrote six novels; it’s got to be for one of them.

Hmm, I shall gently try to persuade you to cast your Austen vote for Persuasion.

Reason 1:

  • Pride and Prejudice gets much too much attention.  Jane has six literary children and P&P will become unbearably too spoiled with so much fuss. Look at all the celebratory brouhaha over the publishing of the novel! Goodness…

Reason 2:

  • Anne and Frederick don’t have to go through that messy “love me, love me not” business found in JA’s other plots; they already love each other.  Getting to the point where they re-realize it makes it so much more satisfying than the on/off dilemma.

Reason 3:

  • Persuasion has THE best love letter.  Here is a partial:

“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.” 

Who could not met upon receiving this as an encouragement?

Reason 4:

  • Anne and Frederick are older and have been knocked around a bit in life and more truly represent the reality that love’s course is not perfect. In other words: their love is more relatable than the fairy-talish idea of sitting around and waiting for Mr or Ms Right to pop along when least expected (okay–Emma had a bit of that going on).

Reason 5:

  • the 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root captures well the complicated tango of emotions these two separated lovers endure as they find their way back into each other’s hearts and arms.  Amanda Root’s transformation from wilted and worn down spinister-in-the-making to resolute refreshed woman is transfixing.

True love lingers and is not forgotten

So, five amazing reasons why Persuasion should become THE Jane Austen first mentioned in her stable of renowned novels.

Have I persuaded you?

English: Persuasion(ch. 9) Jane Austen: In ano...

English: Persuasion(ch. 9) Jane Austen: In another moment … someone was taking him from her. Français : Persuasion(ch. 9) Frederick libère Anne de son jeune neveu, qui l’étouffe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

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18 thoughts on “Gently Persuaded

  1. i’ve been slowly making my way through austen’s novel since my husband gave me her complete works a few years ago as a gift. i’ve made it halfway and have been saving persuasion for last as i do think it may be the best one.

  2. After reading another most interesting post I wouldn’t dare to argue with you on this one. But Reason 3, the BEST love letter, I would like to give equal credit to P.D.James when she wrote The Murder Room. At the end dear Adam is so unsure of Emma’s feelings that he writes a letter and puts it in her hand at the train station, writing that if she is going to reject him he would rather read it in a letter than see it in her eyes. It is a most humble, honest and loving letter in the modern era. And given that P.D.James is a great fan of Jane Austen I think the two letters belong together. Quotes –

    I have no reason to hope. You know that I love you but that love gives me no claim on you.

    I can’t promise to make you happy. It would be arrogant to assume that such a gift lay in my power.

    My only hope is that you may care enough to risk this adventure together.

    Pretty mature stuff. You really need to read the whole letter. The BBC have an excellent production of it on DVD with Martin Shaw as Adam Dalgliesh

  3. Forgot to say that I’ve decided to watch Persuasion again tonight !

  4. I’ve seen several versions of Persuasion, but this one is to my mind the best one. All of the actors really did a great job with it. I read on the Internet Movie Database that they filmed the movie with all natural light; probably to give it a more real-life appearance.

  5. To my mind, this is far and away the best version of Persuasion that I’ve seen. All of the actors did a fantastic job with it. I’ve also read that they filmed the movie using all natural light, probably to give it a more realistic appearance.

    Time to go stock up on popcorn and watch it again!

  6. Well I commented on another post of yours regarding this book that other day. I still don’t love it (maybe I’ll watch the movie!). But I have to agree with you on the love letter. I read it while travelling home on the train and nearly started crying it was so beautiful. He also didn’t use the word “ardently” (unlike a certain Mr Darcy). I like that.

  7. The professor can’t stand Jane Austen (just like Mark Twain couldn’t). You do know that all her books are the same, don’t you? 😉

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