Persuasion: An Annotated Edition

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Overview

Published posthumously with Northanger Abbey in 1817, Persuasion crowns Jane Austen’s remarkable career. It is her most passionate and introspective love story. This richly illustrated and annotated edition brings her last completed novel to life with previously unmatched vitality. In the same format that so rewarded readers of Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, it offers running commentary on the novel (conveniently placed alongside Austen’s text) to explain difficult words, allusions, and contexts, ...

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Overview

Published posthumously with Northanger Abbey in 1817, Persuasion crowns Jane Austen’s remarkable career. It is her most passionate and introspective love story. This richly illustrated and annotated edition brings her last completed novel to life with previously unmatched vitality. In the same format that so rewarded readers of Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, it offers running commentary on the novel (conveniently placed alongside Austen’s text) to explain difficult words, allusions, and contexts, while bringing together critical observations and scholarship for an enhanced reading experience. The abundance of color illustrations allows the reader to see the characters, locations, clothing, and carriages of the novel, as well as the larger political and historical events that shape its action.

In his Introduction, distinguished scholar Robert Morrison examines the broken engagement between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, and the ways in which they wander from one another even as their enduring feelings draw them steadily back together. His notes constitute the most sustained critical commentary ever brought to bear on the novel and explicate its central conflicts as well as its relationship to Austen’s other works, and to those of her major contemporaries, including Lord Byron, Walter Scott, and Maria Edgeworth.

Specialists, Janeites, and first-time readers alike will treasure this annotated and beautifully illustrated edition, which does justice to the elegance and depth of Jane Austen’s time-bound and timeless story of loneliness, missed opportunities, and abiding love.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

This brilliantly edited annotated edition of Jane Austen's final completed work can be described accurately as unprecedented: No previous edition has provided such comprehensive running commentary and notes on the novel, nor can any other match its selection of colorful illustrations. A sumptuous prize for any scholar, literature major, or Jane Austen enthusiast.

Tim Flannigan

Christian Science Monitor

A handsome volume graced with colorful illustrations. Morrison's commentary not only includes new insights into Jane Austen's story about the romance of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, but also delves deep into details of life at the time. For readers who always wondered—and even for those who never thought to—Morrison decodes Wentworth's nautical style of speaking and explains why a 19th-century inn wouldn't have fresh food delivered. ("In November they seem to have stopped ordering for guests altogether, as the social season had passed and they had no expectation of company," Morrison writes.) For lovers of Austen, it's a deep dive into both her fiction and her world.
— Molly Driscoll

Globe and Mail
Jane Austen's last work, published posthumously in 1817, is her deepest and most introspective. Austen's view of the drawing apart and coming together of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth is both wintry and warm. This lovely version features period illustrations, a fine introduction by the editor and enough annotation to amplify our understanding of this classic.
AustenProse.com

This edition is sumptuous eye candy for the Janeite. It is a real pleasure to have so much information collected and assembled for our edification and enjoyment. Morrison offers a lengthy and lucid introduction.
— Laurel Ann

Star Tribune

Does Persuasion need annotation? You'd think the legions of loyal Jane Austen fans could annotate all of her books in their sleep. But this is a lovely book, in which Morrison, of Queen's University, Ontario, gives us context, geography and history; defines some terms (sedan chair, dabchick, blain), and admits what he doesn't know. ("Why does Mrs. Clay send Mr. Elliot to Union Street...and what does this tell us about their relationship? Austen does not explain it.") This book is lavishly illustrated and includes, in an appendix, Austen's original ending. (When you read it, you'll be glad she rewrote it.)
— Laurie Hertzel

Paris Review blog

A beautiful new annotated edition of Persuasion from Harvard's Belknap Press.
— Jenny Hendrix

Open Letters Monthly

What better way to revisit the world of Jane Austen's last completed novel (published posthumously in 1818) than through one of the magnificent annotated editions produced regularly by Harvard University Press? ...These Harvard editions are setting the standard for a new century of carefully supporting intelligent readers.
— Steve Donoghue

Jane Austen Today

I'll say it right up front, my favorite book related to Jane Austen in 2011 was Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison. Designed along the same lines as last year's superb Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. Robert Morrison not only explains some of the more esoteric details of Persuasion, but also includes beautiful images that explain the era more clearly for the reader. This book is a coffee table edition of an annotation, although I would not recommend leaving it out unattended. A zealous Janeite guest might just squirrel it away unnoticed!
— Amanda Vickery

Choice

This gorgeous annotated edition of Persuasion, the second annotated Austen title Belknap Harvard has released, is a must for all Janeites. For those unfamiliar with Austen's milieu, Morrison's notes provide basic information, such as explanations of words or phrases and geographical information. However, Morrison goes beyond the basics in his notes, explaining the intricacies of the Navy and providing details about Austen's allusions to figures such as Samuel Johnson. He also provides a fine scholarly analysis of the novel, including an extended discussion—in which he quotes the premier Austen scholars—of Captain Wentworth's letter. And his preface firmly places the novel in the events of its setting, especially the Napoleonic Wars (which Austen never overtly refers to). The beauty of this book is the lovely pictures, such as fashion plates, naval scenes, sketches of Bath, and illustrations from various editions of the novel. This volume should please all readers, from those reading Persuasion for the first time to seasoned Austen scholars. The volume has been generating a lot of excitement in both scholarly and popular Austen circles, and rightly so!
— L. J. Larson

Times Literary Supplement

A fine example of the revitalized investment in beautiful books that keeps company with [the] latest phase of digital reproduction. Lavishly respectful of the best material values of the book (elegant cloth binding, gold-stamped spine, silky endpapers, thick and creamy paper, superb illustrations), it also celebrates Austen's bookish credentials. Its size (25 x 24 cm) makes it monumental rather than portable: a book for exhibition and browsing rather than for continuous reading on the train or in bed. Page layout is double-columned, with the novel text occupying the inner column, and commentary, annotation and graphic illustration tucked around it, cosseting and adorning it, in a gesture akin to the medieval art of illumination. This does not represent the contest for the space of the page that we find in some dry scholarly editions of the twentieth century, where footnotes and layers of synoptic apparatus induce anxiety in the reader, but something closer to loving embellishment and homage… This volume's purpose of pleasure is evident in the freewheeling style of Robert Morrison's annotations.
— Kathryn Sutherland

Patricia Meyer Spacks
Robert Morrison's new annotated edition of Persuasion is terrific: thorough, scrupulous, and thoughtful. It is a worthy addition to the wonderful Harvard series of annotated volumes, likely to be long read and much enjoyed by Austen enthusiasts.
Deidre Lynch
Readers who know Pride and Prejudice and Emma very well, can on encountering or re-encountering Austen's final novel find it disconcerting and disorienting. Fortunately, they are now well served by the thorough and thoughtful annotation in Persuasion: An Annotated Edition.
Christian Science Monitor - Molly Driscoll
A handsome volume graced with colorful illustrations. Morrison's commentary not only includes new insights into Jane Austen's story about the romance of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, but also delves deep into details of life at the time. For readers who always wondered--and even for those who never thought to--Morrison decodes Wentworth's nautical style of speaking and explains why a 19th-century inn wouldn't have fresh food delivered. ("In November they seem to have stopped ordering for guests altogether, as the social season had passed and they had no expectation of company," Morrison writes.) For lovers of Austen, it's a deep dive into both her fiction and her world.
AustenProse.com - Laurel Ann
This edition is sumptuous eye candy for the Janeite. It is a real pleasure to have so much information collected and assembled for our edification and enjoyment. Morrison offers a lengthy and lucid introduction.
Star Tribune - Laurie Hertzel
Does Persuasion need annotation? You'd think the legions of loyal Jane Austen fans could annotate all of her books in their sleep. But this is a lovely book, in which Morrison, of Queen's University, Ontario, gives us context, geography and history; defines some terms (sedan chair, dabchick, blain), and admits what he doesn't know. ("Why does Mrs. Clay send Mr. Elliot to Union Street...and what does this tell us about their relationship? Austen does not explain it.") This book is lavishly illustrated and includes, in an appendix, Austen's original ending. (When you read it, you'll be glad she rewrote it.)
Paris Review blog - Jenny Hendrix
A beautiful new annotated edition of Persuasion from Harvard's Belknap Press.
Open Letters Monthly - Steve Donoghue
What better way to revisit the world of Jane Austen's last completed novel (published posthumously in 1818) than through one of the magnificent annotated editions produced regularly by Harvard University Press? ...These Harvard editions are setting the standard for a new century of carefully supporting intelligent readers.
Jane Austen Today - Amanda Vickery
I'll say it right up front, my favorite book related to Jane Austen in 2011 was Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison. Designed along the same lines as last year's superb Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. Robert Morrison not only explains some of the more esoteric details of Persuasion, but also includes beautiful images that explain the era more clearly for the reader. This book is a coffee table edition of an annotation, although I would not recommend leaving it out unattended. A zealous Janeite guest might just squirrel it away unnoticed!
Choice - L. J. Larson
This gorgeous annotated edition of Persuasion, the second annotated Austen title Belknap Harvard has released, is a must for all Janeites. For those unfamiliar with Austen's milieu, Morrison's notes provide basic information, such as explanations of words or phrases and geographical information. However, Morrison goes beyond the basics in his notes, explaining the intricacies of the Navy and providing details about Austen's allusions to figures such as Samuel Johnson. He also provides a fine scholarly analysis of the novel, including an extended discussion--in which he quotes the premier Austen scholars--of Captain Wentworth's letter. And his preface firmly places the novel in the events of its setting, especially the Napoleonic Wars (which Austen never overtly refers to). The beauty of this book is the lovely pictures, such as fashion plates, naval scenes, sketches of Bath, and illustrations from various editions of the novel. This volume should please all readers, from those reading Persuasion for the first time to seasoned Austen scholars. The volume has been generating a lot of excitement in both scholarly and popular Austen circles, and rightly so!
Times Literary Supplement - Kathryn Sutherland
A fine example of the revitalized investment in beautiful books that keeps company with [the] latest phase of digital reproduction. Lavishly respectful of the best material values of the book (elegant cloth binding, gold-stamped spine, silky endpapers, thick and creamy paper, superb illustrations), it also celebrates Austen's bookish credentials. Its size (25 x 24 cm) makes it monumental rather than portable: a book for exhibition and browsing rather than for continuous reading on the train or in bed. Page layout is double-columned, with the novel text occupying the inner column, and commentary, annotation and graphic illustration tucked around it, cosseting and adorning it, in a gesture akin to the medieval art of illumination. This does not represent the contest for the space of the page that we find in some dry scholarly editions of the twentieth century, where footnotes and layers of synoptic apparatus induce anxiety in the reader, but something closer to loving embellishment and homage… This volume's purpose of pleasure is evident in the freewheeling style of Robert Morrison's annotations.
Notes and Queries - Jane Moore
Robert Morrison's lavishly illustrated and fulsomely annotated hardback edition of Persuasion is a thing of beauty...As enjoyable as much for its scrupulous scholarship as for its abundant color illustrations...The illustrations alone make the book a delight. One of their joys is enhancing our appreciation of the novel and the political and historical events that shape it...He gives us an immensely enriched reading experience that is as close to Austen in 3D as the printed word and image can achieve.
Library Journal
Jane Austen's final novel continues to fascinate readers. This love story contains Austen's most pointed social commentary, recognizing the rising status of the professional class and respecting the aristocrats with their inherited lands and titles. Morrison (Queen's National Scholar, Queen's Univ., Ontario) provides annotations alongside the novel's text. He enables readers to understand the impact of these social changes on family interactions and obligations, especially marriage. The annotations and extensive color illustrations provide literary, geographic, and historical context, the latter especially in relation to naval life. Morrison argues that Anne Elliot, Austen's oldest heroine, at 27, is also her most complex and compelling. VERDICT This is a handsome large-format volume, like the previous entry in the series, Patricia Meyer Spacks's annotated Pride and Prejudice. While David Shapard has edited an annotated edition of Persuasion, it is a paperback original, lacking the handsome format and scores of color illustrations here, and Shapard's background is in history, rather than literature. Highly recommended to first-time Austen readers and to fans seeking further insight into Austen's life and literary sources, as well as British life in her time.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY, Geneseo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674049741
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/7/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 295,416
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Morrison is Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    awesome!

    A beautiful volume and a must own for any true Jane Austen fan!

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Highly Recommend!

    I just received this book recently after waiting for about 6 months since pre-ordering it here on B&N... I simply LOVE it!! The publisher had previously released its annotated edition of Pride & Prejudice, which I fell in love with immediately. As soon as I heard that this one was also being done by the same publisher, I immediately came to the B&N site to pre-order it. I'm SO glad I did - It is just wonderful!! I love the story itself, but all of the added illustrations & notes within the story makes it all the better! I read online that the publisher is going to do all 6 of the Austen novels in this same format... the next one, Sense & Sensibility, will be done by the editor that worked on the P&P edition, and I will definitely be adding it, and the remainder, to my collection!! :) If you love Jane Austen, or even only just this one story, you will absolutley LOVE this edition ;)

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