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About the Author
Date of Birth:December 16, 1775
Date of Death:July 18, 1817
Place of Birth:Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
Place of Death:Winchester, Hampshire, England
Education:Taught at home by her father
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Excerpted from "Persuasion"
Copyright © 2003 Jane Austen.
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Table of ContentsList of Illustrations
About Longman Cultural Editions About This Edition Introduction
Table of Dates
Jane Austen Biography
Biographical Notice of the Author by Henry Austen
Jane Austen's Letters to Her Sister, Cassandra
Money From the 1790s to the Regency
On Women and Men
Thomas Gisborne, from An Enquiry Into the Duties of the Female Sex
Thomas Gisborne, from An Enquiry Into the Duties of Men in the Higher
and Middle Classes of Society in Great Britian
Lord Byron, from Don Juan, Canto I
Lord Byron, from The Giaour
The Novel and Romance
Frances Burney, Preface to Evelina
Clara Reeve, from The Progress of Romance
Jane Austen, from Northanger Abbey
Reviews and Other Ninteenth-Century Responses
From the Quarterly Review (Walter Scott) and The Champion on Emma
Contemporary Reviews of Persuasion
Anonymous Reviewer, from The British Critic
Anonymous Reviewer, from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
Richard Whatley, from the Quarterly Review
Anonymous Reviewer, from the Retrospective Review
Julie Kavanagh, from English Women of Letters
Reading Group Guide
Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?
On the most basic level Persuasion is a love story, both interesting and entertaining, rich in intrigue and romance. On a deeper level it examines human foibles and societal flaws. The question of the importance of propriety is raised frequently, as is the issue of appearance versus reality.
Readers of Persuasion will discover Austen's talents on full display: her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals.
ABOUT JANE AUSTEN
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817.
As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.