Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Persuasion

Listening to:

Suzanne Vega, My favourite plum.

Just read:

Jane Austen, Persuasion.

This is Austen’s last novel, and was published posthumously. It’s not as long a novel as Pride and prejudice, and comparatively little happens in terms of plot. On the other hand, the story is quite heartfelt. In essence it is: Anne Elliot is approaching middle age, and is resigned to never marrying, having earlier been persuaded to reject the suit of her young love, Captain Wentworth. But then, after some years (seven or eight, I think) Wentworth re-appears. Anne is very composed about it all, and even accepts that he might be about to court another member of her social circle.

A further romantic complication appears in the form of a cousin who stands to inherit from Anne’s father. Eventually however, the right thing happens, almost against the odds it feels. So, on the one hand, Austen seems to be saying “Never give up”. But simultaneously, what with so much resignation and uncertainty (about what will happen, and about how Anne feels and what she thinks she should do) in the novel, the happy ending is a little subdued. It’s very beautiful.

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