Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fortnightly Book, January 20

The new term is starting up, so I thought I'd do something I've read before, particularly after the unexpectedly trek through Narnia in various formats. So the next fortnightly book is Persuasion, by Jane Austen.

While persuasion does play an important role in the course of the story, Persuasion is not actually Austen's own title. By 1816, Austen was not feeling well. She continued to work on various projects, including The Brothers, which would becoming the unfinished fragment usually published today under the title Sanditon, which I did for a fortnightly book way back in 2012. Around the same time she completed a full draft of Persuasion, the first novel that she had not worked up from a much earlier draft; she went through a series of drafts in a matter of two or three years. When she died on July 18, 1817, she hadn't done much further revision of it, but she apparently expected it to be published the next year, so we can reasonably assume that she thought it was at least approaching readiness for publication. In any case, it was published posthumously, along with Northanger Abbey, which despite being much earlier was the only other work of hers that was in fully complete form. Persuasion was the title her brother Henry put on the work. Her own working title for it was probably The Elliots.

Anne Elliot is an unmarried girl of twenty-seven who has lost her 'bloom' and thus finds her prospects dwindling away rapidly. She had been engaged seven years before to a certain Captain Wentworth, but she had been persuaded by her family and a close friend to break off the engagement. And now she will find herself meeting him again....

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