The SimpleTruth

If somebody asked me to pick my favorite among Jane Austen’s novels I would promptly reply: Pride and Prejudice, of course, but if I were given another option,
that would undoubtedly be Persuasion.That is why I heartily recommended this novel to Chris, a fellow blogger, who last summer was experiencing the joy of exploring Jane Austen’s world. Of course, since he had many other good reads he had scheduled, it took a while to know his point of view, but he did it at last and the long-awaited review of Persuasion appeared under my WordPress tree on Christmas day.

Only, differently from what I had expected I felt that Chris had not enjoyed that novel much, not as much as Emma, to which he had dedicated three posts. Of course, it was a very neat, professional, interesting review, but I couldn’t feel in any line a shadow of the admiration he had shown for Emma and at the same time, it was as if he couldn’t understand mine (and the many other Persuasion fans who usually comment on his blog).

However, scrolling down the comments, I realized that he had actually understood the root of our fervor, only, being a true Gentleman, he didn’t want to speak his mind frankly. In his very last reply to another blogger , in fact, he hinted at something that sounds like this:”I can see the appeal of Anne as a character for us, ahem, older readers, Helen, compared to the younger Austen heroines like Lizzie, Fanny or Emma. ” Ahem, there he went, ladies, like a dagger in my self-esteem. Everything was clear, that’s why we have enjoyed Persuasion so much, because we are, I can’t say the word, well, let’s put it in this way, a little advanced in years.

Anne Elliot is, of course, the heroine that gives any mature woman hope. She is very much alike the Charlotte Lucas of Pride and Prejudice: plain, modest, accomplished, clever but too old to aspire to a good match with the bliss love. However, differently from Charlotte, Anne doesn’t settle for a Mr Collins; she, unexpectedly, has the occasion to meet again Captain Wentworth, the love of her life, the opportunity she had missed when she was much younger and in her full  bloom.The grown-up Anne has learnt to be less yielding than her younger self and this time she will be able to conquer a much deserved happy ending.

So, if this is true, we have been unmasked, ladies; therefore, when somebody next time asks you, for example, which Jane Austen heroine you would like to be🤔…..what about Lydia Bennet as an answer? 😜

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18 thoughts on “The SimpleTruth

  1. I’m too gentlemenly to laugh at your concluding paragraphs, Stefy, but I did permit myself a smile of recognition. Unlike the other novels, Persuasion seems to me to be shot through with melancholy. Regret is a terrible emotion to dam up within yourself, and though the novel ends (as they all do) on a happy note with the woman getting her man, it’s hard not to read into it Jane’s own regret at never marrying.

    Was my comment in the review then ageist? I hope not, merely realist, because that’s the (I was going going to say ‘age old’) fear of, particularly, many – – but not all – – women, is it not, of not only getting past the age of child-bearing but being alone as one approaches one’s twilight age. Men fear loneliness too, but it’s of a different nature, I think. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!)

    Final verdict? This novel is in the second rank of Jane’s works, but only just; and since we’re talking about Austen here that’s already quite stratosphere!

    • I read the novel many years ago ( I was much younger,then 🤔), and as far I can remember I was conquered by uniqueness of this character and the plot development. I saw the positive side and I likely missed the melancholy tone between the lines.
      For what concens “loneliness”. I’ve come to the conclusion that everybody is lonely even if n the company of people. 😉
      Have a great year, Chris. 🙋🍸

  2. In so many ways Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel (when it isn’t Mansfield Park, but that’s another story): there’s something real about Anne that I really warm to, and then the idea that a second chance is possible and you can carry someone in your heart for so long. But it’s the final chapters, where Austen creates suspense like in no other of her novels, that I find really powerful: is she actually going to win him, or will he slip through her fingers again? And she’s a heroine who acts to get what she wants, too.

    • True, the last chapters are very powerful, but I also like the way she creates the suspance of the meeting and how Anne and Captain Wentworth “measure” each other after 8 years. Chris’s comment made me think that Anne was likely to be the most similar to Jane Austen herself among her characters, with the only difference that she managed to marry the man she loved.

  3. I’m convinced, etinkerbell, that your literary preferences as concerns Jane Austen have little to do with age. Whatever its worth as evidence, my younger daughter, now 33, has always read Jane Austen with fervour and when I ask her, it’s Persuasion she always wants to come back to.
    Today, I liked your review of a review so much, I couldn’t stop reading.
    A Happy New Year to you all here!
    Ellington

  4. Like Arletta’s daughter, I too feel a special connection to Anne Elliot. I was in my 20s when I first read Persuasion, and it quickly supplanted P&P as my fave. Yes, there’s more melancholy in its tone, an “older” authorial voice, but this is counterbalanced by a more subtle humor. Anne’s father and two sisters are perfect portrayals of self-centeredness — better even than the reckless Lydia. But I disagree with Chris about Austen’s regrets. We can never know what she felt as she worked on Anne Elliot’s story — she was suffering greatly from the disease that killed her before she could finish the MS for publication — but I have to believe that she felt comfort (and a little pride) in knowing her books were popular. Had she married, it’s likely that she’d never have written them.

    • If it is so, I’m glad she didn’t marry. However,the families of Jane Austen’ s heroines are often crowded with characters who would be interesting psychiatric cases, hypochondriac mostly. The Elliots are in many ways a fine gallery of all of them with the exception of Anne, of course. In Persuasion those who do not belong to the small family circle, are warm, welcoming. All these people “outside” help, in a way or another, build Anne’s confidence and smooth Captain Wentworth’s resentment to the deserved happy finale.

  5. I always enjoy the love for literature that permeates the environment here at e-tinkerbell.
    🙂
    and reading this made me smile – cos it was so nice to see how shares are gifts and how we have WP tree”

    “the long-awaited review of Persuasion appeared under my WordPress tree on Christmas day.”

    I have had a few fun blog gifts under my WP tree too
    and hearing from you was a nice little one.
    and looking forward to connecting in 2018
    happy new year

  6. As one who only started reading Austen in the last couple of years, I found Persuasion’s story a grip on my heart, but not the characters. Oh, they’re not bland or anything–that moment when the fellow is compelled to write his true feelings and just waves at everyone to leave him alone made me laugh–but P&P’s characters have such a completeness to them. No false notes. Every string of the web that ties them together feels sound, rather than snuck in.
    Lovely post!

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