Raise your hand if you prefer Pride and Prejudice.
All right, now raise your hand for Emma.
How about Sense and Sensibility?
Mansfield Park? Okay.
Northhanger Abbey? Just asking.
And the rest of you? It’s got to be for Persuasion–right?
Well, Jane only wrote six novels; it’s got to be for one of them.
Hmm, I shall gently try to persuade you to cast your Austen vote for Persuasion.
- Pride and Prejudice gets much too much attention. Jane has six literary children and P&P will become unbearably too spoiled with so much fuss. Look at all the celebratory brouhaha over the publishing of the novel! Goodness…
- Anne and Frederick don’t have to go through that messy “love me, love me not” business found in JA’s other plots; they already love each other. Getting to the point where they re-realize it makes it so much more satisfying than the on/off dilemma.
- Persuasion has THE best love letter. Here is a partial:
“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”
Who could not met upon receiving this as an encouragement?
- Anne and Frederick are older and have been knocked around a bit in life and more truly represent the reality that love’s course is not perfect. In other words: their love is more relatable than the fairy-talish idea of sitting around and waiting for Mr or Ms Right to pop along when least expected (okay–Emma had a bit of that going on).
- the 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root captures well the complicated tango of emotions these two separated lovers endure as they find their way back into each other’s hearts and arms. Amanda Root’s transformation from wilted and worn down spinister-in-the-making to resolute refreshed woman is transfixing.
So, five amazing reasons why Persuasion should become THE Jane Austen first mentioned in her stable of renowned novels.
Have I persuaded you?
- Egads, Those Cads of Literature (cricketmuse.wordpress.com)
- Pardon, Me, Emily, Jane’s Calling (veranano.wordpress.com)
- Stamps show Jane Austen book scenes (bbc.co.uk)