Book # 7: Persuasion

It’s true. I am devoted to Miss Austen, so much so that it is only thanks to my former husband’s dislike of the name that I do not have a daughter named Jane. Her books are for me an alternate universe of friends and locations I enjoy visiting over and over again. In 2007, I re-read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma." This year I am beginning with "Persuasion," beloved as all her books are, in particular for its older heroine, Anne Elliot.

Have you read this one? Do you love it? And what of the film version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root? It’s about as delightful an adaptation of Austen as I have ever seen. Hinds does tend toward those broody Mr. Rochester silences (he has played that character, too), and Sam West is a great Mr. Elliot. But it’s Amanda Root I love the most, so much expression and sensitivity. She really feels like Anne to me in a way many actresses do not feel right as Austen’s heroines.

Your thoughts welcome.

20 thoughts on “Book # 7: Persuasion”

  1. Was that the version of Persuasion on Masterpiece Theater a couple weeks ago? I’m thoroughly enjoying their Complete Jane Austen. Even the quasi bio-pic, “Miss Austen Regrets” this past week was enjoyable. I love the way Austen played with language.

  2. Ditto to La Reina’s comments about the PBS shows. “Miss Austin Regrets” had me googling all Jane’s biography. Haven’t read the book but maybe tomorrow I will go shopping for a little Jane.

  3. I’m an avid reader, but I’ve never read any Jane.
    However, so many people I admire (including you) love her that I’m thinking about fixing this clear void in my life this very weekend.
    Thank you so much for this nice prompt!

  4. Heehee, Jane Ellen! To add to the pitifulness of the situation, his mother was a member of the Jane Austen Society and would have been all over a granddaughter named Jane. Or Emma. Or Elizabeth. Etc.
    La Reina, that’s the 1995 movie version, available on DVD.
    patti, my mom was an Anne fan and felt the same way.
    Austen newbies, I highly recommend “Pride and Prejudice” as a starting point.

  5. (Quick hijack: Thank you for taking the time to give me a quick, wise blog lesson in linking.
    I feel less dumb.)
    Off to the library to meet Jane Austen. Finally.

  6. Emma is my favorite. I’ve only read Persuasion once.
    I have only seen the Emma Thompson version of Pride & Prejudice and the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma. Emma Thompson was too old (I adore her, but still) and Kate Winslet’s hair looked like a mashed clown wig. It did have yummy Alan Rickman in it, but I thought miscast. Honestly can’t even remember much about the Paltrow Emma.
    What do you think of all of these books and movies that are not from her novels but are Austen-ish? Phonied up romance movies about her life, for example. It makes me chafe that some studio marketing people think that Austen-ophiles will snap up anything they stick her name on. Of course, most of them probably will…

  7. I did. That movie rocked due to Alan Rickman, and I actually thought he made something very effective out of Brandon. Totally in agreement about Winslet’s wig, so badly chosen. I guess her wild hair was supposed to contrast with Elinor’s more common sense ‘do.
    I haven’t been to see any movies about Jane Austen. And I won’t, unless there’s a real bio-pic. I did read The Jane Austen Book Club, which was amusing. And when I was working on the Bookmobile, I read a P and P sequel. Oh, so dreadful. Eye-pokingly wrong in every way. Besides, I prefer my own dreams about being married to Mr. Darcy.
    I mean about Elizabeth being married to Mr. Darcy. Ahem.

  8. Well, I suppose Pride and Prejudice, as it was the first, will always be my favorite, and I named a daughter out of Sense and Sensibility, but Persuasion is certainly right up there. I did like the version you mentioned. I was interrupted by a phone call as I began watching the new Mansfield Park and I flat didn’t care, as after 5 minutes of seeing the casting of Fanny I knew I wouldn’t like it. I have still not watched the movie version of a few years ago that was so controversial, but I did see an older BBC adaptation that I thought was very good. I read somewhere that Persuasion was “Jane Austen’s love letter to the British Navy” and being also a fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, it’s always fun for me now to imagine the naval characters in Austen’s books living that so-different life offshore.

  9. Auntie Knickers, I hadn’t heard that but of course it’s true, the novel even ends on that note.
    I couldn’t agree more about the Fanny in the recent version. Very similarly, I was interrupted, hit pause, and never went back. What was up with the untidy blonde hair, as if Fanny’s flaw was being a raucous tomboy who didn’t comb her hair. The movie version was interesting, brought in a lot of stuff about slavery that was never overt in the books, but apparently had some connection to Austen’s opinions, or so I read.

  10. Yes, but Fanny is such a drip, really – I think it’s hard to love her even on the page.
    What about Northanger Abbey? I love the way Catherine spends her time jumping to false conclusions…But Emma and P&P are the best for me…I fear Persuasion is towards the bottom of my list – but to imagine a world without Jane is unthinkable.

  11. Yes! Persuasion has such a wonderfully mature feel to it, tho still possessing all her usual energy in the depiction of the whiny sister and the intermingled families whose members each use Anne as their confessor for the sins of the others. . . And the Root/Hinds movie is lovely, too: not too “tarted up” as the Mansfield Park one that is downright racy with the slave trade issues and stories from Jane’s supposed life mixed in. Interestingly, I think Pers. (both novel and movie) looks honestly on the bleakness of a spinster’s life at that time, certainly a fact that Jane must have confronted herself. With the ill friend in Bath there’s also a sense of how relatively lucky Anne is because she isn’t “a nobody in Whatevergate Buildings”–so Austen is really doing a lot of masterful (mistressful?) things at once.
    I DO love her so. And I do recommend Angela Thirkell for Austen lovers, and Hilary McKay for young adult potential Austen lovers. Especially on a weekend when another snow storm is due!

  12. I love Jane Austen. P&P is my favourite, but Persuasion comes a really close runner up.
    I just did a tally of books I’ve read this year already -it’s a lot – the ultimate escapism and works better then tv for me.
    Today DD and I went to second hand stores just rummaging hahaha – we both came home with armful of books. Hubby just shook his head. Luckyily we (usually) don’t pay more than €2 (personal limit set by me!) a book and often a lot less!
    I bought a pair of boots and a pair of sweet shoes too. And I say I don’t like retail therapy lol!
    now I’m off to read a book in bed 🙂

  13. I saw the movie, “The Jane Austen Book Club” and, mostly enjoyed it. I’m not sure how the Jimmy Smits character is portrayed in the book but he is such a clod in the movie. What a jerk! Personally, I thought that Amy Brenneman’s character was better off without him. Anyway, the movie features some great performances by Maria Bello and Emily Blunt.
    As for the biopic that speculated about Jane Austen’s tragic love life, I can only say that, once again, there were some great peformances by Anne Hatheway and James McAvoy. Still, the “truthines” of the material was certainly suspect.
    I just finished “Sense & Sensibility” the other day (finally!). I’m looking forward to reading the reast of Austen’s works in the future.

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