Jane Austen's Persuasion text guide

Persuasion title pageJane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the most widely read English novelists. Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages. Following the publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), her popularity grew steadily. Within a five year span, her six major works had been published and received with moderate enthusiasm.

Persuasion (1816) is Jane Austen’s last completed work. It was finished the year before she died, when her health was declining. Many consider it to be the most moving of her novels and attribute this to its more serious tone and the emotional evolution of its heroine, Anne Elliot. Both of these traits reflect Jane Austen’s greater maturity as a writer and a person. When it was published posthumously, its title was changed by Jane’s brother, Henry Austen, from The Elliots to Persuasion, which seems appropriate as different perspectives on the theme of persuasion are presented repeatedly throughout the book.

Jane Austen

Jane AustenAusten published her novels anonymously, so her identity as a novelist was not widely known while she was alive. When A Memoir of Jane Austen, by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, was published in 1869, her renown as a novelist spread.  Read more . . .

Austen's world

The Prince RegentAusten lived during the Regency era, when George III was declared insane and his son was appointed as Regent. The Prince was notable as a womaniser who over-ate, over-drank and over-spent. As such he lost the respect of many of his subjects, including Jane Austen. In fact, she mocks over-indulgence and vanity of all kinds, while restraint is depicted as a mark of character strength. Nevertheless, his extravagance characterised the period. Read more . . .

Dive in to the Persuasion text guide

Synopses and commentary - Scene by scene synopsis, commentary and analysis of the entire novel.

Characters - Detailed analysis of all the important characters in Austen's Persuasion.

Persuasion Timeline - Helpfully puts history, literary events and Austen's life side by side so you can make sense of events.

Themes - Research themes, such as Love and Marriage, that feature in Persuasion.

Persuasion e-book - Read the book and research the text, all for free and online.

How to do well in your essays

Decide what the key words of the question are, and underline them.

If you are asked to analyse an extract, read it through two or three times.

Do not adopt the first possible approach - be willing to dispute the terms of the question if you are given the opportunity.

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