Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage;

Persuasion was the last of Jane Austen's completed novels. She began it soon after she had finished Emma and completed it in August 1816. Persuasion was published after her death, in December of 1817, although it was dated 1818.

Persuasion is connected with Northanger Abbey not only by the fact that the two books were originally bound up in one volume and published together two years later, but also because both stories are set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which Jane Austen was well acquainted, having lived there from 1801 to 1805.

Besides the theme of persuasion, the novel evokes other topics, such as the Royal Navy. The significance here is that two brothers of Jane Austen used persuasion to later achieve the rank of admiral. As in Northanger Abbey, the superficial social life of Bath, well known to Jane Austen, is portrayed extensively and serves as a background for the second volume.

Plot Edit

More than seven years prior to the events in the novel, Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome young naval officer named Frederick Wentworth, who is intelligent and ambitious, but poor. Sir Walter Elliot, Anne's father and lord of the family estate of Kellynch, and her older sister Elizabeth are dissatisfied with her choice, maintaining that he is not distinguished enough for their family. Her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's deceased mother, persuades her to break off the engagement.

Now, aged 27 and still unmarried, Anne re-encounters her former fiancé when his sister and brother-in-law, the Crofts, take out a lease on Kellynch. Wentworth, now a captain, is wealthy from wartime victories in the Royal Navy and from prize-money for capturing enemy ships. However, he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection of him.

The self-interested machinations of Anne's father, her older sister Elizabeth, Elizabeth's friend Mrs. Clay, and William Elliot (Anne's cousin and her father's heir) constitute important subplots.

Characters Edit

Main Characters Edit

  • Anne Elliot
  • Captain Frederick Wentworth

Supporting Characters Edit

  • Lady Russell
  • Louisa Musgrove
  • Henrietta Musgrove
  • Mary Musgrove
  • Sir Walter Elliot
  • Mr. William Elliot

Notes Edit

When reading Persuasion you might infer Jane Austen intended 'persuasion' as the working theme of the story, but it was her brother who named the story due to her death. We may never know what she wanted it to be called. Certainly the theme of persuasion is repeated several times. But there is no known source for Austen pronouncing her own title for this work. Some critics believe Austen intended to name the novel "The Elliots", but that, in fact, she died without titling it. Whatever her final intentions might have been, she spoke of her novel as The Elliots, according to family tradition.

Adaptations Edit


Webseries Edit

  • The Elliots (2015)
  • Rational Creatures (2018)

Endnotes Edit

All references here

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