Persuasion Read-Along Update #3

This read-along is hosted by Heidi at Literary Adventures Along the Brandywine.

Book II – Chapters 1 to 6

Well, well, well.  Wentworth appears frantic about Louisa’s condition and will barely leave Lyme, where she is convalescing.  Anne, however, has returned home to meet Lady Russell who has arrived from Bath.  Charles and Mary finally return from Lyme and Charles announces that he believe Captain Benwick has a fondness for Anne and hints at the possibility of a visit, yet it does not materialize.  Lady Russell and Anne travel to Bath, though Anne’s enthusiasm for the trip and new lodging is tepid.  A warm welcome from her father and sister, surprises her, and she learns that their cousin, Mr. Eliot has been introduced and is a frequent visitor to the house in Camden-place.  Mrs. Clay, daughter of the solicitor and Elizabeth’s companion, worries Anne, in case her father is considering a new wife, yet she is pleased with the manners of Mr. Eliot, though eventually decides that he appears too proper and passionless for her tastes.  A renewed acquaintance with her old governess, once made wealthy by marriage and now poor by widowhood, is a pleasure to Anne but a horror to her family, though Lady Russell supports her visits.  An unexpected and astonishing letter arrives from Mary declaring that Louisa is engaged to Captain Benwick and Anne is pleased, although she muses as to their attraction to each other.  Mr. Croft declares that Captain Wentworth has been visiting friends too long and must come to Bath.  Will he?  And what delights or sorrows will his arrival bring?

Camden-place, Bath

Thoughts:  Okay, there are a number of loose ends in the narrative so far.  Louisa’s impending marriage to Captain Benwick for one; what does it do, other than give us a possible suitor for Anne for a period of time, and allow musings on how suffering can improve one’s character?  Interesting musings, but not particularly tied to the plot, or at least not obviously.  And what about her governess?  Again where are the threads joined to the plot?  It shows Anne’s goodness, but as yet, nothing else.  And something must happen that involves Mrs. Clay or I’ll be astonished.  So far she has hovered outside the action, yet Anne has suspicions towards her designs on her father.  Will Anne have to step in with some clever strategy to save her father from this devious woman?

I’m quite enjoying the examination of the different aspects of society, from the haves to the have-nots.  The perceptions of people and their treatment of others, depending on their social class, is particularly illuminating.

And I’m still fascinated by the way Austen handles Anne Elliot.  We continually see her, not necessarily through self-examination and personal actions, but through the perceptions of others and her actions towards them.  I’m still mulling over whether this unusual characterization is purposeful or not.  Does it add to her personality of retiring shyness and quiet nobility?  Or is it employed to make a commentary on the society of the time?  As English society grew and metamorphosed, were people seen less as individuals and more as a collective, almost wholly viewed and constructed through the eyes of others?

British Lighthouse – Chartmouth

15 thoughts on “Persuasion Read-Along Update #3

  1. Persuasion!! Is this the first time you're reading the book?

    I just remember my sister studying it in her last years at high school,and I guess that's why I feel hugely intimidated by this novel.

    And do you think it is a masterpiece,quite like Pride and Prejudice (I haven't read that book,but everybody says so about it)?

    – Kainzow

  2. Are you enjoying the Forsyte Saga? I was envious of your chance to read it. Austen is certainly commenting on society overall, I think, just not as adeptly as I'm used to from her. With this one, I'm not going to discover how I really feel about the book until I'm finished.

  3. Yes, this is my first time reading it and I can't believe I waited so long. So far, I do not think it's on par with Pride and Prejudice, not by a long shot. There are a number of issues in the book that are problematic so far, and unless Austen ties them up, they'll be flaws at the end. I'm very curious to see how things go ….. I have 25% left to go!

  4. It's been a while since I read this, so I skimmed your post so as not to remind myself of the details – just by mentioning it you're making me want to re-read it!

    I love that picture of Bath (which is the main reason I'm commenting) – love those old streets 🙂

  5. Darn, I really wish that I had heard of this reading event sooner. I've wanted to read Persuasion for a while now. I'm enjoying your thoughts on it so far and curious to see what your final opinion is once you reach the end.

  6. Alas, I am so-o-o-o-o late to the party. I think I would have been a participate in the Persuasion read-along-party, but my rereading of Austen's novel will now have to wait for another time. Nevertheless, I enjoy your wonderful commentary. Brava!

  7. I'm doing an Austen Project, so if you want to join in any of the other works, let me know. This one is my first, and I will probably read Sense and Sensibility next, although I believe that you've read that one already.

  8. I'm doing an Austen Project this year. I was planning to read them in published order initially, but this read-along was too tempting to miss. However it bumped her last book to the beginning, but that shouldn't be too hard to deal with. Sense and Sensibility is next up. As I mentioned to Jason above, please let me know if you want to participate in a read-along of any of her other works.

    I must say, with all this 19th and 20th century lit, I'm really missing my Greeks, and I was hoping to continue on my own with my discovery of Arthurian lit last year. You know the old adage: so many books, so little time. 🙂 I'm escaping to an island later this week, for a week, so I hope to have some extensive reading-time then!

  9. Read Persuasion to please another blogger " Brona's Books'.
    Sometimes I hesitate to comment on Ausitn….I'm not a fan and don't want to sound like a broken record. As with 'Little Women'..Persuasion swept me off my feet form chapter 17 until the end. It seems I have to get through the initial chapters before I find what I am looking for….more introspection and lnot so much descriptions of ' class manners and morality'. I give myself ( humbly…) a few stars for finishing the book and give Jane A credit for some beautiful thoughts expressed in a love letter.

  10. Some Austens I LOVE, and some leave me lukewarm. I think Persuasion will be in the latter category. I do love Austen's prose though …… how she communicates is really quite beautiful. Pride and Prejudice is a very intricate novel and I think Mansfield Park may be too, though I haven't quite "got it" yet. Austen is writing for her time and writing what she knows and does an outstanding job. I like that I can always appreciate what she writes, as she writes it well.

    You should say how you feel about Austen, certainly! Your comments would probably generate some interesting discussion!

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!