notes on jane austen's persuasion



~3 min read


443 words

I just finished reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion. This marks the third Jane Austen novel I’ve read this year, after Emma and Pride & Prejudice.

I will admit I was disappointed with how the book was progressing through the first two-thirds to three-fourths of the book. And while I think I still prefer the others, the last bit of the book - particularly the penultimate chapter - was just delightful!

Toward the end, I lost track of the number of passages that made me smile, chuckle, and cry in turn.

None made me feel more than Captain Wentworth’s letter. That was the moment when Persuasion went from an entertaining story to one that deserves to continue to be read two hundred plus years after its publication.

That this letter was delivered at the end of a wonderful scene in which Anne and Captain Harville were having a lovely, lively conversation - a friendly debate about which sex loves the most - makes it even better!

I’ve transcribed the letter in full below.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F.W.

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.

Persuasion by Jane Austen (Part 2, Chapter 23)

Related Posts
  • Antilibrary
  • Bookshelf

  • Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!