She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older–the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.”—-Jane Austen, Persuasion
My cousin and I have formed a Persuasion book club.
We are doing this for you.
Yes, we’re grateful for your consternation over the fact that (1) she was called an idiot by a private online Austen book group; and (2) you don’t entirely dismiss her view that Anne Elliott, the heroine of Persuasion, was a wimp.
And so I suggested that I reread the book, and that she and I discuss it next week. Possibly Wednesday, possibly Thursday: it depends on when I finish. There will not be a video: I will write from notes in my reporter notebook. I am a good note taker.
I have read Persuasion many times, and of course am on the side of Anne Elliott, the smart, quiet, charming heroine who behaves so beautifully with her ex-boyfriend.
My cousin thinks Anne is a wimp, and I think that point can be argued. As I put it, some of us are Annes, some of us are not.
I fear that in my youth I was like Louisa Musgrave, the gregarious, bright 20-year-old rival who jumps off walls on walks to get attention. Far worse, I wore leotards without a bra and made out with Captain Wentworth, oops, I mean So and So, on the stairway at work.
But a modern Anne might well have done the same. She probably made out with Captain Wentworth, don’t you imagine? Or did she have to wait till the official engagement? We are not scholarly here, and we want to know.
May I say that Captain Wentworth is Austen’s sexiest hero? Don’t you love it when he wordlessly picks up Anne and puts her in the carriage?
Now, guys and gals, I am PRETENDING to be a hip, silly reader. (Perhaps like the heroine of a Tama Janowitz story.) I am hip, but not dumb, and I am not a blonde, though that might be a good idea. Perhaps I WILL dye my hair before the book group. But last time I dyed it I had an allergic reaction.
My cousin is occasionally blonde, and she is not dumb: she just doesn’t read many novels. She wants me to add that her favorite book is Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians. Now she wants me to tell you that she made that up because she knew we would enjoy that comment. Her favorite book is Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. She also likes Diana Gabaldon’s romances.
We will find at least one sequel to Persuasion. (We will comb Jane Austen websites for suggestions.)
We will post a playlist. (The video of Richard Thompson’s song, “Persuasion,” appears at the bottom of the post.) Please contribute songs to our playlist.
I look forward to the discussion and your comments.