Persuasion is the last novel completed by Jane Austen. It was published along with Northanger Abbey at the end of 1817, six months after her death.
The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of twenty-seven years, whose family moves to lower their expenses and reduce their debt by renting their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife's brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, was engaged to Anne in 1806, but the engagement was broken when Anne was "persuaded" by her friends and family to end their relationship. Anne and Captain Wentworth, both single and unattached, meet again after a seven-year separation, setting the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second "bloom".
The novel was well-received in the early 19th century, but its greater fame came later in the century and continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. Much scholarly debate on Austen's work has since been published. Anne Elliot is noteworthy among Austen's heroines for her relative maturity. As Persuasion was Austen's last completed work, it is accepted as her most maturely written novel, showing a refinement of literary conception indicative of a woman approaching forty years of age. Her use of free indirect discourse in narrative was in full evidence by 1816.
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