Persuasion Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Waldron examines Austen's moral intentions in Persuasion.

Of all six completed novels Persuasion most resists a late twentieth-century reader's attempts to exonerate Austen from charges of prescriptiveness and didacticism. If Anne Elliot was 'almost too good' for the author, a reading based on an assumption of Austen's attachment to conventional contemporary wisdom will certainly leave her too good for us. Marilyn Butler, among others, avers that 'Anne comes near to being dangerously perfect' and much modern criticism finds her somewhat tediously fault-free. Curiously, though, it is the one work of Austen's which attracted prompt contemporary criticism on moral grounds; in 1818 the following was included in a review in The British Critic:

[The novel] contains parts of very great merit; among
them, however, we certainly should not number its
moral, which seems to be, that young people should
always marry according to their own...


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This section contains 5,275 words
(approx. 14 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Persuasion Study Guide
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Persuasion from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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