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Robert Morrison's new annotated edition of Persuasion is terrific: thorough, scrupulous, and thoughtful. It is a worthy addition to the wonderful Harvard series of annotated volumes, likely to be long read and much enjoyed by Austen enthusiasts. -- Patricia Meyer Spacks Readers who know Pride and Prejudice and Emma very well, can on encountering or re-encountering Austen's final novel find it disconcerting and disorienting. Fortunately, they are now well served by the thorough and thoughtful annotation in Persuasion: An Annotated Edition. -- Deidre Lynch, University of Toronto
Robert Morrison is Queen's National Scholar at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
Jane Austen's final novel continues to fascinate readers. This love story contains Austen's most pointed social commentary, recognizing the rising status of the professional class and respecting the aristocrats with their inherited lands and titles. Morrison provides annotations alongside the novel's text. He enables readers to understand the impact of these social changes on family interactions and obligations, especially marriage...Highly recommended to first-time Austen readers and to fans seeking further insight into Austen's life and literary sources, as well as British life in her time. -- Nancy R. Ives Library Journal 20110901 A handsome volume graced with colorful illustrations. Morrison's commentary not only includes new insights into Jane Austen's story about the romance of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, but also delves deep into details of life at the time. For readers who always wondered--and even for those who never thought to--Morrison decodes Wentworth's nautical style of speaking and explains why a 19th-century inn wouldn't have fresh food delivered. ("In November they seem to have stopped ordering for guests altogether, as the social season had passed and they had no expectation of company," Morrison writes.) For lovers of Austen, it's a deep dive into both her fiction and her world. -- Molly Driscoll Christian Science Monitor 20111202 Jane Austen's last work, published posthumously in 1817, is her deepest and most introspective. Austen's view of the drawing apart and coming together of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth is both wintry and warm. This lovely version features period illustrations, a fine introduction by the editor and enough annotation to amplify our understanding of this classic. Globe and Mail 20111202 This edition is sumptuous eye candy for the Janeite. It is a real pleasure to have so much information collected and assembled for our edification and enjoyment. Morrison offers a lengthy and lucid introduction. -- Laurel Ann AustenProse.com 20111118 Does Persuasion need annotation? You'd think the legions of loyal Jane Austen fans could annotate all of her books in their sleep. But this is a lovely book, in which Morrison, of Queen's University, Ontario, gives us context, geography and history; defines some terms (sedan chair, dabchick, blain), and admits what he doesn't know. ("Why does Mrs. Clay send Mr. Elliot to Union Street...and what does this tell us about their relationship? Austen does not explain it.") This book is lavishly illustrated and includes, in an appendix, Austen's original ending. (When you read it, you'll be glad she rewrote it.) -- Laurie Hertzel Star Tribune 20111126 A beautiful new annotated edition of Persuasion from Harvard's Belknap Press. -- Jenny Hendrix Paris Review blog 20111220 What better way to revisit the world of Jane Austen's last completed novel (published posthumously in 1818) than through one of the magnificent annotated editions produced regularly by Harvard University Press? ...These Harvard editions are setting the standard for a new century of carefully supporting intelligent readers. -- Steve Donoghue Open Letters Monthly 20111205 I'll say it right up front, my favorite book related to Jane Austen in 2011 was Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison. Designed along the same lines as last year's superb Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks. Robert Morrison not only explains some of the more esoteric details of Persuasion, but also includes beautiful images that explain the era more clearly for the reader. This book is a coffee table edition of an annotation, although I would not recommend leaving it out unattended. A zealous Janeite guest might just squirrel it away unnoticed! -- Amanda Vickery Jane Austen Today 20111229 This gorgeous annotated edition of Persuasion, the second annotated Austen title Belknap Harvard has released, is a must for all Janeites. For those unfamiliar with Austen's milieu, Morrison's notes provide basic information, such as explanations of words or phrases and geographical information. However, Morrison goes beyond the basics in his notes, explaining the intricacies of the Navy and providing details about Austen's allusions to figures such as Samuel Johnson. He also provides a fine scholarly analysis of the novel, including an extended discussion--in which he quotes the premier Austen scholars--of Captain Wentworth's letter. And his preface firmly places the novel in the events of its setting, especially the Napoleonic Wars (which Austen never overtly refers to). The beauty of this book is the lovely pictures, such as fashion plates, naval scenes, sketches of Bath, and illustrations from various editions of the novel. This volume should please all readers, from those reading Persuasion for the first time to seasoned Austen scholars. The volume has been generating a lot of excitement in both scholarly and popular Austen circles, and rightly so! -- L. J. Larson Choice 20120401 A fine example of the revitalized investment in beautiful books that keeps company with [the] latest phase of digital reproduction. Lavishly respectful of the best material values of the book (elegant cloth binding, gold-stamped spine, silky endpapers, thick and creamy paper, superb illustrations), it also celebrates Austen's bookish credentials. Its size (25 x 24 cm) makes it monumental rather than portable: a book for exhibition and browsing rather than for continuous reading on the train or in bed. Page layout is double-columned, with the novel text occupying the inner column, and commentary, annotation and graphic illustration tucked around it, cosseting and adorning it, in a gesture akin to the medieval art of illumination. This does not represent the contest for the space of the page that we find in some dry scholarly editions of the twentieth century, where footnotes and layers of synoptic apparatus induce anxiety in the reader, but something closer to loving embellishment and homage... This volume's purpose of pleasure is evident in the freewheeling style of Robert Morrison's annotations. -- Kathryn Sutherland Times Literary Supplement 20120810