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Persuasion by Jane Austen Day 5

April 23, 2021 | Ch. 10-11

“Do you mean that she refused him?” In the hedgerow, Captain Wentworth asks Louisa, not knowing that Anne listens.

“…and still more its sweet retired bay, backed by dark cliffs, where fragments of low rock among the sands make it the happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in unwearied contemplation…”

Henry Austen says his sister was “a warm & judicious admirer of landscape both in nature and on canvass.” This is a detail of a painting that belonged to the Austens’ father & that Jane Austen would likely have known; its present owner is Natalie Jenner.

CIRCLE OF RICHARD WILSON 1713-1782 OIL ON WOOD PANEL River landscape with ruins and figures 19.5cm high, 24cm wide - in decorative gilt moulded frames. Old catalogue label on the reverse; Provenance, Originally in the possession of Jane Austen's father. Present owner Natalie Jenner.

“…he repeated, with such tremulous feelings, the various lines which imaged a broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he didn’t always read only poetry; and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely, and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.”

The sentence perfectly expresses the question at the heart of Anne’s character, her dilemma in the novel, and the emotional state of so many of Austen’s best characters. The question: How does one confront and privilege the unvarnished truth of one's feelings while still protecting oneself from the possibly destructive power of that truth?

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