In case you missed my earlier posts in which I proclaim my adoration of Austen’s Persuasion, let me just repeat: it’s my favorite of her books. It is one of my Top Ten Reads of All Time. I have a copy of the 1996 adaptation with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. Wentworth’s letter to Anne is….*sighs*… The Letter. I own
three four paper copies of the book, all from different points in my life: high school, college, copy acquired when away from home and in need of a comfort read, and now an annotated edition. There’s an e-version on my Kindle, too, downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
I’ve been reading the annotated version lately, reading it slowly, allowing myself only one chapter every couple of days. Reading it out loud, because the sound of the words in the air somehow has a different import than words left silent on the page. As much as I’m enjoying it, though, I’m not really certain what the point of the annotations is. Or more precisely, who the intended audience is. Some of the notes are interesting, with bits about how naval ranking works/worked (three types of admirals with three ratings in each tier), clothing and carriages of the time, social hierarcy, the difference between a knight and a baronet, etc. Other notes are fairly elementary, though, explaining word selection or usage that seems obvious based on context. So is this annotated edition intended for the reader who is unfamiliar with the vocabulary quirks and style of 19th century British writers? Is it supposed to be a text book for an English lit class? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone else who has read Shapard’s annotated edition of either Persuasion or Pride & Prejudice, just to know what others think — I haven’t found many reviews by non-academics (and relatively few by academics or Austen-philes).
When culling my archives for Persuasion-related posts, I realized two things: 1) my tags are really not consistent; and 2) I’ve never written a review of Persuasion. Perhaps that will change. Or perhaps not.