Persuasion: An Annotated Edition


Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.


“Robert Morrison…has done thorough research in preparing this edition. His notes draw on nineteenth-century Austen criticism, on classic commentators such as Mary Lascelles, on historical essays from the Austen journal Persuasions, and on the newest books about Austen hot off the university presses. With impressively bold good judgment, he has become the first Persuasion editor to adopt an emendation proposed by John E. Grant in 1983….Morrison’s introduction is worthy of the whole….Against a related complaint that the youngest generation of Austen readers is all too apt to renew, that of insufficient feminism, Morrison borrows the eloquence of Julia Kavanagh and Rebecca West, then offers his own courageous, authoritative credo: “But Austen knew that love is the very largest concern of life, then as now” (21). At such moments as this, the book becomes not just an intelligent, responsible, judicious distillation of what is currently known and believed about Austen’s novel but a source of wisdom in its own right.” – Sarah Raff, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, March 2013.

“Robert Morrison’s lavishly illustrated and fulsomely annotated hardback edition of Persuasion is a thing of beauty…enjoyable as much for its scrupulous scholarship as for its abundant colour illustrations…..I quickly settled down to moving with ease between text and notes, enjoying the latter as almost miniature stories in their own right. Particularly fascinating are those notes on navy life, which give a renewed prominence to Persuasion’s naval backdrop…..Above all, [Morrison] gives us an immensely enriched reading experience that is as close to Austen in 3D as the printed wordand image can achieve.” – Jane Moore, Notes and Queries, March 2013.

“This volume’s purpose of pleasure is evident in the freewheeling style of Robert Morrison’s annotations, which appear to take wing, rather as in hypertext, where you are invited to continue clicking, to move farther and farther from the point of departure….Annotation outstrips Austen’s text, its smaller font size not only a respectful nod to proper hierarchy but a chance to squeeze in more information and opinion….The cumulative effect…is deferential and canonical: this is Austen’s novel memorialized. Persuasion now inhabits its own ‘book of books’.” – Kathryn Sutherland, TLS, 10 August 2012.

“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….And his preface firmly places the novel in the events of its setting, especially the Napoleonic Wars (which Austen never overtly refers to)….The volume has been generating a lot of excitement in both scholarly and popular Austen circles, and rightly so!” – J. Larson, Choice, April 2012.

“I thought I knew this novel well, but reading Robert Morrison’s Persuasion: An Annotated Edition showed me how much more there is to know…. In his superb introduction, and in the many annotations accompanying the text, Morrison fills out the wider picture of the world within which Anne and Wentworth’s romance plays out.” – Evelyn Rosenthal, The Arts Fuse, February 2012.

“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….Morrison decodes Wentworth’s nautical style of speaking and explains why a 19th-century inn wouldn’t have fresh food delivered….For lovers of Austen, it’s a deep dive into both her fiction and her world.” – Christian Science Monitor, 3 December 2011.

“This lovely version features period illustrations, a fine introduction and enough annotation to amplify our understanding of this classic.” – The Globe and Mail, 3 December 2011.

“This is a lovely book, in which Morrison…gives us context, geography and history; defines some terms (sedan chair, dab-chick, 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.” – Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 26 November 2011.

“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, September 2011.