MASTERPIECE CLASSIC host Laura Linney talks about a masterpiece. Her thought is the more time you spend with it the richer it becomes, at least that’s my interpretation.

Jane Austen’s Persuasion was written between August, 1815 and August, 1816. It’s reported this was this time period in which she became ill and eventually died in July of 1817. Persuasion was published a year after her death by her brother, Henry Austen, who was a big fan of his sister’s work. Actually it was Henry who determined the title Persuasion. Miss Austen had no title written for her last work before she died. Although we’ll never know what Jane may have called her story, I think Henry did a pretty good job!

Masterpiece Classic:Persuasion airs 10pm, Thursday, July 7 on WOSU TV.

Jane Austen

In publishing Persuasion, Henry Austen also took the liberty to write the preface to the book. He felt it was time to introduce the world to its author and his beloved sister, Miss Jane Austen. In this small excerpt from the preface you get a glance into a brother’s love, but I also see some of her wonderful characters.

Preface from Persuasion:
“Of personal attractions she possessed a considerable share. Her stature was that of true elegance. It could not have been increased without exceeding the middle height. Her carriage and deportment were quiet, yet graceful. Her features were separately good. Their assemblage produced an unrivaled expression of that cheerfulness, sensibility, and benevolence, which were her real characteristics. Her complexion was of the finest texture. It might with truth be said, that her eloquent blood spoke through her modest cheek. Her voice was extremely sweet. She delivered herself with fluency and precision. Indeed she was formed for elegant and rational society, excelling in conversation as much as in composition. In the present age it is hazardous to mention accomplishments. Our authoress would, probably, have been inferior to few in such acquirements, had she not been so superior to most in higher things. She had not only an excellent taste for drawing, but, in her earlier days, evinced great power of hand in the management of the pencil. Her own musical attainments she held very cheap. Twenty years ago they would have been thought more of, and twenty years hence many a parent will expect their daughters to be applauded for meaner performances. She was fond of dancing, and excelled in it. It remains now to add a few observations on that which her friends deemed more important, on those endowments which sweetened every hour of their lives.

If there be an opinion current in the world, that perfect placidity of temper is not reconcileable to the most lively imagination, and the keenest relish for wit, such an opinion will be rejected for ever by those who have had the happiness of knowing the authoress of the following works. Though the frailties, foibles, and follies of others could not escape her immediate detection, yet even on their vices did she never trust herself to comment with unkindness. The affectation of candour is not uncommon; but she had no affectation. Faultless herself, as nearly as human nature can be, she always sought, in the faults of others, something to excuse, to forgive or forget. Where extenuation was impossible, she had a sure refuge in silence. She never uttered either a hasty, a silly, or a severe expression. In short, her temper was as polished as her wit. Nor were her manners inferior to her temper. They were of the happiest kind. No one could be often in her company without feeling a strong desire of obtaining her friendship, and cherishing a hope of having obtained it. She was tranquil without reserve or stiffness; and communicative without intrusion or self-sufficiency. She became an authoress entirely from taste and inclination. Neither the hope of fame nor profit mixed with her early motives.”

Spend some time, once again, with a masterpiece.

Stacia H.