Persuasion was begun in August 1815, and completed on 6 August 1816. During this period Jane was in London for several months, taking charge of Henry and his household affairs during his long illness (a passage in chapter xvii on Nurse Rooke suggests the authenticity of experience); she and Cassandra spent most of May at Cheltenham. In its first form the novel was completed on 18 July 1816. Jane was dissatisfied with the climax, which she thought ‘tame and flat’, but soon produced an entirely new one, which resulted in the substitution of almost two chapters for one (Memoir, xii). The text may have been revised in the autumn before she began Sanditon; in March 1817, just before she was compelled to relinquish the writing of fiction altogether because of failing health, she informed her niece that she had ‘something ready for publication, which may perhaps appear about a twelvemonth hence’; this does not suggest that she had major alterations in mind. Ten days later she wrote to another niece: ‘pictures of perfection as you know make me sick and wicked…. Do not be surprised at finding Uncle Henry acquainted with my having another [work] ready for publication. … You may perhaps like the heroine, as she is almost too good for me’ (Letters, 484, 486 – 7). The novel was published posthumously with Northanger Abbey in 1818, with a biographical notice by Henry Austen, who may have furnished both titles.
KeywordsHappy Ending Love Story Biographical Notice Chapter Xvii Genuine Friendliness
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