Persuasion: ‘loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone’

  • Ashley Tauchert
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


It has to be said that Emma and Anne achieve their narrative function as pretty passive recipients of the ‘complete truth’ — and the truth of their present and future ‘perfect happiness’ — in the form of an unexpected message of love. Their particular narrative purpose, the one that is ‘risked’ and found safe in the end, is to receive and ‘understand’ the message that they are loved: ‘On the contents of that letter depended all that this world could do for her!’492 They are quiet recipients in their scenes of revelation.493 Yet Anne’s receptivity is productive of one of the most plausible and beloved happy endings available in the realist tradition. This ending turns on the possibility of the endurance of love against all the odds, and the key to Anne’s release is a message of love that has been risked and then found safe after all.


Happy Ending Narrative Condition Realist Tradition Narrative Function Romance Form 
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  1. 490.
    P.B. Shelley, On Love’ [1818], in Duncan Wu, Romanticism: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 860–1.Google Scholar
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    Luce Irigaray, The Way of Love (London: Continuum, 2002) introduction.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ashley Tauchert 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Tauchert
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

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