Annotated 'Persuasion' is Kerri's book pick

"Persuasion" book cover
Cover of the annotated version of "Persuasion" by Jane Austen.
Harvard University Press

Kerri Miller's book pick this week is "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. After nearly 200 years in print, the novel — which some consider Austen's best — is still worth reading, especially if you pick up a copy of the annotated version assembled by scholar Robert Morrison.

"This is a book that has been on my coffee table forever, Steph, and I love it and every now and then I open it and flip through it," Kerri said.

Kerri picked Austen's novel this week as fans of her work descend on the Twin Cities for the Jane Austen Society of North America's annual meeting.

Morrison also produced an annotated edition of "Pride and Prejudice." Both volumes follow the same format: Commentary, notes and illustrations appear alongside the text, to make it easier for readers who want to look up obscure references or navigate a confusing scene.

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The annotator explained the significance of "Persuasion" in an interview with the blog of Harvard University Press, his publisher:

"In terms of popularity and influence, there are other Austen novels that have received more attention than Persuasion. But I really do consider it her finest work. It has anurgency, a range, and a relevance that seem to me to place it above her five other novels, as superb as they all are in different ways. I have tried to highlight this passion and this depth. Julia Kavanagh, one of Austen's finest nineteenth-century critics, declares that in Persuasion 'we see the first genuine picture of that silent torture of an unloved woman, condemned to suffer thus because she is a woman and must not speak.'"

Stephanie also recommended Joe Sacco's "The Great War." The book, a graphic depiction of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, folds out as a panoramic drawing.

Stephanie called it an "astonishingly beautiful thing."


Free online version of the novel's text.

A scene from the 1995 film adaptation, released theatrically in the United States and on TV in Britain: