Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Jane Austen’s last complete novel, which was published just before Christmas in 1817, five months after her death. It is the story of Anne Elliot, now 27 and (so we are told), losing her bloom, and of her feelings for Captain Wentworth who she was engaged to, 8 years before - an engagement she broke off under pressure from her father and godmother. When Wentworth, by chance, comes back into Anne Elliot’s life, he is still angry with her and neither she nor Austen’s readers can know whether it is now too late for their thwarted love to have a second chance.

The image above is from a 1995 BBC adaptation of the novel, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Karen O'Brien 16 episodes
    Vice-Chancellor of Durham University
  • Fiona Stafford 2 episodes
    Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford
  • Paddy Bullard No other episodes
    Associate Professor of English Literature and Book History at the University of Reading

Reading list

  • Persuasion
    Jane Austen (eds. Janet Todd and Antje Blank) (Cambridge University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity
    Janine Barchas (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen: The Banker's Sister
    E. J. Clery (Biteback Publishing, 2017) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
    Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2010, 2nd edn) Google Books →
  • A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen's Persuasion
    Jocelyn Harris (University of Delaware Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel
    Claudia L. Johnson (University of Chicago Press, 1988) Google Books →
  • A Companion to Jane Austen
    Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite (eds.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen: Early and Late
    Freya Johnson (Princeton University Press, 2021)
  • Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction
    Tom Keymer (Oxford University Press, 2022) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen and the Enlightenment
    Peter Knox-Shaw (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion, Hume to Austen
    Adela Pinch (Stanford University Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen and the Navy
    Brian Southam (Hambledon Continuum, 2003) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen: A Brief Life
    Fiona Stafford (Yale University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • Jane Austen: A Life
    Claire Tomalin (Viking, 1997) Google Books →
  • Doubleness and Refrain in Jane Austen's Persuasion
    Cheryl Ann Weissman (Kenyon Review, vol 10, no 4, 1988)
  • The Hidden Jane Austen
    John Wiltshire (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 823.7 (English fiction)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Persuasion, Jane Austen's last complete novel, was published just before Christmas 1817, five months after her death.