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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Put it in Writing... ~ a guest post from Brenna Aubrey

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago…”

One of the greatest love letters from English literature was penned by Jane Austen at a climactic point in the love story between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth in Persuasion. But what many a reader —aside from a die-hard Austen historian— might not know is that the Letter might never have been written, nor even used as a plot device for the story.

The original ending (which you can read in entirety here) included an errand from Admiral Croft for Captain Wentworth, sending him to consult with Anne about her rumored engagement with Mr. Elliot. Much to his own embarrassment and discomfort, Wentworth must ask Anne if she and her presumed fiancĂ© wish to live in Kellynch after their wedding. He states, “That I should be the person commissioned on this subject is extraordinary! -- and believe me, Madam, it is no less painful.”

Once Anne vehemently denies the rumors that she is engaged to Mr. Elliot, Anne and Wentworth are able to open up to one another, declare their feelings to each other and renew their promises and hope of love and a life together. While this scene is deliciously full of conflict enough to have been included in both of the most recent adaptations of the novel, consider how much weaker a resolution it was than the re-written ending.
In the original ending, Anne and Wentworth are brought together through the pretences of another (Wentworth speaking the Admiral’s words to Anne), until they are able to overcome their communication barrier and confess their feelings outright.

In the scene with the Letter, however, the reverse is the case, leading to a joyful resolution. Wentworth and Anne, each in their own way, make the conscious decision to communicate their feelings to each other, though indirectly. Anne is conversing with Harville, discussing the difference between a man and a woman’s love for one another. She speaks from the heart, but her words are meant for Wentworth. “All the privilege I claim for my own sex… is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.”

Similarly, Wentworth sits penning an order for a frame for Benwick’s portrait, but when he hears Anne confess her feelings, he cannot remain in silence. Under the guise of completing the order, he writes to Anne, and at last opens his heart. “I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.”

Persuasion is a story of reunion. It is not a story of falling in love. It is a story of overcoming self-doubt on Anne’s side and resentment on Frederick’s side in order to pursue the love that has never left them during all the years of their separation. For this reason, the scene with the Letter proves to be the most effective conclusion. Instead of being manipulated into it by someone else, the two choose to make their pleas to each other. Both Anne’s words to Harville and the Letter ultimately allow them to see into each other’s minds and hearts in order to move forward despite the past.

Has there ever been a time when you’ve found it easier to communicate to someone in writing or some other indirect method rather than face-to-face or on the telephone? Have you ever wondered why texting is so popular nowadays as opposed to just calling and/or leaving voicemail?

To go along with her guest post, Brenna has offered up an awesome prize pack for one lucky winner!!

  • 1 winner will receive a prize pack including Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion by Regina Jeffers, a signed copy of Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan, and a signed copy of the short story anthology in which Brenna's story is featured, Jane Austen Made Me Do It
  • US only
  • Ends September 5th
  • Must leave a comment for entry, either answering Brenna's question (above), or just leaving some love for Brenna!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brenna Aubrey is a contributing author to the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Her short story, “The Love Letter” is based primarily on Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. She is an aspiring author of Historical, Romance and Fantasy fiction. You can find her online at www.BrennaAubrey.net, @BrennaAubrey on Twitter.

Click here to be taken to the Austen in August Main Page! Fab button artwork c/o Antique Fashionista!


  1. Great post! I discovered the two endings some time after reading Persuasion. Lol, not much luck with alternative forms of communication.

  2. I usually always find it easier to get my thoughts down in writing instead of saying it out loud. I'm much more eloquent when I can think about what I need to say and am able to edit it. Speaking aloud, I usually just babble.

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  5. @Kirk Sorry about the bad luck with other forms of communication but I sense a story there...

    @Tahleen I agree! I find it much easier to express myself in written form, both because I am less self-conscious and also because I can mull things over, edit myself and present a much prettier face to my words on the page than I can face-to-face (babbler here, too).

  6. Oddly, even though i'm a writer in both my fulltime jobs, i think verbal communication, especially face to face, is easiest and most fruitful for me. I like feedback -- the completion of the loop--especially when the communication is critical and emotional. Though sometimes i may vent on paper before trying to communicate verbally.

    Thanks for the great post;. : )

  7. All the time! I hate talking on the phone, except to people I know really, really well. The opening forays are always so incredibly awkward.

    "Umm, hi."
    "May I HELP you?"
    "Yes, this is Christina."
    "Christina F."
    "From X."
    "Ohhhhhh. What's up?"

    I just feel so unprepared for the whole ordeal.

    I really like to do most things either in person or through text, though I don't have unlimited texting so I don't do that much of it. My solution: don't deal with most people at all.

  8. @Tara I hope you realize what a rare gem you truly are.. a writer who also is a great verbal communicator. You make a great point about immediate feedback. Also, body language helps with that instant comprehension.

    @Christina LOL I hear you on the awkward phone calls. Texting is so much easier for me, even if it means I have to type with my thumbs.

  9. I actually use to be really shy when I was younger and I still hate calling people on the phone so I love text messaging and emails it makes it easier for me to communicate with people I font know very well.

  10. For me, it just depends on who I'm talking to or what I'm trying to say. When I do write things down, I get handwriting OCD and I end up re-writing it multiple times til I think it looks good. :/ But of course that, or texting/email gives you a chance to think about things instead of blurting them out.

    Fabulous giveaway - thanks!

  11. I usually have an easier time writing/emailing rather than picking up the phone & calling someone. Besides, my handwriting is terrible... and it would hard for someone to try & decipher what I've written! LOL The more I write, the worse the writing becomes :/

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  12. @Bridget Howard I know what you mean. Have you mastered typing fast with your thumbs yet? That useful skill eludes me...

    @MonicaP I feel your pain. My handwriting is TERRIBLE and I'm always crossing out things and trying to write over them in darker ink and make it even worse. LOL. I very much prefer the delete button.

    @Valerie ditto what I said above! It seems like the more I've been typing on the keyboard,the worse my handwriting is when I pick up my pen. I think it's because, aside from signing my signature or jotting down notes on a TO DO list, I do virtually no handwriting at all these days. Though I am drafting my next book with pen and paper. It's been an experience. (Praying I can read what I even wrote when it comes time to transpose it)

    @Danielle aww thanks for letting me know that! I'm so happy you liked it.

  13. I'm so glad that she went with the letter ending. It is so sigh worthy. I can't think of an occasion, when I felt better communicating in writing.

  14. I loved your comparison. I can actually see the advantage of both scenarios. Having Admiral Croft initiate things took the burden off CW and Anne. The letter however is one of my actual favorite scenes in any novel. I prefer to email, text, or write letters - gasp - depending on the circumstances. If I want someone to remember and recall what I've written (like an older person) I'll write because phone calls can be forgotten. I edit what I'm saying too. I do think verbal is the most effective because you can clear up any misconceptions immediately and tell by body language if someone is understanding you or not. With email or text there's still room for misunderstandings. I think we all resort to it because it takes pressure off especially if it's something we're not sure the person will like and we can send it any time night or day. Person to person is becoming harder for me due to lack of practice and I can't see it changing. (tho I'm trying)

  15. Thank for Brenna for the awesomenesss!!

  16. I usually have no choice but to communicate in a written way. I am a military brat so I live far away from most of my family and friends. Take for example my boyfriend and I. We live almost 6,000 miles away from each other. He lost his job due to the recession shortly after we started dating (almost nine months ago) so he lost Internet access. Due to this, we have only been able to communicate through texting and phone calls. In addition to that, we haven't seen each other face-to-face in almost eight years.
    Like in Persuasion, the love story between my boyfriend and I is that of a reunion and not of falling in love. We had crushes on each other since we first met and they never went away. Although we were seperated due to my father's military career, we have been reunited once more. :)

  17. @suzan I know what you mean about getting out of practice with person-to-person communication. It reminds me of what Elizabeth says to Darcy at Rosings, "I do not play this instrument quite as well as I should like, but I had always supposed that to be my own fault. Because I did not take the time to practice."

    @Kellie it is my pleasure! I'm glad you like.

    @Malissa Gibson What a lovely story, Malissa. Your own happy ending. I love it! I'm addicted to happily ever after.

  18. I was so shy when I was young that I hardly ever talked, so phone calls were out of the question. I still don't like talking on the phone, it makes me feel like a dork. I was the queen of notes and letters back in high school in the mid 80's. No technology, so you had to do something meaningful or lose your chance. The letter in Persuasion is lovely and I think it fits perfectly.

  19. I don't like talking on the phone-would much rather email someone. Of course, that doesn't work for a lot of situations, but I'll take 50% less phone calls!


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