Jane Austen's Persuasion
Believe it! Cover design matters. An old painting on a Penguin cover of Jane Austen's PERSUASION hooks my eye at Pages, our local used books store. It looks familiar. "Cobb Gate, Lyme Regis" the blurb explains. "Attributed to Reed, by permission of the Trustees of the Philpot Museum, Lyme Regis." (I am hoping, assuming, it's public domain as no amount of searching of Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK or the Philpot Museum has turned up any contact information.) The novel's an Austen I know I haven't read. So I buy it, and I do.
It is typical Austen--relationships, courtships, boy loses girl, man finds woman, etc. With the writer's amazing grasp of psychology. The telling details which reveal character. The injustice and waste of potential in "the system" which places so little value on females and their contribution. Best of all, the pivotal scene in the plot happens on The Cobb, Lyme Regis. I've been there, and I intend to return--for the several literary connections, and for the way that the location combines two of my passions--geology and literature. The last time I was there I inquired after writer John Fowles who has since left us. But Tracy Chevalier and Ian McEwan have taken up the mantles of Austen and Fowles. I've ordered their novels, and I've pulled out the maps, to plan for my dream return to Dorset and Somerset, to ancestral and cultural origins.