Alfred, Lord Tennyson, while being shown around the famous and historically important Cobb in Lyme Regis, interrupted the history lesson and cut his tour guide short, “Don’t talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth; show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!”
Such is the power of Jane Austen’s absolutely peerless Persuasion. It inspires fervent loyalty. I have more than a few Austen acolytes among my circle (can you even IMAGINE such a glittering circle?) and Persuasion wins the straw poll by double digits; it’s not even close. We are very firm about this: if you’re under 30, you get Pride and Prejudice. If you’re over 30, Persuasion is your book. Anne Elliot gloried in being a sailor’s wife, the state rests, case closed, the end.
Now. All that said, you must studiously avoid the recent Netflix adaptation of our beloved Persuasion. When I say “studiously avoid,” what I mean is, you must not Knit to This at all. The only knitting related thing you are to do if you run across this, oh, let’s say…version…is possibly blind yourself with your needles. Do it quickly, before a single frame of its winking, smirking nonsense crosses your field of vision. You must.
Should your eyesight survive, however, plunk down the three bucks or whatever Amazon or Apple or Google are charging for the 1995 Roger Michell-directed adaptation starring Ciarán Hinds and Amanda Root. You’ve already seen it, of course—but so have I. Eleven times. And I will watch it eleven more. I don’t even have to stream it; I will watch my VHS copy. It’s my favorite of all the Austen adaptations, no matter which book.
Watch it eleven times, though, and you notice some things that you might wanna bring up with Jane, should you ever run into her at a church supper over at the rectory. Like: how did Anne Elliot ever come from this nitwitted family (I have lost sleep over this)? Also, if Lady Russell—who once managed to talk Anne out of marrying Wentworth—had just kept her trap shut a decade earlier, everything would have worked out much sooner. But then we wouldn’t have Persuasion, I suppose.
Someone really should have written a Persuasion prequel by now—the story of Anne turning down Captain Wentworth the first time around. If that already exists, don’t tell me. And especially don’t tell Netflix.