Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last completed novel. She began it soon after she had finished Emma and completed it in August 1816. She died, aged 41, in 1817; Persuasion was published in December of that year (but dated 1818).
Persuasion is widely appreciated as a moving love story despite what has been called its simple plot, and it exemplifies Austen’s signature wit and ironic narrative style.
Although the impact of Austen’s failing health at the time of writing Persuasion cannot be overlooked, the novel is strikingly original in several ways. It is the first of Austen’s novels to feature as the central character a woman who, by the standards of the time, is past the first bloom of youth.
Although readers of Persuasion might conclude that Austen intended “persuasion” to be the unifying theme of the story, the book’s title is not hers but her brother Henry’s, who named it after her untimely death. Certainly the idea of persuasion runs through the book, with vignettes within the story as variations on that theme. But there is no known source that documents what Austen intended to call her novel. (x)