FARMINGTON — “Persuasion,” Jane Austen’s last novel, is the next featured selection of the New Commons Project of the University of Maine at Farmington.

“Persuasion” is the story of Anne Elliot, the quiet, sensitive and intelligent second daughter of an aristocratic father whose vanity has driven the family into debt.

The last novel fully completed by Austen, “Persuasion” is a window into 18th century British landed gentry society and the dependence of women on marriage for their social and economic standing. The book’s 200th anniversary was celebrated by Jane Austen fans worldwide in 2017.

Born in Steventon, Hampshire, England, in 1775, Austen was an extraordinary English writer who first gave the novel its modern character through her treatment of ordinary people in everyday life. Her use of irony, humor and social commentary have earned her acclaim, and she is celebrated today for her works that have become timeless classics.

Austen’s earliest writings date from about 1787 and include plays, verses, short novels and other prose. Her first published novel was “Sense and Sensibility” in 1811, followed by “Pride and Prejudice,” “Mansfield Park” and “Emma.” “Northanger Abby” and “Persuasion” were both published posthumously in 1818.

UMF New Commons events featuring Persuasion by Jane Austen:


Keynote event — Wednesday, Nov. 28, 11:45 a.m., UMF Emery Community Arts Center. Wendy Lee, “Persuasion’s Long Goodbye: Jane Austen and the End of Life.” Dr. Wendy Lee, assistant professor of English at New York University, situates Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” (her final novel) as a work uniquely attuned to questions of mortality.

Panel discussion of “Persuasion” with Wendy Lee, Dan Gunn and Misty Krueger — Wednesday, Nov. 28, 4 p.m., second floor, UMF Mantor Library. Join the discussion of key issues in Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” with Dr. Wendy Lee, assistant professor of English at New York University; Dr. Dan Gunn, professor of English at UMF; and Dr. Misty Krueger, assistant professor of English at UMF.

Panel on Gender and Literary Form with Kate Colby and Anna Moschovakis — Tuesday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m., second floor, UMF Mantor Library. Join poet and essayist Kate Colby and poet, novelist and translator Anna Moschovakis for an examination of key issues surrounding gender and literary form as part of the New Commons Project’s consideration of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.”

Dan Gunn “Some Sentences from ‘Persuasion’” — Wednesday, Dec. 5, 11:45 a.m., UMF Emery Community Arts Center. Dr. Dan Gunn, professor of English at UMF, reads key sentences of Austen’s late masterpiece. 

The New Commons Film Series: “Persuasion” — Friday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., UMF Lincoln Auditorium, Roberts Learning Center. The New Commons Film Series presents “Persuasion,” a well-loved 1995 adaptation of Austen’s novel directed by Roger Michell.

Dan Gunn “Some Sentences from ‘Persuasion’” — Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m., Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library. Dr. Dan Gunn, Professor of English at UMF, reads key sentences of Austen’s late masterpiece.


UMF’s New Commons Project is building a contemporary cultural commons of 24 works of art, literature and ideas that are submitted by members of the Maine community. Twelve will be shared this year through a number of unique events, public discussions, talks and community engagement projects. These 12 works have been selected from more than 150 submissions by community members from a dozen Maine counties and include, a critically acclaimed TV show, public art installations by an anonymous artist, a jazz elegy and more.

Events are free and open to the public.

To learn more about the New Commons Project, or to submit a nomination for the next round of selections to be announced in 2019, visit the website at

Image of Jane Austen (National Portrait Gallery London)

Wendy Lee

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