Jane Austen – Persuasion (1817)

INTRODUCTION:  In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a major turing point in the novel’s plot occurs after Louisa Musgrove falls and injures herself.  Many readers have wondered about the nature of Louisa’s injuries and recovery, which are only vaguely described in the story – is this merely a fantasy illness created in service of the plot?  Read the attached annotated chapters from Persuasion to see a registered nurse’s assessment of Louisa’s condition (along with some background on Victorian medical practices and terminology) and decide for yourself.

ANNOTATED DOCUMENT:  AustenJane_Persuasion


Annotations by:  Trish Shields

The annotated text is adapted from: 

Works cited & consulted in the annotations: 

  • Braun, Adee. “The Historic Healing Power of the Beach.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 29 Aug. 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/the-historic-healing-power-of-the-beach/279175/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
  • “nursemaid, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 29 March 2017.
  • “restorative, adj. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 29 March 2017.
  • “surgeon, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 29 March 2017.