The Baronetage is Sir Walter’s favorite book, because it records the families of British nobility—“the history and rise of all the ancient and respectable families”—among which the Elliots are included. The beginning of the novel finds him vainly poring over the book with the full anticipation that his eldest and favorite daughter, Elizabeth, will elevate the family through a marriage that he can proudly record in The Baronetage. However, many events follow that suggest the decline of the aristocracy: Sir Walter’s debts force him to rent out Kellynch Hall and remove to Bath, and the baronet’s heir, Mr. Elliot, rejects Elizabeth twice. Indeed, Elizabeth is the only daughter that remains single throughout the novel. On the other hand, Captain Wentworth, whom Sir Walter once scorned as an utterly degrading match for Anne, has risen in rank and fortune through the Navy such that he is a perfectly eligible match for the daughter of the indebted and silly baronet. All of these changes lead to a shift in mentality that manifests an increasing flexibility in what constitutes good society. The extent of these changes are evident at the close of the novel, when Sir Walter finally writes in the marriage of Anne and Captain Wentworth “with a very good grace . . . in the volume of honour.”
The Baronetage Symbol Timeline in Persuasion
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Baronetage appears in Persuasion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...to the vain and self-absorbed Sir Walter, whose favorite pastime is to pore over the Baronetage, a book of important English families that includes his own lineage. His own wife bore... (full context)