Mansfield Park is my least favourite Austen novel. I’ve always secretly preferred Mary Crawford, didn’t think the theatricals was that bad and hoped that Fanny and Henry Crawford would get married. I thought the Everything Austen Challenge was a great opportunity to read it again.
It contains some fabulous Austen quotes – such as …
But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.
A large income is the best recipe of happiness I ever heard of
Â Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.
What I really noticed this time was how isolated and powerless Fanny Price was – nobody, apart from Edmund, seems to think about her at all (and Mrs Norris is simply evil).
She has amazing strength of character to hold out when everyone (including Edmund) wants her to marry Henry Crawford – I’m not sure how I would go in similar circumstances.
Mary and Henry Crawford are witty and engaging, but it’s all on the surface. They are both selfish and vain thinking only of themselves. Austen seems to making a point (a bit like Mr Wickham in Pride and Prejudice) that surface appearances can be misleading. The theatricals to a modern mind don’t seem too bad, but it’s more about the intimacy generated by repeated rehearsals – just think of all of those Hollywood actors who fall in love with their co-stars.
And one final thought, did Austen provide Fanny with more strength than she herself had (when accepting and the rejecting Harris Bigg Wither’s proposal)?
I shall think highly of Mansfield Park from now on … Fanny might even be my favourite heroine.
Next up Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster – look I’ve almost caught up now I just need to get Lost in Austen finished by the end of september.