Tuesday, February 12, 2013

65. Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park
Jane Austen
1814
Around 500 pages









Well, this is certainly a new experience.  I am used to writing one post every month; suddenly, I am writing four posts in one night.  This is partially due to my obsessiveness since I have to get caught up in one sitting. It is also quite fun and I hope you enjoy all this extra reading material.

So by now you should know that I am a huge Jane Austen fan, I don't think I could express that any clearer without getting annoying (or maybe it is too late for that).  So, yes, prepare for more gushing.

This is the story of Fanny Price, a poor girl who is taken in by her rich relatives.  Her relatives, especially Mrs. Norris, constantly remind her of the fact that she is inferior to them.  Romance blossoms and mean people get their comeuppance.

All right, so I do have a few qualms with this novel, but keep in mind, I still love it.  First of all, Fanny Price is probably the most boring Austen heroine. She is so virtuous and feminine that she really is no fun.  I also found Edmund, her cousin, equally dull. So I suppose they are a good match.

Okay, bad part over!  This is a great novel; still humorous and still poking fun at people. People critique Jane Austen for having no historical context, she actually includes a bit about the Bertram fortune coming from slave labor in Antigua.  This is pretty serious for an Austen novel. but suggests that even the idyllic country life she often portrays is dark in its own way.

A great read, but don't expect the fire you get from the characters of Elizabeth Bennet or Marianne Dashwood.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The most controversial of Austen's novels, partly because of Fanny's character and partly because of her mention of slavery.

Filch's cat in the Harry Potter series, Mrs. Norris, is a nod to Mansfield Park.


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