Third novel in my Penguin tome, Mansfield Park. As previously mentioned, my least favourite. It’s just so SLOW! And heroine Fanny is just *so* perfect. Perhaps it’s my modern perspective, perhaps its the way I feel as though I can never measure up? But I find her almost nauseating in her *correctness*. I can understand Edmund’s attraction to Mary Crawford – in spite of her immoral opinions, her liveliness and willingness to speak her mind rather than perpetually wait for her opinion to be sought, gives her a far more interesting personality.
I find it interesting that, according to the blurb on the DVD (cover shown below) – but not substantiated by any source I could find! – apparently it was Jane Austen‘s favourite. I wonder if this is because Fanny’s character, personality or opinions, may have been similar to her own. Or possibly it’s because it is the novel that deals with themes so deeply. Or could it be that in the final chapter – commonly called the epilogue – we hear the voice of Austen herself , the author, the scripter of the tale, rather than simply the narrator of it?
The 1999 film starring Frances O’Connor as Fanny reinforces this view of the insipid heroine. Those who aren’t familiar with the novel may be surprised that the none-too-subtle sexual allegations against Sir Thomas Bertram are absolutely nowhere to be found in Austen’s pages. Nor is there a ‘box of birds’. Nor does Fanny relent and say “Yes” to Henry Crawford whilst back with her family in Portsmouth. And the film also cut one of Austen’s main characters – Fanny’s older brother, William. The ‘theatre’ section of the plot was also treated with less significance than the earlier (1983) BBC version. Considering I don’t particularly like the novel, overall this was quite a satisfactory adaptation of it, in my humble opinion.
On a lighter note, apparently Austen’s writing is rather a favourite with J.K.Rowling. Argus Filch‘s cat, Mrs. Norris, was named after the character in Mansfield Park . Ha!