There was some chatter on Twitter this morning on reactions to Jane Austen’s ‘heroine’ of Mansfield Park, Fanny Price (if you’re a twitter user, check out the hashtags #savefanny & #killfanny). This prompted me to think again about the differences between post-colonial readings, such as Edward Said’s, and feminist readings of the novel, and ultimately to dig out an essay I researched and wrote way back, while studying. This was, if course, well before the days of easy internet publication. But on re-reading, I thought it might be worth an outing. So here it is: Revisiting Mansfield Park It takes as it’s starting point Lionel Trilling’s assertion that Mansfield Park has as much capacity to offend as it does to garner the label of greatness.
For those particularly interested in the #killfanny vs #savefanny debate, the bit about Fanny’s qualities as a heroine is roughly in the middle.
Jane Austen is among my favourite authors, and Mansfield Park is for me the most rewarding and provoking of her novels. The essay is a much longer (and denser) than my usual ramblings about books, but for dead-hard Austen fans, and Janeites, it might just be interesting enough to sustain you to the end.