Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mansfield Park So Far...

Scanning my list of 'recently read' books last week, I noticed that my recent reading has been heavily waited towards contemporary novels and young adult fiction. Time for a classic! Hence, I am now reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

I've never read this novel before, and it's been a while since I've read anything by Austen, so it has been very nice revisiting her world. I love Austen's writing and particularly her development of character. Can any other writer so deftly paint a character in so few words? There is a dry humour in her observations of human behaviour that makes her novels really enjoyable.

While I'm enjoying the novel, I'm finding myself in the unusual position of not liking the characters that I'm obviously supposed to feel sympathy with. Fanny Price is, frankly, an annoying and insipid character and it's hard to feel she can carry the story. Similarly, Edmund is overly earnest and self-righteous. I'm sure I don't remember other Austen heroes and heroines being quite so wowserish. I suppose this is simply a reflection of the values of the time, and I am trying to suspend my own decadent twentieth century morals, but I still can't really warm to Fanny. Maybe she will improve as the novel goes on, as I can't take much more of her bursting into tears every time someone talks to her. For God's sake, get a backbone woman!

4 comments:

Dorothy W. said...

I felt that way about Fanny -- and I think many other people do too. While i love all of Austen, this makes Mansfield Park my least favorite. I'm interested in it, but it doesn't bring as much pleasure to me as the other ones do.

jess said...

Yes, I thought there must be reason this one was less well-known than her other novels. Still, I'm finding myself drawn in by the story and yesterday couldn't put it down so she must be doing something right!

Rambling Rose said...

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying Mansfield Park despite Fanny Price.
I certainly didn't like the characteristics which Jane gave to Fanny.
The enjoyment I receive from reading the classics is wonderful, no matter how many times I read them.

be_zen8 said...

Mansfield Park was her first work and I don't like it as much as some of her others. Nevertheless, it still makes for enjoyable reading.