August 18, 2013

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park encompasses not only Jane Austen’s great comedic gifts and her genius as a historian of the human animal, but her personal credo as well—her faith in a social order that combats chaos through civil grace, decency, and wit.

At the novel’s center is Fanny Price, the classic “poor cousin,” brought as a child to Mansfield Park by the rich Sir Thomas Bertram and his wife as an act of charity. Over time, Fanny comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. As Fanny watches her cousins Maria and Julia cast aside their scruples in dangerous flirtations (and worse), and as she herself resolutely resists the advantages of marriage to the fascinating but morally unsteady Henry Crawford, her seeming austerity grows in appeal and makes clear to us why she was Austen’s own favorite among her heroines.

/Source: Goodreads/

My Thoughts
I am a Jane Austen addict, there’s no doubt about that. And, it is a well-known theory of mine that everybody will find something in at least one of her works. The situations and characters depicted in Jane Austen’s books are absolutely natural – that is to say, everything looks true to life. She had a thorough knowledge of the human nature, which is why her books, her ideas are timeless and boundless. Someone who read her oeuvre will be able to recognize the Mr Collinses, Mr and Mrs Bennets, Mrs Jenningses, Mr Woodhouses, etc, etc among his/her relatives, friends, or acquaintances, and laugh at them heartily, if he/she has a good sense of humour. This is what the magic of Jane Austen consists in, and the primary reason why I adore Jane Austen.

Having said this, I must admit that Mansfield Park was a major disappointment to me. It wasn’t the writing or the plot that I disliked. There were lots of readers who emphasized in their reviews that the book had dragged. I don’t share this view. Even though there was something in the plot that I rather disliked – those long chapters in which the young people wanted to put on a play, and in the end, it was busted –, I didn’t find the story/book boring. That was no problem for me. What I had a problem with was the romance. . .