Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mansfield Park

I just finished Mansfield Park the one Jane Austen novel I hadn't read. I knew that when she set out to write this she wanted to do something darker than Pride and Prejudice. She did succeed, but while this is a book with characters who are serious, I wouldn't call it dark. Just darker than P&P.

It's the story of Fanny Price, who as a girl is sent to live with her aunt and uncle, since her family has limited resources. There she lives on the margins, but as time goes by becomes more part of the family. Of course there's romance. Her two cousins' marriage prospects are quite important, while Fanny remains somewhat of a serious Cinderella figure. The social observations are keen and there is some wit directed at some of the more frugal or obnoxious characters. If you like Austen, do read this.

I got the Norton Classics edition which includes some interesting extras like the play the characters attempt to put on, essays on deportment and morals of the day, which Austen probably had read or heard of, and some scholarly, yet not too pendantic essays.

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