The ending feels rushed, but there was not much left for Austen to do after rewarding the righteous, rehabilitating the middling, and punishing the villains and fools. For instance, we might censure a woman who marries a dullard for his money and status.
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We might even excuse, rather than damn, her for later abandoning her first husband for another man. What we see as correcting a mistake, Austen saw as compounding it. For all the talk of multiculturalism, Americans are not multicultural. We do not understand other cultures. We barely understand our own, and certainly do not apprehend its past.
No wonder Hollywood has yet to make a good adaptation of the book. Popular period pieces and costume dramas tend to consist of a historical veneer over modern characters and cultural concerns.
For example, I doubt that many professed Austen fans could explain why private theatricals were such a moral sticking point for the heroine, and the book has many other culturally alien points that do not readily cater to modern sensibilities. Good criticisms explain and illuminate; bad criticisms obscure and ignore. Austen touched on these topics, but as a novelist and a Christian she saw them as background for writing about people—not in terms of group identity, but as individuals.
She was more concerned with character, and characters themselves, than with class and social systems. Its relative unpopularity is probably due less to its artistic shortcomings than to it being the Austen novel that caters the least to modern sensibilities. October 16, Readers Struggle to Understand the Cultural Context Popular period pieces and costume dramas tend to consist of a historical veneer over modern characters and cultural concerns. He has a PhD in political theory. Oct 09, Pages. Jun 01, Pages. Jun 02, Pages. Jan 29, Pages.
Oct 23, Pages. Over time, Fanny comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. Through Fanny Price, the heroine of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen views the social mores of her day and contemplates human nature itself. A shy and sweet-tempered girl adopted by wealthy relations, Fanny is an outsider looking in on an unfamiliar, and often inhospitable, world.
But Fanny eventually wins the affection of her benefactors, endearing herself to the Bertram family and the reader alike.
In Mansfield Park , first published in , when the author had reached her full maturity as a novelist, Jane Austen paints some of her most witty and perceptive studies of character. Against a genteel country landscape of formal parks and stately homes, the gossipy Mrs. With an introduction by Peter Conrad. She is very different from Elizabeth Bennet, but is the product of the same inspired imagination.
Mansfield Park shows Austen as a mature novelist with an almost unparalleled ability to render character and an acute awareness of her world and how it was changing.
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Through the stories of Fanny Price, the Bertrams, and the Crawfords, she tackles the themes of faith and constancy and the threat that metropolitan manners could pose to a rural way of life. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book!
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Paperback 3 —. About Mansfield Park In Mansfield Park , first published in , when the author had reached her full maturity as a novelist, Jane Austen paints some of her most witty and perceptive studies of character. Also in Vintage Classics. Also in Modern Library Classics.