Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Published: 2014 (originally 1814)
Finally – I can call myself an Austen fan without feeling guilty … With Mansfield Park, I have read all her six well-known novels and I can say with absolute certainty that Jane Austen is one of my all-time favourite authors.
Did Mansfield Park surprise me? No, it didn’t really. I’ve always thought Mansfield Park the least of her stories (comparing all the TV and movie adaptations), and I fear my opinion hasn’t really changed. Don’t get me wrong: it is still good – I even gave it 4 stars (albeit after some hesitation) – it just isn’t up there for me, together with Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma and Northanger Abbey.
Pride & Prejudice is romantic and witty. Persuasion is endearing and heart-warming, Emma is incredibly funny and Northanger Abbey a combination of all of the above. In my opinion, Mansfield Park just wasn’t romantic, nor witty, nor funny enough to be on the same level as my four (!) favourites. Yes, it is a Bildungsroman, so the development of character is more important than (though strongly related to) the romance in Fanny Price’s life, but I think Austen could have balanced the Edward-Mary and Edward-Fanny relationships a little bit more, so that she wouldn’t have to rush Edward’s falling-in-love with Fanny in the last 10 pages (compared to the 400 she gave to Edward’s being in love with Mary).
That being said, I flew through it and I grew to like the character of Fanny. I eventually gave it 4 instead of 3 stars because I think this novel will stay with me for a long time and I did really enjoy it.
Did you read Mansfield Park? What did you think of it?