Literature Mansfield Park Discussion

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03:06:40 PM Jul 27th 2012
I'm a bit of a fan of the 1999 film version by Patricia Rozema, which has a very particular spin on the source material, and uses bits of Austen's own letters and journals as well as filtering the whole novel through an influential essay by the late Edward Said (specifically, in taking the subtext of the fortunes of Mansfield Park being built on the profits of slavery and sticking it right into the plot), and I was wondering how a person goes about creating a new page for that film version. It's got a lot of interesting tropes that aren't in the original novel, of which I must also admit I'm not a huge fan. I prefer Persuasion, but I have a professional interest in dramatic adaptations of fictions and I think that the Rozema Mansfield Park is up there with the Nick Dear/Roger Michell Persuasion from a few years earlier in terms of brilliant and intelligent adaptations of Austen - as opposed to the Andrew Davies fanservice versions.
11:14:20 AM Jul 31st 2012
Sad day. While the Rozema version is beautifully filmed, and nearly perfectly cast, I don't think filmmakers should attempt adaptations of books they dislike - just make your own film and call it something else. And I think Andrew Davies has a lot more going for him than simple fanservice - many of his adaptations have a serious critical edge to them.

That being said, creating a film section for the novel is pretty simple - on the main page, just create a link somewhere on the page (preferably in the summary) to the film page, and that will create it.
10:22:13 AM Jun 9th 2011
The narrator states outright in the last few chapters that if Fanny had married Henry Crawford, he would have turned out alright and averted the scandal surrounding him and Maria.

Cause and effect are reversed in this misinterpretation. Only Mary Crawford and Mrs. Norris think this. Had Fanny accepted him, Mary sees no problem with the fact that her brother and Maria would have continued to have a quiet, standing affair that would have caused no scandal. The turning point of the narrator's What Could Have Been relies not on Fanny accepting Crawford from the beginning but on Crawford not starting the affair with Maria. There's a long description of how happily things would have worked out had he been able to be satisfied with conquering only one woman's affections, but he wasn't, and Fanny couldn't make him so.

One of the reasons why this book is so contested is that Fanny's character type - a timid and affectionate Shrinking Violet - is usually, with variation on a theme, The Lancer to Jane Austen's Heroes in her other books, usually the bold hero's best friend or sister - (e.g. Georgiana Darcy (and maybe even Jane Bennett) in Pride and Prejudice, Elanor Tilney in Northanger Abbey). As a result, if you've read Austen's other works, which tend to praise the courage and strength of the protagonist, it's almost like a roshomon change with Fanny (suddenly everything is from a completely different character's point of view).

Elinor Dashwood and Anne Elliot are not a Spirited Young Lady, either; there's always at least 2 such foils in Austen, but which is the heroine alternates book to book.
06:08:15 AM Jun 10th 2011
Yes, neither Elinor Dashwood or Anne Elliot count as a Spirited Young Lady, but I never asserted that they were. That's your term, not mine. I just pointed out that usually the Heroes in Jane Austen's novels tend to have rather stronger/bolder character determinants - For example, Elinor is strong, steady and capable. Usually the fragile Shrinking Violet types of characters in Jane Austen's books are the best friend or the sister, a girl with a very close relationship to the protagonist who consults with her on her problems, and who often lends a delicate, but fragile, insight into the situations. Fanny and possibly Anne are the only two protagonists which fit the characterization that is usually reserved for The Lancer. Can you refute this?
08:16:37 PM May 9th 2010
From the Archived Discussion: "I cannot help but wonder what Miss Austen was up to with this novel. While Fanny Price is indeed badly treated, and God knows I can empathize with morbid shyness, the phrase 'passive agressive' keeps occuring to me as I read about her. 'Insufferable Prig' are the words that come to mind re: our 'hero' Edmund Betram. His diagnosis of Mary Crawford as a potentially fine character damaged by an unfortunate upbringing is on target - but it never seems to occur to him that she might be re-educated. And he is all for casting his adulterous sister into outer darkness forever. I deeply pity the fallable and erring of his future flock!

Were we really supposed to regard Fanny and Edmund as entirely admirable? Somehow I suspect not."

No, Edmund is not entirely admirable because he was blinded by Mary Crawford's beauty from seeing how truly shallow, wordly, and silly (incapable of being serious) she is (but men acting like fools when trhey fall in love is nothing in new in media in general, nor in Jane Austen). Had his final, accurate diagnosis of Mary included the belief that he could "re-educate" her, that would be "priggish." But one of the main themes of MP is that it's wrong to want to change people. Mary wants to change Edmund throughout the book to make him acceptable for her to love him; Edmund never considers it his duty to change or perfect Mary. Now who's the prig?

Fanny is not passive aggressive. Somehow, modern readers misjudge her as well as her fellow characters misjudge her within the book. A prig, for example, has to be produ to unjustly think they are morally superior to others; call fanny Price what you want, but you can never truthfully accuse her of Pride.

William Dean Howells once theorized that many Americans initially despised Daisy Miller because Henry James was "too honest"; he made Daisy too realistic and captured the true American spirit too well. Imho, Jane Austen was "too honest" with Fanny Price, and captured the true feminine spirit, especially the repressed, commodified female, too well. Fanny responds to her repression with silent endurance, hiding her feelings while exploding underneath, instead of making sassy, deapan, snarky jokes about it. Well, that's what happens when Reality Ensues.
11:53:09 AM Jul 25th 2012
Dear God, I'd hate to think that Fanny was 'representative' of the female spirit!

Edmund never considers it his duty to extend compassion to the erring, especially erring females. I prig I said and prig I meant. And self-righteous with it.
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