Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and its heroine Fanny Price have many detractors, but they also have many defenders and admirers. This post is the first in a series of ‘Friend of Fanny’ (FOF) posts that I will be putting up in appreciation of the latter.
Austenprose: A Jane Austen Blog is a place where “There is a monsterous deal of stupid quizzing, & common-place nonsense talked, but scarcely any wit.” (Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 21 April 1805.) Visitors are invited to “Join the discussion of Jane Austen’s novels, movies, sequels and the pop culture she has inspired” and to “Join us in celebration of author Jane Austen (1775-1817) through her novels, letters, life and modern interpretations.”
I was first introduced to Laurel Ann’s blog, Austenprose, when I followed a link there from AustenBlog (this post) during Laurel Ann’s ‘Mansfield Park Madness‘ event, back in August 2008. Here is an excerpt from a great post by Laurel Ann: ‘Mansfield Park Revelation: I am Fanny Price! Are You?‘.
Even after the conclusion of Mansfield Park Madness, I am still ruminating over the novel and the characters. In order to put them to rest, I must get one thing off my chest! My journey to understand the novel has lead me to several insights and one profound truth. …
At that exact moment in my re-reading of Mansfield Park, I had a startling epiphany …. discovering through Fanny’s eyes as she observes her environment, the people around her, and her feelings that — “I am Fanny Price!” ….
Is Fanny Price really as intolerable as some accuse her of being?
Honestly, up until that moment in the novel my impression of Fanny Price had been influenced by the general opinion that she is Jane Austen’s meek and unexciting anti-heroine spawning disparity of opinion to the point of igniting ”Fanny Wars” among her advocates and nay-sayers in the Jane Austen community. Amused and baffled by all the controversy, … I had just taken it all in, waiting for my chance to discover the truth, trying to stay objective and unaffected until I could make my own decision.
By Chapter 46, I had been impressed with her sincerity, her kindness and her principles in the face of so much human folly surrounding her at Mansfield Park and at Portsmouth. When her mentor and only friend Edmund attempts to convince her to marry Henry Crawford, her reaction is so profound, so firm, so principled, so honorable that I am amazed that others can discredit her. Who indeed could find fault with such a lovely and virtuous woman who knows herself so acutely that she alone understands what will give her a happy and fulfilling life? Are money and social position more important than principles and love? She thinks not, and I sense that is also the point Jane Austen wants us to discover and question.
Read the entire post by Laurel Ann here: ‘Mansfield Park Revelation: I am Fanny Price! Are You?‘ Here is Laurel Ann’s Archive for the ‘Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park’ Category on Austenprose, and two other very interesting posts about Fanny Price and Mansfield Park on Austenprose: ‘In Which We Rant and Rave in Favor of Mansfield Park‘ and ‘Mansfield Park: Why does Fanny Price Rankle Our Ire?‘.