Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Mansfield Park

I'm slowly replacing my battered old Penguins with these handsome Everyman's Library editions of Jane Austen's novels. As well as the six novels there is also an edition of Sanditon and other Stories.

In my twenties, Pride and Prejudice was my favourite Austen. In my thirties it was Persuasion. Now I'm in my forties I'm getting very fond of Mansfield Park. I like the way Austen nails the social and financial status of her characters in the opening lines:

About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.
I'm fascinated by Lady Bertram. Indolent and selfish she sits on the sofa all day making useless carpet and fringe and allowing her sister, the loathsome Mrs Norris, to criticize and bully Fanny. A complex and rewarding read.

7 comments:

Cath said...

Haven't read this in years but I could be sorely tempted by that lovely edition you have there!

Vintage Reading said...

Treat yourself! Nicola

_lethe_ said...

Indeed a lovely edition!

Vintage Reading said...

Hi lethe, it has a ribbon bookmark, too ... Nicola

Vintage Reading said...

Hi lethe, it has a ribbon bookmark, too ... Nicola

hopeinbrazil said...

I was intrigued by your comment about how different books affect us at different phases in our lives. Persuasion was not a favorite the first time I read it, but when I came back to it later, I loved it.

Vintage Reading said...

Hi, thank you so much for commenting. The only Austen I'm not fond of is Northanger Abbey. Maybe in 20 years time!