Jane Austen – “Mansfield Park”

Looking at my queue of books I want to write a review about I just realised how I’ve neglected my blogging activity – and my English skills (sorry for that one). Nevertheless finishing the last book on sunday creates the oppurtunity to continue my writing here.

In May I decided to read all of Jane Austen’s novels. No big deal acutually, for already having read “Pride and Prejudice”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Emma”, which is considered to be the longest novel of them. So here we are again for the pleasures of Austen’s writing and the knowledge that the protagonist ends up with the man meant to make her happy.

Well, Mansfield Park. The name says it all. The whole story takes places in Sir Thomas Bertram’s estate in Norfolk starting when his sister-in-law, the pastor’s wife Mrs. Norris, persuades him and his wife to take the oldest daughter of his other siste-in-law to them. Fanny Price is nine years old when she moves from her family in Portsmouth to her relatives to whom she won’t be ever considered equal. The only exception is her cousin Edmund who considers her well being over all the following years (letting her write letters to her brother William, gifting her a horse for exercise and so on), while his older brother Tom and the sisters Maria und Julia don’t care much about her.

Everything changes about nine years later with the dead of Mr. Norris and the arrival of new acquaintances: Mr. Rushworth in Sotherton, soon enganged to Maria, Henry Crawford, highly interested in both Betram sisters, and his own sister Mary Crawford, falling for Edmund and considering him the eldest son, for Tom and his father are away in Antigua. The summer is spent pleasantly by the young people though not without Fanny seeing the flaws in those additions to the party.

As soon as Sir Thomas is back in early autumn (Tom returned even earlier and brought his friend Yates home) Maria is married to Mr. Rushworth – for his fortune only and still interested in Crawford. But while she is away in Brighton with her new husband and her sister Henry Crawford finds himself soon in love with Fanny. But not having forgotten his former behaviour and actually loving Edmund (close to engage himself with Mary) she declines his proposal and withstands all tries of persuasion of her relatives. Angry about this Sir Thomas sends her back to her family for some months to clear her mind of the now common luxuries. During her stay her opinion of Crawford improves, when he visits her, but not yet enough to love him. The next news she receives are shocking! Tom sick and clos to death, Maria gone away with Crawford and Julia marrying Yates in Scotland!

Long story shortend: Edmund sober from his love to Mary comes to take her back to Mansfield Park where all are glad to have her again around them. And after a while she is finally married to him and lives in the parsonage with him. And all this fuss just because Crawford couldn’t wait for Fanny to fall in love with him!

It was a absolutely pleasant read and does Austen justice to be still considered one of England’s best writers. I can’t say how much I like her way of writing and telling a story even though the sudden indroduction of so many names is sometimes a bit confusing for myself. The whole family is in some parts funny or even insane, but the characters one ought to like are always likeable.

But now I wonder if “Mrs. Norris”, Mr. Filch’s cat in “Harry Potter” was inspired by that certain aunt Norris not granting her niece felicity. I might think about it and then tell you to what conclusion I came. Till then: 4 finished, 2 still to go. (Or should I also read “Lady Susan”? – what is your opinion about Austen?)

started: Nov’16    finished: 13.11.16

PS: I hope my English wasn’t that bad after all.

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