Sunday, April 19, 2020

Daring Book

It's really more about the filters academics use to read Austen than about Austen or her novels themselves, but Janet Todd's discussion of re-reading Mansfield Park is interesting:

Mansfield Park is her most daring book. Knowing she had a great popular triumph in Pride and Prejudice, Austen deliberately created a heroine without the endearing qualities that made Elizabeth Bennet universally loved. Jane Austen liked pewter – we have it from her letters – yet not enough to repeat the winning romantic formula when she knew she had a supreme talent for fictional experiment. She wrote of Emma, that she’d created a heroine no one but herself would much like. The opinion better suits Fanny Price, through whom she provokes the reader to address the difficult truth of stubborn integrity.

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