Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal

Articles from Vol. 28, Annual

Addressing Readerly Unease: Discovering the Gothic in Mansfield Park
READERS ARE OFTEN UNCOMFORTABLE WITH Mansfield Park because Fanny Price is meek, self-deprecating, pious, sickly, and self-righteous. For Thomas Hoberg, Fanny Price is "the passive Cinderella" who "is not like her canonical sisters and that's the whole...
A Harpist Arrives at Mansfield Park: Music and the Moral Ambiguity of Mary Crawford
ONLY A READER NEW TO Mansfield Park can truly appreciate the delicacy with which Austen suspends the possibility that Mary Crawford might, through loving Edmund Bertram, become as morally sound as Edmund himself. A first-time reader may, indeed, share...
Crawfords on the Couch: A Psychoanalytical Exploration of the Effects of the "Bad School" on Henry and Mary Crawford
ALTHOUGH CLINICAL REPORTS are more suited to psychological conferences than to literary ones, there is in this case--these cases, I should say--a happy confluence of subject. Readers of, and characters in, Mansfield Park have long been divided on whether...
Dancing through Austen's Plots: A Pedagogy of the Body
I AM NOT A DANCER. There, I've said it. I haven't been a dancer since little Laura C. eyed my meager attempts in sixth grade to move my arms and legs in time to the music pouring out of the record player in our school's Cafetorium. She announced to...
Editor's Note
LOOKED AT FROM ONE PERSPECTIVE, Fanny Price is confined to a relatively static existence. Compared to a heroine like Elizabeth Bennet, who travels to London, to Kent, to Derbyshire, and later leaves her home in Hertfordshire for good, Fanny is restricted...
Exploring Mansfield Park: In the Footsteps of Fanny Price
IT WAS at the JASNA meeting in Boston in 2000 that I first learned, in the foyer of the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, that there was to be a new, authoritative, scholarly edition of Jane Austen's works to be published by Cambridge University Press. I've...
From Page to Screen: Dancing to the Altar in Recent Film Adaptations of Jane Austen's Novels
"TO BE FOND OF DANCING was a certain step towards falling in love" (9), writes Jane Austen at the outset of Pride and Prejudice. So she includes dances in all her novels to catalyze courtship, the subject of Mr. Elton's charade in Emma (72) and the...
General Tilney and Bath Water
COMMENTING ON GENERAL TILNEY'S VISIT to Bath, Miss Tilney says that '"my father can seldom be prevailed on to give the waters what I think a fair trial. He has been disappointed of some friends' arrival whom he expected to meet here, and as he is now...
"I Am a Wild Beast": Patricia Rozema's Forward Fanny
IN AN INTERVIEW WITH PATTY-LYNNE HERLEVI, filmmaker Patricia Rozema explains how she "couldn't figure out why [Jane Austen] would write a character [Fanny Price] that was so annoying because she was capable of writing completely fascinating, articulate...
"I Have Frequently ... Regretted the Manner of Her Life": Patrick O'Brian's Diana Villiers and Jane Austen's Cousin, Eliza De Feuillide
PATRICK O'BRIAN, the late-twentieth century novelist best known for the twenty works in the Master and Commander series, has frequently been compared to Jane Austen in terms of his writing style. Comments such as "Jane Austen [is] clearly one of his...
In Defense of Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park
MANSFIELD PARK IS THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL of all Jane Austen's novels, mainly because readers are unable to agree in their assessment of the novel's heroine, Fanny Price. In adapting the novel to the screen, Patricia Rozema adopts two positions that...
Jane Austen and Birthdays
EVEN AS A COMMITTED JANE AUSTEN DEVOTEE, I had re-read all six of Austen's completed adult novels periodically for years, before noticing that these girls never have birthdays. Or rather, they never celebrate their birthdays in the course of the story....
Jane Austen's Relics and the Treasures of the East Room
ON THE FACE OF IT, there is something disconcerting about the spectacle of Chawton Cottage--something misleading, or at the least profoundly wishful. This squat brick dwelling wears its two commemorative plaques awkwardly. Topped with five ungainly...
Lifting the Heart to Rapture: Harmony, Nature, and the Unmusical Fanny Price
ALONE AMONG JANE AUSTEN'S HEROINES, Fanny Price remains innocent of accomplishment. She discovers no talent for drawing or watercolors, produces no charmingly worked screens or footstools, and above all touches no musical instrument. At Mansfield Park,...
Mad as the Devil but Smiling Sweetly: Repressed Female Anger in Mansfield Park
A FELLOW JANEITE TOLD ME ONE DAY that her daughter's least favorite Austen novel is Mansfield Park because "Fanny is a wimp." And she's right, at least when measured by Austen's other heroines. Fanny Price is not the "uncommonly intelligent" Elizabeth...
Mansfield Park and the 1814 Novels: Waverley, the Wanderer, Patronage
WHEN JANE AUSTEN'S "PROBLEM" NOVEL, Mansfield Park, appeared in 1814, a generation-long war had (it was assumed) finally ended. European society, riven by twenty-five years of revolution, war, and political and cultural transformation, hoped for stability...
Message from the President
THIS ISSUE or Persuasions is my last as JASNA's President. And so this seems an appropriate time for musings and memories, particularly because 2007--when you will be receiving this journal--will continue to see popular culture flooded with Austen-related...
Midshipman Price at Trafalgar
WHEN I WAS WORKING in a private archive, I came across a collectors' item that had been carefully preserved: a copy of The Times of November 7, 1805, containing the first full public account of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Nelson,...
Money, Morals, and Mansfield Park: The West Indies Revisited
A very young, timid, but highly-principled and religious girl from a large and humble family is taken into a rich, upper-class household, whose money comes mainly from large estates in the West Indies. In this cold and formal family, she is neglected,...
Part of an Englishwoman's Constitution: The Presence of Shakespeare in Mansfield Park
READERS OF JANE AUSTEN ever since the early nineteenth century have felt her kinship with Shakespeare. As early as 1821, Richard Whateley praised Austen's power of characterization as "hardly exceeded by Shakespeare himself" (Littlewood 327). And in...
Searching for Jane Austen in Mary Crawford
AFTER READING Mansfield Park, one of Jane Austen's nephews pronounced himself "interested by nobody but Mary Crawford" (MW 431). In contrast to the gravely serious, physically weak, and tremblingly shy Fanny Price, Mary Crawford exhibits wit, energy,...
Star-Gazing with Fanny Price
IN THIS ESSAY I FOCUS on one chapter of the forty-five which make up Mansfield Park. My aim is to establish the marvellous artistry of this seemingly quiet and undramatic chapter and then, by way of a broader discussion of the many themes it develops,...
The Many Mothered, Motherless Fanny Price
AT THE BEGINNING OF Mansfield Park, when Edmund finds ten-year-old Fanny crying on the staircase and understands that she is homesick, he assumes that she is "'sorry to leave Mamma'" (15). The focus in this scene quickly turns to the development of...
"The Three Sisters": A "Little Bit of Ivory"
IN HIS PREFACE to the posthumous edition of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion Henry Austen cited his sister's now-famous description of her style of composition: "What should I do with your ... spirited Sketches ...?" she wrote to her nephew Edward (16...
Vows in Mansfield Park: The Promises of Courtship
MANSFIELD PARK, JANE AUSTEN'S PROBLEM NOVEL, shares one of its problems--the courtship plot--with the other five novels that Austen published. Darryl Jones, a recent apologist for Austen's choice of this plot, surveys the literary marketplace of the...
What the Ear Has to Offer: A Soundscape of Mansfield Park
HAILING FROM THE POLYPHONIC CITY OF PORTSMOUTH, eight-year-old Fanny Price arrives at Mansfield Park with a wide range of aural experience. During her remaining formative years as a member of Sir Thomas's family, the more or less tranquil tones of...
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