(Written by Marilyn)
Seven members attended what turned out to be a stimulating meeting at NLA on Saturday 20 March in which we engaged in a spirited and most enjoyable discussion of Mansfield Park part 3.
The points discussed included:
- MP was thought by some to be the most dark and complex of JA’s novels. Mary Louise felt Fanny could be understood in today‘s terms as an abused person.
- Is JA using Fanny’s refusal of Henry to explain her own refusal to marry?
- The brother, sister and first cousin relationships are somewhat confusing or discomforting.
- The resolution does not satisfy some, especially as Henry is presented as making strong attempts to demonstrate his love for Fanny by improving his behaviour.
- Edmund is weakened by blaming Maria for leading him astray.
- The resolution in which the blossomed Fanny becomes the daughter Sir Thomas never had was perhaps a revolutionary idea, as was the growth of meritocracy displayed by the naval officers (William).
Other interpretations that were discussed included:
- the idea that the novel is about individual authenticity, which may explain the resolution since Fanny and to a large degree Edmund remain authentic to themselves throughout, while others bend and sway;
- the idea that the novel can be read in terms of King Lear (ie the father with the three daughters, two of whom are ungrateful)
- the notion that the novel is politically engaged, with the Mansfield Park estate being a metaphor for the state of the nation as it was under the Regency.
Business matters discussed were:
- Sue will chair meetings (for the next while at least) and Sarah will be our contact person.
- our Conference Presentation will concern Rakes, Rattles and the Regency, with four speakers presenting the views of the group.
- the May meeting will take the form of a brainstorm to inform the presentations for the Conference, being mindful that Anna is enamoured with Henry Crawford!
- the April meeting will be devoted to those letters written during the writing and publication of Mansfield Park ie those written between 1811-1814 (See here for more detail).
- in anticipation of the Conference, our Georgette Heyer discussion will be carried out via the Blog. Click here for a list of recommended titles. Other recommendations made during the meeting include The Spanish Bride and The Infamous Army.
- Cheng advised us of her discovery of a bookshop dedicated to the Romance Genre, which of course includes Regency romances. The shop is Intrigue, located Level 1, Garema Centre, Bunda Street, open Tues – Fri 10-6.
What a pleasant day we spent with such a cohesive group!!!!