Monday, February 03, 2014

Mansfield Park

Oh, Mary Lou, what a treat you have in store!Or so I hope. There are those who don't like it. They probably prefer Emma.

My first encounter with it was in Leicester (we lived there) in the late '60's. My husband was away. The children were all still in primary school and thus could be sent to bed at a respectable hour and not worried about. I liked, in those circumstances, to spend the last hour of my day in the bath with a thriller. But the local post office to which I resorted, had nothing that suited my taste. They did have Mansfield Park, so I bought it, rather dubiously.

And have been reading it ever since.

Beware of notes: I had the Penguin Classic edition, and I like notes. I read one, early on, which betrayed a major Event to Come. I'm still sorry not to have been able to read it the first time without knowing. But Kindle can be trusted not to give anything away.

Scifiknitter, it is interesting what you say about the slave trade. I am finding new things in my current reading, as always – and one that really surprised me was when Fanny asked Sir Thomas about the slave trade, specifically, in those words. It was just after he returned from his long trip to the West Indies, when no one else in the house seemed very interested in what he had been doing. I mustn't say any more now for fear of spoiling Mary Lou's fun.

Donna, I can guarantee you'll enjoy Colin Frith as Mr. Darcy, but there's much more than that in the BBC adaptation. Again and again, I found myself thinking, no, that can't be, and going back to the text and finding, there it was. I think what I mostly gained from watching it was the realisation that Mr Bennet was not just a slightly comic character, to be pitied for his awful wife, but a weak man, to be blamed for not exercising control over his household. See what you think.


I finished the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl, as hoped. I've looked up the crochet-on technique for a provisional cast-on in Bestor's “Cast on, Bind Off” and it sounds as straightforward as I remembered. I'll have a quick look at the Neatby video before I plunge in. I have still to dig around in the cupboard to find a crochet hook, and to select a waste yarn.

But this is a rather exciting moment.

Peggy (comment, Friday): I beg you to try lace knitting again. I had a real struggle with that edging at the beginning, but once I was firmly back in the saddle I recovered the old excitement. Get “A Legacy of Shetland Lace” by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, if you don't already have it, or look at it again if you do, and think about one of those scarves.


The groundhog will have gone gratefully back under the duvet yesterday, here in Edinburgh. Lots of sunshine,

Scotland lost in Dublin rather thoroughly, and I found it a dull match from the beginning, even during the first hour when Scotland were still in contention. They ran here, they ran there, there were lots of scrums. Whereas France-England in Paris the day before had been an absolute thriller from kick-off. Is that because I understand so little of the finer points of the game?

Lynne (comment Friday): that would make good sense, for the meaning of “redacted”. I thought it meant something fancy often involved in biblical criticism. One or the other of us should look it up.


  1. When I reread "Mansfield Park" last year, what struck me was how Fanny formed her judgements on other characters, such as Mary Crawford. How would Fanny have viewed Elisabeth Bennet, whose flippant remarks seem somewhat similar? One might think it was a question of early and late works, but publication dates suggest otherwise.

  2. Re redacting: In German redacting is used as editing. An editor in a newspaper / magazine is a 'Redakteur'. This isn't to mean there are finer differences in the words' meanings in English - the German language quite often uses words in a slightly different sense than English would (for example 'design' in German only refers to the aesthetic conception of an item never the engineering aspects of it, so the word is much more specific in German use than in English). No more light on the main issue I'm afraid, but I thought it might be interesting all the same.

    Good news about you finishing the edging. I'm sure the crochet on cast on will be a breeze.

  3. Ellen1:55 PM

    I would happily re-read any Jane Austen you handed me, and all of them have been read several times, except Mansfield Park, which I have only read twice, and didn't come to love. My own favorite is Persuasion, which I feel is a more mature novel, both in its execution, and in the minds of the characters. The 2007 movie was excellent (with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds). But isn't nice that there is enough Austen that each is worthy of being a favorite?

  4. I've always received the impression that Mrs Bennett married Mr Bennett rather than the other way round. (i.e. she manoeuvred and secured a proposal rather than him taking the lead)

  5. Mansfield Park is probably about my number 4 if I were to rank them. Fanny and Edmund are a little too priggish for my taste. Persuasion is my favorite,and the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version is also one of my favorite Austen adaptations. I wonder if Austen's heroines would have aged too, had she lived to write more. Now that I am older, I find her portrayals of older women rather harsh.