last week on your favorite Austen book and adaptation. Feel free to go back and throw your two cents' in whenever you like.
Before we get cracking on Fanny & Company, just thought I'd bring up the new Mansfield Park opera (!!!) version I've discovered in my online wanderings. (Check this YouTube trailer for it.) Despite being season-ticket holders of the San Francisco Opera in the early days of our marriage, I confess to not being a super fan of the art form. In my plebeian head I think, "Why must it take everyone so stinking long to say anything???" Plus, I can't understand half of what they're saying. That trailer, for instance--the first word sounds like "Archiba-a-a-a-ald!" Give me a good play any day. Nevertheless, for those of you with more musical training and patience, you may want to see when the opera version hits a location near you. Like Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire.
First, some background notes. In 1814, Mansfield Park was Austen's third novel to be published (fourth to be written), after Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, but before Emma. It had a small printing but sold out quickly. However, a second edition was not put out until 1816. The novel was probably begun in early 1811, the same year in which George, Prince of Wales, was named Prince Regent in place of his mad father George III. In the same year, Luddites began their rampage through industrializing counties, destroying textile machines that took their jobs away. Venezuela and Paraguay declared their independence. In 1812, the British were fighting both Napoleon (who invaded Russia) and the United States.
With all this in mind, what did you think of the first three chapters, the "set-up"? What did you think Fanny had in common with other Austen heroines, and how was she different? Does this novel strike you as different in tone than the earlier ones, or not?
What about Edmund being destined for the clergy? Austen's father was a clergyman. After P&P, did it surprise you to have a respectable character put forward as a clergyman?
For the next post, let's read through Chapter 28. When the novel was first published in volumes, this is where the first volume ended. You may find this plot summary of Lover's Vows helpful.