Mansfield Park in Montreal

May 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm (entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , )

This coming October, the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of JASNA – the Jane Austen Society of North America – is hosted by Montreal, a not-far drive from my northern Vermont home. I’ve been taking a look at the schedule of break-out speakers.

Session F is going to be REALLY hard to decide one “just one” – for there are three speakers whose topics call to me. Sarah Bowen discusses CLERGYMEN’S WIVES, which of course encompasses my Emma – and her sisters Augusta, Fanny, and Maria!

But there’s also Jacqueline Reid-Walsh‘s topic of “girls’ domestic activities,” which includes a look at “modifying prints as artwork”. Those show up in the Smith & Gosling homes several times over.

Tess O’Toole and Jocelyn Harris offer two more talks in the same session. Oh, dear… I slightly (currently) give the nod to Harris, for she wonders if Fanny and Susan Price could possibly have been based in some way on Fanny and Susan Burney.

And Sarah Emsley‘s topic has really caught my attention: Lady Sherbrooke, wife of the Lt-Gov. of Nova Scotia has been caught reading MP in tandem with her sister in 1815! What nuggets of diary or letter entries might this talk hold???

LOTS to think about in the weeks before the AGM opens for registration.

The post-chaise to Montreal leaves in October




  1. Janeite Deb said,

    Yes, Kelly – lots of difficult choices indeed! We can only hope that the ones we miss will be published in’ Persuasions’!… looking very much forward to a new season of “Fanny Wars” where sides are taken yet again to duel out whether Fanny is a “creep-mouse” as Tom Bertram calls her, or the Heroine of a new order, a new kind of novel…

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      I must confess, when I read MP last (a few months ago?) I was REALLY IMPRESSED with Fanny – such fortitude. No mouse at all…

      And for the book, too, I found new admiration.

      Will indeed be an exciting AGM.


      • Janeite Deb said,

        I agree Kelly! – I have read it several times, but in my latest re-read I found more humor than I ever had before [who knew!], found Henry Crawford claustrophobia-inducing every time he was on the page, Tom Bertram a chatter-box, and as I have always loved Fanny Price, more determined than ever to come to her defense – I always admired her fortitude in saying no to Henry and Sir Thomas, concealing her love for Edmund at every turn [really, how did Mary Crawford not SEE that??!], and muddling through when all seemed lost to her – it is a wonderful book, Austen’s own favorite I think, but so misunderstood – I am glad you found new admiration – you must lead the charge in Montreal!

      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Had a comment and it disappeared just as I was about to post it. (Must stop replying via one method WordPress allows – I always lose my comment). Alas! I will not be able to recapture the original thoughts…

        In short, though – MP is a complex, highly ‘internalized’ novel. And its heroine one of the strongest characters Austen ever created. While I don’t per se buy into many of the Fanny-based topics coming up at the AGM, I am VERY intrigued by Kathleen Anderson’s approach to Fanny as “novitiate” thru poverty, chastity and obedience, and then a final assumption of a mantle of leadership. Very instructive to ponder that line of thinking.

        Hidden depths – both in the novel, and in Fanny Price herself. But not conducive to “screen” drama, and it shows in the most recent adaptation, especially (VERY abbreviated, story-wise).


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