Under the trees and red umbrellas of the The Reading Room this week in Bryant Park,
book club members and Janeites gathered to hear a delightful lecture on Mansfield Park by author and Professor of English at Columbia University, Jenny Davidson.
The series of lectures is sponsored by HSBC Bank and Oxford University Press.
As I had forgotten to bring a copy of Mansfield Park along with me, I was gratefully able to look over the shoulder of JASNA’s Meg Levin and read from her copy.
Focusing on Volume III Chapter 8 and Volume II Chapter 6, Davidson spoke of Fanny Price’s point of view and Fanny’s opinion (we sometimes think that Fanny — being shy and reserved — has no opinion when, in fact, she does).
It was refreshing to hear someone focus on Fanny’s inner strength. One must remember that Fanny rejected Henry Crawford’s proposal; an impressive act of strength to be sure.
That slim streak of inner strength is boosted considerably in Patricia Rozema’s movie version of Mansfield Park (which Davidson cited). It’s a delightful movie — full of Austenisms — but not true to the book.
Discussing Mansfield Park in Bryant Park while sipping on an an iced-coffee on a warm breezy day in New York City….
Who could ask for more?