Mansfield Park in Bryant Park

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?

Jenny Davidson speaking at NYC's Bryant Park

Jenny Davidson speaking at NYC’s Bryant Park



18 thoughts on “Mansfield Park in Bryant Park

  1. I love both Mansfield Park and Bryant Park, and as you know I really wish I could have been there to hear Jenny Davidson. Thanks very much for sharing the photos and your experience of the event, Mary.


  2. It sounds like it was a wonderful event.
    Although I think Mansfield Park is often peoples’ least favorite Austen novel, I admire Fanny’s inner strength and conviction. One of my favorite quotes is “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”


  3. Sounds like it was a fascinating and enjoyable day – I would have loved to have been there. I also wanted to say thank you for popping by and following my blog – but even more for attracting me to yours, from where I have discovered the “Invitation to Mansfield Park” and the wonderful articles that are part of it, I’m slowly reading my way through them – but progress will be limited today as in a couple of hours my husband is taking me to the Jane Austen House Museum in Alton as an early birthday present!


    • What a wonderful birthday present! I hope to one day get there myself. Happy you found Sarah Emsley’s blog (“Invitation to Mansfield Park”) too. It’s been a wonderful party thus far and far from over! Enjoy your trip to Chawton House :-)!


      • Thank you. It was wonderful trip – and as an added surprised, we stayed overnight at Grayshott Spa, which is the real life house upon the eponymous Larkwood is base in Valerie Mendes recent novel. And I’m love with the Mansfield Park party on Sarah Emsley’s blog, thanks so much for the introduction.


      • Sounds wonderful! So happy you found Sarah’s blog too. I look forward to her posts every week. Mansfield Park is one of my favorite books. Every time I read it, I find some new insight that I had missed from before. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m delighted that you’re both enjoying the Mansfield Park party. I’m learning so much from all the discussions and I’m glad we still have a few months left to celebrate this brilliant novel. It’s been a few years since I last visited Chawton Cottage so I am very envious of your trip!

        Liked by 1 person

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