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Jane Austen News – Issue 91

Fanny Price and Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  


Fanny Price vs. Mary Crawford – The Fallout

In the Jane Austen News last week, we gave you a run-down of the week-long Fanny Price vs. Mary Crawford debate so Fanny Price and Mary Crawford in Mansfield Parkfar. The debate was a discussion between two Austen-inspired novelists, Kyra Kramer and Lona Manning, who were looking to answer who was the best heroine in Mansfield Park: Fanny Price, or Mary Crawford?

Lona was very definitely on Fanny Price’s side, and Kyra was defending the honour and actions of Mary. That trend continued on days four and five…

Day Four

Question: Was Mary Crawford really Fanny Price’s Friend?

Kyra: It wasn’t JUST as a conduit to Edmund that she became a friend to Fanny, and in time Mary began to actually love her. Remember that Mary rejoiced when Henry declared his love for Fanny, not only because Fanny would make him a sweet little wife, but because she valued Fanny.

Lona: I have been accusing Mary of being insincere, of always having a hidden agenda with the things she says. But you praise her for being an honest person. She knew that her brother planned to make a small ‘hole in Fanny Price’s heart’ and she didn’t stop him or warn Fanny, hmmmm? She deceived Fanny about the origin of the necklace, hmmmm? Where is the honesty you keep telling me about?

Day Five

Question: Who was the more shallow in character? Mary Crawford or Fanny Price?

Kyra: Fanny Price was much more aware of social status and money than she is commonly thought of as being. Fanny clearly preferred living with her moneyed relatives in Mansfield Park rather than with her lower-class parents. It is Mansfield Park that she thinks of as “home”, and she appears to love her rich relatives more than her parents. She is much more concerned about Aunt Bertram needing her than she is with staying to help her own mother. In fact, sweet, noble, unworldly little Fanny is willing to put up with a whole lot of crap – being her aunt’s dogsbody and unpaid companion, getting affection from no one but Edmund Bertram, being emotionally and verbally abused by Mrs. Norris – just to live in a mansion and walk in fancy shrubbery and wallow in general poshness. She sure doesn’t enjoy living like the lower class, with just one shabby servant and vile housing!

Lona: It’s so difficult for us to imagine what it would be like to be so genteel that we couldn’t cook a meal or clean a household. But keeping house was a much rougher and dirtier business back then. Austen stipulates that Fanny was too frail to live in that environment. However, Fanny really loved books and the education she had received, more than the grandeur.

A hotly fought debate was most definitely had. Though, as with all good debates, the opinions of both were taken into account by the other party and it was a good clean argument. Although no clear winner emerged, a lot of salient points were raised and a good discussion was had by all. Links to each day of debates can be found at the end of this edition of the Jane Austen News.

Pride and Prejudice and Prince Harry’s New Home?


We reported in a past edition of the Jane Austen News that Luckington Court, which is the manor house which was used as Longbourn for the BBC 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, had gone on the market – with a hefty price-tag of £9 million. Well, despite its film credentials, the house is still up for sale (with a new lower price of £7.75 million), and is, it seems, being considered by Prince Harry and his girlfriend actress Meghan Markle, as their potential new home.

Meghan is due to move to the UK from Toronto when she finishes filming her last season of Suits next month, so she and Harry have been house hunting. An estate agent local to Luckington Court in the Cotswolds confirmed that the couple spent two hours looking at Luckington, though they haven’t made an offer yet. Having said that, according to the Express, a source close to Harry acknowledged that Prince Harry “loved” Luckington, which is only eight miles from Prince Charles’s home, Highgrove.

They both definitely want to be in the Cotswolds, they prefer it to Norfolk [where William and Kate have a house] and they are looking at a shortlist of properties – not too big or too showy, but obviously with the need for privacy and staff accommodation.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 91

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Jane Austen News – Issue 90

the Jane Austen News is a fight between Fanny Price and Mary Crawford

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  


Fanny Price vs. Mary Crawford – The Fallout

In the Jane Austen News last week, we mentioned that a Fanny Price vs. Mary Crawford debate would be taking place this week between two Austen-inspired novelists, Kyra Kramer and Lona Manning. The question up for discussion each day this week is different, and given the first two days of debate, there’s at least a week’s-worth of discussions to be had when it comes to Team Mary vs. Team Fanny.

On Monday the question was simply one of whose side are you on and why? Who was the real heroine and moral victor in Mansfield Park?

Kyra was definitely Team Mary:

“Fanny Price was a wet hen with all the vivacity of a damp dishcloth.”

“He [Edmund] spoke to Mary like she was filth, just because she had more mercy on Maria than he did. Even though Mary was willing to sacrifice her own brother’s happiness to save Edmund’s sister from ostracization, based on nothing more than Mary’s warm feelings for the Bertram family, he threw her offer back with excessive rudeness and condemnation.”

While Lona was quick to defend Fanny and retorted that Mary was using Fanny for her own ends:

“Fanny is an audience, not a confidante, for Mary.”

“I would argue that Mary is often insincere.”

Then, on Tuesday the question was – “Was Fanny Price sweetly timid, or a backstabbing brat?”

Lorna argued that Fanny had no choice but to show some reciprocal friendship for Mary, despite not feeling warmly towards her. “Given the difference in their ages, social situations and most importantly, the force of their personalities, how was Fanny going to look Mary Crawford in the eye and say, “no thanks, let’s not be friends”? What ought she have done?”

Kyra on the other hand thought that Fanny had no problem upsetting people’s expectations of her when she wanted to, and for that reason was more backstabbing than timid: “She was pressured by people she respected to wed Henry Crawford, too, but she found the wherewithal to refuse that. Agreeing to write Mary was above and beyond polite return visits, too. Letter writing was a serious business, and the Regency equivalent of pledging friendship (not mere acquaintanceship) between two young, unmarried women. If they had been older, married ladies then letters would have been less of a big deal. Fanny knew she was implying a friendship that simply wasn’t there.”

We’ll be sure to let you know in the next Jane Austen News post how the rest of the week of debates goes.

An Award Winning Tribute to Jane

If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Bath this year then you might have been to the Parade Gardens and seen Bath’s floral tribute to Jane Austen. Well, aside from being a sight to behold and a wonderful way to mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, it’s also helped to win Bath an award!

It was announced at the South West in Bloom competition that Bath has been given a Gold award in the BID (Business Improvement District) category, but as well as this, Bath has won the Abbis Cup for the best municipal horticultural display for, you guessed it, the Jane Austen 3D bed in the Parade Gardens.

The large floral display has been in bloom all summer and has been a real eye-catching statement. Here’s how it progressed from the metal structure we saw at the start of the summer, through to the finished article – a book with the statement ‘Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?’ (a quote from Northanger Abbey), beside a copper quill and ink pot.

The Jane Austen News watches the new display take shape

The Jane Austen News celebrates the bicentenary!

  Tea Is On The Up And Up!

Not that it ever went out as such, but in the 90s and 00s it wasn’t so popular as it is now, or as popular as it was in Jane’stea cup and saucer decoration time. In Bath in the late 1790s/early 1800s tea was so popular (but so expensive) that the staff of the tea rooms at the Assembly Rooms used to use the tea leaves three times!

However, this week the Jane Austen News came across an article from Verily that confirms what we had been suspecting for a while: we’re loving our tea more than ever. Just look at these statistics:

  • Tea is currently a $21 billion industry in the U.S.
  • A recent poll found that, for under-thirties, coffee and tea are equally popular beverages.
  • 85 percent of Millennials prefer to drink iced tea, which has resulted in a variety of cold tea products being sold.
  • Since 1998, high-end restaurants such as the W Hotel in New York City began to train and hire tea sommeliers. Today, other establishments have followed suit by rolling out special tea pairings with their menu.

(Verily’s full run-down on our love of tea can be found here.)

 Run, Darcy, Run!

We recently saw Warbutons do a send-up of Pride and Prejudice (with added elements of the film Ghost and Peter Kay’s previous shows thrown in for good measure), and now the latest parody of Pride and Prejudice sees Sophie Monk from Australia’s reality TV show The Bachelorette making eyes at Mr Darcy in doctored footage from the 1995 BBC adaptation. The advert has been released in the run-up to the show’s finale, which is due to air this Thursday.

Even if you don’t watch The Bachelorette, it might give you a good giggle.


And Finally…

We know how excited our overseas fans have been to receive their own Jane Austen £10 notes, and to add to all this The Jane Austen News is: Martin Salterexcitement, the Jane Austen Centre has just received its own special £10 note! The note AA01 001775 is now with us and will shortly be going on display in the exhibition!


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

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