For Monaghan, it is Fanny alone who senses the moral values that lie beneath the old unfashionable manners. I could not preach but to the educated, to those who were capable of estimating my composition." "Feminist Irony and the Priceless Heroine", pages 117–131 from, Kirkham, Margaret "Feminist Irony and the Priceless Heroine" pages 117–131 from, Bloom, Harold, "Introduction", pages 1–6 from, Duckworth, Alistair. A common anti-theatrical theme also stemming from Plato is the need to avoid acting (i.e. Many have missed the feminist irony of the character of Fanny. And by taking Maria away from her community, he deprives the Bertrams of a family member. The family estate's name clearly reflects that of Lord Mansfield, just as the name of the bullying Aunt Norris is suggestive of Robert Norris, "an infamous slave trader and a byword for pro-slavery sympathies". Tave points out that, in shutting down Lovers' Vows, Sir Thomas is expressing his hidden hypocrisy and myopia. William gives Fanny the gift of an amber cross. John Wiltshire, returning to the theme in 2014, describes Fanny as "a heroine damaged early by her upbringing, as well as by her quasi-adoption, who experiences intense conflict between gratitude to her adoptive family and the deepest rebellion against them", a rebellion scarcely conscious. Rushworth's conversation follows closely that of Repton's parody.  Her sister-in-law, Eliza, was a French aristocrat whose first husband, the Comte de Feullide, had been guillotined in Paris. Be the first to contribute! Austen's presentation of the intense debate about theatre tempts the reader to take sides and to miss the nuances. When Henry returns, he decides to entertain himself by making Fanny fall in love with him. Brodrick describes the Georgian church as "strenuously preventing women from direct participation in doctrinal and ecclesiastical affairs".  Eliza's account of the Comte's execution left Austen with an intense horror of the French Revolution that lasted for the rest of her life. ", Trilling took the view that uneasiness with the apparently simplistic moral framework of the novel marks its prime virtue, and that its greatness is 'commensurate with its power to offend'. Both these events are a precursor to Maria's later adultery and Julia's elopement. Bloom agrees with Lewis but argues that he misses the importance of Fanny's "will to be herself" as a causal agent in the plot. As Henry continues, his shallowness and self-aggrandisement becomes apparent: "I never listened to a distinguished preacher in my life without a sort of envy. Mr Rushworth's view that, "we are a great deal better employed, sitting comfortably here among ourselves, and doing nothing", is affirmed only by Sir Thomas himself. Auerbach argues that Fanny defines herself best in assertive negatives.  What is 'proper' can extend to the way society governs and organises itself, and to the natural world with its established order. (Kindle Locations 3122-3124), Edwards, Thomas. Letter 115, Dec 1814, quoted in Byrne, Paula. At Sotherton, it is described as "a planted wood of about two acres ...[and] was darkness and shade, and natural beauty, compared with the bowling-green and the terrace." With their fashionable London ways, they enliven life in Mansfield. Even the hopeful Sir Thomas recognises that the admirable Henry is unlikely to sustain his performance for long. So too do Henry and William. Her faith, which gives her the courage to resist what she thinks is wrong, sometimes makes her intolerant of the sinners.  She comes to see that part of her physical frailty stems from the debilitating effect of the internal arguments, conversations and identifications that sap her energy. Edmund, the young, naive, would-be ordinand, expresses high ideals, but needs Fanny's support both to fully understand and to live up to them. ", Sir Thomas conveniently overlooks his earlier plan, before he was forced to sell the Mansfield living to pay off Tom's debts, that Edmund should draw the income from both parishes. To subtly press her point, Austen has set the scene in the wilderness where their serpentine walk provides echoes of Spencer's, The Faerie Queene, and the "sepentining" pathways of the Wandering Wood.