is a nickname for Frances, Francesca, Francine, Epiphania (Epifania) or Euphemia.
It is also a pet name for period films or for fans of period films. I wanted to explain this so that if I ever slip and use the word fanny, it is not misunderstood as has happened in the past when I forgot that not everyone uses this moniker.
A friend of mine from Manchester coined the phrase when her brother continually chided her for watching the "Fanny Prides" [Fanny morphed with Pride & Prejudice] since it seemed that every film she watched contained a character by the name of Fanny. She and I have used the term since then and if I had my druthers, it would be commonly used since it is so much easier than saying "period drama" or "period film". It also flows a lot more easily off the tongue to ask, "Are you a fanny?" instead of articulating, "Are you a fan of period movies?" Enuf said.
So without further ado, time to take a look at the "Fanny"s that are seen in some of the Fannies.
I'll start with Fanny Dashwood who is the one who first comes to mind. Stingy, snooty and unforgiving as she is, I adore Harriet Walter in Sense and Sensibility! (She's all manners in this scene when she politely insults Mrs. Dashwood.) I loved Harriet in Little Dorrit, Ballet Shoes & Atonement and I look forward to seeing her in The Young Victoria!
Another character from Jane Austen...
Fanny Price from Mansfield Park
Here played by Frances O'Connor
Continuing the Austen theme...
Jane Austen's niece in Miss Austen Regrets
(based on her real life niece Fanny Catherine Night)
We could continue a six-degrees-of-separation theme for Austen...
I mean who can't be connected to Jane Austen??
Here's Rosamund Pike (who played Jane Bennett in P&P) as
in Love in a Cold Climate
Emma Pierson was delightful to watch as the conniving older sister of Amy in Dicken's tale of Little Dorrit.
When I think of Francesca Annis, I immediately call to mind her portrayal of Hyacinth 'Clare' Kirkpatrick, who was preoccupied with manners and outward appearances in Wives and Daughters. I'd love to see Hyacinth's expression when the folks in Hollingford would find out that her name isn't Hyacinth after all but just plain Fanny. Well, that isn't her character's name and I'm sure Francesca doesn't mind the nickname in reality but my mind got carried away with the horror of Hyacinthe's reaction!
(I do love her in that role! )
Abbie Cornish takes on the role of Fanny Brawne, the inspiration for many of John Keats' poems as seen in Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion. She's shown here on the right with Thomas Sangster (brother Samuel) and Edie Martin (sister Margaret "Toots")
And now we end with Fanny Bennett, what's that you say? Although Mrs. Bennett is not given a Christian name in the novel, a few pieces of fan fiction have given her the maiden name of Miss Fanny Gardiner and I must say that it fits quite nicely.