Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Book - 1988
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Mansfield Park is the study of three families--the Bertrams, the Crawfords, and the Prices. The story's heroine, Fanny Price, is at its center. She is adopted into the family of her rich uncle Thomas Bertram, and is condescendingly treated as a poor relation by "Aunt Norris." Of her cousins, only Edmund, a young clergyman, appreciates her fine qualities, and she falls in love with him. Unfortunately, however, he is drawn to the shallow and worldly Mary Crawford. Fanny's quiet passivity, steadfast loyalty, and natural goodness are matched against the wit and brilliance of her lovely rival. Jane Austen skillfully uses her characters' emotional relationships to explore the social and moral values by which they attempt to order their lives
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1988
Edition: 3rd ed
ISBN: 9780192547033
0192547038
Branch Call Number: FIC Aust
Characteristics: 568 p., illus

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pokano
Nov 24, 2020

After reading Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, I found Mansfield Park ultimately very unsatisfying. The protagonist, Fanny-unlike Elizabeth or Elinor, is timid and lacking in confidence, albeit morally pure. In the end, the novel story is brought to the conclusion the reader expects from the beginning by siblings running off to elope with less than desirable men--sound familiar? Yes, there are some tweaks from the prior formulae that makes this story different, but not THAT different. A disappointment.

bibliosara May 29, 2020

Fanny, a quiet and introspective young woman, grows up in the house of her maternal aunt, largely neglected in various degrees by her family. Still, her innate intelligence and compassion make her into a woman of subtle character. She soon finds herself an observer to various romantic entanglements, but her indifference can only last so long when she becomes unwillingly drawn into the drama herself. Her timidity and moral positions are challenged like never before.

Perhaps Austen's most complex and controversial novels, Mansfield Park deals with some heady issues – it touches on the slave trade, makes bold statements concerning religious and moral beliefs of the time, and subtly challenges the perception of women as frail and timid. There are a great deal of reflections and analyses of this novel in light of societal issues and historical context, so I won't get into any discussions here about those topics. However, I will say that I reluctantly enjoyed Mansfield Park. It is probably the least enjoyable of Austen's books to read – Fanny aggravates the reader and the pace is slower than most of Austen's works. Still, the astuteness with which Austen addresses the issues mentioned above makes it a fascinating piece to read and reflect upon. I enjoyed watching Fanny develop into a somewhat more likable character. The conclusion was particularly satisfying in seeing the fates of the multitude of characters.

While Mansfield Park will almost certainly won't make it to your favorites list, its deft handling of morality, virtue, and feminism is worth the read.

CALS_Lee Apr 22, 2020

Come on now, why is Pride and Prejudice Austen’s most beloved novel when Mansfield Park is so much better! No, I know, Elizabeth Bennett is far more witty and lively than Fanny Price, who, uh, isn’t either of those things. Mr. Darcy is far more dreamy than Edmund Bertram, who is rather a bore. And the love story in P&P throws sparks all over the damn place, while the main love story in Mansfield Park is so not the point that it only gets a desultory narrator’s treatment in the last couple of pages of a 400 page novel. I imagine Austen going “Yeah, okay, you expect it, so here it is, it happens, whatever.”

Mansfield Park though is a far more complex novel, wide ranging, touching on issues like nature vs nurture, ethical vs factual education, the identity and nature of home, even the slave trade and the moral quandary of indirectly benefiting from the morally indefensible, for good measure. Meanwhile, Fanny suffers nobly as a bit of a doormat, but then resists what she knows is bad, although materially highly rewarding, with an admirably stubborn and immovable will, while her cousins from the rich side of the family make poor decisions and completely fall apart. She’s the steady and under-appreciated bit of good surrounded by glitz and glam, an underdog worth rooting for.

My favorite Jane Austen novel.

c
ccmccolligan
Feb 14, 2019

A more reserved heroine, but with plenty of plot twists

I liked Mansfield Park, despite its length. I saw it as something of an extrovert's guide to an introvert's world. I don't think Fanny was portrayed as too flawless; her emotions were all over the place, just as many other people's would be. I might have found her too good to be real if her emotions and thoughts hadn't been the main lens through which the reader sees the story, but that would be another story, as they say. Having acted in seven plays, I think the theatrical segment of the story is very well done, although with all the emotional tension involved in that subplot (some of which I can relate to), it was rather stressful to read. This book is somewhat bleaker and less satisfying than, say, Pride and Prejudice, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing or a departure from Austen's intentions - although without a guiding hand such as hers, I highly doubt that the central couple could have survived such a quantity of turbulent events and deceptive interlopers!

SPPL_Kristen Mar 26, 2018

I can believe my girl Jane followed the masterpiece Pride and Prejudice with Mansfield Park.

t
traceyrb
Aug 27, 2017

I love this book. Many reviewers describe Fanny as prissy or boring but I see her as having humility rather than weakness and integrity rather than being boring. She is only 18 and has yet to receive genuine love sufficient to enable her to blossom in confidence. Whilst she will always be gentle and considerate she will lose her shyness and insecurity once truly loved by one she can love and cherish in return. Just some real TLC is what she needs to turn the ugly duckling into the swan she really is.

The book is about comparisons: those who carry an inner light of principles and those who have not learnt to listen to it, those who chose stillness and contentment as opposed to those who need constant movement and entertainment, those who value true love and honour as opposed to those who value status and money, chaos and intemperance vs order and duty.

It was written at the beginning of the 1800s which was a time of incredible change. Holding to time honoured principles and not throwing out the good for a new not so good was Austen's perspective.

Whilst I did not agree with some of the judgement on others Fanny makes, at the core she does have the gift of discernment. The one flaw in the book was the final treatment of Maria (pronounced Mariah). She made a serious error which cost her a lot but then her family turned their backs on her. There was no room made for her to develop contrition and learn from what she had chosen to do. I wish Austen had ended the book otherwise but then again, it was probably in keeping with the times; a fallen woman was severely judged in those times. Otherwise, this is one of my favourite novels.

HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Mansfield Park" and at certain times would even characterize it as a "page-turner." It's a classic for a reason. That said, I am conflicted about the characters of Fanny and Edmond. Does Austen really want us to fully identify and sympathize with them? They're so uptight and prudish! Did Austen really want us to sympathize with their more modern and educated cousins? I'm so curious to know what others think.

b
Booksss14
Jun 20, 2017

Mansfield Park is a beautiful story and book. I absolutely loved it. It was kind of slow at first, but that doesn't last. Fanny is by far my favorite Jane Austen heroine. She is sweet and kind and quiet and polite. She never disappoints you. I absolutely adore her. And Edmund is perfect for her. Despite the fact that for a while he fancies himself deeply in love with a wicked woman, he too is wonderful. I just love this book so much! I cannot wait to find a good adaption of it!

charmeleon Aug 12, 2016

I love most classical literature novels, by all the classical novelist; Jane Austen. Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and Victor Hugo to name a few. Mansfield Park did not disappoint me at all.

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EuSei Feb 28, 2014

You need not hurry when the object is only to prevent my saying a bon-mot, for there is not the least wit in my nature. I am a very matter-of-fact, plain spoken being, and may blunder on the borders of a repartee for half an hour together without striking it out. (Edmund to Mary Crawford)

EuSei Feb 28, 2014

Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the worth of good principles in a wife, though he was too little accustomed to serious reflection to know them by their proper name, but when he talked of her as having such a steadiness and regularity of conduct, such a high notion of honor, and such an observance of decorum as might warrant any man in the fullest dependence on her faith and integrity, he expressed what was inspired by the knowledge of her being well-principled and religious.

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lisahiggs
Nov 18, 2012

Never had Fanny more wanted a cordial.

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Benvolia
Dec 03, 2017

Benvolia thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

EuSei Mar 11, 2014

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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