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Mansfield Park is my least favourite Austen novel. I’ve always secretly preferred Mary Crawford, didn’t think the theatricals was that bad and hoped that Fanny and Henry Crawford would get married. I thought the Everything Austen Challenge was a great opportunity to read it again.

It contains some fabulous Austen quotes – such as …

But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.

and

A large income is the best recipe of happiness I ever heard of

and

 Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

What I really noticed this time was how isolated and powerless Fanny Price was – nobody, apart from Edmund, seems to think about her at all (and Mrs Norris is simply evil).

She has amazing strength of character to hold out when everyone (including Edmund) wants her to marry Henry Crawford – I’m not sure how I would go in similar circumstances.

Mary and Henry Crawford are witty and engaging, but it’s all on the surface. They are both selfish and vain thinking only of themselves. Austen seems to making a point (a bit like Mr Wickham in Pride and Prejudice) that surface appearances can be misleading. The theatricals to a modern mind don’t seem too bad, but it’s more about the intimacy generated by repeated rehearsals – just think of all of those Hollywood actors who fall in love with their co-stars.

And one final thought, did Austen provide Fanny with more strength than she herself had (when accepting and the rejecting Harris Bigg Wither’s proposal)?

I shall think highly of Mansfield Park from now on … Fanny might even be my favourite heroine.

Next up Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster – look I’ve almost caught up now I just need to get Lost in Austen finished by the end of september.

3 Responses to “Everything Austen Challenge – Mansfield Park”

  1. Maxine says:

    Love the look of your site – are you having fun with it? Keep up the good work and good luck with your site!

  2. Rachelle says:

    I like your site, it’s very interesting, but I cannot help to say that you’ve made a mistake in the blog above.
    You keep referring to ‘Frank and Mary Churchill’.
    As far as I know, Frank Churchill isn’t a character from Mansfield Park, but from Emma.
    He’s the son of mr. Weston, who is send away to live with his aunt.

    I think you mean Henry and Mary Crawford. It could be that I’m wrong and that there is another Frank Churchill in Mansfield Park I completely forgot about, but I just wanted to point this out to you.

    By the way, I totallly agree on the Henry/Fanny thing. I always preferred him over Edmund. I mean, come on, he only notices her right at the end!
    But okay, I guess that’s what Jane Austen’s books are all about, aren’t they? 😉

  3. admin says:

    Oops you’re right! How silly of me.

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