Rossweisse RIP Rossweisse, HellHost and long-time Shipmate.

Robert Armin RIP Robert Armin, Shipmate of long-standing.

November Book Club - Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

SarasaSarasa Shipmate
This month's read is Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I've just re-read it ahead of leading the discussion this month and it is a great read, with lots of themes I'm sure we'll find interesting to discuss. It is widely available, including free copies on-line. So if you have never read Austen, not read her for a while or are an avid fan come and join in the (I hope) fun.
For a start off the book has one of the most convincing 'villains' in literature.
«13

Comments

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Plus a joke about buggery.
  • I started re-reading it a while back and then hit the pause button for some reason. I’ll see if I can pick up again where I left off.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I'm rereading and will join in.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    It's 60 years since I first read it, and it's the only Austen I keep going back to. A simple tale well told.
  • I love this book, but I wouldn't call it simple. To me it is Austen's problem novel.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I shall finish the book I'm presently reading (probably 2 or 3 more days) and go back to it again with your comment in mind.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Also planning to read this again on summer evenings and join in the discussion.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I've read it, but never really warmed to it, so it maybe a good time to re-read it. I will try to get it on my e-reader.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Plus a joke about buggery.

    That's in Persuasion isn't it?
  • No, it's Mansfield. Rears and Vices, is the phrase.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Reminds me of the Punch cartoon - 'We like the plot Miss Austen, but you'll have to cut out the effing and blinding'.
  • MaramaMarama Shipmate
    I'm re-reading it and will join in. I think Persuasion is Austen's best, but Mansfield Park is pretty good.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Persuasion is my favourite too.

    I have borrowed a copy from the Library on my e-reader as my own appears to to have been hidden by the cat - or taken by the Borrowers.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    No, it's Mansfield. Rears and Vices, is the phrase.

    Yes, I know the quote! I thought it was in Persuasion where the wife of the retired Admiral was talking about how glad she was to be shot of the Navy.

  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I'm making no promises, but I am going to try. I've never been able to get on with Jane Austen, despite repeated attempts, but I do have Mansfield Park on the shelf.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Could the Rears and Vices phrase possibly be in both? I remember it particularly and haven't read Mansfield Park very frequently or recently, but I have read Persuasion multiple times?

    Now I will have to go back and read Persuasion again - oh dear - life is so demanding. :wink:
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited November 3
    Mary Crawford makes the remark at a dinner party (and asks that nobody suspect her of any double meaning). None of the characters in Persuasion would be so improper.

    But you'd better reread Persuasion, just to check.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Just searched my ebook of Persuasion, it's not there. My mistake.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks Sparrow.

    Dafyd - I was wondering about that, because I did remember it was a character who was nasty and not proper, whereas the nasties in Persuasion are proper.

    Despite the temptation I will postpone Persuasion until I have re-read Mansfield Park . :innocent:
  • One of my favourite novels, definitely not simple. I remember when post-colonial criticism got big, MP was highlighted, and the connection between country houses and slavery.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Great to see so many people interested in reading Mansfield Park. We had to read Pride and Prejudice at school, and I certainly wasn't an Austen fan then. It was only when I re-read them as an adult I could appreciate the humour and the characterisation.
    There is loads of stuff out there on the net about Jane Austen, and about Mansfield Park. I thought this Austen and Antigua was interesting.
    I must admit I suggested this book as there is a housing estate near here called Mansfield Park and it always makes me smile when I see a bus with that on the destination board.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Today (US election day) looks like a good day to escape into the imaginary sweetness-and-light world of Wodehouse Jane Austen. Even though I'm not a big fan of Austen, I watched the 1999 film version of Mansfield Park the other day, and it looked like it would be a good story, so I'll read this one.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I wouldn't say JA was all sweetness and light: there are women facing quietly grim lives. Charlotte Lucas marrying an annoying fool because she has reached 27 'without ever having been handsome'. Miss Bates, who will be destitute when her mother dies (though the new Mrs Churchill will now take care of her aunt). Maria Bertram, condemned to Satrean hell with Aunt Norris. The heroines succeed but the price of failure is always in the background.
  • Yes, sweetness and light is the touristy version of Austen, exploded by modern criticism, and, well, close reading.
  • The 1999 film was not deeply faithful to the novel, if I recall correctly. Mind you, I can't see a faithful adaptation doing well at the box office. Fanny isn't exactly a modern heroine.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Going back to the double-entendre of "Rears and Vices", Fanny's full name doesn't stand scrutiny does it?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Sparrow wrote: »
    Going back to the double-entendre of "Rears and Vices", Fanny's full name doesn't stand scrutiny does it?

    It now perhaps, but at the time and for upwards of a century after, it was unexceptional. Happens to words -

    "With his little ruddy daughter Bess"
    W. Wordsworth
  • Fanny has been the subject of a lot of lit crit. Seen by some as pathetic and feeble, revisionist critics pointed out her feminist trajectory, as she becomes the moral centre of the novel. Rejecting corruption, and seeing cruelty clearly, she emerges!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    It’s great everyone’s so engaged, but try not to discuss the actual book too much before the 20th. to give anyone who hasn’t read it before a chance to catch up.
    In the mean time, in general terms, which of Austen’s books is your favourite?
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Sarasa wrote: »
    It’s great everyone’s so engaged, but try not to discuss the actual book too much before the 20th. to give anyone who hasn’t read it before a chance to catch up.
    In the mean time, in general terms, which of Austen’s books is your favourite?

    Emma!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Think I might agree @sparrow, though I did enjoy my re-read of Mansfield Park. I remember loving Persuasion the first time I read it, and not so much the second time. Maybe it has something to do with ones mood when reading the books.
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    edited November 5
    Yay! A Monthly Book I've already read!

    Re buggery: There may be an oblique reference to it in her juvenilia work A History of England--in the James I section, there's a charade in which the answer is "carpet" ("Car" was the nickname of the Duke of Buckingham, one of James's favorites).

    (And though admittedly from about a century earlier, 5-to-6-year-old girls singing obscene songs ("Girl Ballads") used to be a popular entertainment,* so one must be careful about assuming any Pre-Victorian era was particularly prudish).

    * A History of English Opera by Eric Walter White
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    By the way, MP happens to be my current favorite, or at least the one I'm most likely to reread. Look forward to the arguments discussions.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Nenya wrote: »
    I'm making no promises, but I am going to try. I've never been able to get on with Jane Austen, despite repeated attempts, but I do have Mansfield Park on the shelf.

    I've tried again. I can't - life's too short.

    But I look forward to the discussion. Still hoping to catch The Jane Austen Bug.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I feel much the same way about Dickens @Nenya. Even though I can see the power of some of his writing there is too much else I really don't get on with, A Christmas Carol, being the exception.
    I'm now going to embark on a re-read of Emma to try and decide whether I prefer it to Mansfield Park or not.
  • Pride and Prejudice is my favourite Austen.

    Re Dickens - I gave up on several, until I read Hard Times which I loved.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I think Pride and Prejudice is Austen's most fun novel.
    Emma is her most respected.
    Persuasion is the most romantic.
  • And Northanger Abbey the funniest.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I maybe need to try one of the others again...
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I'm apparently re-reading Mansfield Park! Honestly I thought this was one of the few Jane Austen books I hadn't read, since I keep going back to the favorites, like Sense and Sensibility!

    Lo and behold, as I've been reading, I find myself saying, "I know what happens next!" It finally dawned on me that when Daughter-Unit was very young, I read all of JA's books. That was thirty years ago!

    Hopefully this time the story will stick a bit better! :lol:
  • @Nenya Would an audiobook version help? A format change might hit you differently.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    @Nenya Would an audiobook version help? A format change might hit you differently.
    Thank you for the suggestion. I don't normally get on very well with listening to things - I'm not a fan of podcasts and don't actually enjoy being read to (I'd much rather do the reading). I'm guessing you have to pay for audiobooks?
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    edited November 9
    Cathscats wrote: »
    And Northanger Abbey the funniest.
    That's the one I get as being funny (if you exclude ones where she can't spell).
    The mix of the two genres plays well with where I'm at, whereas a variant of Poe's law applies when I look at the others. P&p/emma work perfectly well as what I expect from generic romance and I can read them as such.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I've just watched the 1999 film version of Mansfield Park. Not particularly faithful to original, specially in the portrayal of Fanny's character, but quite fun all the time. I do rather like early 19th century dresses, and old houses, so nice to look at. I see there is a 2007 version too, that also sounds like it might have struggled to portray Fanny faithfully.
  • I think Fanny would be hard to cast and script. She doesn’t have the best lines or action (what there is of it) and it would be difficult to prevent your Mary Crawford actor upstaging her, if the film was to stay faithful to the book. Not that I have seen any films of this one. There is a great film of “Persuasion” with Amanda Root as Anne. It is faithful to the book, but then that is an easier book to film
  • I agree with you. Way too much of what makes Fanny worthwhile is going on inside her head and nowhere else, and that's not filmable. What you see on the outside (what I see, anyway) is a delicate shrinking violet who is eminently overlookable. Which is a pity, because she's the plumbline character in the book, and we're supposed to use her reactions as a lens (or at least a mirror) for seeing everything else. But if she's the eye, she isn't see-able.
  • Nenya wrote: »
    @Nenya Would an audiobook version help? A format change might hit you differently.
    Thank you for the suggestion. I don't normally get on very well with listening to things - I'm not a fan of podcasts and don't actually enjoy being read to (I'd much rather do the reading). I'm guessing you have to pay for audiobooks?
    It depends which book: some have both paid and free versions, and libraries also lend downloadable audiobooks. I have to say I'm also picky about narrators for longform audio. Just a thought in any case.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited November 10
    Fanny is shy. Charisma and wit don't actually make the possessor a better person but they do make them more interesting to read about: Austen is setting herself something of a challenge in writing a protagonist who doesn't have them.

    Austen said after writing Fanny that she was going to write a character whom nobody but herself would much like: I think most people find Emma much more likeable even though Emma does something terrible.
  • Emma has flaws so is more relatable. Fanny has feelings, but as the moral compass of the tale she isn't given many obvious flaws, unless you think it a moral flaw to be so retiring. I think Edmund as the "hero" is a more interesting character study: so easily led astray, forever putting aside his better judgement rather than his fancy for Mary Crawford.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    It seems everyone is itching to get discussing the book. Shall I post some questions with a spoiler warning in the next day or two so that if you do want to get discussing the book you can?
Sign In or Register to comment.