August 22, 2010

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Title : Mansfield Park
Author : Jane Austen
Reading Dates : 12 Aug - 14 Aug 2010
Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)
From Amazon:
Dependent on the benevolence of her aristocratic relatives, young Fanny Price develops into the moral center of a family gone astray and restores the tranquility of her adoptive home. Written in the full flower of Austen's maturity, this work offers an entertaining study of the interplay between manners, education, and ethics--enlivened by an amusing cast of busybodies, never-do-wells, and social climbers.

Book Review of Mansfield Park.
I enjoyed Mansfield Park well enough but I would not recommend it to first time readers of Jane Austen books.

Mainly, this is because plot wise, nothing of much significance occurs. The story itself is just a way to demonstrate certain attributes or eccentricities of the characters. Which is why I alternated between being bored and amused as the story progressed.

The most interesting parts of the story belong to the less virtuous characters which populate it. They may not be as likeable but they are definitely more entertaining. One of my favourite characters is Fanny's thrifty and mean-spirited aunt. Mrs. Norris's attempts to appear benevolent at no cost provides some of the most amusing conversations in the book.

Another favourite is Henry Crawford. Like John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, he is a rascal but one with the luxury of not betraying his feelings for Fanny. It is for this very reason, that I remain undecided regarding the ending of Mansfield Park every time I read it, changing my mind from believing Fanny would be happier with him or with Edmund Bertram. He certainly ranks among my favourite heroes from Jane Austen's books.

Aside from that, I've also started to notice that Jane Austen tends to recycle certain plot elements. The marriage of opposites bringing discontent, the elopement of a family member as a tribulation to the main characters and the avaricious ambitions of false friends are among the most obvious. Not that it really matters to me since what I enjoy most is her descriptions of the characters and their interactions. What about you ? What do you think ?

My conclusion : Recommended reading for Jane Austen fans.

Want to ...

Which versions of Mansfield Park below have you seen ?

Mansfield Park (1999)Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield ParkMansfield Park (BBC, 1986)


  1. Love the review - and the voice that comes through. It pleasantly surprises me that you read it all in the space of two days. I imagine Austen is hard to read (because of the old English), and that's why I haven't attempted it yet. I'm also no good at "literature" reads.

    Which book of Austen's would you recommend the most?

  2. Mansfield Park isn't one of my favourites but I still love everything Austen.

    Tina - I would recommend that you start with Pride and Prejudice if you think you will have trouble, only because you probably already know the story line a bit so it might help you read it. Otherwise I would suggest Emma - its hilarious

  3. I have only read Pride and Prejudice before so I am not sure about the recycling of plots. But I have heard of these observations before.

  4. @Tina

    I agree with Becky on P&P and Emma. I just finished re-reading Emma recently too and it is a fun read. After P&P though, all other Austen books might not seem as good. :-)

  5. I recently watched the one with Frances O'Connor on YouTube! The themes were sort of dark if compared to P&P or Emma. Till now, I've only watched these three movies by Austen.


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