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Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Written by Jane Austen

Narrated by Juliet Stevenson


Mansfield Park

Written by Jane Austen

Narrated by Juliet Stevenson

ratings:
4/5 (134 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Released:
Nov 4, 1995
ISBN:
9789629544508
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

At the tender age of ten, Fanny Price is ‘adopted’ by her rich relations and is removed from the poverty of her home in Portsmouth to the opulence of Mansfield Park. The transplantation is not a happy one. Dependent, neglected and forgotten, Fanny struggles to come to terms with her new life until, tested almost to the limits of endurance, she assumes her rightful role.
Released:
Nov 4, 1995
ISBN:
9789629544508
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Devoney Looser is Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar. She is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Making of Jane Austen, and the editor of the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Sense and Sensibility. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, Salon, Times Literary Supplement, and Entertainment Weekly.

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Reviews

What people think about Mansfield Park

3.9
134 ratings / 167 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Delightful
  • (3/5)
    As with the Northanger Abbey, Austen’s writing and humor are all that stands between this book and a two star review. Our heroine, Fanny, is the perfect shy, obedient young woman and for that reason alone, it seems we are supposed to prefer her to Miss Crawford, her competition for Edmund’s heart. Although Miss Crawford can be superficial and even cruel, it seems her main flaw is not behaving as women were expected to behave at the time. As a modern reader, I sometimes found her more sympathetic than Fanny. Likewise, Fanny’s alternate love interest seemed a better match for her than Edmund in manys, starting with the fact that Edmund is her cousin and is sometimes very thoughtless of her feelings. My lack of enthusiasm for Austen’s romantic pairings was offset by my dislike of one particularly nasty character and my enjoyment at seeing her thwarted. That was second only my to my enjoyment at seeing the nastier characters made fun of with Austen’s characteristic wit. Overall, this book was very slow and I felt little interest in the outcome. Again, enjoyable only if you love Austen’s writing.

    This review first published on Doing Dewey.
  • (4/5)
    Some small spoilers lie below. As it turns out, I have never read (or listened to) Mansfield Park before, and somehow managed to know nothing about the characters or story – I don't know how I managed to remain completely unspoiled, but it was unexpected, and fun. The narration by Karen Savage lives up to the high standard she set with Persuasion: I like her work, very much. She creates a wide array of both male and female character voices which generally avoid being the least cartoonish but still manage to each be distinct and identifiable: the tone a little lighter and gentler than the narration is Fanny; Lady Bertram is breathy and indifferent; the slightly deeper, measured voice is Edmund; the pompous-sounding deeper voice is Tom. Mansfield is a leisurely tale following the Bertram family and its Price transplant through marital negotiations and trips to the country and financial threats no one seems to grasp the true dangers of. If the Antigua estates really had failed or been lost, it seems there would have been drastic repercussions; also, an ocean voyage in the 1800's was never anything to take lightly, much less travel in the third world. There was a strong underlying tone of menace to the Messrs. Bertram while they were away, but the at-home family seemed to continue perfectly sanguine. Except for Fanny, who is as gifted at Worrying as my mother, and that's pretty extraordinarily gifted. Fanny. Oh, Fanny. She's just so … nice. She's so nice I want to throw an expletival qualifier in there, and I can't; this is Jane Austen I'm talking about. She's timid and fragile and sweet, and obliging and not as delicate as she seems, and sweet. And meek, and … when I right-click on "meek", Word gives me synonyms: humble, submissive, gentle, docile, modest, compliant, and mild. And sweet. Far from a backbone, there isn't a vertebra in the girl's entire body. Her entire skeletal system seems to be made of cartilage. Jane Bennet is sweet and modest and docile too, but by golly she can stand up for herself or someone she loves if need be. I think in a confrontation Fanny might simply cry, and then faint. Not a character much admired in this day and age. But she's so sweet. I saw someone's Goodreads status update for P&P commenting on how much he appreciated the writing and the characters, but he was on such and such page and … nothing … was … happening. I have never found that with P&P. Mansfield Park, however … oh my. Fanny comes to Mansfield … nothing … Mr. Bertram and Tom go away … nothing … the Crawfords move in … nothing … Tom comes back … protracted space of nothing … Lovers' Vows and things happen for a few chapters and then Mr. Bertram comes home and everything comes to a screeching halt and … nothing … That, combined with the extreme meekness of Fanny, makes for a surprisingly leisurely and … well, dull story. For the most part we share no one's thoughts but Fanny's, and hers are so very athletically self-effacing and charitable – even to Mrs. Norris, one of the people least deserving of charity in this novel, if not ever – that events are not exactly moved along. It's a jolt when, briefly and rarely, we are made privy to conversations between Mary and Henry Crawford, laced with languorous malice.Perhaps the purpose of this day-to-day gentle unfolding of story is to focus the reader on the small things that do happen. In a modern setting, the concerns which beset Fanny would be almost nothing. Certainly the drama surrounding the play would be non-existent; it would trouble no one that a group of upper class young folk would do an amateur play, even if it was a bit racy. But given the placid pond that rock dropped into, there is a very real tension and concern about the morality of it all. And perhaps the intent in making Fanny so stunningly selfless was to make it so very ironic when Mr. Bertram berates her for selfishness. Her reasons for doing what she does are partly selfish, but only a very small part; she can't explain without telling him things he doesn't want to know, which she would consider a betrayal of others. From that moment on Fanny's life becomes a nightmare. The wrong interpretation is put on her actions, and every word she says to Edmund or her uncle is contradicted or ignored. Every. Single. Word. "I don't believe I can love him." "Certainly you can." "We are so very different." "No you're not." "I don't want to talk to you." "You say that, but what exactly do you mean? Tell me!""I don't want to talk about it." "Well, we must, and I must tell your aunts. Oh, and your cousin. His sister and their entire staff already knows. We won't talk to you about it if you wish, not above two or three times. A day.""I will never marry him!" "I wonder what we should give you as a wedding present …""No!" "You mean maybe!" It's horrifying. And, again, I've been there. You can say anything, and you might as well be speaking Aramaic from the response. Poor Fanny. My GR status update from Chapter 35: I'm 73% done with Mansfield Park: In the midst of Ch. 35; I don't know how this story ends. I've seen spoilers both ways: that she marries Edmund, and that she doesn't. And right now I can honestly say that if she marries him I ... shall be most provoked. I want to shoot him in this chapter. (Which makes a change from wanting to shake Fanny.)Oh well. A bit more is on my blog.
  • (5/5)
    This girl does have a way with words.. Once you leave the 21st century and relax into the flow of of Fanny Price's world you are treated to a subtle and insightful view of the lives of the "rich and famous" albiet 200 years ago. Certainly not a fast paced story but the characters are interesting (if not always liked) and the good guys win.
  • (4/5)
    A master storyteller at the height of her powers with Mansfield Park the superior textual quality of Austen's writing and her skill at distilling what possesses the heart & mind of each of her characters whilst exploring societal issues of the era alongside gracefully set out background is apparent on every page.My one reservation is this particular publication's really AWFUL Cover!
  • (4/5)
    Nine-year-old Fanny Price is sent to live with more well off relatives. The book follows Fanny and her family over the next ten or so years. The plot is limited but the characters are rich - Fanny, her aunts and uncle, four cousins and a couple of neighbors are described and developed in full detail. Compared to some of Austen's other characters, Fanny is quite timid and frail. She has a champion in her cousin Edward, who looks out for her in many situations. Some have said this book is too subtle. I found it to be more direct than Pride and Prejudice. In spots it takes on an almost preachy tone, and all the preaching is done by speech of the various characters. Mansfield Park is a slow read, and wasn't a page turner for me. That said, Austen's reflections on human nature and the human experience are just as valid today as they were 200 years ago. Austen is quite the idealist, but not in a bad way. People do influence each other, for good or ill, and character counts, then and now.
  • (2/5)
    While I admire Jane Austen’s eloquent language, a gripping plot is not in evidence here. I didn’t expect fast-paced excitement, but did hope for something deeper.Although I found the heroine of the piece endearing, she’s too placid and timid to add any sparkle to the tale.My attention was held by various interesting scenes, and because of these I intended to rate the book three stars, until I read the last chapter. Without giving anything away, this is among the poorest closing chapters I’ve read by any author. Not because of what happens, but because of how the final events are presented. Nothing is dramatized. The third-person narrator *tells* us what happened, so we don’t get to *see* any of it.
  • (5/5)
    Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park has been on my bookshelves for years and I took it away on holiday thinking I might get round to reading it at last. A couple of novels later and I started in on Austen’s longest book and found that I could hardly put it down. A beach read, it is not as it presents problems for the modern reader that must be overcome, before enjoyment completely takes hold, but when it does it provides an immensely satisfying read. Banyuls-sur-Mere is a pretty little town on the French Mediterranean coast and one that I love to visit, but this trip will be remembered for the time I spent on the balcony of my holiday apartment clutching my copy of Mansfield Park. I had no internet connection and so there were no distractions, but this meant also that I could not google for background information and so this first reading was very much a first impression. I have read other novels by Jane Austen and so it was not a complete leap in the dark, but it did lead me to think of issues that modern readers might face, when approaching this book for the first time. Austen’s sentence structure and syntax can be a little confusing, especially when she is reporting conversation. It is not always easy to understand who is saying what to whom: she also writes the occasional word in a paragraph in italics which I presume is for emphasis, but this style is not much used today. An omniscient author writes the first three chapters and by this time Fanny Price (the heroine) is approaching seventeen; most of the subsequent events are seen through her eyes, however Austen does add her own commentary from time to time and the reader has to be aware whether the views expressed are authorial or those which Fanny might be saying or thinking.The novel was published in 1814 at a time when Europe was still engaged in the Napoleonic wars, the French revolution was still very much in the minds of many educated people and Austen’s novel reads for the most part like a celebration of English traditions and manners. It is almost as though the industrial revolution had not yet taken place as the novel is firmly situated amongst the genteel rich patrons of the English countryside. The class system is firmly in place and in Austen’s characters views, everybody should know their place and more importantly for the most part keep to it; rights according to birth are sacrosanct. It is a novel that looks backwards to a golden age rather than forward to a changing society, respect for ones betters according to birthright is the accepted norm.In Austen’s world family and property defines who you are and people are judged by their manners, politeness and how well they do by their family. The family grows rich together and marriages are seen as a means of enhancing a family’s connections: arrangements are made and while suitability is a consideration; love is something that may develop in time, but is mostly accepted as not being prerequisite for an ideal marriage. Feminism has no place in this society and although readers might be encouraged to admire the resolve of female characters, they will find them castigated if they stray too far from accepted family values.The profession of clergymen was still at this time the most likely avenue for the second son of a well to do family. In Mansfield Park the first son (Tom) will inherit everything and so it is Edmund who will follow the traditional career path as the second son. For Edmund being a clergyman is a vocation. He sees it as a unifying force within his community and he will do his best to succeed in guiding his flock for the betterment of mankind, prayers, sermons and preaching are essential requisites for the community. Edmund is the steady hand of tradition in his family and the son most admired. Throughout the novel there is resistance to change. The fashion for landscape gardens advocated by Henry Crawford is a step to far for Edmund. Sir Thomas Bertram head of the family is an authoritarian figure who immediately puts a stop to a theatrical event at his house. Fanny Price the adopted daughter of the Bertram household is perhaps the most resistant of all to change and it is she as the central character that seems to pose the most problems for readers. She is non-assertive, meek, mild and an upholder of family values. She seems always to put other people first and suffers in silence as a result. But this novel is essentially a bildungsroman and Fanny Price’s development as a person becomes a shinning example to some of those around her; Edmund, Tom, her brother William, Sir Thomas himself are all affected by her good heart, her respectability and finally an inner strength. She is the embodiment of all that a woman should be to fit into this patriarchal society and this in depth study demonstrates the qualities and strengths needed to uphold the values in which she instinctively believes.The raison d’être for the novel is of course a romance. The Bertram family have two sons and two daughters of marriageable age. Maria Bertram the beauty of the family marries for money and position, with the wholehearted support of the family, her sister Julia tries to make her own opportunities. Edmund falls in love with Miss Mary Crawford a society woman of independent means, but she does not wish to marry a clergyman. The central love story is Mary’s brother the forward looking wealthy Henry Crawford who falls in love with Fanny after a dalliance with the two Bertram sisters. A match that would seem to be a superb opportunity for an adopted daughter with few prospects. Fanny against all advice rejects Henry, she finds him fascinating, with some good qualities, but she does not love him and most seriously of all she cannot trust him. The third part of the novel is Henry’s continued pursuit of Fanny; a suit that causes her grief and pain. Austen takes her readers into the world of Regency splendour. The culture and manners of that society are brilliantly evoked. There are some amazing set pieces; the amateur production of the play Lovers Vows, Fanny’s first trip out with her new family to Sotherton, her coming out ball and her banishment back to her working class family in Portsmouth. At the centre of everything is Fanny Price’s world and inner world views. It is steady, respectable, dutiful and gracious, which makes her at times seem almost an anti-heroine, she is physically weak and lacks assertiveness, but her strength is her firm belief in tradition and family values.To appreciate this novel fully one must not judge Mansfield Park by modern standards or by equality of opportunity. It is a different world brought richly to life and full of characters whose human frailties can be ameliorated by a central character; a virtuous woman working away quietly amongst them. The story is a good one, once the reader gets used to the writing style and has got further into the novel than the story setting it becomes a page turner. So much to enjoy, a fabulous reading experience and five stars.
  • (3/5)
    "Here's harmony!" said she; "here's repose! Here's what may leave all painting and all music behind, and what poetry only can attempt to describe! Here's what may tranquilize every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene."In “Mansfield Park” by Jane AustenMany eons ago I was reading Austen's "Mansfield Park" in high school when the leader of a group of teenagers commented on the "puff with the specs reading girlie books." I paid him no mind at that particular moment. I waited till I could catch him alone in the playground without his bunch of cronies around him. I asked him then if he'd care to repeat what he'd said before. He said he didn't. The old adage you can't judge a book by its cover surely applies to the title as well. What's next? Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" should only appeal to paedophiles? "Animal Farm" to sheep-shaggers (or more accurately pig-shaggers). Such immature, hating comments belong in the 1970s.My favourite books? "Jane Eyre", "Madame Bovary" and "Sister Wendy's Book of Saints" are in my top 100. And, yes, I am male. And yes, I would happily walk into a crowded bookshop and order the aforementioned books without feeling emasculated. Personally I am not sure the supposed "girly" title of a book has ever made me sneak up to the counter ashamedly to buy the book, nor has an overtly "mannish" title made be puff out my chest and slam in down on the counter. It seems a long time ago now since such base gender divisions have mattered. With the rise of the metro-sexual, moisturising cream and Russell Brand dictating what half of London wears, I just can't think that a lot of modern men would be concerned by a title such as "Persuasion", or "Emma". Not enough to not consider reading past the title and at least having a glance at the back cover anyhow. If I think back, I was never embarrassed to read a "girly" title on the tube and they were the formative years of my teens. However, at the time, I also had long hair, Doc Martens and listened to Queensrÿche. I am man. I eat meat, sleep and breed. I don't like pink and I don't like art galleries. I like football. - We don't all think like this, just a few men but don't worry these men don't read books, they read glossy magazines at the dentist. So next time someone grunts when you offer him two titles, don't entertain his masculinity - he'll only like that. Instead point him to the magazine rack. There'll he can read Zoo to his hearts content.To see Jane Austen's novel as romantic rubbish is pretty short-sighted. On the surface some readers may be right but what she really was writing about was the society she lived in and how it worked. It's a depiction of her reality and in many instances, and it's also critique of that world. Not in your face but most her novels have a strong ironic tone. She wrote novels of behaviour and about society in the early 1800s. People misunderstand her books because she paints on such a small canvas. It's like comparing a jewelled miniature by Nicholas Hilliard to a huge Titian canvas, full of life and swagger. The small scale makes it easy to overlook things or to misunderstand them, but in fact there's an awful lot more going on in an Austen book than meets the casual eye. I like Fanny Price, although she's not a character I'd like to have a cuppa with but a great one to read about. I always admired her for refusing Henry Crawford without spilling the beans. Fanny Price is not "prim". Repressed and dutiful certainly. There is a different word beginning with "p" that describes her to a tee: petrified. She knows she isn't a full member of the family, hence her repression and dutifulness, and at all times feels and is made to feel that she could be dismissed back to her parents' over full house at a moments notice. That is why I believe she opposes and is expected to oppose the staging of the play while her uncle is away. In a sense she has been trained to be the guardian, governess and companion but never the full complete member of the household. Emma, though is a prize cow, a big fish in a little pond and I always skip her in my annual Jane Austen re-read.NB: I like football. But I'm a rugger at heart.
  • (5/5)
    (Contain spoilers.) I firmly believe no librarian ever read Mansfield Park, otherwise Lord Bertram’s burning all the copies of Lover’s Vows he found would have banished it from libraries! (Chuckle) This book has all Miss Austin’s talented penmanship, but very little—or nothing, rather—of the comic situations I found in Pride and Prejudice and most especially in Emma. This is a deeper, more serious novel, highly moralizing, with lots of inner thoughts and questionings, which sometimes might get a bit long to the modern reader unused to this kind of literature. Through this book—as in all her others—she makes very clear what she expected (not only society), that “girls should be quiet and modest” and “perfectly feminine.” She condemned, on people in general, the “want of that higher species of self-command, that just consideration of others.” In the story 10 year-old Fanny Price, goes to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Bertram, in their beautiful and tranquil estate of Mansfield Park. There she meets four cousins, two girls and two boys, of which, second son, the mature and highly honorable Edmund, becomes her ideal since the beginning. (Edmund was not a priest, but was ordained a couple of chapters before the end of the book.) The story evolves through ups and downs, lots of misunderstandings, to culminate in a happy ending. Unlike what is portrayed in movies inspired by Mansfield Park, Fanny is not treated unkindly, nor relegated to a dungeon-like room. Her sleeping quarters were a “little white attic” with connection to the old “school-room” which contained her plants, her books—of which she had been a collector from the first hour of her commanding a shilling—her writing desk, and her works of charity.” The lack of fire in that room was due to her Aunt Norris constant meddling and a shocked Lord Bertrand belatedly corrects this injurious situation. British society was then divided into classes and Fanny, while enjoying much of the benefits of living with the family, belonged to a very poor branch—hence the differed treatment she received. “If tenderness could be ever supposed wanting, good sense and good breeding supplied its place,” Jane Austen writes about the Bertrand family in relation to Fanny. Miss Austen’s high moral standards permeate the entire book, it is full of Fanny’s eagerness to do what is right and proper, to think good thoughts and do good deeds. Good and evil were clearly discerned and exposed in the situations Austen weaves; the elopement of a married woman with a bachelor is to her a “sin of the first magnitude.” I feel sure Jane Austen, whose heroines were invariably highly principled, moral young women, would have been devastated had she a chance to see the state of today’s youth, particularly of girls. I only wish young women would read more of this kind of literature instead of the filth available now in all American libraries.
  • (3/5)
    Historisch de meest interessante roman van Austen, met diverse dimensies.Zeker niet zo geconcentreerd, zo scherp en zo witty als P&P, maar toch verdienstelijk op zich. Wel teleurstellend slot, veel te doorzichtig happy end.De roman leent zich tot antropologische studie van de Britse society, begin XIXZeer beschrijvende roman, vooral in het begin (veel te lange aanloop), weinig dialogen en nauwelijks of geen witFanny is wel een van de zuiverste karakters uit de wereldliteratuur: ze heeft een natuurlijk aanvoelen voor wat menselijk scheef zit, maar houdt zich tegelijk volledig op de achtergrond; zelfs haar structurele vernedering door de Bertrams (ze heeft geen vuur op haar kamer), deert haar niet; een echte Assepoester dus!In essentie een moraal studie.
  • (5/5)
    I adored Mansfield Park! Yes -- the story gets off to a slow start, but you will reap an abundance of rewards in return for your patience. The book is downright funny at times. Mrs. Norris amuses as a stuffy, obsequious, and presumptuous busy-body, and Austen does a great job painting lazy Lady Bertram. Whatever did Sir Thomas see in her? In her usual understated manner, the author allows us to witness how Edmond and Fanny grow and become more self-aware and complete people. Austen brings to life the day-to-day emotional hyper-emotional drama of a small, closed society of early 18C Britain. From a modern perspective, it's fascinating to bring the author's account of those times to the mind's eye and contemplate how people endured it without repeatedly slitting their throats.
  • (4/5)
    I first read this book when I was 14 - it was the second Jane Austen book I read after Pride and Prejudice, which I loved. However, I found Mansfield Park dull and lacking the humour of Pride and Prejudice, and I didn't manage to finish it.I have read it again recently and this time I found that I enjoyed it. It's true that Fanny Price is not very interesting as a main character, but the book is still worth reading, particularly if you're a fan of Austen's other works.
  • (3/5)
    I almost didn't finish. Volumes 2 and 3 got more interesting. The narrative has a very slow build, lots of exposition about being a clergyman and landscaping and Fanny and Edmund having long talks about whatever. Lots of unneeded description about how Fanny is thinking or feeling or entire paragraphs basically telling the reader that Lady Bertram does nothing all day but sit on a sofa with her dog. And the play! Going on and on about wheter to do a play and which play and who was to do what parts and Fanny not wanting to participate in the fun. Not much action. I think the subtly of Fanny and the characterization is difficult for modern readers. We can't imagine a time where the residents of Mansfield Park have servants to do menial tasks yet manage to do nothing all day long while dressed up in fancy clothes! Boring. Fanny is quiet and passive. The dramatic tension at the end where you come down to who will marry who is more interesting. Austen writes with too much understatement and if you are not trained you miss it. For instance, I almost missed how awful Mrs Norris is and how lazy and indifferent Lady Bertram is. Fanny herself will certainly not point out any faults in her "dear" aunts. Yes, the reader admires Fanny for her virtue and the fact that she saw that Henry Crawford was a fake before everyone else and that she grows to love Mansfield and she would not marry for simply marrying or for money, and you are happy that she is patient and kind and Edmund realizes how she is perfect for him and they live happily ever after at Mansfield Park. But that does not redeem the novel, it should of been 200 pages. I would not recommend this book unless you are an Austen fan already, stick with pride and prejudice or sense and sensibility which have faster narratives, less pages and more interesting heroines
  • (3/5)
    Historisch de meest interessante roman van Austen, met diverse dimensies.Zeker niet zo geconcentreerd, zo scherp en zo witty als P&P, maar toch verdienstelijk op zich. Wel teleurstellend slot, veel te doorzichtig happy end.De roman leent zich tot antropologische studie van de Britse society, begin XIXZeer beschrijvende roman, vooral in het begin (veel te lange aanloop), weinig dialogen en nauwelijks of geen witFanny is wel een van de zuiverste karakters uit de wereldliteratuur: ze heeft een natuurlijk aanvoelen voor wat menselijk scheef zit, maar houdt zich tegelijk volledig op de achtergrond; zelfs haar structurele vernedering door de Bertrams (ze heeft geen vuur op haar kamer), deert haar niet; een echte Assepoester dus!In essentie een moraal studie.
  • (4/5)
    Poor Fanny Price! Jane really puts her through the mill in this book! But I guess "all's well that ends well." ;)IMO, there were lots of details about everyone's feelings, conversations, and correspondence through the first 47 chapters. Then, it seemed to me like, Jane just got tired and decided to sum up the story in one final chapter. And "Bob's your uncle" the book's finished! Oh well, I enjoyed it overall. A traditional Jane Austen novel :)Also, I listened on my LibriVox app and the reader, Karen Savage, did a fantastic job!
  • (4/5)
    It was a little slow to get into.I found Edmund a bit of a prig.But I enjoyed it.
  • (4/5)
    This Jane Austen novel tends to be talked of rather less than some of the others. I enjoyed it though it took me nine days to get through, as it's a slow burn novel, lacking a strong narrative drive. The heroine, Fanny Price, is the eldest daughter of one of three sisters (the poor one, who was deemed to have married beneath her, and who isn't given the dignity of having a first name here) At the age of ten Fanny is sent to live with her aunt, another sister Maria who married an MP, Sir Thomas Bertram, and who live on the eponymous estate in Northamptonshire. The Bertrams have two sons, Tom and Edmund, and two daughters, Maria and Julia; and the third sister, Frances Norris, is also around, especially after the death of her clergyman husband. The novel is essentially about the relationships between these people, and a brother and sister who arrive on the scene, Henry and Mary Crawford. There are the usual sharp Austen observations about social situations and class pretentiousness, and some passages of great humour, especially over their private theatricals, putting on a performance for their own amusement of a real life bawdy play, Lovers' Vows (which sounds great fun and which I've downloaded). Fanny rejects a marriage proposal from Henry Crawford, which seems to echo Austen's rejection of the only such proposal she received, when she initially accepted the offer and then changed her mind after sleeping on it. Fanny is unhappy at Mansfield Park, but then when she returns to the family home in Portsmouth, she rejects the chaos there and starts to long to return to the estate. The last part of the novel contains two elopements and a resetting of a number of the relationships between the characters, plus a happy ending for Fanny. Fanny is a less interesting character than other heroines of Austen's novels, and comes across sometimes as a bit annoyingly priggish, but the reader basically sympathises with her predicament living with the eclectic bunch of self-centred characters that largely comprise the Mansfield Park household.
  • (4/5)
    favorite austen novel
  • (4/5)
    My favorite Austen book. I know I am in the minority for disliking Mr. Darcy and Lizzy and liking Fanny and Edmund, but having re-read both I still stand by my opinion.
  • (2/5)
    Another Austen romance.Fanny Price, about age 9, is "invited" to live with her Bertram cousins--her parents have too many kids in too small a space in the city of Portsmouth. Her mother married down. Her oldest sister married up, to a Bertram, and lives at Mansfield Park. Her other sister, Mrs Norris, now widowed, married laterally to a minister, and now lives within walking distance of the Bertrams. It is Mrs Norris' idea that the Bertram's should offer to house one of the sister's daughters.Mrs Norris makes sure Fanny knows her place. She is expected to stay home and help Aunt Bertram, who is the most mild and boring woman ever. Mrs Norris is the cruel aunt, and constantly reminds Fanny of her position. She is more helper than cousin.And this goes on for years. As they age, their relationships shift, though Mrs Norris always blames Fanny and thinks she doesn't deserve anything. The Bertram family has a bit of an implosion, with illness, elopement, running off, and unrequited love. Because of course, this is a romance.And in the end, exactly what I expected to happen happened. Because it's a romance!
  • (4/5)
    One of the lesser known novels by Jane Austen. The film made in 1999 was very poor and gives a false impression of Fanny Price's character and of the main action of the book. Anyone who has ever had an interfering or overbearing relative will appreciate the delineation of Aunt Norris. Anyone who has a weak, vacillating, self-indulgent friend or relative will appreciate the delineation of Aunt Bertram. This edition includes the text of the play, Lover's Vows, which became a bone of contention during an extended house party, as well as footnote, illustrations and an essay about the difficulties of travel by coach during this period.
  • (4/5)
    Fanny is definitely my favourite Austen woman...we'll definitely top 3. This book meant more to me this time around than any previous time if read it. As always Austen seems to go on about parts that truly do not add to the story and sometimes a lackluster ending ensues. I adore this novel but I am not immune to the facts that it's not always the strongest. Also Ed took his sweet time and I'll admit it wasn't as glamorous a admittance of love as some of other Austen's leading men
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely my favorite of all the Jane Austens. Her sense of characterization really has come a long way by this book!
  • (3/5)
    Austen knows her relational psychology, but I found this book less compelling because the characters are so static. Fanny is wholesome and moral and she is always wholesome and moral; she doesn't change and she is rewarded for staying the same. I get that moralizing this way was popular and right at the time, but it isn't interesting to read about.
  • (3/5)
    Yes its brilliantly written and for its time I guess it was a masterpiece. But I base my reviews on my enjoyment of a book, not on its brilliance as literature. I was bored and didn't find myself caring about anyone at all. Mrs Norris had some great lines, but that is it for my enjoyment of the novel (and she was a nasty piece of work) Fanny Price is one of the most dull characters of all time and I wanted to smack her for her lack of spirit. Feel free to say all unpleasant things about my lack of intelligence, it won't bother me at all. Her use of the english language is utterly brilliant and she really had a knack for human understanding but this tale will not stay with me.
  • (4/5)
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. If I had more leisure time to read, it would have been more enjoyable. It, or the language I should say, is quite florid. It was pretty language but a bit much at times. I'm no writer but I believe I oculd have said in 2 or 3 pages what Jane Austen said in 6...though not as beautifully of course.I'm glad I read it though. Fanny Price and Edmond Bertram are great examples of what a human being should be. Everybody else just needs a good spanking!...okay except of course for William and Susan.
  • (4/5)
    Fanny Price realizes that if she just does nothing for long enough, all her dreams will eventually come true.I'm working my way through Austen's novels. This is the next-to-last I have to read, and I really enjoyed it. It was a mature, multi-layered story that completely drew me in. While I can't say that I particularly liked any of the characters, I really felt like I got to know them well, as people. There was no perfect man, no Mr. Knightley or Mr. Darcy to swoon over. These were more like real people, warts and all, many of them growing up quite painfully. Along with Persuasion, Mansfield Park struck me as a one of Austen's more psychological novels. Oh yes, it's also funny, and cutting, and there are some shocking bits toward the end. A rewarding read.Listened to on audiobook in 2015.
  • (4/5)
    It's one of my favourite Austen novels - a gentle romance with some lovely ironic humour in some of the caricatured minor characters.

    As with most of Austen's books it's a character-driven village-style novel that revolves around the main characters and their closest friends, but unlike the rather dreary 'Emma', which I read a few months ago, 'Mansfield Park' is light, reasonably fast-pace (by Austen's standards, anyway!) and has a fair amount of action.

    Long-winded in places, admittedly, but on the whole very enjoyable. My Pan Classics version did have some useful notes about language and customs of the day, as well as the plot spoilers which I didn't read until I had finished the book - and was very glad that I was able to avoid them since there were some surprises and clever twists before the - inevitably satisfactory - ending.
  • (4/5)
    Mansfield Park tells the story of Fanny Price, a poor relation of the Bertram family, who was brought to live with them when she was ten as an act of charity. Fanny is an odd heroine for a novel by Jane Austen. She lacks spark. Which is no wonder given that she was removed from her home while young, dumped into a strange environment and largely ignored. Her Aunt Norris is one of the worst characters ever put down on paper; all of the evil stepmothers of fairy tale fame would do well to take lessons from her. She makes certain that shy, insecure Fanny will only become more withdrawn and hesitant as she grows up and that the Bertram family will not forget to treat her as an unwelcome charity case. And that is the strength of this novel. Along with the amazing aunt Norris, Austen has created a whole host of wonderful characters and breathed life into them. From the dull idiot Mr. Rushworth, who is so taken by being given a role in the play the young people decide to put on that involves him learning forty-two speeches (which he is then unable to learn), to Lady Bertram, who approaches a sedentary lifestyle with the dedication of an Olympic hopeful; each character is so interesting in their own right that I wanted several times in this book for Austen to have written other novels following each of them. Fanny is such an interesting character. She's been systematically berated and ignored until by the age of eighteen she is anxious in any situation where attention might be paid to her, but also resentful when it isn't. She's been ordered to be grateful for substandard treatment so often that she rarely speaks and when she does it's often in an Eeyore-ish passive aggressive way, not that it does her any good. Unless her cousin Edmund happens to be listening, her wishes are entirely disregarded. And so she sits, largely silent, with years of pent-up judgements and opinions inside of her. She's not an easy character to like, although Austen makes clear that while she is silently thinking the worst of the people around her, the face she shows is so quiet and unassuming, that people attribute great kindness to her. It helps that being so shy makes her a very good listener to all the narcissists that surround her, and that she is very pretty. Her improved looks are noticed first by her uncle who, after having spent some months away in Antigua, at the sugar plantation that provides the Bertram family their wealth, begins to talk about her and to her quite a bit, she now being worthy of his notice. It's all a little skeevy, and Fanny, quite rightly, remains terrified of him.This being Austen, there is a question of the central characters, here Fanny Price and her cousin Edmund, finding spouses. Edmund, a solemn man, plans to enter the clergy and live a rural life, is simultaneously entranced and repulsed by Mary Crawford, who is light, quick-witted and bubbly. She tends to say any witty thing that pops into her head and she often shocks and insults Edmund inadvertently. Of course they can't leave each other alone, and they are each constantly reassessing whether they could be happy together. Then there's her brother Henry, who begins the novel as a flirt who is always looking for new ways to entertain himself and others. He determines to pay court to Fanny as a way of passing the time after all the other eligible young ladies have left the neighborhood, making a contest to himself of winning her affection. Instead, he falls in love while Fanny remains hostile to his advances. His admiration for her causes him to renounce his rakehell ways. Unfortunately, Fanny bore witness to his worst behavior and is disinclined to give his reformation any credit. She attempts to get rid of him several times, but between her inability to speak clearly enough for him to understand and his own determination to win her no matter how long it takes, they are often in each other's company. We all know how things should turn out -- with a double wedding at the local chapel in the best Austen style, but she throws a curve ball in Mansfield Park, refusing, in the end, to satisfy the reader. And this is where I ran into a problem with this book; I wanted a different ending. I knew what would happen. I'd read the book before. But until the final chapters, I was hoping for it.