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May 25, 2011


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I love Mansfield Park and seem to have spent many fruitless hours trying to persuade others (students, mainly) how good it is and how much I admire Fanny for her strength in holding onto her principles when in such a disadvantaged position. Glad you liked it -- nice review!

Ah, it's not for students don't you think? It is wasted on the under 25s I have decided. However, I probably got more out of it now because it was a re-read rather than a first read. So I am glad I read it when i was 19. But even more glad that I've just read it again.

Lovely to see Mansfield Park written about, as it does seem to be the Austen which gets least attention. I've only read it once, when I was 18, and I would like to re-read it - although I'm 25, so will you let me? Am I just old enough? ;-)

I did like it the first time, although not as much as most of Austen's other novels - and I certainly didn't hate Fanny with the passion some people seem to. I love your point about active kindness in the novel. Kindness seems to be an ignored quality in modern novels - people prefer the Becky Sharp school of heroines - but I think it is an underrated quality, both in heroines and in real life.

Yes, yes, yes to your post and all the comments. Although I don't love this book nearly as much as I do Austen's others, I simply don't understand the dislike for it that so many people seem to feel. Perhaps it helps that I read it for the first and only time after turning 30? And I've been accused more than once of being a little priggish myself, so Fanny's so-called priggishness didn't come across to me as a bad thing. She just had strong principles, but always, as you say, tempered by kindness.

Simon - I think you're old enough :-). I agree there is a modern trend to admire the self-relianace of Becky Sharp, and why not, but the world would be a scary palce peopled just with Beckys. I think Fanny does a good job in her difficult circumstances and shows that goodness and kindness are attainable regardless of how powerful, or charismatic, or determined or, forceful you are. Fanny is powerless on the surface but actually has the power to do a great deal of quiet good. I also think Fanny Price is is less irritating than Amelia Sedley who is superficially her perosnility counterpart in VF. Amelia Sedley really is just weak and a wet goose in a way that Fanny never is.

Teresa - thank you! I am glad you agree. It seems strange to defend a book that is not a wholehearted favourite, but there relally is so much to enjoy and admire isn't there?

I thought Mansfield Park was okay - I prefer my Austen's with really strong heroines like in Emma and P&P that sometimes I just felt like rattling Fanny Price for her nature. But Mansfield Park is definitely a more mature novel looking at more adult themes than either of the books that I mentioned above

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