Mansfield Park Madness Introduction: Day 1 Give-away


Depend upon it, you see but half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.” Mrs. Grant, Mansfield Park Chapter 5  

Recently when a good friend who knows I blog about Jane Austen asked my opinion of Mansfield Park – I hesitated – dug deep – and honestly answered, not much! She was shocked. So was I!   

 Up until that point, much of what I knew about Jane Austen’s reputably most complex and mysterious novel I learned during a speed read for a college lit course, sideways chatter and postings on the MP board at The Republic of Pemberley and watching two movie adaptations; the 1999 Patricia Rozema adventure when it was released in the theaters, and the recent BBC 2007 adaptation presented by Masterpiece Classic this past January.  Embarrassingly, not much of a foundation for an Austen enthusiast, and after contrite reflection, I knew that I had not honestly given Mansfield Park a fair shake, and needed to. 

So gentle readers, here it is, all laid out at your feet (or more literally in pixels on your computer screens) over the next seventeen days, my personal journey into Mansfield Park Madness, along with 17 days of great free item give-aways. Enjoy! 

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Mansfield Park Madness: DAY 1 Give-away

Leave a comment by August 30th. to qualify for the free drawing on August 31st. for one copy of

Oxford World’s Classics Edition of Mansfield Park 

Oxford University Press (2008). The new revised edition includes a full unabridged text, an introduction by Jane Stabler and loads of great supplemental material. A nice compact medium sized edition with informative and helpful appendixes, notes, bio and chronology on the author. 

Mansfield Park Madness IconUpcoming posts
Day 2 – Aug 16:     MP novel discussion chapters 1-8
Day 3 – Aug 17:     MP 1983 movie review and discussion
Day 4 – Aug 18:     MP Naxos Audiobooks (Juliet Stevenson) 
Day 5 – Aug 19:     MP novel discussion chapters 9-16

20 thoughts on “Mansfield Park Madness Introduction: Day 1 Give-away

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  1. I have to agree, I never had as much of an opinion on mansfield park as I did of Austen’s other books. I think that while it’s well written, it’s just enough more depressing than the others that I found it harder to get into.


  2. Although I’ve read Emma and P&P around 3-4 times each, I didn’t start reading Mansfield Park until earlier this month. I’m not as hooked as when I read other Austen novels, but I hope I will like it better when I read further. (I’m on Ch. 15) I do admire Fanny Price a lot, for her pure goodness, but sometimes I just want to yell at her and tell her to stand up for herself more.


  3. I really like Mansfield Park, I really do, but if someone asked me to recommend a Jane Austen book I think that it’s the last one I would recommend. I wouldn’t call it depressing, but compared to Jane Austens other books, the characters all have fault that cannot be laughed at (except for maybe Lady Bertram). Well you have inspired me and I think that I must read Mansfield Park again now, it’s been too long.


  4. Hello Laurel Ann,
    Many thanks to you for finally giving Mansfield park its just due! I admit that MP was the last of Austen’s titles that I read a number of years ago, but I have since read it a few times (and listened to it on tape and seen the movies), and I can say that it shines more and more on each re-reading. I know that I am one of the few of my Austen friends who love this book…most find Fanny to be a milquetoast that they cannot abide. But I see her as a person who so truly knows herself that she cannot be swayed by all that goes on around her…she is stronger than any other character….it is through her that we see the shallowness of the Crawfords (though they ARE charming to have around for awhile!); the nastiness of Mrs. Norris; the kindness of Edmund; the silliness of her cousins; and she so brilliantly stands up to Sir Thomas…a scene that should redeem her completely! I think the novel fails to engage us in the same way as Austen’s other titles largely due to the love story…it seems to lack passion and interest, especially as Austen herself ties it all up so quickly that we are not quite sure how it all came about (but then she does this in all her novels…with her refusing to tell the reader anything of the lover’s conversations…!) Why the love story doesn’t seem to work in MP will I assume be one of the topics of your “Madness” event…and I look forward to hearing people’s comments. Thanks so much for opening up the conversation!…and hopefully Fanny will find some new fans!


  5. My difficulty with MP is the secondary characters. They are a bit boring or very annoying. Take Miss Crawford, she is the type we all love to hate. She would have been great in the modern soap opera world(not that I have watched those in years) We just wanted to shake Edmund and say wake up and smell the coffee(or tea) Honestly I do like the book and have read it several times. Interestingly, it grows on me more each time I read it.


  6. I stumbled upon your blog and this discussion by accident, and I am delighted! Mansfield Park is my favorite Austen novel. I know that I am in the minority there, but I find it profound, puzzling, and occasionally hysterically funny.

    I agree with Deb that Fanny is not a milquetoast. She says to Henry in Portsmouth “We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” She truly knows herself and sees others clearly, even those she loves.


  7. Mansfield Park may take me longer to read than any of Austen’s other books but I still enjoy it.
    All of my Jane Austen books are Oxford World Classics but I have not gotten any of the new editions yet.


  8. this is all very interesting. i must confess that it has been a while since i last read mansfield park and that it doesn’t stick in my memory the way the others do, so that says something. but…now i feel the need to read it again. so, job well done, you’ve convinced me to go back! i will be very interested to hear what everyone has to say about all this.


  9. I just read Mansfield Park for the first time this past spring, and it was the last one I read out of the six. If I put the six books in order from my most favorite to least favorite, Mansfield Park would be 4th or 5th. Although I can relate to Fanny’s shyness and lack of confidence a little, I still spent plenty of time wanting to tell her to defend herself, even though there were plenty of times in the past that I would have done the same.


  10. I suspect my own poor opinion of Mansfield Park comes from the fact that I couldn’t find any single instance of humour in it, and humour has always been, I believe, what sets Jane apart from the others. I’m very interested in this “Mansfield Madness” as I’m currently doing a Master’s Degree on Humour in Jane Austen and although I did not chose to study MP (that would have been quite a challenge since I can’t laugh reading it), it’s interesting to see other aspects of this novel, I’m looking forward to your posts :)


  11. Hello to all Mansfield Park Madness participants! It is great to see so many comments with personal observations, opinions and questions.

    Kristin – on MP being depressing – you are not alone. It is a much darker story for me too. It is painful to watch Fanny being abused by the Bertrams and that CAN be a downer. I have recently listened to an audio book version which added greatly to liven it up. Give it a try on audio.

    Angela – Fanny is very good, and she only gets better as the novel progresses, especially in comparision to other characters! I think that Jane Austen wants us to need to yell at her. Gently yell of course, and in a ladylike manner!

    Kira – I am gladdened that you are inspired to read the novel again. It improves with multiple readings.

    Deb – is MP a love story? Just kidding! Thanks for suggesting a topic of discussion on how the love story fails. It is an excellent one!

    Karen in Maryland – you are not alone in yours dislike of MP. It seems to stir up very strong opinions. I would give it another try, but this time read it with close attention to the secondary character Mary Crawford. SHE is not boring, ever! Austen uses her in interesting ways to set the tone and move the story along.

    Elizabeth M. – so glad you found us, and that you love MP! You are definetly in the right place and please continue to share you thoughts over the next fews weeks. Fanny needs all the help she can get.

    Jeanette – I agree with you about MP taking longer to read than other Austen novels. I am taking it slowly this time, so doublely longer! It is worth it though!

    ren – thanks for being inspired to re-read MP again. That made my day!

    Rachel – what great timing that you read MP this last spring and is still fresh. We are of course anxious for your opinions.

    Sibylle – no humour in MP? Less than JA’s others, but I do find myself LOL while listening to the audio book. Having an actor add drama and comedy through the voice is a great addition. it might liven it up for you too.

    Dina – not read it yet? Oh my! This is your chance my dear! We will be be here to answer questions and help you along!

    Cheers to all, Laurel Ann


  12. I remember I once read about 30-40 pages of Mansfield Park a few years ago before deciding to give up reading it. I guess what deter me from continue reading is the density of the novel and the heroine, Fanny Price is so unlike the heroine in other Jane Austen heroines is that she just accepts being treated like a doormat in her uncle’s house and do what she is told to do without defending herself. But I hope in this 2 weeks I will be inspired to start reading Mansfield Park again.


  13. I haven’t read it yet but it is coming up in our book club. I know I will love it. I have not been disapointed yet with any Austen books. I would love to get this book.


  14. I think it’s a shame that, in general, MP is so undervalued. I don’t blame anyone for that because it may not be as exciting as other Jane Austen novels (though I think it’s quite exciting) but still, every Jane Austen novel brings a new perspective to life, and MP’s perspective may be a little more somber but still, I think it’s very interesting. And Fanny Price may not be as free-spirited (I guess, if you can call it that) as other Jane Austen heroines, but she’s so faithful and loyal that she’s demur and different in a good way =D
    ps: MP 07 was scandalous, in my opinion. one of the only good things about it was Blake Ritson. and maaaybe the soundtrack/score. *sigh*


  15. i think of all the books, mansfield park can offer the most debate. mainly there are the people that want to like it that will argue why it is good, and the people that want to hate it that argue that it is horrible. everyone has an opinion on mansfield park. :)


  16. Hooray! I love Mansfield Park, and I would suggest it to my book club except that I know their initial reactions would be to find it boring (and even Fanny boring). I’d like to meet the person who fell in love with Mansfield within the first chapter and shake her hand – she is a better Austenite than I. I first tried to read MP way too soon after discovering Pride and Prejudice, and I was looking for another Elizabeth within the first couple of chapters. When P&P was not in there, I put it down again. But a few years later I picked it up again and discovered everything I was missing. I love every page.


  17. I was initially prepared to dislike Fanny Price, having absorbed popular descriptions of her such as “boring”, “priggish”, and “milk-sop”. While reading MP, I was pleasantly surprised how well I liked her. She was shy and reserved on the surface, but interiorly was far stronger than any other character in the book: she stayed true to her morals (against considerable pressure), knew what she wanted, and was sensible and intelligent. The person I really wanted to shake some sense into was Edmund.


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