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Old 08-21-2012, 08:30 AM   #16
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That sounds like a very interesting essay - I must try and find it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:25 AM   #17
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It's one of the best I've read. Tanner is a complete fan of Mansfield Park considering it one of the most profound novels of the 19th century. The easiest way to find it is to get a library copy of the Penguin edition of the novel. It is in both the original pb and the Penguin Classics pb.
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:48 PM   #18
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Thank you very much, fantasyfan.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:43 PM   #19
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Thank you very much, fantasyfan.
You're very welcome.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:31 PM   #20
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I often have little questions like this while reading but I wonder if anyone will answer this one:

In the first part of the book, around the first fourth or so, it is mentioned that, though Edmund is bound for the church, and soon, that somehow Tom's carelessness and extravagance have prevented Edmund from taking a better church position and that Edmund must wait a bit now to take a position, and that the father is cross because of it but cannot do anything.

I thought in the reading I may eventually understand it but still don't as the point seems dropped. I'm midway through now, and Edmund is about to leave to become ordained and will then set up in Thornton Lacey and it seems the position will be, if not great, nice and well off enough for someone in the church, and there's no other mention of this being his second-best church option but rather is insinuated as his only real church option.

So what I wonder is what position was Edmund unable to take because of his brother and why. What I don't understand is how it was prevented. Because it was said earlier that Edmund should take a position sooner to make money sooner and help out the family. But then at this point it's said that he can't take a position presumable because of a shortage of money in the family. So it's contradictory.

Was it the parsonage at Mansfield? It mentions that Sir Thomas could've installed an old friend to temporarily occupy it until Edmund is ready, but then instead they give it to Dr. Grant who seems ready to stay for a long while.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:23 PM   #21
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I often have little questions like this while reading but I wonder if anyone will answer this one:

In the first part of the book, around the first fourth or so, it is mentioned that, though Edmund is bound for the church, and soon, that somehow Tom's carelessness and extravagance have prevented Edmund from taking a better church position and that Edmund must wait a bit now to take a position, and that the father is cross because of it but cannot do anything.

I thought in the reading I may eventually understand it but still don't as the point seems dropped. I'm midway through now, and Edmund is about to leave to become ordained and will then set up in Thornton Lacey and it seems the position will be, if not great, nice and well off enough for someone in the church, and there's no other mention of this being his second-best church option but rather is insinuated as his only real church option.

So what I wonder is what position was Edmund unable to take because of his brother and why. What I don't understand is how it was prevented. Because it was said earlier that Edmund should take a position sooner to make money sooner and help out the family. But then at this point it's said that he can't take a position presumable because of a shortage of money in the family. So it's contradictory.

Was it the parsonage at Mansfield? It mentions that Sir Thomas could've installed an old friend to temporarily occupy it until Edmund is ready, but then instead they give it to Dr. Grant who seems ready to stay for a long while.
Clergymen then could hold more than one living--called "pluralism", and thus boost their income--it was contentious at the time. Rev. Norris held the Mansfield living and the family had another as well that was being kept in reserve for Edmund's ordination. But Tom has been so profligate that the Mansfield living had been sold to Dr Grant to help pay Tom's bills. Dr Grant will now hold it and receive its revenues for his lifetime--after which it reverts back to the family--and possibly--but not necessarily-- to Edmund. The other living is actually being held temporarily until Edmund is ordained. Edmund, however, because he takes his religious vocation seriously, intends to live in the Thornton Lacey Parish and minister to it. The Mansfield living is obviously not going to be a factor in his life for quite a while {if at all}.

One more thing--Dr Grant and Mrs Norris dislike each other because, as we will see in Chapter 6, Rev Norris did not keep the parsonage in good repair and Dr Grant was able to claim "Dilapidations", a discount against repairs he was required to make.

I hope that clears up the point.

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:44 PM   #22
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Yes, thank you. What I was missing was that the parsonage could be sold for money. I thought it was just given to Dr. Grant, as, pertaining to Middlemarch,
Spoiler:
Mr. Farebrother was given the Lowick parsonage by Dorothea. Now I wonder if the positions taken by Grant and Farebrother were similar, and if so, if it were more customary to sell or to give these positions.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:48 AM   #23
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The Living was very much in the hands of the landlord. S/he could choose anyone at all as long as he was ordained in The Church of England. This is why a younger son of a wealthy landed family usually considered the Church as a career. The Landlord had a considerable clout if the Living was awarded to someone like Mr Collins because it was possible to manipulate the amount the Clergyman received from Tithes, donations, etc.

If the Living were sold then the Cleric had far more independence--but even in this case--as in Mansfield Park--it went back to the family upon the death of the incumbent.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:10 AM   #24
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Thanks for this, fantasyfan. I had missed the subtle reference to dilapidations in Chapter 6.

On a much more frivolous note, when I came to the section where Fanny goes to her family in Portsmouth, the reference to all the racket in the house which she found very hard to cope with:

"Mrs Price, Rebecca, and Betsey, all went up to defend themselves, all talking together, but Rebecca loudest, and the job was to be done, as well as it could, in a great hurry; William trying in vain to send Betsey down again, or keep her from being troublesome where she was; the whole of which, as almost every door in the house was open, could be plainly distinguished in the parlour, except when drowned at intervals by the superior noise of Sam, Tom, and Charles chasing each other up and down stairs, and tumbling about and hallooing."

reminded me irresistibly of the noise which terrified Timmy Willie, the country mouse who accidentally goes to town in a hamper in Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Johnny Town-mouse":

"At last the cart stopped at a house, where the hamper was taken out, carried in, and set down. The cook gave the carrier sixpence; the back door banged, and the cart rumbled away. But there was no quiet; there seemed to be hundreds of carts passing. Dogs barked; boys whistled in the street; the cook laughed, the parlour maid ran up and down-stairs; and a canary sang like a steam engine."
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:30 PM   #25
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Thanks for this, fantasyfan. I had missed the subtle reference to dilapidations in Chapter 6.

On a much more frivolous note, when I came to the section where Fanny goes to her family in Portsmouth, the reference to all the racket in the house which she found very hard to cope with:

"Mrs Price, Rebecca, and Betsey, all went up to defend themselves, all talking together, but Rebecca loudest, and the job was to be done, as well as it could, in a great hurry; William trying in vain to send Betsey down again, or keep her from being troublesome where she was; the whole of which, as almost every door in the house was open, could be plainly distinguished in the parlour, except when drowned at intervals by the superior noise of Sam, Tom, and Charles chasing each other up and down stairs, and tumbling about and hallooing."

reminded me irresistibly of the noise which terrified Timmy Willie, the country mouse who accidentally goes to town in a hamper in Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Johnny Town-mouse":

"At last the cart stopped at a house, where the hamper was taken out, carried in, and set down. The cook gave the carrier sixpence; the back door banged, and the cart rumbled away. But there was no quiet; there seemed to be hundreds of carts passing. Dogs barked; boys whistled in the street; the cook laughed, the parlour maid ran up and down-stairs; and a canary sang like a steam engine."
I love those selections!

Jane Austen came from quite a large family herself--and though she was by no means in as deprived an environment as her Portsmouth characters--I wonder did she base all that noise and confusion on her personal experiences at a home with loads of siblings!?
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:45 PM   #26
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I wonder did she base all that noise and confusion on her personal experiences at a home with loads of siblings!?
What I am wondering very much is the role of the mother in her books. Mostly it is absent like in Emma or Persuasion or to a certain extend here in Mansfield Park (although it is rather Fanny who is absent) or she is horrible like in Pride and Prejudice or here in MP mother Bertram (which, by the way, I like more with every scene, she is too funny!). Did Jane Austen have a too good or too bad relation to her mother that she more or less "eliminates" the mother of the heroine in her books?
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:26 PM   #27
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I have always been suspicious of Austen-Leigh's "Memoir" which has created the image of a happy childhood for Jane Austen. There were indications that there was a tension between Jane and her mother. For instance, Jane Austen's mother was a hypochondriac and insisted on staying in the bed during Jane's final illness. Jane had to sleep on two chairs facing each other.

Here is a link to a fascinating article from the Jane Austen Society in North America which uses Jane Austen's early works--including Lady Susan to develop the idea that her mother was seen as an inimical figure.

http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-...alexander.html

What you say is true. Mothers tend to be absent, uncaring, stupid, or horrible. If they are marginal--like Mrs Rushworth in MP--then they can be relatively neutral. In Pride and Prejudice it is an aunt--Mrs Gardiner--who functions in the role of a mother-figure to Elizabeth. And she is, in some ways, more like a beloved elder sister than a mother.
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:18 AM   #28
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Isn't that interesting - thanks for the link, fantasyfan. Fanny's mother certainly seemed to be pretty uncaring about her older daughters, and besotted with her sons - maybe Mrs Austen was along the same lines, especially when you consider the way the Navy is so important in both families also.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:22 AM   #29
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I foundChapter 9 (especially) and 10 quite interesting. Chapter 9 has the visit to Sotherton. In the first part The Bertrams, Fanny, and the Crawfords have a tour of the mansion. The Chapel sequence interested me insofar as Mary Crawford uses the opportunity to make a frontal attack on the Church (not knowing that Edmund is to be ordained).

It is an attack that probably seems reasonable enough to a modern reader. She sympathises with the servants who are evidently required to attend church services on a Sunday.

' "It is a pity," cried Fanny, "that the custom should have been discontinued. It was a valuable part of former times. There is something in a chapel and chaplain so much in character with a great house, with one's ideas of what such a household should be! A whole family assembling regularly for the purpose of prayer is fine!"

"Very fine indeed," said Miss Crawford, laughing. "It must do the heads of the family a great deal of good to force all the poor housemaids and footmen to leave business and pleasure, and say their prayers here twice a day, while they are inventing excuses themselves for staying away." '

I taught for decades in a small private Protestant school where, for many years, pupils were required to go to two church services each Sunday (when I happened to be the teacher on duty, I had to go too!) In later times the practice was modified and made voluntary, but I have vivid memories of the annoyance of pupils having to get up and wear special uniforms for the Sunday services. So it hits home to me that it must have been much more annoying for the adults in the lower rungs of a fairly rigid class system to have these values imposed fon them.

I think this is one of the problems of MP. The characters who are meant to be representative of false values are really very likable.

The other sequence in ch 9 is the Wilderness episode, Here, Mr Crawford wanders in a moral as well as literal wilderness with Maria. I think the "iron gate" they circumvent has a symbolic value too. Mr Rushworth has the right to open it and goes to fetch the key, but Maria and Crawford go around by a different way. I cannot help but suspect thare is implied sexual imagery in all of these features.
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:29 AM   #30
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Yes, that trip to Sotherton was quite an eye-opener, remembering the rules of the time. Maria and Henry went off together without other company, and that would have been very improper at the time for a young lady to do.

That behaviour, and then the whole matter of putting on the play, seems to lead pretty inevitably to Maria's recklessness in running away with Henry.

I can sympathise with those girls being required to go to church - and the teachers! How much worse for the servants being discussed by Maria, who would still be expected to get all their usual work done as well as go to church.

Yes, it is hard to find Maria as unsympathetic a person as she is supposed to be, though Henry is certainly pretty unpleasant and a recognisable type who thinks he is perfectly entitled to flirt with young women and make them fall in love with him. The sort who think he is "God's gift to women".
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