Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Reading Recommendations > Book Clubs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-05-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
sun surfer
in this great future
sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
sun surfer's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,815
Karma: 17495612
Join Date: Jun 2010
Device: ipad mini & sony 950
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Here anyone may discuss anything regarding the selection before, during and after reading.

Please use spoiler tags during the rest of this first month if discussing specifics from later parts of the selection.

So, what are you thoughts on it?

sun surfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
I loved that opening chapter with its marvellously ironic presentation of the characters of the three sisters and their various marriages. But the darkness starts early. The sister who has made the bad marriage has a husband "disabled . . . But not the less equal to company and good liquor.". Further, she is experiencing her "ninth lying-in" in eleven years.
So already we see a very different view of life than in the earlier novels.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2012, 09:47 PM   #3
StoryEnthusiast
K. C. Lee
StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.StoryEnthusiast ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
StoryEnthusiast's Avatar
 
Posts: 585
Karma: 3652522
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New Zealand
Device: Android phone
I just love Jane Austen's novels. They are very romantic and about life of the rich, which is very different from my poor upbringing and therefore attractive to my.
StoryEnthusiast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2012, 03:14 PM   #4
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
Jane Austen was a Neo-classic writer and her stories are beautifully well organised. Mansfield Park originally appeared in three volumes and as in other novels she wrote they represent three major stages in the story. Unfortunately, these volume divisions tend to be ignored in many modern editions.

So, if it is any help, here are the divisions:

Volume 1: Chapters 1-18
Volume 2: Chapters 19-31
Volume 3: Chapters 32-48

Speaking purely from a personal view, I find that these Volume divisions are quite useful in helping to note the ebb and flow of event.

While looking through another edition of the novel today, I happened to come across this interesting comment which might be worth sharing:

"In Mansfield Park family functions in largely negative and ironic terms: as both constrictive space, hampering the desires of its members, and as that which is defined . . . as the only foundation of individual identity. . . Absence of family identity . . .amounts to a pathology."--Kathryn Sutherland

I don't know to what extent I would agree with that, but it does get one thinking--even as early as Chapter 1. And it can be a springboard to other ideas.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 08-07-2012 at 06:57 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2012, 04:49 AM   #5
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,280
Karma: 73137213
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kobo Touch (mine), Sony PRS-T1 (husband's)
I have just started in on Mansfield Park, reading my Collins Classics paper copy for old times' sake! The introduction in that includes a quote by Sheila Kaye-Smith suggesting that the "shadow" which has fallen over MP and which is not over the earlier three novels could be linked to the Evangelical Revival. I don't know anything about this and am going off to look it up. It is certainly a darker book, even from the first chapter, as you say fantasyfan. But there is still room for a delicious Austen crack at social attitudes on the first page:

"But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines without education, fortune, or connections, did it very thoroughly."

And no wonder poor little Fanny was so timid and shy given the attitude of Aunt Norris who encouraged the Bertram girls to look down on her as inferior.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2012, 09:18 AM   #6
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
I'm getting a good deal more out of Mansfield Park this time around than in my previous reading. Since one's attitude to Fanny is so important in this novel, I think that those first couple chapters in which we see the child Fanny are crucial. So I would like to share a few thoughts about them--they are, of course, only opinions.

Fanny is clearly viewed with contempt by the sisters, Julia and Maria:

' “But, aunt, she is really so very ignorant! *Do you know, we asked her last night which way she would go to get to Ireland; and she said, she should cross to the Isle of Wight. She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight, and she calls it the Island, as if there were no other island in the world. I am sure I should have been ashamed of myself, if I had not known better long before I was so old as she is. I cannot remember the time when I did not know a great deal that she has not the least notion of yet. How long ago it is, aunt, since we used to repeat the chronological order of the kings of England, with the dates of their accession, and most of the principal events of their reigns!”

' “Yes,” added the other; “and of the Roman emperors as low as Severus; besides a great deal of the heathen mythology, and all the metals, semi-metals, planets, and distinguished philosophers.”

' “Very true indeed, my dears, but you are blessed with wonderful memories, and your poor cousin has probably none at all. There is a vast deal of difference in memories, as well as in everything else, and therefore you must make allowance for your cousin, and pity her deficiency. And remember that, if you are ever so forward and clever yourselves, you should always be modest; for, much as you know already, there is a great deal more for you to learn.” '

But she is sweet-tempered enough to be given a grudging acceptance:

'To her cousins she became occasionally an acceptable companion. Though unworthy, from inferiority of age and strength, to be their constant associate, their pleasures and schemes were sometimes of a nature to make a third very useful, especially when that third was of an obliging, yielding temper; and they could not but own, when their aunt inquired into her faults, or their brother Edmund urged her claims to their kindness, that “Fanny was good-natured enough.” '

However, despite the attainments of the Bertram sisters, Austen makes a very important observation about them:

" . . .it is not very wonderful that, with all their promising talents and early information, they should be entirely deficient in the less common acquirements of self-knowledge, generosity and humility. In everything but disposition they were admirably taught."

Thus, I believe that Jane Austen is preparing the reader to meet, in Fanny, a very different sort of character than Elizabeth Bennett. A character who has a lot less sparkle and wit but who knows more of suffering and may well be more complex and have a greater depth than the heroine of Pride and Prejudice.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 08-15-2012 at 09:45 AM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
Billi
Wizard
Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Billi's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,279
Karma: 13547747
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Berlin
Device: Cybook, iRex, PB, Onyx
Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post

Thus, I believe that Jane Austen is preparing the reader to meet, in Fanny, a very different sort of character than Elizabeth Bennett. A character who has a lot less sparkle and wit but who knows more of suffering and may well be more complex and have a greater depth than the heroine of Pride and Prejudice.
That's not difficult! I think Fanny is more the "sister" of Anne Elliot or, in some way, of Catherine Morland.
Billi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billi View Post
That's not difficult! I think Fanny is more the "sister" of Anne Elliot or, in some way, of Catherine Morland.
That's a perceptive insight! Now that you mention it, Fanny clearly is in that tradition--she is also, perhaps, a literary sister of Elinor of Sense and Sensibility (though the element of suffering isn't as pronounced in the latter}.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 08-15-2012 at 03:08 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,280
Karma: 73137213
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kobo Touch (mine), Sony PRS-T1 (husband's)
Fanny must actually be pretty resilient to survive under the merciless bullying of Mrs Norris. Just one example, when she was about to go to dinner (for the very first time) at the parsonage, her aunt said to her "Remember, wherever you are, you must be the lowest and last." She was only saved by the kindness of Edmund and Sir Thomas, but even so she thought she was worth very little.

That sort of relentless putting down is sadly more common than we would like to think it is: apart from cases of individual bullying, we have the shameful history here of the treatment of indigenous Australians through most of the 20th century, and other countries have their own examples I expect. If you go on telling people they are stupid and ignorant and so on, it doesn't take long for them to believe it and be destroyed by it.

Another comment on the "darkness" of the book: Sir Thomas has been on his estates in Antigua sorting things out. The UK abolished the slave trade in 1807 after the long campaign of that hero, Wilberforce, but I looked up Antigua and Wikipedia stated that "all existing slaves were emancipated in 1834". So the Bertrams were the beneficiaries of slave labour.

This is just touched on in a conversation between Fanny and Edmund, where she said: "Did not you hear me ask him about the slave-trade last night?"
"I did - and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther."
"And I longed to do it - but there was such a dead silence! ..."

Mansfield Park was written between 1811 and 1813, so someone like Jane Austen would have been very aware of all the discussion about slavery, and Wilberforce's long campaign to have that vile trade abolished.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
Fanny must actually be pretty resilient to survive under the merciless bullying of Mrs Norris. Just one example, when she was about to go to dinner (for the very first time) at the parsonage, her aunt said to her "Remember, wherever you are, you must be the lowest and last." She was only saved by the kindness of Edmund and Sir Thomas, but even so she thought she was worth very little.

That sort of relentless putting down is sadly more common than we would like to think it is: apart from cases of individual bullying, we have the shameful history here of the treatment of indigenous Australians through most of the 20th century, and other countries have their own examples I expect. If you go on telling people they are stupid and ignorant and so on, it doesn't take long for them to believe it and be destroyed by it.

Another comment on the "darkness" of the book: Sir Thomas has been on his estates in Antigua sorting things out. The UK abolished the slave trade in 1807 after the long campaign of that hero, Wilberforce, but I looked up Antigua and Wikipedia stated that "all existing slaves were emancipated in 1834". So the Bertrams were the beneficiaries of slave labour.

This is just touched on in a conversation between Fanny and Edmund, where she said: "Did not you hear me ask him about the slave-trade last night?"
"I did - and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther."
"And I longed to do it - but there was such a dead silence! ..."

Mansfield Park was written between 1811 and 1813, so someone like Jane Austen would have been very aware of all the discussion about slavery, and Wilberforce's long campaign to have that vile trade abolished.
I would agree about Fanny's resilience. In fact, I am in the process of revising my earlier dislike of her--I used to consider her the least effective of Austen's heroines. I'm beginning to think that I judged her too simplistically.

Mansfield Park has been criticised for not making more of the slavery issue. In at least one attempt at adapting the novel to TV, Fanny is turned into a proto-feminist fiercely concerned with social issues, including slavery. I think that is a serious mistake which fails to take into consideration the limited experience and influence a young woman of Fanny's type would have concerning issues of that nature. The remarkable thing is that here, and in Persuasion, Jane Austen actually does show an awareness of the underbelly of her society.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 08-17-2012 at 04:33 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,280
Karma: 73137213
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kobo Touch (mine), Sony PRS-T1 (husband's)
Yes, I think we are attracted to the extraverts like Elizabeth Bennet, but Fanny is clearly an introvert (I found a sentence about her enjoying her own thoughts and company, but left my notebook down at our beach house so don't have it to hand). I suppose what Jane Austen has done is put "the poor relation" in the centre of the story, instead of her being pushed to one side and barely looked at, which is what usually happens to poor relations. And of course Jane Austen, her mother and sister would have been in that position if Jane's brother hadn't been adopted by their rich relative and was able to give them the house in Chawton to live in.

I hadn't come across any comments about slavery and Mansfield Park, and had not had any recollection of its relevance from reading the book way back when. I suppose I was pretty ignorant of the times and what was in the background when I was in my teens, so just hadn't picked up the references.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2012, 10:50 PM   #12
sun surfer
in this great future
sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
sun surfer's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,815
Karma: 17495612
Join Date: Jun 2010
Device: ipad mini & sony 950
I'm interested to read the book. The only other Austen I've read was Pride and Prejudice, and I read it a long time ago. Honestly, I didn't particularly care for it. It seemed to me somewhat like it was to that era what a romantic comedy film is to this era - light and fun entertainment where the girl gets the guy in the end.

Perhaps I'll see Austen from a different light now. I don't think I would've read another Austen for a long time if not for a book club, so I'm glad for the reason now to do so.
sun surfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 12:43 AM   #13
Bookpossum
Snoozing in the sun
Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookpossum ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookpossum's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,280
Karma: 73137213
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kobo Touch (mine), Sony PRS-T1 (husband's)
I do hope you enjoy the experience, sun surfer. I find that there is so much more to be gained in reading Jane Austen, as opposed to seeing a film, because that just tells the story, where with the book you get her witty and sometimes barbed comments on the society and its values as she observed them. In fact, having enjoyed the experience of reading Mansfield Park so much, I'm tempted to ignore my frighteningly large TBR shelves (real and electronic) and go back and reread the rest of her books.

I have just finished the book, but won't make any comments on how things turn out for the time being.
Bookpossum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 07:19 AM   #14
Billi
Wizard
Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Billi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Billi's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,279
Karma: 13547747
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Berlin
Device: Cybook, iRex, PB, Onyx
I'm reading the book for the second time and enjoy the re-reading very much until now. I have a (maybe silly) question, but the answer seems very important for the morals of the book.
I don't understand exactly why is it sooo wrong that the young people in Mansfield Park are having a theatre performance? Is it more a general question of decorum (grown ups of the gentry or higher circles don't do this, for children it was allowed and encouraged) or is it specifically because they take such a possession of the house of Sir Thomas in his absence?
Billi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 09:11 AM   #15
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 836
Karma: 8615620
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle 3 (wifi only) Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billi View Post
I'm reading the book for the second time and enjoy the re-reading very much until now. I have a (maybe silly) question, but the answer seems very important for the morals of the book.
I don't understand exactly why is it sooo wrong that the young people in Mansfield Park are having a theatre performance? Is it more a general question of decorum (grown ups of the gentry or higher circles don't do this, for children it was allowed and encouraged) or is it specifically because they take such a possession of the house of Sir Thomas in his absence?
That's an excellent question--in fact a question that goes to the core of the novel. {I'll use spoilers in case some haven't got to the theatrical yet.

Spoiler:
Jane Austen's family frequently put on home theatricals and certainly didn't disapprove of them. But in the novel, Austen is using her familiarity with the form to make a number of powerful moral points.

1. The play itself is Lover's Vows--a translation of a German play: The Love Child. It was popular in London. Jane Austen uses the theatrical {which never actually gets produced} to develop the theme of the confusion between roles and reality.
2. During the production the play brings out the worst qualities of the various characters as they fight over parts--disrupting what should be a harmonious relationship.
3. The various members of the cast use their roles to engage in actions and relationships which would be forbidden and indeed reprehensible in their real lives. Through the theatricals, the characters can indulge in unrestrained license in the absence of Sir Thomas--the chief "Guardian" of moral order and stability in the novel.
4. Acting leads to inclination and the characters later perform in life the inclinations they dramatise in the theatrical. Maria plays an abandoned mother and Crawford he illegitimate son. They develop an intimacy which leads to their later betrayal of decency and morality.

What the theatrical episode provides is a brilliant use of inter-textuality to add a profound dimension to the story.


I got most of that from a brilliant essay on Mansfield Park by Tony Tanner. It was originally the introductory preface to the first Penguin edition and was highly regarded enough to be added as an appendix in the later Penguin Classics edition. It is very fine--but it does give spoilers--so beware of reading it until you know the book.
However, I think I can safely mention a couple points which are helpful. Tanner mentions that Mansfield Park is a symbol of order and stability. Against it stand London and Portsmouth. There are three groups of characters:

1.The Guardians-those who are meant to protect the values and traditions of Mansfield Park

2. The Inheritors--those who will continue these values into the next generation

3. The Interlopers--individuals from the outside world who consciously or otherwise introduce inimical concepts into the natural order of duty and justice of Mansfield Park.

While Tanner's character division is schematic, it has a very useful function in following the moral themes in the book.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 08-21-2012 at 06:41 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Other Fiction Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park, V1, May 2012 GibbinR ePub Books 1 04-21-2013 06:51 AM
Romance Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park (Illustrated). v4. 26 Feb 2013 HarryT Kindle Books 2 02-26-2013 12:34 PM
Romance Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park (Illustrated). v4. 26 Feb 2013 HarryT BBeB/LRF Books 3 02-26-2013 12:32 PM
Other Fiction Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park (Illustrated). v2, 3 Mar 2008 zelda_pinwheel IMP Books 1 09-01-2009 12:38 AM
Other Fiction Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park, v1, 09Jan08 Strether Kindle Books 0 01-09-2008 05:05 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:40 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.