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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'sJane Austen, but not as we know it.
Many associate Jane Austen with lively, witty heroines and the joys that come from the triumph of charm and humour over stupidity and formality. That's why so many consider Mansfield Park an abberation, a miserable moralistic tale that is only enlivened by funny caricatures and some entertaining episodes. I disagree with this view. In this book, Jane Austen is showing...
Published on 26 May 2003 by Elizabeth Doyle

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self indulgent, long and boring
If this book had been written by someone other than Miss Austen it would have been out of print long ago. The language in the book is so precise it could be a legal document, except a legal document probably has more drama and tension. The nature of and the relationship andtensions between the characters are developed in the interminable first half of this book. But,...
Published 8 months ago by Brainman60


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Austen's darkest novel., 20 Feb 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
In this somewhat atypical Jane Austen novel, Austen abandons her precise characterization and carefully constructed plots, usually designed to illustrate specific ethical and social dilemmas, and presents a much broader, more complex picture of early nineteenth century life. Though the polite behavior of the middle and upper classes is always a focus of Austen, and this novel is no exception, she is more analytical of society as a whole here, casting a critical eye on moral issues which allow the upper class to perpetuate itself.
Fanny Price, the main character, is the daughter of a genteel woman who married for love but soon found herself in poverty. When Fanny's aunt and uncle, the wealthy owners of Mansfield Park, invite Fanny alone, of all the children, to live with them, Fanny enters a new world, where she is educated, clothed, and housed, but always regarded as an "outsider."
Through Fanny's two cousins, Maria and Julia, Austen shows the complex interactions of the upper class as they negotiate marriages, try to maintain the family's reputation and wealth, and react to those "beneath" them socially. Fanny, having experienced both poverty and plenty, comments on what she sees, and though she lacks the witty charm of some of Austen's other characters (such as Elizabeth Bennett), she shows an intelligence and conscience lacking among her cousins. Only Edmund, the youngest of the Bertram sons, pays genuine attention to her, and her love for him is real, though secret.
This is a darker novel than Austen's others, showing conflicts between late eighteenth century rationalism and the growing romanticism of the nineteenth century. Sir Thomas maintains his wealth through his expedient participation in the slave trade, a business that his sons Thomas and Edmund abhor. Often unfeeling toward his own family, Sir Thomas also shows cruelty toward Fanny when she rejects a marriage he has negotiated for her to a man she does not love. Cousin Maria chooses to marry Rushworth for his fortune, but she succumbs to her passion for someone else, and introduces a romantic, new sexuality into the novel.
Unfortunately, Fanny, though sweet and reasonable, is also quiet and predictable, while Edmund, the only other potentially empathetic character, is nave and often appears to be weak. Austen's light touch and quiet humor, which make her other novels vibrate with life and come to a satisfying ending, are less obvious here, and the abrupt conclusion leaves many questions unanswered. Mary Whipple
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Austen's best, 6 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Mansfield Park (Kindle Edition)
Jane Austen's appeal to me is her acute social observation and interesting heroines who have a bit of spark about them even if they are far from perfect (e.g. Emma Woodhouse), but Fanny Price is just a wimp. She is just too good to be true and even allowing for the very different social mores of the early 19th century, she is quite frankly a bit of a prig. And also a snob, which becomes apparent when she returns to her parents' house after the luxury of her life at Mansfield Park and looks down on all aspects of her birth family's way of life.This isn't presented as a flaw but as perfectly acceptable, more a reflection on the Price family than their daughter.

The hero, cousin Edmund, is so virtuous he is a pain. And the character of Henry Crawford is totally inconsistent. Would someone of his ilk really fall in love with an insipid girl like Fanny? I don't think so. Definitely not Jane's finest work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mansfield Park, 7 Nov 2013
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Now that I am an old age pensioner and retired I have found the time to start reading the classics. The story was fine but the characters were very prim and proper (as they should be) but I wanted to give them a kick up the backside.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding., 4 Nov 2013
By 
D. Taylor (East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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Reading Mansfield Park as a youngster as part of my 'must read' curriculum was no joy.
However, returning to it has proved fairly laborious. It takes time to adjust to the concise manner of the language but
is worth hanging in there. Not the best Jane Austen of the pack but worth sticking with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mansfield Park, 12 Sep 2013
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One of my all time favourites - this is the fourth time I have a read it. And each time I still find it entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel with Heart and Mind, 26 May 2011
By 
Sabina (London, UK) - See all my reviews
I have re-read Mansfield Park and found it very enjoyable. Somehow over the years I had the impression of Fanny Price sitting uncomplaining in her cold attic, wheras of course the story is all about her emergence from it. Fanny may appear passive, but in fact she develops and blooms in ways which others seem to notice before she does. I was struck by Jane Austen's ironic humour in her depiction of self-deceiving characters, even the noble and correct Edmund only wants Fanny to echo his own infatuated views about the enticing Mary Crawford. And there is much about Fanny's own mixed feelings, trying to be good but actually jealous of others, and always having to conceal her own secret love.

The latter part of the book, where after several years of privileged living at Mansfield Park Fanny goes back to visit her crowded and chaotic parental home in Portsmouth, is well conceived - an interesting and unusual depiction for the author. The idea of home and belonging, the coming to terms with reality is something that more characters than Fanny have to confront. There is humour, but this is not a comic novel. There is something at the core about the nature of true integrity which is almost dark, but not at the cost of a good story, very well told.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Weakest of Austen's Novels, 29 Nov 2011
Dull, dull, dull - this surely is the most tedious of Austen's books; loaded up with backplot instead of moving the story forward, characters wheeled on and off stage like wooden props, the central pair of star crossed lovers as wet as you could wish, and every opportunity to crank up the tension is fluffed or avoided. The writing is as accurate as ever (although there are only so many times in a chapter I want to read about solicitudes and felicities) but here lacking the sense of fun that Austen's best novels posses.

Basically, this is a Cinderella plot - Fanny Price aged 12 goes to live with her rich aunt and uncle Bertram at Mansfield Park. Everyone is beastly to her except for Sir Bertram's youngest son Edmund who inevitably she falls in love with. However, he is love with Mary Crawford whilst Mary's brother Henry is in love with Fanny. Henry and Mary are cads whilst Edmund and Fanny are prim to the point of dreariness. There are the two ugly sisters who come and go and both have a fling with Henry; there's a splendid wicked stepmother in the form of Fanny's other aunt Norris - who is the only amusing character in the book - but there in no one to play fairy godmother.

Austen makes all of her characters, except Fanny, rather ambiguous so that the ugly sisters are bad but not really nasty, Mary and Henry Crawford are a bit caddish but have some good in them. Edmund is mostly saintly but has a blind spot for Mary. Although in theory this should make the evolution of the plot more interesting instead it makes for blandness and whilst one wouldn't wish to convert Austen into Dickens a bit more colour would be welcome. Fanny as the central heroine is arguably a mistake as she is so uninteresting, a complete mouse who is unable to speak much of the time and whose emotional range runs from slight blush to deep blush. She's very nice but dull and the characters who aren't (so) dull are left on the side.

Another failure is that the various set pieces - Fanny being abandoned in the park, the embarrassment over the necklace chains for example - run into the sand and don't generate interaction between the characters that either heightens the tension or leads on to consequences. As a result they end up as little episodes that merely illustrate what the reader already knows.

Finally, but this was published in 1814 when the art of the novel was still being developed, the mechanics of the plot are very clunky. It takes ages to get the principal actors on stage; Edmund's older brother and Sir Bertram have to be disposed of for much of the action; Fanny is absent from Mansfield Park when the action comes to a head so that the plot (as so often with Austen) has to be unfolded through a series of letters (and here Austen gets into a muddle and has to invent reasons why characters don't know things they should know). Having gone at a snail's pace for 45 chapters Austen suddenly compresses all the action into the final three and promptly ties it all up with a bow and leaves.

Austen does explore the nature/nurture debate, and whether badun's can be redeemed but so does Hugo in Les Miserables and he doesn't miss out on plot or strong characterization.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dissatisfyingly underclimactic Ending, 18 July 2014
By 
Dr. K. E. Patrick (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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First about the Kindle version -- I had no problem with it at all, and thoroughly enjoyed having it on the kindle, especially to see my progress through the novel.

Second, about the book itself -- I was taken with poor, sweet Fanny from the start. She is an unlikely heroine in many ways, like a wall flower, but therefore, observant of the annoying ways of the "society" people. Now for a major spoiler, so look away if you don't want to know how the book ends. Personally, I am glad that the Crawfords eventually got short shrift, and think that Austen very subtly, with much understatement, explained the rather off values which they espoused and made them totally unsuitable for either Fanny or Edmund. But by golly, if I'm going to read a 400+ page novel, I don't want the denouement between lovers to seem like a postscript -- roughly translated, "Edmund got over the loss of Mary after a while and decided that Fanny would be a pretty good wife, if not a better one, instead." There was no epiphany moment where his eyes were opened, where she received the look of love which she had craved for page after page after page. I really could have chucked the book against the wall in frustration and anti-climactic annoyance had it not be my Kindle, which I know will break if you do such a stupid thing ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not a lot happening, 29 Aug 2013
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So slow found the characters uninteresting and their petty day to day life was tedious.Not a patch on pride and Prejudice but has many simlilarities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GOOD DVD, 25 May 2014
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If you like watching all the Jane Austen and Bronte adaptations, you will like this one too, very enjoyable. Part of a boxed set well worth buying.
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Mansfield Park (Clothbound Classics)
Mansfield Park (Clothbound Classics) by Jane Austen (Hardcover - 3 Nov 2011)
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