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Topic: Mansfield Park: Thoughts?

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Subject: Mansfield Park: Thoughts?
Date Posted: 6/12/2008 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 87
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I wanted everyone's opinions on this!

I'm about halfway through Mansfield Park, and it's the fifth of Austen's I've read. I was surprised to find how much I liked it and how fast it seems to fly by! However, even Austen fans seem to struggle with this one, since it deals with morals and such, and most people do not like Fanny. (Fanny's actually rather like me, so I like her!)

I, however, was really surprised to see everyone's negative opinions about Edmund! Yes, I do agree that he makes Fanny uncomfortable by talking about Mary in front of her, but he's also so, so sweet to her. I just love the scene where they meet, and whenever he defends her to her family (especially Mrs. Norris... ugh. I can see why JK Rowling named the cat after her!)

So, if anyone has any opinions on Edmund, share them, please? I'm quite curious!

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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I like Edmund. He just takes a while to discover what is truly important to him. Sometimes familiarity makes people a bit blind about each other.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Mansfield Park is very different from Austen's other books.  But I loved it.  Edmund is clueless, which apparently is a timelses trait in men of literature.   But I find him likeable nonetheless.  Now you've got me wanting to re-read this book again.

Date Posted: 6/13/2008 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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Oh, I like Edmund too! He's just about the only thing that makes poor Fanny's life bearable. Though, I do admit to a bit of a problem with Fanny. Surely nobody is that wimpy?? Surely???

But still, anything Austen writes is magic. Including Edmund.

And I didn't ever put that together about Mrs Norris the cat until now!!

 

Date Posted: 6/13/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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I wasn't that crazy about Fannie either......

Date Posted: 6/14/2008 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Edmund's alright, but I couldn't warm up to Fanny.  For me, the problem was that although in some ways she was like Jane Bennett from P&P, very quiet and mild-mannered and proper, she lacked Jane's affection.  Fannie seemed to look down on everyone except Edmund and at the same time let the people she privately disparaged walk all over her.  Like she set herself up to be a martyr.  I did prefer the 1999 movie's interpretation of her better than the book, because there she had some backbone and only seemed judgmental of the others when they were actually doing something wrong.

I know Austen meant this book to be sort of ambiguous, not all tied up at the end with the usual happy-ever-after bow, and that's partly what makes it so interesting.  Especially the thing she writes at the end, about how Edmund and Fanny could have been just as happy married to the Crawford siblings as to each other.

Date Posted: 6/15/2008 6:40 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 87
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Glad to find more supporters of Edmund than I suspected! I do agree that Fanny can be overly judgmental, but I still like her a lot more than most others I've seen have. She just stands by her own morals very strictly, and I respect that.

And yes, from what I read, Mrs. Norris in HP was named after MP's Mrs. Norris. I believe Jane Austen is JK Rowling's favorite writer; she said it in an article once.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 2,461
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OK, so that question seems to have people answering / interested.  What about this question...

 

How do you feel about the incestuous relationship between Fannie and Edmund at the end of the book?  Remember... they essentially grew up as brother and sister.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Yowzer.  What a question.  Hmm... I think that even though they're cousins and grew up together Fannie coming to Mansfield at the age of 10 and her subsequent treatment as less important than Edmund's actual sisters emphasized the fact that Fannie was not his sister.  On the other hand, its interesting that their tandem reaction to their betrayals by the Crawford brother & sister is to turn to each other and deepen that bond.  Almost as though the only bond anyone can rely on is that between brother & sister.  The Crawfords have similar tempraments, Fannie & Edmund have similar tempraments, all four are disappointed by love at some point and find that their respective "sibling" is the only one that can provide comfort.  So it could be construed as slightly incestuous, but I don't think it really is.

Subject: Edmund
Date Posted: 6/20/2008 3:31 AM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 252
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I liked Edmund, but he's definitely one of Austen's wimpier male heroes. Certainly, however, he has more to offer than Edward in Sense and Sensibility - who is definitely not worthy of Elinor. On the Jane Austen mailing list, we once shared our favorite Austen male heroes. For me, it's a tossup between Darcy of P&P and Knightley of Emma but I must say I'm definitely influenced by the films. And by the way, the British 1980s miniseries of Mansfield Park is excellent -- you can rent it on Netflix. It's very true to the book, unlike the two most recent films.


Tracy, teacher of Jane Austen courses in the Boston area

Date Posted: 6/21/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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What is Jane Austen like? I'm wanting to read more classics since I missed out on reading them 'back when' and I've seen her name/book titles mentioned a lot here.  Are they all HEA? I saw part of one on PBS the other night but missed the last half :-( and also not sure how close the movie follows the book. I think it had a HEA since I saw the very very tail end of it but not sure how much anguish was in..I can't remember the title but had Abbey as the last word and Catherine was the main character. It was about a woman who read a lot and got caught up in Bath? with all these suitors and lying/deception from one guy telling her he saw the  other guy going out of town so she should go out with him..then she saw the 1st guy wasn't out of town and all this mess...unfortunately the darn phone rang, dogs needed to go out, etc etc etc but I'm interested enough in searching for this book and reading it as well as some of her other books..or perhaps listening to the audiobook since I'm getting a new mp3 'toy'!

Date Posted: 6/22/2008 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 87
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That was Northanger Abbey, Austen's earliest. The miniseries is very enjoyable! My personal favorite of the novels is Sense and Sensibility, but Pride and Prejudice is the best starting point in my opinion.

Amy
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I struggled with this book. I had to put it down about halfway through because I found it very boring. I questioned myself many times, "Where is this going? GOD."

I have actually taken a break from Austen because of this book and how much I did not enjoy it. I will go back to reading her after I've gone through about 10 other books or so.

Date Posted: 7/20/2008 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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I have been an Austen fan for a very long time. The book about which I changed my opinion most over the years was Mansfield Park. The older I became, the more I liked it. I think it was the author' s favorite, and I know she did state that the 2 heroines are the 2 aspecyts of her personality.

I have most of the video versions of Austen. The 80s MPT version is the best. My grandsons really like these videos, and interestingly, the 10 yo likes mansfield park the best.

There's one bad "sequel", and one good,but I cannot recall which is which.

Edmund I think behaves much more typially and believable than many Austen men. Men still do that kind of thing all the time.

Not incestuous at all considering mores then about marrying first cousins. And one of the many ironies of the book is that had Sir Thomas' wishes truly been followed and fanny rought up as a "sister, " the marriage would not have occurred.