Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Review: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Pages read so far in 2010: 9,616

I suppose that this being an Austen novel makes what I'm about to write less of a review and more of a "here's my thoughts on a classic novel" blog.

The thing is, I love me some Austen and therefore...I liked Mansfield Park just fine. I liked it the way I liked Emma...that being, I'm glad I read it, I may read it again, but it didn't hold sway with me the way Sense & Sensibility (by far my favorite Austen novel) did.

Part of my problem was, I think, that I read the introduction included in my version of the novel before I read the novel itself--and this particular introduction basically revealed the entire plot! Had it not been for reading this, I think I may have liked this novel more because I would have maybe been a bit surprised at the goings-on in the last 100-150 pages. Still, I rate the novel 4/5 stars because if it weren't for having read the introduction first, I would have enjoyed it more (considering the introduction would push it down to 3/5 stars, but I can't blame Austen for what some modern-day woman wrote about her book).

As is, I do feel that the ending of Mansfield Park was a bit of a cop-out. I have to admit that I wish this particular Austen novel had taken a different road. At the risk of putting a spoiler out there for anyone who hasn't read this novel or seen the movies based on it--I really was hoping that in this case, a rake wasn't always a rake and that for once Austen would go a different way with some of her characters. Ah well.

Now, I always include quotes that I like in my book reviews. Therefore, the following is cut for length and yes, there may be spoilers in these quotes!



From the introduction: "The world is not inhabited by ideal people, or even by a mixture of heroes and heroines...and grotesques...--it is full of real, defective, halfway people, neither good nor wholly bad, sometimes pushed one way by events, sometimes another. The good are rescued from temptation and wrongdoing by being a little dull, a little ill, a little undersexed: the not-so-good are pushed into folly...or worse...by a mixture of high spirits, passion and energy...selfishness...lack of good advice and supervision...and boredom."

"'I pay very little regard,' said Mrs. Grant, 'to what any young person says on the subject of marriage. If they profess a disinclination for it, I only set it down that they have not yet seen the right person.'"

"'...there is not one in a hundred of either sex, who is not taken in when they marry...I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect more from others, and are least honest themselves.'"

"'Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.'"

"'Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.'"

"'...when people are waiting, they are bad judges of time, and every half-minute seems like five.'"

"'This is what I dislike most particularly. It raises my spleen more than anything, to have the pretence of being asked, fo being given a choice, and at the same tiem addressed in such a way as to oblige one to do the very thing--whatever it be!'"

"'If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient--at others, so bewildered and so weak--and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control!--We are to be sure a miracle every way--but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.'"

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connexions can supply..."

"'Your being so far unlike, Fanny, does not in the smallest degree make against the probability of your happiness together: do not imagine it. I am myself convinced that it is rather a favourable circumstance. I am perfectly persuaded that the tempers had better be unlike; I mean unlike in the flow of the spirits, in the manners, in the inclination for much or little company, in the propensity to talk or to be silent, to be grave or to be gay. Some opposition here is, I am thoroughly convinced, friendly to matrimonial happiness. I exclude extremes of course: and a very close resemblance in all those points would be the likeliest way to produce an extreme. A counteraction, gentle and continual, is the best safeguard of manners and conduct.'"

"'Let him have all the perfections in the world, I think it ought not to be set down as certain, that a man must be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself.'"

"'But I am spoilt...for common female society. Good-humoured, unaffected girls, will not do for a man who has been used to sensible women. They are two distinct orders of being.'"

"She was of course only too good for him; but as nobody minds having what is too good for them, he was very steadily earnest in the pursuit of the blessing..." Pin It

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