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text 2017-12-08 13:23
Reading progress update: I've read 651 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Mansfield Park **


This is allegedly Austen's least popular work and Pride & Prejudice must surely be the most popular. Why? Comparison may be instructive.

 

P&P's romantic heroes are a dashing, rich, titled, educated and intelligent man and a pretty (but not the most beautiful), educated, intelligent woman who knows here own mind and insists on being appreciated for that mind. Mansfield Park's romantic heroes are a stick-in-the-mud boring but kind and principled second son likely to be comfortably off but not set to inherit the Estate and a timid, shy, submissive, boring girl who at least grows enough spine to not accept a loveless marriage to a morally defective but rich suitor.

 

The tone of P&P is one of wit, sardonic humour and sly social observation. There is little of this in Mansfield Park. It is replaced with a preachy moralising.

 

That's probably enough right there. I just don't think modern readers are nearly as receptive to the ideals presented by Fanny and Edmund as compared to those of Lizzy Bennet and Darcy and similarly, wit goes over better than sermons these days.

 

I struggled with much of the first 4/5ths, at times finding it hard to differentiate all the characters, especially the two Misses Bertram and to establish the connections between them all - especially so in the amateur theatrical week which proves crucial to all that comes later. Eventually I found myself intrigued as to how it was all going to resolve, making the final (sensational) fifth much more interesting.

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text 2017-12-07 23:02
Reading progress update: I've read 625 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Oh noes! Tom is seriously ill!

 

Somehow, Austen has sucked me in to caring how everything turns out and there isn't so very many pages to resolve it all in. Well done, Austen - not sure how you did that, since the first 200p were mostly a chore and the characters are uniformly unappealing, except for William.

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text 2017-12-07 01:07
Reading progress update: I've read 596 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Fanny is off to see her family. Will William be posted on one of Jack Aubrey's commands?

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text 2017-12-06 00:06
Reading progress update: I've read 586 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

I like Fanny a little for at least standing up for her own convictions regarding Crawford in the face of opposition from almost everyone.

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text 2017-12-05 09:30
Reading progress update: I've read 576 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Oh noes! Now everybody wants Fanny to marry Crawford! ...Except Aunt Norris.

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