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Mansfield Park

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  152,789 ratings  ·  4,970 reviews
'We have all been more or less to blame ...
every one of us, excepting Fanny'

Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, brin...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 507 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1814)
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Community Reviews

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I was astounded to find that many of the reviews on this site criticize this book for the main character, Fanny Price, & her timidity and morality. It is very different from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, whose smart, sensible heroines make the novels, but I actually enjoyed this book immensely for its social commentary.

Most of the characters in this book singlemindedly pursue wealth, status, and pleasure regardless of their personal and moral costs. Their antics are pretty...more
Sep 01, 2013 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: only hardcore Austen fans
(This is usually the part where I offer abject apologies for my review's length, but I don't feel like it this time. It's long. Continued on the comments section. You have been duly notified.)

Ah, Fanny Price. We meet again.

Our previous meeting was…. How shall I say? Underwhelming. Unsatisfying. …Lacking is really the word I’m looking for. There was something missing in every encounter I had with you that made me want to tear my hair out.

Now I know why, and it was entirely to do with what I brou...more
Sherwood Smith
Most Austen aficionados agree that Pride and Prejudice is a great book. Jane Austen thought it might be too "light and bright and sparkling"--that its comedy might outshine its serious points--but its continued popularity today indicates that her recipe for brilliance contained just the right ingredients.

Yet a lot of modern readers loathe Mansfield Park, despite its being thought by others the greatest of all Austen's work. What's going on here?

Frequently leveled criticisms:
* Fanny is a stick...more
Holly Goguen
Jul 25, 2008 Holly Goguen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Holly by:
Shelves: literature, favorites
I have seen no small amount of reviews toting Fanny Price as Austen's least likable heroine, and to be honest...I'm not sure where they get that impression from. Granted, Fanny's characteristics often shine by what they are not, next to the undesirable character traits of those around her.....but does this appropriateness of demeanor, attention to honor and morals, and respect toward elders (especially the ones least deserving of it) truely mean she is not fit for her lead status? I think not. A...more
Jason Koivu
"I can not but think good horsemanship has a great deal to do with the mind." Jane Austen always did a great job of planting ridiculous declarations in the mouths of characters she wished to discredit. Character was her strong suit and there's some good'uns here in.

Within Mansfield Park there are characterizations so delicate and actions of importance utterly unassuming. Some seem meaningless in their modesty. Excellent work by a diligent author. Dangerous pitfalls for the casual reader.

The who...more
My reading of Mansfield Park was attended, part of the way, by two poets talking about the difficulty of writing (or to me, reading) Austen’s kind of novel:

A young poet’s ignorance of life will go unnoticed. Meter, rhyme, felicitous phrases, and what not mask the underlying weakness or banality. With fiction, where dissimilar characters suffer and grow and interact, there is no place to hide. One either knows what people go through or doesn’t.
(James Merrill)

Then she’s a novelist. I don’t know w
Mansfield Park is perhaps not the one of Austen's novels which appeals the most to modern sensibilities; after all, reasonably faithful adaptations have been made recently of several of Austen's other novels, while Mansfield Park was changed into something Austen lovers barely recognized. Mansfield Park is the home of Fanny Price, the poor relation of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram (Fanny's mother's sister), who took her to live with them from her impoverished Portsmouth home; Fanny is largely over...more

This review contains some spoilers.

About a year ago I started a Jane Austen project, which has involved listening to the six major novels on audiobook, most of them narrated by Juliet Stevenson, who is simply wonderful at bringing Austen’s characters to life. It says something about me that in this period I have listened to Persuasion twice. It says something else about me that I left this book until last. That I did so won't come as a big surprise to admirers of Jane Austen's novels. This is th...more
Jul 02, 2011 Holly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Austen fans, regency fans
I'm really not surprised that not a lot of people like Fanny Price. She's timid, moralistic and extremely passive. But really, what were people expecting her to do, exactly? Tell her cousin she loves him? B-slap Miss Crawford? Fanny is low in society, brought up to be grateful to everyone, and has no independence (dowry, etc,.). A lot of women were like that in those days. Many shy people also have a higher regard for authority than others, because of authority's 'better' judgement, and that is...more
Jan 17, 2008 Rebecca rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Brit lit lovers
I don't think this book would have been so disappointing if I hadn't just seen the movie adaptation of it (specifically, the 1999 version). I saw the movie first, and liked the plot so much that I started the book. I enjoyed reading P & P and S & S, so I assumed I would enjoy Mansfield Park also. I quickly found out that the movie was much more entertaining -- but more importantly than that, its social/political message was more palatable to me than the book's.

In the movie, the protagoni...more
Feb 22, 2008 Oceana9 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who can stand nineteenth-century British novelists.
Fanny Price. Yes, the protagonist's name is really Fanny Price. This book is uber-Austen, so expect all the Austenish things: a saintly heroine, clever talkin', love triangles and love squares. Much walking amongst the shrubbery. Letter-writin'. Good brother vs. bad brother. (Both are hot.) Evil rich sisters (both are hot.) Poor, destitute cousin taken in by "charitable" impulses (Fanny is not hot, but then, of course, gets hotter and hotter as people begin to notice her. She is hottest when blu...more
Feb 13, 2008 Charity rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to end their love affair with Jane Austen
Shelves: 1001books, brit-lit, blah
Argh! I am very surprised that I was able to finish this book. I found it to be completely tedious. If this had been the first book I had read by Jane Austen, it would have been enough to turn me off from the rest of her works.

Fanny was too virtuous a character to be likable. She was dull as powder and entirely too submissive. I would have much more enjoyed reading about the spunky Miss Mary Crawford. She would have proved to be a more approachable heroine and her high jinx could never be boring...more
My wonderful English teacher at school, Mr Flint, encouraged us to always read around the writer. So at A'level, studying 'Emma' he urged us to read the other five Austens.

Thus 'Mansfield Park' first read at 17. Fanny = Put upon heroine of epic proportions, noble, insightful, courageous and brave. Re-read at 32. Fanny = self righteous prig, judgemental little minx, singularly unattractive whinger. Another 15 years on and I opted for 'Murder at Mansfield Park' instead.

(This results in something...more
In my opinion the most difficult of Austen's books to get through. Fanny, while similar to other Austen heroines, is a borderline curmudgeon, so staunch is she in her convictions. Of course, the villians (if they can be called that) are so terribly naughty by the standards of the day that this almost becomes a comedy of extremes. But, all's well that ends well, and one day the heroine's beloved suddenly notices her and they all live happily ever after. Sorry, Jane, this isn't one of my favorites...more
This has become one of my favorite Jane Austen books. I could not get through it as a teenager, but now that I am older, I like it and find myself re-reading it often.
The heroine, Fanny Price, is unusual for Austen; unlike the confident, clever heroines like Elizabeth, Emma, and the Dashwood sisters, Fanny has no real talents, except that she is kind, a good listener, helpful, and tries to do the right thing. This is sometimes a nice change, though occasionally as a modern women I sometimes find...more
I have generally enjoyed my excursions into Austen-land, but if Austen were a modern writer, I'd call this book a sophomore slump. It was her third, and much of the plot and character interactions were very derivative of Pride and Prejudice but without that book's humor or sting.

Fanny Price is one of a brood of children, and her mother sends her to live with wealthy relatives to relieve her own family of some of the burden. Fanny thus grows up as the "poor cousin" in a wealthy house, generally n...more
This is my favourite of Jane Austen's novels. I appreciate the wit of Elizabeth Bennett, and I understand why people might be put off by Fanny Price, but I don't find Fanny at all weak or priggish. Fanny is every bit as strong as Elizabeth Bennett, if in a quieter and more thoughtful way. She shows great insight into the people around her and maintains her integrity in the face of overpowering disapproval from those who hold a lot of power over her.

Jane Austen is more than Elizabeth Bennett. Eac...more
Valshar ⚜ Jonathan
Time to attempt the very likely highly impossible: reviewing an Austen novel! (Yes, I’ve sort of done this before but not properly. Not that THIS is going to proper either….) :-)

The Unexceptionable

Fanny! Of course she’s sweet and cares deeply for those she loves. That’s wonderful, but she also like pointing out constellations in the night sky. Which naturally means I’m instantly falling for her myself! :-D

Mary Crawford! “What!?”, you say? I thoroughly liked Mary on this reread. She’s hilarious a...more
The first part of this book is a little slow but as you come to the end of the book all of this background information makes the story and characters much more complete in my opinion, and therefore worth the effort. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sad to see that so many did not because they were expecting Fanny to be like Elizabeth, or Emma, from Austen's other novels. I, as many, did not first love Fanny but as I came to understand her more I really came to admire her strengths and want...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Johnny Waco
It seems that readers of Mansfield Park fall into two camps: those who don't like Fanny and those that sort of, well, don't mind her so much. Hard to find someone who loves poor Fanny. I'm not saying I love her character, but I had read a little bit about the novel before I started reading and was prepared to simply tolerate her and enjoy everything else about Mansfield Park; surprisingly, I didn't find her dislikable or annoying at all. Sure, she's priggish, and no, she's not witty, but above a...more
Nov 19, 2010 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: animals in my play
Recommended to Mariel by: a sight to behold
I read Mansfield Park in high school (probably around fourteen or fifteen). I viewed the 1999 film when it came out and the recent tv version (ugh) more recently (the casting couch must've won that battle. Hope they raided the change 'cause I doubt it did anything for anyone's career). It's hard to separate the movies from my old memories.

Fifth wheel Fanny Price isn't a part of the reindeer games of her jerk-off cousins. They are the bitchy girls in my neighborhood who thought they were cool be...more
Of all the Jane Austen, I've read, this is the one that shows the distance of time the most. I smiled at terms like "knocked up" or "fagged" for tired and "conjugal felicity" and "making love" as completely innocent terms. Certainly not word choices one would use today without someone misinterpreting your meaning.

And the characters seemed removed as well. Most of Jane Austen's heroines seem strong, against her social ideal in that day and therefore beyond her time. But that Fanny. If her extreme...more
My least favourite Austen novel. When I first read Mansfield Park years ago I thoroughly enjoyed it but on re-reading, I no longer felt the same.

The main characters (Fanny/Edmund) were the worst, they were bloody awful, I can't believe I ever used to like them. I was more entertained by the secondary characters even though all of them were one dimensional and horrible, despite them being flat and unlikeable they still managed to be more endearing and entertaining than Fanny and Edmund.

Fanny ha...more
I have not read anything by Jane Austen in years and it really is a delight to discover how much I enjoyed Mansfield Park. This story of Fanny Price, the young girl brought to be raised with her cousins in a life of more purpose and to also be less burden on her own parents, includes all sorts of incidents and episodes one expects in literature of the time and a bit more than I've come to think of as coming from Austen. This is a more grown and mature author we see with more complex plot and cha...more
Grace Tjan
I initially thought that this novel is not on par with the other Austens that I have read, it being nothing more than a didactic novel about morality and propriety as conceived by the provincial English gentry at that time. Fanny Price's timidity, shyness and physical weakness did not endear her to me. Edmund, the oh-so-proper clergyman, who disapproves of theatricals and other improprieties, seemed to be an incredibly boring 'leading man'. His sudden turn from being a big brother to Fanny to he...more
The edition I have is actually different and has several commentaries, and the full script for the play "Lovers Vows."
One of the commentaries stated how many people didn't like this story because they felt the heroine, Fanny Price to be "too moral" and not as interesting as other characters. When they accused her of being excessively moral I thought of Dorothea from Eliot's Middlemarch who sucks joy out of life in a desire to be devote and useful to the world. Fanny isn't ridiculously devote,...more
Nicole D.
Mansfield Park is Austen's third,least popular,and my second favorite of her novels.It is the least popular because like most of her relatives,most readers do not understand the heroine Fanny Price.Fanny's high sense of morals,duty,honor and gentleness are uncommon in our society today.Today society doesn't have a moral code.I am very fond of Fanny and she is one of my favorite heroines.

I dislike Henry and Mary Crawford,who most other readers seem to like.Henry Crawford is the kind of man who le...more
A bit different from her other works, with the focus more on family relationships, but still thoroughly enjoyable! With a great story riddled with side plots and a heroine who really matures through the novel and some very dislikable minor characters, this is another great work by the amazing Jane Austen!
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 15, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Austen Fans; Readers of Classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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FABClub (Female A...: Mansfield Park Discussion! (Classics Series #1 March '14) 43 26 Jul 05, 2014 08:38AM  
Why does everyone hate Fanny Price? 77 594 Jun 06, 2014 12:29AM  
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Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fr...more
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