Defending Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

For some unknown reason, M.P. has usually received a bad rap among Austen fans.  “It’s too dull.  Fanny and Edmund are boring as a heroine and hero.”  In my mind, nothing could be further from the truth.  M.P., I think, is Austen’s most mature novel.  It really explores the human mind and displays the differences between good and bad.  M.P. is also an entertaining read.  From the private theater to the visit to Sotherton to the deep discussions between the main characters and Fanny’s come-out ball I am never bored.  M.P. is perhaps not as entertaining as Pride and Prejudice; as light-hearted as Northanger Abbey; as sparkling as Emma; as satisfying as Sense and Sensibility; or as tender and romantic as Persuasion, it still ranks (in my thinking) as one of the top three of Austen’s works.

Fanny is a very interesting character.  In her own quiet way, she is the strongest of all the characters.  She refuses to act and doesn’t get carried away by the charm and good looks of Henry Crawford.  She is intelligent, understanding, and full of many other good qualities.  Fanny may not be the liveliest Austen heroine, but besides Anne Elliot, she is probably the most mature of all heroines.

Edmund is not boring and dull.  He has lots of good character traits even though he is led somewhat astray by Mary Crawford.  Edmund and Fanny understand each other very well, and it’s easy to tell why they are attracted to each other.

Thus ends my post.  Sorry for ranting, but I just can’t understand people when they say that M.P. is boring and dull.  Have a good day and please tell me what you think about M.P.



  1. #1 by ladylavinia1932 on 2012/01/04 - 10:16 PM

    You really believe that Fanny Price is mature? I don’t. I find her to be a hypocritical bore.

    • #2 by loverofausten on 2012/01/04 - 10:22 PM

      I’m sorry that you think that about Fanny. But it is because of people like you that I wrote this post. Thank you for your opinion.

  2. #3 by auxochrome on 2011/12/20 - 4:01 AM

    I can’t decide which between Persuasion and Mansfield Park is Austen’s most mature work. Anne Elliot and Fanny Price are two unlike characters, having been brought up in vastly different environments. One cannot expect Fanny to trust her own mind and be as lively and pretty as Anne…

    Mansfield Park is a very interesting novel. Not only did Austen explore to some depths the human mind but also wrote a story that seemingly runs on its own–almost independent of the author’s hand–letting the characters struggle, suffer the consequences of their ambition and ideals, and work themselves through the world they’d been placed in.

    (I raise my glass.) To your valiant defense of Mansfield Park!

  3. #4 by Melody on 2011/12/20 - 12:34 AM

    I remember seeing this post a few days ago and felt glad you were defending MP. It’s rather strange to some, perhaps, that I defend my least favorite Jane Austen book so much; but that just says how much I love all her works, that though it may be my technical ‘least favorite’ I still love it!

    The main thing I like about it is Fanny Price. I sympathize with her and love her. I’m not really a fan of Edmund – mainly for going for Mary – but I still like him tolerably well enough. =) He is such a nice fellow. Now if Miss Austen had included a redeeming proposal quote, I might be more disposed to rate him highly. tehe…

    It drives me nuts when people say Fanny is judgmental, or boring, or whatever else they say about her. They just don’t understand her if they do! =)

    I think the main thing to boost MP’s popularity would be a good miniseries of it. I hope one comes soon!

  4. #5 by Jennifer S. on 2011/12/19 - 5:55 PM

    very well said

  5. #6 by Jemimah C. on 2011/12/18 - 12:16 PM

    Mansfield Park may not reach my top three favorite Austen books, but I found it neither dull nor boring. It was, in fact, interesting. Fanny’s a lovely character with wonderful, strong qualities. Although Edmund doesn’t rank high as my favorite Austen heroes, I agree: he still has many good character traits as well.

    • #7 by Elinor Dashwood on 2011/12/18 - 2:37 PM

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed M.P. Edward is not the most dashing of Austen heros, but still one of my favorites.

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