Mansfield Park Readalong: Austen in August

Monday, July 29, 2013


I decided to host this readalong in August to coincide with Adam's awesome annual Austen in August event. It will be very relaxed. This is the sign-up post. I'll post my thoughts on the first half on Friday, August 16th. Then I'll post my final thoughts on August 30th. Join in if you'd like and post whenever you want! 

I read Mansfield Park at the height of my Austen love. At that point I'd read all of her major novels except Emma. I loved every single one of her books that I'd read and so my expectations were high for Mansfield Park. I was incredibly disappointed. Fanny was an annoying, moralistic heroine and the final romantic pairing just didn't work for me.


Since then I've always wondered if I gave MP a fair shake. It's not usually anyone's favorite Austen novel, but it's often called her most complex novel. For years I wanted to reread it and see if I could get past my first impression (bonus Austen points for a Pride & Prejudice reference).

So, I know that's not the strongest recommendation for reading along with me, but Austen in like pizza, even if it's bad it's still good. You'll never regret reading one of her books. I'm looking forward to rereading MP with a bit more objectivity and some good discussion this time around! 
 

18 comments:

Brona Joy said...

I could have written your post - you described my experience with Mansfield Park to a tee!
Rereading MP will be made more pleasurable with good company :-)

Great idea.

Brooke said...

Yay for rereading Mansfield Park and hoping to enjoy it more. In the same boat and can't wait to get started.

Roof Beam Reader said...

"First Impressions" can, indeed, be misleading. ;) Haha Great job with that. Funny! Anhoot - I just reread To Kill a Mockingbird, after not really liking it very much the first time (5 or 6 years ago?). And, wow. Yeah, it was a completely different experience.

As for Mansfield Park, specifically. Well, it is probably my least favorite Austen "to read" - it is dry, methodical, and slow. BUT, it is absolutely her most complex and her most important. She gets much more bold, as it were, touching upon very important political, economic and social issues (something she generally stayed away from in all of her other works). I think it might be her greatest work, even if it's not the most enjoyable.

I'm glad you're doing this! Safety in numbers, right? I hope a lot of folks will give this one a try (or a retry) with you. I just read it last year, or I'd tag along. Instead, I'll be reading Emma and Persuasion, which are the last two Austen works I've yet to experience.

Jeanne said...

This August is not a time I can sign up to do anything more that has to be coordinated with others, but I will be commenting, as I love Mansfield Park!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brona - I'm so glad I'm not alone. Maybe we can have a better experience with it this time.

Brooke - Me too!

Roof Beam - I was thrilled you were rereading Mockingbird. It has so much in it, but on the surface it seems so simple.

I love your points about MP. Those are the reasons I decided to reread it. First time around I think I was expecting a different book and it tainted my reading experience. I also thrilled you're reading Persuasion, my personal favorite and one I reread in January this year!

Jeanne - Oh good! I would love to hear a perspective from someone who loves it!

JoAnn said...

Mansfield Park is my least favorite Austen novel and I've long though it deserved a reread. Not sure if I can squeeze it in next month, but we'll see...

bookertalk.com said...

My least favourite Austen unfortunately though I know it has a large fan following. Hope you all enjoy it

misfortuneofknowing said...

Mansfield Park is the Austen novel I liked the least the first time I read it, but it grew on me. I'll definitely stop by to read your thoughts on it, and I might even read along with you.

ebookclassics said...

Mansfield Park is one of the two Jane Austen books I have read. I was warned it was disappointing, but I liked it. I guess what they say is true, any Austen is good. I hope you enjoy the book this second time around!

Kimberly Hawks said...

I had picked this one to read this month too! So I look forward to maybe hopping in with you on your posts :)

Brona Joy said...

Here's my start up post for Mansfield Park.
Happy Reading!

http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/austen-in-august-readalong.html

Bookworm1858 said...

I wish I had time in August to join you-I'm not sure I gave MP a fair shake either as I picked it up knowing all sorts of things about it, most not very positive. I am hoping to reread it soon though!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

JoAnn - You can always join in the conversation with comments from the first time you read it if you want to!

bookertalk - I always have one or two people tell me it's their favorite Austen!

misfortuneofknowing - That is so good to hear. I hope I have a similar reaction.

ebookclassics - I always wondered if I would have liked it more if I hadn't read it right after Persuasion (my personal favorite). I think that one might have been too fresh in my mind.

Kimberly Hawks - So glad you're joining in!

Brona Joy - Great post! I love the Jane Eyre comparison!

Bookworm1858 - I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts whenever you reread it!

Brona Joy said...

I've now done a WWW post to highlight a few new words and their definitions...
Brona's Books

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brona - I love it! Such a great idea.

Brona Joy said...

Thanks Melissa - you can now celebrate with a glass of Negus!

Ekaterina Egorova said...

Hm, I am actually signing after commenting on the first check-in, but I totally forgot there WAS a sign-up :) Sorry!

I've never read MP before, and I'm going to pair it with Nabokov's lecture on it. He was disdainful toward everything written by Jane Austen, but then got convinced by a friend to try MP, and later included it in his famous lectures! So it must be ibteresting :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brona - Oh my gosh, that looks so delicious!

Ekaterina Egorova - No worries! Glad you joined the fun! I'd love to read the Nabokov lecture.