Mansfield Park: Episode 5, Chapters 17-21

In this episode, we read Chapters 17 to 21 of Mansfield Park. We talk about Fanny’s moral trajectory during the theatricals, Mary’s casual acceptance of Henry’s behaviour with Maria, the cliffhanger ending of Volume 1 in the first edition, and Fanny’s question to Sir Thomas about the slave trade (with Harriet’s theory as to why she asked it).

We talk about Sir Thomas, first considering how he is presented in the text, and then how we reconcile this with the fact that his estate in Antigua is worked by enslaved people. Ellen looks at the clergy, including the presentation of livings, pluralism and absenteeism, and the career path for the clergy. Harriet talks about the popular culture versions.

Things we mention:

General and character discussion:

Historical discussion:

Popular culture discussion:

  • Adaptations:
    • BBC, Mansfield Park (1983) – starring Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell (6 episodes)
    • Miramax, Mansfield Park (1999) – starring Frances O’Connor and Jonny Lee Miller
    • ITV, Mansfield Park (2007) – starring Billie Piper and Blake Ritson
  • Modernisations:

Creative commons music used:

3 thoughts on “<em>Mansfield Park</em>: Episode 5, Chapters 17-21”

  1. Thank you for this interesting podcast. Yes, I was surprised when I re-read MP last week that there was less of Fanny’s interiority in the earlier chapters than I had remembered. I experienced the introduction of the East Room in Chapter 16 as a real turning point, because that is where you get the first extended section of Fanny’s internal deliberations. And it comes right after Mrs. Norris’s insult in the chapter before — just when a reader would want to know how Fanny survives in such an environment.

    • Gosh, that’s a good point! I am drafting a blog post about the East Room and its significance. I wonder if I might reference your point that the “interiority” starts, or picks up, there… One point I will make is the practical function the East Room serves in the novel, as a place for some important private conversations, held during the winter months, when Fanny can’t be out in the shrubbery. She’s away from the parlor and Mrs. Norris. Also, the school room is situated in an east-facing room for practical reasons which we don’t have to think about in these days of cheap electrical light, but people in Regency times did.

  2. Sure, although I was just jumping off from the conversation in the podcast.

    I had not thought about the sunlight needed for Miss Lee’s students!


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