Mansfield Park: Episode 10, Chapters 40-45

In this episode, we read Chapters 40 to 45 of Mansfield Park. We talk about the plot of a girl brought up in privileged circumstances returning to her family, Mary’s letters and how Fanny responds to them, the success of Henry’s visit, Edmund’s letter to Fanny, and Tom’s illness.

We discuss the Price family (with a slight digression into the idea of disposition and principle), then Ellen talks about servants and Harriet looks at how adaptations and modernisations treat these chapters.

Things we mention:

General and character discussion:

Historical discussion:

Popular culture discussion:

Creative commons music used:

4 thoughts on “<em>Mansfield Park</em>: Episode 10, Chapters 40-45”

  1. Thank you for this series! Mansfield Park has so many, many layers, it’s always good to examine it deeply as many times as you can. I was surprised to hear the opinion expressed that Fanny was very judgemental about her family in Portsmouth; I think I would have felt the same way about the things Fanny dislikes in her family–the uncleanliness, the disorder, lack of courtesy, and more. I remember Mrs. Price makes excuses as to why she has not prepared any food for them after their long journey when she knows they’ll be hungry. This is followed by making excuses for everything that’s wrong in the running of the household, and it’s a long list. Austen takes the time to tell us all the little things that are broken, that don’t get done, that should have been taken care of, like Sam’s kit for his first naval assignment–they knew well in advance he’d need certain clothing and other items, and Mrs. Price acts like it was all sprung on her unawares. Worse than this is how both of her parents ignore Fanny’s arrival, instead eagerly talking to William, who has not been away 9 years. I wouldn’t call this a cultural difference, as was mentioned in the discussion, because it’s just common courtesy and kindness to take care of things and people. I have really enjoyed your program, with a great variety of material presented, and I’ll be tuning in again….thank you, ladies!

    • Thank you for this comment (and apologies for the delay in replying – I am currently on holiday, and travelling).

      I’m not saying I DISAGREE with Fanny’s judgements about her family. Mrs Price is very inefficient, and the clear favouritism of her sons, and Betsey, over Fanny and Susan, is distressing.

      But it does seem that Fanny is applying Mansfield standards, without making any allowance at all for Mrs Price’s different circumstances.

  2. Thank you for this podcast, I am a regular listener.
    I just wanted to point out that in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park, the same actress plays both Mrs. Price and Lady Bertram ( I think it gives a nice twist to the two sisters. You get to see how important it is to “marry well”, that is into money, as their life is so very different as married women. This being the same actress makes it more obvious than otherwise

    • This is an excellent point. I think in an earlier episode on Mansfield Park, I may have mentioned (unless I edited it out) that Lindsay Duncan plays both parts. But I definitely should have said it again in this episode.
      Yes, I agree with you that having the same actress playing both parts really brings home the difference their marriages made to them.


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