Tag Archives: Mansfield Park

Daisy Miller

Daisy Miller by Henry James

Age: Adult

Henry James is an interesting author. He seems like he has fun with his stories. He’s an American author who has written 20 novels, 112 short stories and a few plays, I believe. I’ve only read The Turn of the Screw, and I’m currently reading Daisy Miller. The Turn of the Screw was semi Science-Fictionesque filled with ghost stories and creepy children in a giant mansion.

Daisy Miller is nothing like The Turn of the Screw. Its a more playful story. Mr. Winterbourne courting a young “common” lady named Daisy Miller in Geneva, Switzerland. Daisy with her timid and morally lax mother. Daisy with her hyperactive younger brother with an immense sweet tooth.

If one didn’t know Henry James was American before picking up this book, then they certainly would within the first few pages with the dialog consisting of “American boys are the best” “American candy is the best” etc.

Its funny that Daisy Miller was written about 50 some-odd year after Mansfield Park, by an American male, and still refers to the same standards of morality and social stigmas that plagued Mansfield Park.

I wonder what Jane Austen would think of Daisy Miller?

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Mansfield Park

I finished Mansfield Park today, and I really wish I could reclaim those hours of my life spent reading this book.

As Jane Austen’s third book, I had higher expectations for it. Written in 1814, I’m sure there are many aspects of English countryside lifestyles that I am unfamiliar with, and hence, couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Mary Crawford was the most colorful and delightful character in the book, but I don’t think Jane Austen meant for her to be the most approachable character.

Edmund is very uppity, and very oblivious to anything relating to emotions.
Fanny is so meek and timid, it drives a modern woman up the wall.

Henry Crawford is another manifestation of Mr. Wickham, although I did find Henry Crawford more charming than Mr. Wickham overall.

The book could have been more successful without the entire volume 2. So much of nothing happened, I was more shocked at the levels of boredom and tediousness of life back in the early 19th century then anything else. I can see why so many movie representations of the novel stray so far from the actual storyline. The entire slave-trade incident in Antigua that Sir Thomas Betram is involved in gets only slightly mentioned in one sentence in the book, when it was given a much higher significance in the movies. I really did hope that Henry Crawford and Fanny would marry. I liked the Crawfords, for all their faults and selfishness, at least their characters had some life to them.

This book was such a let down compared to the life, the wit and the amazing characters of Pride and Prejudice.

I do still want to read Northanger Abbey, but I have no desire to read Emma or Sense and Sensability.

I guess I can start the Friday Night Knitting Club this week.

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One love triangle to another

I watched the movie “The Jane Austen Book Club” a couple weeks ago, and as much as I enjoyed the movie, I think it would have liked it more if I had read more of Jane Austen’s works than just Pride and Prejudice.

So, having watched that movie and  in keeping with my new reading routine (1 book off my bookshelf, 1 book from somewhere else), I decided to give Mansfield Park a try. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I am enjoying this book.

So, in reading this book, I feel like I need to make some kind of chart to keep all the characters and their stories straight. The book certainly does not lack Jane’s wit, sarcasm and commentary of the social hierarchies on morality and social status, all told through amusingly intricate love stories.

As far as I can tell, in the first 150 pages, there are two love triangles, the unfair and overbearing aunt, the absentee father figures, and the reckless youth.

Fanny Price, the heroine, is kind of dull. Miss Crawford is more interesting but seems superficial, and the Miss Bertrams are just plain annoying. I enjoy all the sections with Edmund Bertram, and all the tension that surrounds him, Fanny and Miss Crawford.

I saw the movie Mansfield Park back in high school in 2000, I think, and so I have flashes of the movie running through my head as I’m reading the book, but the movie images and the book storyline are not in sync, so its really frustrating. I haven’t seen the movie in over 5 years, but I can’t get out of my mind as I read this book. Well, I’ll just keep reading and hopefully the book will erase my memories of the movie. =) One can only hope.

The next book on my list is The Friday Night Knitting Club. I’ve heard some good things about this book, so I hope it won’t let me down.

On a side note, I don’t read mystery novels all too frequently, but I did read some very fun Knitting Mysteries a couple years ago. Needled to Death and A Deadly Yarn Both books by Maggie Sefton. I would recommend those two to any knitter interested in a quick and fun read, plus there are a couple of free patterns at the end of each book!