The Great Jane Re-Read: Mansfield Park

Time for the great Jane Summer Re-Read! Join me! @emily_m_deardo

This week’s contender: Mansfield Park.

I’ve written about Mansfield Park on the blog here.  It was also the topic of my senior thesis for my undergrad English degree, in which I wrote about how Fanny was a model of femininity to be embraced, not ignored. One of these days I’ll upload it to the Internets and share it.

My favorite movie version is the 1999 one.

Previous entries in the series: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice. 

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Daybook No. 98

daybook tag

Outside my window:: Sunny but also cloudy, if that makes sense. I guess the weatherman would call this “partly sunny”? Or “partly cloudy”? (I never did understand the distinction.)

In the CD player:: 1776 soundtrack.

Wearing:: My PJs. I know. So unexciting. But all my pretty clothes are packed away for vacation!

Reading:: Reclaiming Catholic Social TeachingThe Whole World Over; Mansfield Park; Lisette’s List. I also have a bunch of books packed for vacation, including Middlemarch, The Forsythe Saga, The Girl On A Train; A Memory of Violets; Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and a few more.

Yes, I bring lots of books when I go on vacation. It’s often like this:

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Links you may have missed:: Jane Re-Read: Pride and Prejudice; Sketchbook Skool; The Declaration 

Crafting:: I”ve got some knitting packed for Edel, because there are going to be excellent knitters there, and I need someone to teach me to purl consistently! I’ve also got my scarf and washcloth still on the needles.

From the kitchen:: Not much, since we’re leaving soon! I’m looking forward to excellent Charleston food!

Keeping House:: Cleaning before I leave–making sure all the trash is out, and things are generally tidy, so when I come home it won’t be a disaster. And of course, packing.

Fitness: Today is a yoga day, and tomorrow is a gym day. I am packing gym clothes for vacation (the hotel has a gym), but I think the normal run of things might be enough! We’ll see, though. Better to be prepared, right?

Prayer:: Really trying to keep to my “horarium”, as I’m calling it. That means prayer in the morning (lauds) with some devotional reading; midday prayer (noon) if I don’t make it to Mass; Divine Mercy chaplet and Office of Readings at 3:00 (and rosary, if I have time); Vespers between 5 and 5:30 (with rosary after, if I didn’t get to it already), and compline between 7:45 and 8:45, depending on what’s going on. This is, actually, a copy of a few monastic schedules. It’s not every hour of the office, but it’s a majority of them (It’s four, and there’s seven hours of the office). As a Lay Dominican, lauds, vespers and rosary are required every day. But I really like the office of readings, and compline is special to Dominicans. And of course, Daily Mass when I can.

There will be an adoration chapel set up at Edel on Saturday, which makes me crazy happy.

This week:: Um, vacation? 🙂 Edel is Friday and Saturday. So excited for that. 10 Year Anniversary is on Saturday as well! Rejoice! 🙂

Some cuteness: Princess Charlotte and her family at her baptism yesterday. The baptism was held at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.

Daybook with Royal Baby Photos! @emily_m_deardo

Duchess Catherine and Princess Charlotte.

Royal Christening @emily_m_deardo

The Duke and Duchess, with Princess Charlotte in the pram, and Prince George checking on his sister. (“I want to make sure she’s in there…”)

Princess Charlotte at her christening @emily_m_deardo

Someone looks like her mommy.

Yarn Along No. 27

This is going to be a quick installment. 🙂

 

 

Wednesday #YarnAlong! @emily_m_deardo

So I’m still working the same two projects, the scarf and the washcloth/dishcloth/dust rag (whatever you want to call it!). I’ve been knitting while I watch Outlander or Breaking Bad, and I can knit for about a half hour at a time during those. I did find another skein of yarn, called Chipmunk, that I think will be great for the next VA scarf project. It’s the same type of yarn as the one I’m currently working with, which you can read about here.

Wednesday #YarnAlong time! @emily_m_deardo

Isn’t that a cute name for this color? And it looks Chipmunk-ish.

As for reading: I’m saving The Girl on the Train and A God In Ruins for the Charleston trip, which is fast approaching. I want to have new books to read in the car. 🙂 I just finished The Astronaut Wives Club, which was pretty good. There were a lot of wives to keep straight, eventually, but I think the writer did a good job giving us insight into their lives. The book I’m currently reading is Pride and Prejudice, for the Great Jane Re-Read. 

The Great Jane Re-Read: Northanger Abbey

Time for the great Jane Summer Re-Read! Join me! @emily_m_deardo

(If you’re new here, read the beginning of this post to get the ground rules/ideas.)

I wrote this about Northanger Abbey last year.

My favorite movie version is this one, from the BBC (click the photo for details):

OK, so let’s talk about the book:

I really like Catherine–do you? I mean yes, she has some silly moments, but generally, she’s not a bad kid, especially for one who has never been away from home before and is thrown into social situations she’s never been in before. She’s much more sensible than, say, Lydia Bennet! (Whom we’ll talk about in the next installment.)

The Great Jane Re-Read: Northanger Abbey @emily_m_deardo

Henry and Catherine.

 

I just wanted to throttle the Thorpes. I always feel that way, but this time it was with special vengeance. Isabella is just so silly and stupid! Not to mention money grubbing: “Oh, I love James! Oh, no I don’t, his income is too small. Oh, wait, I love him again! Because no one else will have me, la!”

And John? How in the world does he think Catherine wants to marry him? He rivals Mr. Collins in his stupidity of women, but at least Mr. Collins was never as outright rude and coarse as John is.

General Tilney is a really interesting character, isn’t he? He terrifies his daughter and obviously Henry has his own problems with him. He’s not a model father, that’s for sure, although I don’t think any of the readers ascribe such villainous deeds to him as Catherine initially does. 🙂

Speaking of that, I love the scene when Catherine finds out that the papers are just laundry lists. It’s sort of like Ralph in A Christmas Story: “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine? A crummy commercial?!”

The Great Jane Re-Read: Northanger Abbey @emily_m_deardo

“LAUNDRY?!”

Have you read The Mysteries of Udolpho? It’s still in print, amazingly–Oxford World Classics has an edition that I’m pretty sure is only still in print because of Northanger Abbey. It’s not a bad read, if you’re interested in digging deeper into Catherine’s favorite genre.

The next time Jane will set a book in Bath will be Persuasion, her last completed novel, and the novel isn’t entirely set there (much like NA isn’t entirely set in Bath–it’s funny that we have to wait so long to get to the titular abbey, right?). Anne Elliott is not quite as sanguine as Catherine is about being in Bath, that’s for sure.

The Great Jane Re-Read: Northanger Abbey @emily_m_deardo

Northerner Abbey, the Tilney home and the novel’s namesake.

Catherine’s family seem so jolly, doesn’t it? 10 children, but also her parents seem to be really down-to-earth, practical sort of people (Although I imagine you’d have to be, in order to have 10 children and not be completely nuts.). She might be–I’m just now considering this–the most practical mother in Jane’s writing. Mrs. Bennet is not. Mrs. Dashwood sort of gets there by the end of the novel, but she has her moments of crazy. There is no Mrs. Woodhouse in Emma, nor is there a Mrs. Elliot in Persuasion, although Mrs. Elliot seemed to be a very lovely person, based on Anne’s remembrances; but Sir Walter wasn’t exactly a peach to live with. What do you think?

Seven Quick Takes No. 78

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

I.

mmmm. Summer Friday. Those are beautiful words in the English language, no? 🙂

II.

Since it’s summer, more people read. You can, of course, join the Jane Re-Read (Sense and Sensibility is what we’re talking right now). I’m still reading Prodigal Summer and Northanger Abbey. I just finished I Believe In Love, about St. Therese of Liseux and how she can lead us to a deeper spiritual life, and I really liked that one. There’s a lot to ponder and I’ll definitely be reading it again. (Who am I kidding. I read everything again….unless it’s Moby Dick or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Shudder!)

I keep debating if I should read Girl on a Train. Yes? No? Thoughts?

III.

My 10 year transplant testing appointment is on Monday. To put this in perspective: UNOS (the United Network for Organ Sharing, which “does” transplants in the U.S.) doesn’t even have 10 year survival rates on their chart. The last one they have is 5 years out, and for women, that rate is 46.1%. I read somewhere that 10 year survival is around 30%, but I forget where.
So, for ONCE, the odds have been playing nicely with me. I rejoice in this. The actual 10 year date is in July, but we do the testing in June, usually.

IV.

I’ve discovered that a lot of women don’t know basic maintenance things. This sort of scares me, ladies. You should know to put gas in the car (and what kind of gas), how to jump a car battery, how to use tools, how to unclog a toilet. Even if you’re married, your husband isn’t aways around to fix things! I’m amazed at how many women I know who can’t do any of these things and I want to be like, girls. Come on now!

V.

My brother’s girlfriend sent me this photo of him at Disneyland, and I just love it:

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As Br. H said, “How many Evil Empires can you fit in one picture?”

VI.

I’ve started swimming again–yay! But man, the muscles feel it when you swim hard for the first time in a season. They rebel the next day. But it’s so good to be in swim season again, I do not mind at all.

VII.

Almost time for Edel 2015 in Charleston! I’m so excited!! I’ve never been to South Carolina and I can’t wait to meet all the amazing women who will be there!

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility

Time for the great Jane Summer Re-Read!  We're talking about Sense and Sensibility@emily_m_deardo

We’re doing this slightly out of order–I read S&S first this year, so we’re starting there.

Since this is the first post on the Jane Re-Read, let’s do some basic ground rules:

1) Yes, she’s Jane here. I can’t call her “Austen” like I would “Dickens.” Jane just seems like a friend to me. Hence, Jane.

2) Abbreviations: S&S–Sense and Sensibility; P&P–Pride and Prejudice; MP–Mansfield Park; E–Emma; P–Persuasion; NA–Northanger Abbey; JA–Juvenilia, (not her initials. 🙂 )

3) In each entry–which will come up every two weeks–we can talk about anything related to the book. I’ll post links to other things I’ve written about the particular book, and I’ll also post my favorite movie version of each book (there are multiple versions of every book except NA, I think.)

4) I won’t summarize the book. You can google it for that. I’m assuming you’re going to read (or have read) the book. So it’ll just be notes. So, if you haven’t–spoilers, y’all.

Ready, y’all? Let’s start with Jane’s “darling child,” S&S.

I wrote two pieces about S&S here and here, and my favorite version of the movie is the 1995 one, although the BBC’s latest effort is more faithful to the book, overall.

S&S was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, and Jane took time off between the first draft and the published version we know as S&S. She wrote the first draft when she was younger, but it wasn’t published until several years later. Her family relocation to Bath, the death of her father, and the fallout from that made for a peripatetic life. Finally, her brother Edward settled Jane, her mother, and her sister and best friend Cassandra , at Chawton Cottage in the village of Chawton. It was there that Jane revised S&S, P&P and NA, and wrote MP, E, and P. 

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

The Dashwood sisters: (l-r) Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor.

Much of S&S deals with a topic Jane was intimately familiar with–what happens to the wife and daughters of a man when he dies. The Dashwood women do not fare nearly as well as the Austen women did. Jane’s brothers all pooled their resources to provide for Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen. (Cassandra was engaged, but her fiance died in a shipwreck.)  Regency society was very hard for unmarried and widowed women, and that’s illustrated well in the novel. Without Sir John’s easy rent terms for Barton Cottage, the family would’ve been very hard pressed to find anything near their former situation. While the Dashwood women now live in a cottage instead of handsome Norland Parkthey still have at least one maid and a manservant, and are able to live in an approximation of their former life (none of the women have to work, for example, to earn money). But their lives could’ve been much easier if John Dashwood had kept his promise to his dying father.

The closeness of the two sisters is also true to life for Jane. Jane endowed Marianne with several of her qualities: Marianne adores Cowper (Jane’s favorite poet), and shares some of Jane’s personality; also, Jane was the younger sister (and second youngest child in the Austen family). It is easy to imagine Cassandra as Elinor, especially since Elinor is an artist, as Cassandra was. The closeness of sisters is examined in many of Jane’s novels, but particularly here and in P&P (with Jane and Lizzie). In Persuasion, Anne Elliott isn’t close to either of her sisters; Fanny Price in MP is close to one of her younger sisters, and Emma’s older sister, Isabella, is a sort of non-entity since she is married and lives in London, not Highbury, with her husband and children.

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Col. Brandon gives Marianne (Kate Winslet, second left) a new piano.

It’s interesting that only MP deals with brothers–Fanny is very attached to her brother William, who serves in the Royal Navy (as did almost all of Jane’s brothers). Edmund Bertram treats Fanny like a sister for much of MP, but they’re cousins. There are no “true” brothers in any of the other novels: In S&S, he’s the girls half-brother, from their father’s first marriage; there are no Bennet boys, which is a major plot point, and both the Woodhouse and Elliott families have only girls. (This is also a major plot point in Persuasion, not so much in MP.)

I have a lot in common with Marianne. We both love music and romance and poetry, but I also have a bit of Elinor in me. I would never act like Marianne does in the ballroom scene in London, for example. The old-fashioned girl part of me waits for the man to approach and to do the asking. Like Elinor, I’m aware of social norms and what’s acceptable behavior, and 99% of the time, I follow it. (The other 1%…well, sometimes we all go nuts. :-)) But I also am fiercely loyal, like Marianne is, and don’t take fools lightly, although I generally use my Elinor side to refrain from saying whatever I think. (See, Marianne and the Middletons.)

Am I the only one who wanted Edward to buck up? You are not in love with Lucy anymore–break off the engagement! I totally support him keeping his word, but come on, Edward! You were willing to spend your life with a woman who drove you crazy because when you were young you made a mistake and got engaged?! Boo.

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Edward (Hugh Grant)

I think every girl has her Willoughby–that man she falls head-over-heels for, the one that seems so perfect. And then you find out he’s not. Maybe he’s not a scoundrel, a la Wickham, but he’s not perfect, and he’s not the man for you.

It’s a fine line between Marianne and Elinor. If you stay silent, like Elinor does, you could miss your chance. But if you’re overly eager, as Marianne is, it can cause you problems later on. I always wondered what Margaret would end up like–more Elinor, or Marianne? Or a good mixture of both?

Like all of Jane’s heroines, Marianne learns a lesson by the time she weds the Colonel (who, incidentally, is never given a first name in the books. He’s just Colonel Brandon.), but I think she’s happier for it. I think she and Elinor both have good, solid marriages, where both of them can love and esteem their husbands (as Mr. Bennet exhorts Lizzie to do in P&P). 

The Great Jane Re-Read: Sense and Sensibility @emily_m_deardo

Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) after their wedding.

What do you think of S&S? Are you more a Marianne or an Elinor?

Yarn Along No. 25

What a weekend! I spent a lot of time with my needles and yarn!

Let me take you through it!

Pretty finished scarf! @emily_m_deardo First, remember this guy? Yes. I have finished the long scarf/cowl thing, and as I was knitting it, I thought it would make a great birthday present for one of my always-cold friends. Her birthday is in September, and these are her favorite colors, so big win there! I love how it turned out.

washcloth project colors @emily_m_deardo

Second–at the top you can see the finished “lilac” washcloth. On the right is the last skein of yarn for the Washcloth Housewarming Gift Project. This one is called blackberry.

Current Yarn Along project  @emily_m_deardo

The book part: I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, which I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but once Modern Mrs. Darcy suggested it, I was glad to find it for $4 at Half Price Books. 🙂 So that’s what I’m currently reading.

So I have to cast on the last washcloth. But I did start one new project:

a scarf for the VA hospital in the most delicious color! @emily_m_deardo

People, this yarn. It’s called morning glory, and it has the slightest red tint to it. I love it. This is a scarf for a charity project. My Lay Dominican chapter collects hats and scarves to give to the patients at the local VA hospital, and this is my contribution. I’m knitting this up on 10 gauge Harmony Rainbow needles and it’s fantastic.

So, whew! That’s a lot for one yarn along! I’m loving knitting this scarf, and I’m so glad I have another skein of this color in the stash for another project. Possibly one for me. 😉