The Literary Life Podcast podcast

Episode 107: “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen, Vol. 1, Ch. 1-9

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Welcome back to The Literary Life podcast with Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks. Today our hosts embark on a new series of discussions as we read through Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park together. To view the schedule for the episodes in this series, see our Upcoming Events page.

Our hosts open the conversation with their first experience with this book and some thoughts on why people may struggle with Mansfield Park more than any other Austen novel. Angelina highlights the similarities some people note between Austen and Shakespeare and how this book illustrates that point. Thomas responds to criticisms that Fanny is a “prig.” Cindy brings up the importance of place in this book thematically. Other ideas they discuss in this episode are moving from blindness to sight, the importance of triangles in this book, and appearances versus reality.

Commonplace Quotes:

Many come to wish their tower a well…

W. H. Auden, from “The Quest”

Sadly, we do not have a Christian culture today that easily discriminates between a person of spiritual depth and a person of raw talent. Like the wheat and the tares of Jesus’ parable, they can be difficult to distinguish. The result is that more than a few people can be fooled into thinking they are being influenced by a spiritual giant when, in fact, they are being manipulated by a dwarf.

Gordon MacDonald

Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do? But I would rather get away from that whole idea of clocks. We all want to progress. But progress mean getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man… If you look at the present state of the big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

C. S. Lewis Fairy-tale Logic

by A. E. Stallings

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,
Or learn the phone directory by rote.
Always it’s impossible what someone asks—

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe
That you have something impossible up your sleeve,
The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,
An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,
The will to do whatever must be done:
Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

As printed in Poetry Magazine, March 2010

Book List:

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Support The Literary Life:

Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!

Connect with Us:

You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/

Find Cindy at morningtimeformoms.com, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also!

Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

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    Episode 109: “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen, Vol. 2, Ch. 1-5

    1:37:43

    On The Literary Life Podcast this week, Angelina, Cindy and Thomas are continuing their series on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. This is the third episode in the series. They open their discussion talking about the virtue of temperance and how Fanny Price embodies temperance. In looking at the plot and the reaction of various characters to Sir Thomas’ return, they bring out more of Fanny’s virtues in contrast to the vices of other players in this section. Other themes highlighted in this section are the harp as a symbol of harmony, the problem of self-focus, the qualities of nature, and the Cinderella story parallels Austen is playing with. Get in on the Western Films and Fiction webinar on November 22nd with Thomas and James Banks! Register here to join in! To view the schedule for the episodes in this series, see our Upcoming Events page. Also, if you want to join our members-only forum off Facebook, check out our Patreon page to learn more! Commonplace Quotes: He had a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a hand to execute any mischief. Edward Hyde Here, again, I would urge that appreciation is not a voluntary offering, but a debt we owe, and a debt we must acquire the means to pay by patient and humble study. In this, as in all the labours of the conscience seeking for instruction, we are enriched by our efforts; but self-culture should not be our object. Let us approach Art with the modest intention to pay a debt that we owe in learning to appreciate. So shall we escape the irritating ways of the connoisseur! Charlotte Mason The temperate man is so well-ordered that he does not feel the temptations of passion or desire. There is a difficulty about temperance, too, since it is a virtue that consists chiefly of not doing things. The liveliness of action and imagery must occur chiefly among its opponents, and we know what is liable to happen in this situation, even when there is no doubt about where our moral sympathy should lie. We have seen it in many works of fiction. But Guyon remains a colorless hero, and there is neither a heroic trial nor a radiant climax to his quest. Graham Hough To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,  Old Time is still a-flying;  And this same flower that smiles today  Tomorrow will be dying.  The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,  The higher he’s a-getting,  The sooner will his race be run,  And nearer he’s to setting.  That age is best which is the first,  When youth and blood are warmer;  But being spent, the worse, and worst  Times still succeed the former.  Then be not coy, but use your time,  And while ye may, go marry;  For having lost but once your prime,  You may forever tarry. Book List: Lord Clarendon’s History of the Great Rebellion by Edward Hyde Ourselves by Charlotte Mason A Preface to the Faerie Queene by Graham Hough “Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support! Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/ Find Cindy at morningtimeformoms.com, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also! Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB
  • The Literary Life Podcast podcast

    Episode 108: “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen, Vol. 1, Ch. 10-18

    1:26:06

    Today on The Literary Life, we continue our conversation on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Angelina, Cindy and Thomas share their commonplace quotes, then dive into the book chat, beginning with some commentary on Fanny’s education in contrast to that of the Bertram sisters. They also talk about the concepts of restraint, temptation, and boundaries and how we see these ideas play out in the various characters. Angelina points out how Fanny is the fixed moral center throughout this whole section. She also talks about the play within the novel and how Austen’s use of this form reflects Shakespeare. We hope that the discussion opens up new levels of understanding for you as you read this novel along with us! To view the schedule for the episodes in this series, see our Upcoming Events page. Also, if you want to join our members-only forum off Facebook, check out our Patreon page to learn more! Listen to The Literary Life: Commonplace Quotes: I entirely agree that it’s no good trying to coerce or argue artists into giving what they haven’t got. Either they burst into tears, or go sullen, or–if they are hearty extraverts–they cheerfully turn out fifteen new versions, each worse than the last. Actors too. They’re the most kittle cattle of the lot. Dorothy Sayers, in a letter to C. S. Lewis While affording some secrets of the way of the will to young people, we should perhaps beware of presenting the ideas of self-knowledge, self-reverence, and self-control. All adequate education must be outward bound, and the mind which is concentrated on self-emolument, even though it be the emolument of all the virtues, misses the higher and the simpler secrets of life. Duty and service are the sufficient motives for the arduous training of the will that the child goes through with little consciousness. Charlotte Mason She is almost a Jane Austen heroine condemned to a Charlotte Brontë situation. We do not even believe in what Jane Austen tells us of her good looks; whenever we are looking at the action through Fanny’s eyes, we feel ourselves sharing the consciousness of a plain woman. C. S. Lewis, “A Note on Jane Austen” Sonnet 23 by William Shakespeare As an unperfect actor on the stage Who with his fear is put beside his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart; So I for fear of trust forget to say The perfect ceremony of love’s rite, And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay, O’ercharged with burden of mine own love’s might. O, let my books be then the eloquence And dumb presagers of my speaking breast, Who plead for love and look for recompense More than that tongue that more hath more expressed. O, learn to read what silent love hath writ. To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit. Book List: Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support! Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/ Find Cindy at morningtimeformoms.com, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also! Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB
  • The Literary Life Podcast podcast

    Episode 107: “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen, Vol. 1, Ch. 1-9

    1:28:44

    Welcome back to The Literary Life podcast with Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks. Today our hosts embark on a new series of discussions as we read through Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park together. To view the schedule for the episodes in this series, see our Upcoming Events page. Our hosts open the conversation with their first experience with this book and some thoughts on why people may struggle with Mansfield Park more than any other Austen novel. Angelina highlights the similarities some people note between Austen and Shakespeare and how this book illustrates that point. Thomas responds to criticisms that Fanny is a “prig.” Cindy brings up the importance of place in this book thematically. Other ideas they discuss in this episode are moving from blindness to sight, the importance of triangles in this book, and appearances versus reality. Commonplace Quotes: Many come to wish their tower a well… W. H. Auden, from “The Quest” Sadly, we do not have a Christian culture today that easily discriminates between a person of spiritual depth and a person of raw talent. Like the wheat and the tares of Jesus’ parable, they can be difficult to distinguish. The result is that more than a few people can be fooled into thinking they are being influenced by a spiritual giant when, in fact, they are being manipulated by a dwarf. Gordon MacDonald Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do? But I would rather get away from that whole idea of clocks. We all want to progress. But progress mean getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man… If you look at the present state of the big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on. C. S. Lewis Fairy-tale Logic by A. E. Stallings Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks: Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat, Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat, Select the prince from a row of identical masks, Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote, Or learn the phone directory by rote. Always it’s impossible what someone asks— You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe That you have something impossible up your sleeve, The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak, An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke, The will to do whatever must be done: Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son. As printed in Poetry Magazine, March 2010 Book List: Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support! Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/ Find Cindy at morningtimeformoms.com, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also! Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

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