Breakout Speakers

Session A: Friday, October 10, 3:15 pm - 4:05 pm

A1. Mansfield Park Pathologies Panel: Moderated by Joan Ray, University of Colorado

a. Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer, Speech language pathologist, Vancouver Region
Sisters Under Their Skins: Exploring the Similarities Between Mrs. Norris and Lady Bertram

These two sisters, who appear so different on the surface, especially regarding their physical energy, in fact exhibit many similarities: poor ability to share in conversation (one says too little, the other too much); limited “theory of mind”; insensitivity toward others; limited emotional range.

b. Gracia Fay Ellwood, Southwest California region
Creepmouse Among the Cats; Or, It is All Fanny’s Fault

Both readers and characters of Mansfield Park tend to disparage Fanny.  She has faults, but is also a victim of child abuse.  Studies in victimology show that many observers of abuse escape their empathetic distress by victim-blame.  Applying these insights to disparagement of Fanny makes possible a more balanced picture.

c. Phyllis Thorpe, Metropolitan St. Louis region
Fanny Price: The Lost Child in an Alcoholic Family

“Roles” typically played by those in dysfunctional families, as described by psychologist Claudia Black, are clearly portrayed in Mansfield Park.  Viewing Fanny in this way helps us empathize with her challenges, understand her character, appreciate her growth, and, perhaps, embrace the ways in which we may identify her.

A2. “Vanity Punished” and the Trouble with Princes: the Good, the Bad and the Charming in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park

Rebecca Posusta, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
In Mansfield Park, Jane Austen uses the Cinderella tale to explore what makes a good man good, what makes a bad man bad, and how charm fits into the debate.

A3. The “Ordination” of Fanny Price: Female Monasticism in Mansfield Park

Kathleen Anderson, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Jane Austen reveals the spiritual development of Fanny Price through monastic symbology that delineates her “novitiate” of training in the Rule of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and her gradual embracement of conventual headship as a model of the combined contemplative and apostolic roles.

A4. The Plays Passed Over at Mansfield, Despite “An Itch for Acting”

Russell Clark, Greater Chicago Region
Austen refers to fourteen plays in Mansfield Park.  Wasn’t there among all those rejected by the Mansfield players—plays by Shakespeare, Moore, Home, Sheridan, Cumberland or Colman—a more suitable choice than Lovers’ Vows?

A5. Why Tom Bertram Can’t Die

Theresa M. Kenney, University of Dallas
Austen uses Tom Bertram’s illness to trigger perhaps the biggest change any character in Mansfield Park undergoes, but why can’t he die and elevate Edmund, as Mary Crawford wishes?

A6. Ironic Courtship Patterns and Film Reception

Marie N. Sørbø, Vice-Rector, Volda University College, Norway
Austen gives us a deeply ironic description of Mansfield Park as a crumbling world.  The ironic perspective encompasses even the courtship story, in this case so different from readers’ expectations.  Three film and television adaptations from 1983, 1999, and 2007 represent very different tendencies in the reception of Austen’s story.

A7. Austen’s Wild Women: From the Juvenilia to Mansfield Park

Hilary Havens, Concordia University
Why Mansfield Park recycle so many of Austen’s earlier scandalous themes from the Juvenilia and recast them through a darker lens?  And what do these women reveal about women’s education and female accomplishments?

A8. “For her price is far above rubies”: Choosing a Wife in Mansfield Park

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“‘For her price is far above rubies’: Choosing a Wife in Mansfield Park
Persuasions 36 (2014): 80-88.

Anita Soloway, Tel Aviv University
Mansfield Park is very much concerned with what an ordained minister should be looking for in a wife.  The description of the ideal wife in Proverbs 31 forms the biblical subtext of Austen’s novel, hinted at in Fanny’s name and explicitly, if cynically, cited by Henry Crawford.

A9. The Animal World in Mansfield Park

Barbara Seeber, Brock University
Mansfield Park is the only Austen novel which includes pets in its cast: Lady Bertram’s pug, Fanny’s pony, her mare, and, Barbara will argue, at times Fanny herself.  Barbara will explore the significance of pets in Mansfield Park.

Session B: Friday, October 10, 4:35 pm - 5:25 pm

B1. Mansfield Park Family Therapy: A Comic Drama

Dara G. Friedman-Wheeler and Juliette C. Wells, Goucher College
Seeking help: an authoritarian father, a checked-out mother, four self-absorbed children, an aunt who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “boundaries,” and a disadvantaged niece who’s at the mercy of everyone.  The treatment team: a clinic psychologist and an Austen scholar.

B2. Mansfield Park and Education from Locke to Wollstonecraft

Jessica Richard, Wake Forest University
Jessica will examine contextual materials on education throughout the long eighteenth century to develop a reading of Mansfield Park that may unsettle your thoughts about the novel’s conclusion.

B3. “Did not you hear me ask him about the slave trade last night?” Looking for Clues in Real Houses Which Point to the Wealth and Lifestyle of the Fictional Mansfield Park

Sarah Parry, Chawton House Library
Sarah will consider the type of houses represented by the fictional estate of Mansfield Park.  These will be real houses whose creation and/or maintenance was possible because of huge fortunes made directly, or indirectly, through the slave trade.

B4. Giving Mr. Rushworth a Brain: Jane Austen Re-Minds Modernity

Lorraine (Lorrie) Clark, Trent University
Fanny’s rehearsals with Rushworth to improve his memory for his lines in Lovers’ Vows function as a riddle or pantomime charade that properly deciphered is Austen’s playful emblem for the mental habits of reflection, repetition and memory Fanny cultivates in everyone.

B5. The Problem with “Talking Shakespeare”: Conventions of Reading in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park

Rachel Kilgore, Houston Baptist University and Lone Star College
Crawford performs Shakespeare without understanding, and Edmund reads Fanny’s attention to Crawford like a story.  Fanny’s accurate character-reading makes her the unwitting author of her own happiness.

B6. “So Ended a Marriage”

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“‘So Ended a Marriage’”
Persuasions 36 (2014): 117-135.

Sheryl Craig, University of Central Missouri
When Mansfield Park was published in 1814, divorce cases like Rushworth v. Rushworth were subjects of an on-going national political debate.  The narrator’s comments about divorce reveal what was, for the time, a liberal pro-woman position.

B7. Country, City, and Church in Mansfield Park: A Somewhat Unholy Trinity

William Phillips, Greater Chicago region
William explores (1) the strong anti-urban slant; (2) a subtler set of negative ideas about genteel life in a country neighborhood; and (3) an important source of (1) and (2) in anti-clerical attitudes.

B8. Traduire Jane Austen: la (non-)réception de Mansfield Park en France

Rosemarie Fournier-Guillemette, Université du Québec á Montréal
Si la plupart des romans de Jane Austen ont été traduits de nombreuses fois en français depuis leur parution, ce n’est pas le cas de Mansfield Park, qui n’a été traduit que trois fois.  Que signifie cet oubli?

B9. Blood and Water: The Tyranny of Nonchalance in the Shaping of Female Ambition at Mansfield Park

Alexa Bowers, 11th Grade, Harvard Westlake School, Los Angeles
Fanny Price uses her silence and seemingly passive nature as an outlet for her aggression and defiance.  Austen dramatizes the cruel nature of the political, economic and social forces working to shape the ambition of all the women at Mansfield Park.

Session C: Saturday, October 11, 10:40 am - 11:30 am

C1. “Delighted with the Portsmouth Scene”: Why Austen’s Intimates Admired Mansfield Park’s Gritty City

Christina Denny, New York Metropolitan Region
The “Opinions of Mansfield Park” reveals enthusiasm for Austen’s portrayal of Portsmouth the rough-around-the-edges Price family.  We will explore literary and historical contexts of this early reader response, and consider what recent cinematic treatments reveal about modern attitudes toward Fanny’s urban adventure.

C2. “Sensual Mansfield Park

Emily Friedman, Auburn University
Erin Weinberg, Queen’s University

Emily (“Bad Smells” and “fragrance”: Reading Mansfield Park Through the Eighteenth-Century Nose) explores the olfactory worlds of Mansfield Park, offering us examples of period-specific scents (and stenches), while Erin (“Vain was even the sight of a gooseberry tart towards giving her comfort”: Exploring affect through food in Mansfield Park) examines how food functions as a lens through which we can learn about affect in Mansfield Park.

C3. Catching Them in the Act: Henry Crawford, Mary Crawford, and King Henry VIII

Nancy Yee, Fitchburg State University (ret)
Why does Austen bring Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII into Mansfield Park?  Nancy will look specifically at Mary (Anne Bullen?) and Henry (the VIII?) Crawford.

C4. Fanny Price as Fordyce’s Ideal Woman? And Why?

A. Marie Sprayberry, RC, Syracuse region
The ideal young woman depicted in Dr. James Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women bears a striking resemblance to Fanny Price.  Marie will consider why Jane Austen might have chosen to make Fanny a “conduct-book heroine.”

C5. Textual Controversies: Emending Mansfield Park from 1923 to 2014

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“Textual Controversies: Editing Mansfield Park
Persuasions 36 (2014): 34-43.

Peter Sabor, Canada Research Chair, McGill University
R. W. Chapman’s monumental edition of Jane Austen’s novels was first published ninety years ago.  The textual emendations he proposed have been both influential and controversial.  Focusing on key passages in Mansfield Park, Peter will compare Chapman’s editorial work with that undertaken by later editors.

C6. Every Character a Teacher: The Central Importance of Pedagogy in Mansfield Park

Susanna Cerasuolo, University of Oxford
Every character in Mansfield Park takes on the role of educator for others in the novel.  Some of these teachers teach bad principles, some good, and some choose not to teach at all.

C7. Mansfield Park and the Moral British Empire

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
Mansfield Park and the Moral Empire”
Persuasions 36 (2014): 136-150.

Robert Clark, University of East Anglia
Robert will explore the relationship between the moral reform of the Mansfield estate the reform movement in Britain: the increasing power of the Evangelicals in Parliament, their successful abolition of slavery in 1807, the Curacy Act (1811) and the national petitions in 1811-12 to require the East-India Company to Christianize India.

C8. “Every generation has its improvements”: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Domestic Space”

Peter Graham, Virginia Polytechnic University
For Jane Austen, how a character envisions and manages domestic space is generally an apt gauge of moral character.  Mansfield Park’s dwellings, great and small, reveal the ethical and aesthetic natures of those who inhabit, neglect, or improve them.

C9. Mansfield Park and Margaret Oliphant’s The Perpetual Curate

Part of this session published in Persuasions On-Line 35.1 (2014) as “A Distracted Seminarian: The Unsuccessful Reformation of Edmund Bertram.”

Br. Paul Byrd, OP, De Paul University
Student trumps the teacher?  Brother Byrd explores Austen and Oliphant’s handling of the Church of England’s 18th-century reform movements, arguing that Austen’s treatment of enriches yet muddles the plot of Mansfield Park, while Oliphant’s is a masterful examination of England’s religious crisis.

Session D: Saturday, October 11, 11:55 am - 12:45 pm

D1. “Assisting the Improvement of her Mind”: Chapone’s Letters as Guide to Mansfield Park

Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University
Hester Mulso Chapone’s Letters on the Improvement of the Mind underscores Mansfield Park.  Austen’s use of Chapone shows how Fanny might be a model heroine (or not), and how her cousins, her aunts, even Mary Crawford measure up!

D2. “How many times have we mourned over the dead body of Julius Caesar, and to be’d and not to be’d”: The Four Other Plays Hiding (in Plain Sight) in Mansfield Park

Arnie Perlstein, Lawyer; RC, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale region
Scholars have long recognized Mansfield Park’s debts to Shakespeare.  Austen’s allusions to a tragic quartet (Titus, Troilus, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet) shed new light on the perplexing moral quandaries of this Shakespearean novel.

D3. Politics in Mansfield Park: What Sir Thomas Would Have Experienced in that Vulgar World

James Nagle, Lawyer, Puget Sound region
What were elections like in Jane Austen’s time?  Who could vote, for whom, how did the process work, and what were the big political issues, figures, and parties?

D4. Among the Proto-Janeites: Reading Mansfield Park for Consolation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1815

Sarah Emsley, author, Nova Scotia region
Sheila Kindred, St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia region and JAS (Kent Branch)

After Mary Wodehouse’s infant son died, her friend Lady Sherbrooke, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, suggested that they read Mansfield Park together.  Sarah and Sheila will examine their story in the context of controversies about the ways in which readers turn to Jane Austen’s novels for comfort or consolation.

D5. Mansfield Park en France: un rendez-vous manqué

Lucile Trunel, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Traduit à Paris dès 1816, Mansfield Park demeure néanmoins le romans le moins connu et le moins traduit de l’oeuvre de Jane Austen en France.  Sérieux, sage et complexe, il ne correspond pas vraiment à l’image sentmentale et Romanesque construit par les Français pour Austen.  2014 permettra-t-il sa reconnaissance?

D6. What’s Wrong with a Witty Woman?

Pat Michaelson, University of Texas at Dallas
Why are Fanny and Edmund so appalled by Mary Crawford’s speech, when Elizabeth Bennet’s liveliness is what attracted Mr. Darcy?  We will consider writings on women’s wit from Austen’s time and our own, and laugh at funny women, including Jane Austen.

D7. Sir Charles Grandison’s Guide to Mansfield Park

Geri Giebel Chavis, St. Catherine University
Stepping forth from his 1753 novel in this dramatic monologue, Samuel Richardon’s Sir Charles Grandison, a character Jane knew exceptionally well, will share his view of Austen’s characters and their actions while remaining true to his own

D8. Monstrous Mary: Immodesty, Modernity and Feminism in Mansfield Park CANCELLED

Kathy Justice Gentile, University of Missouri at St. Louis
As the other woman to Fanny’s modest Christian heroine, Mary Crawford has been characterized as both a representative of threatening modern values and as a spokeswoman for women’s rights.  However, through her immodest self-expression, Mary demonstrates an alternative progressive femininity that sharply and impudently critiques a repressive, hypocritical society.

D9. Charles Pasley’s Essay and the “Governing Winds” of Mansfield Park

Kathryn Davis, University of Dallas
Charles Pasley’s Essay on The Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire warning about the dangers of passion and the importance of law, may inform Austen’s poetic-political project in Mansfield Park.

Session E: Saturday, October 11, 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

E1. The Monstrous Mothers of Mansfield Park

Marilyn Francus, West Virginia University
Motherhood turns conspicuously towards monstrosity in Mansfield Park.  Marilyn will examine the disappointing, dangerous mothers in Austen’s 1814 novel, asking what can we learn from her monstrous mothers.

E2. Reading Mansfield Park with Nabokov

Janine Barchas, University of Texas at Austin
Vladimir Nabokov’s teaching copy of Mansfield Park resides in the New York Public Library.  Nabokov’s detailed annotations, made during 20 years of teaching, allow us to see Austen through the eyes of another great novelist.

E3. “Favourable to Tenderness and Sentiment”: The Many Meanings of Mary Crawford’s Harp

Jeffrey A. Nigro, Art Institute of Chicago & Newberry Library
Mary Crawford’s harp has correctly been interpreted as a symbol of vanity and seduction.  With music and images, Jeffrey explores the complex cultural meanings of the harp in Austen’s time, and in Mansfield Park.

E4. Fanny Price Amidst the Philosophers

Natasha Duquette, Biola University
Frederick Duquette, Talbot School of Theology

Performing Socratic dialogues between Fanny Price and various eighteenth-century philosophers such as Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson, and David Hume, Natasha and Fred will situate Austen’s reflections in Mansfield Park within the larger history of ideas.

E5. The Detestation of their Countrymen:” Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Elizabeth Inchbald’s Plays, and the Trial of “Nabob” Warren Hastings

Elisabeth Lenckos, University of Chicago
Is Sir Thomas Bertram a “Nabob?”  Was Mansfield Park inspired by the scandalous story and trial of Warren Hastings?  Using references to Inchbald’s plays about “Nabobs” and “Moghuls,” Elisabeth suggests that Austen discussed the East Indian involvement of her extended family circle in this novel.

E6. A Choice Collection of Plants and Poultry: The Parson’s Table and the Parson’s Wife

Susan E. Jones, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Dr. Grant’s household and his table are central to Mansfield Park’s consideration of diet and dinner.  Behind that table lies a network of women’s concerns revealing the crucial position of the Parson’s lady.

E7: I Sing of the Sofa, of Cucumbers and of Fanny Price: Mansfield Park and The Task

Emma Spooner, University of Calgary
William Cowper’s poem The Task (1785) praises the virtues of cucumbers.  Mansfield Park reworks Cowper’s sentimental, domestic morality through Fanny’s sensibility and religious virtue.

E8. Fanny Price, Queen of the Ball: Dancing as a Blueprint for Marriage as dramatized in Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park

Nora Foster Stovel, University of Alberta
Mansfield Park’s ball focuses on courtship practices.  Patricia Rozema’s controversial 1999 film adaptation dramatizes the ball vividly but inaccurately, thereby undermining Austen’s Regency art.

Session F: Saturday, October 11, 3:15 pm - 4:05 pm

F1. Fanny Burney and Fanny Price

Jocelyn Harris, University of Otago (Emeritus)
Did Jane Austen base Fanny and Susan Price on information from the Cookes at Great Bookham about their neighbours, Fanny and Susan Burney?

F2. Through the Stars: A Celestial Look at Mansfield Park

Jane Kinney, Sarah Rieger, and Jessica Violetta, NASA Engineers, Houston
Have you ever considered why Fanny and Edmund mention “Arcturus” and “the bear” as they gaze out the window together on one comfortable night in August?  Learn about the wonders of the Georgian universe and Mansfield Park’s stargazing passage.

F3. What Jane Austen Wrote Charles Dickens Knew

Jo Ellyn Clarey, Michigan
Fans of Charles Dickens often diminish Jane Austen as precious, although her “Victorian novel” Mansfield Park boasts wicked caricatures as well as vulnerable childhoods—and a spot-on description of Dickens’s Portsmouth birthplace.

F4. Becoming Fanny Bertram: Adoption in Mansfield Park

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“Becoming Fanny Bertram: Adoption in Mansfield Park
Persuasions 36 (2014): 54-65.

Tess O’Toole, Harvard University
The name Fanny Price acquires through marriage merely formalizes an identity already earned through a different practice of realigning family, in ways that speak to Mansfield Park’s role in developing the British novel of adoption.

F5. The Blessing of Something Fresh in Mansfield Park

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“Habit and Reimagining Female Identity in Mansfield Park
Persuasions 36 (2014): 89-99.

Daniel R. Mangiavellano, Loyola University
What do concepts like habit and novelty tell us about the predictability of one’s behavior?  Do characters in the novel control habit, or does habit control them?

F6. Dissected Maps and Transparencies: Girls’ Commercial Culture in the Schoolroom at Mansfield Park

Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, Pennsylvania State University
Austen evokes the burgeoning commercial material culture of childhood directed at elite children in the early 19th century.  Jacqui will analyze two girls’ domestic activities: playing with dissected maps or puzzles, and modifying prints as artwork.

F7. Fanny’s Future, Mary’s Nightmare: Jane Austen and the Clergyman’s Wife

Published in Persuasions 36 (2014).
“Fanny’s Future, Mary’s Nightmare: Jane Austen and the Clergyman’s Wife”
Persuasions 36 (2014): 100-116.

Sarah Bowen, Wisconsin Region
The clergymen’s wives in Jane Austen’s family and fiction illustrate the breadth and surprising ambiguity of this public role.  What aspects of the role will Fanny Price embrace? What aspects appall Mary Crawford?

F8. “She had but two sashes, and had never learnt French”: Continental Influences and Performance in Mansfield Park

Jeanice Brooks, University of Southampton
Gillian Dow, University of Southampton and Chawton House Library

The performance scenes in Mansfield Park shows Austen’s familiarity with continental sources.  Gillian will concentrate on plays imported from France in the 1770s, while Jeanice will examine Eliza de Feuillide and the French element in the Austen family’s music books as a possible source for musical scenes in Mansfield Park.