Authors & Events
Look Inside | Reading Guide
Sep 04, 2007
| ISBN 9780307386885
Oct 09, 2001
| ISBN 9780375757815
Jun 01, 1983
| ISBN 9780553212761
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Jun 02, 1992
| ISBN 9780679412694
Jan 29, 2008
| ISBN 9780553904550
Oct 23, 2000
| ISBN 9780679641094
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Sep 04, 2007 | ISBN 9780307386885
Oct 09, 2001 | ISBN 9780375757815
Jun 01, 1983 | ISBN 9780553212761
Jun 02, 1992 | ISBN 9780679412694
Jan 29, 2008 | ISBN 9780553904550
Oct 23, 2000 | ISBN 9780679641094
Mansfield Park encompasses not only Jane Austen’s great comedic gifts and her genius as a historian of the human animal, but her personal credo as well—her faith in a social order that combats chaos through civil grace, decency, and wit.At the novel’s center is Fanny Price, the classic “poor cousin,” brought as a child to Mansfield Park by the rich Sir Thomas Bertram and his wife as an act of charity. Over time, Fanny comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. As Fanny watches her cousins Maria and Julia cast aside their scruples in dangerous flirtations (and worse), and as she herself resolutely resists the advantages of marriage to the fascinating but morally unsteady Henry Crawford, her seeming austerity grows in appeal and makes clear to us why she was Austen’s own favorite among her heroines.
Through Fanny Price, the heroine of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen views the social mores of her day and contemplates human nature itself. A shy and sweet-tempered girl adopted by wealthy relations, Fanny is an outsider looking in on an unfamiliar, and often inhospitable, world. But Fanny eventually wins the affection of her benefactors, endearing herself to the Bertram family and the reader alike.In her Introduction, Carol Shields writes, [Mansfield Park’s] overriding theme is difficult to isolate, since the novel is about everything it touches upon: nurturing, steadfastness, belonging and not belonging, about fine gradations of moral persuasion, about human noise and silence, and about action and stillness.
In Mansfield Park, first published in 1814, when the author had reached her full maturity as a novelist, Jane Austen paints some of her most witty and perceptive studies of character. Against a genteel country landscape of formal parks and stately homes, the gossipy Mrs. Norris becomes a masterful comic creation; the fickle young suitor Henry Crawford provides an unequaled portrait of an unscrupulous young man; and the complexly drawn Fanny Price emerges as one of Jane Austen’s finest achievements—the poor cousin who comes to stay with her wealthy relatives at Mansfield Park and learns how the game of love can too easily turn to folly. More intricately plotted and wider in scope than Austen’s earlier works, Mansfield Park continues to enchant and delight us as a superb example of a great author’s craft.
At the center of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is Fanny Price, the classic “poor cousin” who has been brought to live with the rich Sir Thomas Bertram and his wife as an act of charity. Over time, Fanny comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. As Fanny watches her cousins Maria and Julia cast aside their scruples in dangerous flirtations (and worse), and as she herself resolutely resists the advantages of marriage to the fascinating but morally unsteady Henry Crawford, her seeming austerity grows in appeal and makes clear why she was Austen’s own favorite among her heroines.Mansfield Park encompasses not only Austen’s great comedic gifts and her genius as a historian of the human animal, but her personal credo as well—her faith in a social order that combats chaos through civil grace, decency, and wit. With an introduction by Peter Conrad.
Begun in 1811 at the height of Jane Austen’s writing powers and published in 1814, Mansfield Park marks a conscious break from the tone of her first three novels, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice, the last of which Austen came to see as ‘rather too light.’ Fanny Price is unlike any of Austen’s previous heroines, a girl from a poor family brought up in a splendid country house and possessed of a vast reserve of moral fortitude and imperturbability. She is very different from Elizabeth Bennet, but is the product of the same inspired imagination. Mansfield Park shows Austen as a mature novelist with an almost unparalleled ability to render character and an acute awareness of her world and how it was changing. Through the stories of Fanny Price, the Bertrams, and the Crawfords, she tackles the themes of faith and constancy and the threat that metropolitan manners could pose to a rural way of life. Mansfield Park is as amusing as any of Austen’s novels, but, according to the critic Tony Tanner, it is also arguable that it is ‘her most profound novel (indeed… it is one of the most profound novels of the nineteenth century).’
Though the domain of Jane Austen’s novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on… More about Jane Austen
"Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values."–Virginia Woolf
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