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Mansfield Park

Austen, Jane, 1775-1817 (Paperback - 2008)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Mansfield Park
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Penguin Putnam
200th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Mansfield Park is named for the magnificent, idyllic estate that is home to the wealthy Bertram family and that serves as a powerful symbol of English tradition and stability. The novel’s heroine, Fanny Price?a ?poor relation” living with the Bertrams?is acutely conscious of her inferior status and yet she dares to love their son Edmund?from afar. With five marriageable young people on the premises, the peace at Mansfield cannot last. Courtships, entertainments, and intrigues throw the place into turmoil, and Fanny finds herself unwillingly competing with a dazzlingly witty and lovely rival. As Margaret Drabble points out in her incisive Introduction, the house becomes ?full of the energies of discord?sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity,” and the novel grows ever more engrossing right up to Mansfield’s final scandal and the satisfying conclusion. Unique in its moral design and its brilliant interplay of the forces of tradition and change, Mansfield Park was the first novel of Jane Austen’s maturity, and the first in which the author turned her unerring eye on the concerns of English society at a time of great upheaval.

With an Introduction by Margaret Drabble and an Afterword by Julia Quinn



Authors: Austen, Jane, 1775-1817
Statement of Responsibility: Jane Austen ; with an introduction by Margaret Drabble and a new afterword by Julia Quinn
Title: Mansfield Park
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Signet Classics, 2008
Edition: 1st Signet Classics ed. (Quinn afterword)
Characteristics: xx, 415 p. ; 18 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. [xix-xx])
Subject Headings: Young women Fiction Children of the rich Fiction Country homes Fiction Adoptees Fiction Cousins Fiction England Fiction Uncles Fiction
Genre/Form: Domestic fiction
Love stories
Topical Term: Young women
Children of the rich
Country homes
Adoptees
Cousins
Uncles
Additional Contributors: Drabble, Margaret 1939-
Quinn, Julia 1970-
LCCN: 2009439521
ISBN: 9780451531117
0451531116
Branch Call Number: CLASSICS FIC A
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Feb 28, 2014
  • EuSei rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

(Contain spoilers.) I firmly believe no librarian ever read Mansfield Park, otherwise Lord Bertram’s burning all the copies of Lover’s Vows he found would have banished it from libraries! This third book has all Miss Austin’s talented penmanship, but very little—or nothing, rather—of the comic situations I found in Pride and Prejudice and most especially in Emma. This is a deeper, more serious novel, highly moralizing, with lots of inner thoughts and questionings, which sometimes might get a bit long to the modern reader unused to this kind of literature. Through this book—as in all her others—she makes very clear what she expected (not only society), that “girls should be quiet and modest” and “perfectly feminine.” She condemned, on people in general, the “want of that higher species of self-command, that just consideration of others.” In the story 10 year-old Fanny Price, goes to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Bertram, in their beautiful and tranquil estate of Mansfield Park. There she meets four cousins, two girls and two boys, of which, second son, the mature and highly honorable Edmund, becomes her ideal since the beginning. (Edmund was not a priest, but was ordained a couple of chapters before the end of the book.) The story evolves through ups and downs, lots of misunderstandings, to culminate in a happy ending. Unlike what is portrayed in movies inspired by Mansfield Park, Fanny is not treated unkindly, nor relegated to a dungeon-like room. Her sleeping quarters were a “little white attic” with connection to the old “school-room” which contained her plants, her books—of which she had been a collector from the first hour of her commanding a shilling—her writing desk, and her works of charity.” The lack of fire in that room was due to her Aunt Norris constant meddling and a shocked Lord Bertrand belatedly corrects this injurious situation. British society was then divided into classes and Fanny, while enjoying much of the benefits of living with the family, belonged to a very poor branch—hence the differed treatment she received. “If tenderness could be ever supposed wanting, good sense and good breeding supplied its place,” Jane Austen writes about the Bertrand family in relation to Fanny. Miss Austen’s high moral standards permeate the entire book, it is full of Fanny’s eagerness to do what is right and proper, to think good thoughts and do good deeds. Good and evil were clearly discerned and exposed in the situations Austen weaves; the elopement of a married woman with a bachelor is to her a “sin of the first magnitude.” I feel sure Jane Austen, whose heroines were invariably highly principled, moral young women, would have been devastated had she a chance to see the state of today’s youth, particularly of girls. I only wish young women would read more of this kind of literature instead of the filth available now in all American libraries.

Feb 16, 2014
  • Yellow_Dog_501 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is the first Jane Austen book I read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan on reading more of her books in the future.

Nov 18, 2012
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Jane Austen almost at her finest and definitely at her most hilarious. It was hard keeping track of who was who among the Miss Bertrams and the Crawfords and the brothers, but even the characters acknowledged the difficulty. Austen’s final novel is actually a little racy, as men and women in tight laces talk politely until they’re blue in the face about how indecorous behaviour is the last thing anyone wants, all while participating in a full theatre production about adultery and wife-swapping. They even get the priest to join in! Conjugal infidelity is actually mentioned. By name! This novel is downright salacious.

And amongst the noisier than usual plot, there is a main character who is an introvert. As an introvert myself, Fanny is an island of calm in the storm of keeping track of who is canoodling who behind the ha-ha. Was Jane Austen an introvert too? She could hardly have done better.

As usual for Austen the prose is exquisite, so light and perfect, the characters making love to each other with their polite conversation. Austen is a master of seduction with all your clothes on. Although also as usual, everything gets wrapped up really quickly at the end and there’s no strong finish to the delightful journey.

Cousins getting married, ew.

I am mid read and am enjoying how the characters develop and the relationships change throughout the novel. It's a relaxing, well written and fun read.

Jun 01, 2012
  • theorbys rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It's a very, very tough call, but this is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and beating out Emma and Pride and Predjudice, and Northanger Abbey is no mean feat. I can not explain the fascination that I share with so many people with Austen's writing but share it we do, and next to Dickens she is my favorite novelist.

Jan 10, 2012
  • Veepea rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Fanny annoyed me at times just because she was so physically frail and doesn't always view herself highly, but she is otherwise sensible and does what's right.

Jul 06, 2011
  • EuSei rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I really don’t understand the hype about Miss Austen’s books... This is the third I tried and could not pass the first few pages. (And I read classic books all the time, from Rousseau to Henry James and Eça de Queirós.) The only book by her I liked was Emma. I enjoy the movies made of her books, but not the books. I much prefer Georgette Hayer and Juliette Benzoni’s books.

Jun 28, 2011
  • Siliverien rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I found it a little slow, but very well written.

Jul 17, 2010
  • tinybookworm rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I normally love Jane Austen novels, but I didn't like this one.
I thought it was really boring at times.

Jun 30, 2010
  • LesMiserables rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I've heard people call Fanny Price a cookie-cutter, undynamic, goody-two-shoes... and, in a sense, she is. I don't think she makes a single immoral or improper move throughout the entire novel. However, that's precisely what makes this book so interesting -- rather than resolving a situation by making a character undergo a personality change, Austen creates a character who refuses to budge for a millimetre from her moral values, and puts her in extremely difficult situations *without* changing her nature. It's an unconventional approach, and it kept me wondering how the plot would resolve. My favourite Austen.

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Mar 11, 2014
  • EuSei rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Feb 28, 2014
  • EuSei rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

You need not hurry when the object is only to prevent my saying a bon-mot, for there is not the least wit in my nature. I am a very matter-of-fact, plain spoken being, and may blunder on the borders of a repartee for half an hour together without striking it out. (Edmund to Mary Crawford)

Feb 28, 2014
  • EuSei rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the worth of good principles in a wife, though he was too little accustomed to serious reflection to know them by their proper name, but when he talked of her as having such a steadiness and regularity of conduct, such a high notion of honor, and such an observance of decorum as might warrant any man in the fullest dependence on her faith and integrity, he expressed what was inspired by the knowledge of her being well-principled and religious.

Nov 18, 2012
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Never had Fanny more wanted a cordial.

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