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Penguin Classics Mansfield Park Hardcover – Dec 20 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (Dec 20 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141197706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141197708
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.5 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Though Jane Austen was writing at a time when Gothic potboilers such as Ann Ward Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho and Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto were all the rage, she never got carried away by romance in her own novels. In Austen's ordered world, the passions that ruled Gothic fiction would be horridly out of place; marriage was, first and foremost, a contract, the bedrock of polite society. Certain rules applied to who was eligible and who was not, how one courted and married and what one expected afterwards. To flout these rules was to tear at the basic fabric of society, and the consequences could be terrible. Each of the six novels she completed in her lifetime are, in effect, comic cautionary tales that end happily for those characters who play by the rules and badly for those who don't. In Mansfield Park, for example, Austen gives us Fanny Price, a poor young woman who has grown up in her wealthy relatives' household without ever being accepted as an equal. The only one who has truly been kind to Fanny is Edmund Bertram, the younger of the family's two sons.

Into this Cinderella existence comes Henry Crawford and his sister, Mary, who are visiting relatives in the neighborhood. Soon Mansfield Park is given over to all kinds of gaiety, including a daring interlude spent dabbling in theatricals. Young Edmund is smitten with Mary, and Henry Crawford woos Fanny. Yet these two charming, gifted, and attractive siblings gradually reveal themselves to be lacking in one essential Austenian quality: principle. Without good principles to temper passion, the results can be disastrous, and indeed, Mansfield Park is rife with adultery, betrayal, social ruin, and ruptured friendships. But this is a comedy, after all, so there is also a requisite happy ending and plenty of Austen's patented gentle satire along the way. Describing the switch in Edmund's affections from Mary to Fanny, she writes: "I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that everyone may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people." What does not vary is the pleasure with which new generations come to Jane Austen. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Jane Austen paints some witty and perceptive studies of character.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 16 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even the best authors in the world sometimes put out something that... well, isn't up to their usual standards. For Jane Austen, that book was "Mansfield Park" -- her prose is typically excellent, and she weaves a memorable story about a poor young lady in the middle of a wealthy, dysfunctional family. But put bluntly, Fanny Price lacks the depth and complexity of Austen's other heroines.

As a young girl, Fanny Price was sent from her poor family to live with her wealth relatives, the Bertrams, and was raised along with her four cousins Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia.

Despite being regarded only little better than a servant (especially by the fawning, cheap Mrs. Norris), Fanny is pretty happy -- especially since Edmund is kind and supportive of her at all times. But then the charming, fashionable Crawford sibilings arrive in the neighborhood, sparking off some love triangles (particularly between Maria and Henry Crawford, even though she's already engaged.

And the whole thing becomes even more confused when Henry becomes intrigued by Fanny's refusal to be charmed by him as the others are. But when she rejects his proposal, she ends up banished from her beloved Mansfield Park... right before a devastating scandal and a perilous illness strikes the Bertram family. Does Fanny still have a chance at love and the family she's always been with?

The biggest problem with "Mansfield Park" is Fanny Price -- even Austen's own mother didn't like her. She's a very flat, virtuously dull heroine for this story; unlike Austen's other heroines she doesn't have much personality growth or a personal flaw to overcome.
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Format: Paperback
After having read (and loved) Jane Austen's more famous novels EMMA and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, I found MANSFIELD PARK a true delight despite its smaller feel. Fanny Price is taken in by her wealthy aunt and uncle as charity to her more lowly-married mother, and is raised with her cousins with the idea she needs refinement and education to become as good a woman as her lesser social standing will allow. Fanny is nervous and self-effacing, struggling with her new situation until her cousin Edmund makes her feel more at home. Gradually, she feels like a part of the family, although the nagging sense of unworthiness always asserts itself. As cousins marry and suitors appear, as scandals arise and emotions become known, Fanny finds herself in the equivalent of a Victorian soap opera.
Fanny is undoubtedly one of Austen's less assertive characters, although she does mature into a woman who knows what she wants and will accept no less. I loved Fanny and her honesty, the little girl who fears the stars in her eyes and still manages to grow up into a respectable - and respected - woman. Her complexities are subtle and understated, making the reader work at times to understand her motivation, although anyone who has felt like an outcast even once, or anyone who respects honesty, will identify with her. In true Austen fashion, the observations are witty, with pointed social analysis and cynicism dressed up in sly humor. Fanny's aunts in particular are skewered, but no one, not even Fanny, is spared.
Readers picking up this novel for the sheer delight of it will find it difficult to put down, as its language is accessible and free-flowing.
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Format: Hardcover
In this somewhat atypical Jane Austen novel, Austen abandons her precise characterization and carefully constructed plots, usually designed to illustrate specific ethical and social dilemmas, and presents a much broader, more complex picture of early nineteenth century life. Though the polite behavior of the middle and upper classes is always a focus of Austen, and this novel is no exception, she is more analytical of society as a whole here, casting a critical eye on moral issues which allow the upper class to perpetuate itself. Fanny Price, the main character, is the daughter of a genteel woman who married for love but soon found herself in poverty. When Fanny's aunt and uncle, the wealthy owners of Mansfield Park, invite Fanny alone, of all the children, to live with them, Fanny enters a new world, where she is educated, clothed, and housed, but always regarded as an "outsider."
Through Fanny's two cousins, Maria and Julia, Austen shows the complex interactions of the upper class as they negotiate marriages, try to maintain the family's reputation and wealth, and react to those "beneath" them socially. Fanny, having experienced both poverty and plenty, comments on what she sees, and though she lacks the witty charm of some of Austen's other characters (such as Elizabeth Bennett), she shows an intelligence and conscience lacking among her cousins. Only Edmund, the youngest of the Bertram sons, pays genuine attention to her, and her love for him is real, though secret.
This is a darker novel than Austen's others, showing conflicts between late eighteenth century rationalism and the growing romanticism of the nineteenth century. Sir Thomas maintains his wealth through his expedient participation in the slave trade, a business that his sons Thomas and Edmund abhor.
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