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Overview

When the gorgeous Henry Crawford and his pretty sister, Mary, come to Mansfield, they have no idea of the commotion they will cause. There they find the Bertram family, with their beautiful daughters and handsome sons-and our heroine, shy and sweet Fanny Price. As the inhabitants of Mansfield Park become ever more involved with the Crawfords, a scandal of devastating proportions begins to unfold.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781853260322
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions, Limited
Publication date: 01/01/1998
Series: Classics Library Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,070,593
Product dimensions: 5.01(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

June Sturrock is an Emeritus Professor of English at Simon Fraser University. She has written widely on nineteenth-century literature, and is the author of ‘Heaven and Home’: Charlotte M. Yonge’s Domestic Fiction and the Victorian Debate Over Women.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England

Education:

Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

About thiry years ago, Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintances as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. Miss Ward, at the end of half-a-dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible; Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connections, did it very thoroughly. She could hardly have made a more untoward choice. Sir Thomas Bertram had interest which, from principle as well as pride, from a general wish of doing right, and a desire of seeing all that were connectedwith him in situations of respectability, he would have been glad to exert for the advantage of Lady Bertram's sister; but her husband's profession was such as no interest could reach; and before he had time to devise any other method of assisting them, an absolute breach between the sisters had taken place. It was the natural result of the conduct of each party, and such as a very imprudent marriage almost always produces. To save herself from useless remonstrance, Mrs. Price never wrote to her family on the subject till actually married. Lady Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil feelings, and a temper remarkably easy and indolent, would have contented herself with merely giving up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter; but Mrs. Norris had a spirit of activity, which could not be satisfied till she had written a long and angry letter to Fanny, to point out the folly of her conduct, and threaten her with all its possible ill consequences. Mrs. Price, in her turn, was injured and angry; and an answer, which comprehended each sister in its bitterness, and bestowed such very disrespectful reflections on the pride of Sir Thomas, as Mrs. Norris could not possibly keep to herself, put an end to all intercourse between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct, as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each other's existence during the eleven following years, or, at least, to make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas, that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did, in an angry voice, that Fanny had got another child. By the end of eleven years, however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment, or to lose one connection that might possibly assist her. A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in a letter which spoke so much contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation. She was preparing for her ninth lying-in; and after bewailing the circumstance, and imploring their countenance as sponsors to the expected child, she could not conceal how important she felt they might be to the future maintenance of the eight already in being. Her eldest was a boy of ten years old, a fine spirited fellow who longed to be out in the world; but what could she do? Was there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian property? No situation would be beneath him; or what did Sir Thomas think of Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

The letter was not unproductive. It re-established peace and kindness. Sir Thomas sent friendly advice and professions, Lady Bertram dispatched money and baby-linen, and Mrs. Norris wrote the letters.

Such were its immediate effects, and within a twelvemonth a more important advantage to Mrs. Price resulted from it. Mrs. Norris was often observing to the others that she could not get her poor sister and her family out of her head, and that, much as they had all done for her, she seemed to be wanting to do more; and at length she could not but own it to be her wish that poor Mrs. Price should be relieved from the charge and expense of one child entirely out of her great number.

'What if they were among them to undertake the care of her eldest daughter, a girl now nine years old, of an age to require more attention than her poor mother could possibly give? The trouble and expense of it to them would be nothing, compared with the benevolence of the action.' Lady Bertram agreed with her instantly. 'I think we cannot do better,' said she; 'let us send for the child.'

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Jane Austen: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Mansfield Park

Appendix A: The Theatricals at Mansfield Park

  1. August von Kotzebue, from Lovers’ Vows
  2. Austen family correspondence, from The Austen Papers
  3. Erasmus Darwin, from A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools
  4. Thomas Gisborne, from “On Amusements in General”

Appendix B: Religion

  1. Jane Austen’s prayers, from The Works of Jane Austen
  2. Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education
  3. William Wilberforce, from A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians
  4. Dr. John Gregory, from “Religion”

Appendix C: Ideals of Femininity

  1. Henry Austen, from “Biographical Notice” of Jane Austen
  2. Thomas Gisborne, from “On the Importance of the Female Character”
  3. Dr. John Gregory, from “Conduct and Behaviour”
  4. Hannah More, from “The Benefits of Restraint”

Appendix D: “The Improvement of the Estate”

  1. William Cowper, from The Garden
  2. Humphry Repton, from Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening

Appendix E: The West Indian Connection

  1. A Permanent and Effectual Remedy Suggested for the Evils Under Which the British West Indies Now Labour
  2. Joseph Lowe, from An Inquiry into the State of the British West Indies
  3. Excerpt from Frank Austen’s notebook 1808, from Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers
  4. Thomas Clarkson, from The History of the Rise, Progress, and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade
  5. Hannah More, “The Sorrows of Yamba or the Negro Woman’s Lamentation”

Appendix F: Women’s Education

  1. Thomas Gisborne, from “On Female Education”
  2. Thomas Gisborne, from “On Parental Duties”
  3. Hannah More, from “Comparison of the Mode of Female Education in the Last Age With That of the Present Age”
  4. Maria Edgeworth and Richard Lovell Edgeworth, from “Prudence and Economy”
  5. Mary Wollstonecraft, from “Introduction” to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Appendix G: Contemporary Reception of Mansfield Park

  1. Richard Whateley, from Quarterly Review, January 1821
  2. Excerpt from “Opinions of Mansfield Park: collected and transcribed by Jane Austen”
  3. Excerpt from “Opinions of Emma: collected and transcribed by Jane Austen”

Appendix H: Jane Austen’s Letters and Mansfield Park

  1. Letter from JA to Cassandra Austen. January 1813
  2. Letter from JA to Francis Austen. July 1813
  3. Letter from JA to Francis Austen. September 1813

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

What People are Saying About This

Russel-Mitford

"I would almost cut of one of my hands if it would enable me to writer like Jane Austin with the other."

Elizabeth Bowen

"The technique of the novel is beyond praise, and has been praised. The master of the art she choose, or that choose her, is complete: How she achieved it no one will ever know."

From the Publisher


“Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values.”—Virginia Woolf
 

Reading Group Guide

1. Though it was very successful, Jane Austen deemed Pride and Prejudice, her second novel, 'rather too light.' As Carol Shields mentions in her Introduction, Austen hoped to address more serious issues in her next novel, Mansfield Park. Many readers and critics think Mansfield Park is Austen's most serious and most profound novel. How does it differ from Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice? How are her treatments of class, gender, relationships, and most especially, faith, more nuanced and more mature?

2. Describe the social positions of the three Ward sisters Lady Bertram, Mrs. Norris, and Mrs. Price. How did they arrive at such different circumstances and how have their circumstances presumably affected their personalities? How do the sisters treat each other and how much of this is the result of their respective status?

3. As soon as Sir Thomas decides to accept responsibility for one of Mrs. Price's children, Fanny is put into an unusual position. Sir Bertram says, although she is to live with them, 'she is not a Miss Bertram . . . their rank, fortune, rights and expectations will always be different.' Describe the family's feelings for Fanny as the novel develops. How does the treatment of Fanny by Mrs. Norris and the Bertram sisters distinguish her from the rest of the children? How does Fanny feel about the Bertrams and how do her feelings change, especially for Sir Bertram and Edmund? Before her marriage, what changes take place that allow for her acceptance in the family?

4. Fanny Price inspires strong reactions in readers; she is cast by some as a dreary killjoy, and by others as an endearing, admirable heroine. Is this dichotomy Austen'sintention? Discuss the ways in which Fanny embodies both sides of this polarized debate. What is your opinion of her in relation to other well-known female protagonists of the day?

5. Mansfield Park was divided into three volumes, published separately. Why do you think Austen chose this structure, and how does it affect your reading of the book? Think about other writing that employs this structure to inform your response.

6. From the moment the idea is suggested, Edmund is against the staging of a play. Why is the play seen as inappropriate by both Edmund and Fanny? Why, once it is decided upon, does Edmund accept a part in the play, even though he would appear a hypocrite? How much of this license was taken because of the absence of Sir Thomas and how much was simply the influence of Tom? What is the significance of their choice of plays, Lover's Vows?

7. Describe the similarities and differences between the courtship of Edmund and Mary and that of Fanny and Henry. What are the stumbling blocks in these two courtships that cause them to fail? To what extent were the trials of these courtships responsible for Edmund's change of heart toward Fanny?

Customer Reviews

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Mansfield Park 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 526 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I read Pride and Prejudice, I've been completely hooked on to Jane Austen! This is the second novel of hers I read, and I have to say, I liked it even more than Pride and Prejudice (which was awesome!). Fanny's sweet character and manners touched me, and to meet all of the characters and travel along with them in time is a very touching experience, which makes you miss them when you've finished the book, as if you'd let go of old friends. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Jane Austen, or who wants a comfy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Austen's novels really warm my heart. I fall in love with them as soon as i see them and Mansfield Park has totally made think different about life and how people act, which is what her novels are based on. I highly reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What more can be said? Either you like her work or you don't. It doesn't rate in my top 5, but it's still a good piece of literary work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of the four Austen novels I have read (the others being Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility), Mansfield Park was my favorite. Why? To be frank, though I love Austen's work and would never want to speak badly of it, the heroines in none of her other novels appeals to me as much as Fanny. Emma is too obviously obsessed with social class, and Eliza's apparent high opinion of herself and her abilities annoys me. Fanny is the only heroine who actually sticks to her beliefs. As always, I recommend the movie, but not after you've read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Barnes & Noble Classics Series edition is well worth the nominal cost. It is nicely formatted for the Nook and has good end- and footnotes. The introduction is a "spoiler," if you haven't read Mannsfield Park before, but it is well done and can be read after-the-fact for an excellent treatment of Austen's work.
leuanne More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The only thing about it that I didn't like was that I felt Edward always loved Fanny, he was just blind sided by another woman. I hate that Fanny had to know she was second best to him.
Orla More than 1 year ago
Mansfield Park was so good. The story was captivating to where I could see Mansfield Park and it's surrounding landscape. I could even feel each emotion that the characters felt. Jane Austen has yet to disappoint me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
easily overlooked Austen novel, but that's the point about the heroine. She is overlooked by everyone, even many readers. But its a sweet, wonderful, clever novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word. AMAZING!
Elinor_D_Ferrars More than 1 year ago
Manfield Park differs from Jane Austen's other novels, in that the main protagonist Fanny Price is a meek, fragile little creature, who lives at the mercy of her domineering wealthy relatives. The novel still contains the satirical wit characteristic of Austen, though it does not come from the heroine. Throughout the story, the reader's sympathy is often incited by the ill treatment of Fanny by her superiors, her inferiority complex, and her unrequited love for her kindly cousin Edmund Bertram (The reader will please keep in mind that loving one's cousin was perfectly acceptable at that time).
Book_lover18 More than 1 year ago
Once again Jane Austen succeeded in producing a good novel filled with observations on human interaction with one another and love during her time. This is a really good classic to read. Normally before reading a book, I first become really acquainted with the plot but I decided to get out of my comfort zone and only read the back of the book (which after having finished the book today) it was just the right amount of information that I needed to understand the story of the book. Here in Mansfield Park, Austen depicts the social standards that lie in the pursuit of love and money. As with all of Austen's books the ending is a happy one for the main character!!
BookLoverSH More than 1 year ago
I LOVE Jane so this was not disappointing! There was a good twist at the end and I love reading about 19th century conventions and society. A great book to curl up on the couch with!
Vovo More than 1 year ago
I greatly anticipated reading Mansfield Park as it was the only book by Jane Austen which I had yet to read. Also, my interest had been piqued by all of the opinions that Fanny Price was boring, the book was boring, and Edmund was a twit of the highest order. After reading the novel for myself, I can now say that Fanny Price is my favorite character written by Jane Austen, the book was highly entertaining, and Edmund was a sweetheart, albeit a slightly confused sweetheart! Whenever I have read Pride and Prejudice-which I have read it many times- I always became angry with Elizabeth Bennet for her somewhat obnoxious way of accusing Mr. Darcy unjustly. I became embarrassed for her lack of composure, always preferring Jane Bennet. I entertained the same sentiments for Cathy in Northanger Abbey. However, in Mansfield Park, I was charmed by Fanny for her ladylike poise under the verbal darts of her Aunt Norris, for her consistency of character. The book was, in most ways, my personal idea of perfection. My only question was this: How could she resist Henry Crawford???
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
I have read many Austen books and while they are always a little slow to get going, they have always turned out worth the time, until now. The overall theme of the book is typical for the author, the writing itself is fabulous, but I could care less about every character in the book. Not one of them was appealing on any level, not even the bad guys. I would strongly recommend any other Austen book to a friend and urge anyone away from this one. I know it is the era of the writing but two close cousins (share sisters for mom's) marry in the book is way wrong. Maybe that is why the whole book sucked for me, when the girl falls in love with her cousin at the start, and the entire book is centered on her love for him, it gets old quick. Maybe in a few years I will read again and pretend they are not related at all and see if it improves the story.
Kiko1021 More than 1 year ago
I found the beginning of this book to be extremely slow, but the book did pick up in the end. I liked Fanny alot, but she does need more self-confidence. Edmund is too good to be true. I dragged through this book until it picked up at the end. I was sad to see it end, and I think Austen could have devoted more than 2 pages to Fanny and Edmund's romance at the end because it took so long to happen. But, overall, it's a great read. Don't expect it be a fast read!
h_Love More than 1 year ago
I bought the Jane Austen collection of novels and this gem was in there. I loved it from begining to end. Don't watch the movie it's horrible. They change Fanny into something she's not. The novel is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all Jane Austens novels, and this was my least favorite. It wssn't bad, but not good.
_Lover-of-books_ More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen has created another masterpiece. I fell in love with this book too. Fanny really captures your attention with her kind and loving personality. Austen really knows how to make you believe her characters are real people. This is a really touching story of two young people looking for love, and finally able to find a happy life in each other. A must read.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This+place+is+where+my+life+changed...+heh.+I%27m+happy+is+existed%2C+even+if+it+isn%27t+here+now...
Smiler69 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some years ago I would not have been caught dead reading any of Jane Austen's novels, and watching the movies just made me cringe. It just all seemed much too quaint for my cynical self. But now that I've considerably mellowed out with middle age (and lots of meds!) I decided to approach her with an open mind. So far, I've only read Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, the latter of which is definitely my favourite so far. I know this novel isn't that popular among JA fans, most finding Fanny Price to be too much of a wallflower for a lead character. To me it seemed like she was on the contrary a young woman of conviction with a strong moral fiber who seemed to have more depth than the leading young women in the other two novels, which I found too frothy for my liking. The secondary characters were very entertaining. Indeed, their presence was essential in moving the story forward and providing plenty of spice and drama. Overall, it felt to me like this novel had more depth, though I know that's probably highly debatable. I listened to the audio version narrated by Juliet Stevenson, who is one of my favourite narrators and who could not do otherwise than greatly increase my appreciation for Jane Austen.
SheReadsNovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was 14 - it was the second Jane Austen book I read after Pride and Prejudice, which I loved. However, I found Mansfield Park dull and lacking the humour of Pride and Prejudice, and I didn't manage to finish it.I have read it again recently and this time I found that I enjoyed it. It's true that Fanny Price is not very interesting as a main character, but the book is still worth reading, particularly if you're a fan of Austen's other works.
SimoneA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is probably my least favorite Jane Austen I have read so far. That is mainly because the main character is not a very sympathetic girl, who needs a good kick in the butt and a dose of self confidence. Actually, there are very little 'good' people in the book. However, I will not call this a bad book, because the characters are funny and well described; I can easily imagine them all. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, and will probably read it again.
littlebookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading all these reviews, I was surprised to like this book as much as I did. I think it is essential to understand the period in which Austen was writing and the morals of the time, because otherwise the book ends up looking silly and the characters completely boring. While Fanny is very timid and has little spark, making her a less interesting heroine, I find that the treatment of her by everyone who expects her to meekly be obedient is what has made her that way. Moreover, the fact that Edmund is her only true friend has also shaped her morals in a way that makes her less likely to be bold. Basically, in this novel I found the characters less engaging but the implications and the society very interesting. Austen clearly laments the lack of morals in her society and in the process provides much food for thought.
BeeQuiet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I ever hear another word about the suitability of a particular person for marriage, it will be too soon. Yes, I know it is social commentary, but it could have been done in 100 pages. The plot was entirely predictable and the characters were completely two-dimentional.
jolerie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fanny Price is adopted from a life of lowly social standing and is taken to Mansfield Park to be fostered by her two aunts, Mrs Norris, Lady Bertram, and her uncle, Sir Thomas. Life could have have dealt her a more fortunate hand as she is enjoys a life of dinner parties, domestic peace, and liberties that she would have never possessed should she had remained at home, being the eldest daughter of a oblivious father, an overwhelmed mother, and a brood of raucous brothers and sisters. Beyond and above inheriting a priviledged life, Fanny finds her soul mate, in every aspect a perfect match to her sense of righteousness and moral principles. But that journey to matrimonial bliss is blighted and obstructed by numerous events and persons until its eventual and predicatable resolution, as is common in Austen's works. Mansfield Park is only the third book of Austen's work that I have ever read. There many criticisms that it does not follow the usual light hearted themes that Jane Austen typically employs as it seems like Mansfield Park deals with a more serious theme of marriage and adultery. But in my opinion, when you put aside the frills and gimmicks, the stories are pretty similar, although the personalities of the characters are varied - boy and girl doesn't seem to stand a chance of making it work and then within the last chapter of the story, somehow everything magically and wonderfully works itself out. And of course lets not forget the annoying relatives that almost always get in the way with their endless chatter and meddlesome ways.As with most of the classics that I read, I always find myself having a hard time identifying with the characters. I am not entirely sure if it is because of the difference between our society now and the world that the author creates or the sheer unbelievability of the characters actions and choices, but Fanny Price and her host of friends and family in Mansfield Park sadly falls into the same predicament. Overall I enjoyed Mansfield Park as much as I would enjoy any other classics, but in terms of captivating me as a reader, I would say that it missed the mark.