Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Penguin Classics
by Jane Austen, Kathryn Sutherland (Editor), Tony Tanner (Introduction)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Mass market paperback, 432 pages
Current Retail Price: $9.00

This is Jane Austen's most profound and perplexing novel.

Adopted into the household of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, Fanny Price grows up a meek outsider among her cousins in the unaccustomed elegance of Mansfield Park. Soon after Sir Thomas absents himself on estate business in Antigua (the family's investment in slavery and sugar is considered in the Introduction in a new, post-colonial light), Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive at Mansfield, bringing with them London glamour, and the seductive taste for flirtation and theatre that precipitates a crisis.

"We have all been more or less to blame . . . every one of us, excepting Fanny."

Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighborhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawford's influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen's most profound works.

This edition is based on the first edition of 1814. It includes a new chronology, additional suggestions for further reading and the original Penguin Classics introduction by Tony Tanner.

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FLAWS: Sexual content
Summary: Fanny Price is the quiet observer to the Crawford's disastrous introduction into the Bertram household at Mansfield Park.

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  Mansfield Park
HappyHomemaker of Oregon, 5/18/2011
Fanny Price is probably one of the least liked of all the Austen Heroines. And it's not because she does anything bad. It's that she's so GOOD. In almost every case she does exactly what she should do. And I don't know about you, but even when I know what's right, I don't always do it. And that's Jane Austen's point. Through the eyes of a poor relation (Fanny Price) we get to see the moral decline of the upper English class, and how it can be helped. Edmund, the younger brother, desires to be a clergyman, and it is his job to guard the moral fiber of the country. He almost falls prey to the charming temptress Miss Crawford, while Fanny is relentlessly courted by the unfaithful Henry Crawford.
It took me awhile to forgive Edmund for neglecting Fanny for so long, but at long last I have and I love this book all the better. It helped that I read Peter Leihart's Miniatures and Morals.