Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Everyman's Library
by Jane Austen, Peter Conrad (Introduction)
Library Binding, 488 pages
List Price: $26.00 Sale Price: $22.10

Mansfield Park is the longest and most measured of Jane Austen's novels, giving us her largest cast of characters and her most dramatic narrative. At its 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—who, as she matures, comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Jane Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. As Fanny observes 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 into appeal and makes clear to us why she was Jane Austen's most 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.

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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.