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Encyclopedia > Mansfield Park (novel)
Mansfield Park
Author Jane Austen
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Romance novel
Publisher Mr. Egerton
Released July 1814
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA
Preceded by Pride and Prejudice
Followed by Emma

Mansfield Park is a novel by Jane Austen. It was written between 1812 and 1814 at Chawton Cottage, and published in July 1814 by the Mr. Egerton who had given to the world its two predecessors. When the novel reached a second edition, its publication was taken over by John Murray, who was also responsible for bringing out its successor, Emma. It is, perhaps, the most sombre and disturbing of Austen's works. Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works, the most famous of which include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, are widely regarded as classics. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... For films named Pride and Prejudice, see Pride and Prejudice (film). ... Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1816, about the perils of misconstrued romance. ... Mansfield Park book cover Mansfield Park is a novel by Jane Austen. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works, the most famous of which include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, are widely regarded as classics. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting... 1814 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Chawton is a small village in Hampshire, England, near Alton. ... Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1816, about the perils of misconstrued romance. ...

Contents

Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The main character, Fanny Price (see "Characters", below), is sent at an early age from her poor family to live with her rich uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, at Mansfield Park. She grows up with her four cousins, Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia, but is always treated as inferior to them; only Edmund shows her real kindness. Despite often being unhappy during her childhood, Fanny grows up with a strong sense of propriety and virtue, and remains closely attached to her brother William (possibly based on Jane Austen's brother Frank), who has begun a career in the Royal Navy. Over time, Fanny's gratitude for Edmund's kindness secretly grows into love. Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a person. ... Sir Francis Austen (1774–1865) was a British officer who spent most of his long life on active duty in the Royal Navy, rising to the position of Admiral of the Fleet. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ...


Fanny's other aunt, Mrs Norris, is a miserly busybody, the widow of a pastor who had a living through Sir Thomas. She is eager to affiliate herself to the high social standing of the Bertrams and distance herself from those she regards as lower than herself, such as Fanny and Fanny's family. Consequently, she spoils the Bertram children (especially Maria) while putting Fanny down and verbally abusing her. Lady Bertram is an indolent, bored woman who takes little interest in her children or her estate, primarily spending her time in a chair with her lapdog pug. Sir Thomas tries to correct the influence of Mrs Norris on his children, but only succeeds in setting himself up as a severe patriarch from whom they become accustomed to conceal their true feelings and opinions. Maria and Julia end up vain and convinced of their own worth simply by dint of being beautiful, accomplished women of consequence, whilst Tom is an irresponsible partygoer and gambler. Only Edmund survives his upbringing with his sense of virtue unscathed.


The bulk of the action of the book takes place while Sir Thomas is away for two years in Antigua, dealing with problems on his plantation there. The romantic entanglements begin after the arrival of two siblings, Mr and Miss Crawford (Henry and Mary), to visit their sister Mrs Grant, who is the wife of the inhabitant of Mansfield Park parsonage. The real reason they have left, however, is that the relative they were living with, a retired Admiral, has taken a mistress into the house, which is detrimental to Mary's status as an unmarried woman. Mary Crawford and Edmund begin to form an attachment, though Edmund often worries that she displays a lack of correct manners and worryingly irreverent opinions, particularly towards his chosen vocation of clergyman. She feels that that is not a grand enough profession for him, and that clergymen are dull. She wishes he would go into a new profession, and shows a subtle desire that his older brother Tom be out of the way so that Edmund could inherit Mansfield Park. All is phrased in such a light, joking tone, that these comments of hers cannot be taken seriously, and Mary herself is so engaging and charming, particularly because she goes out of her way to befriend Fanny, that the family's overall impression of her is positive. The growing affection between Mary and Edmund grieves Fanny, who not only fears to lose him but feels that love is blinding Edmund to deep flaws in Miss Crawford's character. Mr Crawford, meanwhile, sports with the affections of both Bertram sisters, despite the fact that Maria is already engaged to the rather dull, but very rich, Mr Rushworth.


While Sir Thomas is gone, the young people hatch a scheme to put on Elizabeth Inchbald's play Lovers' Vows. Plays are considered an inappropriate activity for gently born women to participate in, and Sir Thomas had explicitly forbidden it in his home, which in and of itself should have been sufficient to stifle the plan. But the production is ultimately opposed only by Fanny. In particular, the play provides a pretext for Mr. Crawford and Maria to act in ways towards each other that skirt the edges of propriety. Sir Thomas arrives in the midst of a rehearsal, to everyone's dismay and Sir Thomas' anger. Mrs. ... Lovers Vows (1798), a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for being featured in Jane Austens novel Mansfield Park (1814), is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebues Das Kind der Liebe (1780; literally Child of Love, or Natural Son, as it...


The arrival of Sir Thomas causes the play to be aborted. Mr Crawford leaves, and Maria is crushed. Her marriage to Mr Rushworth goes ahead, despite the jealousy that had been engendered in him by her flirtatious behaviour with Mr Crawford, and they leave on honeymoon, taking Julia with them. In the wake of the incident of the play, Fanny's uncle notices how she has been slighted and he begins to pay more attention to her care, ensuring she is treated properly, and showing her much greater affection than previously.


When Mr Crawford returns to Mansfield Park after an absence, he is bored and decides that, to pass the time, he will make Fanny fall in love with him. However, her genuine gentleness and kindness cause this plan to backfire, and he falls in love with her. But when he proposes, her knowledge of his previous improper behaviour towards her cousins, as well as her existing attachment to Edmund, cause her to reject him. The Bertrams are dismayed at this, as it is an extremely advantageous match for a penniless girl of no significant parentage; Sir Thomas rebukes her for insubordination and ingratitude. But Fanny holds her ground, knowing that she has acted correctly, although she cannot bring herself to implicate Maria by explaining her reasons.


Sir Thomas contrives a plan to send Fanny back to her family's shabby home for a few months, so that she might realise that a rich husband is a very useful thing to have. Her family is indeed in wretched circumstances, with a large number of children and very improper, profligate behavior. Her father is a disabled navy veteran on half pay, and her mother is disorganized and overwhelmed. She does little to check the improper behavior of the children, and Fanny tries to do what she can to help her younger sister, Susan, who is ill-treated. Mr. Crawford comes to visit her there, to demonstrate that he has changed his ways and is now worthy of her affections (partly by using his influence with his Admiral relative to secure a promotion for Fanny's brother William), and this strategy begins to soften Fanny's attitude, though she is still far from accepting him. However, shortly after he leaves for London, Fanny begins to hear rumours of a scandal involving him and Maria; it shortly emerges that on resuming their acquaintance in London, Crawford and Maria began an affair that, when discovered, ends in an elopement and subsequent scandalous divorce. Because of this, an illness suffered by Tom (due to long periods of dissolute behavior involving drinking and gambling), and the elopement of Julia and Mr. Yates in the wake of Maria's affair being discovered, the situation at Mansfield Park is dire, and Fanny is recalled to be of both use and comfort to her aunt and uncle. Edmund becomes dismayed at Miss Crawford's laissez-faire attitude to Maria and her brother's improper behavior, as well as her lack of concern about Tom's illness (if he dies, Edmund becomes heir, and Mary has trouble concealing her eagerness for that to occur) and he breaks off relations with her, eventually coming to return Fanny's affections, and they marry. Austen points out that if only Crawford had persisted in his kindly treatment of Fanny, and not become entangled in an affair with Maria, she would eventually have come to love him, and they would have been happy, and Edmund and Mary would have married and been happy.


Characters in "Mansfield Park"

Fanny Price
A daughter in a large family who is sent to live with her mother's sisters at Mansfield Park. Her mother defied her family and married a poor lieutenant of marines for love. Mrs Price's alcoholic husband was disabled and released from the service on half pay, and she had to settle for a life far less comfortable than those of her sisters. Fanny is sensitive and shy, and her status at Mansfield Park as a dependent poor relation only intensifies these traits. The bulk of the novel takes place when she is between fifteen and seventeen.
Lady Bertram
Sister of Fanny Price's mother who is married to the wealthy Sir Thomas Bertram. She is perpetually vague and distracted.
Mrs Norris
The officious widowed sister of Lady Bertram and Fanny Price's mother, who lives near Mansfield Park. Her late husband, Mr Norris, was the previous parson at Mansfield Park.
Sir Thomas Bertram
The husband of Fanny's aunt, Lady Bertram. He owns the Mansfield Park estate and an estate in Antigua. He is stern and correct.
Tom Bertram
The elder son of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram; he is seven years older than Fanny. Tom is principally interested in carousing in London society and enjoying the pleasures of the theatre with his friend Mr Yates. Tom incurs large debts, forcing Sir Thomas to sell the church position that was to have gone to Edmund, Tom's younger brother. One celebratory journey leaves Tom with a fever.
Edmund Bertram
The younger son of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram; he is six years older than Fanny. He plans to be a clergyman. He alone among his family has any consideration for Fanny's feelings. As her protecter and friend, he has a great deal of influence over her and helps to form her character. Edmund becomes attracted to Miss Crawford.
Maria Bertram
The elder daughter of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram; she is three years older than Fanny. She becomes engaged to Mr Rushworth, but then becomes emotionally involved with Mr Crawford.
Julia Bertram
The younger daughter of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram; she is two years older than Fanny. She has strong feelings toward Mr Crawford, but soon learns that he prefers her sister Maria, despite, or because of, her sister's engagement. She then begins a flirtation with Mr Yates.
Mrs Grant
The wife of the current parson at the Mansfield Park parsonage, and sister to Mr Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford.
Mr Henry Crawford
The brother of Mrs Grant and Miss Mary Crawford. A charming and eligible bachelor who shows interest in Maria, Julia and, later, Fanny.
Miss Mary Crawford
The pretty and charming sister of Mr Crawford and Mrs Grant, who takes a keen interest in Edmund Bertram in spite of his being a second son.
Mr Rushworth
A wealthy but foolish man who becomes engaged to Maria Bertram.
Mr Yates
A good friend of Tom Bertram. Tom and Yates carouse in London society and bring their love of the theatre to Mansfield Park. Yates also expresses interest in Julia Bertram.
William Price
Fanny's brother, a naval midshipman, with whom she is very close.
Susan Price
Fanny's younger sister with whom Fanny first becomes close on a visit home.

Literary significance & criticism

Mansfield Park is the most controversial and perhaps the least popular of Austen's major novels. Regency critics praised the novel's wholesome morality, but many modern readers find Fanny's timidity and disapproval of the theatricals difficult to sympathise with and reject the idea (made explicit in the final chapter) that she is a better person for the relative privations of her childhood. Jane Austen's own mother thought Fanny "insipid,"[1] and many other readers have found her priggish and unlikeable.[2] Other critics point out that she is a complex personality, perceptive yet given to wishful thinking, and that she shows courage and grows in self-esteem during the latter part of the story. Austen biographer Claire Tomalin, who is generally rather critical of Fanny, argues that "it is in rejecting obedience in favour of the higher dictate of remaining true to her own conscience that Fanny rises to her moment of heroism."[3] But Tomalin reflects the ambivalence that many readers feel towards Fanny when she also writes: "More is made of Fanny Price's faith, which gives her the courage to resist what she thinks is wrong; it also makes her intolerant of sinners, whom she is ready to cast aside, just as Mr. Collins recommends that the Bennets should cast aside the sinful Lydia and Wickham."[4] Claire Tomalin (born June 20, 1933) is an English biographer and journalist. ...


The story contains much social satire, particularly at the expense of the two aunts. It is perhaps the most socially realistic Austen novel, with Fanny's family of origin, the Prices, coming from a much lower echelon of society than most Austen characters. Edward Said attempted to implicate the novel in western culture's careless attitude towards slavery. Other critics, such as Gabrielle White, have argued against Said's condemnation of Jane Austen and western culture, maintaining that Austen and other writers, including Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke, opposed slavery and helped make its eventual abolition possible. Claire Tomalin, following literary critic Brian Southam, claims that Fanny, usually so timid, questions her uncle about the slave trade and receives no answer, suggesting that her vision of the trade's immorality is clearer than his.[5] However, author Ellen Moody has challenged Southam's interpretation, arguing that Fanny's uncle would not have been "pleased" (as the text suggests) to be questioned on the subject if Southam's reading of the scene were correct.[6] Edward Wadie Said (Arabic: ‎, translit: ) (1 November 1935, Jerusalem &ndash 25 September 2003, New York City) was a well-known Palestinian-American literary theorist and outspoken Palestinian activist. ... For other persons named Samuel Johnson, see Samuel Johnson (disambiguation). ... Edmund Burke (12 January 1729 – 9 July 1797) was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who served for many years in the British House of Commons as a member of the Whig party. ...


Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

Mansfield Park has been the subject of a number of adaptations:

  • 1999: Mansfield Park, film directed by Patricia Rozema, starring Frances O'Connor as Fanny Price and Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram (interestingly, he also featured in the 1983 version, playing one of Fanny's brothers). This film alters several major elements of the story and depicts Fanny as author of some of Austen's actual letters as well as her children's history of England.

Mansfield Park is a 1983 British television drama serial, adapted from Jane Austens novel of the same name, originally published in 1814. ... David Giles is a British television film director. ... Actress Bio Sylvestra Le Touzel is the sister of Joshua Le Touzel. ... Nicholas Farrell is a British actor of stage, film and television, most notably in Chariots of Fire in 1981. ... Anna Massey, CBE (born August 11, 1937) is a British actress. ... Mansfield Park is a UK film based on Jane Austen novel directed by Patricia Rozema in 1999. ... Patricia Rozema (born 1958) is a Canadian film director and screenwriter. ... Frances OConnor (born on 12 July 1967 in Wantage, Oxfordshire) is an Australian actress who attended Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts as well as earned a BA in literature from the Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. ... Jonny Lee Miller Jonny Lee Miller (born November 15, 1972) is an English actor. ... Company Pictures is an independent British television production company, who have produced drama programming for many broadcasters. ... Billie Paul Piper (originally registered as Lianne Piper[1]), born on 22 September 1982, is an English actress. ... ITV1 is the name, in England, Wales and the Scottish borders, for a terrestrial, free-to-air television channel, broadcast in the United Kingdom by the ITV network. ...

Trivia

In the Harry Potter series of novels, Argus Filch is the caretaker at Hogwarts School. His prying cat (loathed by all the students) is named "Mrs Norris", for the busybody character in Mansfield Park. This article is about the Harry Potter series of novels. ... Argus Filch is the caretaker and (effectively) hall monitor in J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter series of books. ...


The value of the novel as literature was a subject of contention between the two main characters in Whit Stillman's film Metropolitan, one of the characters being devoted to the work of Jane Austen, the other having read only an essay critical of the book by Lionel Trilling. The film is also an updated retelling of Mansfield Park with New York City as the backdrop. Whit Stillman (born John Whitney Stillman on January 25, 1952 in New York City) is a writer-director known for his sly depictions of the urban haute bourgeoisie. He has to date filmed three comedies of manners (or comedies of mannerlessness): Metropolitan (1990), Barcelona (1994), and The Last Days of... Metropolitan is the first film by director and screenwriter Whit Stillman. ... Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works, the most famous of which include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, are widely regarded as classics. ... Lionel Trilling (July 4, 1905 – November 5, 1975) was an American literary critic, author, and teacher. ... Nickname: Big Apple, Gotham, NYC, City That Never Sleeps, The Concrete Jungle, The City So Nice They Named It Twice Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1676 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area...


It is widely believed that Cottesbrooke Hall and Village, Northamptonshire, famed for its exquisite architecture and home to the magnificent Woolavington Collection, is the pattern for Mansfield Park and its associated village. Cottesbrooke is a village in the Daventry district of the county of Northamptonshire in England. ... Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ...


Footnotes

  1. ^ Early opinions of Mansfield Park. Retrieved on 2006-05-16.
  2. ^ Controversy over Fanny Price, from the AUSTEN-L mailing list. Retrieved on 2006-05-16.
  3. ^ Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (New York: Vintage, 1997), p. 230.
  4. ^ Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (New York: Vintage, 1997), p. 140.
  5. ^ Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life, p.230.
  6. ^ Moody, Ellen. "A Commentary on Brian Southam's exegesis in TLS". Retrieved on 2006-12-19.
  7. ^ Dooks, Brian. "Historic hall to host Austen adaptation", Yorkshire Post, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.

For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... December 19 is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Yorkshire Post was founded in 1754, as the Leedes Intelligencer, making it one of Britains first daily newspapers. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Jane Austen's novels
Sense and Sensibility (1811) | Pride and Prejudice (1813) | Mansfield Park (1814) | Emma (1815) | Northanger Abbey (1818) | Persuasion (1818)

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Image File history File links Wikiquote-logo-en. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Project Gutenberg logo Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works via book scanning. ... Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works, the most famous of which include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, are widely regarded as classics. ... For other uses, see Sense and Sensibility (disambiguation). ... For films named Pride and Prejudice, see Pride and Prejudice (film). ... Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1816, about the perils of misconstrued romance. ... For films named Northanger Abbey, see Northanger Abbey (1986 film). ... Persuasion book cover Persuasion is the last completed novel Jane Austen wrote, and was first published posthumously, in 1818. ...


 
 

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