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Mansfield Park (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 17 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed. / edition (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535538
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction set among the gentry have earned her a place as one of the most widely read and most beloved writers in English literature.

Jane Austen was born in Steventon rectory on 16th December 1775. Her family later moved to Bath and then to Chawton in Hampshire. She wrote from a young age and Pride and Prejudice was begun when she was twenty-two years old. It was originally called First Impressions. It was initially rejected by the published she submitted it too and eventually published in 1813 after much revision.

All four of her novels - Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815) published in her lifetime were published anonymously. Jane Austen died on 18th July 1817. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (both 1817) were published posthumously.

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Amazon Review

The Mansfield Park of the title, a magnificent, idyllic estate which is home to the wealthy Bertram family, stands as a bastion of English tradition and stability. The novel's heroine, Fanny Price, is a "poor relation" living with the Bertrams, acutely conscious of her inferior status and yet daring to love their son Edmund--but from afar. However, with five marriageable young people on the premises, the peace at Mansfield cannot last. Courtships, entertainments and intrigues throw the place into turmoil, and Fanny finds herself unwillingly competing with a dazzlingly witty and lovely rival. As critic Margaret Drabble has pointed out, the house becomes "full of the energies of discord--sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity," and the novel becomes ever more engrossing as it builds to Mansfield's final scandal and, finally, a satisfying conclusion. Unique in its moral design and brilliant interplay of the forces of tradition and change, Mansfield Park was the first novel of Jane Austen's maturity, and the first in which the author turned her unerring eye on the concerns of English society at a time of great upheaval. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values."--Virginia Woolf --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
ABOUT thirty 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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Doyle on 26 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Many associate Jane Austen with lively, witty heroines and the joys that come from the triumph of charm and humour over stupidity and formality. That's why so many consider Mansfield Park an abberation, a miserable moralistic tale that is only enlivened by funny caricatures and some entertaining episodes. I disagree with this view. In this book, Jane Austen is showing us that while humour and personality can animate and delight us, there are other things that should not be overlooked. Things like love, respect and integrity. And when Fanny "wins" in the end, I am glad for her. She has been true to what she believes, and while she would probably be as much fun to be with as a pile of paving slabs, she did well to keep her head, "when all about [her] were losing theirs." It goes without saying that the book is a masterpiece, and not one word of it is wasted. It is bursting with incisive - if not cheeky - observations of the strange workings of society (then AND now), and we are allowed many laughs at the expense of all of the characters. Don't be dismayed by this story, or become one of those who likes to "pretend" that Mary Crawford is the real heroine of the book because she is prettier and funnier and sometimes kind. She's a nasty piece of work. Trust the author about this one; she knew what she was writing, and she knew that life just doesn't turn out to be "Pride and Prejudice" for everyone.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Ann on 17 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD
I adore audio books and always have one playing away in my car during my commute to work; -- so when I went hunting to purchase a new unabridged audio edition on CD of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, I was quite surprised to learn that my choices were very few at exactly two; a Blackstone AudioBooks, Inc (2008) read by Johanna Ward and a Naxos AudioBooks (2007) read by Juliet Stevenson. My first choice was of course the Juliet Stevenson version, for what Janeite could ever forget her outrageous performance as Mrs. Elton in the 1996 movie adaptation of Emma? My abject apologies to Johanna Ward, who I am sure must be a very fine reader since she has several audio books to her credit, but the thought of listening to Mansfield Park read by Mrs. Elton just intrigued me and gave me the giggles. If anyone could liven up Mansfield Park, reputed to be Jane Austen's most complex and dark novel, she could!

Being a reader for an audio book is not an easy task since so many different `performances' are required to distinguish each of the characters for the listener. I have found through a course of trial and error that I enjoy audio books read by classically trained actors. Juliet Stevenson fills this qualification perfectly for me using every inch of her Royal Shakespearean Company training. Her understanding of Jane Austen's use of language and her true British accent added greatly to my enjoyment of this fine production.

Naxos AudioBooks has made quite a solid commitment to present quality productions of all of Jane Austen's six major novels in unabridged and abridged formats.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MarleneHemmes on 3 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
One of my favourite of the Austen novels. Fanny improves each time on further reading and one grows to love her. She does not deserve to win Henry. He will forever remain a charmer and will not stay faithful to one. My quibble is not with this wonderful writing but with my downloaded version which starts chapter 23 and suddenly jumps to chapter 26. All continuity is lost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sabina on 26 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I have re-read Mansfield Park and found it very enjoyable. Somehow over the years I had the impression of Fanny Price sitting uncomplaining in her cold attic, wheras of course the story is all about her emergence from it. Fanny may appear passive, but in fact she develops and blooms in ways which others seem to notice before she does. I was struck by Jane Austen's ironic humour in her depiction of self-deceiving characters, even the noble and correct Edmund only wants Fanny to echo his own infatuated views about the enticing Mary Crawford. And there is much about Fanny's own mixed feelings, trying to be good but actually jealous of others, and always having to conceal her own secret love.

The latter part of the book, where after several years of privileged living at Mansfield Park Fanny goes back to visit her crowded and chaotic parental home in Portsmouth, is well conceived - an interesting and unusual depiction for the author. The idea of home and belonging, the coming to terms with reality is something that more characters than Fanny have to confront. There is humour, but this is not a comic novel. There is something at the core about the nature of true integrity which is almost dark, but not at the cost of a good story, very well told.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By BookAddictUK VINE VOICE on 22 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mansfield Park, although certainly regarded as a part of the canon of English literature, is often considered to be the weakest, least dazzling of Austen's novels. Without the witty sparkle of Pride and Prejudice or the gothic indulgence of Northanger Abbey, it has struggled at time to match the popularity of her other titles. But oh, what a treat those who pass over Mansfield Park are missing. Certainly, it is the most disturbing and perhaps the least superficially pleasing of Austen's output but it has rewards aplenty for the careful reader.

Mansfield Park, home of the affluent Bertram family, takes in a young poor relation with the overt intention of giving her the advantages of a good education and good connections while preserving her sense of gratitude and subservience. Fanny, the haplessly lucky chosen beneficiary of such benevolence is uprooted from friends, home, family and all that it familiar to take up residence in the grand house with her grand relations. Austen sets Fanny up as the heroine, designed to evoke the sympathy of the reader: this is a challenge for a modern audience, many of whom will find her weak and too self-deprecating to be genuinely engaging. And similarly, the sins and deficiencies in disposition and feeling with which Austen gifts brother and sister, Mary and Henry Crawford, may seem not so damning today as Austen intended. This however, does little to detract from the overall value of the novel itself. The relationship between the Bertram family and its colonial role (their wealth derives from sugar plantations in Antigua) is only hinted at overtly, but beautifully explored through the metaphorical position of Mansfield as the centre of all that is English.
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