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Mansfield Park (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Dec 1992

4.3 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; Reprint edition (5 Dec. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260322
  • ASIN: 1853260320
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By A Customer on 7 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm quite amazed at the absolute loathing Fanny Price awakens in so many readers - why do people despise the one truly virtuous character, describe her as weak, insipid, boring and all the rest, whereas Maria and Julia, snooty, self-absorbed, conceited bitches who consistently treat Fanny as a doormat, are deemed interesting? Why is virtue so suspicious to modern readers? Why do we prefer sparkling froth (Mary Crawford) to quiet depth (Fanny)? As reviewer Sartoruia states, Fanny has her reasons for being the way she is - quiet, shy, humble, sincere. Why do readers hate these qualities, why is there no empathy for Fanny after the way she has been treated? As for Fanny being weak - are these people crazy? Is it weak to resist the enormous pressure that Fanny was up against to marry Henry Crawford? To escape her position of dependency to become a highly respected woman of stature? What a wonderful revenge it would have been to all those who looked down at her previously: Maria, Julia, Mrs Norris! What freedom, at last! And yet Fanny resists: her love for Edmund is stronger. Is this weakness? She does not fall prey to Henry's Casanova charms, as so many society belles have done. Is this weakness? She sees through his character, recognises him for what he is - a frivolous womanizer. (How many modern-day so-called emancipated woman have fallen for such types! ) She has the strength to stand to her own opinions, and upholds her moral strength in spite of her lowly position. I call that admirable! That is genuine self-esteem, not the shallow self-infatuation readers seem to demand in a heroine..Read more ›
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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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