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Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)

Austen, Jane

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9780141439808: Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)

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Begun in 1811 at the height of Jane Austen's writing powers and published in 1814, Mansfield Park marks a conscious break from the tone of her first three novels, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice, the last of which Austen came to see as "rather too light." Fanny Price is unlike any of Austen's previous heroines, a girl from a poor family brought up in a splendid country house and possessed of a vast reserve of moral fortitude and imperturbability. She is very different from Elizabeth Bennet, but is the product of the same inspired imagination.

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Taken from the poverty of her parents' home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle's absence in Antigua, the Crawford's arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen's first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

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Though Jane Austen was writing at a time when Gothic potboilers such as Ann Ward Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho and Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto were all the rage, she never got carried away by romance in her own novels. In Austen's ordered world, the passions that ruled Gothic fiction would be horridly out of place; marriage was, first and foremost, a contract, the bedrock of polite society. Certain rules applied to who was eligible and who was not, how one courted and married and what one expected afterwards. To flout these rules was to tear at the basic fabric of society, and the consequences could be terrible. Each of the six novels she completed in her lifetime are, in effect, comic cautionary tales that end happily for those characters who play by the rules and badly for those who don't. In Mansfield Park, for example, Austen gives us Fanny Price, a poor young woman who has grown up in her wealthy relatives' household without ever being accepted as an equal. The only one who has truly been kind to Fanny is Edmund Bertram, the younger of the family's two sons.

Into this Cinderella existence comes Henry Crawford and his sister, Mary, who are visiting relatives in the neighborhood. Soon Mansfield Park is given over to all kinds of gaiety, including a daring interlude spent dabbling in theatricals. Young Edmund is smitten with Mary, and Henry Crawford woos Fanny. Yet these two charming, gifted, and attractive siblings gradually reveal themselves to be lacking in one essential Austenian quality: principle. Without good principles to temper passion, the results can be disastrous, and indeed, Mansfield Park is rife with adultery, betrayal, social ruin, and ruptured friendships. But this is a comedy, after all, so there is also a requisite happy ending and plenty of Austen's patented gentle satire along the way. Describing the switch in Edmund's affections from Mary to Fanny, she writes: "I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that everyone may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people." What does not vary is the pleasure with which new generations come to Jane Austen. --Alix Wilber

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. 192 x 124 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Taken from the poverty of her parents home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle s absence in Antigua, the Crawford s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141439808

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed. 192 x 124 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Taken from the poverty of her parents home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle s absence in Antigua, the Crawford s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141439808

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Book Description Penguin Classics, 2003. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Taken from the poverty of her parent's 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. During her uncle's absence in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, 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 their influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austin's most profound works.This edition is based, for the first time since its original publication, 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0141439807

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