Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

From its sharply satiric opening sentence, Mansfield Park dealas with money and marriage, and how strongly they affect each other. Shy, fragile Fanny Price is the consummate "poor relation." Sent to live with her wealthy uncle Thomas, she clashes with his spoiled, selfish daughters and falls in love with his son. Their lives are further complicated by the arrival of a pair of witty, sophisticated Londoners, whose flair for flirtation collides with the quiet, conservative country ways of Mansfield Park.

Written several years after the early manuscripts that eventually became Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park retains Austen’s familiar compassion and humor but offers a far more complex exploration of moral choices and their emotional consequences.

Amanda Claybaugh is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She also wrote the Introduction and Notes for the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593081546
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 73,665
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda Claybaugh is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She also wrote the Introduction and Notes for the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

From Amanda Claybaugh's Introduction to Mansfield Park

Mary Crawford is, or so it seems, the very model of a Jane Austen heroine. Spirited, warm-hearted, and, above all else, witty, she displays all the familiar Austen virtues, and she stands in need of the familiar Austen lessons as well. Like Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice (1813), she banters archly with the man she is falling in love with, and, like Elizabeth, she must learn to set aside her preconceptions in order to recognize that love. Like Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of Emma (1816), she speaks more brilliantly and speculates more dazzlingly than anyone around her, and, like Emma, she must learn to rein in the wit that tempts her at times to impropriety. But Mary Crawford is not the heroine of Mansfield Park (1814)—Fanny Price is, and therein lies the novel's great surprise. For Fanny differs not merely from Mary, but also from our most basic expectations of what a novel's protagonist should do and be. In Fanny, we have a heroine who seldom moves and seldom speaks, and never errs or alters.

"'I must move,'" Mary announces, "'resting fatigues me'." Before her arrival at Mansfield, she had made a glamorous circuit of winters in London and summers at the country houses of friends, with stops at fashionable watering places in between, and at Mansfield she is no less mobile. A vigorous walker, she soon takes up riding, cantering as soon as she mounts. Fanny, by contrast, has hardly left the grounds of Mansfield since her arrival eight years before, and she is further immobilized by her weakness and timidity. A half-mile walk is beyond her, a ball, she fears, will exhaust her, and she is prostrated by headache after picking roses. She must be lifted onto the horse she was long too terrified to approach, and her exercise consists of being led by a groom.

"'Now, do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat,'" says Mary to her listeners, who have not, in fact, caught the joke at all. So dazzling a talker is Mary that she must serve as her own best audience, amusing herself with witticisms the others cannot hear. With a keener eye and a sharper tongue than those around her, Mary sets her words dancing alongside the inanities, vulgarities, and hypocrisies that make up the other characters' speech. Fanny, by contrast, barely speaks at all, and when she does, it is in the silencing language of moral certainty. "'Very indecorous,'" Edmund says of Mary's far more captivating discourse, and Fanny is quick to agree and contribute a judgment of her own: "'and very ungrateful.'" There is little that can be said after that.

"'I will stake my last like a woman of spirit,'" Mary proclaims in the midst of a card game that Fanny had been reluctant to play at all. Mary wins the hand, only to find that it has cost her more than it was worth, and, in doing so, she reminds us that to act is necessarily to risk being wrong. Fanny, by contrast, is always right. "'Fanny is the only one who has judged rightly throughout'"—this is Edmund Bertram speaking to Sir Thomas in the aftermath of the theatricals, but it could just as properly be the narrator at the novel's end. The language of Fanny's right judgment suggests, however, that her moral certainty is a function of her passivity: "'No, indeed, I cannot act,'" she had insisted, and the double meaning of "acting" suggests that Fanny knows not to "act" in a theatrical sense because she never really "acts" at all.

It is in the contrast between Fanny and Mary that we can most clearly see that Mansfield Park is, in the words of the critic Tony Tanner, "a novel about rest and restlessness, stability and change-the moving and the immovable" (Jane Austen, p. 145; see "For Further Reading"). Mansfield Park is hardly the only Austen novel to take as its subject matter a pair of opposed terms, but typically these terms stand in a dynamic relation to one another, each altering the other until a proper synthesis or balance is achieved. In Sense and Sensibility (1811), for instance, the rational Elinor Dashwood and her romantic sister Marianne must each learn from the other to moderate her mode of feeling; similarly, Mr. Darcy must modify his pride and Elizabeth, her prejudice before marriage can unite them. Other of Austen's novels draw careful distinctions within a single term, as when Persuasion (1818) establishes a continuum from the most laudable to the most lamentable instances of conforming to the wishes of others. Mansfield Park stands alone in this regard, for it unequivocally endorses one set of terms and unequivocally condemns the other. Rest has, in this novel, nothing to learn from restlessness, and restlessness can in no way be redeemed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 429 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 432 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    Austen's most misunderstood novel demystified!

    In a popularity poll of Jane Austen¿s six major novels, Mansfield Park may come close to the bottom, but what a distinction that is in comparison to the rest of classic literature! Even though many find fault with its hero and heroine, its love story 'or more accurately the lack of one', its dark subtext of neglect and oppression, and its moralistic tone, it is still Jane Austen with her beautiful language, witty social observations and intriguing plot lines. Given the overruling benefits, I can still place it in my top ten all-time favorite classic books. Considering the difficulty that some readers have understanding Mansfield Park, the added benefit of good supplemental material is an even more important consideration in purchasing the novel. Recently I evaluated several editions of the novel currently in print which you can view here. For readers seeking a medium level of supplemental material, one solid candidate is the new reissue of Oxford World¿s Classics'2008' which offers a useful combination of topics to expand on the text, place it in context to when it was written, and an insightful introduction by Jane Stabler, a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Dundee, Scotland and Lord Byron scholar. Understanding all the important nuances and inner-meanings in Mansfield Park can be akin to `visiting Pemberley¿, the extensive estate of the wealthy Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen¿s more famous novel Pride and Prejudice. One is intrigued by its renown but hard pressed to take it all in on short acquaintance. The greatest benefit of the Oxford World¿s Classics edition to the reader who seeks clarification is Jan Stabler¿s thirty page introduction which is thoughtfully broken down into six sub categories by theme The Politics of Home, Actors and Audiences, The Drama of Conscience, Stagecraft and Psychology, Possession, Restoration and Rebellion, and Disorder and Dynamism. Written at a level accessible to the novice and veteran alike, I particularly appreciate this type of thematic format when I am seeking an answer or explanation on one subject and do not have the time to wade through the entire essay at that moment. Her concluding lines seemed to sum up my recent feelings on the novel. ¿The brisk restoration of order at Mansfield Park and healing of the breach between parent and child is underwritten by the same doubt that lingers around the last scene of Shakespeare¿s King Lear: `Is this the promis¿d end? 'v. iii 262'. Recreating the urge to defy parental authority while teaching us to sit still, and pitting unruly energy against patient submission to the rule of law, Mansfield Park is an enthralling performance of the competitive forces which governed early nineteenth-century politics, society and art.' For me, Mansfield Park is about Jane Austen teaching this unruly child to sit still and enjoy the performance! With patience, I have come to cherish Fanny Price, the most virtuous and under-rated heroine in classic literature! Re-reading the novel and supplemental material was well worth the extra effort, expanding my appreciation of Austen¿s skills as a story teller and the understanding of the social workings in rural Regency England. I am never disappointed in her delivery of great quips such as ¿But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.¿ The Narrator, Chapter 1 Also included in this edition are four appendixes the first two on Rank and Social Status and Dancing which are included in all six of the Oxford World¿s Classics Jane Austen editions and have been previously reviewed, followed by Lovers¿ Vows 'the theatrical that the young people attempt to produce in the novel', and Austen and the Navy which helps the reader understand Jane Austen¿s connection to the Royal Navy through her brothers James and Francis and its influence on her writing. The extensive Explanatory Notes to the text help place the novel in context fo

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Absolutely Outstanding

    Austen's novels really warm my heart. I fall in love with them as soon as i see them and Mansfield Park has totally made think different about life and how people act, which is what her novels are based on. I highly reccomend it.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    It's Jane Austen

    What more can be said? Either you like her work or you don't. It doesn't rate in my top 5, but it's still a good piece of literary work.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Boring

    I found the boook too be very long and boring. The language was hard to understand and made it difficult to be interesting. I hardly felt there was romance. I am glad the styles of writing has changed since this book was published. I dont think i will ever read anymore of this author.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Great Book!

    I loved this book. The only thing about it that I didn't like was that I felt Edward always loved Fanny, he was just blind sided by another woman. I hate that Fanny had to know she was second best to him.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2009

    My Dear, Dear Fanny

    Mansfield Park was so good. The story was captivating to where I could see Mansfield Park and it's surrounding landscape. I could even feel each emotion that the characters felt. Jane Austen has yet to disappoint me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    An excellent classic.

    The Barnes & Noble Classics Series edition is well worth the nominal cost. It is nicely formatted for the Nook and has good end- and footnotes. The introduction is a "spoiler," if you haven't read Mannsfield Park before, but it is well done and can be read after-the-fact for an excellent treatment of Austen's work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened, just a lot of talking.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Leah

    O ok...thats really cool :) my nook wont post bc of the lag ;( i guess i should quit for the night

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Leah

    O ok cool....i thought she was packing her stuff for boot camp lol....sorry i took so long to reply...i hate this lag

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Monky bars

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Great Austen - easily overlooked

    easily overlooked Austen novel, but that's the point about the heroine. She is overlooked by everyone, even many readers. But its a sweet, wonderful, clever novel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    One

    One word.



    AMAZING!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Touching Story

    Manfield Park differs from Jane Austen's other novels, in that the main protagonist Fanny Price is a meek, fragile little creature, who lives at the mercy of her domineering wealthy relatives. The novel still contains the satirical wit characteristic of Austen, though it does not come from the heroine. Throughout the story, the reader's sympathy is often incited by the ill treatment of Fanny by her superiors, her inferiority complex, and her unrequited love for her kindly cousin Edmund Bertram (The reader will please keep in mind that loving one's cousin was perfectly acceptable at that time).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Every Austen Book is a Classic!

    Once again Jane Austen succeeded in producing a good novel filled with observations on human interaction with one another and love during her time. This is a really good classic to read. Normally before reading a book, I first become really acquainted with the plot but I decided to get out of my comfort zone and only read the back of the book
    (which after having finished the book today) it was just the right amount of information that I needed to understand the story of the book. Here in Mansfield Park, Austen depicts the social standards that lie in the pursuit of love and money. As with all of Austen's books the ending is a happy one for the main character!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Love Austin!

    I LOVE Jane so this was not disappointing! There was a good twist at the end and I love reading about 19th century conventions and society. A great book to curl up on the couch with!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Austen at Best

    I greatly anticipated reading Mansfield Park as it was the only book by Jane Austen which I had yet to read. Also, my interest had been piqued by all of the opinions that Fanny Price was boring, the book was boring, and Edmund was a twit of the highest order. After reading the novel for myself, I can now say that Fanny Price is my favorite character written by Jane Austen, the book was highly entertaining, and Edmund was a sweetheart, albeit a slightly confused sweetheart!

    Whenever I have read Pride and Prejudice-which I have read it many times- I always became angry with Elizabeth Bennet for her somewhat obnoxious way of accusing Mr. Darcy unjustly. I became embarrassed for her lack of composure, always preferring Jane Bennet. I entertained the same sentiments for Cathy in Northanger Abbey. However, in Mansfield Park, I was charmed by Fanny for her ladylike poise under the verbal darts of her Aunt Norris, for her consistency of character. The book was, in most ways, my personal idea of perfection.

    My only question was this: How could she resist Henry Crawford???

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mansfield Bore

    I have read many Austen books and while they are always a little slow to get going, they have always turned out worth the time, until now. The overall theme of the book is typical for the author, the writing itself is fabulous, but I could care less about every character in the book. Not one of them was appealing on any level, not even the bad guys. I would strongly recommend any other Austen book to a friend and urge anyone away from this one. I know it is the era of the writing but two close cousins (share sisters for mom's) marry in the book is way wrong. Maybe that is why the whole book sucked for me, when the girl falls in love with her cousin at the start, and the entire book is centered on her love for him, it gets old quick. Maybe in a few years I will read again and pretend they are not related at all and see if it improves the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A little slow, but it sure picks up!

    I found the beginning of this book to be extremely slow, but the book did pick up in the end. I liked Fanny alot, but she does need more self-confidence. Edmund is too good to be true. I dragged through this book until it picked up at the end. I was sad to see it end, and I think Austen could have devoted more than 2 pages to Fanny and Edmund's romance at the end because it took so long to happen. But, overall, it's a great read. Don't expect it be a fast read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The best Jane Austen novel you've never heard of

    I bought the Jane Austen collection of novels and this gem was in there. I loved it from begining to end. Don't watch the movie it's horrible. They change Fanny into something she's not. The novel is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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