The novel was first published by Thomas Egerton. A second edition was published in 1816 by John Murray, still within Austen's lifetime. The novel did not receive any critical attention when it was initially published; the first particular notice was in 1821, in a positive review of each of the published novels by Jane Austen.
The critical reception from the late 20th century onward has been controversial. writing in the 21st century, found this to be one of Austen's best novels, and called it pioneering for being about meritocracy. However, Mansfield Park is perhaps Austen's most controversial novel due to its brief mention of the British slave trade, and the fact that Fanny's uncle and benefactor, Sir Thomas, owns a plantation in the West Indies. Some critics characterize Thomas's trip to Antigua as nothing more than an excuse for his long absence. The late Edward Said criticized the novel for failing to clearly criticize Sir Thomas's profiteering in the West Indies.
PLOT:Frances "Fanny" Price, at age 10, is sent from her family home to live with her uncle and aunt in the country in Northhamptonshire. It is a jolting change, from the elder sister of many, to the youngest at the estate of Sir Thomas Bertram, husband of her mother's older sister. Her cousin Edmund finds her alone one day and helps her. She wants to write to her older brother William. Edmund provides the writing materials, the first kindness to her in this new family. Her cousins are Julia, age 12, Maria, age 13, Edmund, age 15 and Tom age 17. Her aunt is kind but her uncle frightens her with his authoritative demeanor. Fanny's mother has another sister, Mrs Norris. She is the wife of the clergyman at Mansfield parsonage. Mrs Norris has no children and takes a great interest in her nieces and nephews. Mrs Norris keeps up a strict difference between her Bertram nieces and lowly Fanny. Sir Thomas helps the sons of the Price family find occupations as they are old enough. William joins the Navy as a midshipman not long after Fanny is at Mansfield Park. He visits them once before going to sea, and writes to his sister.
Jane Austen ( 16 December 1775 - 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century.
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About the Author
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English author known primarily for her six major novels set among the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Considered defining works of the Regency Era and counted among the best-loved classics of English literature, Austen’s books include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. The latter two were published after her death.
Date of Birth:December 16, 1775
Date of Death:July 18, 1817
Place of Birth:Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
Place of Death:Winchester, Hampshire, England
Education:Taught at home by her father