Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593081546
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 11/01/2004
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 24,391
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)

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


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.

Customer Reviews

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Mansfield Park 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 505 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I read Pride and Prejudice, I've been completely hooked on to Jane Austen! This is the second novel of hers I read, and I have to say, I liked it even more than Pride and Prejudice (which was awesome!). Fanny's sweet character and manners touched me, and to meet all of the characters and travel along with them in time is a very touching experience, which makes you miss them when you've finished the book, as if you'd let go of old friends. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Jane Austen, or who wants a comfy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of the four Austen novels I have read (the others being Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility), Mansfield Park was my favorite. Why? To be frank, though I love Austen's work and would never want to speak badly of it, the heroines in none of her other novels appeals to me as much as Fanny. Emma is too obviously obsessed with social class, and Eliza's apparent high opinion of herself and her abilities annoys me. Fanny is the only heroine who actually sticks to her beliefs. As always, I recommend the movie, but not after you've read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
leuanne More than 1 year ago
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.
Orla More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word. AMAZING!
Elinor_D_Ferrars More than 1 year ago
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).
Book_lover18 More than 1 year ago
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!!
BookLoverSH More than 1 year ago
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!
Vovo More than 1 year ago
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???
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
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.
Kiko1021 More than 1 year ago
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!
h_Love More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all Jane Austens novels, and this was my least favorite. It wssn't bad, but not good.
_Lover-of-books_ More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen has created another masterpiece. I fell in love with this book too. Fanny really captures your attention with her kind and loving personality. Austen really knows how to make you believe her characters are real people. This is a really touching story of two young people looking for love, and finally able to find a happy life in each other. A must read.
Cyberlibrariannyc on LibraryThing 3 hours ago
Mansfield Park is easily Austen's most controversial novel. It is a book that many people (Janeites included) actively dislike. The plot deals with morality and the main characters are polarizing. Personally, I find it fascinating. I don't think it's just about morality -- I am fascinated by the choice we are offered between substance and appearance and also fascinated by which choice readers make. Some choose Mary and Henry Crawford, the characters who, in my opinion, are all about "appearance," and others choose Fanny and Edmund, whom I believe to be about substance. Fanny and Edmund are, admittedly, rather dull, but they are good and decent people who try to live good and decent lives. They don't lead other people on. They don't try to "make a hole" in an innocent's heart. They don't think it's OK to commit adultery. Edmund wants to be a priest, and I think he'd be a good one. And Fanny would be a much better priest's wife than Mary, who openly disdains religion and its practitioners. Mary and Henry may be fun to hang out with, but they are not marriage material for a person who cares about character. Mansfield Park is not my favorite Austen novel, but it rises in my estimation every time I read it.
katiekrug on LibraryThing 3 hours ago
I approached Mansfield Park with a bit of trepidation, as most Austen fans I know consider this the worst of the lot. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. I think the key is to go in with an open mind and to not compare it too closely to Pride and Prejudice or any other work. The writing is excellent and Austen¿s humor is very present, especially in the descriptions, dialogue and actions of the secondary characters.Mansfield Park is different from the other Austens I¿ve read (P&P, Sense and Sensibility and Emma) in that it is more serious in its concerns and more of a commentary on morality. But far from boring or preachy, Austen strikes a nice balance between those concerns and the humor and social observation included in her other works. While I did wish Fanny Price had more spunk in some situations, the circumstances of her childhood and her being brought to Mansfield are such that her rather timid and retreating nature were understandable. Since Mansfield Park is not, to my mind, intended as a romantic work, the lack of chemistry between Fanny and Edmund also makes sense. Austen is less concerned with them as lovers than as moral figures whose interior compasses bring them inexorably together.This is definitely not my favorite of the Austen novels I¿ve read, but it is still entertaining and perhaps more thought-provoking.
bkmcneil on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Enjoyed this Austen, although Fanny needs a shot of coffee sometimes.
BrynDahlquis on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
One of the few books I really, really hate.
RebeccaAnn on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Mansfield Park most definitely is not my favorite Jane Austen. As many reviewers have already mentioned, it's hard to like a book when you don't like any of the characters, not even Fanny. The plot moves along so slowly it's painful to read. And the ending! In the last few paragraphs of the entire book is it mentioned for the first time that Edmund may possibly have feelings for Fanny. I felt, once I had reached the end of the book, that I had read the book for nothing. All 400 pages seemed devoted to watching Edmund and Miss Crawford court each other while Fanny watched pitifully (and silently) from the sidelines. All in all, I don't see myself rereading this book. Ever.
mthelibrarian on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I was greatly surprised by the ending!
TadAD on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I can't count how many times I've read, "People think Mansfield Park is Austen's best or they hate it." A bit of an overstatement there, I think. I enjoyed it but don't consider it my favorite of her works. I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice more and Sense and Sensibility less.I suspect that those kinds of reactions to this book occur because Fanny is so unlike Austen's other female main characters. She's shy, unassertive and a bit lacking in self-confidence; she doesn't burst out of the pages as does Elizabeth Bennet. I didn't find any of the prissiness or priggishness that some people ascribe to her¿I perceived only that she had a set of principles to which she stuck quietly and, living as a poor relation with the Bertrams, a consciousness of not participating in activities that would offend the uncle whose charity pulled her out of poverty.One of the things I enjoyed about this story was that the characters seemed a bit more human and a bit less like Regency "Stepford" gentry. Edmund, normally perceptive, loses it over a pretty face and nice figure despite the warning signs. Fanny, normally dutiful, sticks to her guns on her perception of Henry's character despite all of society telling her what she "should" think and feel. I also like the language of this story. It had a bit more dry humor, moments of tongue-in-cheek poking through in each chapter.If you like Austen, I don't see any reason not to try this and make up your own mind.