Supporting materials include an introduction, annotations, and a map. "Contexts" includes contemporary materials on the slave trade, religion, conduct literature for women, and landscape design that illuminate this dark and often disturbing novel. Elizabeth Inchbald's adaptation of Lovers' Vows (the play staged by the characters in Mansfield Park) is included, as are writings by Humphry Repton, Thomas Gisborne, Hannah More, and Mary Wollstonecraft, among others. "Criticism" presents a superb selection of critical writing about the novel. The critics include Jan Fergus, Lionel Trilling, Alistair Duckworth, Nina Auerebach, Claudia L. Johnson, Joseph Litvak, Edward Said, B. C. Southam, and Joseph Lew. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included.
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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.Review:
" Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values."
"Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values."
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