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Mansfield Park

4.3 out of 5 stars 988 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Jane Austen paints some witty and perceptive studies of character.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • CD-ROM: 734 pages
  • Publisher: Quiet Vision (September 1, 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 1576461467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576461464
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (988 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,715,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are several complete editions on Amazon of Austen's novels, so I thought I would write a review recommending this one (the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition). It lays open in your hand, has nice paper and high-quality paperback binding and cover, and it has perfectly sized type and wide inside margins. Other than the substantial size and weight (though it is not nearly as inconvenient as quarto-sized complete editions, such as the classic Sherlock Holmes), it is a perfect volume for those who are more interested in reading Austen than admiring how she looks on the shelf.

By contrast, the Modern Library hardcover edition (which I compared in person at the bookstore) has such a narrow inside margin that the reader must strain to read bent text or to force the binding to open more and the paper to lay flatter. Otherwise, it was a nice edition. For me, they ruined it by this simple mistake.

The leather bound edition from the Library of Literary Classics is a nice idea, and I have not seen it in person. I did notice, however, that the table of contents shows how little space they manage to squeeze Austen's novels into. It has far fewer pages than the Penquin Classics Deluxe Edition. When previewing the pages of text, this seems apparent in the very small type. As I said, I have not seen it in person, so I may be wrong, but it looks like it might be a strain to read, whereas the Penguin is quite comfortable. Hopefully Penguin will provide preview images soon so potential buyers can "Look Inside" and compare for themselves.

It is wonderful that there are so many editions of Austen to choose from. The choice is personal and subjective. I will spend many, many hours reading mine, so I chose the one that I thought would be the most comfortable. I do not want to fight the book -- I want it to disappear so that my imagination may wander unhindered with Jane's characters. I hope you enjoy the novels, whichever edition you choose.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Mansfield Park" has always been Jane Austen's most controversial novel.
The heroine of the book is Fanny Price, a powerless and socially marginal young woman. To almost everyone she knows, she barely exists. As a child, she is sent to live with the family of her wealthy uncle. Her parents give her up without regret, and her uncle only takes her in because he is deceived into doing so. Fanny's wealthy relations, when they deign to notice her at all, generally do so only to make sure she knows of her inferiority and keeps in her place. Fanny is thus almost completely alone, the only kindness she receives coming from her cousin Edmund. Forced by circumstances to be an observer, Fanny is a faultlessly acute one, as well as the owner of a moral compass that always points true north.
Those who dislike "Mansfield Park" almost invariably cite Fanny as the novel's central fault. She is generally accused of being two things: (1) too passive, and (2) too moral.
The charge of passivity is perplexing. Surely it is evident that for her to challenge those in power over her is extremely dangerous - in fact, when she finally does challenge them, on a matter of the greatest importance to her and of next to no importance to them, she is swiftly reminded of the weakness of her situation by being deported back to the impoverished family of her parents, who receive her with indifference.
The charge of morality is easier to understand - many readers feel themselves being silently accused by Fanny, and they don't like it. The interesting thing is that those same readers often enjoy "Pride and Prejudice", even though it is evident that the same moral standards are in place in both books. So, why do readers feel the prick of criticism in one and not the other?
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Format: Hardcover
As a devoted reader of Jane Austen's novels, I thought this book was the answer to my prayers. Except for Sanditon, it contains all her novels, and it has a pleasing presentation.
But there are some details in this book that can become quite bothering. As I read Pride and Prejudice, I noticed that an entire line of a dialog between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (the main characters) is omitted, and frankly, it is difficult to follow the conversation without that particular line. There are also many other mistakes in the text (i.e. 'becausee'). If you are too particular about this kind of errors (like me), maybe you should choose another book. If you don't really care about these things, it is a good choice.
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Format: Hardcover
This review is regarding the quality of the 1994 hardcover edition published by Grammercy. I ordered this edition several weeks ago and was extremely disappointed to find it was poor quality. The binding is acceptable when new but after a week of light use, I already noticed deterioration on the front binding. Actually the binding is so poor that, if not careful, you could easily tear some of the front pages out. The paper quality is cheap and is the same used for mass media paperbacks expect slightly thinner. Overall, I was so dissatisfied with this edition that I returned it.
However, I would also like to make a recommendation. After returning the book, I was still looking for collection of Austen's works and happened to find a 1995 hardcover edition of this exact book by Grammercy. The edition costs five dollars more but the quality is ten times better. The book has a faux leather cover with gold trimmed pages and a ribbon bookmark. The paper quality in thin but polished, smoother and more refined. The binding is very durable and I have noticed no deterioration yet after a week of use.
If I had to a chance to redo my purchases, I would have skipped this edition completely and ordered the 1995 edition. If your interested in this edition, it can be found using search under ISBN # 0517147688
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