About the BookMansfield Park is a unique novel in its moral design, with a heroine remarkably different from the author’s previous creations. This young lady, Miss Fanny Price, the eldest daughter of a large improvident family, is brought to live at Mansfield Park by her rich uncle Sir Thomas Bertram having two sons, Tom and Edmund, and two daughters Maria and Julia. Sir Thomas leaves for the West Indies to look after his business interests there, and his children, on whom he has always impressed the need for manners and social accomplishments, indulge in flirtations. Fanny falls in love with her cousin Edmund but he falls for the shallow charms of Mary Crawford, sister of Henry Crawford. Maria, engaged to Mr. Rushworth, is attracted to Henry. But when Maria decides to marry Rushworth, Henry turns his attention to Fanny, falls in love with her, and proposes...
Mansfield Park is a novel full of cool irony and comic genius.About the Author/sJane Austen (1775-1817) was the daughter of a well-off, cultivated Hampshire clergyman, the Rev. George Austen. She was the sixth in a family of five sons and two daughters. Her main education was from her father. As a child and young woman she read widely, including among novelists, Fielding, Sterne, Richardson, and F. Burney; and among poets, Sir W. Scott, Cowper, and her particular favourite, Crabbe. She began her literary career by writing parodies and sketches for the amusement of her family. Some of these were later worked up into the major novels of her maturity. Her life is notable for its lack of events; although she had several suitors, she did not marry. In 1801 the family moved to Bath, in 1806, after Mr. Austen’s death, to Southampton, and 1809 to Chawton, again in Hampshire, where she lived till her death in 1817.
Jane Austen wrote of the provincial life she had seen (she never visited London) and there are no peasants and few noblemen among her characters. But her sense of comedy was aroused by the absurdities of the sentimental and gothic novels that she encountered, and her sharp mind enabled her to write ironically amusing sketches of character and situation; she minutely dissected snobbery, bourgeois morality and hypocrisy in an understated manner that comes as a relief from the excesses of many of her contemporaries.
Though her life was uneventful, placid, and circumscribed, Jane Austen was highly sensitive to what went on around her. Her observations on the manners of her time and of her class are reflected in her novels: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816).
On July 18, 1817, at Winchester, Hampshire, the author died, as quietly and serenely as she had lived.