A fully illustrated version of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park", with 24 full-page watercolour illustrations by C.E.Brock.
Description, from an Amazon review:
, although certainly regarded as a part of the canon of English literature, is often considered to be the weakest, least dazzling of Austen's novels. Without the witty sparkle of Pride and Prejudice
or the gothic indulgence of Northanger Abbey
, it has struggled at time to match the popularity of her other titles. But oh, what a treat those who pass over Mansfield Park
are missing. Certainly, it is the most disturbing and perhaps the least superficially pleasing of Austen's output but it has rewards aplenty for the careful reader.
Mansfield Park, home of the affluent Bertram family, takes in a young poor relation with the overt intention of giving her the advantages of a good education and good connections while preserving her sense of gratitude and subservience. Fanny, the haplessly lucky chosen beneficiary of such benevolence is uprooted from friends, home, family and all that it familiar to take up residence in the grand house with her grand relations. Austen sets Fanny up as the heroine, designed to evoke the sympathy of the reader: this is a challenge for a modern audience, many of whom will find her weak and too self-deprecating to be genuinely engaging. And similarly, the sins and deficiencies in disposition and feeling with which Austen gifts brother and sister, Mary and Henry Crawford, may seem not so damning today as Austen intended. This however, does little to detract from the overall value of the novel itself. The relationship between the Bertram family and its colonial role (their wealth derives from sugar plantations in Antigua) is only hinted at overtly, but beautifully explored through the metaphorical position of Mansfield as the centre of all that is English. Similarly, contemporary values regarding manners, position, influence and identity are gently rolled out for the reader through the evolving relationship between the Bertrams and their acquaintances and within the family itself. And yet, with all this meat beneath the surface, there is still a gentle and touching domestic love story, which evolves over the course of the novel as the more passionate, less fatalistic engagements and attachments of side characters wax and wane.
is a masterpiece of English manners, of Englishness and of empire.
Illustrations are used, with thanks, from http://www.mollands.net
. Both these web sites are great resources for all fans of Jane Austen!
EDIT: 10 Aug 08
Replaced the cover with a much improved one. Thanks to Paul Durrant for this.
EDIT: 26 Feb 13
Thoroughly proof-read against the Penguin Classics edition. Restored the first edition text. Corrected innumerable errors, including a great deal of missing text (one complete paragraph, a whole line, and many individual words). Converted to "curly quotes". I would now regard this as a finished work. If you find even the smallest error, please do let me know so that I can correct it. Uploaded v4.
Previous download count: 1442
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