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American Poems: Books: Mansfield Park--Annotated, with Commentary (Literature in Its Context)
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 Home » Books » Mansfield Park--Annotated, with Commentary (Literature in Its Context)

Mansfield Park--Annotated, with Commentary (Literature in Its Context)

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  • Sales Rank:1,079,087
  • Format:Kindle eBook
  • Language:English (Published)
  • Media:Kindle Edition
  • Edition:2
  • Pages:514
  • Publication Date:March 7, 2011
  • ASIN:B004RYVE3W

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Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
BookDoors’ MANSFIELD PARK is the most richly annotated edition of Jane Austen’s novel available in print or online. Designed as an ebook, this and the other BookDoors In Context editions of the Austen novels offer you swift, seamless access to information and commentary.

The low price is a matter of our mission (please see bookdoors.com). These editions are crafted for an audience of widely different experience and expectations. The series “Literature in Its Context” aspires to provide today’s reader with the knowledge comparable to that an informed reader of 1815 possessed and Austen took for granted. Drawing upon this is, as you read, an interpretive discussion of MANSFIELD PARK. You’ll also find illustrations, an Austen Glossary of some 1000 words, a time-line that includes cultural, scientific, and technological developments between 1770-1817, a select bibliography, and a brief biography of Austen.

Austen observes in EMMA that "Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken." That's true of MANSFIELD PARK as well, and now, nearly two centuries later, "a little mistaken" and "a little disguised" understate the challenge.

At a basic level, MANSFIELD PARK’S diction can be obscure, for words themselves have changed or disappeared. This In Context edition defines words and phrases such as “coze,” “post-captain,” “eclaircissement,” “cant,” “window-tax,” “negus,” “apoplexy,” “court-leet and court-baron,” “competence,” “officious,” “shrubbery” (more than just bushes), “mob-cap,” “exigeant,” and “ha-ha.”

Second, the annotations address MANSFIELD PARK’S historical, social, and cultural background. For example, the novel’s opening words, “About thirty years ago,” require comment. At another point Austen refers to “Dr. Johnson’s celebrated judgement,” yet leaves it at that. The annotation explains the allusion: "Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures." She depends upon our knowing the relevance of the poet Cowper’s “Tirocinium”; of the meaning of “a marriage of attachment”; who Humphrey Repton was (a landscape “improver” with definite views); the associations with “a moonlight lake in Cumberland”; and just what occurs in LOVERS’ VOWS, a play central to the novel; and why one protagonist refers dismissively to “some great society of Methodists.” If sexuality and marriage constitute one axis of the novel, a spiritual as opposed to perfunctory religion constitute another, and the reader’s experience of the novel is enriched.

A third level of commentary addresses MANSFIELD PARK as a work of the literary imagination. Austen takes a risk in counterpointing a witty, appealing, “worldly” young woman against the heroine, the pale, timid, yet principled Fanny Price. Through such binaries Austen offers her most severe critique of her society’s pivotal class, the landed gentry, and especially of the reasons they marry, the consequences of their choices for their children, and of how well the gentry fulfill the responsibilities of their class and wealth. Austen senses that this historical moment, that of the Regency, is precarious. The novel also contains her most enigmatic and destructive villain. Incidentally, the commentary discusses the novel as you read, never divulging or anticipating the plot yet to unfold.

Austen writes of one of her protagonists, Emma, what’s true of all: their two supreme moral strengths are discernment (to see what's actually there) and judgment (what to make of what’s there). Austen expects no less from her readers, but promises that the reward for our keener, braver discernment will be our far greater pleasure.

For more information and for an opportunity to read freely and test drive BookDoors’ agile search engine, please visit bookdoors.com.
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

Synopsis
BookDoors’ MANSFIELD PARK is the most richly annotated edition of Jane Austen’s novel available in print or online. Designed as an ebook, this and the other BookDoors In Context editions of the Austen novels offer you swift, seamless access to information and commentary.

The low price is a matter of our mission (please see bookdoors.com). These editions are crafted for an audience of widely different experience and expectations. The series “Literature in Its Context” aspires to provide today’s reader with the knowledge comparable to that an informed reader of 1815 possessed and Austen took for granted. Drawing upon this is, as you read, an interpretive discussion of MANSFIELD PARK. You’ll also find illustrations, an Austen Glossary of some 1000 words, a time-line that includes cultural, scientific, and technological developments between 1770-1817, a select bibliography, and a brief biography of Austen.

Austen observes in EMMA that "Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken." That's true of MANSFIELD PARK as well, and now, nearly two centuries later, "a little mistaken" and "a little disguised" understate the challenge.

At a basic level, MANSFIELD PARK’S diction can be obscure, for words themselves have changed or disappeared. This In Context edition defines words and phrases such as “coze,” “post-captain,” “eclaircissement,” “cant,” “window-tax,” “negus,” “apoplexy,” “court-leet and court-baron,” “competence,” “officious,” “shrubbery” (more than just bushes), “mob-cap,” “exigeant,” and “ha-ha.”

Second, the annotations address MANSFIELD PARK’S historical, social, and cultural background. For example, the novel’s opening words, “About thirty years ago,” require comment. At another point Austen refers to “Dr. Johnson’s celebrated judgement,” yet leaves it at that. The annotation explains the allusion: "Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures." She depends upon our knowing the relevance of the poet Cowper’s “Tirocinium”; of the meaning of “a marriage of attachment”; who Humphrey Repton was (a landscape “improver” with definite views); the associations with “a moonlight lake in Cumberland”; and just what occurs in LOVERS’ VOWS, a play central to the novel; and why one protagonist refers dismissively to “some great society of Methodists.” If sexuality and marriage constitute one axis of the novel, a spiritual as opposed to perfunctory religion constitute another, and the reader’s experience of the novel is enriched.

A third level of commentary addresses MANSFIELD PARK as a work of the literary imagination. Austen takes a risk in counterpointing a witty, appealing, “worldly” young woman against the heroine, the pale, timid, yet principled Fanny Price. Through such binaries Austen offers her most severe critique of her society’s pivotal class, the landed gentry, and especially of the reasons they marry, the consequences of their choices for their children, and of how well the gentry fulfill the responsibilities of their class and wealth. Austen senses that this historical moment, that of the Regency, is precarious. The novel also contains her most enigmatic and destructive villain. Incidentally, the commentary discusses the novel as you read, never divulging or anticipating the plot yet to unfold.

Austen writes of one of her protagonists, Emma, what’s true of all: their two supreme moral strengths are discernment (to see what's actually there) and judgment (what to make of what’s there). Austen expects no less from her readers, but promises that the reward for our keener, braver discernment will be our far greater pleasure.

For more information and for an opportunity to read freely and test drive BookDoors’ agile search engine, please visit bookdoors.com.

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