Thursday, 24 July 2014


Jane Austen began writing when still quite young; her first productions date from when she was around 12, and she began her first important novel, Pride and Prejudice,  when she was only 22. However, none of the works appeared in print until 1811, when Sense and Sensibility was published. Her books were well-received, even royalty were fans, but she was always modest about her work. 
Jane Austen occupies a curious position between the 18th  and 19th centuries. Her favourite writer was Dr. Johnson, the great exemplar of 18th-century classicism and reason, and her plots, which often feature a character moving through the social hierarchy, have something in common with 18th-century novels like Pamela. However, her novels are aligned with Romanticism considering the ways in which they investigate hidden mechanisms of psychic and affective life. In their awareness of the conditions of modernity and city life and the consequences for family structure and individual character, they also anticipate much Victorian literature, above all in Mansfield Park  with its melancholy characters, scandal-filled newspapers, and rounds of parties. 

Mansfield Park was written between 1811 and 1813, although it did not appear in print until 1814. It is probably the least romantic and most pragmatic of Jane Austen’s novels, it is a more socially-aware novel than her others, focusing on the slave trade and the roots of the British upper-crust's wealth in corruption and exploitation.
Typical to Jane Austen's writing, the characters in Mansfield Park are often very real: they are difficult and ambiguous as well as confusing and unclassifiable. Antagonists act more like heroes, heroines are sometimes unsympathetic, and villains unexpectedly transform into protagonists.
In brief, this novel can be seen as a forerunner to Austen's later novels like Emma and Persuasion, both of which have very complex characters and deal with contemporary events and serious social issues.

Click here to read the whole novel online. Here you can find an analysis of the novel (storyline, characters, themes).
I would suggest you watch the 2007 British television film based on this  Jane Austen novel. Enjoy!

No comments: