Mansfield Park (Modern Library)

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 15 Nov 2001
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A young girl named Fanny Price comes to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. Fanny's family is quite poor; her mother, unlike her sister Lady Bertram, married beneath her, and Fanny's father, a sailor, is disabled and drinks heavily. Fanny is abused by her other aunt, Mrs. Norris, a busybody who runs things at Mansfield Park, the Bertrams' estate. The Bertram daughters, Maria and Julia, are shallow, rather cruel girls, intent on marrying well and being fashionable. The elder son, Tom, is a roustabout and a drunk. Fanny finds solace only in the friendship of the younger son, Edmund, who is planning to be a clergyman. Fanny grows up shy and deferential, caught as she typically is between members of the Bertram family. Sir Thomas leaves Mansfield Park for Antigua, where he owns plantations. In his absence, two new figures arrive at Mansfield: Henry and Mary Crawford, the brother and sister of the local minister's wife. Henry and Mary are attractive and cheerful, and they soon become indispensable members of the Mansfield circle. Henry flirts extensively with Maria, who is engaged to marry the boring but wealthy Rushworth. He also flirts with Julia when it suits his purposes. At first, Mary is interested in Tom, the older son and heir, but she soon realizes that he is boring and not really interested in her. She finds herself increasingly attracted to Edmund, although the prospect of marrying a clergyman does not appeal to her, and she is often cruel to him on this account. In the meantime, Fanny has innocently fallen in love with Edmund, although she does not even admit this to herself. Yates, a visiting friend of Tom's, proposes that the group should put on a play. His idea is eagerly received by all except for Edmund and Fanny, who are horrified at the idea of acting. The play goes on anyways, however; Maria and Henry, as well as Mary and Edmund (who has been prevailed upon to take a role to avoid bringing in an outsider to play it), get to play some rather racy scenes with one another. When one of the women cannot make a rehearsal, Fanny is pressured to take a role. She is almost forced to give in when Sir Thomas makes a sudden entrance, having arrived from Antigua. Sir Thomas is unhappy about the play and quickly puts a stop to the improprieties. Since Henry has not declared his love, Maria is married to Rushworth. She and Julia leave Mansfield Park for London. Relationships between the Crawfords and the Bertrams intensify. Edmund nearly proposes to Mary several times, but her condescension and amorality always stop him at the last minute. He confides his feelings to Fanny, who is secretly upset by them. In the meantime, on a lark, Henry has decided to woo Fanny. He is surprised to find himself sincerely in love with her. Fanny has become indispensable as a companion to her aunt and uncle, and on the occasion of her brother William's visit, they give a ball in her honor. Some time after the ball, Henry helps William get a promotion in the Navy. Using this as leverage, he proposes to Fanny, who is mortified and refuses. He continues to pursue her. Her uncle is disappointed that she has refused such a wealthy man, and, as an indirect result, she is sent to stay with her parents in their filthy house. Meanwhile, Edmund has been ordained and continues to debate over his relationship with Mary, to Fanny's dismay. Henry comes to see Fanny at her parents' and renews his suit. He then leaves to take care of business on his estate. Fanny continues to receive letters from Mary encouraging her to take Henry's proposal. A series of events then happen in rapid succession: Tom Bertram falls dangerously ill as a result of his partying and nearly dies; Henry, who has gone not to his estate but to see friends, has run off with the married Maria; Julia, upset over her sister's rash act, elopes with Yates, Tom's friend. Julia and Yates are reconciled to the family. Edmund finally comes and ma
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ISBN-13: 9780375757815
ISBN-10: 0375757813
Pagini: 448
Dimensiuni: 132 x 203 x 24 mm
Greutate: 0.37 kg
Ediția: Modern Library.
Seria Modern Library

Notă biografică

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, to the Reverend George Austen and his wife, Cassandra Leigh Austen, in the village of Steventon in Hampshire, England. Though her mother was from a family of gentry, Jane's father was not well off, and the large family had to take in school boarders to make ends meet. The second youngest of the Austens' eight children, Jane was very close to her elder, and only, sister, Cassandra, and neither sister ever married. Both girls were educated at home, as many were at that time.From a young age Jane wrote satires and read them aloud to her appreciative family. Though she completed the manuscripts of two full-length novels while living at Steventon, these were not published. Later, these novels were revised into the form under which they were published, as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, respectively.In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life but very little direct romantic experience. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral. Wanda McCaddon began recording books for the fledgling audiobook industry in the early 1980s and has since narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers, as well as abridging, narrating, and coproducing classic titles for her own company, Big Ben. Audiobook listeners may be familiar with her voice under one of her two "nom de mikes," Donada Peters and Nadia May. The recipient of an Audie Award and more than twenty-five Earphones Awards, AudioFile magazine has named her one of recording's Golden Voices. Wanda also appears regularly on the professional stage in the San Francisco Bay Area.


"Full of the energies of discord - sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity" -- Margaret Drabble "Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire" -- J.K. Rowling "Jane Austen at her most genteelly ascerbic" The Times "Austen looks at her world with a cool, undressing gaze...she is a formidable opponent of hypocrisy and sentimentality" Observer


Chapter One

ABOUT THIRTY years ago, Miss Maria Ward of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them. Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible, Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a Lieutenant of Marines, without education, fortune, or connections, did it very thoroughly. She could hardly have made a more untoward choice. Sir Thomas Bertram had interest, which, from principle as well as pride, from a general wish of doing right, and a desire of seeing all that were connected with him in situations of respectability, he would have been glad to exert for the advantage of Lady Bertram's sister; but her husband's profession was such as no interest could reach; and before he had time to devise any other method of assisting them, an absolute breach between the sisters had taken place. It was the natural result of the conduct of each party, and such as a very imprudent marriage almost always produces. To save herself from useless remonstrance, Mrs. Price never wrote to her family on the subject till actually married. Lady Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil feelings, and a temper remarkably easy and indolent, would have contented herself with merely giving up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter: but Mrs. Norris had a spirit of activity, which could not be satisfied till she had written a long and angry letter to Fanny, to point out the folly of her conduct, and threaten her with all its possible ill consequences. Mrs. Price in her turn was injured and angry; and an answer which comprehended each sister in its bitterness, and bestowed such very disrespectful reflections on the pride of Sir Thomas, as Mrs. Norris could not possibly keep to herself, put an end to all intercourse between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct, as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each other's existence during the eleven following years, or at least to make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas, that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did in an angry voice, that Fanny had got another child. By the end of eleven years, however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment, or to lose one connection that might possibly assist her. A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in a letter which spoke so much contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost every thing else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation. She was preparing for her ninth lying-in, and after bewailing the circumstance, and imploring their countenance as sponsors to the expected child, she could not conceal how important she felt they might be to the future maintenance of the eight already in being. Her eldest was a boy of ten years old, a fine spirited fellow who longed to be out in the world; but what could she do? Was there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian property? No situation would be beneath him-or what did Sir Thomas think of Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

The letter was not unproductive. It re-established peace and kindness. Sir Thomas sent friendly advice and professions, Lady Bertram dispatched money and baby-linen, and Mrs. Norris wrote the letters.

Such were its immediate effects, and within a twelvemonth a more important advantage to Mrs. Price resulted from it. Mrs. Norris was often observing to the others, that she could not get her poor sister and her family out of her head, and that much as they had all done for her, she seemed to be wanting to do more: and at length she could not but own it to be her wish, that poor Mrs. Price should be relieved from the charge and expense of one child entirely out of her great number. "What if they were among them to undertake the care of her eldest daughter, a girl now nine years old, of an age to require more attention than her poor mother could possibly give? The trouble and expense of it to them, would be nothing compared with the benevolence of the action." Lady Bertram agreed with her instantly. "I think we cannot do better," said she, "let us send for the child."

Sir Thomas could not give so instantaneous and unqualified a consent. He debated and hesitated;-it was a serious charge;-a girl so brought up must be adequately provided for, or there would be cruelty instead of kindness in taking her from her family. He thought of his own four children-of his two sons-of cousins in love, &c.;-but no sooner had he deliberately begun to state his objections, than Mrs. Norris interrupted him with a reply to them all whether stated or not.

"My dear Sir Thomas, I perfectly comprehend you, and do justice to the generosity and delicacy of your notions, which indeed are quite of a piece with your general conduct; and I entirely agree with you in the main as to the propriety of doing every thing one could by way of providing for a child one had in a manner taken into one's own hands; and I am sure I should be the last person in the world to withhold my mite upon such an occasion. Having no children of my own, who should I look to in any little matter I may ever have to bestow, but the children of my sisters?-and I am sure Mr. Norris is too just-but you know I am a woman of few words and professions. Do not let us be frightened from a good deed by a trifle. Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without farther expense to any body.

A niece of our's, Sir Thomas, I may say, or, at least of your's, would not grow up in this neighbourhood without many advantages. I don't say she would be so handsome as her cousins. I dare say she would not; but she would be introduced into the society of this country under such very favourable circumstances as, in all human probability, would get her a creditable establishment. You are thinking of your sons-but do not you know that of all things upon earth that is the least likely to happen; brought up, as they would be, always together like brothers and sisters? It is morally impossible. I never knew an instance of it. It is, in fact, the only sure way of providing against the connection. Suppose her a pretty girl, and seen by Tom or Edmund for the first time seven years hence, and I dare say there would be mischief. The very idea of her having been suffered to grow up at a distance from us all in poverty and neglect, would be enough to make either of the dear sweet-tempered boys in love with her. But breed her up with them from this time, and suppose her even to have the beauty of an angel, and she will never be more to either than a sister."

"There is a great deal of truth in what you say," replied Sir Thomas, "and far be it from me to throw any fanciful impediment in the way of a plan which would be so consistent with the relative situations of each. I only meant to observe, that it ought not to be lightly engaged in, and that to make it really serviceable to Mrs. Price, and creditable to ourselves, we must secure to the child, or consider ourselves engaged to secure to her hereafter, as circumstances may arise, the provision of a gentlewoman, if no such establishment should offer as you are so sanguine in expecting."

"I thoroughly understand you," cried Mrs. Norris; "you are every thing that is generous and considerate, and I am sure we shall never disagree on this point. Whatever I can do, as you well know, I am always ready enough to do for the good of those I love; and, though I could never feel for this little girl the hundredth part of the regard I bear your own dear children, nor consider her, in any respect, so much my own, I should hate myself if I were capable of neglecting her. Is not she a sister's child? and could I bear to see her want, while I had a bit of bread to give her? My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults I have a warm heart: and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the necessaries of life, than do an ungenerous thing. So, if you are not against it, I will write to my poor sister to-morrow, and make the proposal; and, as soon as matters are settled, I will engage to get the child to Mansfield; you shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never regard.

I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed at her cousin, the sadler's, and the child be appointed to meet her there. They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going. I dare say there is always some reputable tradesman's wife or other going up."

Except to the attack on Nanny's cousin, Sir Thomas no longer made any objection, and a more respectable, though less economical rendezvous being accordingly substituted, every thing was considered as settled, and the pleasures of so benevolent a scheme were already enjoyed. The division of gratifying sensations ought not, in strict justice, to have been equal; for Sir Thomas was fully resolved to be the real and consistent patron of the selected child, and Mrs. Norris had not the least intention of being at any expense whatever in her maintenance. As far as walking, talking and contriving reached, she was thoroughly benevolent, and nobody knew better how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing, and she knew quite as well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends. Having married on a narrower income than she had been used to look forward to, she had, from the first, fancied a very strict line of economy necessary; and what was begun as a matter of prudence, soon grew into a matter of choice, as an object of that needful solicitude, which there were no children to supply. Had there been a family to provide for, Mrs. Norris might never have saved her money; but having no care of that kind, there was nothing to impede her frugality, or lessen the comfort of making a yearly addition to an income which they had never lived up to. Under this infatuating principle, counteracted by no real affection for her sister, it was impossible for her to aim at more than the credit of projecting and arranging so expensive a charity; though perhaps she might so little know herself, as to walk home to the Parsonage after this conversation, in the happy belief of being the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world.

When the subject was brought forward again, her views were more fully explained; and, in reply to Lady Bertram's calm inquiry of "Where shall the child come to first, sister, to you or to us?" Sir Thomas heard, with some surprise, that it would be totally out of Mrs. Norris's power to take any share in the personal charge of her. He had been considering her as a particularly welcome addition at the Parsonage, as a desirable companion to an aunt who had no children of her own; but he found himself wholly mistaken. Mrs. Norris was sorry to say, that the little girl's staying with them, at least as things then were, was quite out of the question. Poor Mr. Norris's indifferent state of health made it an impossibility: he could no more bear the noise of a child than he could fly; if indeed he should ever get well of his gouty complaints, it would be a different matter: she should then be glad to take her turn, and think nothing of the inconvenience; but just now, poor Mr. Norris took up every moment of her time, and the very mention of such a thing she was sure would distract him.

"Then she had better come to us," said Lady Bertram with the utmost composure. After a short pause, Sir Thomas added with dignity, "Yes, let her home be in this house. We will endeavour to do our duty by her, and she will at least have the advantage of companions of her own age, and of a regular instructress."

"Very true," cried Mrs. Norris, "which are both very important considerations: and it will be just the same to Miss Lee, whether she has three girls to teach, or only two-there can be no difference. I only wish I could be more useful; but you see I do all in my power. I am not one of those that spare their own trouble; and Nanny shall fetch her, however it may put me to inconvenience to have my chief counsellor away for three days. I suppose, sister, you will put the child in the little white attic, near the old nurseries. It will be much the best place for her, so near Miss Lee, and not far from the girls, and close by the housemaids, who could either of them help dress her you know, and take care of her clothes, for I suppose you would not think it fair to expect Ellis to wait on her as well as the others. Indeed, I do not see that you could possibly place her any where else."

From the Paperback edition.

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Mansfield Park is Austen's darkest, and most complex novel. In contrast to the confident and vivacious heroines of Emma and Pride and Prejudice, its central character, Fanny Price, is a shy and vulnerable poor relation who finds the courage to stand up for her principles and desires. Fanny comes to live at Mansfield Park, the home of the wealthy Bertram family, and of Fanny's aunt, Lady Bertram. Though the family impresses upon Fanny her inferior status, she finds a friend in Edmund, the younger brother.

Mansfield Park explores important issues such as slavery (the source of the Bertrams' wealth), the oppressive nature of idealized femininity, and women's education. This edition sheds light on these and other issues through its insightful introduction and wide-ranging appendices of contemporary documents.