Mansfield Park: Stasis Validation or Social Critique?
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A critical analysis of ‘Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The author gives a brief outline of the main themes of the book and provides an analysis of the criticisms by various writers.
An examination of the criticisms of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. The author gives a brief outline of the main themes of the book and provides an analysis of the criticisms by various writers.
Most critics seem to agree that the novel Mansfield Park is somehow alien to both Jane Austen’s personality and the tone of her other works. Lionel Trilling remarks that it is not possible for him to observe how different Mansfield Park is from Austen’s works both before and after, particularly from Pride and Prejudice, without supposing that she had undergone a spiritual crisis in the intervening period between the two novels. He postulates that fatigue must have played a part in that crisis, apparently suggesting that Austen wrote the novel during a profoundly depressed state of mind (Trilling 433). Trilling further asserts that Austen’s other works are essentially `modern novels,` but that Mansfield Park `scandalizes modern assumptions about social relations, about virtue, about religion, sex and art` (Trilling 426). Trilling’s presumption is that Austen wrote Mansfield Park as a sort of atonement for the levity she had exercised earlier and that the book is to be read as a primer of behavioral attributes, without irony.”