Austen for Beginners

Mansfield Park - start here!

Our heroine is Fanny Price, the poverty-stricken cousin brought up by her rich Bertram relations. Fanny's cousin Edmund Bertram is our hero, the second son of the Bertram family, who is the only one of the family who is kind to her - at least to begin with.

Acting in a play, marrying for money and generally misbehaving are just some of the things the Bertram family get up to at Mansfield Park, their home. The Crawfords are also invited along to help make mischief. Fanny behaves properly and Edmund tries to, most of the time...

And yes, they all get married - well, most of them. But not necessarily to the person you might expect, and not without a few hiccups along the way.

Mansfield Park - summary of the plot

Mansfield Park - text of the novel

Classic quotes from the novel ...
Fanny was at this time just ten years old, and though there might not be much in her first appearance to captivate, there was, at least, nothing to disgust her relations.
She wasn't as pretty as they were, of course, but that was only to be expected from a poor cousin.

There was no positive ill-nature in Maria or Julia; and though Fanny was often mortified by their treatment of her, she thought too lowly of her own claims to feel injured by it.

In other words they teased her constantly, but she accepted it as her lot in life. This rather set a pattern for the future.


It was a very proper wedding. The bride was elegantly dressed - the two bridesmaids were duly inferior - her father gave her away - her mother stood with salts in her hand, expecting to be agitated - her aunt tried to cry - and the service was impressively read by Dr Grant.

Maria is married to Mr Rushworth, for better, for worse, etc. In fact, it turns out to be decidedly for worse.

"...there is no saying what it may lead to."

Mary Crawford, reflecting on the summer gone by, which introduced her to the Bertrams.

"I hope you are aware that there is no real occasion for your going into company in this sort of way, or ever dining out at all; and it is what you must not depend upon ever being repeated."
Mrs Norris makes it clear to Fanny that she should not expect to be taken notice of by anyone ever again, just because Mrs Grant has invited her to dinner. Who'd have an aunt like that?

"I cannot be satisfied without Fanny Price, without making a small hole in Fanny Price's heart."

Henry Crawford succumbs at last, but Fanny rather wishes he hadn't.

"Believe me, I have no pleasure in the world superior to that of contributing to yours."

Edmund to Fanny after giving her a present. She only wishes it were true.

“My mind is entirely made up. Will it astonish you? No - you must be aware that I am quite determined to marry Fanny Price."

Henry Crawford to his sister Mary. She is astonished, but determined to help her brother. Fanny may not be quite so co-operative.

If Mr Crawford would but go away! - That was what she most earnestly desired; - go and take his sister with him, as he was to do, and as he returned to Mansfield on purpose to do. And why it was not done already, she could not devise...

Fanny is not a fan of the Crawfords and really, really wishes they would just GO AWAY.

...exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny, as Fanny herself could desire.

At last, Edmund sees the light.

She was of course only too good for him; but as nobody minds having what is too good for them, he was very steadily earnest in the pursuit of the blessing, and it was not possible that encouragement from her should be long wanting.

Ladies are of course always too good for the gentlemen that wish to marry them. But that doesn't stop the gentlemen in question from popping the question - and why should it?

If you'd like to know more about the story,
click here:
Mansfield Park - the plot

If you'd like to read the original text,
click here:
Mansfield Park - the text

If you'd like to know more about Lovers' Vows, the play chosen to be performed in Mansfield Park, it's here:
Lovers Vows

If that's quite enough about Mansfield Park,
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Austen for Beginners 2008

Austen for Beginners   Pride and Prejudice   Sense and Sensibility   Emma   Mansfield Park   Northanger Abbey   Persuasion