Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 17 of 17

Thread: An opinion on Mansfield Park

  1. #16
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Quote Originally Posted by Egmond Codfried View Post

    Mansfield Park is evangelical in style but does not mention god.
    That's because it's English! Going on about religion too much is bad form.

    Jane's favourite author, Samuel Johnson wrote Rasselas, a highly moral fable, with clear religious tendencies, but God is only referred to as "the Being whom I dare not name".
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  2. #17
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    That's possible, Danik, but unlikely. The evidence that Austen was aware of the slavery and was on the side of abolition includes:

    1) Slavery was a major political issue in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The slave trade was abolished in 1807 (although slavery itself was allowed in the colonies until 1833). Indeed it is possible that the "inadequate returns" from Sir Thomas' Antigua plantation were the result of a labor shortage. The slaves could no longer be replaced by new shipments. (Mansfield Park was published in 1814)

    2) Sugar plantations in the West Indies provided a large percentage of Britain's wealth in 1800 -- more than the rest of the overseas Empire put together.

    3) Jane Austen's first cousins (on her father's side) settled in the West Indies. Austen's younger brother Charles married the daughter of a former attorney general of Barbados. Austen's father, the Reverend George Austen, was a trustee of an Antigua plantation, owned by her brother's Godfather. One brother, Sir Francis Austen, once commanded a British naval vessel that intercepted a slave ship in the Caribbean, although, because it was Portuguese, he could not enforce the abolition on the slave trade. He wrote letters home expressing his disgust with the slave trade and with slavery. It is unlikely that given all of these family connections, Austen would have been ignorant about slavery.

    4) Cassandra Austen destroyed many of Jane's letters, but in one surviving letter she expresses regard for Thomas Clarkson, a famous abolitionist. William Cowper was one of Jane's (and her father's, and Marianne Dashwood's) favorite poets. He was also an abolitionist.

    5) Some scholars have suggested that the title "Mansfield Park" may be connected to the famous Somersett Case, in which Lord Mansfield was the judge, and which decided that a slave who escaped his master while in England could not be removed from England back to the plantations. Whether Austen meant the title of her novel to suggest that the bucolic "Park" was dependent on slave labor is unclear -- but it's the kind of hint she liked to play with.

    ON the other hand, the Bertrams prefer not to discuss slavery. Here's the passage from the book, fanny speaking to Edmund:

    Timid Fanny thinks she would have been putting herself forward by asking about the slave trade while Sir Thomas' own children showed no interest. Perhaps, though, the children were reticent because they preferred to remain in ignorance, or thought such discussion improper.
    Thanks for all this information, Ecurb. Sorry that your quotations did'n get quoted with the rest.I just had a look at internet and the question of slavery in Mansfield Park is in fact a largely discussed issue.
    However it seems to me that the focus in the novel is not directly on slavery itself but on how the social classes in England relate to it and specially how they silence about it. It's rather a subliminar approach, but then so much in Jane Austen is subliminar.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 04-26-2016 at 10:26 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. News
    By Scheherazade in forum Serious Discussions
    Replies: 1250
    Last Post: 03-11-2014, 09:02 AM
  2. Hypocrisy in Jane Austen
    By TheBob in forum General Writing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-26-2006, 01:11 PM
  3. Mansfield Park
    By kmw in forum General Literature
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-11-2006, 09:04 AM
  4. Mansfield Park
    By Unregistered in forum Mansfield Park
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
  5. Mansfield Park
    By ez in forum General Literature
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-04-2003, 06:43 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts