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The Connell Guide to
Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

Few novels have divided readers more, or been more misunderstood, than Mansfield Park. Its lonely heroine, Fanny Price, has been traduced as “a human sea anemone”, “a frozen block of timidity” and “a dreary, debilitated, priggish goody-goody”. Yet discerning contemporary critics see Fanny as no mere picture of goodness but as a passionate figure, conflicted by desire, while the novel in which she features is now much more widely, seen as perhaps the most ironic of Austen’s works – and one which, far from being a straightforward defence of the conservative way of life, questions the whole patriarchal basis of the society in which Fanny lives.


  • What is Mansfield Park about?
  • Why does Fanny behave as she does?
  • How much should we like theCrawfords?
  • What is the significance of the trip to Sotherton?
  • Why do the theatricals matter?
  • Is Fanny right to resist Henry Crawford?
  • How sympathetic a figure is Sir Thomas Bertram?
  • Why is Mrs Norris so unpleasant?
  • What effect does Portsmouth have onFanny?
  • How important are objects in Mansfield Park? 
  • How deluded is Fanny?
Free indirect speech

Ten facts about Mansfield Park

Country house literature


A short chronology