Jane Austen in the Context of Abolition: ‘a fling at the by Gabrielle D. V. White (auth.)

By Gabrielle D. V. White (auth.)

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Additional resources for Jane Austen in the Context of Abolition: ‘a fling at the slave trade’

Sample text

Before the news of Henry and Maria breaks, Fanny finds that report of her suitor Henry's flirting with the newly married Maria is mortifying to herself: 'She was mortified. She had thought better of him'. Then, after more news from Mary Crawford but before she knows about the adultery, in chapter 46 we read: She had begun to think he really loved her, and to fancy his affection for her something more than common- and his sister still said that he cared for nobody else. After she learns of the adultery through the newspaper her father reads to her: Fanny seemed to herself never to have been shocked before ...

I must alter it to the Commissioner's. Chapman says that is a reference to Mansfield Park. In Volume Two there is constant reference to the timing of events, which had begun with Sir Thomas's sudden return. It ends with Fanny's resolve not to be imposed on. In between we have Fanny's question about the slave trade and then the ball in her honour with Sir Thomas's advice as to when she should leave the ball and retire for the night, an 'advice' which the narrator describes as 'absolute power'. Some of the events in the story-line could take on extra significance, as in a parable.

In any case, apparently 'the distinction between old and new wealth is not always easy to make in this period'; 63 the owners of many country houses had derived income from West Indian plantations. 64 Perhaps Mansfield Park 'is an estate without land'. 65 This view seems feasible. The signs seem to point either way. When Edmund speaks of 'our farmers' to Miss Crawford in chapter 4, he may only be speaking of himself as a countryman as against her as a Londoner. This view is relevant to the economic set-up at the Park.

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