Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner
  

Mansfield Park

Written by Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

What a fantastic way to introduce young children to classic literature. Retellings of some of the best-known and best-loved classics; beautifully presented and skilfully retold (and condensed – 64 pages in total) and illustrated, they are true to the original plot, capture something of the flavour and tone of the original work, while simplifying the narrative and dialogue. They’re primarily aimed for younger readers – 8-13 year olds but are also a great ‘quick fix’ for teenagers and adults.


The Lovereading comment:
What is it about Jane Austen? How did a fairly ordinary woman who lived two hundred years ago, and who nobody took that much notice of in her own short lifetime, become so famous?
We feel it’s because she questioned. She explored what really mattered in life and relationships. She was one of the first women to write about what women really wanted. That’s a question which is just as important today as it was then, which may be why her books are just as popular now as they ever have been.
Jane was an intelligent, witty and observant writer who loved stories. From a very early age she was encouraged to read and write, and wrote her first novel in her teens. Though Jane never really left home, the fact that she didn’t marry and have children gave her the time to write and the freedom to move within the different circles of people she described so vividly.
And though she was only aware of some of what was happening in the wider world, Jane lived in exciting times, in many ways not unlike our own. After long centuries when little had changed in England, people were starting to think more about important social issues like freedom, personal responsibility, and the relationship between love and duty. Tastes in art, architecture and literature were changing rapidly, from a more formal and rigid ‘classicism’ to a freer and more adventurous ‘romanticism’.
The year of Jane Austen’s birth, 1775, was also when the great landscape painter John Turner was born, when the American Revolution began, and when James Watt invented the steam engine, the machine which would transform the Victorian landscape. In Jane’s lifetime the French Revolution took place, Britain lost its American colonies, and a new British colony was established at Botany Bay in Australia. Ludwig van Beethoven, Josef Haydn and Leopold Mozart were all composing; William Wordsworth, John Keats and Percy Shelley were writing their best-known poetry. What a time to be alive!

To take a look at the other classic novels published by Real Reads click here.

Synopsis

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner

‘Your little cousin cannot help being dull and stupid.’ At the tender age of ten, Fanny Price moves from her poor family home to live with her wealthy cousins at Mansfield Park. Settling into this proud family is only the first of many challenges she will have to face. Can Fanny, uneducated and inexperienced, win any respect or love, or will the spiteful Mrs Norris turn everybody against her? When plays, balls and marriage proposals challenge Fanny’s judgement, will she be strong enough to do what is right? When jealousy, duty and flattery challenge Fanny’s heart, will it be strong enough to guide her towards true love? Just how strong is Fanny Price?

About the Author

Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775, at the rectory in the village of Steventon in Hampshire, England. The youngest but one of eight children, she was educated mainly at home and never lived apart from her family. She played a lot with her brothers, but was closest to her older sister, Cassandra. The children wrote and performed plays to amuse themselves, and even as a little girl Jane was encouraged to write.

When she was fourteen she wrote her first novel, Love and Freindship (yes, she couldn’t spell!), and then a rather ambitious History of England. In her early twenties Jane Austen wrote the novels that were later to be published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.

Jane loved dancing, and went to balls in many of the great houses of the neighbourhood. She adored the countryside, so was horrified when her father announced to the sixteen-year-old Jane that the family would be moving to Bath. Jane hated the confines of a busy town and missed Steventon. To make matters worse, her father died in 1805, which left the family very poor. Then, while on holiday, Jane fell in love, but the young man died soon afterwards, leaving her deeply upset.

The family could not afford to stay in Bath, so Jane moved to Southampton with her sisters and mother to live with naval brother Frank and his wife Mary. Her favourite brother, Henry, was a prosperous banker in London, and Jane often went to stay with him, enjoying art exhibitions and visits to the theatre.

In July 1809 her brother Edward offered his mother and sisters a permanent home on his Chawton estate, back in the Hampshire countryside. It was a small but comfortable house with a pretty garden, and it provided the settled home which Jane needed in order to write. She revised Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, and then embarked on a period of intensive writing which produced MansfieldPark and Emma. Persuasion and a rewritten version of Northanger Abbey were published in 1818, the year after her death. In her last years she suffered from a kidney illness called Addison’s Disease, for which there was no cure. As she could not walk far, she used a little donkey carriage which can still be seen at the Jane Austen Museum at Chawton. Jane died in her sister Cassandra’s arms in the early hours of 18 July 1817. She was 41 years old.

None of Jane’s books published in her lifetime had her name on them — they were always described as being written ‘By a Lady’.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback

Author

Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner
More books by Jane Austen - retold by Gill Tavner

Publisher

Real Reads

Publication date

24th February 2008

ISBN

9781906230098

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