Hi readers! I’m so excited to welcome author Kyra Kramer to Austenesque Reviews today! Kyra may be a brand new author to some of you because her lovely new release Mansfield Parsonage just came out last month! It looks to be a very interesting story as it is a retelling of Mansfield Park from the perspective of bad-girl, Mary Crawford! Kyra is sharing a little about what sets Mansfield Park a part a little from Jane Austen’s other novels and some excerpts from Mansfield Parsonage. We hope you enjoy!
Beneath the Surface of Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park is one of Austen’s least-loved novels, but it is also the one with the deepest undercurrents swirling under its surface. From slavery to incest, the novel is discursive in a way most of her other works are not and this narrative morality shows up in places where you least expect it.
- It was anti-slavery.
The fact that Sir Thomas Bertram owns a plantation in Antigua, and therefore almost certainly owns slaves, could lead one to believe that Austen was not strongly pro-abolition. That supposition would be wrong, however … but her method of undercutting slave-ownership was much more apparent to her contemporary readers than her modern ones. A case in point is the fact that the newlywed Mr and Mrs Rushworth take a house in Wimpole Street. To the modern reader this means little, except to think they could afford a large house in London. To Austen’s audience, Wimpole Street was a byword for slave-owners’ vice. In my novel, Mansfield Parsonage, I try to make this connection clear again when Mary Crawford writes to Fanny Price that the Rushworth’s new home once belonged to Lady Lascelles: