Introduced by Lucy Worsley
Illustrated by Darya Shnykina
Jane Austen’s most modern and controversial novel, Mansfield Park, illustrated by the award-winning Darya Shnykina and introduced by Lucy Worsely, completes Folio’s sensational Austen series.
At just ten years old, Fanny Price is sent from her poor Portsmouth home to live with the family of her wealthy uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, in the vast grandeur of Mansfield Park. Timid and fragile, Fanny is neglected by the indolent Lady Bertram, belittled by her conceited cousins Maria and Julia, and constantly reminded of her lowly status by her ever-critical Aunt Norris. Her only comfort is the kindness and attention shown by her cousin Edmund, and her sole strength the sense of her own moral integrity. But this strength is tested when the alluring and sophisticated Henry and Mary Crawford arrive, and Fanny must watch her cousins – even her beloved Edmund – succumb to their seductive charms.
‘Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire’
Published in 1814, Mansfield Park marked a conscious departure from Austen’s previous novels. While Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice were drafted in the 1790s, Mansfield Park was composed between 1811 and 1813, when Austen was in her late thirties. The work of a practised writer, this is Austen’s Bildungsroman: the only one of her novels to follow her heroine from a young girl into womanhood, and to trace the development of her moral consciousness. As Lucy Worsley writes in her erudite introduction, ‘Mansfield Park is complex, mature Austen’, in which familiar themes of unrequited love and social propriety are played out against the backdrop of a nation in transition, one that – in reaction to the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution – is responding to ‘the great questions of the age: slavery, religion, wealth, right, wrong’.
Darya Shnykina’s beautifully textured illustrations won the commission to illustrate Mansfield Park in the Book Illustration Competition 2017. Like Austen’s heroine, student Shnykina’s work displays a maturity beyond her years; her sensitive images convey a delicacy of atmosphere and expression entirely suited to Austen’s most subtle, discerning novel. Completing Folio’s Jane Austen series, this volume is bound in cloth, and the slipcase, blocked in gold, reproduces one of Fanny’s most characteristic speeches.
Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775, the seventh child and youngest daughter of George Austen, rector of Deane and Steventon, and his wife, Cassandra. She began writing poems, plays and stories for her family from a young age, and her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, was released by Thomas Egerton to sell-out acclaim in 1811. Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814) swiftly followed, and in 1815 Austen moved to the London publisher John Murray for the publication of Emma, the last of Austen’s works to come out in her lifetime. Her novels, including the posthumously published Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818), are today considered amongst the finest in the English language. She died at Winchester in 1817.
Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. She read Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, before beginning work at an historic house at Milton Manor, and then becoming an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage. Worsley is currently Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity which opens to the public the unoccupied royal palaces, including the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace. Her books include Cavalier: A Biography of a Seventeenth Century Playboy (2008), Courtier: The Secret History of the Georgian Court (2011) and Jane Austen at Home: A Biography (2017).
Darya Shnykina is an illustrator based in Moscow, Russia. She is currently studying Graphics and Art of the Book at MS University of Printing Arts. New to the world of professional illustration, her images for Mansfield Park won the 2017 annual Book Illustration Competition, run by House of Illustration and The Folio Society. Although created using digital techniques, her artwork retains the charm of traditional material and textures. Her style is influenced by impressionism, and she is inspired by the famous modern artists of the twentieth century.
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