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Austen read by Stevenson. It does not get any better!,
I adore audio books and always have one playing away in my car during my commute to work; -- so when I went hunting to purchase a new unabridged audio edition on CD of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, I was quite surprised to learn that my choices were very few at exactly two; a Blackstone AudioBooks, Inc (2008) read by Johanna Ward and a Naxos AudioBooks (2007) read by Juliet Stevenson. My first choice was of course the Juliet Stevenson version, for what Janeite could ever forget her outrageous performance as Mrs. Elton in the 1996 movie adaptation of Emma? My abject apologies to Johanna Ward, who I am sure must be a very fine reader since she has several audio books to her credit, but the thought of listening to Mansfield Park read by Mrs. Elton just intrigued me and gave me the giggles. If anyone could liven up Mansfield Park, reputed to be Jane Austen's most complex and dark novel, she could!
Being a reader for an audio book is not an easy task since so many...
Description : The Mansfield Park of the title, a magnificent, idyllic estate which is home to the wealthy Bertram family, stands as a bastion of English tradition and stability. The novel's heroine, Fanny Price, is a "poor relation" living with the Bertrams, acutely conscious of her inferior status and yet daring to love their son Edmund--but from afar. However, with five marriageable young people on the premises, the peace at Mansfield cannot last. Courtships, entertainments and intrigues throw the place into turmoil, and Fanny finds herself unwillingly competing with a dazzlingly witty and lovely rival. As critic Margaret Drabble has pointed out, the house becomes "full of the energies of discord--sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity," and the novel becomes ever more engrossing as it builds to Mansfield's final scandal and, finally, a satisfying conclusion. Unique in its moral design and brilliant interplay of the forces of tradition and change, Mansfield Park was the first novel of Jane Austen's maturity, and the first in which the author turned her unerring eye on the concerns of English society at a time of great upheaval.