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Mansfield Park is an elegant country house in a prosperous area of southern England, of the type emblematic of what people of the period would have held up to be a centre of the peculiarly English virtues of moderation, good taste, noblesse oblige, modern latitudinarian Church of England religiosity, etc. Its presence in the title indicates that the story, unlike many that Austen names for the heroines or their characters, is about the nature of the place. As a place, it can be the site of either culture and order or vice depending on its inhabitants. The ease with which it is turned to bad purposes, and the fact that the only person to really resist the Crawfords is the evangelical Fanny Price suggests that England itself can be similarly disrupted and that if the Price house represents the disruption of the state from below, Mansfield Park indicates that the lethargy of the upper classes allows such disorder to flourish.
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