Rehabilitating Sir Thomas Bertram

Downie, Alan (J. A.). 2010. Rehabilitating Sir Thomas Bertram. SEL Studies in English Literature, 50(4), pp. 739-758. ISSN 0039-3657 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recent readings of Mansfield Park as criticism of the landed elite fail to take into consideration the radical-conservative nature of Austen’s satire. Although Sir Thomas Bertram is clearly to blame for his family’s moral shortcomings, Austen’s treatment of him carefully balances his strengths and weaknesses. Recent misrepresentations of Mansfield Park’s colonial dimension have also contributed to misleading assessments of Austen’s intentions. Sir Thomas’s values are shared by Edmund and Fanny Price, and the ideology of benevolent paternalism upheld by Austen in Mansfield Park, in which landlords offer both material and spiritual guidance to their dependents, remains an essentially conservative one.

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Jane Austen Mansfield Park Thomas Bertram

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature
Research Office > REF2014



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Date Deposited:

18 Feb 2011 08:47

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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