“What was done there is not to be told!” Plans for improvement and designs for ruin in Austen’s Sotherton Court

Roberta Grandi

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Abstract

The essay considers Austen’s Mansfield Park focussing principally on the descriptions and events connected to Sotherton Court, Mr Rushworth’s house. The novel dedicates large attention to the plans for improving Sotherton’s park including interesting observations on the fashion for landscape gardening and the different attitudes of the characters involved. The essay opens with a general introduction on the situation of landscape gardening at Austen’s time and performs a detailed analysis of the elements described in the novel. The second part of the essay moves from the consideration of the park as locus amoenus, the place for pleasure, to analyse the visit to Sotherton Court as narrated in chapters 9 and 10 (volume I). The episode depicts the main characters as, during the visit to the park, indulge in improper behaviour protected by the privacy of the wilderness and the ha-ha. The analysis shows how this single episode metaphorically prefigures the development of the plot and provides, at the same time, a moral judgment on the characters’ behaviour.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)103-120
Numero di pagine18
RivistaL'ANALISI LINGUISTICA E LETTERARIA
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012

Keywords

  • Austen
  • Garden
  • Mansfield Park
  • Sotherton

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