Making and Improving: Fallen Women, Masquerades, and Erotic Humor in Mansfield Park

  • Jillian Heydt-Stevenson


Austen found the process of writing Mansfield Park immensely funny: a niece claimed that the novelist “would sit quietly working beside the fire in the library, saying nothing for a good while, and then would suddenly burst out laughing, jump up and run across the room to a table where pens and paper were lying, write something down, and then come back to the fire and go on quietly working as before” (Hill 202). Neglecting her “work,” Austen runs off to write down her laughter, laughter that became Mansfield Park. What was she laughing at? Of all the novels, this seems like the least funny and the most morally earnest work, a text in which self-discipline, restraint, and self-denial triumph.


Sexual Attraction Landscape Design Fossil Resin Royal Tomb Fall Woman 
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© Jillian Heydt-Stevenson 2005

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  • Jillian Heydt-Stevenson

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