Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen (1814)Read about the other entries on the list.
Jane Austen lived in the period when wealthy landowners were smitten by schemes to remodel their great country estates along the quasi-pastoral lines promoted by such giants of landscape architecture as Lancelot “Capability” Brown and Humphry Repton. Repton’s name appears no less than five times in Mansfield Park. The hows, whys, wherefores and difficulties of “improving” estate parkland crop up in several of Austen’s novels – Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice is, for example, commended for the understated nature of its new garden work – but perhaps receives their most thorough dissection in the exchanges between Fanny Price and Mr Rushworth in chapter six of this book. Elsewhere in the novel, Price wisely maintains that “to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment”.
Maria Bertram in Mansfield Park is among Melissa Albert's five fictional characters who deserved better than they got.