The Home and The World in Mansfield Park and Ghare Baire

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Although widely separated by time, language, country and culture, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1815) and Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World (1916) share some enduring themes. The concepts of home, or a quiet secluded life in the country, and world, or the busy social life of the city and town, are set into opposition in Mansfield Park more markedly than any of Austen’s other novels. Without wishing to strain the comparison, one could conceive of Tagore’s ‘eternal triangle’ of Nikhil, Bimala and Sandip as having some equivalence to the triangle in Mansfield Park of Fanny, Edmund and Mary Crawford. Nikhil, like Fanny, adheres to a well-defined internal ethical compass, while Sandip and Mary share an amoral, modern approach to the world. The characters of Bimala and Edmund are drawn away from Nikhil and Fanny respectively by the (largely sexual) temptations of the more modern view.
There are, of course, huge problems with schema of this sort, and my interest lies as much with the differences between the novels as the similarities. However, taking this basic scheme as the starting point, I wish to examine the way in which the forms in which the two authors were writing – Austen in comedy, Tagore in tragedy – are reflected in the construction of the respective narratives, and how the two writers use point of view either to reinforce or to undercut the conventions of these forms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalGitanjali and Beyond
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Gitanjali and Beyond is a peer-reviewed open-access international journal


  • Jane Austen
  • Rabindranath Tagore
  • Mansfield Park
  • Ghare Baire
  • Comparative literature


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