Mr. Collins and the Church of England in Jane Austen's Time
Jane Austen had a high regard for the church. Why, then, did she present Mr. Collins as a buffoon? How did he get his position as rector, and what were his rights and responsibilities? Edmund Bertram, clergyman-hero of Mansfield Park, upholds the importance of the clergy, but says that some failed in their duties; was Mr. Collins one of those? Well explore Mr. Collins's actions and explain his words, comparing them to Austen's ideals of the Church of England clergy, her examples in the other novels, and cartoons satirizing the clergy of the time.
Brenda S. Cox has spent years researching the church in Austen's England, visiting English churches and reading hundreds of books and articles, including many written by Austen's contemporaries. She contributes to Persuasions On-Line, Jane Austen's World and Faith, Science, Joy, and Jane Austen.
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