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Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics)by Jane Austen
Now this is one Austen novel that is too often forgotten. Our heroine, Catherine Morland, might be naïve, but she is no dummy. Catherine is more complex than scholars give her credit for. I admit, she can create ridiculous fantasies that get her into trouble, but her inner core of right and wrong, her own moral compass, never leads her astray. She can be remarkably determined and forthright. And it's refreshing to meet an Austen heroine who is so shamelessly straightforward in her interest for the man of her choice! This is Austen at her most hysterically funny. Northanger Abbey is an easy link between Shakespeare's comedies and Monty Python skits.
Synopses & Reviews
Listen to audio presented by Literary Affairs: Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.View our feature on Jane Austen.
During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.
During her first season at Bath, a young girl experiences the joys of fashionable society. When her sophisticated new aquaintances invite her to their father's mysterious house, she fabricates her own Gothic romance, imagining the crimes that have been committed there.
New chronology and further reading.
Edited with an introduction by Marilyn Butler.
About the Author
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817.
As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
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