Northanger Abbey

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Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen

Random House Publishing Group | September 1, 1985 | Mass Market Paperbound

Northanger Abbey is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 10.
The earliest of her six major novels, NorthangerAbbey remained unpublished until after Jane Austen’s death. A deliciously witty satire of popular Gothic romances, it is perhaps Austen’s lightest, most delightful excursion into a young woman’s world. Catherine Morland, an unlikely heroine—unlikely because she is so ordinary—forsakes her English village for the pleasures and perils of Bath. There, among a circle of Austen’s wonderfully vain, dissembling, and fashionable characters, she meets a potential suitor, Henry Tilney. But with her imagination fueled by melodramatic novels, Catherine turns a visit to his home, Northanger Abbey, into a hunt for dark family secrets. The result is a series of hilarious social gaffes and harsh awakenings that for all of Austen’s youthful exuberance nevertheless conveys her mature vision of literature and life—and the consequences of mistaking one for the other.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 240 pages, 6.89 × 4.21 × 0.66 in

Published: September 1, 1985

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553211978

ISBN - 13: 9780553211979

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from To read apart from the others! Even though, this novel was the last to be published, this is actually the first complete novel that Jane Austen ever wrote. Here she depicts the life of Catherine Morland, the daughter of a clergyman and who comes from a large family, who is neither immensely rich nor highly intelligent and her stay in Bath with some family friends, where she encounters love in the person of Henry Tilney. But although his father seems at first to approve the match, a misunderstanding comes to change his mind, misunderstanding that must be clarified in order for Catherine to achieve marital bliss. Of all her heroines, I find that Jane Austen draws more of her own family situation to depict Catherine that she actually did for the others: daughter of a clergyman, numerous family, tight family relationships... As it was her first novel, I also find it to be the weakest of her work, as you can almost feel the author questioning herself as to what makes a great novel: what subjects, what character traits, what heroine or gentleman? The story in itself is also pretty simple as it is imitates a little bit the structure of Vaudeville theater, with the misunderstandings regarding Catherine’s financial status, her acquaintance with John Thorpe or her brother’s engagement to Isabella. The author also pays tribute to her admiration for Ann Radcliffe by making one of her novels Catherine’s favorite books and putting a little Gothic spin to the story when it comes to the description of Northanger Abbey. All in all, this first novel remains a well-plotted hodgepodge as well as an entertaining light story. For more about this book and many more, visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favourites by Austen 17-year old Catherine has gone to visit friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, in Bath. While there, she meets Isabelle and Miss Tilney, who will also become friends,. Miss Tilney has a handsome borther, who catches Catherine's eye, though Isabelle's brother is also interested in Catherine. I really liked this one. I liked Catherine and Mr. Tilney, in particular, and I loved their banter! I thought it got even more interesting in the last 1/3 of the book, when Catherine came to Northanger Abbey, the Tilney's home. I especially enjoyed Mr. Tilney's description of the house and Catherine's first couple of nights there. So far, this is one of my favourites by Austen.
Date published: 2011-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome! I am a big fan of Jane Austen. I felt like I could relate to this character with having her imagination run wild. I appreciated the read even though it was not one of Austen's most famous
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lighthearted novel with a satiric twist spent most of the story wishing to dance with the witty Henry Tilney, slap the artful and manipulative Isabella, lose my temper with the deceitful John, and give Catherine Morland a good shake to knock some sense into her. That said, any book that can drag me into the characters' lives as Northanger Abbey did is praiseworthy. It's an easy read once you get the hang of the language. I really enjoyed Austen's tongue-in-cheek lambasting of novelists whose heroines never read novels - "Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ingenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding-joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust." Her derision for the flights of fancy of the Gothic novelists of the day are readily apparent throughout the novel. Catherine imagines herself in romantic, mysterious situations (found in her favorite novel, Udolpho), as when she first thinks of her upcoming visit to the Abbey: "To see and explore either the ramparts and keep of the one, or the cloisters of the other, had been for many weeks a darling wish, though to be more than the visitor of an hour had seemed too nearly impossible for desire." Yet when she arrives she is disappointed in its modernity and normalcy - something that wouldn't be tolerated in a Gothic tale! If the ends of books are like desserts, then the end of Northanger Abbey could be compared to Jell-O rather than Cherries Jubilee, but the readers should focus on the meat and potatoes instead. All in all, an enjoyable read.
Date published: 2009-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite Jane Austen! Much more funny and witty than the other Jane Austen novels - definitely my favorite. A very easy read compared with some of her other novels, and the characters as wonderfully well-written. You can't help but feel very disappointed when you realize you're nearing the end of the book.
Date published: 2008-04-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not For Me I have recently wanted to read Jane Austen again for some time. I had previously read two of her other novels (Pride and Prejudice and Emma) but that was a very long time ago. I've now decided I am not a Jane Austen fan. This is a rather average romance story which is said to be a parody of the classic Gothic novels. The plot (what there was of it) was decent enough but I just felt like I was wading through pages of drivel. I found the dialogue irritating, the banter between the men and women just made me want to scream. Although the style of writing and the language used by the author is indeed beautiful I found the characters immensely irritating. Austen is not for me.
Date published: 2007-11-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Uninteresting and predictable I don't know whether it was because I took two months to complete this book, but this novel was a typical story about a girl named Catherine who likes Henry, but James likes her, and tries to separate her from Henry. This novel does tell you a great deal about the time period in which it was written: the 1800s. For example, a girl's only objective was to get married, and the only thing women did was gossip. This Broadview edition is great; there are detailed explanations of words on the same page in which they occur, instead of being near the back of the book. Also, the pages make the text easy to read.
Date published: 2007-11-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Classic! A naive 17 year old, Catherine Morland, is invited to stay with wealthy friends of her family in Bath. She quickly falls in love with Henry Tilney and befriends Isabella Thorpe who is engaged to her brother. Isabella falls in love with another man leaving her brother brokenhearted and ending their close friendship. Catherine learns a great deal about herself and others while expressing her wild imagination at Northanger Abbey. Although it may not be as mysterious and compelling as "Wuthering Heights", it is worth a glance. Like all Jane Austen's novels, this is a coming of age story full of romance, balls, broken relationships and misunderstandings. It is an essential addition to any Austen collection.
Date published: 2006-07-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from If you like Jane Austen... Being one of Jane Austen's lesser knowen books, I feel both fans and those who are not will like it, however it is challenging. And some will notice Austen's reusal of the I hate him now I love him storyline!
Date published: 2006-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Northanger Abbey A very good work by Jane Austen! Interesting, but challenging. Very good and reccomended for Austen fans. Not one of her most famous works', but art all the same.
Date published: 2005-03-12

– More About This Product –

Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 240 pages, 6.89 × 4.21 × 0.66 in

Published: September 1, 1985

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553211978

ISBN - 13: 9780553211979

About the Book

Jane Austen's first novel, "Northanger Abbey"--published posthumously in 1818--tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen's fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical "Northanger Abbey" pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the first edition of 1818.

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

Read from the Book

Chapter One No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard—and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence, besides two good livings—and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as any body might expect, she still lived on—lived to have six children more—to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features;—so much for her person;—and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boys’ plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic
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From the Publisher

The earliest of her six major novels, NorthangerAbbey remained unpublished until after Jane Austen’s death. A deliciously witty satire of popular Gothic romances, it is perhaps Austen’s lightest, most delightful excursion into a young woman’s world. Catherine Morland, an unlikely heroine—unlikely because she is so ordinary—forsakes her English village for the pleasures and perils of Bath. There, among a circle of Austen’s wonderfully vain, dissembling, and fashionable characters, she meets a potential suitor, Henry Tilney. But with her imagination fueled by melodramatic novels, Catherine turns a visit to his home, Northanger Abbey, into a hunt for dark family secrets. The result is a series of hilarious social gaffes and harsh awakenings that for all of Austen’s youthful exuberance nevertheless conveys her mature vision of literature and life—and the consequences of mistaking one for the other.

From the Jacket

Jane Austen''s first novel, "Northanger Abbey--published posthumously in 1818--tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen''s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical "Northanger Abbey pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the first edition of 1818.

"From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Though the domain of Jane Austen’s novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her family’s entertainment. As a clergyman’s daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called “The First Impressions” an early version of Pride and Prejudice . In 1801, on her father’s retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility , published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Reg
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Editorial Reviews

“Jane Austen is the Rosetta stone of literature.” —Anna Quindlen

Bookclub Guide

1. Robert Kilely, in his Introduction, says that although Northanger Abbey satirizes gothic novels, what?s more significant about it is the manner in which Jane Austen bases her narrative on conversation. How is conversation used in the novel as a narrative device? How does conversation both aid and hinder the characters?

2. Jane Austen deftly shifts voices so as to allow us to see the world through Catherine?s eyes and her own eyes (often through Henry Tilney). What effects does this have on the reader?

3. What gothic elements are incorporated into the novel? What are the anti-gothic elements and figures of the novel? How does Austen juxtapose Bath and the Abbey?

4. It can be argued that Henry Tilney is a foil to John Thorpe. What other characters serve as foils to each other? Does Catherine have a foil?

5. Consider the use of sarcasm in the novel. How does Henry Tilney?s sarcasm force Catherine to think things through more thoroughly and expand her values and notions?

6. The novel depicts a disparity of class and wealth, most notably between the Thorpes and the Tilneys. What importance does social convention hold? Is there a certain relevance between class and behavior appertaining to the Thorpes and Tilneys? Is it ever justifiable to break with social convention and propriety?

7. One of the major elements in Northanger Abbey is reading, particularly reading novels. What are some of the differences between novels and reality that Austen is discerning? Is she convinced that novels are worthless? What is surprising about the way novels were perceived in the early nineteenth century?

8. ?No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her to be a heroine,? Jane Austen writes in her opening paragraph. Do you agree that Catherine is a heroine? How does she develop through the novel and what does she learn about her self and the world around her?

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