Northanger Abbey

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Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Margaret Drabble
Afterword by Stephanie Laurens

Penguin Publishing Group | February 5, 2008 | Mass Market Paperbound

Northanger Abbey is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 10.
New package for Austen''s brilliant satire of the gothic novel

A sly commentary on the power of literature and a warning for women about being too innocent, here is a fresh, funny novel of a young woman receiving, as Margaret Drabble reveals in her illuminating introduction, "intensive instruction in the ways of the world."

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 256 pages, 6.88 × 4.2 × 0.7 in

Published: February 5, 2008

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0451530845

ISBN - 13: 9780451530844

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
Introduction by Margaret Drabble
Afterword by Stephanie Laurens

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 256 pages, 6.88 × 4.2 × 0.7 in

Published: February 5, 2008

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0451530845

ISBN - 13: 9780451530844

About the Book

A sly commentary on the power of literature and a warning for women about being too innocent, Austens classic novel of a young woman receiving intensive instruction in the ways of the world features a new Afterword and a striking new package. Revised reissue.

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy wouldhave supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, thecharacter of her father and mother; her own person and disposition,were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, withoutbeing neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, thoughhis name was Richard—and he had never been handsome. He had aconsiderable independence besides two good livings—and he wasnot in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her motherwas a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, whatis more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sonsbefore Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing thelatter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still livedon—lived to have six children more—to see them growing uparound her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family often children will be always called a fine family, where there areheads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlandshad little other right to the word, for they were in general veryplain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any.She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, darklank hair, and strong features;—so much for her person; —and notless unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond ofall boy''s plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls,but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing
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From the Publisher

New package for Austen''s brilliant satire of the gothic novel

A sly commentary on the power of literature and a warning for women about being too innocent, here is a fresh, funny novel of a young woman receiving, as Margaret Drabble reveals in her illuminating introduction, "intensive instruction in the ways of the world."

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.

Margaret Drabble is recipient of many prestigious awards for her writing, which includes works of nonfiction as well as numerous novels.

Editorial Reviews

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

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION

(An exclusive guide to Jane Austen''s Northanger Abbey, written by Karen Joy Fowler and excerpted from The Jane Austen Book Club)

Northanger Abbey was written in the late 1790s, but published only posthumously. It is the story of a deliberately ordinary heroine named Catherine Morland. The book is divided into two parts. In the first, Catherine travels with family friends, the Allens, to Bath. There she meets two brother-sister pairs—John and Isabella Thorpe, and Henry and Eleanor Tilney. Her own brother, James, joins them and becomes engaged to Isabella. Catherine is attracted to Henry, a clergyman with witty and unorthodox manners.

General Tilney, father to Henry and Eleanor, invites Catherine to visit them at home; this visit makes up the second half of the book. The General is at once solicitous and overbearing. Under the spell of the gothic novel she has been reading, Catherine imagines he has murdered his wife. Henry discovers this and sets her humiliatingly straight.

Catherine receives a letter from James telling her that Isabella has ended their engagement. General Tilney, upon returning from London, has Catherine thrown out, to make her own way home. It is eventually understood that Catherine and James had been mistaken for people of great wealth, but the situation has been clarified.

Henry is so outraged by his father''s behavior that he follows immediately after Catherine and proposes marriage. They cannot proceed without his father''s permission, but this is finally given in the happy madness of Eleanor''s marriage to a viscount.

 


ABOUT JANE AUSTEN

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.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • Although Northanger Abby was the first book Austen sold, it was one of the last published. Some readers feel that it''s obviously an early work without the narrative control Austen was soon to develop. Do you agree? Why or why not?
     
  • Catherine Morland is clearly a suggestible reader, but her gullibility extends beyond books into the real world. Is the tendency to think the best of people a trait you admire? Is it a trait you have?
     
  • The one character about whom Catherine is inclined to think the worst is General Tilney. Why is this? She is humiliated when Henry realizes how her imagination has run away with her, but how mistaken is she really regarding his general character? Are her powers of imagination more reliable than her powers of observation?
     
  • Henry Tilney tells Catherine that his father was attached to his mother and greatly afflicted by her death. Do you believe him?
     
  • Henry, himself, is a controversial hero. Sylvia Warner Townsend has suggested she thinks he''s one of Austen''s most delightful. Some find him witty and appealingly interested in feminine matters. Others find him condescending and even misogynistic. Ask another reader of Northanger Abbey what s/he thinks of Henry and then argue with whatever position s/he takes.
     
  • Of his father, Henry says that, given his temperament, "he loved . . .as well as it was possible for him to." How well do you imagine it will be possible for Henry to love? Affectionately? Passionately? Steadfastly?
     
  • Why does he choose Catherine and how much in love with her is he?
     
  • Hidden within Austen''s satire on gothic novels is Eleanor Tilney''s story. Eleanor has a dead mother, an overbearing father, and ends up married to a viscount. Imagine the book if Austen had chosen Eleanor as the heroine. Would it have been a gothic novel?
     
  • Northanger Abbey is a book about reading. Much of the plot has to do with the folly of confusing one''s own life with the stuff of fictional adventure. But the book also contains a famous Austen defense of novels and novelists, particularly those read and written by women.
     
  • We are told immediately that Catherine does not object to books so long as "nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them" and they are "all story and no reflection." Escapist fiction continues, in our day, to have a bad reputation. Is that reputation deserved?
     
  • Austen flatters the reader of Northanger Abbey by allowing him/her to see and understand things the heroine does not. It''s fun for readers to find that they are smarter than the people in books. Have you read books in which you felt you were smarter than the author? Is that also fun? Is it possible to like a book if it makes you feel you''re not quite smart enough to read it?
     
  • What kind of difficulty level do you like in a book? Think of some books that are just difficult enough for you to enjoy. Think of some books that are too difficult.
     
  • The romance genre is arguably our own most popular form of fiction. Is the romance genre empowering or damaging to women readers? Do these fictions have real life implications for women? Are its antecedents the same novels Austen is poking fun at in Northanger Abbey? Or would you trace its lineage back to Austen herself?
     
  • What is the role of fiction in your own life? Why do you read it and what do you want from it?