Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

byJane AustenIntroduction byAlfred Mac Adam

Paperback | March 3, 2005

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Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
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  • All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

     

    A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

    The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

    Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

     

    Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College–Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic.

Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College–Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic.
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Title:Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.72 inPublished:March 3, 2005Publisher:Barnes & Noble ClassicsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1593082649

ISBN - 13:9781593082642

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most underrated Austen novel, and my favourite one I absolutely love everything about this book. On top of being witty, intriguing, and fun, it's absolutely hilarious and the characters are wonderful. Catherine Morland is, I think, my favourite Austen heroine.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not great Not my favourite. I did not get along with the main characters.
Date published: 2017-09-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad. I actually didn't really like the main character's blatant ignorance - but that's the point of the story too. It's a pretty good read, but it just doesn't compare to some of Austen's better works.
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Northanger Abbey Smart and funny, loved the heroine's interest in gothic stories and how that affects her thinking. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Little Tedious I saw the satire. I particularly enjoyed Mrs. Allen and Isabella. I didn't even mind Catherine. She was quite sweet, really. But for me it was just all a little tedious.
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun! This story was fun, and it showed exactly how witty Jane Austen really is. I love her sense of humour.
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun! This story was fun, and it showed exactly how witty Jane Austen really is. I love her sense of humour.
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I liked it Probably one of my favorite Austen novels.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good To say that this story is a parody of the once popular "gothic novel" is a little bit of an overstatement in my opinion, since only two or three chapters are written in that style. However, Jane Austen's novels are surprisingly witty and easy to read for their age. My biggest problem was the speed of the ending of the novel. The entire book builds up on Catherine and Henry's relationship, but the ending is a little anticlimactic. It seemed almost as though Austen grew bored of the story and quickly wanted to wrap up all loose ends within 10 pages.
Date published: 2017-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great first Austen. Different from her usual fare, Northanger Abbey is Austen first complete novel, and we can see the young writer finding her own voice.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Satire In Northanger Abbey, Austen deviates from her usual realism and delves into the realm of the gothic, equipped with her usual wit and arch commentary. Northanger Abbey is a novel about novels, but it is also about human relationships and judging and being wrong. With one of my favourite first and last sentences ever, this book is a great read from page one to the very end.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesomely the best Romance and Mystery blended into one, Austen has established another story for me to read <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites I don't think this story gets enough credit. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I found it to be clever and funny. It's a short read, but absolutely splendid.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Not my favourite Austen novel, but still a great read!
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from classic! a great starter novel for those that are just starting to read Jane Austen books. I love her style of writing and this book shows her pure talent as a writer. I wouldn't say it was her best novel but I would still highly recommend owning it. I also really liked the covers of this collection of novels, truly happy with how they look visually compared to the many other versions.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A delight to read! #plumreview Not the most popular of Austen's novels, but a favourite for me. I love the tone, the comments on authors, novels, critics and women's education, and, of course, the heroine Catherine Morland.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Classic!! Austen classic at its best!!
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great story I really enjoyed thsi novel. Not exactly what you would expect especially with Catherine's over active imgination.
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! Great read. Not Jane Austen's very best, but still a great classic :)
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic! Jane Austen is a classic author, and if you want to read a novel by her, I highly recommend this one as an introduction to her world! I love her style of writing!
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It ! My first Jane Austen novel and I am definitely in love. A very fun read. A definite must read!
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This was the first Austen book I read, and I still consider it one of the funniest and interesting plots!
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Beautiful edition of one of Austen's funniest novels!
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it A classic parody of the gothic novel with many humourous twists and turns. a fun read.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awww...Jane Austen This is the cutest of all the Jane Austen stories. I adore Catherine and Henry.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Beautiful cover, classic but not as enticing as her other works
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Bad I'm personally more interested in contemporary fiction, but I read this for a class and it was actually much better than I thought it would be! Austen's passionate commentary is uncommon in most novels, and was quite enjoyable. The characters are all very vivid (and oftentimes annoying) and the overall message of the importance of making judgements accurately was subtly woven throughout Catherine's interactions with other characters. If you're looking for your first old-timey book to read I recommend this one!
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from we are all cathy northanger abbey is excellently hilarious, especially if you've read any gothic novels from period (aka the Twilights of the regency period)
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We are all Cathy I find Northanger Abbey delightful, and especially funny if you've read any gothic novels - aka the Twilights of the Regency period. Plus, it gave us arguably the greatest Jane Austen quotes of all time: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” and possibly the greatest summation of the study of history: 'The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all..."
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Austen flop So I mean it can't be that bad because its an Austen and she is amazing but its definitely not my favourite one of hers
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good Love Jane Austen. Liked her other novels more but this was still a good read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing Read I tried hard to have patience for this novel, but in the end once I stopped putting effort into reading it I found it hard to get back to it. I had hoped to enjoy the satire but it fell flat for me so all that was left was the ever so polite dialogue and the final point where the satire began. It only began to get interesting once that had all passed and we learnt how the events came together, but by that point I had already lost interest and found myself skimming past the important bits just to finish the book. I didn't care much for the characters and I found it hard to even keep them apart what with the similar sames (I can see why it's recommended to not have multiple names start with the same letter) - this was made worse by the nice gap I left between starting and finishing. I wish it had been a Gothic horror novel in the end because as it stands now it doesn't feel much like a parody as it is "look at this foolish girl and what happens when she reads too much of one genre" - but without the subtleties. I didn't become any wiser reading this book and I barely took anything away from it. I would have liked to enjoy it more - especially when I did know what this book was going to attempt before getting into it - but I just found it a wasted attempt on my part. The setting and the language was all I was able to enjoy from it and I need more than that to have an enjoyable experience, more so when reading classics that have a noticeable different storytelling style than what we're used to nowadays.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing Read I tried hard to have patience for this novel, but in the end once I stopped putting effort into reading it I found it hard to get back to it. I had hoped to enjoy the satire but it fell flat for me so all that was left was the ever so polite dialogue and the final point where the satire began. It only began to get interesting once that had all passed and we learnt how the events came together, but by that point I had already lost interest and found myself skimming past the important bits just to finish the book. I didn't care much for the characters and I found it hard to even keep them apart what with the similar sames (I can see why it's recommended to not have multiple names start with the same letter) - this was made worse by the nice gap I left between starting and finishing. I wish it had been a Gothic horror novel in the end because as it stands now it doesn't feel much like a parody as it is "look at this foolish girl and what happens when she reads too much of one genre" - but without the subtleties. I didn't become any wiser reading this book and I barely took anything away from it. I would have liked to enjoy it more - especially when I did know what this book was going to attempt before getting into it - but I just found it a wasted attempt on my part. The setting and the language was all I was able to enjoy from it and I need more than that to have an enjoyable experience, more so when reading classics that have a noticeable different storytelling style than what we're used to nowadays.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love this Not my fav Austen but good nonetheless
Date published: 2016-11-08
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 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

Read from the Book

From Alfred Mac Adam’s Introduction to Northanger AbbeyAusten writes at the outset of a total metamorphosis of European thought, a moment when every aspect of society was on the verge of mutation. The most obvious change is political: France enters the process of the French Revolution in 1789 and moves into the era of Napoleon, from which it emerges only after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815. France, in only a few years, moves from monarchy to republic to empire and back to monarchy. The spirit of the eighteenth-century Age of Reason, with its emphasis on universal principles (such as “All men are created equal”) turns into the age of Romanticism, when individuals discover they are radically different from one another.Austen’s sociology too reflects an evolving literary, political, and social reality. Her main characters are not nobles, though some may be members of the titled aristocracy. Catherine Morland is the daughter of a country clergyman; she’s seen nothing of the world until her visit to Bath, a health spa and meeting place for marriageable young men and women, and her subsequent brush with provincial highlife at the grand estate of General Tilney, the father of the clergyman she eventually marries. The novel, as Austen and her contemporaries conceive it, is not concerned with kings and queens but with ordinary people, and one wonders if she had any knowledge of Madame de Lafayette’s The Princess of Cleves (1678), an early transformation of the aristocratic and courtly setting of the romance of chivalry into something very much like the psychological novel. The novel’s task is to make ordinary, usually middle-class characters interesting by creating predicaments for them in circumstances its readers would find reasonably familiar. Austen has a strong cohort of women novelists among her contemporaries who did exactly that; she refers specifically to Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) and Camilla; Or, a Picture of Youth (1796), by Fanny Burney, as well as Belinda (1801), by Maria Edgeworth: The fact that these novels are all named after their heroines certainly influenced Austen, who in its earlier incarnations gave Northanger Abbey the title “Susan” and then “Catherine.”Again, none of us (we hope!) has ever seen a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost, though these are standard items in the gothic novel. But many of Austen’s readers would know the tribulations of finding suitable mates and the disasters that beset young people as they try to get on with life. Austen’s England is alien territory insofar as her twenty-first-century readers are concerned, especially its class structure. Marriage, for example, while it could be the happy union of two people who cared for each other, was in Austen’s day really a union of fortunes; in the same way, becoming a clergyman did not necessarily reflect religious fervor: It was a profession like any other. In Northanger Abbey, we see the impoverished Isabella Thorpe desperately trying to find a man who will be able to maintain her in upper-class style, becoming engaged to one (Catherine Morland’s brother James), and instantly throwing him over when a better candidate (Captain Frederick Tilney) appears.Little does she know that Frederick, a flirtatious rogue and therefore Isabella’s male twin, is simply toying with her, so breaking off with James Morland ultimately leads her to disaster. But James’s parents are relieved when the engagement collapses, because, as Catherine’s mother explains to her in the most precise terms, Isabella Thorpe has no money. The same argument—poor people are not suitable as mates—almost destroys Catherine’s chances of marrying Henry Tilney. Only because his daughter marries into the nobility (a viscount), does General Tilney allow his second son (who will not, because of the laws of primogeniture, inherit his estates) to marry the daughter of a country parson with ten children.This is what Austen considers the material of novelistic lives: how members of contemporary English society confront the issues of the day and either overcome them (Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney eventually marry) or succumb to them (by the end of the novel, Isabella Thorpe finds herself virtually destitute and without either a fiancé or a wealthy prospect). Because Austen is writing with a comic view of society, her protagonist, Catherine Morland, will triumph, even if this means her author must resort to a deus ex machina to extricate her from her dilemma: General Tilney is so happy his daughter has married a viscount that he decides his second son’s choice of a poor bride is of little importance.Money, then, is the great variable and the controlling factor in the lives of Austen’s characters, especially her women, because without it they are, in social terms, worthless. This was as true in real life as it was in fiction: Jane Austen fell in love with Tom Lefroy in 1796, but, since she was virtually penniless and her beau an impoverished Irish barrister-to-be, marriage was out of the question, a reality she accepted. That people did fall in love, run away, and live happily ever after was certainly possible in Austen’s day, but such relationships were the exception rather than the rule.