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Though Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen's earliest novels, it was not published until after her death--well after she'd established her reputation with works such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. Of all her novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. In it, Austen skewers the novelistic excesses of her day made popular in such 18th-century Gothic potboilers as Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers all figure into Northanger Abbey, but with a decidedly satirical twist. Consider Austen's introduction of her heroine: we are told on the very first page that "no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine." The author goes on to explain that Miss Morland's father is a clergyman with "a considerable independence, besides two good livings--and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters." Furthermore, her mother does not die giving birth to her, and Catherine herself, far from engaging in "the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush" vastly prefers playing cricket with her brothers to any girlish pastimes.
Catherine grows up to be a passably pretty girl and is invited to spend a few weeks in Bath with a family friend. While there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor, who invite her to visit their family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Austen amuses herself and us as Catherine, a great reader of Gothic romances, allows her imagination to run wild, finding dreadful portents in the most wonderfully prosaic events. But Austen is after something more than mere parody; she uses her rapier wit to mock not only the essential silliness of "horrid" novels, but to expose the even more horrid workings of polite society, for nothing Catherine imagines could possibly rival the hypocrisy she experiences at the hands of her supposed friends. In many respects Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen's novels, yet at its core is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage, 19th-century British style. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A resurgence of interest in Austen, combined with a vivacious reading by British actress Amanda Root, makes this a timely audio selection. Usually considered Austen's earliest completed novel, this posthumously published work is a delightful parody of gothic novels. Heroine Catherine Moreland is introduced to the social whirl of Bath by a new friend, Isabella Thorpe. Alas, Catherine is disappointed by this disloyal lass and departs to spend time at the ancestral home of her true friend, Eleanor Tilney, and Eleanor's charming brother Henry. Meanwhile, Isabella's brother John, whose romantic overtures have been rejected by Catherine, is almost successful in his schemes to cause the Tilneys to reject our heroine. An excellent acquisition for public libraries.
Linda Bredengerd, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Bradford, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
To put things in perspective, I would happily give Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, or Emma a 5 of 5.
This book is not in the same class. Read more
I really liked this book. I found it too short and quick to end. But overall I enjoy all of Austen's books. I would have loved if this was drawn out a little longer though. Read morePublished 4 months ago by kat kazakoff
Well I haven't read the book completely yet, however I just want to comment on the "Contains Real Page Numbers." It does not reveal the page numbers on Kindle (PC Version). Read morePublished 10 months ago by Clarence Kwok
A parody of the Gothic tradition, Northanger Abbey is, in my opinion, Austen's worst novel: the heroine is insipid, and what happens to her seems contrived and overdone. Read morePublished on March 12 2012 by Millerfan
This wasn,t my type of book. Maybe I might like this book the second time I read it.Published on Nov. 17 2009 by Gladys E. Webel
I'm surprised at some of the negative reviews on here saying the book is boring, the dialogue annoying, and the plot lacking. I'd say they've missed the point of this book. Read morePublished on June 12 2008 by Robyn L.
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2007 by Nicola Mansfield
Many of the references Austen made in Northanger Abbey were meant to be satirical towards the gothic writing style prevalent in her time. Read morePublished on April 10 2004