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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey (1818)

by Jane Austen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,623328115 (3.82)2 / 1161
  1. 234
    The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (upstairsgirl, HollyMS)
    upstairsgirl: This is the book that Austen's heroine is reading (and which Austen is wryly mocking) in Northanger Abbey. Fun to read with each other; Udolpho is possibly less fun on its own.
  2. 123
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another brilliant parody.
  3. 40
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (kara.shamy)
  4. 41
    Evelina by Frances Burney (flissp)
  5. 20
    The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation: A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott (aulsmith)
  6. 42
    Nightmare Abbey [and] Crotchet Castle by Thomas Love Peacock (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Both satirize gothic gaspers.
  7. 43
    Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (inge87)
  8. 10
    The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (kara.shamy)
Satire (15)
1810s (7)

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English (306)  Spanish (6)  Italian (4)  German (4)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (327)
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I've learned that, for whatever reason, I can only really enjoy Austen on audio if Flo Gibson narrates. Something about her voice and tone allow me to better appreciate Austen's subtle humor. A fun, entertaining listen. ( )
  Brightraven | Apr 26, 2018 |
I'm on a mission to read (and in some cases re-read) all of Jane Austen's novels this year. I had never read Northanger Abbey and a good friend suggested I start here because the book is entertaining and on the shorter side.

I really enjoyed the story and the amazing amount undertone of sarcasm in regards to the lack of respect for novel writing/novel reading during this time.

I kept having to remind myself that Catherine is only 17 however, regardless of age she has absolutely no self awareness or confidence. Honestly, there were quite a few times where she annoyed me to the point of having to put the book down. I hated how naive she was in recognizing Isabella as the awful man hunter that she is and I hated that she allowed both the Thorpes (and even her own brother) to manipulate her continuously.

I loved how Henry tried to act as Catherine's voice of reason and teach her what things in life are truly important or how to see people for what they really are. His patience in her daftness is sweet and makes him the perfect hero and love interest.

This novel was entertaining and scarily reminiscent of certain young girls even in this modern age. ( )
  JamieBH | Apr 3, 2018 |
This review and others posted over at my blog.

I'm pleased I decided to reread this one. I don't have my original review written out, but I did rate it 2.5 stars initially. I know it wasn’t until I read the Marvel comic adaptation along with the modern novelization by Val McDermind that I understood the tone Austen was going for.

So, given the significant change in my star rating I thought I’d revisit my thoughts with this re-review.

If you don’t know, this is Austen’s tongue-in-cheek take on a gothic tale. Catherine, our heroine, is innocent, plucky and naïve, and she absolutely loves gothic novels. She goes to Bath for the first time and makes new friends, some more loyal than others. After she learns not to take everyone at face value (or perhaps, to truly see the faces they’re presenting), she finds herself invited to Northanger Abbey. She imagines the abbey will be something right out of a novel and her imagination runs wild while she’s there, threatening to destroy her true friendships and her shot at love if she doesn’t get her head out of the clouds.

This book is so funny! Its snarky, ironic and witty and I know when I initially read it I had no idea what Austen was going for. I recall wondering whether I was supposed to be chuckling at how two-faced and idiotic these characters were because the humor in this book is very different from that of Pride and Prejudice (The Collins proposal cracks me up every time!) Austen is a more obvious narrator in this book and both pokes fun at and praises the merits of novels – at the time novels were usually looked upon with disdain and thought silly. I really enjoyed her tone.

Austen’s characters often act ironically, but the Thorpe family excels at saying one thing while doing another or even saying one thing followed immediately by a contrasting statement. There’s a lot of false sincerity here and Catherine’s innocence regarding her new friends is a cause for amusement, rather than frustration. Catherine means well and she is very trusting and good-natured, but she also wants to do what’s right – eventually, she smartens up to the duplicitous ways of the asshole Thorpes. No #fakefriends!

There are plenty of familiar character types in this story. Mrs. Allen is the idiot wife who only parrots the opinions of others; Isobel Thorpe is Fanny Dashwood levels of openly manipulative. John Thorpe has the charming quality of only hearing what he wants to hear, even if someone says the opposite, a la Mr. Collins. Love interest, Henry Tilney has a charming, brotherly sense of humor, like Mr. Knightley.

Overall, this is a light-hearted, humorous book. Not that Austen’s other works aren’t also sweet, in their own way. When I first read Northanger Abbey, I wasn’t expecting something so different from the familiar tone of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I now appreciate and understand (I hope, anyway) Catherine’s ability to see adventure around every corner. For instance, she finds General Tilney (Henry’s father) suspicious for walking early in the day because the other men she knows take later walks.

What book lover wouldn’t want to read about a girl who thinks she’s landed in the middle of a murder mystery? Catherine’s imagination is wonderful and her ability to learn from her mistakes and discover when she needs to be grounded in reality is admirable.

I know some may feel Northanger is less sophisticated than Austen’s other books, or perhaps more juvenile. Now that I understand what I was going into, upon rereading I find it charming and chuckle-worthy and I would recommend it. I’ll leave you with a (likely familiar) quote from Henry:

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ( )
  MillieHennessy | Mar 14, 2018 |
I think Pride and Prejudice is still my fave Austen novel but this is a close second. I love the satire of it all and wish more of her books were like this. highly entertaining! ( )
  seriesousbooks | Feb 7, 2018 |
At first glance a simple parody of gothic novels turned parody of manners, Austen's irony manages to surpass the limitations that might seem inherent in such an approach. Perhaps the parody is not of the fiction as of the society that inspired it, that reveled in keeping women ignorant. ( )
  Frenzie | Jan 18, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (183 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austen, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bickford-Smith, CoralieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brock, C EIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Facetti, GermanoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grillo, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Claudia L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MaggiePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacAdam, AlfredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinching, DavidAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reim, RiccardoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, JosephinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, CarolinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltshire, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
No one who ever had seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine.
"Oh! It is only a novel!" replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. "It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.
...but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable.
Young people do not like to be always thwarted.
Give me but a little cheerful company, let me only have the company of the people I love, let me be where I like and with whom I like, and the devil may take the rest
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, is the original form of this novel. Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey [ISBN 1854598376] is a dramatization of this work by Tim Luscombe. Please do not combine the two; thank you.
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Book description
Catherine, at seventeen, is an insatiable reader of 'horrid' novels full of villainous monks, secret corridors and blameless heroines. So, when, during an eventful visit to Bath, she is invited to the Tilneys' family home, Northanger Abbey, her cup is full. The quizzical Henry Tilney embarrasses her by guessing at her vivid speculations and she fears that she has lost his good opinion for ever. Just as she begins to hope again, his father inexplicably banishes her...In a lively novel, portraying social life in fashionable Bath and the terrors of an imposing country house, Jane Austen exposes the dangers of an over-active imagination, of mistaken ideals and of bad faith. But while Catherine's youthful blunders are treated with reconciling good humour, hypocrisy, avarice and social climbing are unmercifully delineated in this joyously incisive love story.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141439793, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:38 -0400)

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The romantic folly of young Catherine Morland whose entry into life in nineteenth-century England is attended by the collapse of many illusions.

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439793, 0141028130, 0141194855, 0141197714, 0141389427

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102057, 1400110785

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175366, 1909175374

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