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Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics) by Jane…
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Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics) (original 1817; edition 2003)

by Jane Austen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,012254175 (3.82)2 / 932
Member:elwen
Title:Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Jane Austen
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Classics
Rating:****
Tags:Jane Austen, Classics

Work details

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817)

  1. 224
    The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (upstairsgirl, Hollerama)
    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. 103
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another brilliant parody.
  3. 20
    The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (kara.shamy)
  4. 42
    Nightmare Abbey & Crotchet Castle by Thomas Love Peacock (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Both satirize gothic gaspers.
  5. 31
    Evelina by Frances Burney (flissp)
  6. 43
    Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (inge87)
  7. 01
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (kara.shamy)
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Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
This book is GOOD. Better than I remembered. That's the great thing about Jane Austen: Seems like each time you read them, they get better. If that's possible.

Northanger Abbey is just so much fun! Catherine is such a sweet naive little girl, and yet she isn't annoying. Henry Tilney is one of my favorite Austen heroes. The gothic intrigue is amusing and interesting, as is the intertextuality. I'm so glad I took the time to re-read it! (25/6/2008) ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
I read this book a couple of years ago, but I still remember that I liked this book. It has memorable moments that you rarely see in more recent romances: a smart girl, a slightly absent hero (but that still knows what happens to the one he loves), clever traitors and a whole chain of occurrences that, even if they're not composed of frenetic action, are quite interesting to follow.

What made me like the main character is that she doesn't necessarily yield to bad situations, raising her own voice to what she thinks that may be wrong. Even if she is a dreamer young girl, expecting her prince charming is not the only thing that she does.

There are some parts of the book that may sound pretty silly, but they do have a context and even give some kind of "charm" to the story itself. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" is a delightful romp through English society at the beginning of the 19th century. The plot centers around the heroine, Catherine Moreland, who has matured from a gawky teen to a fine young lady who is "almost pretty"--which she would consider a compliment. She travels with her neighbors, the Allens to visit Bath, her first journey from home and her first entrance into society. Jane Austen satirizes the hypocrisy of English society and the naivete of Catherine. She writes her book as a quasi-gothic romance and turns many of such romantic conventions upon their heads.

Greatly adding to my enjoyment of this book is the narration by Flo Gibson, who accurately and devastatingly portrays the various pompous and superficial characters through her vocal acting.

I had previously read a review that stated Jane Austen got side-tracked from her satire halfway through the book, moving it to more of a gothic romance. I disagree. Jane maintains her satiric edge throughout. When Catherine leaves Bath, she simply shifts her satiric objects from one group of people to another.

Originally written in 1798-99 when Jane was 24 years, I wonder if some of Catherine's experiences were somewhat like Jane's, and how much of the work was autobiographical, regarding Jane's own experiences in Bath. Not that I think Jane Austen was ever as naive a Catherine was; I think her naivete was exaggerated for comic effect.

Read and enjoy! ( )
  jjvors | Aug 24, 2014 |
It’s been a decade since I read Northanger Abbey for the first time. Re-reading it was such a delight.

Catherine Morland is a young woman who lets her imagination run wild and loves to get lost in novels. While staying in Bath with family friends she meets two sets of brothers and sisters. The first is the Thorpes, Isabella and her brother John, who become insufferable as their true nature is slowly revealed. One of my favorite parts in the novel is when Catherine finally stands up to them, refusing to go along with their plans and cancel on her other friends again.

The other pair of siblings is Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Austen does a wonderful job comparing and contrasting the two sets of siblings, demonstrating a false nature vs. a genuine one. After getting to know Henry and Eleanor in Bath, Catherine is eventually invited to stay at their home, Northanger Abbey. There the young woman’s love of gothic novels gets the best of her as she imagines dramatic tales unfolding around her.

One thing that set Northanger Abbey apart from Austen’s other work is the relationship between Catherine and Henry. In most Austen novels the heroine and her eventual match don’t like each other or have some huge obstacle to overcome at the beginning of the novel. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine and Henry like each other from the start. I love their sweet flirtation. Henry is patient with her and teases her in a kind way. He also rises above his father and his brother when it comes to his priorities and moral compass. He’s a truly good man and one of my favorite male Austen characters.

A Few Things That Stood Out to Me This Time:
- Henry is a word nerd! At one point in the story he corrects Catherine in the way she uses the word “nice.” He does it in a playful, teasing way, but I love that he is a grammar lover.

- Eleanor was only 13 years old when her mother died. I was only 14 when mine passed away and what she said about the loss rang true to me…
“Her death must have been a great affliction!”
“A great and increasing one,” replied the other in a low voice. “I was only thirteen when it happened; and though I felt my loss perhaps as strongly as one so young could feel it, I did not, I could not then know what a loss it was.”

- I’m reading Trollope right now as well and the goal of marrying for money is prevalent in both books. It never ends well for anyone.

- I love Austen’s jab about putting down other novelists. She pokes fun at the fact that high-brow authors of her time period often bash the authors of novels. She suggests that instead they should all stand up for each other.

BOTTOM LINE: Northanger Abbey is fun and sweet. It’s a quick read and a great way to meet Austen for the first time. It’s not my favorite of her books, but Austen is my literary pizza, you can’t find a “bad” Austen novel. ( )
  bookworm12 | Aug 8, 2014 |
Catherine, away from home for the first time, is disappointed when visiting her friend's home, Northanger Abbey, to find that it isn't quite what she expected from her avid reading of gothic novels.

Northanger Abbey may not have much story, but it is full of Austen's customary wit and charm. In fact, I found this one of her most charming books because it pokes gentle fun at some of the absurdities of popular fiction, while still showing a healthy respect for readers and their obsession with books. Who has not been in Catherine's position, forced to attend a social occasion when what you'd really rather be doing is finding out what happens next in the novel you're reading? I found myself chuckling aloud at several points, particularly when Catherine's attempts to unearth something mysterious and adventurous at Northanger Abbey only results in discovering something disappointedly mundane. Catherine herself, who starts out quite naive, grows up quite a bit during the course of her novel, and I, like her mother, was impressed after she was suddenly turned out of Northanger Abbey with her ability to get herself home alone and without any misadventures whatsoever.

Of course, Austen saves her true social criticism for those who deserve it, the false friends and money-grubbers that Catherine meets along the way. True friends (and true love) win out in the end, and Austen, as always, lets us go with a happy ending and a wedding. Such fun.

Read for the 2014 Random Category Challenge (July 2014). ( )
  sturlington | Aug 4, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (115 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austen, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bickford-Smith, CoralieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Claudia L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MaggiePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, JosephinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, CarolinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltshire, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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No one who ever had seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine.
Quotations
"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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:06 -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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Five editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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