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Jane Austen's first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature innocence and sometime self delusion Though Austen's fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subseuent visit to Northanger Abbey Catherine eventually triumphs blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love life and the heady power of literature The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex


10 thoughts on “Northanger Abbey

  1. says:

    I have a confession to makeSecretly I much prefer Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park to anything else written by Jane Austen even Pride and Prejudice which we're all supposed to claim as our favorite because it is one of the Greatest Books Ever Written In the English Language I don't DISLIKE Pride and Prejudice but I just don't think it stands up to this one I'm sorry but it's trueNorthanger Abbey feels like two very different stories that eventually merge into one at the end the story of feisty level headed romance novel addict Catherine Morland and her adventures in Bath during the party season falling in love and making new friends and escaping unpleasant suitors; and the story of Catherine's post Bath vacation with her new best friend Eleanor back to Eleanor's country home a huge creepy old place called Northanger Abbey Catherine's obsession with bloodthirsty Gothic novels leads her to see a mystery or a creepy secret in every room eventually leading her to suspect Eleanor's grumpy dad of having unceremoniously murdered his own wife OR possibly of locking her up in a hidden dungeon somewhere inside the abbey and her various misadventures and misunderstandings make for top shelf farce But then when a REAL mystery arrives on her doorstep taking us back into the world of Bath and bringing the two stories together she realizes that she's been looking at things upside down and backwards the whole time This book has some realheartfelt drama and romance but mainly I like it because it's really really funny Catherine is awesome and kind of nuts and the supporting characters run the gamut from really likeable and charming Eleanor and her brother Henry to the excruciatingly irritating John and Isabella who totally beat out both Mrs Bennet Aunt Norris and Lucy Steele in my list of Best Ever Annoying Jane Austen Characters


  2. says:

    Jane Austen’s novels are just about romance and naïve women There just another telling of boy meets girl in an uninspiring way with a few social issues thrown in Well ashamed as I am to admit it that is what I used to believe in my woefully idiotic ignorance How foolish of me Now that I’ve actually bothered to read one of her novels because I had to for university purposes I realise how stupid I was to actually think this Jane Austen is one of if not the best novelists of all time If you disbelieve me and held a similar opinion to my own then read one of her novels and find out for yourself That being said though Catherine the protagonist of this novel is somewhat ignorant and naïve to the ways of the world; but she had to be Indeed if not Austen would have been unable to achieve such an endearing comment on the absurdity of society the role of women in that said society and the ignorance toward the unpopular literary craft of the novel How else if not though the eyes of an innocent young girl who cannot understand the mechanisms of these aspects of the world? Who when thrust into the pump room a sort of ball room for dance and socialising has virtually no idea how to behave Catherine has an immeasurable misunderstanding of the intentions of others and a misguided view that the world is like one of her beloved books a romantic adventure with a little bit of popular gothic thrown in for excitement She cannot comprehend the reasoning behind her friend Isabella Thorpe’s behaviour and how she is only leading her brother along; she cannot understand that Henry’s father is not a gothic villain but a man in mourning with a harsh temper her vision has become obscured Catherine's blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions which naturally sprang from these words Could it be possible? Could Henry's father? And yet how many were the examples to justify even the blackest suspicionsThis is achieved through a narration that is a work of genius Austen has satirised the conventions of gothic literature by writing a semi gothic novel herself that is focalised through the experience of Catherine Catherine is well read but only as far as the gothic genre allows This has clouded her interpretation of the events that occur around her conseuently life to her has become akin to the works by authors such as Radcliffe This means that by the time that Catherine arrives at the abbey she expects it to be this place of utter darkness and dread; she expects to be a gothic castle and the home to a tyrannical gothic villain However when the veil is lifted and she realises that her life is in fact not a book and the motivations of the people in it are not what she thought them to be the revelation of how foolish she has been dawns upon her I’m not going to lie I felt like Catherine at this point; I held a ridiculous opinion that when lifted allowed me to see the work of Austen for what it was utter brilliance I love Northanger Abbey; it is brilliant Jane Austen is the master of her craft; her work is what she argued the novel to be “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”


  3. says:

    A creepy mansion Dark and stormy nights and Jane Austen just having fun with us Now I must give one smirk and then we may be rational againSeventeen year old Catherine Morland as innocent and naïve a heroine as Austen ever created with no particular distinguishing characteristics except goodhearted sincerity and an overfondness for Gothic novels is invited to stay in Bath for several weeks with kindly and wealthy neighbors She meets a new bestie Isabella as well as Henry Tilney a guy who's far too uick―not to mention wealthy―for her But he has a weakness for cute girls who totally admire himTheir relationship strikes me as weak probably because Austen was focused on creating a parody by turning Gothic conventions on their heads than on creating a compelling heroine and romance Henry is a great character but Catherine really isn't uite up to his level despite all of Jane Austen's rationalizations though maybe that's true to life sometimes However I comfort myself with the thought that Catherine isn't unintelligent just young and inexperienced I have faith in Henry's ability to kindly help her learn to think deeply and criticallyAusten inserts a lot of sarcastic side comments mocking Gothic plot elements like Catherine's father being not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters and her mother instead of dying in bringing the latter sons into the world as anybody might expect still living on in inexplicably good health But Austen also takes the time whilst skewering Gothic novels to make a few pleas to readers in favor of novels generally And she creates one of her most deliciously shallow and hypocritical characters in Isabella whose mendacious comments along with Henry's sarcastic ones were the biggest pleasure in this book for meWhen Catherine is invited to visit with Henry's family at the formidable Northanger Abbey all her Gothic daydreams finally seem poised to come true A mysterious heavy chest in her bedroom with silver handles broken perhaps prematurely by some strange violence; an odd locked area of the house; a man she suspects of doing away with his wife Gasp Austen makes fun of it all and Catherine's disturbed imagination along with it Catherine repeatedly gets shot down and then makes firm although not necessarily long lasting resolutions not to let her imagination run away with her in the future But it seems likely that in the end she's gained some experience and wisdomNot to mention view spoilerHenry hide spoiler


  4. says:

    I don’t even know what to say This book was such a flippin’ blast Okay that’s a little bit of a lie I know the most important thing I have to say First and foremost I’M IN LOVE WITH HENRY TILNEY SO FUNNY smart handsome owns a cute house and dare I saywoke? He’s the best But let me backtrack a bit Northanger Abbey is Austen’s satire and she pokes fun at gothic horror books by having her heroine Catherine believe she’s essentially in one AND SO MUCH GOOD COMES OUT OF THIS The satire is hilarious there’s one moment for example when what Catherine believes is a spooky ghastly scroll is really a list of the contents of a linen closet But right when it’s about to stop being funny and you’re getting just the teensiest bit annoyed at Catherine’s naïveté it ends She confesses to Henry whose father she believes is a murderer and he gently shoots her down while still being all “I love you girl” It’s really great AUSTEN IS A TALENT That’s the wonderful bit about this satire IMO I don’t alwayssss love literary satire because it gives me secondhand embarrassment cringes But this is satire within another narrative a typical Austen storyline So it’s funny and biting while also being cute and happy and having adorable characters and a lovely ending Talk about a TOTAL win win amiright? There are also even MORE plus sides to this Austen makes a lot of sweeping generalizations about “heroines” and plots and books and they are all hysterically funny and insanely accurate She also writes a few amazing defenses of fiction isn’t that wild y’all? While we’re out here with people trying to make others feel bad for liking YA our sistas in Austen’s lifetime couldn’t even read novels without judgment So crazy Call me crazy but I’d rather someone insult my intellect for having read Sarah J Maas than have to read 19th century TEXTBOOKS in order to be considered marriage material Bleh Total nightmare no? Let’s count our blessings and chill the hell out for one freaking second But I digress Let’s talk about those characterssss They are in turn perfectly hate able and lovable Hang on I’ll explain When people are all “She’s a villain I love to hate” I seriously never understand I don’t ever love hating characters It makes reading unpleasant usually even villains Like Levana from The Lunar Chronicles or whatever I just hated her I didn’t enjoy hating her She got on my nerves and I was displeased whenever she showed up ButIsabella and her brother in this book? Pretty hilarious They’re super annoying Isabella uses people is self obsessed and lies all the time; her brother is a total self serving asshole But when sweet lil Catherine is utterly ignorant to their flaws? It’s really funny The way Isabella’s dialogue is written in particular made me laugh a lot genuinely Do people actually laugh out loud while reading on the reg? But also there are characters who are so intensely lovable Especially my husband Catherine for one thing She could be a little irritating because she’s SO immature sometimes but she’s just like a good person to her core who is so kind to those around her You can’t hate her At least I couldn’t and I hate most characters But let’s talk about bae You can’t see me but I actually just turned into a literal heart eyes emoji from the neck up Henry Tilney is a charmer from the SECOND he shows up The banter he has with Catherineunreal Austen outdoes herself Now I wanna reread their meeting scene Ugh Literally a heart eyes emoji And ultimately this is just a bananas well written book A real masterpiece Some of Austen’s most famous uotes are from this book and it totally makes sense why Here are a couple fresh examples “The person be it gentleman or lady who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid” “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends I have no notion of loving people by halves it is not my nature” See what I mean? I just read this book and I already wanna pick it up again Bottom line Charming characters hilarity biting satire gorgeous uotesIt’s Austen at her best But when isn’t she at her best?


  5. says:

    Catherine Morland is your typical seventeen year old girl of the turn of the century 19th that is She reads too much an illness that is sadly terminal Gothic books are her passion and the rage of the era Any ancient home that is eerie ominous or sinister the young lady would enjoy seeing if there were any in the area She lives in a uiet English village too uiet where everyone knows each other which keeps the populous from misadventures Her parents have ten children and surprisingly her mother is alive and healthy Miss Morland's father is a well to do clergyman but with all those kids nobody would know especially Catherine Mrs Allen a wealthy neighbor is going on a six week vacation to Bath with MrAllen he has the fashionable gout the most famous resort in England Mrs Allen needs an agreeable companion to talk to she's rather silly asks Catherine Her chief interest is clothes still how long can you speak about fashion before it gets tiresome? The fatigued husband doesn't stay in her presence very long Arriving in town is exciting and daunting soon people start to notice Miss Catherine Morland particularly young men a new experience for her She grew up a tomboy playing outside with the boys not inside with dolls Yet the last three years her homely awkwardness has vanished a pleasant pretty appearance she acuires that even her astonished mother acknowledges Catherine soon forms a friendship with Isabella Thorpe a beautiful deceitful gold digger her family has little but she has at 21 time is running out for her to catch a rich husband It doesn't take long to discover that Catherine's brother James and Isabella's brother John are best friends so naturally the two ladies also become too Then the brothers of the girls come to town unexpectedly Catherine loves her plain looking older brother and you can imagine the shock that she feels when James and Isabella become engaged Yes it's the first time Catherine has been out of her insulated village of Fullerton Still true love has a rocky road to travel when it isn't Henry Tilney a wealthy man's son meets the charming Catherine at a dance She has eyes for him but so does Isabella's annoying brother John for her he's always talking about his horses However Henry's older brother Captain Frederick Tilney arrives too very popular Bath is for romance and starts flirting with Isabella which she doesn't mind but James does He has money than Catherine's brother The resort is famous for the miraculous waters though most go there for the dancing plays card games and walking around in the Grand Pump Room and meeting the rich Showing everyone who's interested they're in town nobody is Later Catherine is invited by General Tilney the father of Henry to go to Northanger Abbey his home Amazingly a real Gothic house with his son and daughter Eleanor another friend of Catherine 's and stay a few weeks The girl with a wild imagination is thrilled finally all Catherine's dreams have come to pass


  6. says:

    It is only a novel 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 Well I guess Jane Austen wrote my review of her novel in her novel That's a bit annoying as I can't compete with her wit of course But even annoying is the fact that I wrote my own imaginary review in my head before I started the book and as opposed to Austen's summary mine doesn't work out at all any now that I know the story It is dangerous to check the facts before writing your opinion for facts have the frustrating habit of changing your opinions if you dare to leave the realm of your fictionLike the young heroine in Northanger Abbey I seemed to have lost grip of fiction and reality recently due to an overly greedy consumption of novelsLike the young heroine I thought I knew what to expect of characters setting and plot before I had even ventured out to explore them and like her I created a massive amount of tension for myself only to find myself in the somewhat silly situation of waking up to a reality that did not at all justify my preconceived ideas Let's say I prided myself in knowing what to expect of Jane Austen Let's say I started full of prejudices Let's say that I had to force myself to come to my senses after a roller coaster that tested my sensibility than I am willing to admit Let's say I thought I had a perfect review in the making following the idea of explaining the exaggerated characters and dramatic actions with regard to Austen's time place and gender I was going to put Northanger Abbey in its place liking it for its classic status but dismissing it secretly as irrelevant in the modern context I was going to compare it to earlier works of Gothic fiction and maybe even to my timeless favourite Dickens and his comically evil villains and puritan heroes But no It won't doShe's a bloody genius Jane Austen if one can still say that nowadays without involuntarily insulting her intelligence and judgmentExaggerated characters? The Thorpes too vain greedy shallow and stupid? Eh show me the person in high society today that is NOT eually vulgar volatile and obvious Ridiculous naivety of the heroine? Eh we have people organising Flat Earth Conferences and it isn't even fiction or satire but plain truthOld fashioned family structures? Eh if the eternal generation conflict was solved in the meantime I must have missed it Can you send me the action plan please?So if there is anything dated in Jane Austen it must be the lovable character of her protagonist her passionate argument for reading novels and her linguistically convincing prose Well for those minor defects I am willing to forgive her in the name of classic literature She's proof that literature can always transcend the narrow boundaries of its time and place It can speak to readers all over the world in the most various life circumstances as long as the message is honest and rings trueLoved it Despite all my pride and prejudice with all my sense and sensibility


  7. says:

    A charming early Austen novel filled with overt criticism of Mrs Radcliffe and implied criticism of Fanny Burney but this is very gentle criticism indeed since young Jane is obviously a huge fan of both writers Her heroine Catharine Morland is a charming naif in the Evelina mode perhaps just a little too naive and therein lies some of the criticism who is fascinated by all things gothic and therefore misinterprets much of what she sees manufacturing the sinister in a score of places and yet not recognizing real evil when it stares her in the face The book while filled with good sense is nevertheless lighthearted and very funny and may well be the sunniest of Austen's works


  8. says:

    Elizabeth may be the most beloved Emma may be the hated and of course Elinor is the most sensible but I personally think Catherine is the most relatableWe can't all be as witty and perceptive as Lizzie and we hopefully aren't as meddling and silly as Emma But Catherine? Well she's somewhere in the middle of normal She's not always as clever as she wishes she's not the wealthiest heiress in the room and she's not always sure of what she's doing She's justevery girl who's ever gone to the big city and gotten a little dazzled by the wrong friends overwhelmed by their imagination and fallen in love with a handsome boy with a good sense of humorAlso she loves a good gothic novelCatherine seemed kind of silly and ignorant at first glance but as the book goes on you realize that it's just that she's young and trusting As the story goes on you see her slowly come into herself find her voice and learn how to stand up to the characters that would lead her to do the wrong thingAnd then there's Northanger AbbyWhich all things considered wasn't all that interesting There were a few funny moments when she first arrived and tried her hand at becoming a gothic heroine but I hoped there would be to it than that lotta buildup not a lotta payoffAnd Henry? He's the male version of Catherine He's not some dashing Superman he's just a nice normal guy who does the right thingI was maybe happier for these two lovebirds when they beat the odds than I am for a lot of literary couples because they were just so damn regular I read this 10 years ago and decided to listen to it on audiobook this time around Loved it Wanda McCaddon was the narrator and she was absolutely wonderful


  9. says:

    NOVELSLet us leave it to the Reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans Let us not desert one another we are an injured body Although our productions have afforded extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world no species of composition has been so much decried From pride ignorance or fashion our foes are almost as many as our readers And while the abilities of the nine hundredth abridger of the History of England or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton Pope and Prior with a paper from the Spectator and a chapter from Sterne are eulogized by a thousand pens there seems almost a general with of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist and of slighting the performances which have only genius wit and taste to recommend them “I am no novel reader I seldom look into novels Do not imagine that I often read novels It is really very well for a novel’ Such is the common cant ”And what are you reading Miss ?’ “Oh it is only a novel’ replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference or momentary shame Gertrude SteinGertrude Stein Do you know why you are here Mr Keeten?Keeten I don’t even know where I am Stein You are before the Book Tribunal I rubbed my jaw Keeten Did Hemingway have to slug me?Stein Fetching people such as yourself to appear before this tribunal seems to be the one thing that Hemingway does enjoy about serving on the panelHemingway gave a short bark of a laugh Ernest HemingwayStein Let me introduce Charlotte Bronte and of course you’ve met Mr HemingwayI waved at Bronte Hemingway gave me a salute I gave him a tight nod and my jaw another rub Stein You have been assigned counsel Mr F Scott Fitzgerald Keeten Yes I would like to talk to him Maybe he can explain what this is all about Where is he?Stein I do believe he is under your tableI leaned over and spied a slumped form softly snoring I grabbed a shoulder and rolled him over Gin fumes teared up my eyesKeeten Miss Stein I need a new counsellor Stein I’m afraid that is impossible You’ve told many people that Fitzgerald is your favorite writer and the rules of this tribunal is that your favorite writer represents you Keeten I’d like to change that to Gore VidalBouts of laughter greet this reuest Only then did I realize that the seats behind me were full of dead writers I waved to Kurt Vonnegut and he gave me a wink Keeten Was something I said humorous?Stein In the short time that Mr Vidal has joined us he has been reuested many times but unfortunately no one has been before us that actually considered him to be their favorite writer Hemingway You chose unwisely Fitzgerald over me what a joke that isKeeten I think your work is swell Hemingway and Miss Bronte I really loved VilletteStein Okay okay Mr Keeten enough with the flattering What do you think of my work?Keeten ErhhhHer mannish features framed a pronounced grimaceStein That’s okay Mr Keeten I won’t force you to manufacture platitudes very few people can really understand and appreciate my work I thought a change of subject was in orderKeeten Why exactly am I here?Stein It is regarding Jane AustenI felt my blood run a little cold Keeten I just finished reading Northanger AbbeyStein Yes we know In the past you have made some rather cutting remarks about Miss AustenKeeten I won’t deny that I harbored some resentment not towards Miss Austen as much as towards a survey class I was forced to take in college Stein You sir are parsing words Hemingway interrupted Isn’t it time for a drink?Stein Why not?Djuna Barnes walked out with a silver tray filled with shots of gin and as the glass clinked on the table in front of me Fitzgerald sprang up like a jack in the box with his hand out fingers none too steady reaching for a glass He slammed the shot down his throat and before I could tilt my own glass up he’d already slid back beneath the table The gin hit my stomach like a mariachi bandAs Barnes walked back by me after serving the judges looked in the prime of life like all the judges although that was up for debate with Stein I said you are prettier than your pictures Djuna BarnesBarnes Save it You are not even remotely my type I could feel the heat on my neck climbing up to my cheeks She flipped my chin with her finger Barnes Good luck anyway Stein If you are finished annoying Miss Barnes Mr Keeten can we proceed?Keeten Of courseStein As you were sayingKeeten I apologize to Miss Austen if any of my remarks were inappropriately expressed I can assure her that I have the utmost respect for her as a writer In fact I intend to write a very positive review about Northanger AbbeyStein The writer in uestion is not allowed to attend the proceedings but we will express your regret for your behavior to her We have a party that we must get to Mr Keeten so we are going to wrap this up It is our intention here today to give you a warning about expressing yourself in such flippant ways about the works of the members of this novelist community in the future If we feel the need to call you back again I can assure you strident discussion will be conveyed to you Keeten Yes ma’amStein Anything further to add Miss BronteBronte I think he is kind of handsome Charlotte BronteStein Irrelevant Miss Bronte and to balance the scales I must say I find him to be a rather unattractive man Mr Hemingway?Hemingway Do I get to send him back?Stein Sigh yes Mr Hemingway please do soHemingway walked across the room towards me Before I could even speculate about how he was going to send me back his fist imploded against my jaw As I slid to the floor I heard him say“I got to send you back the same way you came Tinkerbell”I woke on the floor of my library in a slurry of drool My head pounding both sides of my jaw tender to the touch Note to self do not write a negative review of Hemingway From the way my stomach feels I’d say the gin ate a hole through my insides and was still burrowing deeper I pull myself up to the computer The Lovely Jane AustenThe heroine of this novel Miss Catherine Morland was a reader of gothic literature I know it was Jane Austen’s intention to poke fun at the craze of people reading this type of novel but since I’m a fan of the genre I actually enjoyed the freuent references to the author Ann Radcliffe and the other books that were being bought enjoyed and discussed in English drawing rooms of the time Miss Morland has hopes of finding herself enmeshed in a romance of gothic proportions When her parents consent to letting her visit friends and she meets new friends she knows she is on the verge of a grand adventure She meets the Tilney’s and in particular meets the man of our tale Henry Tilney who demonstrates early on that he had the makings of being the romantic hero of the new plot evolving in the mind of Miss Morland She is invited to visit the Tilney’s at the family estate and the vision that Catherine composes in her mind about Northanger Abbey is doomed for disappointment To give one example where the Abbey failed to provide the proper gothic atmosphere The windows to which she looked with peculiar dependence from having heard the General talk of his preserving them in their Gothic form with reverential care were yet less what her fancy had portrayed To be sure the pointed arch was preserved the form of them was Gothic they might be even casements but every pane was so large so clear so light To an imagination which had hoped for the smallest divisions and the heaviest stone work for painted glass dirt and cobwebs the difference was very distressingCatherine is mortified by her own ineptness with proper behavior She is manipulated by friends but proves to be a uick learner and shows a steely spine standing up to their overbearing behavior towards her When she is cast out she proves her mettle once again finding her own way home with uiet determination despite her inexperience with the workings of the world Yes she is silly and maybe because of her Gothic view of the world I liked Catherinea lot I wish the plot of the novel would have allowed of Henry Tilney as he certainly seemed like a man a reader of novels who I would have enjoyed taking a long walk with to discuss literature life and all things nice There is subtle comedy throughout this short novel and even when our heroine is unhappy I didn’t feel distressed for how could the world deny Catherine her happy ending? If you have struggled with other Austen novels I can assure you this is a breezy affair not to say that it doesn’t have literary merit for it has if nothing else repaired my relationship with Miss Austen and I fully intend now to reread her other works and evaluate them through attitude adjusted eyes


  10. says:

    Northanger Abbey is the shortest of Jane Austen's six major novels and has a special place in many readers' hearts In many ways it is not the tightly constructed witty sort of story we expect from this author yet its spontaneity and rough edges prove to be part of its charm Started when she was very young it should perhaps properly be classed as part of her juvenilia What lifts it above the other earlier works however is the skill she demonstrates for writing a parody of all the gothic romantic novels which were so popular at the time And this aspect is twinned with another of Jane Austen's concerns a satirical observation of human nature within a narrow band of society; a comedy of manners There are many literary allusions which focus on the gothic genre At the time Jane Austen was writing novels especially gothic novels of this type were looked down upon by many people particularly those of the upper classes It is likely that a young writer would therefore feel that she needed a strong position from which to defend her craft against any critics who might in future disparage her work The characters in Northanger Abbey itself constantly refer both to Mrs Radcliffe and her novels such as The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian by name At one point where Catherine the heroine is chatting to her friend she asks Isabella for suggestions Her friend replies I will read you their names directly; here they are in my pocket book Castle of Wolfenbach Clermont Mysterious Warnings Necromancer of the Black Forest Midnight Bell Orphan of the Rhine and Horrid Mysteries Those will last us some timeAnd Catherine insists Yes pretty well; but are they all horrid are you sure they are all horrid?As an interesting aside although for many years these were assumed to be merely invented titles by Jane Austen it has since come to light that they are actual gothic novels by different authors They have subseuently been republished as The Northanger Horrid Novels Collection This particular sort of comedy is lacking in Jane Austen's subseuent novels which perhaps are a little cautious in their wit and irony being intended for a wider audience Northanger Abbey was meant mainly as family entertainment which is why Austen mischievously includes so many literary references which she expected her relatives to pick up and recognise Jane Austen also addresses the reader directly throughout the novel and sometimes voices her own opinions uite forcefully forgetting the story for a moment But perhaps she had an eye to the future considering that attack is the best form of defence and writing this way uite deliberately in anticipation of any critical assessment As these passages burst upon us we are provided with a little insight into Austen's opinions at the time Famously very little remains extant to show us her opinions due to her instructions to her sister Cassandra to burn all her letters after her deathOriginally Northanger Abbey was entitled Susan and written around 1798 99 It was the first of her novels to be submitted for publication in 1803 However it was not in fact published until 1817 18 after further revision by the author including changing the main character's name from Susan to Catherine Jane Austen died in July 1817 The two novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion her final novel were thus both published posthumously comprising the first two volumes of a four volume set Interestingly neither title was her own invention but probably that of her brother Henry who had been instrumental in their publicationAs well as being a Gothic parody and a comedy of manners Northanger Abbey is a coming of age novel another favourite theme from Jane Austen The first sentence No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroinesets the very droll tongue in cheek tone for the writing We are chattily introduced to the young and naïve Catherine the novel's unlikely heroine Catherine is not particularly pretty or feminine and one of ten children of a country clergyman However by the age of 17 we are told that she is in training for a heroine having all the attributes considered desirable in a young girl at the time The reader enjoys Catherine's youthful enthusiasm and also how impressionable she is She has crazes such as being excessively fond of reading Gothic novels the horrid she claims with glee the better She takes everything at face value at the start of the novel being unable to see any deviousness or any baser motives Catherine is not very perceptive not ever able to interpret what may lie behind certain actions if it is negative She is innocent a naïve and in this has a lot of charm and attraction for the reader We follow Catherine's progress as she is invited by some wealthier neighbours in Fullerton the Allens to accompany them to visit the fashionable town of Bath There she is introduced to society over the winter season through attending balls and the theatre So although it is constantly referred to there is in fact little gothic feel in the whole first half of the novel It is much similar to Jane Austen's later novels both in its setting and its preoccupations It is concerned with young people and their feelings; how they mature and how their marriage prospects improve as a conseuence In this aspect all Jane Austen's novels are very similar and all of them have reassuringly happy endings Jane Austen is always keen to entertain her readers Catherine's amiability and good character is further demonstrated through her making friends in Bath with a confident older girl Isabella Thorpe the daughter of Mrs Allen's old school friend The reader can see straightaway that Isabella is far savvy and ambitious than Catherine and possibly manipulating her new friend Isabella has a brother John whom Catherine is delighted to find is also a friend of her older brother James Both young men are fellow students at Oxford University However she and the reader takes an instant dislike to John finding him pompous brash boastful and overbearing In the meantime she has met a witty and clever young gentleman Henry Tilney and enjoyed his company and conversation The reader can deduce that at 17 she is well on the way to falling in love with this intelligent and polite slightly older and experienced gentleman The novel has several social situations which although very much of their time reveal essential aspects of human nature which are timeless The difficulties facing Catherine are difficulties and situations common to all teenagers There is embarrassment a feeling of gaucheness and several occasions where the peer pressure is very strong such as when James Isabella and John try to persuade her to join them when she had made a former promise for another engagement Catherine also has to learn how to stay polite and resolute when she is bullied by John Thorpe And when she eventually returns home to her parents uncomprehending of why she has been treated in such a shameful way the reader is treated to the common enough spectacle of a moody sulky teenager For the second half of the novel the setting has switched to Northanger Abbey itself as Catherine has received an invitation to stay there The tone becomes slightly darker and the viewpoint switches to be almost entirely from Catherine's perspective using free indirect narration Everything is presented from Catherine's point of view which leads to some hilarious moments due to her romantic notions of what an ancient abbey should be like The reader has been well prepared for this through conversations between Catherine and Henry Tilney Here she is very excited about the prospect of a visit to the abbey You have formed a very favourable idea of the abbeyTo be sure I have Is not it a fine old place just like what one reads about?Henry Tilney continues to tease her although Catherine revels in the descriptions not realising that this is what he is doing And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as what one reads about may produce? Have you a stout heart? Nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry? Will not your mind misgive you when you find yourself in this gloomy chamber too lofty and extensive for you with only the feeble rays of a single lamp to take in its size its walls hung with tapestry exhibiting figures as large as life and the bed of dark green stuff or purple velvet presenting even a funereal appearance? Will not your heart sink within you?Catherine waits impatiently for her visit whereas the reader has been privy to broad hints that the abbey may not be at all as she expects Sure enough our innocent heroine's expectations increase on the journey As they drew near the end of their journey her impatience for a sight of the abbey returned in full force and every bend in the road was expected with solemn awe to afford a glimpse of its massy walls of grey stone rising amidst a grove of ancient oaks with the last beams of the sun playing in beautiful splendour on its high Gothic windows But as the reader expects the exterior of the building comes as a bit of a let down She knew not that she had any right to be surprised but there was a something in this mode of approach which she certainly had not expected To pass between lodges of a modern appearance to find herself with such ease in the very precincts of the abbey and driven so rapidly along a smooth level road of fine gravel without obstacle alarm or solemnity of any kind struck her as odd and inconsistent The windows to which she looked with peculiar dependence from having heard the general talk of his preserving them in their Gothic form with reverential care were yet less what her fancy had portrayed To be sure the pointed arch was preserved the form of them was Gothic they might be even casements but every pane was so large so clear so light To an imagination which had hoped for the smallest divisions and the heaviest stone work for painted glass dirt and cobwebs the difference was very distressing All the descriptions of Bath society both in Northanger Abbey and Austen's other novels are drawn from her own experience One of the interesting aspects of Northanger Abbey however is that passages such as these seem to indicate she incorporates her reading experience as well as her real life experience; it is just as much a product of the Gothic novels that she herself read One of the highlights of the novel is where Henry Tilney teases Catherine about the horrid contents of such novels Typically there would be a crumbling old building possibly an abbey once used to house nuns or monks The abbey would then become abandoned and derelict and later bought by an evil lord or baron Dastardly deeds would occur in the ancient edifice once the lord or baron took possession and the once holy nature of the abbey would become an ironic feature in these Gothic novelsNorthanger Abbey is a dreadful disappointment for Catherine who had imagined herself as the heroine of a Gothic novel Living out her imaginative fantasies she was hoping to be thrilled by mystery horror and sinister and macabre deeds from an earlier time She had found Bath to be a pleasant tourist town interesting for her to visit but in Catherine's mind the Abbey would inevitably be a place of new heightened experiences At every point where the Abbey turns out to be conventional and normal Catherine remembers the abbeys from her favourite gothic novels deliberately frightening herself to complete her thrilling anticipations The night was stormy; the wind had been rising at intervals the whole afternoon; and by the time the party broke up it blew and rained violently Catherine as she crossed the hall listened to the tempest with sensations of awe; and when she heard it rage round a corner of the ancient building and close with sudden fury a distant door felt for the first time that she was really in an abbeyCatherine still longs for the abbey to conform to her imagined ideal and one of the funniest scenes in the book is view spoilerwhen she discovers a cabinet with a mysterious paper inside Her imagination runs riot at what this could be but it eventually turns out to be simply a laundry list hide spoiler