Northanger Abbey: (Classics hardcover)

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Overview

Listen to audio presented by Literary Affairs: Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

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During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's ...

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Overview

Listen to audio presented by Literary Affairs: Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

View our feature on Jane Austen.

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

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What People Are Saying

Thomas
"She is a prose Shakesphere."
Thomas Macaulay
She is a prose Shakespeare.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141197715
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 154,052
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817.

As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

Northanger Abbey


By Jane Austen

Vintage

Copyright © 2007 Jane Austen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307386830

Chapter I

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard—and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence, besides two good livings—and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as any body might expect, she still lived on—lived to have six children more—to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features;—so much for her person;—and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boys’ plays, and greatlypreferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief—at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take.—Such were her propensities—her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand any thing before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the “Beggar’s Petition;” and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid,—by no means; she learnt the fable of “The Hare and many Friends,” as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinnet; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it;—and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine’s life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother, or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another.—Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character!—for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper; was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.

Such was Catherine Morland at ten. At fifteen, appearances were mending; she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved, her features were softened by plumpness and colour, her eyes gained more animation, and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way to an inclination for finery, and she grew clean as she grew smart; she had now the pleasure of sometimes hearing her father and mother remark on her personal improvement. “Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl,—she is almost pretty to day,” were words which caught her ears now and then; and how welcome were the sounds! To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive.

Mrs. Morland was a very good woman, and wished to see her children every thing they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in lying-in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books—or at least books of information—for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all. But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.

From Pope, she learnt to censure those who

“bear about the mockery of woe.”

From Gray, that

“Many a flower is born to blush unseen, “And waste its fragrance on the desert air.”

From Thompson, that

——“It is a delightful task “To teach the young idea how to shoot.”

And from Shakspeare she gained a great store of information—amongst the rest, that

———“Trifles light as air, “Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong, “As proofs of Holy Writ.”

That “The poor beetle, which we tread upon, “In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great “As when a giant dies.”

And that a young woman in love always looks ——“like Patience on a monument “Smiling at Grief.”

So far her improvement was sufficient—and in many other points she came on exceedingly well; for though she could not write sonnets, she brought herself to read them; and though there seemed no chance of her throwing a whole party into raptures by a prelude on the pianoforte, of her own composition, she could listen to other people’s performance with very little fatigue. Her greatest deficiency was in the pencil—she had no notion of drawing—not enough even to attempt a sketch of her lover’s profile, that she might be detected in the design. There she fell miserably short of the true heroic height. At present she did not know her own poverty, for she had no lover to pourtray. She had reached the age of seventeen, without having seen one amiable youth who could call forth her sensibility; without having excited one real passion, and without having excited even any admiration but what was very moderate and very transient. This was strange indeed! But strange things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out. There was not one lord in the neighbourhood; no—not even a baronet. There was not one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their door—not one young man whose origin was unknown. Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no children.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.

Mr. Allen, who owned the chief of the property about Fuller- ton, the village in Wiltshire where the Morlands lived, was ordered to Bath for the benefit of a gouty constitution;—and his lady, a good- humoured woman, fond of Miss Morland, and probably aware that if adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad, invited her to go with them. Mr. and Mrs. Morland were all compliance, and Catherine all happiness.

Continues...

Excerpted from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Copyright © 2007 by Jane Austen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Jane Austen: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

Biographical Notice

Author's Advertisement

Northanger Abbey

Appendix A: Jane Austen's Correspondence with Crosby Publishing House

Appendix B: Jane Austen's Private Family Correspondence

Appendix C: Examples of Jane Austen's Reading
1. Ann Radcliff, Romance of the Forest
2. William Gilpin, Observations on the Picturesque
3. Sentimental Heroines a. Elizabeth Hervey, Louisa b. Charlotte Smith, Emmeline c. Helen Maria Williams, Julia

Appendix D: Catherine Morland's Reading Material
1. Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Appendix E: Reviews of Northanger Abbey
1. British Critic (March 1818)
2. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (May 1818)
3. Gentleman's Magazine (July 1818)
4. Quarterly Review (January 1821)

Appendix F: Map of Bath, circa 1800

Appendix G: Day Trips from Bath

Appendix H: Map of South West England, circa 1856

Appendix I: Frontispiece to the 1833 edition of Northanger Abbey

Appendix J: Horse-Drawn Transportation
1. Chaise and Four
2. Phaeton
3. Curricle
4. Gig

Works Cited / Recommended Reading

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Reading Group Guide

1. Robert Kilely, in his Introduction, says that although Northanger Abbey satirizes gothic novels, what's more significant about it is the manner in which Jane Austen bases her narrative on conversation. How is conversation used in the novel as a narrative device? How does conversation both aid and hinder the characters?

2. Jane Austen deftly shifts voices so as to allow us to see the world through Catherine's eyes and her own eyes (often through Henry Tilney). What effects does this have on the reader?

3. What gothic elements are incorporated into the novel? What are the anti-gothic elements and figures of the novel? How does Austen juxtapose Bath and the Abbey?

4. It can be argued that Henry Tilney is a foil to John Thorpe. What other characters serve as foils to each other? Does Catherine have a foil?

5. Consider the use of sarcasm in the novel. How does Henry Tilney's sarcasm force Catherine to think things through more thoroughly and expand her values and notions?

6. The novel depicts a disparity of class and wealth, most notably between the Thorpes and the Tilneys. What importance does social convention hold? Is there a certain relevance between class and behavior appertaining to the Thorpes and Tilneys? Is it ever justifiable to break with social convention and propriety?

7. One of the major elements in Northanger Abbey is reading, particularly reading novels. What are some of the differences between novels and reality that Austen is discerning? Is she convinced that novels are worthless? What is surprising about the way novels were perceived in the early nineteenth century?

8. 'No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland inher infancy, would have supposed her to be a heroine, ' Jane Austen writes in her opening paragraph. Do you agree that Catherine is a heroine? How does she develop through the novel and what does she learn about her self and the world around her?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 139 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    poor formating

    The formatting for this eBook is terrible - so much missing text and extra characters that you can't read it.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    NEEDS EDITING!

    Didn't read but a few pages because it is so difficult to read through all the misspellings, extra punctuation, weird spacing, etc. A real dis-service to a classic author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    Very Entertaining

    Northanger Abbey is a fun book to read. It has very colorful characters and when reading it i could see them come to life in my head. Catherine Morland is an interesting and humorous character. She has an imagination that makes for great reading. I recommend this book to anyone who wants an entertaining read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Love to read

    I love everything Jane Austen ever wrote.o

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Wonderful

    This is a great novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Great!

    I'm halfway through and I love it. I love how Austen pokes fun at gothic romance fiction. Highly recommended, though it's not nearly as good as Pride and Prejudice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Loved it

    Alas, to be living in that era!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Omg

    Cant what to reaf

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    A Good Book Gone Wrong

    This particular Gutenberg scan is riddled with poor scan conversions - the first two pages are completely illegible. Try another version.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    A great novel with wonderful parodies of Gothic fiction.

    A great novel with wonderful parodies of Gothic fiction.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Good

    This book has no misprint it is a favorite classic of mine

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Love the story - but get a different version.

    While this is one of my favorite stories, do not get this version. The print is very messed up, and unless you know the story by heart it may be difficult to follow due to the missing and incorrect characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    An odd tale of a young girl's journey into womanhood

    Slow to start and perhaps a little over the top in some regards, but that may also have been a point the author was trying to get across. A predictable happy ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Typos

    Too many typos! Bad punctuation, messed up words, bad edition in general Love the story, but the edition is distracting

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Bad formatting

    Do not purchase this version of the book for the nook color. Lots of extra text characters making it unreadable.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Downloaded oddly

    The text is quite garbled for some reason, and has the characters and symbols used in type facing interspersed amongst the words. Some words are so "incomplete" that I can only guess what they should be. Quite disappointing as I have enjoyed other works by this author. I cannot give an acurate rating on the content of the book due to the manner in which it downloaded.

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Another great Austen book!

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Poor

    Do not get this ebook. Badly formatted. Lots of missing or incomprehensible words.

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  • Posted January 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If only it were finished...

    I do not feel Northanger Abbey is a completed novel. The story itself is wonderful. I fell in love with Catherine and Henry. However, I did not love the parts where the author stepped back and spoke directly to the reader. I felt like it took too much away from the story, especially at the end.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    northanger abbey

    is this book good? would a 12 year old get it?

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