Northanger Abbey

( 353 )

Overview

"In this dramatisation of Jane Austen's earliest novel, the heroine, Catherine Morland, is taken by her aunt to Bath, where she encounters the social whirl denied her at home. She befriends Isabella Thorpe and her boorish brother John. She meets the charming but eccentric Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. And all the time her head is full of the Gothic fantasies of Mrs Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, scenes from which will keep intruding into the daily life of Bath society." "When Catherine accepts an invitation to the Tilney's country seat
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Overview

"In this dramatisation of Jane Austen's earliest novel, the heroine, Catherine Morland, is taken by her aunt to Bath, where she encounters the social whirl denied her at home. She befriends Isabella Thorpe and her boorish brother John. She meets the charming but eccentric Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. And all the time her head is full of the Gothic fantasies of Mrs Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, scenes from which will keep intruding into the daily life of Bath society." "When Catherine accepts an invitation to the Tilney's country seat at Northanger Abbey, lurid images of Udolpho threaten to overwhelm her. Until, as in all the best Jane Austen, Catherine finally gets her man." This adaptation was first seen at York Theatre Royal.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Jane Austen is the Rosetta stone of literature.” —Anna Quindlen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781494395865
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 12/6/2013
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Though the domain of Jane Austen’s novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her family’s entertainment. As a clergyman’s daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called “The First Impressions” an early version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1801, on her father’s retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815).

After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death on July 18, 1817. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Austen’s identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.

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

General Editor's preface; Acknowledgments; Chronology; Introduction; Note on the text; Northanger Abbey; Appendix: summaries and extracts from Ann Radcliffe's novels; Corrections and emendations to 1818 text; List of abbreviations; Explanatory notes.
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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 4
( 353 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(160)

4 Star

(98)

3 Star

(65)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 355 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Clever to Clever Readers (though not necessarily clever minds)

    This book, as even Austen herself would surely admit, does not particularly align with her other novels. It certailny resembles them in regards to the general plot (of woman meets man, something/someone comes between woman and man, eventually woman and man are together) but, as is also the custom with all of Austen's works, bears striking distinction. Northanger Abbey is a book about books, or more specifically the Gothic novels or other fantastic fiction. Perhaps to certain eyes characters in it may seem flat and consequently unappealing. But it is only because Austen had written this as a parody of sorts, making the novel seem as though written for those accustomed to reading Gothic novels themselves, though really for people who expect OTHERS would take everything in the book seriously. She wants her readers to share her own humors with her, and even points out her intentions by reminding her readers: that THESE chracters are characters, and only that.
    Personally, I should recommend it to any appreciative of both Gothic novels themselves and Austen's playful approach to dealing with people who think every time a candle goes out in the night, a knife follows with it.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Norhtanger Abbey

    I have been a big Jane Austen fan since I first read Pride and Prejudice as a ten year old. Since then, my love has only grown. I thought that nothing could top Pride and Prejudice, then I read Northanger Abbey. I love this book! It is funny, sweet, has good morals, endearing characters, and everything else that a good novel needs. I would recommend this to anyone who loved Pride and Prejudice or wished that Persuasion had a bit more spice. It is perfectly lovely, and a piece of work worthy of recognition. Put this in your personal library and read it again and again!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Northanger Abbey

    What seasoned Austen readers know is that Northanger Abbey is written almost entirely in a satirical vein. It is one of Jane Austen's finest displays of wit throughout her writing, poking fun at gothic novels and embellishing with zest. Readers who are only familiar with a few of Austen's works, like the more mainstream Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, may thus be confused by difference in tone of Austen's first novel. It is a splendid way to familiarize oneself with all of Austen's work. Five stars.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Am I missing something here?

    The book I'm looking to buy is N. Abbey...but the reviews are all for Emma excpet one that's for M. Park. Exactly what novel would I be buying here? Maybe this is a Project Gutenberg moment...?

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    This is not Northanger Abbey

    There is a problem, and I hope B&N fixes it soon. The nookbook download is not of Northanger Abbey but of Penguin's edition of Cicero's Selected Writings...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    My Least Favorite Austen Book.

    Although a nice read, the characters in this book are among the most insipid characters Ms. Austen created. Catherine was too bland. This character was better done in Washington Square by Henry James. I never quite got the attraction to Mr. Tilney. And I must say the most interesting character was Isabella, however atrocious she may have been. If this is your first Austen, don't give up. They're not all this bland.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Jane Austen Classic

    One of Jane Austen's lesser known novels; but still a very good read. The heroine is a bit more fanciful than other Austen characters; but it's interesting to see her discuss/read novels that were popular during that time. Also, the hero doesn't really resist falling in love with her. In fact, the fact that she admits that she favors him makes him like her all the more. This combined with family intrigues, the adventure of discovering a new place (Bath), and Catherine's imagination running away from her at times makes for a fun, slighty mysterious read. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Not Austen`s Best

    This is not Austen`s best novel, but it is sweet and delightful, and witty as ever.
    It is not my favourite book by Austen, and I suppose I might have enjoyed it more, had I read it when I was younger.
    The story is about a young and rather immature girl, who reads too many romantic and ghost stories. On a visit to Bath, she befriends the Tilneys. Father Tilney is very overbearing and strict, his oldest son is a scoundrel, but his two other kids, the charming, funny and intelligent Henry and his lovely sister make up for the other two. Catherine, our young heroine receives an invitation to the Tilney house, hich is rather ancient. She suspects that there are dark secrets lurking behind the family facade ...but are there really or is it simply her imagination? You have to read it to find out.
    It is actually a very funny story. You don`t feel the same love and understanding for the heroine, as you do for Liz Bennett, but Austen intended it that way. Like all her novels, it is a coming of age story, where the main character learns more about herself than she ever expected.
    Recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Light Jane Austen but still very enjoyable

    This is actually one of Austen's first works, she kept it for fifteen years, polishing it. It is her lightest work but it is still very good. Our heroine is Catherine, she is a rather silly young girl who has read too many gothic romances. "The Mysteries of Udolpho" in particular has turned her silly head. She seems to see a gothic mystery everywhere she looks. Catherine soon learns that the world is not all melodrama and eventually matures and marries a very sensible man. What keeps Catherine likable is her capacity to learn from her mistakes. She is certainly the least mature of Austen's heroines but she is never boring. This is a marvelous book to start with if you want to get into Jane Austen, it does not have as many characters or subplots as her other works and it is very breezy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Abbey Roads

    Who knew a vacation trip could turn into such an important event for one girl's life. From the moment the heroine is introduced, up to the very end she is delightful, naïve and fun. The men who come in and out of the tale are a little shady, self centered and of course cause more harm to the poor girl than good in some cases. A delightful visit into another Jane Austen book. I love the interactions between all of the characters, large and small they each bring light, laughter and fun to the tale. The settings shifting through out the book are detailed, fitting and absolutely fabulous. I really want to visit a real abbey some day just to see.it is also thrilling to have a heroine who is balanced between to smart for her own good, and so dumb every step is an accident. The personalities of the other girls in the book bring out the unique qualities of the heroine and show case her in a brilliant light. A very good short read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

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

    Posted June 1, 2014

    Terrible copy; do not buy

    The header says it all; whatever one thinks of Ms. Austin's effort, I'll have to assess it with another copy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Another Austen classic

    Not so famous but a great read just the same. I cannot get enough of Jane Austen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Loved it!!

    Once again Jane Austen steals my heart!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Good but not great.

    I'm a big fan of Jan Austen and this book is good but it's not great. Worth reading but don't expect the typical Jane Austen greatness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Great!

    I'm 12 and this is such a good book. Im only half way through but it is so good! Great romance story!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Better thsn what I have been reading lately.

    It was good, but too short.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Love Jane Auston

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2011

    My favorite Austen novel.

    As stated, this is my favorite Austen novel. It's the reason for my love of books. I read this back in the 3rd grade, and have loved reading ever since.

    I admire the way that Catherine Morland's mind just gets the best of her when she reads Mrs. Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Her Best Novel!

    4 1/2 stars:
    Northanger Abbey is my favorite book out of all Jane Austen's works. I really liked Catherine, and her wide open heart and indomitable spirit. She was so easy to relate to and likable. All her adventures were interesting and kept me turning the pages. Catherine was defiantly my favorite Jane Austen heroine and out of all Austen's male character's, Henry Tilney is my favorite because he isn't pretentious (like Darcy in Pride and Prejudice), there is a lot of dialogue between the two (unlike Darcy- P&P and Captain Wentworth- In Persuasion) and there's a type of friendship between them. Overall, I really enjoyed the whole book and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys classic literature with heart and humor.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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