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Northanger Abbey depicts the misadventures of Catherine Morland, young, ingenuous, and mettlesome, and an indefatigable reader of gothic novels. Their romantic excess and dark overstatement feed her imagination, as tyrannical fathers and diabolical villains work their evil on forlorn heroines in isolated settings. What could be more remote from the uneventful securities of life in the midland counties of England? Yet as Austen brilliantly contrasts fiction with reality, ordinary life takes a more sinister turn, ...
Northanger Abbey depicts the misadventures of Catherine Morland, young, ingenuous, and mettlesome, and an indefatigable reader of gothic novels. Their romantic excess and dark overstatement feed her imagination, as tyrannical fathers and diabolical villains work their evil on forlorn heroines in isolated settings. What could be more remote from the uneventful securities of life in the midland counties of England? Yet as Austen brilliantly contrasts fiction with reality, ordinary life takes a more sinister turn, and edginess and circumspection are reaffirmed alongside comedy and literary burlesque. Also including Austen's other short fictions, Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon, this valuable new edition shows her to be as innovative at the start of her career as at its close.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Posted December 28, 2008
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Some critics consider Northanger Abbey to be Jane Austen's best work revealing both her comedic and intellectual talents at its best. I always enjoy reading it for the shear joy of exuberant young heroine Catherine Morland, charmingly witty hero Henry Tilney and the comedy and social satire of the supporting characters. At times, I do find it a challenge because so much of the plot is based on allusions to other novels, and much of the story is tongue in cheek. Explanatory notes and further study have helped me understand so much more than just the surface story and I would like to recommend that all readers purchase annotated versions of the text for better appreciation. <BR/><BR/>Oxford World's Classics has just released their new edition of Northanger Abbey which is worthy of consideration among the other editions in print that include a medium amount of supplemental material to support the text. Also included in this edition are three minor works, Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sandition. Updated and revised in 2003, it has an newly designed cover and contains a short biography of Jane Austen, notes on the text, explanatory notes which are numbered within the text and referenced in the back, chronology, two appendixes of Rank and Social Class and Dancing and a 28 page introduction by Claudia L. Johnson, Prof. of English Literature at Princeton University and well known Austen scholar. Of the five introductions I have read so far in the Oxford Austen series I have enjoyed this one the most as Prof. Johnson style is so entertaining and accessible. She writes with authority and an elegant casualness that does not intimidate this everyman reader. The essay is broken down into a general Introduction, Gothic or Anti-Gothic?, Jane Austen, Irony, and Gothic Style, and Northanger Abbey in Relation to Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sandition. Here is an excerpt that I thought fitting to support my previous mention of publishing history and tone. <BR/><BR/>What I found most enlightening about this edition were the explanatory notes to the text which were also written by Prof. Johnson. Not only do they call attention to words, phrases, places, allusions, and historical meanings, they explain them in context to the character or situation allowing us further inside the though process or action. <BR/><BR/>In addition to being an amusing parody and light hearted romance, I recommend Northanger Abbey for young adult readers who will connect with the heroine Catherine Morland whose first experiences outside her home environment place her in a position to make decisions, judge for herself who is a good or bad friend, and many other life lesson¿s that we discover again through her eyes. Henry Tilney is considered by many to be Austen's most witty and charming hero and is given some the best dialogue of any of her characters. <BR/><BR/>"Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half." Henry Tilney, Chapter 14 <BR/><BR/>Luckily for Henry Tilney there was one woman who used all that nature had given her with her writing when she created him. We are so fortunate that Northanger Abbey is not languishing and forgotten on a shelf at Crosby & Company in London, and available in this valuable edition by Oxford Press.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2000
I Will be the first to say that I think Jane Austen is the best author who ever lived. 'Northanger Abbey' is a good book, but not one of Austen's best, by any means. I thought Catherine was too stupid to be a good heroine. Henry Tilney, however, is my ideal hero and I totally love him! 'Lady Susan' is interesting. It's different because of its wicked heroine, and because it is an epistolary novel. I found that my opinion of Lady Susan changed drastically with every letter I read. 'The Watsons' has, I think, the makings of one of Jane Austen's best novels, if only she could have finished it. What little she did manage to write is wonderful, though, and a good read. 'SAnditon' is also unfinished, unfortunately. If Austen had lived to complete it, I think it would rank with one of her best. The beginning is interesting, though, and shows that Austen hasn't lost her touch! A Must-Read for all Jane Austen fans.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.