Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082642
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 23,000
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English author known primarily for her six major novels set among the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Considered defining works of the Regency Era and counted among the best-loved classics of English literature, Austen’s books include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. The latter two were published after her death.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

From Alfred Mac Adam’s Introduction to Northanger Abbey

Austen writes at the outset of a total metamorphosis of European thought, a moment when every aspect of society was on the verge of mutation. The most obvious change is political: France enters the process of the French Revolution in 1789 and moves into the era of Napoleon, from which it emerges only after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815. France, in only a few years, moves from monarchy to republic to empire and back to monarchy. The spirit of the eighteenth-century Age of Reason, with its emphasis on universal principles (such as “All men are created equal”) turns into the age of Romanticism, when individuals discover they are radically different from one another.

Austen’s sociology too reflects an evolving literary, political, and social reality. Her main characters are not nobles, though some may be members of the titled aristocracy. Catherine Morland is the daughter of a country clergyman; she’s seen nothing of the world until her visit to Bath, a health spa and meeting place for marriageable young men and women, and her subsequent brush with provincial highlife at the grand estate of General Tilney, the father of the clergyman she eventually marries. The novel, as Austen and her contemporaries conceive it, is not concerned with kings and queens but with ordinary people, and one wonders if she had any knowledge of Madame de Lafayette’s The Princess of Cleves (1678), an early transformation of the aristocratic and courtly setting of the romance of chivalry into something very much like the psychological novel. The novel’s task is to make ordinary, usually middle-class characters interesting by creating predicaments for them in circumstances its readers would find reasonably familiar. Austen has a strong cohort of women novelists among her contemporaries who did exactly that; she refers specifically to Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) and Camilla; Or, a Picture of Youth (1796), by Fanny Burney, as well as Belinda (1801), by Maria Edgeworth: The fact that these novels are all named after their heroines certainly influenced Austen, who in its earlier incarnations gave Northanger Abbey the title “Susan” and then “Catherine.”

Again, none of us (we hope!) has ever seen a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost, though these are standard items in the gothic novel. But many of Austen’s readers would know the tribulations of finding suitable mates and the disasters that beset young people as they try to get on with life. Austen’s England is alien territory insofar as her twenty-first-century readers are concerned, especially its class structure. Marriage, for example, while it could be the happy union of two people who cared for each other, was in Austen’s day really a union of fortunes; in the same way, becoming a clergyman did not necessarily reflect religious fervor: It was a profession like any other. In Northanger Abbey, we see the impoverished Isabella Thorpe desperately trying to find a man who will be able to maintain her in upper-class style, becoming engaged to one (Catherine Morland’s brother James), and instantly throwing him over when a better candidate (Captain Frederick Tilney) appears.

Little does she know that Frederick, a flirtatious rogue and therefore Isabella’s male twin, is simply toying with her, so breaking off with James Morland ultimately leads her to disaster. But James’s parents are relieved when the engagement collapses, because, as Catherine’s mother explains to her in the most precise terms, Isabella Thorpe has no money. The same argument—poor people are not suitable as mates—almost destroys Catherine’s chances of marrying Henry Tilney. Only because his daughter marries into the nobility (a viscount), does General Tilney allow his second son (who will not, because of the laws of primogeniture, inherit his estates) to marry the daughter of a country parson with ten children.

This is what Austen considers the material of novelistic lives: how members of contemporary English society confront the issues of the day and either overcome them (Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney eventually marry) or succumb to them (by the end of the novel, Isabella Thorpe finds herself virtually destitute and without either a fiancé or a wealthy prospect). Because Austen is writing with a comic view of society, her protagonist, Catherine Morland, will triumph, even if this means her author must resort to a deus ex machina to extricate her from her dilemma: General Tilney is so happy his daughter has married a viscount that he decides his second son’s choice of a poor bride is of little importance.

Money, then, is the great variable and the controlling factor in the lives of Austen’s characters, especially her women, because without it they are, in social terms, worthless. This was as true in real life as it was in fiction: Jane Austen fell in love with Tom Lefroy in 1796, but, since she was virtually penniless and her beau an impoverished Irish barrister-to-be, marriage was out of the question, a reality she accepted. That people did fall in love, run away, and live happily ever after was certainly possible in Austen’s day, but such relationships were the exception rather than the rule.

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Northanger Abbey 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 445 reviews.
Anne_Scarlett More than 1 year ago
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!
peppered_piper More than 1 year ago
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.
Laura-Samuelson More than 1 year ago
Very hard to read. Lots of extra, odd letters and punctuation thrown in. I can't figure out how they got it so wrong. I finally gave up on reading it.
Ann_Karr More than 1 year ago
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.
bearifier More than 1 year ago
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...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was not converted well. Lots of symbols and misspelled words. Pretty useless for reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this novel because jane austen wrote it and also because it makes fun of the gothic books that were written during that time period. Catherine started out very ditzy and childish, but by the end she had pretty much grown up. I loved warching her character develop, plus Mr. Tilney is one of my favorite heroes!
JHBookFan More than 1 year ago
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!
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
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.
Kiko1021 More than 1 year ago
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.
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
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 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.
RGraf on LibraryThing 15 hours ago
How do you define a classic? Is it a popular piece of literature or one that is lucky enough to stand the test of time? Maybe it is one written by a famous author and all his or her works become classics. I wonder these questions as I finish reading Jane Austen¿s Northanger Abbey.It has been many years since I¿ve read any of Ms. Austen¿s work. I never read Northanger Abbey until I joined a book club that was reading it. I was thrilled. I¿m to a point in my life where I¿m revisiting all the books I hated in school or managed to avoid. I¿m discovering that I¿m enjoying most of them.Northanger Abbey proved to a hard read for me. I couldn¿t understand why until I really thought about it. I was so used to contemporary writing that reading a piece of English literature from more than a hundred years ago proved difficult for me. The plot seemed to drag and become nonexistent. I was truly disappointed. The story could have written in a quarter of the pages and delivered with a bigger punch.I know that all the Austen fans will be calling for my head. Truly, I tried. I don¿t think less of Ms. Austen. In fact, have another book of hers lined up to read. It was this one in particular that did not trip my trigger.If you want to read more of the classics and are just getting started, you might want to put this novel off and read some of the others. You might love it. You might hate it. I would put this in the category of a back-burner classic to read.This was a public domain book and came with quite a few formatting and editing issues. It did not detract too much from the reading. For free, I couldn¿t complain about the issues.Note: I purchased this book with my own funds.
callmecordelia1912 on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
Catherine makes a delightful heroine. She reads too many gothic horror novels, and has an overactive imagination. So when the handsome Henry Tileny invites her to stay at his abbey for the summer, her imagination runs wild. It looks just like something out her novels, with secret passages. She fancies all the things that could have happened there and makes a dreadful assumption. Can Mr Tileny ever forgive her?Read it and see!
craso on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
I can understand why people enjoy reading Jane Austin¿s books. Her writing is very accessible and her characters are very well developed. I have never enjoyed movie adaptations of her books however, and her romantic comedy storylines don¿t appeal to me. I am more partial to the Bronte¿s gothic novels with dark gloomy ancestral homes, wind swept moors and crazed relatives locked in the attic. That¿s why I decided to read this book, because it was advertised as a satirical look at gothic novels. Little did I realize that the gloomy ancestral home and title subject of the book are not even mentioned until about page 140. The beginning of the story, which could have been shorter, is about naïve teenager Catherine Morland and her first steps into polite society. She goes to Bath with her adult friends the Allens who are childless and ill equipped to protect or advise our young heroine. Her first acquaintances are Isabella and John Thorpe, two very phony siblings who prey on her and manipulate her for there own selfish reasons. She then meets Eleanor and Henry Tilney and has a mad crush on Henry; a sweet young clergyman who delights in teasing Catherine. Eleanor, Henry¿s sister, is a much more faithful friend than Isabella. Eventually, after many twists that make you wonder if Catherine will ever get to spend anytime with the Tilneys, she is invited to their family home, Northanger Abbey. There her imagination runs wild. The young people are more quiet and subdued around their father, General Tilney. Catherine wonders about the circumstances of Mrs. Tilney¿s death. Then, out of the blue, a misunderstanding threatens to come between her and her new found friends.This is a great coming-of-age story but not much of a gothic satire. It is more of a social satire that examines the lengths people will go to improve their situation via marriage.
corey1ynn on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
J.A.'s terrific satire of the Gothic novel. It's like the "Scary Movie" of 19th century English literature, only good.
scucksey on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
Austin's hand at gothic-style romance, as a way to poke fun at the novels and those who read them. Protagonist Catherine Morland is overly dramatic and a twit. She's my least favorite Austin heroine.
greeeen on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Main character is Catherine Morland.She is an average girl from a large day,she is invited to accompany some friends of the family.It is romance story.I like this book.I can't expect this ending.
bell7 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland is not your typical heroine, as our narrator forewarns us. Her father is respectable, her mother is not of a sickly constitution. When Catherine is allowed to go to Bath with family friends, she is excited by the prospect of all the adventures that may befall her. But as readers, and Catherine herself, discover - she is not in a Gothic novel.When I first attempted to read Northanger Abbey in my teens I was, I confess, much like Catherine myself. Much of the banter of characters and narrator was over my head. I didn't remember that there was sarcasm, much less humor, in conveying Catherine's story, and I daresay I must have taken much of it at face value and abandoned the book out of boredom (and the necessity of library due dates). But now a little older, more familiar with literature if not the exact Gothic novels which Jane Austen is skewering, and much more adept at picking up on when the narrator was laughing at our heroine, I found the story a much smoother read. At times, I laughed out loud over Catherine's propensity for viewing events in convoluted ways suggested by her novel reading. On the other hand, I think I would find her likable as a person, given her ability to see the best in people until proven otherwise. Though atypical of Austen's style, I will be recommending this to a friend who would appreciate sarcasm over romance.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Summary: Catherine Morland is an average girl from a large family, not particularly pretty or bright or well-connected. But she is an avid reader of novels, and when she is invited to accompany some friends of the family to a season in Bath, she is sure that the adventure of which she is the heroine is sure to begin. She soon meets a young lady, Isabella Thorpe, whose brother is friends with Catherine's elder brother, and they become fast friends. She is also introduced to Mr. Henry Tilney, a charming and agreeable young man, to whom she becomes quite attached. To make things even better, Henry's family lives in an enormous ancient abbey - exactly the kind of place featured in the novels that fire Catherine's imagination. But Catherine will soon learn that imagination can go too far, and that the horrors of hypocrisy, selfishness, and pride are far worse - and far more prevalent - than any of the horrors contained in her beloved novels.Review: I enjoyed Northanger Abbey quite a bit - it's too funny not to - although I thought that it didn't quite have the weight of the other Austen novels that I've read. It's in large part a parody of the Gothic novels of the day (I haven't read The Mysteries of Udolpho, which features heavily, but I think The Castle of Otranto gave me a good enough idea), but even without being familiar with the source material, there's enough about books and readers in general that it should be fun for any bibliophile. I was surprised, though - it's a lot more tongue-in-cheek than I was expecting, even compared to Austen's other novels, and not at all shy about poking fun both at its characters and at the elements of the real world that inspired them.But, while I enjoyed this book overall, I didn't get quite as involved with it as I have with the other Austen novels I've read. I think that it's in large part because Catherine is so naïve that it was hard for me to really empathize with her, or even take her entirely seriously. I understand that her naiveté and subsequent character growth is the main point of the novel, but at the same time, I found her blindness to the motivations of others to get very exasperating very quickly. I also was not particularly caught up in the romance; Mr. Tilney's a fine leading man, but there wasn't enough urgency or passion to the relationship to really get me involved. All the same, it was a fun read - and I do mean read. I typically prefer to listen to the classics, because I oftentimes have an easier time absorbing the prose through my ear than through my eye, but in this case, I found that the prose read perfectly smoothly, and faster than I was expecting. I don't know if it actually is easier prose than some of Austen's other novels, or if I'm just growing up as a reader, but I suspect it's the latter... something of which Ms. Morland would surely approve. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: While I didn't love it on the same level as I did Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion, it was certainly an enjoyable read, and one that should definitely be on the list of any bibliophile.
Litfan on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Jane Austen is the queen of subtle satire, and in Northanger Abbey she turns a sardonic eye toward the Gothic novels that are beloved by the protagonist, Catherine Morland, while also weaving a critical view of social conventions and women¿s roles. This is as riveting as her other works, with the addition of some laugh out loud moments as Catherine explores the ¿secrets¿ of Northanger Abbey with a foreboding instilled by her reading habits. There is spookiness, family drama, thwarted love, betrayal, deception and manipulation, as well as the sense that integrity and goodness will win the day as they usually do in Austen¿s works. This is another unforgettable classic.
gwendolyndawson on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This is a coming-of-age novel combined with a parody of Gothic fiction. Catherine Morland, the naïve, 17-year-old protagonist, falls in love with the wealthy, older Henry Tilney while on vacation in Bath. Catherine visits with Henry's family at Horthanger Abbey. Her imagination runs away with her, and she imagines a Gothic tale of murder. In the end, Catherine matures and realizes the Gothic fictions are not reality. Not Austen's best work (it lacks Austen's mature style) but still thoroughly entertaining.
Ambrosia4 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Miss Austen has remained for the past 10 years one of my absolute favorite authors; ever since first reading Emma when I was 12. Her humour is so subtle and mischievous in tone that it feels as if you're sharing an inside joke with a friend. Or at least that's how I described it to a disdainful friend that couldn't understand why I liked moldy old books from the 1800s.This was no exception. The delightful Mr. Tilney would sweep me off my feet with his charming teasing and good nature. But as with all her characters, no one is spared faults, including her hero and heroine. Catherine is burdened with pernicious folly and Mr. Tilney is skilled at vexing others for slight mistakes. I love this because who wants to read about perfect people all the time? It just makes you feel bad about yourself.Anyways, if you're an Austen fan who hasn't read it, do. If you've never read Austen, I wouldn't start with this book, but I definitely recommend reading something! by her. I've made friends simply for having read Austen. It was a great conversation starter when I visited colleges years ago...
JudithProctor on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This book wasn't published during Austen's lifetime and you can see why. It simply isn't as good as her later books.I couldn't get into it at all.
GabbyReElle on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A great book, but a little out of Austen's usual style. The ending was short and a little disappointing but it is definitely worth reading.