Although Northanger Abbey was not published until after Jane Austen's death in 1817, it was one of her first novels. Northanger Abbey is, in part, Austen's response to Gothic novels, like Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, which were enjoying tremendous popularity in the late seventeeth and early eighteenth centuries, and to their devoted readers. It is a fine demonstration of the young novelist's powers of social observation and pristine style, which are the hallmarks of her work.
In opposition to the Gothic novelists' portentous prose and unlikely heroines, she presents a charmingly believable Catherine Morland. In one of Austen's delightful satirical twists, Catherine, recently introduced into society, is a voracious reader of Gothic stories. When she is invited to stay with the Tilneys in their seemingly foreboding abbey, she fears that it is the kind of terrible place described in the novels she devours.
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|Title of eBook: Northanger Abbey|
|Release Date: 11-01-2000|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Northanger Abbey|
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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 greatly preferred 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 conjectur...