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Northanger Abbey

Walmart # 569165606
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$24.66$24.66
In this spirited, early 19th-century comedy of manners, Catherine Morland meets and falls in love with handsome Henry Tilney while on holiday in Bath. Thinking she is wealthy, his father invites her to be a guest of the family's country estate.

Customer Review Snapshot

3.9 out of 5 stars
163 total reviews
5 stars
43
4 stars
75
3 stars
26
2 stars
17
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
I've been reading a lot of genre fiction from a list of recommended works, and what I've constantly been struck with is how fast they date--anything pre-mid 1970s in particular. It impressed upon me that what separates classics and why they endure is that in contrast on reading it you're struck with its applicability and resonance with today--and that's very much the case with Northanger Abbey. The book is notably a send-up of the popular genre fiction of its day--the Gothic novels by writers we don't generally read these days from Matthew Lewis' The Monk to Frances Burney's Camilla and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. I've read only the lurid (and cheesy and quite fun) The Monk of the works alluded to in Austen's novel, but I didn't feel lost. When Henry Tilney plays off the gothic works in telling a story to Catherine Morland and later Catherine's imagination runs wild in the ancient manse of Northanger Abbey, I get the jokes because we have our own successors to the Gothic tradition in slasher movies, thrillers, horror and "romantic suspense." No doubt a contemporary Catherine Morland, Austen's heroine, would be a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Moreover, the characterizations still feel real and are often funny. I was particularly taken with a passage where John Thorpe, a puffed up idiot, boasts to Catherine of his horses and carriages. Change all that to automobiles--and well, one is struck the male of the species hasn't changed much in two centuries. Catherine herself is Austen's youngest heroine, only seventeen during the course of the novel. She's unsophisticated, naive, with a head full of lurid novels and away for the first time in a city and for the first time having to make sense of male attentions. Given her flights of fancy, one might be tempted to count her as a featherbrain, but somehow she escapes that. She's a rather lovable combination of tomboy and bookworm. Her romantic interest, Henry Tilney, is among the most winning of Austen heroes--playful and witty, he's very appealing. And the book itself doesn't take itself too seriously. Naive and unsophisticated Catherine might be, the narrator isn't, and the prose is filled with wit, irony and early nineteenth century snark--but rather good humored snark. I wouldn't choose Northanger Abbey as an introduction to Austen. The novel isn't in my estimation to be ranked with Austen's mature masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Persuasion (which is why I docked it half a star) but if I were ranking it beside so much published these days, it would win full marks. The story is enormous fun.

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In this spirited, early 19th-century comedy of manners, Catherine Morland meets and falls in love with handsome Henry Tilney while on holiday in Bath. Thinking she is wealthy, his father invites her to be a guest of the family's country estate. In this spirited comedy of manners Catherine Morland, a plain, unspoiled small-town girl on holiday in Bath, meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, a handsome young clergyman. Henry's father, believing Catherine to be wealthy, invites her to be a guest at Northanger Abby, the family's country estate. Catherine, who has read too many Gothic romances and who is possessed of too vivid an imagination, views the abbey as a house of nightmarish horror -- an aspect of the book that gleefully parodies the fantastic Gothic romances by Ann Radcliffe and other popular writers of the period. An amusing assortment of misunderstandings and plot twists result in the satisfying romantic conclusion characteristic of the author's works.
First written in 1789-99, when Austen was in her early twenties, this novel, like Persuasion, did not see publication till 1818, in the winter after the author's death. Distinguished by its satirical wit, brilliant comedy, and complex but subtle views of human nature and morality, the book also presents a fine background picture of middle-class life in nineteenth-century England, with particularly good scenes in Bath, the fashionable watering place to which Austen's father, a clergyman himself, had retired. Northanger Abbey is a must-read for all Austen fans and students of English literature.

Specifications

Series Title
Dover Thrift Editions
Publisher
Dover Publications
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
192
Author
Jane Austen
ISBN-13
9780486414126
Publication Date
October, 2000
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.32 x 5.18 x 0.51 Inches
ISBN-10
0486414124

Customer Reviews

5 stars
43
4 stars
75
3 stars
26
2 stars
17
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
15 customers found this helpful
Ive been reading a lo...
I've been reading a lot of genre fiction from a list of recommended works, and what I've constantly been struck with is how fast they date--anything pre-mid 1970s in particular. It impressed upon me that what separates classics and why they endure is that in contrast on reading it you're struck with its applicability and resonance with today--and that's very much the case with Northanger Abbey. The book is notably a send-up of the popular genre fiction of its day--the Gothic novels by writers we don't generally read these days from Matthew Lewis' The Monk to Frances Burney's Camilla and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. I've read only the lurid (and cheesy and quite fun) The Monk of the works alluded to in Austen's novel, but I didn't feel lost. When Henry Tilney plays off the gothic works in telling a story to Catherine Morland and later Catherine's imagination runs wild in the ancient manse of Northanger Abbey, I get the jokes because we have our own successors to the Gothic tradition in slasher movies, thrillers, horror and "romantic suspense." No doubt a contemporary Catherine Morland, Austen's heroine, would be a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Moreover, the characterizations still feel real and are often funny. I was particularly taken with a passage where John Thorpe, a puffed up idiot, boasts to Catherine of his horses and carriages. Change all that to automobiles--and well, one is struck the male of the species hasn't changed much in two centuries. Catherine herself is Austen's youngest heroine, only seventeen during the course of the novel. She's unsophisticated, naive, with a head full of lurid novels and away for the first time in a city and for the first time having to make sense of male attentions. Given her flights of fancy, one might be tempted to count her as a featherbrain, but somehow she escapes that. She's a rather lovable combination of tomboy and bookworm. Her romantic interest, Henry Tilney, is among the most winning of Austen heroes--playful and witty, he's very appealing. And the book itself doesn't take itself too seriously. Naive and unsophisticated Catherine might be, the narrator isn't, and the prose is filled with wit, irony and early nineteenth century snark--but rather good humored snark. I wouldn't choose Northanger Abbey as an introduction to Austen. The novel isn't in my estimation to be ranked with Austen's mature masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Persuasion (which is why I docked it half a star) but if I were ranking it beside so much published these days, it would win full marks. The story is enormous fun.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
Northanger Abbey was J...
Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel. Originally written in 1798, it was sold to a publisher, but for some reason not published. She later revised the novel slightly, and it was published posthumously in 1817. Northanger Abbey was intended as a parody of the Gothic novel, a popular genre at the time. The heroine, Catherine Morland, is 17 years old and enamored of the Gothic novel. She is young, naive, and while an avid reader is not sophisticated enough to detect sublety, be it in literature or in the words and actions of others. Like other Austen novels, the plot centers around a few young women and their attempts to form relationships with men that are both loving and profitable. There are, of course, misunderstandings that hinder these relationships, but the ending resolves most of the conflict and neatly ties up the story. Catherine was a likeable character, but lacked the depth found in Austen's later heroines Elizabeth Bennett, Marianne Dashwood, and Emma Woodhouse. The construction and story were also less complex than her later work; more predictable and somewhat less interesting. I read this book for Kathrin's Classics Challenge, and because I decided some time ago that I wanted to read all of Austen's work. Unfortunately, as much as I love Jane Austen, this is not a work I'd recommend to someone wanting to discover her talents.
Most helpful positive review
15 customers found this helpful
Ive been reading a lo...
I've been reading a lot of genre fiction from a list of recommended works, and what I've constantly been struck with is how fast they date--anything pre-mid 1970s in particular. It impressed upon me that what separates classics and why they endure is that in contrast on reading it you're struck with its applicability and resonance with today--and that's very much the case with Northanger Abbey. The book is notably a send-up of the popular genre fiction of its day--the Gothic novels by writers we don't generally read these days from Matthew Lewis' The Monk to Frances Burney's Camilla and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. I've read only the lurid (and cheesy and quite fun) The Monk of the works alluded to in Austen's novel, but I didn't feel lost. When Henry Tilney plays off the gothic works in telling a story to Catherine Morland and later Catherine's imagination runs wild in the ancient manse of Northanger Abbey, I get the jokes because we have our own successors to the Gothic tradition in slasher movies, thrillers, horror and "romantic suspense." No doubt a contemporary Catherine Morland, Austen's heroine, would be a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Moreover, the characterizations still feel real and are often funny. I was particularly taken with a passage where John Thorpe, a puffed up idiot, boasts to Catherine of his horses and carriages. Change all that to automobiles--and well, one is struck the male of the species hasn't changed much in two centuries. Catherine herself is Austen's youngest heroine, only seventeen during the course of the novel. She's unsophisticated, naive, with a head full of lurid novels and away for the first time in a city and for the first time having to make sense of male attentions. Given her flights of fancy, one might be tempted to count her as a featherbrain, but somehow she escapes that. She's a rather lovable combination of tomboy and bookworm. Her romantic interest, Henry Tilney, is among the most winning of Austen heroes--playful and witty, he's very appealing. And the book itself doesn't take itself too seriously. Naive and unsophisticated Catherine might be, the narrator isn't, and the prose is filled with wit, irony and early nineteenth century snark--but rather good humored snark. I wouldn't choose Northanger Abbey as an introduction to Austen. The novel isn't in my estimation to be ranked with Austen's mature masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Persuasion (which is why I docked it half a star) but if I were ranking it beside so much published these days, it would win full marks. The story is enormous fun.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
Northanger Abbey was J...
Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel. Originally written in 1798, it was sold to a publisher, but for some reason not published. She later revised the novel slightly, and it was published posthumously in 1817. Northanger Abbey was intended as a parody of the Gothic novel, a popular genre at the time. The heroine, Catherine Morland, is 17 years old and enamored of the Gothic novel. She is young, naive, and while an avid reader is not sophisticated enough to detect sublety, be it in literature or in the words and actions of others. Like other Austen novels, the plot centers around a few young women and their attempts to form relationships with men that are both loving and profitable. There are, of course, misunderstandings that hinder these relationships, but the ending resolves most of the conflict and neatly ties up the story. Catherine was a likeable character, but lacked the depth found in Austen's later heroines Elizabeth Bennett, Marianne Dashwood, and Emma Woodhouse. The construction and story were also less complex than her later work; more predictable and somewhat less interesting. I read this book for Kathrin's Classics Challenge, and because I decided some time ago that I wanted to read all of Austen's work. Unfortunately, as much as I love Jane Austen, this is not a work I'd recommend to someone wanting to discover her talents.
1-5 of 163 reviews

Ive been reading a lo...

I've been reading a lot of genre fiction from a list of recommended works, and what I've constantly been struck with is how fast they date--anything pre-mid 1970s in particular. It impressed upon me that what separates classics and why they endure is that in contrast on reading it you're struck with its applicability and resonance with today--and that's very much the case with Northanger Abbey. The book is notably a send-up of the popular genre fiction of its day--the Gothic novels by writers we don't generally read these days from Matthew Lewis' The Monk to Frances Burney's Camilla and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. I've read only the lurid (and cheesy and quite fun) The Monk of the works alluded to in Austen's novel, but I didn't feel lost. When Henry Tilney plays off the gothic works in telling a story to Catherine Morland and later Catherine's imagination runs wild in the ancient manse of Northanger Abbey, I get the jokes because we have our own successors to the Gothic tradition in slasher movies, thrillers, horror and "romantic suspense." No doubt a contemporary Catherine Morland, Austen's heroine, would be a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Moreover, the characterizations still feel real and are often funny. I was particularly taken with a passage where John Thorpe, a puffed up idiot, boasts to Catherine of his horses and carriages. Change all that to automobiles--and well, one is struck the male of the species hasn't changed much in two centuries. Catherine herself is Austen's youngest heroine, only seventeen during the course of the novel. She's unsophisticated, naive, with a head full of lurid novels and away for the first time in a city and for the first time having to make sense of male attentions. Given her flights of fancy, one might be tempted to count her as a featherbrain, but somehow she escapes that. She's a rather lovable combination of tomboy and bookworm. Her romantic interest, Henry Tilney, is among the most winning of Austen heroes--playful and witty, he's very appealing. And the book itself doesn't take itself too seriously. Naive and unsophisticated Catherine might be, the narrator isn't, and the prose is filled with wit, irony and early nineteenth century snark--but rather good humored snark. I wouldn't choose Northanger Abbey as an introduction to Austen. The novel isn't in my estimation to be ranked with Austen's mature masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Persuasion (which is why I docked it half a star) but if I were ranking it beside so much published these days, it would win full marks. The story is enormous fun.

Catherine Morland is g...

Catherine Morland is generally naive and open-hearted, as befits a seventeen year old girl, but she is also an avid reader of Gothic novels. When the opportunity arises for her to travel to Bath with the Allens, she is ecstatic at the prospect of expanding her horizons. In Bath she makes various acquaintances including Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. When she is fortunate enough to receive an invitation to visit their home, Northanger Abbey, she is overwhelmed by the potential adventures she might have in such a Gothic abode. The realities however, are far different than she expected. Although published posthumously, Northanger Abbey was the first of Austen's completed novels and thus the tone is significantly different from her other works. The presence of the author is felt much more with much of her commentary made firmly with tongue in cheek. At the same time, humour is evident throughout, as to be expected in a satire. On this current re-read, I chuckled most over the following exchange between Henry and Catherine: "As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars." "And what are they?" "A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar." While Austen never hesitates to poke fun at Gothic novels, educational materials, and sentimental novels, she also makes rather astute observations at the same time. I was particularly struck by the motif of characters saying one thing and while having a completely different meaning. Very few of the characters are immune to this behaviour, with Catherine and Eleanor being the two major characters to escape this flaw. A delightful satire of the novels of the time; a commentary on literature, education, and the nature of women; and a romance as only Austen can craft it. Delightful as ever.

This is my new favorit...

This is my new favorite Jane Austen book. It is poking fun in a gentle way at the Gothic horror/romances of her day. Austen has set the standard for wit, suspense and tension. Though there is little or no action, I could not put this down. Catherine is a young woman of seventeen who is just beginning to experience the world around her. Her naivety of the characters around her seems extreme, but she has been raised in a small village, in a loving home, with only her limited reading of novels to give her wisdom. When she is invited to stay at an ancient Abbey, her heart thrills. Will she be able to bear up under the mystery and suspense? Will the Abbey live up to all she has read? Or will she find real life's twists and turns a more thrilling adventure yet?

Northanger Abby is my ...

Northanger Abby is my favorite Austen novel. It's possible that I feel such affection for it because it was my first Austen novel, but I don't believe that is the case. I love it because it not only has Austen's trade mark satire of society and manners, it also contains some of the most lighthearted characters of all of her books. Catherine (the main character) is a very silly young lady with a ridiculously over blown imagination and her love of gothic novels fuels her dramatic fantasies. (As I read this book I couldn't help but think of comparisons between the idea that these gothic novels caused young ladies to have overwrought imaginations and the perception that television is corrupting our youth. It seems the concept of media as corrupting just keeps coming back.) In the end however, Catherine's daydreams aren't all a mistake. She is sought after by a man with less than good intentions (her brother receives the same treatment from a woman) and the man she loves does have what seems a dark secret. All in all I found this the funniest and most directly enjoyable of all of Austen's novels. I also consider this one of my all time favorite books.

The person, be it gen...

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." If one were to take this sentence (made by Northanger Abbey's hero Henry Tilney) and replace the word "good" with its authoress' name, the statement would not become any less true. I should make myself clear: I am not saying that those who find Austen not to their personal taste are intellectually inferior to we fans, but I am disturbed by the popular assumptions that her novels are either lightweight precursors of our contemporary chick-lit, or else that they are heavy, outdated classics that have nothing to say to people or our age. Actually, I find her work consistently offers lasting lessons and insights for the average lady or gentleman-and isn't that the very definition of a classic? Northanger Abbey is one of her earliest and (in my mind at least) roughest, yet it too has much to offer, including an unconventional hero and heroine, bucket-loads of sly humor, and much to say on reading in general and the Gothic novel in particular. It opens on the modest home life of Catherine Morland, who, at eighteen years old, is showing spirit and potential after a very inauspicious childhood. Her neighbors the Allens invite her to accompany them to Bath, and there she experiences all the delights of her first season in the city. In Bath, she falls in with two different sets of people. First there are the Thorpes; college friends of her brother's, they are poor, outwardly cheerful and attractive, but really quite vulgar and self-serving. And then there are the Tilneys, a mixed lot; two of the children become fast friends with Catherine, but there seems to be something depressing about their father's presence to them, and Catherine, her mind full of Gothic horrors, is sure there is something mysterious secret lingering in their home of Northanger Abbey.... Austen tells as at the outset that "no one who ever had seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine" and repeatedly says throughout that she is "in training to be an heroine." Certainly she belongs to neither of the major categories of leading ladies we see in Austen's fiction, having neither Elizabeth Bennett's sharp wit nor Fanny Price's retiring steadfastness. And in terms of intelligence, she may be inferior to all of them-a classmate of mine summed her character up as "ding-y." Yet she has a good heart, repents when she does wrong, and is a good judge of character as long as she remains in touch with reality. I do not adore her as a literary character, but I do not think she pulls the book down either. And in certain ways she is a breath of fresh air. Henry Tilney, on the other hand, I find one of the most attractive and memorable of Austen's men. If Catherine is her dullest heroine, Henry is by far her wittiest hero. What conversations he and Elizabeth Bennett would have had if they ever met! He constantly pokes fun at everyone and everything around him, but he does so in such a way that you know that, despite appearances, he dearly loves most of the people he teases. Some critics have judged his treatment of Catherine misogynistic and tyrannical, and predict that their marriage will be a virtual recap of General and Mrs. Tilney's, which I find absolutely ridiculous. This is yet more proof that critics have no sense of humor. Of course, Henry and Catherine are not the only interesting personalities in this story. Several of the supporting characters stand out in my mind, perhaps none more so than Catherine's avowed friend and her brother's would-be fiancee, the ridiculous and manipulative Isabella Thorpe. Austen often included vulgar females in her novels to set off the virtues of her heroines (see Mrs. Elton in Emma and the fascinating Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park among others), but never did she allow one of them to have such influence over the star of the story as Isabella has over Catherine. And rarely was her skill at characterizing through dialogue so well used. None of Isabella's speeches could be confused with that of any other Austen character: her vocabulary is completely distinctive. Austen achieves a similar feat with General Tilney, who is outwardly all gentility and decorum, but who is in reality only after Catherine's supposed fortune. He is a villain through and through, something that Catherine suspects early on, although his crime is quite different from the one she pins on him. In fact, the more I think about it, this novel is very much about the relationship between appearances and reality. All of the evil characters (General Tilney, the Thorpes) put on fronts, whereas the people with whom we most sympathisize, such as Catherine, Henry, and his sister Eleanor, are sincere from the start. Eleanor is another of my favorite characters, sweet and reserved, never thinking of herself. She does have one secret, but she does not harbor it out of any sort of deceit, and her character is consistent throughout the novel. I have not yet spoken about the most famous-or perhaps infamous-aspect of Northanger Abbey: its satirical send-up of the wildly popular Gothic novel genre, especially Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. Some would say that you cannot fully enjoy Northanger without a thorough knowledge of Radcliffe, and I have no doubt that it enriches the reading experience, but the satire and humor of it all was evident to me without any real acquaintance with the books Catherine and Isabella were reading. Some of the passages dealing with this theme are simply hilarious; I am thinking particularly of Henry's narration upon the approach to Northanger Abbey, in which he describes what Catherine may find there, making use of all the cliches and motifs of the standard Gothic thriller. Given that Catherine's fascination with these books leads her into making a great error near the climax of the novel might lead one to believe that Austen was fundamentally critical of the genre, yet she was undoubtedly conversant with all aspects of it, and both internal and external evidence suggest she enjoyed the works of Radcliffe and her ilk. I think of her attitude throughout Northanger primarily as that of a loving older sister, who appreciates her siblings' imagination while still seeing their flaws. And, of course, she is a great proponent of the novel in general. Book I of Northanger Abbey includes her famous "Defense of the Novel," in which she censures other lady novelists for having their heroines make fun of the very genre they are writing in. There's really not much more I can say about this passage: you simply must read it for yourself. Normally I do not include information about specific editions in my reviews of literary works, but I simply must take this moment to say that Barnes & Noble Classics did a hideous job in this instance. The introduction and notes weren't bad, I suppose, and there is a good outline of The Mysteries of Udolpho included, but the footnotes? Awful. Just awful. I suppose some modern readers who are not conversant with the time period could benefit from learning what a "full season" is, but I really and truly hope everyone knew that "Oxford" is a university in Britain. For the love of criminy.... Perhaps because Northanger is considered one of Austen's lesser efforts, it has inspired the fewest number of movie adaptations out of all six of her major novels. I have not seen the BBC's infamous 1986 adaptation, but it sounds absolutely abysmal. I am told it totally misses the point and humor of Austen's story, turning it into a sappy Gothic romance, instead of a satire on the same. The clips I've seen reveal a far too serious ambiance, fluffy 80s hair, and a musical score that could only have come from that endearingly bizarre decade. The latest ITV film has its good qualities-including two perfectly-cast leads in Felicity Jones and J. J. Field, an expanded storyline for Eleanor, and a brilliant performance from the up-and-coming Carey Mulligan as Isabella-but the script by Andrew Davies includes its fair share of unnecessary invention as well. I can enjoy the film as a decent adaptation of the novel, but I absolutely cannot approve some of the added innuendo, the most notable of which is a long quote from M. G. Lewis' near-pornographic The Monk. It is no surprise when we learn that Austen's John Thorpe enjoyed this book, but Catherine Morland would never go within ten feet of it! Northanger Abbey is a unique and charming fixture in Jane Austen's bibliography, although I did not enjoy it quite as much upon rereading as I did the first time around, and I would not suggest it as a starting point for Austen newbies. For gentlemen and ladies who have already had enjoyment from her other books, it is highly recommended: the novelty of it alone makes it worth a look.

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Electrode, Comp-805469435, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-15, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-dcd6396d-e92-16e6d6b26a9753, Generated: Fri, 15 Nov 2019 04:56:09 GMT