Sunday, 28 April 2013

twenty-five.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817)

"No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her."

 Catherine is 17 when she is to follow her neighbours to Bath for a couple of weeks to be introduced into society. She quickly makes friends with the Thorpes and she adores Isabella, and along with their brothers they explore Bath and its surroundings. And although John Thorpe has an eye for Catherine, she has fallen head over heels for Henry Tilney. And she tries and succeeds to befriend his sister, Eleanor. And when she is invited to go with them back to their home, Northanger Abbey, which she believes to be like Udolpho, nothing could be more perfect.

The part where Catherine is exploring her room with the curious chests and cabinets had me laughing out loud. I love how Jane is using Ann Radcliffe's the Mysteries of Udolpho so much, and I'm glad that I read it before this. The naivety of Catherine was something which irked, but also amused me. And  the whole conflict between the Thorpes and Tilneys over Catherine was also amusing. I didn't like how quickly things eloped at the end, and I'm sure it would have been fascinating to follow the exact events which happened after Catherine went home again.

This was one of the first books Jane wrote, although it was published after her death. And her latter works are definitely better. For me, it was the mocking of the gothic novel and especially Udolpho which made me like it. This book was April's read in Line's 1001 books reading challenge.

“The person, be it gentlemen or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

3 comments:

  1. Jeg lo også da jeg leste den episoden hvor Catherine forsøker å finne ut av mysteriene. Alt i alt en fornøyelig bok, som du sier: måten Austen gjør narr av gotisk litteratur, men også satiren over mennesker og samfunn.

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  2. Ah, Monika, du motiverer meg virkelig til å slite meg gjennom 500 sider Udolpho før jeg går i gang med Northanger Abbey. Det virker som om det er verdt slitet for å komme til den austenske belønning etterpå, som god dessert etter kjip middag.

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  3. I read this when I was quite young, and didn't catch all the humour. It was much more enjoyable once I was familiar with the Gothic novel and could see how Austen was playing with those expectations. I found it quite funny.

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