Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

Penguin Classics
by Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler (Editor)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Mass market paperback, 254 pages
Current Retail Price: $8.00

"What have you been judging from? . . . Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who introduces Catherine to the joys of Gothic romances, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's house, Northanger Abbey. There, influenced by novels of horror and intrigue, Catherine comes to imagine terrible crimes committed by General Tilney, risking the loss of Henry's affection, and has to learn the difference between fiction and reality, false friends and true. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, Northanger Abbey is the most youthful and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

Northanger Abbey was among the last of Jane Austen's novels to be published, in 1818, but the first to be written, mostly in 1798-9. This edition is based on the first edition, and includes a new chronology and additional suggestions for further reading.

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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: No one is really murdered, but someone does die
Summary: Catherine wishes her life were like the Gothic romances her friend Isabella reads, but alas she is instead living in what seems to be a parody of a Gothic romance, although the funny, smart, and handsome Henry Tilney is nothing to complain about.

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  Excellent Reading
HappyHomemaker of Oregon, 5/4/2011
Katherine Morland is fairly average. She didn't excel in any particular area of school, her parents were loving but not lenient, and she'd never been far from home. When the chance comes to visit the famous town of Bath, Katherine meets Isabella, who introduces her to Gothic horror novels, and a whole new world of murder and intrigue. Or so she thinks. In Bath she also meets the Tilneys, a brother and sister traveling with their widowed father. When she is invited to stay with them at their home, Northanger Abbey, she is thrilled! An Abbey! Who knows what wonderful and delightfully horrific secrets it holds?

Northanger Abbey is one of the more engaging of Austen's novels, and has delightful wit on almost every page. If you've never read Austen, start with this one.