Northanger AbbeyBook - 1992
Northanger Abbey is a perfectly aimed literary parody that is also a withering satire of the commercial aspects of marriage among the English gentry at the turn of the nineteenth century. But most of all, it is the story of the initiation into life of its naïve but sweetly appealing heroine, Catherine Morland, a willing victim of the contemporary craze for Gothic literature who is determined to see herself as the heroine of a dark and thrilling romance. When she is invited to Northanger Abbey, the grand though forbidding ancestral seat of her suitor, Henry Tilney, she finds herself embroiled in a real drama of misapprehension, mistreatment, and mortification, until common sense and humor-and a crucial clarification of Catherine's financial status-resolve her problems and win her the approval of Henry's formidable father.
Written in 1798 but not published until after Austen's death in 1817, Northanger Abbey is characteristically clearheaded and strong, and infinitely subtle in its comedy.
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It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
The company began to disperse when the dancing was over – enough to leave space for the remainder to walk about in some comfort; and now was the time for a heroine who had not yet played a very distinguished parts in the events of the evening, to be noticed and admired. Every five minutes, by removing some of the crowd, gave greater openings for her charms. She was now seen by many young men who could not see her before. Not one, however, started with rapturous wonder on beholding her, no whisper of eager inquiry ran round the room, nor was she once called a divinity by any body.
She was looked at however, and with some admiration; for, in her own hearing, two gentlemen pronounced her to be a pretty girl. Such words had their due effect; she immediately thought the evening pleasanter than she had found it - she went to her chair in good humour with every body, and perfectly satisfied with her share of public attention.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
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