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Northanger Abbey: with Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon Paperback – 11 Sep 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New edition edition (11 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192840827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192840820
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,192,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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NO one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Allhug on 10 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is my favourite of Austen's novels but it's not as straightforward as it appears on first reading...its very demanding of the reader and too many people miss the intelligence behind it and see only the naive silliness of a herione who lives in the world of the Gothic Romance's she's reading rather than the real world.

I love the characterisation in this novel - General Tilney is cast by the heroine Catherine as the perfect Gothic villain, Isabella Thorpe is an arch maipulator and represents all that is vulgar and improper about Bath Society & Henry Tilney is an educator who helps the heroine grow and learn about the world around her without allowing her lose her innocence or spoiling her endearing straightforwardness.

Almost all of the plot is pretty much taken from Samuel Richardson's Camilla and other aspects of the story mirror the works of Ann radcliffe, Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth - the density of these literary allusions offers the knowing reader a kind of game or puzzle and invites the reader to spot the connections. This adds weight to the messages Austen is trying to get across about attitudes to reading and fiction in general & explains the full extent of the humour employed.

Austen is also able to make sharp observations about the materialist comodity culture in Bath that relies on 'objects' and displays of wealth to denote a person's worth in the early days of capitalism. Fashionableness itself is parodied and this sets up the eventual moral of the story when Catherine chooses a small community existance at a parsonage over overt display's of wealth and status that she might have had at Northanger Abbey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Northanger Abbey feels quite slight in human terms in camparison with Austen's other novels. In lots of ways it's more a response to the fashion for gothic like Mrs Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (Oxford World's Classics) than it is a romance. But this is still a charming tale, perhaps more spiky and a little more derisive than the other more 'romantic' books. Still an excellent read but needs a little more contextualisation than the others.

Lady Susan is an experiment in the epistolary mode; and Sanditon an unfinished fragment. Not very satisfying for the general Austen fan but worth having if you're studying Austen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lady Cordelia on 12 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I love Jane Austen books and have read them all several times, and this would be my favourite if Pride and Prejudice wasn't so good! Being one of Austen's earliest novels (I think the first written but not published) its tone is different to the others. The narrator has a larger role, and is responsible for more of the humour, whereas in P&P for example, the humour is from the subtle irony and characters. However, in Northanger there are some wonderful lines in from the narrator, and while I read it I had my family asking me what was so funny! Although it is a gothic parody, it is really subtle. TV adaptations of this book really annoy me because they don't get that and go too over the top.
Also, this edition contains unfinished Jane Austen novels, which are probably only interesting to fans as they are generally in note form, but they are really interesting to compare to her earlier work. :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Collins on 31 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Allhug says here that you read this delightful book as part of "a serious debate about fiction", which is baloney, of course. You read this book for the sheer pleasure afforded by the first part and mild alarm at the blundering way (never repeated thankfully) the second is rushed to a happy (but clumsy) conclusion, with a few nods to Gothic absurdity along the way. The really good elements are Isabella and John Thorpe, two of the author's most monstrously enjoyable creations; the view of Bath through the ingenuous and untested character of Catherine (brilliantly done, Isabella's behaviour has become transparent even to Catherine by the end); and you read it for the satisfaction of seeing Catherine getting her man by virtue of being such a good egg. The Bath scenes are brilliant, the Abbey ones less so, but the whole is superb. An author of promise; could go far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jenny on 11 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the second Jane Austen novel I've read (the first being Persuasion) and I was utterly delighted with Northanger Abbey. The notes in the Oxford edition are excellent (except for two notes that gave some of the plot away).

Update - I have now read all six Jane Austen novels and Northanger Abbey is my Favourite!

Lady Susan was also very enjoyable but it feels as though Miss Austen got tired of her characters at the end and rushed the story to a close. It is written in the epistolary format and I look forward to hearing this on audio book because each character is a different voice. It's a real bonus having these three shorter "juvenilia" included.
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By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Or does she? Well, I found 'Northanger Abbey' to be a strange but fascinating novel, because in fact it's not so much Austen herself who 'goes gothic', but Catherine Morland, the young and innocent heroine of the book. She's an avid reader of gothic novels, Ann Radcliffe being her favorite author, which has so to speak skewed her vision of the real world: surely every chest must contain a skeleton, and why should doors in dark passageways be locked but to hide some awful family secret?

When Catherine travels to Bath with her parents' friends Mr and Mrs Allen, she meets the charming Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor and is enchanted by both of them. Before long she is invited for a stay at Northanger Abbey, the Tilney residence, where she meets Henry's father, General Tilney, who despite his impeccable manners, turns out to be a rather daunting figure. And how did his wife come to die? Catherine is determined to find out...

As I said, this is a fascinating book, in which Austen explores the contrast between fiction (tyrannical fathers murdering their wives) and the real world (the settled, uneventful life of a gentry family), and there is definitely much more to this story than at first meets the eye (much of which, I must confess, I would have missed but for the excellent introduction). And apart from that, it is of course written in the typical, delightful Austen-style, with engaging characters and lots of wit, irony and humour (at times even 'laugh-out-loud').

This edition also contains 3 shorter pieces of which I read only 'Lady Susan', a delightful epistolary novel about an a-moral, scheming woman. 'The Watsons' and 'Sanditon' I did not read because they are unfinished and were - in Austen's view - not ready for publication.
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