How are you coping, In these troubling times ?
I am reading ..
Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
Northanger Abbey has an interesting history. It was sold to a publisher in 1803 for £10, but never published. By 1817 four more novels had been published anonymously, and were popular, the fact of their anonymity being used advantageousl by her brother, who bought the book back; it is unlikely the publisher would have done so, were the facts known. It was subsequently revised by Austen and given the working title Catherine.
It was published after her death in 1817, whence her brother renamed it Northanger Abbey.
Austen’s lovely writing flows perfectly and in a way it captivates and taunts the reader, while at times, speaking directly to the reader.
“But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.”
The book follows our lovely heroine, Catherine Morland and her adventures.
Her mother was so preoccupied with the being pregnant and the day to day care of Catherine younger siblings, that Catherine experience around young men was completely lacking. Her adventurous start from her home in Fullerton to Bath and then to a Gothic Abbey in Gloucestershire. As the plot line Catherine growth is noted, she comes to understand the people and world around her and people are not at all what seem to be. The important thing in life, and finding true love and ultimately finding happiness. Catherine is very innocently naïve, an avid reader of novels, who has a devastating, vivid imagination.
So wrapped up in her books, without realistically thinking she comes to the conclusion that another sub character in book, has come to a disastrous end, maybe even murdered. And she decides to take things into her own hands and investigates the matter herself.
“Catherine’s blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions which naturally sprang from these words. Could it be possible? – Could Henry’s father? – And yet how many were the examples to justify even the blackest suspicions!”
Austen does a fabulous job of satirizing the gothic genre. It’s quite enjoyable and effective. Austen makes several memorable mentions to one well known gothic novel at that time, The Mysteries of Udolpho.
The Mysteries of Udolpho is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe, published in 1794. It was one of the most popular novels of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was then and continues to be widely regarded as a key text in the development of the Gothic genre. This ok is available to everyone through Gutenberg EBook. I must say, that if you are into gothic fiction, like I am, than this a stunning must read.
During this timeframe The Regency Eras society’s did consider money as the necessity for true happiness in marriage. This always met with the critical hand of Austen. And her critical social commentary on the matter is always satirical and humorous to read.
The suspense builds as storyline unfolds Austen’s legendary style of prose is beautifully executed. To give away further plot would be to lessen the pleasure for readers, I do think everyone should read Austen, at some point in their life.
This is the very first book that I read of Miss Austen’s fine writing. Given to me by my mother, who guided me through all the beloved classics.