Thursday, 25 September 2014


Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel; it was written between 1798 and 1803, but  it was published in 1818, after her death. The novel is concerned with the adventures of a seventeen-year-old girl who first discovers  the polite society of Bath, a popular English resort town, with all its balls, dances, shows, fashion, and its gossip, then  Northanger Abbey, the magnificent home of one of the book's wealthiest families. Her travels are full of mischance with new friends and love interests.
Jane Austen was one of the first British female novelists, and became the most celebrated in her time. Her novels  became popular for their penetrating portrayal of the British upper classes using ironic wit to expose their follies as well as for its enjoyable, seemingly romantic plots. Yet she published her novels anonymously, because at the time she wrote, women who became public figures often lost respectability.
Northanger Abbey is a  satire of the Gothic novels that were hugely popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  It contains two elaborate parodies of The Mysteries of Udolpho, a novel by Gothic writer Anne Radcliffe, who was greatly  admired when  Jane Austen wrote her novels. It also satirizes the conduct books of the 1700s, books that informed children and young people how to behave in society. Apart from its historically specific references, the novel is pretty universal. It looks at things like love, friendship, and growing up. Like Jane Austen's later novels, Northanger Abbey humorously focuses on human behavior. This timeless element is a reason why her novels are all still so widely read today.

Click here to read the whole novel. 
You can also find a summary of the plot and a detailed analysis of the characters and the themes of the novel.
Last but not least, you can enjoy the 2007 British television film adaptation of Northanger Abbey.

"Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world." 
Jane Austen

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