Austenathon 2011: Northanger Abbey (Spoiler Thread)
Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.
Denna diskussion är för närvarande "vilande"—det sista inlägget är mer än 90 dagar gammalt. Du kan återstarta det genom att svara på inlägget.
Also, I saw the Masterpiece theatre production around the same time, and thought it was rather fun.
"It was revised by Austen for the press in 1803, and sold in the same year for £10 to a London bookseller, Crosby & Co., who decided against publishing. In 1817, the bookseller was content to sell it back to the novelist's brother, Henry Austen, for the exact sum — £10 — that he had paid for it at the beginning, not knowing that the writer was by then the author of four popular novels. The novel was further revised before being brought out posthumously in late December 1817 (1818 given on the title-page), as the first two volumes of a four-volume set with Persuasion."
These next quotes are from my review:
While heroine Catherine converses with her suitor, Henry Tilney, and feels ashamed of her ignorance, Austen hilariously applauds it: "Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind, is to come with an inability of adminstering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well as she can." (106)
Indeed, Austen continues, empty-headedness is a gift! "But Catherine did not know her own advantages - did not know that a good-looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man, unless circumstances are particularly untoward." (106)
#7/8 Aha, you got there before me. If anyone is toying with reading some of her juvenila, can I recommend Love and Friendship as another very funny parody? If you've ever seen the 1999 film of Mansfield Park, this is the story that Fanny is writing to her sister Susan... "beware of fainting fits" ;o)
#11 Yep, I'd agree with that!
I've not started my re-read yet, but I'll state for the record for anyone who's read it once and not enjoyed it, while I did quite enjoy Northanger Abbey the first time round, I think I missed a lot of the subtlety that I discovered second time round. In fact, it shot up my (very movable) leauge table on that second read, ahead of Emma as well as Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park (it has dropped down again during this year's re-reads - as I say, my league table is very movable!).
I think it definitely helps if you've read a little gothic fiction first, but I still found it funny before I read Evelina etc. - as everyone has said, wonderfully toungue-in-cheek.
But of course.
Northanger Abbey is much more clearly biting than her later novels. She seems continuously to be making witty points; perhaps these are the things she thought as a teenager would most entertain her family. I think she learned later on to smooth things out.
But she's already got a handle on character. With a few deft gestures she has made John Thorpe despicably untrustworthy. Even knowing that Austen is kind to her heroines at the end, I fear for Catherine subject to his machinations. The second volume will work all that out.
I noticed a couple of things that eventually showed up in Jane Eyre. I wondered whether Charlotte Bronte had borrowed them or whether, instead, they might have been common notions of the time. One was the idea of the wife confined at home against her will. The other was the idea of forgetting something, possibly important, in the pockets of the post coach.
The tidying up at the end seemed very abbreviated even in the context of Jane Austen novels. I am afraid that despite hints of good characterization (see my comment on John Thorpe above) the characters are a little thin.
I like sarcasm, however, and so probably until Persuasion this is my favorite Austen novel.
Ps - if anyone is reading this for an October TIOLI challenge, please let me know where you're planning to put it.
I think that the cloistering of a mentally ill family member away from society rather than putting them into the really aweful mental institutions of the time (thinking Bedlam here) was perceived as the humane option, although I'm not sure how common it was. I'm not really sure of my history on this though - maybe someone else has better knowledge?
"Yes, novels;--for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding--joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally takes up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard?"
And in Chapter 14--to what book is she referring? "The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author;--and to her treatment of the subject I will only add in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance.."
I've finished it now. This earliest of Jane's books shows her wit without some of the maturity of her later books. There are many more authorial comments, many quite amusing. There is a deus ex machina at the end in Miss Tilney's disposition and how it affects Catherine's fate that in later books would be integrated into the overall story-line. And I think Catherine is the most ordinary of Jane's heroines--not particularly clever or witty but an ordinary 17-year-old with honest emotions. Still, her Gothic imaginings are quite amusing and the rest of the book serves as a backdrop for Austen's skewering of Gothic tropes.
Re the deus ex machina - I wonder if this was all part of the satire on gothic fiction (which is by no means short of the same)?
#33 I've still not got round to my reread yet Katie, so I'll be joining you...
One thing that struck me in the book this time was that a lot of the time the main male character was called by his Christian name. A lot of the time when Catherine thought about him, it said 'Henry this' 'Henry that', whereas I think we only find out Mr Darcy's first name at the end of the book. Any ideas on why this is?
And I was also wondering why Henry Tilney takes some time to propose to her? She is at Northanger for about five weeks and it is by then quite clear to him and his sister that she would love to marry hem - and she is also quite convinced he would too. So why didn't he seize the moment while his father, unaccountably so, approved of the match? Or did he need to cruel turnout to realise his true feelings for her?
Funnily enough I rather felt like Catherine a bit of the time, because I read the 'terror-scene' at Northanger just before sleep - and it haunted me during the night...
As for why Henry takes so long to propose, I think it's more of a plot thing rather than anything else.