Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - lyzard tutoring SqueakyChu

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - lyzard tutoring SqueakyChu

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feb 7, 2012, 6:54 pm

And here we go again!

Madeline is so enthused by her tutored read of The Castle Of Otranto that she is plunging directly into another classic, this time Northanger Abbey.

Yes, that's right: Madeline is voluntarily reading a second Jane Austen novel!! :)

As always, lurkers are very welcome. For this tutored read, we will try to schedule regular "intermissions" where the lurkers can add their comments and questions.

So lets get started!

Northanger Abbey - Background and Introduction

Northanger Abbey was the first novel to be completed by Jane Austen, but the last to be published. It was originally written during 1798 - 1799, but then revised before being submitted for publication in 1803. Austen was paid ten pounds for her manuscript, which however was not published; Sense And Sensibility became her first published novel, and not until 1811 (and with a different publisher).

At various times Austen tried to get her manuscript back, but was unable to for many years. She had submitted it anonymously and later corresponded with the publisher under a pseudonym, so he never knew who he was dealing with. Eventually, early in 1817, Austen's brother confronted the publisher directly and talked him into selling the manuscript back for what he'd paid for it - ten pounds. He then told the publisher that he had lost the opportunity to publish a novel by Jane Austen.

Austen revised her manuscript again after getting it back to prepare it for publication. However, she died in July of the same year. Her brother arranged the posthumous publication of both this novel and Austen's last, under his chosen titles, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Northanger Abbey forms a bridge between Austen's juvenilia, which was frankly satirical, and her more serious adult writing. It is lighter in tone and more openly humorous than her later-written novels. While it is best known as a parody of Gothic Novels, there is more to Northanger Abbey than that. The Gothic novel (as we discussed with respect to The Castle Of Otranto) was a hugely popular but quite short-lived phenomenon; essentially it was confined to the 1790s. By early in the 19th century, many of its tropes had been re-worked into the sentimental novel. However, while extravagant emotions and dramatic events - crying, fainting, night terrors, abductions, imprisonments - suited the framework of the Gothic novel, when they were employed in a domestic setting the result was often rather ridiculous.

What we don't know about Northanger Abbey is what changes Austen made when she revised it. (We do know the heroine changed from "Susan" to "Catherine".) My guess - and this is just my guess - is that she took the emphasis away from the Gothic novel, which was essentially dead by 1817, and shifted the parody towards the excesses of the sentimental novel instead.

One of the most significant themes of Northanger Abbey is its contrast between "the natural" and "the heroic" - and by "heroic" what Austen means is, behaving like the hero or heroine of a novel. In other words, Austen is mocking the distance between the way people behave in sentimental novels and the way they do in real life - "heroic" behaviour is not natural. Realism was very important to Austen, and her novels are honest depictions of everyday life.

So Northanger Abbey is a parody of Gothic novels - or, perhaps more correctly, of Gothic novel readers; it makes fun of the extravagance of sentimental novels; and, most importantly, it is (as always with Austen), the story of a girl's entry into the adult world, where she must learn to think and act for herself; grow up, in other words.

One last important thing---while as a novelist, Austen satirised unnatural behaviour and events, we know from her correspondence that as a novel-reader she got just as much enjoyment out of Gothic and sentimental novels as anyone else - and it's important to keep that in mind here. She was also a great believer in the novel as a literary form - even an artform - and Northanger Abbey contains one of her most famous passages of writing, as she mounts a defence of the worth of good novels.

feb 7, 2012, 8:12 pm

...and we're off! :)

feb 7, 2012, 8:15 pm

Thanks, lyzard (Liz), for again offering to tutor me through another classic. I can hardly believe that you have encouraged me (and gotten me) up to reading a second Jane Austen novel.

When should we schedule intermissions? How long should they be?

To others who are reading along with me, who have already read this book, or who hope to do so in the future, I just want to say that I'm very happy to be sharing this read with all of you. :D

Redigerat: feb 9, 2012, 9:17 pm

Volume 1: Chapter 1 which we are introduced to the Morland family

1. What is the "Beggar's Petition"?

2. What is "The Hare and many Friends"? I know it's a fable, but is it a common one that I should know?

3. "The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest in Catherine's life."

I can relate to this. My mom made me take piano lessons as a kid. Although I liked playing the piano, I had absolutely no talent for it. I never could memorize pieces, so finally my piano teacher, Mrs. Finkelstein, gave up on me completely. My favorite instrument in later years turned out to be the guitar which I taught myself to play!

4. Did every household (which could afford it) have a pianoforte?

5. Were teenage girls supposed to be writing sonnets at that time?!

feb 7, 2012, 8:23 pm

Good lord! Give me a chance to catch my breath! :)

I meant to say this before, but anyway, I'll slip it in now: the problem with the intermissions in The Castle Of Otranto was that they tended to be called, and called off, while our lurkers in Britain were asleep. We need to figure out a break schedule that gives proper opportunities for commenting - and choose a time of day, your time, that fits in with that. (Your nighttime is my lunchtime, I think, so it works for you and me.)

Redigerat: feb 7, 2012, 8:25 pm


Shall we do a 24 hour intermission? That would take us through one whole spin of the earth! :)

Redigerat: feb 7, 2012, 8:48 pm

In Chapter 1, you need to be paying close attention to all the qualifiers about Catherine - how she is and is not like a "heroine" - because this impacts the intent of the novel.

You might remember from Emma that Emma herself was always drawing up very serious reading-lists (the TBR is nothing new, people!), but never actually got around to reading them. This is because at the time there was a pretty dramatic division between what you were "supposed" to read and what you enjoyed reading, particularly for young women.

Now, the heroines of Gothic and sentimental novels never read frivolous works - certainly not novels - but always solemn works about religion and philosophy. The one form of lighter (not light) literature they were permitted was poetry - and in many such novels, the heroine would write poetry herself. The inserted poem was one of the leading features of Ann Radcliffe's Gothic novels, and a lot of people copied her.

So Austen is letting us know how close to being "heroic" Catherine is by letting us in on her reading - as well as infoming us that Catherine (like many of us) would rather read for enjoyment than study.

1. The Beggar's Petition is a poem from the late 18th century, all about the miseries of poverty, and complaining that the government spent too much time fighting wars and not enough time looking after the British people. It was an example of the kind of work that girls were expected to memorise and be able to recite.

From thee alone I hope for instant aid,
'Tis thou alone canst save my children's breath:
O deem not little of our cruel meed,
O haste to help us, for delay is death.

2. The Hare And His Many Friends is a poem by John Gay about being careful who you trust and not being indiscriminate in your friendships. This is something of a joke at Catherine's expense - although she has read and memorised this poem, apparently she doesn't understand it, as later in the novel she has the same problems with her "friends" as the hare does.

Friendship, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame.
The child, whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care;
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many, rarely find a friend.

3. I, of course, who never had the chance to learn an instrument, have always desperately wanted to. Typical.

4. Yes. It was a mark of gentility. Remember in Emma, the terribly poor Batses didn't have one until Jane's gift arrived. Money permitting, girls of the lower-middle-class and upwards were always taught the piano and often boys too.

5. Not supposed to...but it was something a "heroine" would do... :)

feb 7, 2012, 8:47 pm

>>#6 Probably 12 hours is appropriate; we just need to figure out which 12 hours. Maybe Genny and Heather can help?

Redigerat: feb 7, 2012, 9:07 pm

> 7

1. I remember having to memorize poems as a kid. Do kids today still do that? I can't remember my own kids (now ages 25 to 31) having to do that when they were in school.

2. Is the gist of that poem that friendship is more meaningful and true if it is developed with just one other person rather than trying to be everyone's freind? Does the "friend" of the poem refer to same sex friendships (as opposed to a man-woman love relationship)?

3. For sure, try an instrument now! Just for fun. I know that music stores near me offer instruments for rent and offer lessons. In addition, there are often adult education courses through our public schools that offer courses in instrumental music. Look into them!

A good friend of mine (close to my age...and I'm 64) took up drumming a few years ago. She now is in local performances. Her group is good! At least I have no problems hearing drums! :)

4. As a kid, I remember almost every household with kids having a piano. I wonder why no other instruments were pushed at kids at that time.

5. I used to write poetry...but for sure never tried writing a sonnet! :)

Redigerat: feb 7, 2012, 9:19 pm


1. We had to read out loud rather than memorise - it was about pronunciation and tempo.

2. Not one other person so much as a few people who you know well. Think of it as LibraryThing friendship as opposed to FaceBook friendship! :)

In the poem the hare's fair-weather friends are other animals, so it doesn't really get into the question of sex.

3. I don't think musical instruments were ever so ubiquitous here, although a lot of kids do learn music. I remember being surprised and pleased when a couple of friends of mine had pianos in their houses. My family were just not musically inclined. :(

4. Girls did learn other instruments, particularly the harp and occasionally the violin, but the piano was the one that all "young ladies" were expected to learn - an accomplishment - so it might just be that the piano is the one we hear about in novels.

5. Ah, now sonnet-writing they did make us do at school!

Redigerat: feb 7, 2012, 9:25 pm

2. "Think of it as LibraryThing friendship as opposed to FaceBook friendship"

Hehe! Okay.

So how many intermissions will we need for this book? Three?

I come home from work about 8pm (EST) so would 8pm to 8am work?

feb 7, 2012, 9:32 pm

What time do you usually get off the net at night, and what time is that in Britain? (I can't answer either of those!)

There's 26 chapters, so maybe every 5? But why don't we wait and see how quickly you work through this before we decide?

feb 7, 2012, 9:40 pm

I usually get off by 11pm. That's 4 am in London.

How about if you call the intermissions? You can start and stop them when you'd like. Maybe give a heads up for when you think they'll be. I won't post any further chapters until you declare them over. That should work.

feb 7, 2012, 9:47 pm

Well, we can an 18-hour hiatus from 11pm your time; that should work. But we'll just play it by ear for now.

feb 7, 2012, 9:48 pm

Okay, but you call the intermissions.

feb 7, 2012, 9:50 pm

Okay - first one at the end of Chapter 5 - because the end of Chapter 5 also happens to be where Jane Austen's defence of the novel falls, and we all need to stop and discuss it. :)

feb 7, 2012, 9:53 pm

Good with me.

feb 7, 2012, 10:08 pm

By the way, I won't speak for this novel's hero, but this is the point where*I* always fall in love with Catherine:

...she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.

feb 7, 2012, 10:28 pm

I can remember being a kid and visiting distant relatives in Crownsville (Maryland, USA) and rolling down a green hill, over and over, with my cousins Miriam and Gary. I don't know why that picture sticks in my mind, but it does. It's a fond memory.

I think this book starts out very upbeat. I'm finding it more fun to read than Emma. Whether this is because of the book itself or because I'm getting to know this author, I'm not sure.

feb 7, 2012, 10:33 pm

I can remember taking running jumps off a low beachside cliff into the deep soft sand below, over and over... :)

Both, probably; it is a lighter book than Emma, although not without its serious points.

feb 8, 2012, 6:50 am

I'm enjoying this already. Northanger Abbey was my first Jane Austen; we studied it in English Literature in 2nd Form (about 12/13 years old) and I hadn't read it again for nearly 40 years, despite loving aand frequently re-reading the other five main novels. However I listened to it, read by Juliet Stevenson, two years ago and loved it. It was funny - the humour was something English lessons had entirely removed!

feb 8, 2012, 8:15 am

the humour was something English lessons had entirely removed!

It's funny itself how that could happen! :)

feb 8, 2012, 8:39 am

Volume I: Chapter 2 which Catherine comes to Bath

1. "her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is"

This passage made me laugh (in a good way). My daughter, at that age, claimed she had to go away "immediately" to college, even if that college was not her first choice because she "could not live at home any longer". Then, when she graduated, she gladly came home to live (rent free, I might add!) and, now that she lives out of town, makes it a point (thankfully!) to visit us (her mom and dad) at least a few times a month.

At that age, my daughter never took school very seriously. However, at this time, she's in her first year of law school, a situation in which she has to put forth her most serious efforts at learning. I'm curious to see along what lines Catherine Morland will develop.

2. "But Mrs. Moreland knew so little of the lords and baronets, that she entertained no notion of their general mischivousness, and was wholly unsuspicious of danger to her daughter from their machinations".

What are lords and baronets? I know they are men of higher esteem. Royalty perhaps? But how does each get his title? Is there a difference between a "baron" and a "baronet"?

I noted that Mrs. Morland did not give Catherine information about the "general mischievousness" of the lords and baronets. Before my daughter left for college, I had her read Lucky by Alice Sebold, a book which talks about the author's own experience of being a rape victim while a college student. I also wanted my daughter to be as safe as possible, but I didn't hesitate to bring up the subject. Thankfully, I never had such an experience of my own, but I felt it necessary to make my daughter aware of possible danger as she was about to leave home for an extended period.

3. "...he repaired directly to the card-room..."

Was that a place where men played cards? If not, what was it? If so, I presume women were not part of that crowd. Is that right?

4. At a ball, was it considered rude manners to talk to someone with whom a person was not acquainted? I couldn't figure out why Mrs. Allen and Catherine were complaining about a lack of social conversation, yet neither initiated conversation with any of the other guests.

Redigerat: feb 8, 2012, 4:50 pm

Phew! Okay---

The British aristocracy was broken into degrees of nobility; ranking from highest to lowest were Dukes, Marquises, Earls, Viscounts and Barons. All of these were generically called "lords" and addressed as "my lord" or "your lordship" except the Dukes, who were "your grace".

Baronets were not technically of the aristocracy. They sat in between the lords and the landed gentry (people like Mr Knightley in Emma) and were called Sir So-and-so.

These were all hereditary titles, passing from father to eldest son. Depending on how old the title was, it might have been bestowed by the king hundreds of years earlier for military valour, or it might be more recent for something like support of the government during a political crisis. At the time we're speaking of, titles were usually recommended by the government and approved by the monarch.

Having a title placed you in the upper ranks of society ("the Upper Ten Thousand", or the ton) and lords and baronets were therefore prize marital catches.

Even though lords were a minority in reality, a lot of novels of this time tend to have just about ALL of their male characters lords or baronets - they had more glamour than plain old "Mister"-s.

A common sentimental novel-plot would have the heroine (poor but stunningly beautiful; only later on we find out she's the long-lost granddaughter of a Duke) being taken somewhere like Bath. She would appear in public for the first time, and there would be an audible gasp from everyone present because of how beautiful she was, and every man in the room - all of them lords and baronets, of course - would immediately fall desperately in love with her. The heroine, however, would already have secretly lost her heart to someone else - poor but stunningly handsome, and later revealed as the long-lost grandson of another Duke - so she rejects all the lords and baronets, who go mad and immediately start plotting to abduct her and compel her into marriage.

This is the kind of thing Austen is making fun of here. It very rightly doesn't occur to Mrs Morland that she needs to warn Catherine about "mischievous lords and baronets" because this is real life, not a novel, where a girl with her very moderate attractions would have very little to fear (or hope for) in that respect.

There could be, of course, real dangers for solitary girls; but Bath was a very staid place, and with proper chaperonage there was no particular threat. A girl in Catherine's situation would not go anywhere on her own.

All entertainments at this time, public or private, would include card-rooms were people - men and women - could play and gamble.

At this time, it was the height of bad manners to speak to anyone to whom you had not been formally introduced by a third party. If you went to a social gathering in a place like Bath, and you didn't know anyone, then you couldn't speak to anyone.

In Bath, there were two buildings where public entertainments were held, the Upper Rooms and the Lower Rooms. Visitors to Bath signed their names in a visitors' book and paid a subscription to get in. Not just anyone could get in, though - you had to be "the right sort of person". There was a Master of Ceremonies in charge, and one of his duties, when there was a dance, was to introduce Approved young men to Approved young women.

Redigerat: feb 8, 2012, 9:02 pm

Baronets were not technically of the aristocracy. They sat in between the lords and the landed gentry (people like Mr Knightley in Emma) and were called Sir So-and-so"

1. I thought that the term "Sir" was only used for those who had been knighted.

At this time, it was the height of bad manners to speak to anyone to whom you had not been formally introduced by a third party.

2. Yikes! I'd have done pretty poorly in that situation with my compulsion to talk to people I don't know at gatherings! :O

3. Was Bath also a spa or a resort, or was it merely something like a country club? With the name of the Bath, I just assumed it was near a spring. Is Bath also the name of the town?

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 6:29 pm

1. It is also used for those who had been knighted, but a knighthood was not a hereditary title - it died with the holder. This is because knighthoods were originally only given as a reward for valour in battle, and had to be individually earned. These days knighthoods operate the same way but are given for outstanding achievement in ("services to") a particular field of enterprise - business, music, film, etc.

2. Now you understand why Mrs Allen is grumpy!

3. Bath was a town built around a spring whose waters were considered medicinal; people went there to "drink the waters". It consequently had a much older population, and visiting population, than most resort towns. Many people found it very dull. There was a building called the Pump-Room which was where people went in the mornings to walk and talk, and have a glass of the waters (or not).

feb 8, 2012, 9:08 pm

Now you understand why Mrs Allen is grumpy!


feb 9, 2012, 8:30 am

Volume 1: Chapter 3 which Catherine meets Mr. Tilney

1. Is there any significance to the terms "Upper Room" and "Lower Room" other than (I assume) that they are on different floor levels?

2. Did all young woman usually keep a journal?

3. I like Mr. Tilney. He seems to be fun to be with. I like his gentle teasing of Catherine. I also found it amusing how quickly Mr. Allen checked him out!

4. It's hard to believe people actually talked the way Mr. Tilney addressed Catherine in the paragraph that starts "Perhaps you are not sitting in this room...."

5. What does it mean to say " is such a fag. I come back tired to death."? What does the word "fag" mean in this context?

feb 9, 2012, 4:38 pm

1. The Upper and Lower Rooms were two different buildings. Bath was built on a steep slope that effectively divided it into two sections: "the heights" were more fasionable and expansive, but also harder to get around from (whether walking or riding in a carriage). The Lower Rooms were the original site for public entertainments; the Upper Rooms were built later and were bigger and more elaborate - and more "trendy". However, they both held dances, and on alternating nights so people could go to as many as they wanted.

2. No, not all (although many did); this is another thing that "heroines" tend to do.

3. "Checking out" a young man was a major responsibility for anyone who had charge of a young lady.

4. It's just the way he talks, rather than "people". This is one of the reasons he intrigues Catherine so much - she's never heard anything like it. (Although clever conversation, like letter-writing, was a valued ability at the time.)

5. A tiresome nuisance. Later the expression would simply become "fagged to death" - as in, "I spent the morning doing housework and I'm fagged to death." - not just tired but cranky. :)

feb 10, 2012, 11:44 am

Voume 1: Chapter 4 which Catherine makes the acquaintance of Isabella Thorpe

1. "...talking both together, far more ready to give than to receive information, and each hearing very little of what the other had to say..."

Tee hee! This reminds me of a party I once had years ago in which I invited two elderly women, both of them great talkers. I thought that they'd have so much to say that they'd get along famously. That actually backfired. The two of them disliked each other quite a lot because neither of them could get a word in edgewise when the other was talking! Oh, well... :)

2. "...that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe's pelisse was not half so handsome as that in her own."

What's a pelisse?

3. &c.

Is this an acceptable way to write et cetera?

4. "Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."


Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 6:32 pm

1. That's the thing about Austen - she was such a sharp observer of human nature that her novels are scattered with observations like that, that you can recognise from your own experiences.

2. It was a garment that was kind of a cross between a coat and a dress - it was open down the front and could be worn that way or closed. It could be the main part of the wardrobe or worn over a dress for warmth or for decoration. There were different styles - with or without sleeves, knee-length or floor-length, trimmed or plain.

3. It was a common usage and the most usual way of writing it until fairly recently. The ampersand stands for the Latin et - so &c. = etc.

4. :)

feb 11, 2012, 8:36 am

Volume 1: Chapter 5 which Catherine still can't find Mr. Tilney

1. It's vocabulary time again. Please help me with these terms:

"He was nowhere to be met with at dressed or undressed balls".

"...or the curricle-drivers of the morning."

" know when delicate raillery was properly called for..."

2. "in what they called conversation, but in which there was scarcely ever any exchange of opinion...for Mrs. Thorpe talked chiefly of her children and Mrs. Allen of her gowns."

LOL!! Don't we all know people like this?!

3. " read novels together..."

I know it sounds funny to "read novels together", but that is precisely what we do here on LibraryThing. In addition, my best friend and I go to a cafe in Ellicott City (Maryland, USA) where we do the same. Plus, my husband and I read novels together on our living room sofa. When our kids were little, and we all sat together on the sofa reading, we called that sofa our "Family Squoosh"! :)

4. So how does the author get away with stopping her story and defending the novel *during her novel*? Isn't that kind of odd?!

Redigerat: feb 11, 2012, 5:26 pm

1. There were different types of dances held that were called different names according to how much you paid to get in, what you were expected to wear, and what actual dances were danced. A "dress ball" was one with very strict rules for what you could and couldn't wear, an "undressed" ball was one at which the rules were relaxed. If you weren't dressed according to rule, you couldn't get in.

A curricle was a light carriage that seated two people, the driver and one passenger. It usually had two wheels and was pulled by two horses. (At the time, having "matched" horses that looked identical was a status symbol.) A curricle had a hood that could raised or lowered according to the weather.

Always watch out for carriages in Austen - they tend to tell you a lot about the characters who own them (like cars today).

Raillery was teasing. In the context that Austen uses it here, it has some slightly complicated implications. Austen's less "classy" girls tend to be obsessed with men and love affairs, and talk about these topics far more than was considered "nice" - particularly in this case, when Isabella and Catherine have only just met. What Isabella wants here is for Catherine to ask her why she sighed, so that she can tell her about her romance with Catherine's brother; but Catherine is too naive to realise that she's been given a cue - and too well-mannered to take it anyway.

2. We certainly do!

3. It is very important to remember that right through the 19th century, novel-reading was a major form of recreation; families gathered together in the evening for a novel to be read out loud, or fought over the different volumes of a novel, with each person having to wait for the person ahead of them to finish before they could proceed. "Reading together" was a fairly common experience; it's more an issue of what you were reading.

Early in the century, when Austen was writing, novels still carried a kind of stigma. Everyone read them, not everyone admitted that they did. And as there still are, there were "suitable" novels and "unsuitable" novels; needless to say, Catherine and Isabella prefer the unsuitable kind. :)

4. No. The author addressing the reader was very common in the 18th century - Henry Fielding spends whole chapters talking to his readers - and while it died away as a practice across the 19th century, as novels became more realistic, well into the second half of the century Anthony Trollope still occasionally addressed the reader directly.

So what's important here is not that Austen is talking to the reader, but what she is talking about---

"Oh, it is only a novel!" replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame.---"It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda": 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...

This passage is a perfect illustration of Austen's ability to be serious and not-serious at the same time. On one hand, we have this highflown defence offered in the context of two girls who like to read trashy novels (and let's not forget, Austen herself liked to read trashy novels!). And while she puts it jokingly, as she points out it's also a fact that at the time she was writing, no self-respecting heroine of a novel would be caught dead reading anything as frivolous as a novel. Catherine Morland is probably the first (and another sign that she is not, in fact, a "heroine", but a real girl).

As I've said, the novel was not quite "respectable" at this time; and it was a common practice for writers (particularly women writers) to demonstrate how respectable their novel was by criticising other novels. There were lots of novels with subplots about girls having their morals corrupted by novel-reading. Austen refuses to buy into this; her point here is that even trashy novels were just light entertainment, and no halfway sensible girl was going to be hurt by them.

BUT---when it comes to the value of a good novel, Austen isn't kidding at all; she's arguing quite straightforwardly here for the worth - artistic, but also moral - of a really well-written book. We can tell she's being serious because she cites the work of Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth, the two most important female novelists before Austen and major influences on her writing---and like Austen herself, a rebuttal of the sneering insistence that women were only capable of writing "fluff".

(Of course, if women did write about serious subjects, they tended to be even more harshly criticised for being "unwomanly".)

One more thing here--- I advised you at the outset to watch out for Austen referring to "natural" and "heroic" behaviour; from this point, you should also pay close attention when different characters express their opinions of novels and novel-reading.

You should particularly pay attention at the beginning of Chapter 14, when we get Henry Tilney's views on the subject. :)

feb 11, 2012, 4:54 pm

Which brings us to the end of Chapter 5---which means that we have reached:


This is a chance for any lurkers out there to join in the conversation about anything that has happened in the opening section of Northanger Abbey, or even just to de-lurk and let us know they're out there!

feb 11, 2012, 5:07 pm

Thanks for your great explanation of the end of chapter 5, Liz. I'll be looking out for those things you mentioned.

feb 11, 2012, 5:27 pm

De-lurking (and before the intermission ends too!). Nothing to add, just enjoying Madeline's questions and Liz's answers.

feb 11, 2012, 5:31 pm

Welcome, Heather!

feb 11, 2012, 7:15 pm

Du-lurking to say that I'm enjoying the thread and that I'm going to try to get to Northanger Abbey before the end of the month. You two are very motivating!

feb 11, 2012, 7:39 pm

You two are very motivating!

I think it's more Liz who is the motivating factor! :)

feb 11, 2012, 7:59 pm

*cracks whip*

feb 11, 2012, 8:19 pm

*studies the book harder*

feb 11, 2012, 10:13 pm

So wonderful! This is the only Austen book I truly enjoyed reading, probably because of the commentary on novels. I can appreciate her, but find that the other books just don't work for me. I can't believe I forgot to pay attention to Tutored Reads and missed the Otranto one! (That's one of my favorites.) I just found this, so I'm going to have to go back and peek at that, I think.

Starring this now to see what else I might learn :D

feb 11, 2012, 10:17 pm

Hi, Keri - great to have you here!

feb 11, 2012, 10:31 pm

Hi Keri!

These tutored reads are turning out to be really fun (...and educational!) for me.

Why not find a book that you think would suitable on which to be tutored and sign up for a tutored read yourself? I think you'd like it.

Redigerat: feb 11, 2012, 11:28 pm

Oh, I think I would, too, but what on earth would I pick?
I really want to read that beautiful new edition of Tristam Shandy from Visual Editions, but have been worried that I'd buy it and get distracted by something new before it arrived. Perhaps this could be an excuse to stick to it... (actually, I just purchased it. oh dear.)

Of course, I think Liz is the only tutor who could pair with me on it! (I just posted to the Hook-up thread. My book better arrive in a timely fashion!)

I think I shall wait until after Northanger Abbey to decide for certain. I might even reread that book while you're at it! :)

Redigerat: feb 11, 2012, 11:37 pm

I might even reread that book while you're at it!

That would be fun, Kerri. Liz is going to have regularly scheduled intermissions on this thread - times when you can post your questions as well.

Doooo it! I'm reading very slowly. Only one chapter a day, which is only about 5 or 6 pages each. You'll easily catch up to where I am in the book.

I just posted to the Hook-up thread. My book better arrive in a timely fashion

I just checked out that book. A bit over my head, but, for sure, I'd be a lurker on your tutored thread of Tristam Shandy. Dooooo that, too!

Redigerat: feb 11, 2012, 11:46 pm

I think I've created a monster... :)

If - IF - we were to do this, Keri, we'd need to delay a while while I re-read the book myself; it's been a long time, and there's no way I could do it more or less off the top of my head as I do Austen.

But I'm not convinced I'm the best person for the job. Why don't we see what reaction we get on the hook-up thread? I'm sure there are people around who have studied Tristram Shandy and would be able to give you better help than me.

(Also--- Yes! Do read Northanger Abbey!)

feb 12, 2012, 12:15 am

47> Oh, yes, I would def. give time if needed. I was looking at the volunteer list and you're the only one who seems to have experience with 18th C. and early novels, which is why I said what I did!

I think I mostly just want a read-along, anyway, with someone who's already familiar with the context and can help bring more depth to my understanding when it gets a bit shallow.

But I feel like I'm derailing Madeline's thread, so back to Northanger Abbey. I'm reading it RIGHT NOW. Well, not right now. As soon as I hit "post", I shall read the first few chapters, I mean. I just finished my last book and am not terribly excited about the next one lined up...

Actually, since starting this response, I've read to the end of chapter 4 (as I went to take the book from my shelf), and would have started 5, except to note how much I love that last paragraph here, "this brief account of the family is intended to supersede the necessity of a long and minute from Mrs Thorpe herself", and also I'd forgotten how delightful Mr Tilney is. I always like best the men that Austen pokes fun at.

feb 12, 2012, 5:50 am

OKay - I'm off to bed now - whatever time it is everywhere else - so Madeline, whenever you choose to resume, that will be END OF INTERMISSION.

feb 12, 2012, 8:42 am

Just delurking to say I'm really enjoying this and will read NA some day.

feb 12, 2012, 10:24 am

Volume 1: Chapter 6 which Isabella and Catherine talk about books

Help with vocabulary, please...

1. "...very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons."

2. "She is netting herself the sweetest cloak."

Knitting? Tatting? Crocheting?

3. Why is the word "shew" used over and over instead of the word "show"?

4. Are the books mentioned by Isabella real books? Are any of them ones I might be intersted in reading?

5. Do the two young women want to meet those two young men or not? It's not really clear.

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:09 pm

1. Red-orange; the colour of poppies.

2. Like knitting, but so as to result in a finer material with an open weave - fine netting can be used to make pieces of lace, for example. Netting was usually done to make smaller objects like reticules (purses) or scarves.

3. It was the correct usage at the time, although becoming archaic; it was replaced by "show" over the course of the 19th century.

4. HA!!!! :)

For decades, most academics assumed that Austen had simply made up half-a-dozen exaggerated titles to show how silly Gothic novels were (and the people who read them). Then eventually it was discovered that these are, indeed, all real novels from the time. They are generally referred to as "The Horrid Novels" or, more commonly now, "The Northanger Novels", and they have been reissued as a set under that title.

The books are:

The Castle Of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons (1793)
The Necromancer by Carl Friedrich Kahlert (1794)
Horrid Mysteries by Karl Grosse (1796)
The Mysterious Warning by Eliza Parsons (1796)
Clermont by Regina Maria Roche (1798)
The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom (1798)
Orphan Of The Rhine by Eleanor Sleath (1798)

The Necromancer and Horrid Mysteries are both German works translated into English, and are closer to horror stories than Gothic novels; the Germans pretty much had a lock on horror at the time. The Castle Of Wolfenbach, The Mysterious Warning and The Midnight Bell are examples of post-Ann Radcliffe Gothics, while Clermont and Orphan Of The Rhine are early examples of Gothic tropes being used in more domestic stories.

And yes, you might like some of these at that. Let me think about that for a while... :)

5. Dear me. You're as naive as Catherine. :)

Catherine does not. Isabella does - desperately. Isabella is the kind of young woman who puts most of her energies into attracting the attention of young men, although of course she would never admit it. This is why her words and her actions contradict each other all the time, and why Catherine - who has only known straightforward, plain-spoken people up until now - can't understand her. The ability to "read" people like Isabella correctly is one of the things Catherine has to learn (which brings us back to our early discussion about The Hare And His Friends).

Why don't you try reading that passage over again, with the thought that there is nothing Isabella wants more than to meet those men?

feb 12, 2012, 5:06 pm

On a personal note, I'd just like to add that of all Austen's minor characters (seen and unseen), Miss Andrews is the one I most want to meet. I've always felt that she and I would get along splendidly:

"...but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?"
"Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them..."

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:09 pm

> 52

4. And yes, you might like some of these at that.

Oooh! Fun!! I love horror novels. I'm a great fan of Edgar Alan Poe and Stephen King. I think it would be fun to try some older horror. I so much enjoyed reading Dracula even though I was hesitant to try it at first.

5. Dear me. You're as naive as Catherine.


*returns to that passage*

> 53

Miss Andrews is the one I most want to meet.

At this point, I'd most like to meet Mr. Tilney! :)

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:13 pm

Minor characters. Falling in love with Henry Tilney goes without saying, even before we get his opinion of novel-reading. :)

feb 12, 2012, 5:14 pm


Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:20 pm

I found another passage I like:

"...but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable."

My favorite aunt (sadly no longer alive) used to say, "I’m never lonely as long as I have a book”

(Emma Stein, Kibbutz Shaar Haamakim, Israel, 2001)

feb 12, 2012, 5:19 pm

Quite right. This is why we can only feel sorry for people who don't like to read.

feb 12, 2012, 5:19 pm

> 55

I'll stick with major characters. I still am more interested in Mr. Tilney!! :)

feb 12, 2012, 5:22 pm

I also like the fact that Catherine is adamant that Isabella not feed her spoilers of the book she is reading. That is so much like me! I fear spoilers more than anything else when it comes to reading. :)

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:24 pm

What should I know about Sir Charles Grandison as an author? (the author that Mrs. Morland likes to read)

Rereading this is quite amusing. It's almost like book reviews within a book. :)

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:26 pm

>>#60 She's a very sensible girl. And so are you. :)

By the way, Charlotte (charkn) here is a big fan of Regina Maria Roche and says good things about Clermont. Maybe we could ask her for a brief sketch, so you could get a feel for whether you might like to read it?

feb 12, 2012, 5:28 pm

I should have deduced my own answer from the last few words of the chapter...

" pursuit of the two young men."

I am so Catherine!! :)

feb 12, 2012, 5:29 pm

Let me go take a look at Clermont. I''l be back shortly...

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:31 pm

>>#61 Sir Charles Grandison was one of the three major works of the author Samuel Richardson, who also wrote Pamela and Clarissa (which is being group-read at the moment). It was an important and popular 18th century English epistolary novel - a portrait of a perfect English gentleman*. It was also one of Austen's favourite novels, and again you can judge her characters according to their opinions of it.

(*But Henry Tilney is a lot more fun.)

feb 12, 2012, 5:32 pm

I am so Catherine!!

There are many worse people to be!

feb 12, 2012, 5:34 pm

Just looked at Clermont, read a few of the opening paragraphs on Amazon, and it looks good! Plus, it has a character in it named Madeline!

If I can find a tutor for that book, I'll try to get a copy of it for a future tutored read.

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:58 pm

I don't know about tutoring, but I'd love to read it! I read a couple of books by Roche twenty-odd years ago, but Clermont wasn't available then.

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 5:58 pm

It's not available on BookMooch so I'll be checking around in a few of my used book stores in the next few weeks. I'll let you know if and when I find it.

I'm not going to try the library because I don't like to have to return books that I want to hang onto for an indefinite period.

I see it has really high ratings from the few LTers who have already read it - but no reviews here!

With Clermont's archaic kind of language, I'd feel more comfortable with a tutor. That's really the only reason that you've enticed me to read those novels that you did.

Redigerat: feb 12, 2012, 6:02 pm

I can access the original edition electronically; otherwise, it looks like The Book Depository. They have the Valencourt edition that has "Northanger Novels" on the cover.

HA!! Their blurb starts, "Clermont is the story of Madeline, a porcelain doll of a Gothic heroine..."

Okay, that settles it - we'll put it on The List!

feb 12, 2012, 6:23 pm

Just wanted to comment that this is a great thread. I lot of the time I feel like I'm reading an annotated Northanger Abbey, only more entertaining. :-)

feb 12, 2012, 6:36 pm


feb 12, 2012, 6:41 pm

Thanks, Joe!

Redigerat: feb 13, 2012, 11:47 am

Volume 1: Chapter 7 which the two young ladies encounter men they know

Help me with these, please...

1. "They were prevented crossing by the approach of a gig."

2. " her his devoirs were speedily paid"

3. "...on her he bestowed a whole scrape and a half a short bow"

3. "...a new muff and tippet"

Is the muff like that thing into which one inserts both hands, or is it something else?

4. "...he (the horse) had not turned a hair."

5. So, Jane Austen writes, "'Oh, d____', said I". I'm presuming the word is "damn" and that writers did not write cuss words in print. Is that correct? Or was that only because a woman wrote this story?

6. Did all vehicles have a "sword-case"? What is a sword case? Did people actually carry swords with them in their vehicles?

7. I liked that Catherine brought a novel into the conversation apropos of nothing. Haha!

8. "He is as good-natured a fellow as ever lived; a little of a rattle: but that will recommend him to your sex I believe.".

A little of a rattle? What does that mean?!

Redigerat: feb 13, 2012, 4:53 pm


1. Another type of carriage - like a curricle, but only drawn by one horse (therefore cheaper to purchase and maintain).

2. Respects. In this case, the removal of the hat, a bow, possibly a handshake, and a verbal greeting.

3. A scrape is a sweeping movement of the leg while bowing; it's supposed to show extra respect, but if you don't get it right you can look pretty silly. In this context, it indicates that Thorpe is a bit of a show-off.

3b. Yes, a muff is a hand-warmer; a tippet is a short cloak that hangs about the shoulders.

4. In this context, become physically distressed. He's bragging about how much stamina his horse has (in spite of evidence to the contrary). Of a person, "had not turned a hair" would mean they kept calm under pressure.

5. Yes, that's right; it wasn't confined to women, but more expected of women. Often a euphemism was used in these situations rather than the actual word or phrase ("he swore violently"). Even this became less common as the Regency period became the Victorian period, and writers weren't even supposed to hint at bad words. It was late in the 19th century before this loosened up.

I may say I was extremely surprised by Walter Scott's use of the word "bitch" in The Heart Of Midlothian, even if it was set 100 years earlier.

6. During the 18th century, highway robbery was a fact of life and no-one travelled without weapons - carriages would therefore be designed with sword-cases and pistol-holders. As times changed, these things became optional, decorative extras rather than practical necessities. Also, carrying weapons like swords was something "gentlemen" did, so to have a sword-case is an indirect boast of your social status.

7. Catherine is One Of Us. :)

8. He talks a lot (often without much to say). Empty conversation full of platitudes and compliments was supposed to be attractive to young women, because they weren't smart enough to understand anything more serious. {sarcasm alert}

feb 13, 2012, 6:46 pm

Catherine is One Of Us.


feb 13, 2012, 8:45 pm

Piping up to say that a bit further on than you are now, Madeline, I was dying for a better visual representation of some of the locations in Bath. So I searched for and found a map. If you want to see it to help ground yourself, it is at OR here for a direct link:

If you go to the maps page, you'll see that they have a zoomed out view of all the places mentioned in Northanger Abbey, if that might help you as well.

Redigerat: feb 13, 2012, 9:03 pm

> 77

That's interesting Keri. I didn't know that it was so spread out (although I know it's just a few blocks around. However, I pictured it as an estate with buildings that were very close to one another.

Redigerat: feb 13, 2012, 9:03 pm

So, Liz, I see from Keri's maps that two novels of Jane Austen's took place in Bath. Was that a place where Jane Austen used to visit as well?

By the way, what is Northanger Abbey? Is that a place that will be featured yet in this story?

P.S. to Liz: I had no luck locating a hard copy of Clermont today. I'll keep looking.

P.P.S. Liz, am I overwhelming you with my questions? Now do you see why I need a tutor?! :)

feb 13, 2012, 9:18 pm


Thanks, Keri!


Yes - she lived there for a while, and she hated it. But being a single woman and a daughter, she had no choice.

You can tell that Northanger Abbey was written fairly early in her life; it's hard to imagine Austen using such a lighthearted tone about Bath later on. The second novel, Persuasion, features a heroine who, like Austen, is compelled to leave the home in the country that she loves and move there.

Northanger Abbey is a place; it will show up later in the novel.

Good luck with Clermont!

Not overwhelming, but I always have a panicky blinking moment when I first see your posts. :)

feb 13, 2012, 10:13 pm

Not overwhelming, but I always have a panicky blinking moment when I first see your posts.

LOL! Sorry 'bout that!

feb 14, 2012, 8:29 am

Volume 1: Chapter 8 which Catherine sees Mr. Tilney again

1. My observation:

Here's Catherine playing heroine again as she felt that she had been debased through no fault of her own, she being "all purity."

2. My thought:

It sure is useful for young women in search of young men to be able to make the acquaintance of so many of the young mens' sisters!

3. "...detaching her friend from James"


4. Was it required of young women to change dance partners during a dance? What would happen if they did not do so?

5. My reaction to this chapter:

Poor Catherine! What a disappointing outcome to this dance!! :)

feb 14, 2012, 4:45 pm

1. No, this is authorial editorialisation, not Catherine's actual thoughts. Catherine hasn't yet read enough sentimental novels to acquire this kind of vocabulary! :)

This is very much the blown-out-of-proportion way that sentimental novels talk, while their heroines do tend to survive being "disgraced in the eyes of the world" by meditating upon their own "purity". But honestly, who really talks and thinks that way? Austen shows how silly it is by using it to describe something as comparatively trivial as being stood up. Catherine's angst is real enough, but not the expression of it.

2. Sisters were hugely important, even without any conscious scheming in that direction. With the restrictions placed upon the movements of young women, visiting friends with brothers was one of the ways that potential couples could meet and get to know one another without too many barriers in the way.

3. Yeah, good luck!

4. Yes. It was frowned upon to dance more than twice with the same person, unless you were engaged to them - there would be criticism and gossip (which would hurt the woman, not the man).

5. These things don't happen to real heroines! :)

feb 14, 2012, 7:39 pm

1. So when does Catherine start thinking that she's a "heroine"? Will that happen later in this book?

4. It was frowned upon to dance more than twice with the same person

Well, that's one good reason for my being born in this century!

feb 14, 2012, 7:59 pm

At Northanger Abbey... :)

TWO good reasons - dancing, and talking to whoever you like (as much as you like)!

feb 14, 2012, 8:45 pm

By the way, I don't think you should wait for me to get a copy of Clermont. I see it online priced for between $20 and $30. With about 400+ TBR books here at home, I can't see putting out that kind of money for just one book that I would not be keeping afterward. I do spend that kind of money for reference books, cookbooks, etc., just not for one time reads that I get rid of after reading.

I'll continue to keep an eye out for it in used bookstores and on book swap sites in the meantime, but you probably will need to read it without me in the near future.

feb 14, 2012, 8:46 pm

Aww... :(

Do you have any academic or university-based bookstores near you? You might be more likely to luck on a copy in one of those than a general bookstore.

feb 14, 2012, 9:02 pm

Do you have any academic or university-based bookstores near you?

I do. I'll try U of Maryland and maybe the bookstore at our local community college. I won't give up, though. I'll find it sooner or later. I just think it will be later.

feb 14, 2012, 9:07 pm

It gets worse! The book is sold in four volumes and each volume is about $25. Horrors!!

Redigerat: feb 14, 2012, 9:39 pm

No, those are print-on-demand versions. The novel was reissued by the Folio Society in 1968 as a hardcover, and by Valencourt Press in 2006 as a paperback - in both cases as part of a "Horrid Novels" or "Northanger Novels" set. The Valencourt is the one you're most likely to find.

ETA: The University of Maryland Library holds a copy, apparently.

Redigerat: feb 14, 2012, 9:50 pm

Okay, then. I'll keep looking.

If someone here on LT wants to lend me a copy, that would work. Or...if someone wants to exchange it for a copy of one of my available Bookcrossing books, that also would work. I only ship within the U.S. though.

Hey, I'd even exchange it for The Castle of Otranto! :D

feb 14, 2012, 9:45 pm

> 90

I'm not doing a library book. I need to have a copy of that book that I can keep as long as I want.

Redigerat: feb 14, 2012, 9:53 pm

You know what? If bad comes to worse, I "might" do an interlibrary loan. I'll check into that the next time I'm at my local library.

Forget that idea. There is three week limit on an interlibrary loan.

I just sent a shout-out to my Bookcrossing buddies. Perhaps someone in my local group will be able to find a copy of that book.

feb 14, 2012, 9:56 pm

I've also tried a possible source. We'll see.

feb 15, 2012, 8:34 am

Volume 1: Chapter 9

... in which Catherine goes for a ride with Mr. Thorpe

1. "They want to get their tumble over."

Er, what does that mean?

2. "...and what a dust you would have made."

I'm not sure I understand this expression either!

3. "Old Allen is as rich as a Jew..."

Why is this offensive sterotypical expression here? It adds nothing to this story.

4. It sure took Catherine long enough to figure out "that John Thorpe himself was quite disagreeable."

feb 15, 2012, 4:42 pm

Ahhhhhyyyuh... I think I'll split this into two.

1. At this time, the combination of carriages designed more for show than efficiency and reckless / careless young men driving them often resulted in carriages overturning. (Think of it in terms of young people getting their first driver's licence.) It certainly didn't happen on every journey, but often enough that you could make a joke out of the assumption. Thorpe is suggesting that James and Isabella are in a hurry to get the carriage-overturning part of their excursion out of the way, so they can enjoy the rest of it. It also fits in with his habit of putting the most extravagant spin on every situation.

2. What a fuss you would have made.

4. That's the trouble with assuming the best about people - you're so often disappointed. :)

Redigerat: feb 15, 2012, 5:20 pm

Okay. Long explanation, short answer.

Unfortunately, anti-semitic slurs and characterisations are a very common thing in English literature right through the 19th century and well into the 20th. There is an odd sort of contradiction in this, because compared to most countries at the time England was very tolerant in this respect, and across the 19th century a number of barriers against Jewish people were removed - for example, in 1858 the restriction against Jewish people being Members of Parliament was lifted (although it was 1884 before any were). But at the same time the prejudice was certainly still there in the population at large and many books contain Jewish characters who are ugly stereotypes, and use anti-semitic language very casually. It was so deeply engrained that a lot of people honestly didn't see anything wrong with it, but just accepted it as "the way things are".

(I should point out that there was also a subset of authors, like George Eliot, who fought against this kind of thing.)

And incredible as it seems to us, an expression like "as rich as a Jew" would be used as casually and unmaliciously as we might say "as blind as a bat". That was the way people talked, and you will find phrases like that used quite unthinkingly through about 200 years of English writing. (And not just English.) While it's unacceptable to us, it's a reflection of the society of the time - this is how most middle- and upper-class English people spoke and thought - and those of us who read a lot of English works are aware that we're likely to encounter it - as well as equally nasty terms of phrase aimed at anybody else who wasn't a white Christian. It's unfortunately something that you have to learn to deal with in reading from this era.

In this specific instance - and I believe this is the only instance in Austen's writing where you'll find this expression - she uses it because it would be artificial not to use it: that is exactly how a young man like John Thorpe would talk; that is the expression he would use when referring to another man's wealth; and it goes along with his habitual swearing (which it was not all right for Austen to say outright - talk about a bizarre double standard!). So while it strikes us as unnecessarily nasty, it's realistic and it's valid characterisation. You don't, after all, find that expression in Henry Tilney's mouth.

And if you can - you need to look past how Thorpe is saying this, and note what he says - it becomes important later on.

(ETA: Apparently LibraryThing shares your views on the subject - it logged me out while I was trying to post!)

Redigerat: feb 15, 2012, 11:50 pm

I should point out that there was also a subset of authors, like George Eliot, who fought against this kind of thing

How did they do this? Did they just avoid writing slurs into their stories, or were such authors more outspoken against that type of writing?

It's unfortunately something that you have to learn to deal with in reading from this era.

I had a recent conversation with my husband (and also with kidzdoc - ETA: See this thread starting with message #275) about the slurs against blacks in twentieth century American novels. I guess it makes all of these novels we read true to their times, but I can't help but be distressed reading such things - even though I know that was common language usage in those times. It also makes me more appreciative of reading more contemporary novels (which is not to say that contemporary novels may not be offensive at times). I just hate to be sucker-punched with a line like that without seeing it coming.

Apparently LibraryThing shares your views on the subject - it logged me out while I was trying to post!


feb 15, 2012, 10:31 pm

Ah, just realized I hadn't been to this thread yet. Hope I can post when it's not an intermission. I really enjoyed the Emma thread, and this one is just as good. I reread NA last year as part of the Austenathon.

Two things--my annotated Persuasion had maps of Bath I found really helpful--I could try scanning one if you all would like. Also, Madeline, you might check if a library has a copy of Georgette Heyer's Regency World available--this is a resource book along the lines of What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew which concentrates on dress, slang, conveyances, etc.--although it is more fun just to ask.

Redigerat: feb 15, 2012, 11:47 pm


Some of them made a point of including positive Jewish characters; others simply avoided language like that and other stereotyping, and took a "just people" approach. There were efforts made to help people understand was Judaism was (which many didn't). Eliot's Daniel Deronda is very concerned with the Jewish experience generally.

Apparently Anthony Trollope was surprised and rather hurt when he was accused of anti-semitic characterisations. (The critic was right, which probably illustrates how habitual and unthinking this kind of thing was at the time.) He responded by creating several more positive Jewish characters, but it obviously didn't come without effort.

It is indeed very much like the anti-black slurs. It is distressing, and it's necessary to find a way of "accepting" it in a reading sense, without "accepting" it in a human sense.


Hi, Roni - welcome! It's fine to to post now - although we are almost due for another intermission! Thank you for mentioning those resources.

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 12:04 am

> 99

Hi Roni!

So glad you're enjoying this thread. Keri posted a link to a map of Bath back in message #77.

although it is more fun just to ask.

I do find it more fun to ask. It's more meaningful to me this way.

ETA: Taking a peek at those books you mentioned certainly wouldn't do me any harm, though! :)

By the way, I was reading an unrelated book tonight called Odyssey of Hearing and wanted to share this line from that book with Liz and our lurkers:

"There is a Buddhist saying that when a student is ready, the teacher will come."


> 100

Eliot's Daniel Deronda is very concerned with the Jewish experience generally.

Hmmm? Now you have me interested in Daniel Deronda. I've never before read anything by George Eliot...

...nor have I read anything by Anthony Trollope!

It's interesting to note how people say and do things all the time to which others are sensitive, but they do so with no knowledge of the fact that they're causing hurt to someone else.

I want Catherine to be done with John and find Mr. Tilney again! :)

feb 16, 2012, 7:47 am

101> Daniel Deronda is very, very long. I couldn't finish it, though I tried. I wanted to enjoy it, but it was just so...tedious? I guess? The first third or so was interesting, but I couldn't maintain interest midway through (I was also going on not-enough-sleep and skimming for class, so). It's a little too much like the Dickenses and Austens that I don't like (I don't enjoy reading Dickens or most of Jane Austen's work, even if I can appreciate why they're significant).

Anyway, knowing what I do of your preferences, at least as stated in this thread, it might not be the book for you.

feb 16, 2012, 8:16 am

Phew! Thanks for the heads up on Daniel Deronda, Keri. I guess I'll skip it after all. :)

feb 16, 2012, 8:19 am

Volume 1: Chapter 10 which Mr. Tilney dances with Catherine

1. "...they parted--on Miss Tilney's side with some knowledge of her new acquaintance's feelings, and on Catherine's, without the smallest consciousness of having explained them."


2. "What gown and what head-dress she should wear..."

What kinds of head-dress would be worn to a cotillion?

3. What is "tamboured muslin"?

4. "...towards the spotted, the sprigged, the mull or the jackonet."

What are those?

5. Whoa! I was really surprised when Mr. Tilney suddenly showed up and asked Catherine to dance!!

6. What kinds of dances did they do at the cotillion?

7. At the end of the chapter, it seemed as if the narrative was saying that Catherine might regret not having introduced Mr. Tilney to Isabella (who was nowhere to be found at that time anyway). I'm wondering about that...

feb 16, 2012, 4:36 pm

You probably won't be surprised to hear that I have a different opinion about Daniel Deronda, but I would agree it's not the place to start with Eliot.

The possibility of me tutoring Trollope at some point this year (heaven knows when!) has beenn raised, so you could tag along for that, if you were curious.

It's interesting to note how people say and do things all the time to which others are sensitive, but they do so with no knowledge of the fact that they're causing hurt to someone else.

To avoid any more sucker-punching---I was flicking through NA last night and there is a point where John Thorpe uses THAT expression again.

feb 16, 2012, 5:03 pm


Her head-dress was most likely to be a spray of flowers, either real or artificial, to match her dress.

Muslin was the material most commonly used for girls' dresses at the time, at least during the warmer months. What we have here is a quick run through of the increasingly elaborate forms that were available - mull was quite a thin material, and jackonet (or jaconet) was heavier; some varieties of mull were a silk-mix. Spotted means decorated with spots (duh), sprigged (or sprig) meant it had small flowers as its pattern, and tamboured means it had embroidered patterns.

A cotillion was a kind of dance, consisting of elaborate movements and lots of changing of partners. It was usually danced in groups of eight (i.e. four couples). It wasn't always included at balls so a "cotillion ball" was one where it definitely would be.

Catherine wants to tell Isabella about her progress with the Tilney family, but she's barely seen her all night and doesn't before she has to go home. Of her other, her older, her more established friend, Isabella, of whose fidelity and worth she had enjoyed a fortnight's experience... Austen is mocking the passionate, "lifelong" friendships that form at the drop of a hat in sentimental novels, by showing us that these two "best friends" can get along perfectly well without one another.

feb 16, 2012, 5:04 pm

And that brings us to the end of Chapter 10, which means it is time for:


Speak up, you lurkers, and let us know you're there!

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 5:10 pm

And on a personal note, I'd just like to add:

"Here you are in pursuit of amusement all day long."
"And so I am at home - only I do not find so much of it. I walk about here, and so I do there; - but here I see a variety of people in every street, and there I can only go and call on Mrs Allen."
Mr Tilney was very much amused. "Only go and call on Mrs Allen!" he repeated. "What a picture of intellectual poverty!"

feb 16, 2012, 5:08 pm

Here! Enjoying this very much.

feb 16, 2012, 6:29 pm

Okay! I have a question! You might not know.

It's about the lodgings in Bath. I'm wondering if you know or know where to look to find out what kind of rooms they're staying in. Are the houses occupied but the visitors rent the front rooms or some rooms like a B&B or do they sit empty when it's not the Season?

Obviously, these are fairly wealthy people, and the book is about them, so the many servants and so on end up being invisible, but I'm not sure if the owners of the houses are also invisible or what.

I'm also kind of curious about how people could have such involved conversations while dancing. I didn't think people danced while close enough to have a private conversation until some years later - but this might be misinformation from grade school teachers who told us how the Tennessee Reel was The Thing To Do and the Waltz was Shocking because it put couples together, and that might just be for Victorian mores.

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 6:55 pm

Ooh!! Questions from a lurker!!

Generally, as there are now there were property agents who organised accommodation for people. So you would contact an agent, let them know what kind of accommodation you were looking for, how long for, and what you were willing to pay, and the agent would send you back a list of possible. Alternatively, there were "rooms to let" ads in the papers.

Then either you took pot-luck, or you (or possibly, a trusted servant or a friend on the spot if you had one) would inspect the various offerings and select the most desirable, which would then be booked. Bath was a resort town, and while there were people who rented out rooms in their houses (cheaper, but less classy), there were also many lodging-houses (like private hotels) that provided rooms, suites or entire floors as required.

If people visited the same place every year for their holiday, they would be given preferential treatment and the same rooms at the same place would be reserved for them.

Bath had a "season" like everywhere else, when there were more visitors and more parties (Northanger Abbey takes place during the Bath season); but being a health-resort, it got visitors all year round.

Dancing then wasn't like dancing now. The waltz was only introduced to England in about 1815 and took a few years to get from London to the country. The vast majority of dances involved "sets", that is, rows of couples who took turns dancing. The couple at the "top" of the set would join hands and dance down the length of the set to the "bottom", then the next couple, with everyone moving up a bit in between.

This is why "dancing" in a Regency novel is as much about talking. The whole thing could take about half an hour, and 95% of the time you were essentially standing alone with your partner. This is why dances are HUGELY important in the overall scheme of things - they were an acceptable way for young men and women to spend time together.

But of course, if you got a dud partner, it was hell. This is why the rule about girls not being allowed to refuse one man in order to dance with another was so awful, and why a lot of girls tried to arrange their dances before the dance itself. It was okay to refuse if you were already engaged for a dance.

feb 16, 2012, 7:08 pm

See, the way it's described, I hadn't thought of it being like a private hotel - but a lodging house is more like what I expected (a bit like a B&B). Also the health resort - didn't even occur to me, when I was thinking about potentially empty buildings after everyone had gone to London or home or wherever.

The vast majority of dances involved "sets", that is, rows of couples who took turns dancing. The couple at the "top" of the set would join hands and dance down the length of the set to the "bottom", then the next couple, with everyone moving up a bit in between.

Now that you describe that, I go OH because that's basically what was taught to me as a Tennessee Reel - only the way we were taught (in Catholic school, of course) you couldn't really hold a conversation with your counterpart in the opposite row. (Then again, we were only 8 or 9 years old...)

I think what I was imagining was going on was those fancy intricate dances you see in costume dramas, where partners change as the patterns shift.

Thanks, Liz!

feb 16, 2012, 7:29 pm

Those are usually "country dances", or even "cotillions"; they look better on screen. :)

In writing, look out for phrases like "they danced to the bottom of the set".

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 8:11 pm

> 110

this might be misinformation from grade school teachers who told us how the Tennessee Reel

When I was in school, we used to dance the Virginia Reel in which men and women formed two parallel lines and then the head couple would hold hands and go up and down between those lines. It was kind of a square dance, although it wasn't danced in a square.

feb 16, 2012, 8:10 pm

> 105

---I was flicking through NA last night and there is a point where John Thorpe uses THAT expression again.

*disliking John Thorpe even more*

feb 16, 2012, 8:23 pm

The Scots danced reels. American dances evolved out of British and European ones, so you're imagining the right sorts of things.

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 8:30 pm

114> Ah, maybe I'm misremembering the name of the Reel. It's been a few decades ;)

*disliking John Thorpe even more*

He's obsessed with money and conspicuous consumption, that young man. That's the whole reason he calls Mr Allen what he does...

I saw a paper just the other day about how there was apparently a wealthy Allen family around the same time as NA is set who had just received a big inheritance, or something of that kind? and the abstract suggested that John Thorpe assumed these were the same Allens, thus his attempts to monopolize Catherine, thinking that she will receive their wealth next.

Also, it's so easy to hate Thorpe that I enjoy it. It's almost fun groaning and hollering at the book whenever he (or even Isabella) do something outrageously horrible.

Redigerat: feb 16, 2012, 8:36 pm

The Virginia Reel is what's danced at the charity ball in Gone With The Wind. Although don't ask me where that memory came from.

I think it's the Tennesse Waltz. As sung by Patti Page? (Don't ask me where that came from, either.)


I was waltzing with my darlin' to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
Introduced him to my loved one and while they were waltzing
My friend stole my sweetheart from me.

I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
Yes I lost my little darlin' the night they were playing
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz.

feb 17, 2012, 3:13 pm

Eep! Sorry! I meant to declare END OF INTERMISSION before I went to bed last night, but I forgot!

So, anyway---


feb 17, 2012, 7:21 pm

*back in my seat*

feb 17, 2012, 7:24 pm

Volume 1: Chapter 11

... in which Catherine and company travel toward Blaize Castle

1. "I hope Mr. Allen will put on his great coat."

What is that?

2. Does he not drive a phaeton"?

What is that?

3. Why was Catherine talked out of waiting for the Tilneys? Did she really believe it was too dirty outside because of the rain?

4. How does Catherine get herself into these situations?!

5. I'm getting the impression that all Isabella cares about is herself as well. She's just not that loud and obnoxious about it as her brother is.

feb 17, 2012, 7:26 pm

I may not have time tomorrow to read a chapter or be online, so if I'm not here then, I'll continue with my reading the following day, Liz.

Redigerat: feb 17, 2012, 7:49 pm


A great coat is a heavy, usually woollen man's overcoat, with cuffs and a collar that can be turned down and up as protection against the weather, and often a small cape as an extra layer around the shoulders.

A phaeton is yet another carriage - this one the sports car of its day: four wheels, light-bodied, built for speed (gentlemen often raced one another); could be pulled by one horse, but a matched pair was more common.

Catherine is too good-natured for her own good. She's also not used to acting on her own volition, or using her own judgement. These are the things she has to learn as part of growing up. Here she effectively allows the Thorpes and her brother to bully her into compliance with something she suspects is wrong - and of course, she's tempted by the thought of seeing an actual castle!

(There's a joke here: the castle that Thorpe claims to be "the oldest in the kingdom" was built in the late 1790s, when Jane Austen was writing Northanger Abbey, and really it's just an impressive house.)

But don't forget, they also tell her that they saw the Tilneys driving out of Bath. It doesn't cross Catherine's mind that someone would tell a lie like that just to get their own way.

"But, however, I cannot go with you today, because I am engaged; I expect some friends every moment." This was of course vehemently talked down as no reason at all...

It's important to understand that breaking an engagement to do something else (except in an emergency) was unforgiveable. The fact that the others consider this "no reason at all" tells us all about them, while Mrs Allen's failure to insist that Catherine keep her first appontment tells us she's not much of a guardian.

Anyway---Catherine will learn to know and do better.

I'm getting the impression that all Isabella cares about is herself as well. She's just not that loud and obnoxious about it as her brother is.




feb 17, 2012, 8:04 pm

FWIW, I don't think it's simple "dirt" that they used to discourage Catherine, but mud.

It confused me a bit, so I looked it up to be sure. If only I had access to the OED... (I work for a university, but in a roundabout way, so my log-in doesn't work for the library resources, alas).

feb 17, 2012, 8:33 pm

No, you're right; rain on dirty streets with inadequate drainage = ick.

And don't forget the contribution of the many horses! :)

feb 18, 2012, 9:26 am

Volume 1: Chapter 12 which Catherine apologizes to Mr. Tilney

1. What is the significance of wearing white?

2. Did everyone carry his or her own calling cards?

3. "My dear, you tumble my gown."

What does that mean?

4. " rich as a Jew.

You warned me!

5. I can't help but have a sneaky feeling that Thorpe is up to no good.

feb 18, 2012, 9:26 am

*runs off to two parties*

Redigerat: feb 18, 2012, 3:41 pm

1. Girls did sometimes wear colours during the day, usually pastels, but white was considered the most correct colour for them to wear, In this context, as Eleanor always wears white, Catherine doing so also is a mark of respect.

2. Yes. They served a variety of communication purposes, as well as vouching for who people were. Catherine would have had cards printed as part of her preparation for going into society for the first time; she wouldn't have needed them in her restricted country circle.

3. Presumably in her eagerness to persuade Mrs Allen to speak up and vindicate her, Catherine has grabbed hold of her rather roughly and disarranged her outfit a bit. Mrs Allen is, as usual, letting the conversation going on around her just slide past and is more concerned with her clothes than her duty to Catherine.

(See Point #1. Mrs Allen has paid no attention at all to Catherine's social problems, but she's noticed every detail of Eleanor's wardrobe.)

4. He's a sweetheart.

5. You think?? :)

Redigerat: feb 18, 2012, 3:59 pm

Now here is a passage you should study very carefully:

Catherine was restlessly miserable; she could almost have run around to the box in which he sat, and forced him to hear her explanation. Feelings rather natural than heroic possessed her; instead of considering her own dignity injured by this ready condemnation - instead of proudly resolving, in conscious innocence, to shew her resentment towards him who could harbour a doubt of it, to leave him all the trouble of seeking an explanation, and to enlighten him on the past only by avoiding his sight, or flirting with somebody else, she took to herself all the shame of misconduct, or at least of its appearance, and was only eager for an opportunity of explaining its cause.

There are several things going on here. Austen is again mocking the behaviour of "heroines", who make mountains out of molehills, and turn minor misunderstandings with the hero into the means of a major estrangement by remaining "proudly" silent in "conscious innocence" - when it could all be cleared up by a simple conversation. (Of course, behaviour such as this has the handy side-effect of making novels much longer.) There is further mockery in the inflated languaged - as there was when Austen suggested that Catherine was "disgraced in the eyes of the world", when she was stood up for a dance. Austen is backhandedly showing us what a sensible girl Catherine is - what a natural girl - one who has more important things to worry about than her "dignity".

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 10:04 am

Comments Re Volume 1: Chapter 12:

1. So, basically, is Austen is giving her own thoughts about women in society through Catherine? Is she making a statement that a woman should think for herself and be guided by what she thinks is appropriate for herself rather than be guided by what is expected of her by society? Especially since Catherine is considered a lady of high society? Or am I misintepreting this...and she was only commenting about the Catherine's not acting like a "heroine"?

2. How was such an idea/writing accepted in Austen's day by readers and by the public at large?

It's the basis of marriage counseling these days! So much misunderstanding takes place between men and women when a woman decides to "act out" her response rather than talk about it. Giving "the silent treatment" or talking to others about a situation often leads directly to misunderstanding. In addition, this behavior disturbs the close relationship between the two parties with a disagreement.

3. Austen is again mocking the behaviour of "heroines", who make mountains out of molehills

Don't you think that is done by some women in a (meager) attempt to prove they are "right"? I agree, though, this is the "stuff" out of which interesting novels can be built! :)

4. disgraced in the eyes of the world",

Funny that you should highlight that particular phrase. I'm now also reading J.M. Coetze's Disgrace which also deals with disgrace (pretty obvious from the title!), but one of a greater consequence (I won't reveal more here as that book has nothing to do with our tutored thread, but it is also very good!). (ETA: Notice I said, "...also...".) :D

5. Austen is backhandedly showing us what a sensible girl Catherine is - what a natural girl - one who has more important things to worry about than her "dignity".

I guess you knew ahead of time that I'd like Catherine much more than I liked Emma from our previous novel. You were right. Liberal old me has a hard time thinking that all of what is considered "right" by "high society" is, in fact, acceptable.

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 11:05 pm

Volume 1: Chapter 13 which John Thorpe tries to interfere with Catherine's plans once again

1. "...but that she must and should retract."

So bullying is not a new concept!

2. "...does "cut me to the quick"

A familiar phrase. Heh!

3. "When I see myself slighted for strangers..."

Isabella has too high a regard for herself! I don't think jealousy of friendships should be encouraged.

4. Isabella appeared to be ungenerous and selfish."


5. "These painful ideas crossed her mind though she said nothing."

What a lady Catherine was!

6. "..had applied her handkerchief to her eyes."

...which reminds me of what a young child would do to get her way.

When my daughter was a toddler, and I didn't give in to her desires, she would throw herself down on the ground, bang her head on the floor...and then look back to see if I was watching her. I would do all I could to keep from bursting out in laughter. It was so obvious that she was trying to manipulate me.

7. "This was the first time of her brother's openly siding against her."

Was that for his pleasure or for Catherine's benefit really? Whose pleasure was more important? Aren't they equally important?

8. "If they would only put off their scheme till Tuesday."

Why is it so hard for some people to compromise?

9. "Young men and women driving about the country in open carriages."

Wow! How daring!! :)

( be continued)

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 11:05 pm

Volume 1: Chapter 13 (continued...)

10. Regarding John Thorpe: For someone who purportedly is interested in Catherine, I'm wondering if John Thorpe is not using her to get to the individual who is "rich as a Jew" (although Mr. Allen, were he a Jew such as myself, he would be far from rich - in the monetary sense of the word).

11. At this point of the story, were I Catherine, I would no longer believe a word told to me by Isabella, James, or Mr. Thorpe!

12. "Pushing past the servant William..."

...a great faux pas, I'm sure!

13. "If Catherine does not go, I cannot.

Oh, yeah! The age-old "blame someone else" tactic.

14. "This is a compliment which gives me no pleasure."

LOL!! Right on, Catherine! Hey, Jane Austen is beginning to grow on me. :)

15. "I am doing what I believe to be right."

A fine thing to say, yet a finer thing to do.

16. "I have been to Miss Tilney and made your excuses."

Thsi is downright ourageous! At this point, I would have picked up something and thrown it at Mr. Thorpe. He shows complete disregard for Catherine. :(

17. "...the wind takes your every direction..."

It still does in my car with the windows or sunroof open! :)

18. "Young people do not like to be always thwarted."

For sure!

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 4:57 pm

Hey, what happened to you reading SLOWLY!? :)


We have to be a little careful here, as Austen is doing two things that need to be distinguished: she is telling through Catherine a realistic story of a young girl's entry into society and consequent growing up, while at the same time using Catherine to mock characters in novels. So it's almost as if Catherine is two people at once.

In novel terms, Austen is mocking authors who create artificial conflicts between their characters as a way of stretching out their books. I can give you a perfect example of this (and as a matter of fact, I wrote a blog post on it): in Catherine Cuthbertson's Romance Of The Pyrenees, the heroine convinces herself that the man she's in love with is engaged to another woman, and spends a volume and a half avoiding him, when a single conversation would have cleared the matter up.

Think back to the point where Catherine first sees Henry with Eleanor:

He looked as handsome and lively as ever, and was talking with interest to a fashionable and pleasing-looking young woman, who leant on his arm, and whom Catherine immediately guessed to be his sister; thus unthinkingly throwing away a fair opportunity of considering him lost to her for ever, by being married already. But guided only by what was simple and probable...instead of turning of a deathlike paleness, and falling in a fit on Mrs Allen's bosom, Catherine sat erect, in the perfect use of her senses...

Catherine doesn't dramatise herself, or make trouble for herself - and when there is trouble, as when the Tilneys think she stood them up, she tries to find an opportunity to put things right, even though it wasn't actually her fault. A "heroine", on the other hand, would probably let the situation (and her novel) drag out.

None of this is to say that there won't be times of serious trouble, and times when a woman (or a man) is perfectly right to take a stand - and to worry about their "dignity". Austen is simply suggesting that you pick your battles carefully.

And at the same time as she is having fun with unrealistic novels, as she does in all her novels Austen is telling the realistic story of a girl who has to learn how to negotiate between her own sense of right and wrong, and the demands that society, her family and her friends make of her, and the tensions that are created when there is conflict between the two. How far should she give in? Is she right to rely on her own judgement? How does she know who to trust?

One minor point - this isn't "high society" (which had its own rules and problems). All of Austen's heroines, like Austen herself, belong to the "gentry", the class below the aristocracy, who tended to be country-based and headed either by landowners or professional men like soldiers, lawyers or clergymen; whose sons usually had to work to support themselves, and whose daughters often couldn't expect much of a dowry. Morally and behaviourally, it was actually much stricter than the aristocracy; but on the other hand, young women of the gentry had more freedom of choice in who to marry or not, etc.

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 5:31 pm

what happened to you reading SLOWLY!?

I am reading slowly. This is only one chapter.

Can we equate "gentry" with our present day working class and white collar workers?

ETA: I found your blog post the fainting!

Could Rosa doubt what sanctioned this? No, she could not; and in heart-rending agony poor Rosabella fainted.”


ETA2: Bereft of sense, indeed…


feb 19, 2012, 5:13 pm

>>#131, 132

LOL!! Right on, Catherine! Hey, Jane Austen is beginning to grow on me.

Gotcha! :)

Seriously - I know that you found Emma very alien; would it be right to say that you're enjoying Northanger Abbey because you're recognising the situations and behaviour patterns in it from your own experience?

This is a major reason why many people do love Austen. It doesn't matter that her books were written 200 years ago; human nature doesn't change, and she certainly understood human nature.

Of your other comments---

1. Bullying is the second-oldest profession.

2. Where do you think I learn expressions like that? :)

7. Entirely for his own benefit. Austen is very good at these painful little scenes where an individual is ganged-up on, and pressured into doing something she (usually she) feels is wrong.

9. Two young couples together but unchaperoned was about as daring as you were allowed to be.

10. I think you're on pretty safe ground suspecting the motives of either Thorpe.

12. Servants were there to admit you, but also to keep you out!

18. When dealing with "young people", you should also pick your battles. :)

feb 19, 2012, 5:15 pm


Okay - I'll settle for posting slowly. :)

Can we equate "gentry" with our present day working class and white collar workers?

White collar is about right.

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 5:22 pm

Well, you weren't here, and there was lots about which to comment. I especially liked this chapter. It got me really riled up! :)

> 133

...which leads me to ask: Didn't married men wear wedding rings at that time? At least now, that's what single women look for when trying to size up an eligible man.

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 5:40 pm

> 135


LOL!! I think why I was originally afraid to try reading Austen was that I feared that archaic language and terms with which I wasn't familiar would throw me off. So far I see that some of her novels are fun and light. If I don't have to fear vocabulary and can understand context better, that does make for pleasurable reading.

...or, as my husband would say, "You win!" :)

would it be right to say that you're enjoying Northanger Abbey because you're recognising the situations and behaviour patterns in it from your own experience?

Indeed! I would have reacted to Catherine's situation in exactly the same way as she did. I think I'm focusing more on the character of Catherine and what she does than on how Austen is satirizing novels. She is a great character, though.

2. Where do you think I learn expressions like that?

That is not an unfamiliar expression. Did it really originate in this book?

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 5:53 pm


Stupid time zones!

No, they didn't, not in England; it was more common in Europe. You could dance with a man casually and it wouldn't matter, but marital status was one of the things that parents and guardians had a duty to look into.


Victory!! :)

You're reacting correctly. This novel works perfectly well as a novel, while the satire is just a bonus for those of us who have read enough 18th and 19th century writing to get the joke.

Oh, no, "cut to the quick" is a very old expression - medieval, I think. It's just that I have a habit of using "archaic language and terms", as you'd say, that I pick up from these books. It gets me a lot of funny looks, I can tell you. :)

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 6:00 pm

It gets me a lot of funny looks


You could dance with a man casually and it wouldn't matter, but marital status was one of the things that parents and guardians had a duty to look into.

So how did young women tell if a man was married? Did they inquire outrightly or were they more discreet in their inquiry?

Did married men try conceal the fact of theri own marriage when they saw a desirable young woman?

Or did everyone know everyone else's business to the degree that a marriage could not be concealed?

feb 19, 2012, 6:20 pm

Mostly the latter. But if a man came into a neighbourhood where he wasn't known, he could get away with "acting" single, if he was that type of man. (Think, in contrast, of Catherine deciding that Henry did not talk or behave like a married man.) The young women would be told by their elders what a man's situation was, and if it was appropriate for them to dance, and talk, and accept invitations, or receive flowers from him. This is why careful guardians are important - remember your own comment about Mr Allen "checking out" Henry when he first appeared on the scene.

feb 19, 2012, 6:38 pm

This is why careful guardians are important

I liked that Mr. Allen did not approve of Mr. Thorpe's behavior and supported Catherine in this situation. Of course, Mrs. Allen could only think of whether or not mud would get onto Catherine's white dress, ruin Catherine's hair, or cause her bonnet to fly away (that is, until Mr. Thorpe prompted his wife to give the correct opinion on what the subject actually was!). :)

feb 19, 2012, 7:01 pm

Female education was a subject of argument for literally centuries. Through the 18th and 19th centuries it was common for writers (particularly female writers) to include characters like Mrs Allen as a way of saying, "Fine, stop them learning anything more complex than how to choose a dress - but this is what you'll end up with!" :)

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 7:34 pm

Fine, stop them learning anything more complex than how to choose a dress - but this is what you'll end up with

LOL!! Mrs. Allen is such a funny character, though. She's ditzy, but I don't dislike her.

feb 19, 2012, 7:45 pm

De-lurking to exclaim in admiration.

And at the same time as she is having fun with unrealistic novels, as she does in all her novels Austen is telling the realistic story of a girl who has to learn how to negotiate between her own sense of right and wrong, and the demands that society, her family and her friends make of her, and the tensions that are created when there is conflict between the two. How far should she give in? Is she right to rely on her own judgement? How does she know who to trust?

Wow, Liz, nice sum-up!

Redigerat: feb 19, 2012, 7:50 pm


Speaking to your edited post - you see what I mean about the artificial conflict that you tend to find in sentimental novels, as opposed to the real difficulties Austen creates for her characters.

On the other hand, it's the very extravagance of sentimental novels that makes them fun to read, if not the least bit "real".


A bit tiresome as a companion for life, perhaps?

feb 19, 2012, 7:51 pm


Thank you!

feb 19, 2012, 8:05 pm

> 144

A bit tiresome as a companion for life, perhaps?

If you put it that way, well...yes. I can get rid of Mrs. Allen by simply closing my book, but Mr. Allen? It seems as if he's stuck with her. ;)

feb 20, 2012, 10:30 am

Volume 1: Chapter 14 which Catherine takes a stroll with Eleanor and Mr. Tilney

1. "...whose beautiful verdure and coppice render it so striking an object."

Is "verdure" greenery? What is coppice?

2. I can identify with what Catherine says about history books...

"I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing and hardly any women at all--it is very tiresome.

versus novels...

"...invention is what delights me in other books..."

I think novels bring stories alive in a way that nonfiction often does not. Sometimes I find even greater truth in novels because I discover how peeople feel about their situations. Some contemporary narrative nonfiction, written with more of a tendency to entertain, works very well in resolving my problem with reading purely fact-based books.

Then again, Mt. Tilney replies, "If a speech be well drawn up, I read it with pleasure, by whomsoever it be made."

...which reminds of me of the "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which I first read in its entirety only this past December. It so impressed me that I decided to have the first TIOLI challenge of the year based on its content.

Mr. Tilney rocks! :)

3. "...a very warm panegyric from her on that lady's merits..."

What does that word mean?

4. " three duodecimo volumes..."

...and that word?

5. I know that you would want me to note this passage, Liz:

"The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have already been 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 to desire anything more in woman than igornace. 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 particuarly untoward."

In other words, Catherine is not acting the "heroine".

6. "Miss Moreland, I think very highly of all the women in the world--especially of those--whoever they may be--with whom I happen to be in company."

So cute!!

Redigerat: feb 21, 2012, 9:27 pm

1. Verdure is lush vegetation; a coppice is a grove of trees or shrubs. "Coppicing" is also the term for regular pruning to encourage new growth.

2. The idea that history books might entertain as well as inform - and that they might, occasionally, contain women - was rather late coming. :)

3. A panegyric is a speech of high praise; technically, it is one given in public.

4. The same book would be published in different formats, with different print sizes, quality of paper, decorative covers, etc., at different prices. The size was determined by how many times a single publisher's sheet was folded to make the final pages (which then had edges which had to be cut); duodecimo means it was folded twelve times, so it was quite a small book. Popular books, like novels, tended to be smaller and less expensive, to keep them in the price range of their target audience.

5. Yes, indeed. There is no such thing as an ignorant heroine; only real girls are ignorant. :)

By the way, that "sister author" in the first line is another reference to Frances Burney.

feb 20, 2012, 4:55 pm


"The person, gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

feb 20, 2012, 7:14 pm

Thanks for clarifying the "sister author".

Yeah. Your line is a good one too!

Redigerat: feb 20, 2012, 7:40 pm

It's also quite daring, considering that at that time there was still a touch of "secret sin" about novel reading. I like how she puts that line into the mouth of a man, to give it authority. :)

I also love the bit about Henry snabbling Udolpho from Eleanor and not giving it back. Typical male!

feb 20, 2012, 8:19 pm


Redigerat: feb 21, 2012, 8:46 pm

Voume 1: Chapter 15 which Isabella announces her engagement

1. "laid out some swilling shillings in purses and spars"

Whatever does that mean?

2. "...wore her puce colored sarcenet"

What do those words mean?

3. The announcing of engagements always makes me laugh because they are sort of competitive among women. When my daughter announced her own engagement, my younger son's reply was, "Uh oh! My girlfriend is going to kill me!" -- as they had been dating for a much longer period of time. :)

4. Does Mr. Thorpe still have designs on capturing Catherine's heart? It's hard to tell what his intentions really are.

ETA: I corrected the typo in item #1 above.

Redigerat: feb 21, 2012, 9:29 pm

1. Shilling, not swilling. Do you have a misprint or did you misread it?

Spars are bits of mineral or crystal that were used for decorating. Generally that phrase means they went shopping for some accessories.

2. Puce is...a very difficult colour to describe. Sort of purply-brown. Sarcenet is a soft, silk-mix fabric.

3. :)

4. Oh, I haven't had a chance to say this for ages! - wait and see!!

feb 21, 2012, 5:05 pm

And this brings us yet again to INTERMISSION.

Give a yell, you lurkers!

feb 21, 2012, 5:07 pm

*Applause* *with yelling*

feb 21, 2012, 7:36 pm

*arm raised, waving*

Oh, oh, pick me! Pick me! I have a question!

Liz, I hope you don't mind, but I have a question from way back in Chapter 1.

" was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books...."

Um, baseballl? I know football is soccer, but what is baseball in this context?


Redigerat: feb 21, 2012, 7:47 pm

Whoo - I LOVE lurker questions!!

American baseball evolved out of an English game called rounders. Evidently the game's name underwent a change before it migrated, rather than afterwards. :)

It's another game that involves two teams alternating batting and fielding, and scoring runs by circling bases, but the kind of bat, the way you pitch, and the way runs are scored are different.

And by the way:

Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her...


feb 21, 2012, 7:51 pm

Rounders, huh? And me a baseball'd think I'd know these things!

Thanks for the prompt and excellent reply!

*back to lurking*

feb 21, 2012, 8:58 pm

Ah, been waiting for intermission to tell you all about Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale. She also wrote Austenland, her introduction to a 2 week Regency theme immersion adventure. In that one, the allusions were mainly about P&P, but in Midnight, Hale is riffing off of Northanger Abbey. It is chicklit, but it is well-done, very clever chicklit, especially to be appreciated if one has only recently read NA>

feb 21, 2012, 9:29 pm

Thanks for that information, Roni!

feb 21, 2012, 10:04 pm

I'm here. I'm just taking a break since it's... INTERMISSION. :)

feb 22, 2012, 4:59 am

But not for long! When Madeline is ready to resume it will be...END OF INTERMISSION.

Redigerat: feb 22, 2012, 8:22 am

Volume 2: Chapter 1 which Catherine meets Captain Tilney

I didn't quite understand this chapter...

1. What was wrong at Milson-street that made Miss Tilney and Henry so quiet?

2. Was it acceptable for Isabella to dance with Captain Tilney now that she was engaged to Mr. Morland?

3. If Isabella's family did not have great wealth, why was Isabella disappointed at what Mr. Morland (the father) was going to give James?

4. How long did people remain engaged before they married at that time?

Redigerat: feb 22, 2012, 5:11 pm

1. I could give you an answer, but I'm inclined to say wait and see...things become clearer later on.

2. Yes, but not too much. The issue is more a convention that an engaged girl shouldn't want to dance with any man but her fiancé.

3. Precisely because she doesn't have any money - she's looking for it in her marriage.

4. That varied a lot. Two people of age, in comfortable circumstances, and with no family issues, could get married immediately by licence if they wanted. Otherwise you had the banns called and waited a minimum of three weeks. Working-class people often had to wait and save for years and years before they could afford to get married. And the higher up the social scale you get, the longer engagements went because the lawyers on each side had to thrash out the settlements, and because the bride had to get her trousseau ready. Also, if a fashionable honeymoon spot was only suitable at one time of the year, sometimes the wedding would be delayed until that time. (Sensible people chose the spot according to the time of the year, of course.) Amongst the gentry, several months was probably standard.

feb 23, 2012, 8:25 am

Volume 2: Chapter 2 which Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey

1. Do I understand this correctly? The Tilneys live in part of what was an ancient abbey?

2. Is that why Henry and Eleanor were so quiet? They knew they'd soon be leaving Bath?

Redigerat: feb 23, 2012, 4:25 pm

1. Yes, that's right. When the Reformation occurred, the convents and monasteries and their grounds that were seized by the crown were later given as grants to families perceived as loyal to the throne or for other services. Many old families therefore owned properties which were once church properties, and which generally maintained the original name - so Northanger Abbey here and Donwell Abbey in Emma. They then became estates that could be bought and sold, or which could be held in the family to descend down the male line, as seems to be the case with the Tilneys.

Of course, by the time we're speaking of, the original buildings were rarely intact, having been pulled down and rebuilt, or renovated, over the centuries. Of Northanger we are told, A large portion of the ancient building still making part of the present dwelling..., so only a section of the original property has been brought up to date.

2. Not entirely. :)

Redigerat: feb 24, 2012, 11:33 am

Volume 2: Chapter 3 which Catherine and Isabella chat

1. Why does Isabella keep quoting Tilney (Captain Tilney, I presume)?

2. Is it okay for an engaged woman to flirt with a single man to whom she is not betrothed? Poor James!

3. Why doesn't Catherine speak up on her brother's behalf?

4. Uh oh! I have a sneaking suspicion that John Thorpe has once again interfered in Catherine's life (unbeknownst to her) with another lie. I'll wait and see what happens...

> 169

When the Reformation occurred, the convents and monasteries and their grounds that were seized by the crown were later given as grants to families perceived as loyal to the throne or for other services.

That would have been great fun - to live in an old abbey! They'd have been better than old castles for ghost stories since the abbeys had been places much more spiritual in origin. :)

feb 24, 2012, 3:57 pm

1. See point #2.

2. See point #1.

3. In the first place she blames Captain Tilney - she was amazed that Isabella could endure it - and she's both too shy and too uncertain to "speak up" to an effective stranger. She's still misreading Isabella, out of her own straighforwardness; it doesn't occur to her that a woman engaged to one man would encourage another.

4. :)

Redigerat: feb 24, 2012, 4:12 pm

Reading back a bit, Volume II Chapter I contains some wonderful quotes.

You should keep this one from Henry in mind, Madeline, when you're pondering Catherine's behaviour:

"I only meant that your attributing my brother's wish of dancing with Miss Thorpe to good-nature alone, convinced me of your being superior in good-nature yourself to all the rest of the world."

Awww... :)

And then there's this exchange between Catherine and Henry, one of my favourite passages in all of Austen:

"I do not understand you."
"Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well."
"Me? - yes: I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."

feb 24, 2012, 4:12 pm

This chapter also has a reference to dancing in sets, as we were discussing earlier, when Catherine looked up and saw her with Captain Tilney preparing to give them hands across. That's the beginning of a figure (dance movement) that's done at the top of a set.

feb 25, 2012, 12:17 am

Volume 2: Chapter 4

... in which Catherine discusses her concerns with Mr.Tilney

1. So Mr. Tilney sees nothing wrong with his brother's behavior while Catherine does...and then Catherine lets Mr. Tilney talk her into believing nothing is wrong. Am I understanding this correctly?

2. "and once she gave her lover a flat contradiction, and once she drew back her hand..."

Does that mean all is not perfect between the betrothed couple?

feb 25, 2012, 12:35 am

Re: #2--wait and see!

feb 25, 2012, 12:52 am

Roni, you're beginning to sound like Liz! :)

feb 25, 2012, 7:06 am

I'd even say #1 is a "wait and see"! ;) remember that Henry Tilney is much more observant and aware of character than Catherine is, but it's a bit more complicated than that.

feb 25, 2012, 4:07 pm


Yeah, Roni! Saying "wait and see" and calling it expert tutoring is my job! :)


1. Catherine's questions are putting Henry on the spot, manners-wise. Henry sees exactly what's going on, but he won't criticise his brother publicly - more out of loyalty rather than affection, we gather - and he's not comfortable with criticising Catherine's friend to Catherine. So first he tries to evade Catherine's questions (she's too upset, and too straightforward, to understand nuance), and finally cuts off the conversation with some ambiguous reassurance.

2. {clears throat dramatically} "Wait and see!"

feb 25, 2012, 4:09 pm

{clears throat dramatically} "Wait and see!"


feb 25, 2012, 4:13 pm

>178 lyzard: Simply anticipating your response, not trying to take over your job!;-)

feb 25, 2012, 4:51 pm

My God! You're psychic!

Redigerat: feb 26, 2012, 6:34 pm

Volume 2: Chapter 5 which Catherine arrives at Northanger Abbey

1. I thought these statements were noteworthy:

"She doubted whether she might not have felt less, had she been less attended to."

I agree that too much attention leaves an individual a bit uncomfortable.

"She was quite pained by the severity of his reproof."

It is always uncomfortable, while a guest someone else's home, to be exposed to severe verbal reproach of one individual by another family member.

2. "...the tediousness of a two hours' bait".

What does that mean?

3. Why did General Tilney first put Catherine into one (very crowded) carriage, then into another? Was he trying to encourage the relationship between Catherine and Mr. Tilney as opposed to the one between his daughter and Catherine?

4. What is a "chaise-and-four"?

Obviously, it's some kind of carriage.

5. I loved Mr. Tilney's tongue-in-cheek description of what Catherine is imagining to find at Northanger Abbey. It reminded me of that scene in The Castle of Otranto where the secret passageway was found! Is this part of Austen's satire about Gothic novels? I also was reminded that, when I read Bram Stoker's Dracula, the protagonist found himself locked in a castle to which he had come as a guest! Have you read Dracula, Liz?

6. "for painted glass, dirt, and cobwebs, the difference was very distressing."

I can relate to this. I feel for Catherine because, being the vintage goods/antiques junkie that I am, I love old places and old objects. I dislike history per se, but I do love old objects (those I can touch and use! - not museum pieces) which themselves have a history.

Redigerat: feb 26, 2012, 9:46 pm

Ahem. Chapter *5*, I think! Is this your way of wriggling out of INTERMISSION?? :)

1. His anxiety for her comfort...made it impossible for her to forget that she was a visitor.

Yes, indeed.

Although you might want to consider whether it is entirely anxiety for Catherine's comfort that is motivating General Tilney.

2. A bait is a stop to rest the horses when you're travelling. General Tilney may be overdoing this as he seems to be overdoing everything else.

4. To answer you backwards for convenience, a chaise (pronounced "shay") is a travelling carriage built more for speed than space, hence the crowding. The "-and-four" means it's drawn by four horses.

3. From what we've seen of him, probably the General's first thought was for his own comfort; but he may have his reasons for giving up his seat in the curricle to Catherine... :)

5. Yes, we're getting into the "Gothic" part of the novel now! I have read Dracula many times; I think it's a much better novel than it is generally given credit for.

6. You sound very like Catherine! Particularly your dislike of history.

feb 26, 2012, 4:52 pm

Another quote:

But the merit of the curricle did not all belong to the horses; - Henry drove so well, - so quietly - without making any disturbance, without parading to her, or swearing at them...


Redigerat: feb 26, 2012, 6:35 pm

> 182

Is this your way of wriggling out of INTERMISSION??

Not intentionally.

Oops! It is chapter 5 (fixed).


You sound very like Catherine! Particularly your dislike of history.


But the merit of the curricle did not all belong to the horses; - Henry drove so well, - so quietly - without making any disturbance, without parading to her, or swearing at them...

I like that line as well.

Redigerat: feb 26, 2012, 9:45 pm

I wouldn't like to be in a confined space with John Thorpe, but I can laugh at him from a safe distance. :)

It is indeed INTERMISSION, but that doesn't stop you from commenting on anything up to this point - have at it!

feb 26, 2012, 9:43 pm

I've been commenting all along!

Any comments out there from lurkers?

feb 27, 2012, 9:52 am

*lurking quietly*

feb 27, 2012, 10:37 am


feb 27, 2012, 2:18 pm


feb 27, 2012, 4:52 pm

Volume 2: Chapter 6 which Catherine spends her first night at Northanger Abbey

1. If Catherine was so fearful of the chest and the closet, why did she attempt to open both?

2. "white cotton counterpane"

What is that?

3. What is it with General Tilney?

"...pulled the bell with violence"

He didn't need to do that so angrily as the women were just entering as he pulled the dinnerbell. He seems to like to control everything. Then afterward he stated that haste had not been needed! What?!

4. Did Catherine really have the right to snoop into the chest and the cabinet?

5. A thought for reflection:

What is "the true size for rational happiness?"

Interestingly, the size of new houses in the U.S. has been growing larger and larger year by year. That is, until recently. With heating costs higher, greater job loss, more people living alone, and less adults having many children, new homes are now being built smaller.

6. "...coming in with a faggot"

What is that?

7. "Her heart fluttered. her knees trembled, and her cheeks grew pale."


8. She snuffed the candle. Doesn't that mean that she extinguished the candle? I saw that it said that she snuffed the candle, perhaps thereby extinguishing it? What is the difference?

Redigerat: feb 27, 2012, 5:04 pm

1. Because that is what a heroine would do. :)

If Gothic novels teach us anything, it's that chests and closets nearly always conceal secret passage-ways by which bands of banditti may abduct young women so as to hold them for ransom and/or force them into marriage with the bandit chief.

Also, the heroine deliberately doing things that terrify her is another mark of the Gothic.

2. A bedspread, a quilt.

3. He seems to like to control everything.

Uh-huh. He keeps being himself, i.e. loud, violent and controlling, then trying to put on a good front for Catherine's benefit.

You might be understanding better now why their father being around seems to damp his children's spirits.

4. Well - if they're in her room, they could be inferred as being provided for her use, so that it isn't strictly snooping.

But mostly, see #1.

5. You'll find a lot of discussion in Austen of money / possessions vs love - there's a point on the graph where the lines intersect, and her characters get together. (Her philosophy in this respect is often summarised as: "It was wrong to marry for money, but foolish to marry without it.")

Enormous estates brought prestige and power, but were huge amounts of work, stress and expense.

6. A bundle of twigs used as a fire-starter.

7. Yup. :)

8. A snuffer was a cone-like metal device on a rod used for putting out candles, particularly candles on high places like mantlepieces where you couldn't reach them easily. So Catherine used one of these rather than blowing the candle out. (Although some people do use the word "snuffed" to simply mean putting the candle out.)

Redigerat: feb 27, 2012, 8:20 pm

3. I t seems strange that General Tilney is so disagreeable while Mr. Tilney and Eleanor seem so nice. Of course, there is also General Captain Tilney whom I don't know every well yet. He seems, presumptuous. I guess he might have gotten that personality quirk from his dad. :)

6. A bundle of twigs used as a fire-starter.

Is there some relationship between that word and the British word "fag" used to mean cigarette? What about the common slur "faggot" to mean a homosexual male? How are those words related? I am assuming that word did not have negative connotations back in the 19th century.

8. I did know what a snuffer is. In fact, I've been looking to buy one. They're pretty neat. I just don't understand how Catherine "snuffed" the candle and then was surprised that it was extinguished. Or am I not understanding what she did exactly?

feb 27, 2012, 7:34 pm

Captain Tilney, you mean? Don't forget, he's an eldest son which means he's privileged and very likely spoilt, compared to his younger siblings.

No-one seems quite sure how or where how the word "faggot" came to be an abusive term for homosexuals; it was originally a term of abuse for old women. There is some suggestion that in Britain it evolved out of the concept of "fagging" - i.e. a younger boy acting as an older boy's servant, effectively, at school - perhaps indicating what some of the "services" he performed might have been. "Fag" is also a term for of meat dish made of pork, I think, while the slang for cigarette seems to be unconnected, but perhaps has something to do with asking for a light.

Catherine used the snuffer to extinguish the candle - she put the cone part over the flame to put it out, or to snuff it, as it's put.

feb 27, 2012, 8:19 pm

Catherine used the snuffer to extinguish the candle - she put the cone part over the flame to put it out, or to snuff it, as it's put.

Then why was she so surprised when the light on the candle went out completely? She seemed surprised by the total dark, almost as if she had wished to relight the candle.

feb 27, 2012, 8:23 pm

I think perhaps she expected more light to be coming through the window, despite the storm, maybe?

Redigerat: feb 27, 2012, 8:25 pm

>>#195 Ah! Yes, sorry, I hadn't re-read that properly. In this context, snuffing can also mean tidying up the wick so the candle burns more brightly; a small tool like a pair of scissors (also called a snuffer, confusingly enough!) was used. Catherine is nervous and accidentally puts the candle out instead.

feb 27, 2012, 8:28 pm

Oh, that explains it! Now it makes more sense. I couldn't understand how she snuffed the candle without thinking that the flame would go out.

Redigerat: feb 27, 2012, 8:29 pm

> 196

I think perhaps she expected more light to be coming through the window

Keri, may be she was hoping for lightning! :D

feb 27, 2012, 8:57 pm

Or~ I didn't realize that snuffing meant tidying the wick in this context, and assumed she was simply surprised that it was so dark out. me and my modern sensibilities, where there's so much light pollution that it's not completely dark even during a storm at night.

feb 27, 2012, 9:42 pm

Speaking of lights going out, that reminds me that I have to buy a new globe for my hurricane lamp. I hope there are no storms coming soon. :)

feb 28, 2012, 8:31 am

Volume 2: Chapter 7 which Catherine is taken on a garden tour

Help me with the following vocabulary, please and thanks:

1. "The netting-box...was closed with joyful haste."

2. "The pinery had yielded only one hundred..."

3. "How were Mr. Allen's succession-houses worked?"

2. Why is General Tilney delaying showing Catherine the Abbey?

Redigerat: feb 28, 2012, 5:44 pm

1. We've encountered netting before (#52). A netting-box is just that, a box for keeping your matierials and what you're working on in. Like a knitting-basket. It was one of the handiworks that girls were supposed to occupy their spare time with - they weren't allowed to be "idle", which is one of the reasons novel-reading was frowned upon - but notice that Catherine closes her netting-box with "joyful haste" as soon as she has an excuse.

2. A pinery is a hothouse for growing pineapples. At the time there was no importing of "exotic" fruits and vegetables, and so many country estates had special greenhouses for growing them. Pineapples were prized, and being able to serve one at dinner was a status symbol.

3. Succession-houses, also called forcing-houses, were greenhouses for "forcing" fruits or vegetables or flowers to grow and ripen. They were used to make things grow that wouldn't otherwise, or to have produce out of season. They would also be used as nurseries for seedlings, which would be planted when they reached a certain age, or just to keep plants in, like a conversatory.

Country estates gained much of their income through farming and crop-growing - think of Mr Knightley and the apples in Emma. He grows them as a cash-crop, but also gives them as gifts to his neighbours. There would also be farms and gardens dedicated to producing food for the household - the "home farm" and the "kitchen garden".

4. Catherine is finding him, like Isabella, hard to read. What's going on here is that General Tilney wants his walk and to show off his gardens, so he pretends to "see" that this is what Catherine wants too, even though we know it isn't. He's getting his own way while making himself look unselfish, which is why Eleanor is uncomfortable; she understands. However, the confused Catherine reads this as an unwillingness to show her the house.

feb 28, 2012, 11:59 pm

Heh! I saw the "sarcenet" question on the other tutored thread!

feb 29, 2012, 12:00 am

Just couldn't help myself!

feb 29, 2012, 12:07 am


feb 29, 2012, 8:25 am

Volume 2: Chapter 8 which General Tilney gives a partial tour of his home

1. "...some footman in dishabille sneaked off."

What does that mean?

2. What was the reason for General Tilney not showing the more interesting and older part of the Abbey? Was it because he only wanted to show elegance?

3. Is Catherine acting the "heroine" by imagining that Mrs. Tilney is being kept prisoner in her old room?

4. So was it Catherine's intention to look for Mrs. Tilney's room, but fell asleep instead?

Redigerat: feb 29, 2012, 4:37 pm

1. "Dishabille" mean undressed, or incompletely dressed. Footman were really as much for show as for usefulness; they got paid about five times as much as the maidservants for doing a fifth as much work. They were required to wear a special uniform, called "livery", which was a coloured and decorated coat, knee-breeches, stockings, shiny shoes, and a powdered wig. It was flashy, but it wasn't very comfortable; and a footman on break, or who didn't expect to see his employer, would often unbutton his jacket and take his wig off. Obviously this footman wasn't expecting to run into General Tilney and so sneaks off to hide being out of uniform. It's another "unromantic" bit of reality for Catherine.

2. Yes, he and Catherine are at complete cross-purposes here: he just wants to show off his expensive renovations, and she's not interested in anything new or shiny. Which leads us to #3 - in all likelihood the section of the house in which Mrs Tilney lived (it wasn't unusual for a husband and wife to have different areas in a house as their own) hasn't been brought up to date, and while Eleanor is thinking only of the sentimental aspect of it, the General doesn't want it seen because it's shabby.

3. Yes, she's getting nicely carried away here. :)

There are a range of jokes built in her both at Catherine's expense and that of the Gothic novel - such as her observing how many servants the Tilneys have, compared to what novels teach her a house this size "should" have (i.e. hardly any, so it can be dusty and cobwebby) - and her assumption that even after nine years, General Tilney must be unable to bear seeing his wife's rooms, since that kind of exaggerated sentiment is a common feature of Gothic novels. No-one in a Gothic novel ever has an ordinary life, or does anything for an ordinary motive, or dies in an ordinary way. :)

4. Being a heroine is hard, tiring work!

To be kept up for hours, after the family were in bed, by stupid pamphlets, was not very likely. There must be some deeper cause: something was to be done which could be done only while the household slept; and the probability that Mrs Tilney yet lived, shut up for causes unknown, and receiving from the pitiless hands of her husband a nightly supply of coarse food, was the conclusion that necessarily followed.


The overriding joke here is that if Catherine was in fact the heroine of a Gothic novel, she would be perfectly correct in all her surmises, no matter how bizarre and extreme; and she would probably creep out of her room by the light of a single flickering candle, discover the hidden passage-way behind the closet by which Mrs Tilney was conveyed to a secret dungeon, and venture down the winding stone staircase leading to the old torture-chamber below the house to where the poor woman is chained up.

But since this is a Jane Austen novel, she falls asleep instead.

feb 29, 2012, 9:01 pm

But since this is a Jane Austen novel, she falls asleep instead.


It always amazes me, in spooky movies, why people enter dark and dangerous places to see what is in them. Why don't they just leave and go to somewhere safe?

Redigerat: feb 29, 2012, 9:11 pm

Well, exactly. :)

There's a bit in Salem's Lot where the heroine goes poking into the vampire's lair, while thinking to herself of all the films she's watched where the heroine goes poking into somewhere dark and dangerous and how she always reacted by thinking, What a stupid bitch, I'd never do that!

feb 29, 2012, 10:07 pm

I am such a Stephen King fan, but I never read Salem's Lot. I probably will need to now. :)

I was recently listening to The Shining (another great Stephen King story) on CD during a long car ride home alone on a dark night. I got to a place in the story where Jack Torrance, the main character, is searching in a hotel room and goes to pull back a shower curtain. I had to turn off the tape because I just *knew* someone would be behind that shower curtain, and I didn't want to get scared off of the road while I was driving. I prepared myself and slowly turned on the tape again. I won't tell what happened, though. :)

I would really like it if Catherine could get to explore more of Northanger Abbey herself and then find Mrs. Tilney still alive! That's my kind of book. :)

feb 29, 2012, 10:17 pm

It's okay - I know what's behind the shower curtain... :)

I would really like it if Catherine could get to explore more of Northanger Abbey herself and then find Mrs. Tilney still alive! That's my kind of book. :)

Okay, we definitely need to work on finding you some genuine Gothics, 'cause it ain't gunna happen in Janey!

feb 29, 2012, 10:42 pm

'cause it ain't gunna happen in Janey!

*roars with laughter*

Redigerat: mar 1, 2012, 8:46 am

Volume 2: Chapter 9 which Mr. Tilney arrives home

1. The part where Mr. Tilney surprises Catherine at the top of the stairs was very funny.

2. How acceptable is it to snoop about in someone's home, opening doors to enter a room into which a guest has not been invited? It's not right to do that even today!

3. At the end of this chapter, was Mr. Tilney really upset at Catherine or was he just pretending to be?

mar 1, 2012, 4:16 pm

1. There's another joke buried there - Catherine's, "How came you here?" - reacting as if she's on a hidden staircase in an abandoned section of a "Gothic" mansion, instead of on a fairly main thoroughfare!

2. Not acceptable at all.

3. No, he's really upset for several reasons. Catherine has crossed a line with her actions and even more with her thoughts. He's upset both because of the implications of what she's been thinking (even though he knows it's wrong and ridiculous), but even more because she's let herself down and done something that's "beneath her".

mar 1, 2012, 8:40 pm

I am a new member as 03/01/12. The book was required reading in my freshman year at the college I attended. I have a copy at home and wiii read it again in the near future.

Redigerat: mar 1, 2012, 8:56 pm

Hi James!

Welcome to LibraryThing, the 75 Books in 2012 Challenge group, and the tutored read threads. To think you have discovered all of these at once!

To learn more about LibraryThing, look here.
To learn more about the 75-ers group, look here.
For more about tutored reads, look here

Have fun!

mar 1, 2012, 8:56 pm

> 215

I'm surprised to see Mr. Tilney mad at Catherine. He's not as laid back as I thought. What gives him the right to judge her, though?

mar 2, 2012, 12:16 am

Well, judging her. At best she's poking and prying where she shouldn't be, at worst she's accusing his father of murdering hhis mother. I think he's allowed to get mad, or at least be disappointed in her.

Redigerat: mar 2, 2012, 11:23 am

she's accusing his father of murdering his mother.

...but what if she'd been right?! Heh!

Can you tell I'm concurrently reading a murder mystery, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Yeah. Sometimes family members do kill one another. They might do this without the knowledge of anyone else. They are discovered through the suspicions of a third party. Hopefully, they do not do this too often, though.

Oh, no! I've turned into Catherine!! ;)

Moving on...

mar 2, 2012, 11:20 am

Volume 2: Chapter 10 which Catherine receives a letter

1. "went down...with a broken heart"

A bit of an overreaction, I think.

2. " seemed as if the whole might be traced to that sort of reading in which she had indulged."

Come on! Blame it on the books!! :)

3. "You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of human nature - Such feelings ought to be invesigated, that they may know themselves."

I have no idea what that means!

Redigerat: mar 2, 2012, 4:19 pm

Yes, but not in this (novelistic) world, where an unhappily married woman dwindling into poor health and dying young is enough of a sad reality.

What Catherine is guilty of really is lack of self-discipline. Impulsive behaviour was a dangerous thing in a society where the rules were very rigid and you could ruin yourself with quite a small mis-step. Ultimately all Catherine has done here is make herself look foolish, but it's a lesson in allowing neither your thoughts nor your actions to run away with you.

1. She thinks she's ruined herself in Henry's good opinion and lost him, so not that much of one.

2. Read, but read with discipline. :)

3. Catherine is generous and always puts the best interpretation upon everyone's actions. (Except General Tilney's!) Henry loves that about her, and he is again struck by what a nice person she is; but---he also recognises that, unfortunately, she has to learn to be a little more discriminating about people, and understand that not everyone's motives are as pure as hers. He's suggesting that her reaction to people should be based on their qualities and not just her own impulses - that she must think as well as feel.

"Discrimination" is also what Austen is suggesting Catherine needs to learn in her reading - to tell the difference between a good novel that has serious things to say about life, and one that's just a bit of fun. Mind you, she's still having her little joke:

Charming as were all Mrs Radcliffe's works, and charming even the works of her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for.

Catherine isn't giving up on her Gothic novels just yet...

mar 2, 2012, 3:37 pm

The formidable Henry soon followed her into the room, and the only difference in his behaviour to her, was that he paid her rather more attention than usual. Catherine had never wanted comfort more, and he looked as if he was aware of it


mar 2, 2012, 4:33 pm

..and she's eating up all that attention!

mar 2, 2012, 4:35 pm

Wouldn't you?? :)

mar 2, 2012, 6:07 pm

I would. :D

mar 3, 2012, 1:21 am

Volume 2: Chapter 11

... in which Catherine visits Woodston

1. "...seemed to think an apology necessary for the flatness of the country.''

There are some things that are not the fault of individuals!

2. "..all the little chandler's shops"

What does that mean?

3. Is General Tilney thinking of this house for Catherine?

mar 3, 2012, 1:56 am

1. Some people think they can (or should be able to) control everything.

2. Candle-makers and sellers. We're still in the pre-gas days when large households could go through enormous numbers of candles.

3. The General is thinking a lot of things. :)

Redigerat: mar 4, 2012, 12:23 am

Volume 2: Chapter 12

... in which Catherine reads a letter from Isabella

These people are talking circles round me. This is what I think happened...

Captain Tilney had only been flirting with Isabella and had not really been interested in her at all. Isabella already broke James' heart so James will not take her back. Catherine still does not like Captain Tilney.

So now, does Mr. Tilney actually think that Catherine might plead with James on behalf of Isabella? Is that what Mr. Tilney is trying to prevent Catherine from doing at the end of this chapter?

mar 4, 2012, 12:38 am

It is likely that Isabella read too much into Captain Tilney's flirting, and broke with James before she had Captain Tilney properly caught. Once she was free, Captain Tilney bolted.

What Henry is commenting on is Catherine's generosity - her "general integrity" - even in this situation. She is seeing the situation from all points of view and not merely seeing everything from James's perspective, as you might expect from "family partiality". Because she feels for Isabella as well as James (though not for Captain Tilney), she is more hurt by what has happened than she would be if she either just sided with James, or took a "serves her right" attitude to Isabella.

mar 4, 2012, 12:39 am

By the way, we have accelerated straight past INTERMISSION! - but since we are so close to the end of the book, I think we'll just keep going.

mar 4, 2012, 12:44 pm

I was wondering...

Since women were so protected in the 19th century, were most women as naive as Catherine has been in this story, or was that more of a trait particular to her?

mar 4, 2012, 4:58 pm

That could vary a great deal according to individual circumstances. Broadly, a girl learned what her parents were willing to have her learn, and what life experience taught her; it would depend upon her parents' own situation in life. The Morlands themselves are uncomplicated, honest people living quietly and comfortably in the country; Catherine's experience is happy but very narrow as a consequence. (We note, by the way, that for all he has more experience of the world than his sister, James Morland is no better judge of character - and in fact may be a worse one, since even by the end he hasn't figured John Thorpe out.) Girls brought up in London would generally gain a greater knowledge of the world, while those from families without much money, like Isabella, might be taught from an early age that they had to "marry well", and perhaps that they shouldn't be too fussy how they went about it.

mar 5, 2012, 12:18 am

Volume 2: Chapter 13 which Catherine is asked to depart

1. How can Catherinse stay so long with the Tilneys? Isn't such a long stay an imposition on the host family?

2. Why isn't a servant being sent to accompany Catherine? Isn't that insulting as well as dangerous?

3. I can't help but think that John Thorpe has something to do with this.

mar 5, 2012, 12:27 am

1. No, it was actually very common - perhaps slightly more unusual in this case since Catherine and Eleanor are quite new acquaintaces. House-parties during the 19th century could go on for months, and some people literally didn't go home for a year or more, but simply moved from visit to visit. (For poor relations, that was their greatest ambition!)

2. Yes.

3. :)

mar 5, 2012, 12:43 am


mar 14, 2012, 2:55 am

I just read the first three chapters and I'm enjoying it a lot. I loved your introduction Liz, explaining about Northanger Abbey and Jane Austen's first publishing experiences.
I have such a basic question I'm embarrassed to ask it. Maybe I should check it out on Wikipedia? Anyway my first question is what is a sonnet?

mar 14, 2012, 4:56 am

Yay!! Welcome, Ilana, to our first extended tutoring session! I'm very glad that you decided to join in and ask your own questions - and remember, there are no such things as basic questions! Any question that clarifies the text and helps you to understand the novel is a good question. :)

A sonnet is a poem that usually has fourteen lines, with a rhyming pattern of A-B-A-B C-D-C-D E-F-E-F G-G. (There are rules about the syllables, too, but we needn't get into that!) Shakespeare wrote many sonnets and so did the romantic poets who were publishing their poetry across the years that Austen was working on Northanger Abbey.

Here is a famous one by Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

However---what is important in the context of the novel is that the heroines of Gothic and sentimental novels always read poetry, and very often wrote poetry as well. Many of these novels included poems supposedly written by their heroines. Sonnets were the most "romantic" kind of poems to write.

mar 14, 2012, 5:04 am

Sooo beautiful, especially if read aloud... that last line! *sigh*
Famous it is, and rightly so :-)
(Sorry for interrupting the dialogue, but it's been a while since I read this one. Thanks for quoting it!)

mar 14, 2012, 5:19 am

Thanks for dropping by!

mar 14, 2012, 9:36 pm

#238 Thanks for expelling the sonnet form to me Liz. I know Shakespeare is well known for his sonnets, and I figured out they were made up of 14 lines, but did not understand the rhyming construction (I'm not great at analysis and was very bored with the little time we spent discussing poetry at school). Of that particular famous sonnet, I have to admit that I only understand the first five lines, and the rest is confusing more than anything. I'm sure it's very lovely, if one can understand it to begin with...

I believe that Bill Bryson mentioned in Shakespeare: The World as Stage that there is conjecture as to the possibility that the sonnets were written to a male object of affection rather than to a woman. He brought some convincing arguments to support this, none of which come to mind right now... But I'm seriously digressing here.

#239 I read it out loud Nathalie and agree that it's sounds quite beautiful, though I still can't really make it out!

Back to #52: I love that Madeline couldn't figure out if Isabelle did or did not want to meet the young men in chapter 6! :-)

I'm loving that Austen's humour in NA is that much more emphasized, because it makes it a lot easier for me to cue into it and appreciate it fully. Maybe having read several JA novels before also helps me to recognize it, though I've always been particularly fond of that dry British humour that can go unnoticed by those who aren't familiar with it. It just happens it's part of our Canadian culture too, for obvious reasons and for all that, even I get caught sometimes in taking things at face value. But that's just because I'm very naive in some ways.

I sought out and found without any difficulty The Hare And Many Friends last night and found it to be a great parable. Was it still taught in school when you were a student? I got a bit paranoid as I was reading it and was thinking, "but oh no, I have quite a few friends here on LT, so is that what he's talking about?", so must say I just LOVED that you made the comparison between LT and FB. I don't have that many friends on FB, comparatively speaking because I refuse to make "friends" with people I've never exchanged so much as a word with before! Somehow though, I doubt John Gay could have even imagined, not even in his wildest dreams how the internet would one day change our definition of friendship!

Completely aside from this, I have to ask you Liz where is it you live? I assumed you were in the U.S. (and thought I'd seen that on your profile page), but seeing the discussion about time zones you two had, am now terribly curious...

mar 14, 2012, 9:38 pm

#53 "...but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?"
"Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them..."

Which leads me to ask: have you read all of them perchance Liz?

Redigerat: mar 14, 2012, 9:53 pm


Well, poetry isn't for everyone...unless they happen to be the heroine of a sentimental novel, in which case it's compulsory. :)

Poetry, like novels, is often ruined for people at school through poor teaching, I think.

I've heard the argument that this sonnet was written to a man, too, but I'm not familiar with the details.

Austen's juvenilia, as it is called, her early writings that preceded her novels, are very funny and satirical. She was a product of the late 18th century, when there were fewer restrictions upon conduct, and less need to conform. Northanger Abbey was drafted at that time and is much more overtly funny than any of Austen's other novels, although they all have elements of humour. But moving through the 19th century there was more pressure on writers - and particularly women writers (a sense of humour in a woman was taken as a sign of a frivolous nature, at best) - to be serious, and wrote about serious subjects; so Austen had to tone her humour down in order to get published.

I think Madeline was taking too much at face value, too. :)

No, I did a lot of poetry on the way through school, but not that poem. One of the points I always make about Austen is that times change but human nature doesn't - and in the same way, although John Gay never dreamed of the internet, he understood the difference between "friends" and "real friends".

Ahh...I lurk here, I lurk there...

...I'm in Sydney, which means your evenings coincide with my lunchtimes. :)

mar 14, 2012, 9:57 pm


I have not - oh, the shame!

I tried the ones that were available to me many years ago. I gave up on the German ones, which were very hard going (not well translated), and couldn't get hold of Clermont or The Midnight Bell, but I have read The Castle Of Wolfenbach, The Mysterious Warning and Orphan Of The Rhine. De-lish!

I really should get back to the others...

Redigerat: mar 14, 2012, 10:31 pm

I'm determined to gain an appreciation for poetry, and have just this week received several books of collection by contemporary British poets like Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Harrison and Roger McGough. I also have short collections of classical poets such as Ovid, Lord Byron, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, Kipling and the Brontës. I've read a bit from most of them, but eventually will make my way through them all. I've read Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal and truly loved that, so there's hope for me yet...

From the way you describe Austen's juvenilia, it sounds like I might enjoy it. Though before I get into that, I must get through and appreciate her major novels, which means a re-read of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, which both royally got on my nerves. But as I read them during the Austenathon in 2011, I'll put that off to another year and hopefully you'll still want to tutor by then. :-)

One of the points I always make about Austen is that times change but human nature doesn't".

Which is why we still read and enjoy the classics of bygone days and still find them relevant in many ways, right?

SYDNEY! I LOVE Sydney. I was there in the (Ozzie) fall of 2007 for my beloved step-brother's wedding (they both live in Oz now). I also did some work while there, and loved it so much I swore I'd move there some day. Have great memories of my 3 weeks spend in New South Wales and dearly hope I will make my way back there in the not too too distant future.

Are the three novels you mention reading TCoW, TMW and OotR excessively long? Like Madeline, I tend to shrink away from long novels, though can make exceptions!

mar 14, 2012, 10:40 pm

#111 This is why the rule about girls not being allowed to refuse one man in order to dance with another was so awful, and why a lot of girls tried to arrange their dances before the dance itself. It was okay to refuse if you were already engaged for a dance.

Why was that rule put in place and how was is enforced?

Redigerat: mar 14, 2012, 10:57 pm

> 243

I think Madeline was taking too much at face value, too.

Harumph!! :)

mar 14, 2012, 10:59 pm


Unless it's just the way my brain works, poetry must have been taught better at my school than most; I certainly didn't come away with the enduring hatred many seem to have imbibed. (Except for Coleridge, but that's another story...) Weirdly, the poet I struggled with most at the time, Gerard Manley Hopkins, is the one I remember best and appreciate most now.

Probably more exposure to Austen's language in her novels would be a good idea before takeing on the juvenilia, which is much more unstructured and idiosyncratic.

Happy to help with S&S and P&P whenever you're up for it!

Which is why we still read and enjoy the classics of bygone days and still find them relevant in many ways, right?

One of the reasons, certainly. It's contradictory, because I think the other main reason is the insight they give into what now seems almost like an alien world. (Who was I talking to when I compared the classics and dystopian fiction? - as both needing an appreciation of "world-building".)


But of course! :)

Mind you...we have just come out of a shocking run of weather, the coollest, wettest summer on record. Everyone's a little stir-crazy from being indoors so much. We're having a rare dry sunny day today, but more rain from tomorrow onwards. :(

Whereabouts does your step-brother live?

It is an acceptable generalisation to say - there is no such thing as a short 18th or 19th century novel!

If we translate page sizes and fonts for today, most novels of this time would sit between 300 - 600 pages, some a bit shorter, many a lot longer. It's just the nature of the beast. The booksellers and libraries (which charged for their services) actively encouraged longer books, because they sold and loaned them by the volume, not by the book, and so increased their profits.

Out of those three, The Castle Of Wolfenbach is easily the shortest, 250 - 300 pages; the others are nearly twice as long.

Redigerat: mar 14, 2012, 11:02 pm


Oh, there were rules about everything girls did - mostly for the convenience of men. :)

I don't know the origin of that one, but the girl who broke it would get herself talked about and perhaps not be invited to the best parties or danced with by the nice men.

mar 14, 2012, 11:02 pm



I wondered if you were out there...

Redigerat: mar 15, 2012, 8:11 am

> 250

I wondered if you were out there...

...but, of course!

Now that I've read Northhanger Abbey, I want to see what others have to say about it and what some of their questions are.

mar 15, 2012, 4:56 pm

Rosalita and I are about to start a tutored read of Shakespeare's sonnets, by a coincidence. We'll probably be getting into the Young Man and the Dark Ladye, etc. I'm looking forward to it!

mar 15, 2012, 5:23 pm

Excellent! - I hope it goes well. I look forward to lurking! :)

okt 15, 2015, 6:27 pm

Bumping up as I'm listening to Northanger Abbey right now. ;-)

feb 7, 2016, 3:02 pm

Another bump as I am finally getting around to this one after having this thread starred since 2012.

The reason I'm finally reading it: One of my student employees is reading Northanger Abbey in her (required) Interpretation of Literature class, and I told her I would read along with her. She has never read Austen and was a bit anxious about reading such an old book, but on Friday she told me she was enjoying it very much and was surprised at how funny it is.

feb 7, 2016, 7:10 pm

I'm always surprised when people are surprised. :)

Hope you enjoy it, Julia!