Monday, April 16, 2018

"Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen (again)

(From my Instagram)
After this reread, I can say for certain that, yes, Northanger Abbey ties with Pride and Prejudice for my second-favorite Austen novel.  (Persuasion is my favorite, and has been for decades now.)

I love Catherine Morland.  I love Henry Tilney.  I love Elanor Tilney.  They're all absolutely adorable, and I want to hug all three of them.  At once, if possible.  An Austen group hug. 

I also love how much this book makes me laugh.  It's just delightful, that's all there is to it!  I first read it in 2012 -- it was the last of her major works that I read.  I loved it then, and I loved it now.  How could I not?  An entire novel about a heroine who can't possibly be the heroine of a novel?  It's brilliant.

As usual, Austen's writing is delightfully wry and witty and sarcastic.  Especially the dialog for Henry Tilney, whom I would probably have been scared of if I'd met him when I was 17 myself.  Dude is way too smart and way too teasing, and his humor is probably too dry for me to have quite gotten when I was that age.  Now, however, I do declare he is probably my favorite Austen hero!  Though if I reread Persuasion soonish, I may recant that and decide that nope, it's Captain Wentworth.  I really can't decide between the two of them most of the time, so whichever one I've encountered most recently is my favorite.

I actually based a few things in Cloaked, my Little Red Riding Hood retelling, on this book.  Like Catherine, Mary Rose is imaginative and fond of reading novels.  Like Catherine, she travels far from home at a young age and must learn to trust her instincts and intelligence.  Like Catherine, she meets and dances with a young man who also likes to read novels and tease her.  I didn't actually plan for those similarities to be there, they just kind of organically happened while I was writing it, and I liked it so well, I tossed some Austen references into the book while I was at it to cement things :-) 

Anyway!  So happy I got to re-read this.  It was perfectly charming, and I'm now in the mood for more Austen, so we'll see if I can slip another of her books into my reading time this spring.

Particularly Good Bits:

Alas! if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? (p. 29).

Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.  No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her better for it (p. 67).

"If I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong, I never will be tricked into it" (p. 95).

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid" (p. 102).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for not-spelled-out-entirely cursing and some taking the Lord's name in vain, both by one odious character.  ::glares in his direction::

This is my 16th book read and reviewed for my second go-round with the Classics Club.


  1. And now I want to reread Northanger Abbey.

    1. Jennifer, should I apologize or say you're welcome?

  2. I love Northanger Abbey, too! As far as I can remember, it was my first Austen book and so far, it remains my favorite. However, I'm working on Persuasion now, so I guess we'll see if that changes. ;)

    That's so fun that you have Austen references in Cloaked! I'll have to remember to look for them when I get around to reading it.

    1. EFB, so cool it was your first! It was my last Austen :-o In fact, I'd read all of her others at least twice before I read it.

      Anyway, Persuasion is my favorite. Mmmmmmm.

      Some of the Austen references are more overt than others ;-) So you'll for sure find a few!

  3. I was definitely confused by Henry. He intimidated me. Many times I was not confident that he and Catherine would not make it. But she was obviously a well-grounded young lady to withstand his rebukes and sarcasm.

    I'm still fond of the Captain, myself. ; )

    1. Ruth, yeah, he can be a bit much to take sometimes. I think you're right that although she is naive and sometimes uncertain, she's very confident and stable in other ways because otherwise he would just completely knock her off balance.

      I'm hoping to reread Persuasion yet this spring and will probably just fall hopelessly in love with Wentworth again and be all, "Henry who?"

  4. "Especially the dialog for Henry Tilney, whom I would probably have been scared of if I'd met him when I was 17 myself." Yeah, me too. I was also as gullible and literal as Catherine at that age. I see myself in Catherine in that respect, but I'm wholly Marianne (and she drives me crazy).

    I LOVED Tilney. But I just can't get over Wentworth's intensity. I guess a man who is a blend of them would be my ideal.

    I think it is hard for me to love this because it is so awkward (thanks to Catherine's naivity and gullibility) in parts, but the good parts are really, really good. I noticed more details of Henry's sweetness my last re-read.

    And John Thorpe, he is dreadful. But not a hilarious dreadful like Mr. Collins (my sisters and I are starting to think he is the star; he is so terribly funny and terrible).

    1. Livia, I definitely see a ton of my teen self in Catherine. But I'm actually Anne Elliot, which is probably why in the end, I'll return Wentworth to his spot atop the highest pedestal ;-)

      Yeeeeeeeeees, definitely a big difference between the brands of dreadful evinced by John Thorpe and Mr. Collins. Or even Mr. Elton.

  5. Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Austen books. Well, all of them are except perhaps Emma & Mansfield Park. Catherine Morland & Henry Tilney are such fun characters. And John Thorpe is such a despicable one. The book is tied with Sense & Sensibility in my list of favorite Austen works. Persuasion of course is #1 followed closely by Pride & Prejudice.

    1. George, how intriguing -- Emma and Mansfield Park are my less-favorite Austens too!


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