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Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

Written by Jane Austen

Narrated by Joanna Lumley


Northanger Abbey

Written by Jane Austen

Narrated by Joanna Lumley

ratings:
4/5 (168 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601361219
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Jane Austen skewers the novelistic extremes of her day made popular in many 18th-century Gothic potboilers. Dilapidated castles, locked rooms, inexplicable chests, enigmatic notes, and tyrannical fathers all figure into Northanger Abbey, but with a decidedly sardonic twist.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601361219
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English writer who first gave the novel its distinctively modern character through her treatment of ordinary people in everyday life. Her six novels have become timeless classics because Austen's astonishingly diverse characters all insist on their private judgment as an innate right even in the most confining circumstances. Few other books present such fully rendered individuals whose actions captivate readers to this very day.


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Reviews

What people think about Northanger Abbey

3.8
168 ratings / 199 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (1/5)
    I see what she was trying to do here, but it comes off more frustrated and catty than satirical. It does make me glad that I live in the 21st century, though, and not the 18th.
  • (3/5)
    This may make me a disgrace to Jane Austen fandom, but Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice have always been fairly interchangeable in my mind. They’re just so similar! So, even though I love them both dearly, I was initially very excited to start this book and find something a bit different. As always, I adored Austen’s writing style and her pointed humor. In this book, she very deliberately breaks the tropes of the Gothic novel, with funny asides about the genre along the way. Her points are made clearly enough that I could tell what she was making fun of in Gothic novels, even though I’ve read very few myself. However, as I got further into the book, it soon became clear that there was essentially no plot and the main character isn’t very bright. Although she does grow a bit, she has very little agency. Nearly all of the difficulties she faces are in her head or at least blown all out of proportion. I didn’t really feel that this silly main protagonist deserved the intelligent, funny, kind love interest. In typical Austen fashion though, everything just works itself out in the last few pages. This doesn’t typically bother me, but in this case, there wasn’t enough action by the main character preceding the speedy resolution. Only Austen’s wonderful writing saved this for me.

    This review first published on Doing Dewey.
  • (5/5)
    After being so-so about Pride and Prejudice, which everyone seems to love, I was suprised at how much I liked Northanger Abbey. It is genuinely funny.
  • (3/5)
    A quite surprising novel in its frankness and how it treats the subject matter. Austen proves her worth by crafting characters whose journeys inward parallel the motion of the plot-line occurring around them. While the prose might seem a little dated by today's standards, there is still much to be admired here. This is, I believe, one of Austen's finer novels.

    3.35-- worth the read.
  • (4/5)
    Not my favourite Austen novel, but still a lovely read and a very intriguing story. Northanger Abbey concerns itself with appearance, style, and fashion. This is established immediately with the author's advertisement, and with the repetition in the first few chapters that Catherine is the "heroine" and must appear "heroic." Of course, Austen breaks down the rules of appearances, demonstrating throughout the length of the novel that nothing is as it appears. Even the lovely abbey that Catherine longs for, she soon remarks that it is the place where she has been most miserable, and received the most terrible news, as opposed to its exterior joys. All in all, it's a snarky Austen, and a witty Austen, but it lacks the mastery of some of Austen's other works.
  • (4/5)
    Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey was the first she completed for publication, in 1803, though it was not published until after her death in 1817. The work satirizes gothic novels though the heroine, Catherine Morland, who “is in training for a heroine.” She is fond of gothic novels, particularly the work of Ann Radcliffe’s work, and this allows Austen to comment on the novel as a literary form, defending it against critics who derided it for its supposed lack of serious content. Discussing her reading habits, Catherine describes the follies then current in historical writing, saying, “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: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes’ mouths, their thoughts and designs – the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books” (pg. 102). As modern academic history was relatively recent, first appearing with Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776, Austen comments on the earlier fashion of historical writing and how authors would simply repackage classical texts with some of their own inventions to spice up the narrative. The power of reading runs through Austen’s work, driving many of Catherine’s choices and informing her conversations. This Barnes & Noble edition includes an introduction and notes from Alfred Mac Adam that the Austen scholar may find interesting, though his habit of putting definitions for all the early-nineteenth century terms in the footnotes becomes distracting, especially as the meaning of most can be gleaned from context.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book way back in 1982 and I thinks it's due for a re-read.
  • (5/5)
    actually very exciting and intriguing. early references to baseball and literature. it has a lot of character. Austen still can't write dialogue for confessions of love.
  • (5/5)
    It is so refreshing to read a book that does not have sex, violence and profanity! Modern authors seem to have lost this mysterious art of being able to write a good book without the above mentioned "trinity." Jane Austen's works excel not only in quality of writing (which seems missing in modern authors), but quality of subject. I watched two or three screen renditions of this book and not a single one was able to capture Miss Austen's story. Catherine is not a stupid girl with an absurdly idiotic imagination. If you watched the movies and read this book you will understand my inference. Miss Austen writings all seem to me guided toward good. Henry Tilney is, as all Miss Austen's heroes seem to be, a charming man, elegant and respectful. But unlike other male characters (heroes) of her books, he has a delightful, even teasing sense of humor. His witty comments made me chuckle more than once. I am not a great writer of reviews, so my advice is read it. Even if you don't like the story very much, the writer style will certainly captivate you.
  • (4/5)
    I'm on a mission to read (and in some cases re-read) all of Jane Austen's novels this year. I had never read Northanger Abbey and a good friend suggested I start here because the book is entertaining and on the shorter side.

    I really enjoyed the story and the amazing amount undertone of sarcasm in regards to the lack of respect for novel writing/novel reading during this time.

    I kept having to remind myself that Catherine is only 17 however, regardless of age she has absolutely no self awareness or confidence. Honestly, there were quite a few times where she annoyed me to the point of having to put the book down. I hated how naive she was in recognizing Isabella as the awful man hunter that she is and I hated that she allowed both the Thorpes (and even her own brother) to manipulate her continuously.

    I loved how Henry tried to act as Catherine's voice of reason and teach her what things in life are truly important or how to see people for what they really are. His patience in her daftness is sweet and makes him the perfect hero and love interest.

    This novel was entertaining and scarily reminiscent of certain young girls even in this modern age.
  • (4/5)
    I think Pride and Prejudice is still my fave Austen novel but this is a close second. I love the satire of it all and wish more of her books were like this. highly entertaining!
  • (4/5)
    17-year old Catherine has gone to visit friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, in Bath. While there, she meets Isabelle and Miss Tilney, who will also become friends,. Miss Tilney has a handsome borther, who catches Catherine's eye, though Isabelle's brother is also interested in Catherine. I really liked this one. I liked Catherine and Mr. Tilney, in particular, and I loved their banter! I thought it got even more interesting in the last 1/3 of the book, when Catherine came to Northanger Abbey, the Tilney's home. I especially enjoyed Mr. Tilney's description of the house and Catherine's first couple of nights there. So far, this is one of my favourites by Austen.
  • (3/5)
    Not nearly as strong as Jane Austen's other novels, this one is a little lacking but makes up for it with beautiful prose and well developed characters. This novel attempts to be gothic in points and I don't believe that is Austen's strong suit; I'm more about deception, societal roles, and romance. This story centers on Catherine, a smart sensible girl of 18 who gets to spend several weeks in Bath with her childless neighbors. While there she becomes best friends with Isabelle and finds herself always going on double dates with Isabelle, her older brother, John, and James, Catherine's older brother. John quite fancies Catherine but she has her eye on Mr. Tinley and she's determined to make his and his younger sister's acquaintance. What's a girl to do (hint, get a husband... but which man to choose?!?!?) Good ol' fashioned regency era romance.
  • (4/5)
    At first glance a simple parody of gothic novels turned parody of manners, Austen's irony manages to surpass the limitations that might seem inherent in such an approach. Perhaps the parody is not of the fiction as of the society that inspired it, that reveled in keeping women ignorant.
  • (4/5)
    My favorite Jane Austen book so far, it's amusing and charming.
  • (3/5)
    I am so glad I read this - so that I never have to read it again. She's a very good author, I agree - but you have to have some knowledge of a subject to enjoy a satire on it, and I avoid Gothic novels because I find them boring and histrionic. So I missed 90% of her clever satirical bits (all but the ones she pointed out with loud handwavings and lampshadings) and got to read a boring, histrionic Gothic novel. The characters are rather sketchy - aside from Our Heroine and a little bit Our Hero, none of them move much past stereotype. The events are (deliberately) dull, ordinary, and conventional...hmm, we never did get that abduction in a coach and four she mentioned as a future event. I was expecting it to show up during her ride home, and to be conventionally explained. It's almost a sweet little romance, but the obstacles are so silly... I also found the narrator/author extremely intrusive, particularly at the beginning while she was explaining how Catherine was a heroine despite lacking all the standard markers. Hopefully this is part of the satire, and not her standard form. I will read more Austen (this was, I believe, my first), and will do my best to forget about this one.
  • (3/5)
    In the past 10 years I have revisited many books I did not like when forced to read them in high school and college. This has been a wonderful experience on the whole. Authors like Faulkner and Wharton were despised by young me and are beloved by old me. So the time seemed right to revisit Northanger Abbey, a book I did not like on first reading though it was written by one of my favorite authors. Sadly it did not work out fot me. I was perhaps more impressed with Austen's facility with language than I was at 20. I also suspect I may have missed some of the dry quips on first read, and I enjoyed those. But the story bored me to tears, and the parody of horrid novels was lost on me. Also, it bothered me that I liked no one, and found no character at all interesting. Ah well, I love all other Austen, it would be petty to complain about a single outlier.
  • (4/5)
    I am not an Austen fan having read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility previously. That being said, I found this Austen read a bit better than the aforementioned ones. Firstly, it was shorter and secondly I found it more humorous. The novel is a satire on Gothic novels (which I love). Catherine, the heroine of the book is a voracious reader with a good imagination. As in all the Austen novels I've read, class and money play a big part in the story. 217 pages 3 1/2 stars (almost a 4!)
  • (2/5)
    Although Jane Austen has a wonderful sense of humor, which weaves its way through her stories, I found the plot rather dull. I knew (or suspected) the ending quite early in the book and thought more could have been written about it. Instead it was just tacked onto the end of the book. Not much happens but the dialogue is very good.
  • (2/5)
    Jane Austen had a way with writing that made every single sentence in her books feel like an info-dump. It's so hard to concentrate or care when you're reading her books.
  • (3/5)
    Dare I admit, this was the hardest Jane Austen novel I've yet read to get through? To be fair, I'm far from a big Austen fan - Charlotte Bronte is more my cup of tea - but I was actually intrigued by the synopsis for Northanger Abbey and how different it seemed from some of Austen's other novels. Overall, I found this book to be good, but not great.
  • (4/5)
    This was fun, especially the beginning and the very end of Northanger Abbey where Austen indulges in meta-comments, authorial intrusions, direct appeals to the reader, and the most obvious jokes. Most of the rest of this short novel plays out like a regular Jane Austen book, with the occasional reminder that this is -- in part -- a parody. Jane Austen parodying her own style and genre. Fun!
  • (3/5)
    Simple story. Love the description of the Abbey . Pride and prejudice remains her best piece of work. Can never get over that one.
  • (4/5)
    Not my favorite Austen, but definitely worth a read for any Austen fan. Austen had a knack for writing duplicitous characters. Isabella Thorpe, I'm looking at you. I loved all the references to the Gothic novels of the time.
  • (4/5)
    This early Austen skewers the Gothic novel, or at least how seriously impressionable young ladies were affected by them. I was reminded of how often Poe used the word "gloomy", but here it is used for comic effect. What's interesting is how you can see the prototypes of future Austen characters; here they are definitely more cartoonish, especially a particular cad. Right out of the gate, she pulls out her favorite plot device: the unfortunate misunderstanding that won't get resolved until the final pages. Once again, we get to that ending with the happy wedding. Obviously, these marriages were destined to work out, since the novels stop here.
  • (4/5)
    I am not an Austen fan having read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility previously. That being said, I found this Austen read a bit better than the aforementioned ones. Firstly, it was shorter and secondly I found it more humorous. The novel is a satire on Gothic novels (which I love). Catherine, the heroine of the book is a voracious reader with a good imagination. As in all the Austen novels I've read, class and money play a big part in the story. 217 pages 3 1/2 stars (almost a 4!)
  • (4/5)
    Really solid for her first work. Enjoyable characters. Not TOO predictable plot. The ending was a little abrupt, but overall a quick, fun read that shows how Austen developed her craft.
  • (5/5)
    Loved the way she mocked the tropes of this type of book
  • (4/5)
    When I was younger, I didn't think that this book by Austen measured up to her other books. Now I find it so amusing! Perhaps I was too close to the teenage mentality that she pokes fun at in this book to see the humor back then.
  • (5/5)
    A delightful parody of popular 18th century Gothic novels. I never cared much for Austen before, but this book is fantastic.