Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sanditon
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Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sanditon

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  4,192 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Northanger Abbey is the earliest of Jane Austen's great comedies of female enlightenment and combines literary burlesque - making fun of the excesses of the Gothic novel - with larger moral, philosophical, and social issues: the folly of letting literature get in the way of life, the inexcusability of not thinking for oneself, and the painful difficulties (especially for w...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published June 25th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1818)
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Ally
This is my favourite of Austen's novels but it's not as straightforward as it appears on first reading...its very demanding of the reader and too many people miss the intelligence behind it and see only the naive silliness of a herione who lives in the world of the Gothic Romance's she's reading rather than the real world.

I love the characterisation in this novel - General Tilney is cast by the heroine Catherine as the perfect Gothic villain, Isabella Thorpe is an arch maipulator and represents...more
Ben Babcock
I've talked smack about Jane Austen before, not so much to discount her ability as a writer—if you question that, then oh, we will throw down—but to compare her unfavourably to George Eliot. What can I say? I was young and stupid two years ago!

Today I would like to apologize to Miss Austen. Since Middlemarch I've come a long way and read a lot more of Austen's works, and while Eliot's novel remains uneclipsed by Austen's novels, my awe and appreciation of Austen's abilities has only increased. T...more
Chris
“Blaize Castle!” cried Catherine; “what is that?”
“The finest place in England – worth going fifty miles at any time to see.”
“What, is it really a castle, an old castle?”
“The oldest in the kingdom.”
“But is it like what one reads of?”
“Exactly – the very same.”
“But now really – are there towers and long galleries?”
“By dozens.”

The irony of this dialogue between the imaginative young ingénue Catherine and her would-be suitor, the boorish John Thorpe, is that Blaise Castle is neither the oldest...more
Jeanette
The first time I read Northanger Abbey, I did not get it. Because I didn't get it, I didn't enjoy it. I didn't get it because when I first read Northanger Abbey I did not know much about Jane Austen, the time she lived in or Gothic novels. As I learned more about these things and re-read Northanger Abbey I started to get it and started to enjoy the novel. Now that I've actually read some of the Gothic novels that Austen parodies in Northanger Abbey I've come to realize that this is one of my fav...more
Donna
Lady Susan: Having already listened to the audiobook of this last summer, I pretty much knew I was gonna love this. One of my favourite things about Austen's earlier writing is how playful it is, and that really came to the fore with Lady Susan. Featuring a character, who would typically be a villain of sorts in her other fiction, Lady Susan knows what she wants and she knows how to get it- no matter who she hurts along the way. Witty and completely hilarious, Lady Susan may in fact be my favour...more
Bonnie
Wow, what a departure! I loved this very different novel. This book shows Austen's ability to step out of her mold. I particularly liked how she addresses the reader and defines/justifies her heroine's failings yet still allows her the role. A delight!
Valeria Uribe
Esta es una novela romántica se ríe de sí misma y de sus pares, pero que finalmente sigue siendo una fiel representante del género. Tiene todo lo que se requiere: heroínas, villanos, matrimonios por conveniencia, bailes, amores platónicos, el chico lindo, etc. Pero todos se salen de la norma. La heróina no es ni pobre ni rica, no tiene habilidades artísticas y es más bien fea que linda. Las villanas no son presentadas como tales, sino que como amigas de la protagonista. El que es presentado como...more
Mark
The star rating is for Northanger Abbey rather than for the collection as a whole. Northanger Abbey was famously written before Austen's other novels but published after them. It contains the various elements we associate with Austen's writing: incisive wit, comic characters, marriage plots, and country estates. The novel is shorter than her later ones and moves quickly through the action; whether this is good or bad I cannot say. Northanger is usually described as a parody of Gothic novels, but...more
Marlene Marie
I read Oxford's Northanger Abbey which also included Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sandition. So this is a review of her novel and these 3 short stories.

i must confess, as much as i adore jane, northanger was not my favorite read. it's a love/hate with this book. i do like that she shows how the mind can be a dangerous thing if not kept in moderated restraints as she displayed in catherine's imaginative character. the story was amazing and i felt that it had so much potential to be as engrossing...more
Kereesa
I love Jane Austen. That's pretty much a given. And it's pretty much a given I love her work, unfinished, unpolished, kind of wacky, whatever.

So this review might just fall into a mess of gooey feelings and sobs about how she's dead and I love her and...

Well how about I just spare you my misery.

So the collection this review is for is an anthology of one of Austen's earliest novels, Northanger Abbey, as well as her novella Lady Susan and her two incomplete novels, The Watsons and Sanditon, both...more
Lindz
Dec 10, 2009 Lindz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Austen Lovers
Recommended to Lindz by: Jane Austen
Sometimes a title of a novel just does not suit the story. 'Northanger Abbey' is one of them. This was one of the first novels Miss Austen wrote and subsequently went through a number of title changes due to dodgy publishers . Finally published less than a year after her death, it is not known whether her brother or Jane chose the title. But 'Northanger Abbey' gives off a dark gothic feel, of dark corners, vails and long menacing tapestries, with hidden skeletons. Much like the novels Jane Auste...more
Mary Timbes
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, SanditonNorthanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon by Jane Austen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Catherine Morland is excited to be going to an abbey. She has visions of its contents and its appearance, its history and its secrets. She, the heroine of Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, has read too many novels.

I was, as an Austen heroine herself might be, somewhat vexed at the outset of the book, at its superficial characters and its slowness. It seemed to be all about Bath, going to the Upper Rooms...more
Lindsay
I really like how Jane takes her stand against the views of female writers and in particular female novel writers. The prejudices and struggles she faced are made quite clear. I also love the delight in the horrid or the mysterious and how they all seem to become obsessed and entertained by such... it quite reminds me of my family! I thought the ending was pretty abrupt. I actually read this novel maybe 6 or 7 years ago and I distinctly remember not liking it very much at the time. It was defini...more
Elisha Condie
First, I have to admit, I only read "Northanger Abbey". I simply could not make it through the others (they were boring! there. I said it).
Northanger Abbey (NA) is Austen's first novel, and a kind of take on the popular gothic novels of her day where the heroine faces things like an old castle, a body hidden in a trunk, etc. And Austen was trying to write a book like those gothic novels. It was interesting to see that in the main character of Catherine Morland you DO have an Austen heroine, a...more
Reds_reads
It's a very long time since I've read Northanger Abbey, it was never one of my favourite Jane Austen books. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it this time round.

The story is of Catherine Morland, a good-natured and straightforward girl with a love of reading fiction, particularly sensational gothic fiction. She meets, and eventually marries Henry Tilney, after the usual romantic plot twists.

My main memory from my previous readings of this novel were of Austen poking fun at got...more
Lady Grace
Aug 17, 2013 Lady Grace rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard-core Austenites (like me ;) )
According to my Goodreads shelving system, this is the 500th book I've read in my lifetime, although I'm pretty sure I've read more. ;) It is quite appropriate that the 500th book I've read should be written by Jane Austen, one of my all-time favorite authors.

There is something so delightful and intriguing about the lifestyle that Austen paints in her novels. The tiniest occurrence - the receipt of a gossipy letter, a sideways glance at the tea table, or the neighbor's purchase of a new dress -...more
Rowena
this was great! i liked catherine. i felt like eleanor's strange behavior was just sort of left there. it was amusing that no one thought of catherine's relative lack of money as being the problem. i enjoyed the parts at bath the most.

also plenty of great quotes.

"To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive."

"'I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is no
...more
Junemarie Brandt
Northanger is my least favorite Austen book, I just can't imagine gothic fantasies going so far even in the mind of a ninny such as Catherine Moreland. She doesn't deserve Henry Tilney. "Sandition" drags, I do hope Jane had intended to make it less boring and develop the characters in such a manner that I actually would care about the. Lady Susan is charming. One of the biggest what ifs in history to me what plot twists Jane would have added to "The Watsons."
Zelly B.
Right! So.

I decided to just read Northanger Abbey this time around and skip the short stories and rough writings because they felt really incoherent and disjointed to me; things that you really would expect to find in rough, unpublished drafts not meant to be seen by anyone.

In short, I really enjoyed it. The cast of characters were a really great and diverse one. I love Henry Tilney to a really sad degree the most, though; I thought he was a really fun character: smart, witty, a gentleman, etc....more
Krystal
May 22, 2008 Krystal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want an lesser known Jane Austen novel
I just noticed that this is a book including 4 different stories. I only got Northanger Abbey and this review is ONLY for that novel.

I went to Border's to get a quick read for the plane home and decided on this because I LOVE Pride and Prejudice, but didn't want to read any Austen novels that had been spoiled by movies. (They are still good, but I already know what's going to happen.) So I bought her first novel, that I hadn't really heard much about, not really expecting anything from it, but I...more
Snorkle
I've read Northanger Abbey before, but not for several years and I had forgotten most of the plot. One of the reasons I really enjoyed this novel was because of the way Austen wrote it. She is so good at creating characters who get under your skin and make you think. She also creates other people who are so despicable you want to shove them off a cliff, but can't because you are too curious to see what they are going to do next. I also loved her snarky comments throughout the novel, they made me...more
Leah
Oct 03, 2013 Leah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like Austen
Recommended to Leah by: My University reading list
I felt completely dis-satisfied after reading this novel. There was so much to dislike and so little to redeem it. I've never been a fan of Jane Austen, and this one was probably my least favourite of what I have read of hers so far.

For good points, I would have to say that Austen's writing style itself is very literate and well-structured. I also admire the way she supports the novel form and shows that those who do not choose to read are ignorant and un-cultured; and I really appreciate that.

I...more
Maureen
Northanger Abbey was SOOO funny! I would love to go out and have a couple drinks with Henry Tilney, what a hoot. Poor Catherine is so naive, she's completely taken in by Isabella who could not be more two-faced and self-serving. Well, with the possible exception of Lady Susan. Might be fun to put Isabella Thorpe and Lady Susan in a room together and watch them try to out-schmooze eachother while planning the other's untimely demise. What a shame Ms. Austen wasn't able to finish Sanditon, I found...more
Gina Bégin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ciana
I always enjoy Austen's novels because she always ties up the end so nice and neatly. Northanger Abbey the novel in this collection, was Austen first written novel though the last published. The innocence and naievty of her heroine Catherine is endering. I thought she was funny, though I'm pretty sure I was laughing at her expense. The character who I found most interesting is Catherine's mother, Mrs. Moreland. She is not a main character but her realistic and nonchalant nature she exhibits in t...more
Graham
I studied NORTHANGER ABBEY at university. It's not Jane Austen's most enjoyable work, but it does make for an interesting read. It's something of an oddity, sitting out of place with her other works; this is Austen's first, written long before the rest, and her take on the kind of Gothic literature that was popular at the time of her writing it.

A lot of NORTHANGER ABBEY is heavily based on Ann Radcliffe's MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO, so for a better understanding, read that first. Characterisations and...more
Vanessa Shannon
I had to read this for a British Lit class at school. Having never read a Jane Austen novel before, I cant say that I was overly thrilled with this one. I am looking forward to reading some of her more popular novels as I have heard this isn't one of her best. The story was a bit dull. There was a point toward the end when things got a little more exciting but overall there just wasn't a lot happening in the story. I do have to say that I love Austen's sarcasm and the way she exploits certain co...more
Patty Abel
I have finished Northanger Abbey and have started Lady Susan. I liked Northanger Abbey, but not as much as some of Jane's other books. I was glad that Cathrine ended up with Henry after all. I thought it was interesting all the schemes that were going on between people, they make me laugh.

I have finished Lady Susan. I loved it. I really like that it is written in Letters like "The Gurnsey Literary Society and Potato Peel Pie" People express so much more in letters. Lady Susan is such a manipula...more
Elanna
Northanger Abbey is brilliant.

Lady Susan was really interesting because you can see Jane Austen trying to contain her narrative voice, but at the end she just can't. It's interesting to see a character like Lady Susan in an epistolary novel, because she's so unconventional.

The Watsons was frustrating because, unlike Lady Susan which is complete but could probably have been fleshed out more if Austen had continued with it, The Watsons is the 40 pg beginning to a novel that she abandoned, so the...more
Laura
I think I enjoyed Northanger Abbey the most because of its style - Jane Austen's touch, really. The story is a satire of various social fashions of the time period in which she writes, as well as a warning against naivete that can be applied to any generation of young people, and it ties itself up very neatly at the end. I don't know if everyone learns the same lessons Catherine did in her excursion into society, but I know that I myself had similar experiences - and Jane Austen's critical all-s...more
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Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fr...more
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“...I would have jumped out and run after you.'
Is there a Henry in the world who could be insensible to such a declaration? Henry Tilney at least was not. With a yet sweeter smile, he said every thing that need be said...”
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