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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
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Oct 26, 10

bookshelves: conversation-makers, ghost-stories, composition-pedagogy
Read in January, 2010

Everyone talks about Persuasion as being the Jane Austin book for rhetoric types, but I say to them that really, Northanger Abbey is the book for me. Yes, I like the gothic element and I enjoy seeing silly 17-year-olds be silly 17-year-olds, but much of the conversation, from whether there are books that you pretend not to read, or how important "correct" word usage is, sounds like what I used to hear in the graduate carrols and now here in the graduate lounge. And you know what? You want rhetorical sway, you have it in spades here, from Thorpe's hyperbole to Radcliff's sway to the narrator's cheery meta-discourse about expectations and what won't be fulfilled. And all this in Austin's first book. Ah, yet another reason to feel thoroughly over-the-hill at 26.
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Kathy Cowley Persuasion is just obvious for rhetoric types--you have to like it because of the title. I just finished Northanger Abbey, and I agree--it has just as much about rhetoric and persuasion as persuasion does. And it resonated with me more. (Maybe I'm still a silly 17-year-old at heart...but aren't we all?)


Mary I totally am 17 at heart. But an awkward 17, too.


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