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2014/15 Group Reads - Archives > Northanger Abbey - Volume 1, Ch 1 - 9

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message 1: by Madge UK (last edited Apr 30, 2015 11:57PM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments As Deborah is attending a funeral, I have put up the first chapter heading so that folks can begin the discussion today, in accordance with the Reading Schedule.

I have put some stuff about Austen's use of the Picturesque and the Sublime in the Background folder because it is very relevant to NA. And I have also posted something about Blaise Castle, which crops up early in the novel


message 2: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Madge, thanks for doing this. I have arrived safely in Tennesee and should have time today and tomorrow to put my thoughts out here :)


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Every time I pick up an Austen novel to re-read I am astonished afresh at her incredible ability to slide the most sly wit into the simplest sentences.

It starts right away, with all the reasons that CM wouldn't be supposed to be a heroine. Her father a clergyman not neglected or poor -- i.e., to be a proper heroine, if her father is to be a clergyman he must be neglected or poor. That her mother didn't die in bringing Catherine into the world -- another romantic expectation of a heroine is that she be motherless, and ideally an orphan (in the Mysteries of Udolpho, Emily's adventures don't start until her father dies and she is orphaned). That she is fond of boys play -- a heroine, Austen implies, should be feminine and interested only in feminine things, including learning The Beggar's Petition* to show her empathy for the poor.

All of this in the first few sentences of the book.

* The Beggar's Petition:
http://www.poetryexplorer.net/poem.ph...


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Then there's that lovely start to Chapter 2:

"...when about to be launched into all the difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath..."

The last thing most of Austen's generation would have associated with a holiday in Bath was difficulties and dangers. It was like going to a spa with dancing and concerts abounding. And Catherine was deprived even of those maternal tremors which a mother's mind should envision on sending her daughter off to Bath -- "the violence of such noblemen and baronets as delight in forcing young ladies away to some remote farm-house," since her mother had no notion of the dangers of noblemen and baronets and was only concerned that her daughter wrap her throat up carefully and keep some account of her money.

I find this writing absolutely glorious.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments One more -- that incredible description of old school fellows Mrs Allen and Mrs Thorpe meeting again after years apart.

"Their joy on this meeting was very great, as well it might, since they had been contented to know nothing of each other for the last fifteen years."

And then "Mrs. Thorpe, however, had one great advantage as a talker, over Mrs. Allen, in a family of children; and when she expatiated on the talents of her sons, and the beauty of her daughters, when she related their different situations and views—that John was at Oxford, Edward at Merchant Taylors', and William at sea—and all of them more beloved and respected in their different station than any other three beings ever were, Mrs. Allen had no similar information to give, no similar triumphs to press on the unwilling and unbelieving ear of her friend, and was forced to sit and appear to listen to all these maternal effusions, consoling herself, however, with the discovery, which her keen eye soon made, that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe's pelisse was not half so handsome as that on her own. "

The "unwilling and unbelieving ear" ... how often have I felt exactly the same way when a friend (I have one particular person in mind!) goes on and on about their wonderful and perfect children and their glorious accomplishments. But unfortunately I don't have the benefit of being able to be proud that I have more handsome lace on my pelisse.

(A pelisse said to have been worn by Jane Austen, though hers does not appear to have lace:
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/austen/auste... )


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Everyman wrote: ""Their joy on this meeting was very great, as well it might, since they had been contented to know nothing of each other for the last fifteen years."

And then "Mrs. Thorpe, however, had one great advantage as a talker, over Mrs. Allen, in a family of children;...Mrs. Allen had no similar information to give.... consoling herself, however, with the discovery, which her keen eye soon made, that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe's pelisse was not half so handsome as that on her own. ""


Oh my goodness, I had marked these passages as well, Everyman. They were near the top of my favorites for this week's readings.

I have been immersed in Dickens for a year now, and have not read any Austen in I think a few years, so it's taken me a bit to getting used to Austen's writing again. I'm also apparently a bit slow on noticing the parody bits (I think I often miss parodies, though), and I was confused by the passage at the beginning regarding Catherine's mother living to bear six more children after having Catherine. I'm glad for your first post, it now makes sense!


message 7: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou This is my first book with the group and I'm only a few pages in, but I can already see from this discussion that I've found my perfect book club. :-)


message 8: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Everyman wrote: "(A pelisse said to have been worn by Jane Austen, though hers does not appear to have lace:
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/austen/auste... ) ..."


Thank you for this link! It was fun to read -- even all the way through.

With your exuberance about Austen, Everyman, I wish it might have been possible for you to go up against Nabokov! [g]


message 9: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Marion wrote: "This is my first book with the group and I'm only a few pages in, but I can already see from this discussion that I've found my perfect book club. :-)"

So glad you feel that way.


message 10: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Thanks so much for your patience. My post will be done tomorrow, as it's been a long exhaustive day.


message 11: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "One more -- that incredible description of old school fellows Mrs Allen and Mrs Thorpe meeting again after years apart.

"Their joy on this meeting was very great, as well it might, since they ha..."


Exactly the same as people posting on Facebook about their child getting into Harvard or other such brags and the reader of the post feeling disadvantaged if he or she doesn't have an equivalent achievement.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lily wrote: "With your exuberance about Austen, Everyman, I wish it might have been possible for you to go up against Nabokov! [g] "

Yes, it might have been fun!

Austen is at first reading a very subtle, even gentle writer, unusual among English language novelists, most of whom are more direct (think the Brontes, Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, et. al.) She is an acupuncturist, not a stabber. Tiny little needles that don't seem at first to have any value, but hit the precise points of humor and of the very core of human nature.

Her plots are basically nothing. (Northanger Abbey has what may be her most robust plot, but even here it is barely a plot.) Her plots are merely the vehicles for her observations on human nature, observations which are as subtle and as precisely placed as those acupuncture needles. I know of no other author who has a better insight into the human psyche than she has, nor any who have a more sophisticated but gentle wit. She seems to love almost all her characters even as she dissects them almost clinically and exposes their very deepest essence to the reader.

She is like a drop shot artist of the badminton world (I played collegiate badminton and never had the power that was at the time the core of the game, but I was a superb drop-shotter and would frustrate opposing power hitters no end with little dinks that just fluttered over the net and died, giving them no chance to use their strength or power.)

It takes a different form of reading and reader to appreciate her than those who read most English language novels. You can't, in my opinion, read her in the same way you read Dickens or Gaskell or the Brontes or any other novelists who are more plot driven and write more robustly. They are at home quaffing beer from quart mugs in the local pub. She is at home drinking the most subtle China tea from the most delicate china teacup. They write of the eagle, she of the dove. They praise the mockingbird, she the hummingbird. They laud the rose, she the tiny, barely visible little flower nestling under its canopy of feathery leaves.

So would I say to Nabakov! [g]


message 13: by Lily (last edited May 01, 2015 08:37PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Robin wrote: "...Exactly the same as people posting on Facebook about their child getting into Harvard or other such brags and the reader of the post feeling disadvantaged if he or she doesn't have an equivalent achievement. ..."

Isn't there always someone bigger or richer or smarter or luckier or with different goals and joys? Shouldn't people be able to share that for which they give thanks?

What are the "socially correct" ways to be humble and still share each others joys and troubles and stings? (I think of Gaskell's Cranford as perhaps one book that explores how such can happen with all its grace and awkwardness. Others?)


message 14: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 676 comments Everyman, I'm enjoying your eloquent paeans to Jane Austen from afar (am traveling, can't participate much). The acupuncturist image is right on target! You always know, when she says, "as well it might," that a real zinger is coming on.


message 15: by Beth (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) I read The Mysteries of Udolpho first and went straight into Northanger Abbey and it was such a change. Ann Radcliffe writes with elaborate language like languid watercolors that call on emotions. Jane Austen writes with simple plain language distinguished with twists that feels more like pen and ink drawings.


message 16: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Finally. In these chapters we meet our cast of characters. Remember it's a parody of the gothic novels. We have the virginal, sheltered, naive heroine. The rather mysterious gentleman (Tilney). The clueless chaperone. And the instant female friend. Austen tweaks all of these stereotypes a bit to make them comical. Yet, if you are not really paying attention, the joke is easily missed.

Catherine, though naive and sheltered, also has a bit of free spirit about her. How many other girls would have enjoyed rolling down the hills? She reads the popular books of the time - poetry and fiction. Yet, she isn't what would be considered accomplished. She has an affectionate heart, but an ignorant mind. The description of what would have been deemed an almost perfect woman,

Empty-headed Mrs. Allen is the chaperone. She repeats comments ad nauseum. And isn't happy about being in Bath until she meets her "good" friend.

And we get a glimpse of the life/society in Bath. Being seen in order to achieve a possible match is very important. As is being seen to show off your best.

Some things that I found interesting. Journeys took extended periods of time due to the fact that the horses needed to be changed every 10 miles. Imagine trying to go on any lengthy journey with all of those stops.

Austen has quoted popular poets in chapter 1. Specifically, Pope, Gray, Thompson, and Shakespeare. This is not surprising because poetry was seen as appropriate for women to read.

The reason Bath was such a social hot spot was the springs which were thought to have medicinal value. The Pump Room was one of three locations where one could go to drink the water.

Some questions to get us thinking:

1. Which character seems the most comical?

2. In Chapter 5 there are long asides regarding the reading of novels. Do the asides work well? Why?

3. What do you think about Isaebell's instant friendship with Catherine? Her abandonment of Catherine?


message 17: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Since many of you were talking earlier about favorite passages, I thought I'd share mine. Of course, it would be about reading.

"Catherine was then left to the luxury of a raised, restless, and frightened imagination over the pages of Udolpho, lost from all worldly concerns of dressing and dinner, incapable of soothing Mrs. Allen's fears on the delay of an expected dressmaker, and having only one minute in sixty to bestow even on the reflection of her own felicity, in being already engaged for the evening." (Chapter 7)

I enjoyed the snipe at what is considered the worldly cares of women. But for me, the enjoyment of being lost in a good book was wonderful.


message 18: by Lily (last edited May 02, 2015 08:35AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Deborah wrote: "...'...the luxury of a raised, restless, and frightened imagination over the pages ..., lost from all worldly concerns...'"

Beth wrote: "...Radcliffe writes with elaborate language like languid watercolors that call on emotions. Jane Austen writes with simple plain language distinguished with twists that feels more like pen and ink drawings." [Bold added.]

Your language captures so much! Thx, ladies.


message 19: by Lily (last edited May 02, 2015 09:20AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Everyman wrote: "...So would I say to Nabokov! [g] ..."

Somewhere, butterflies would need to flit into the exchange? [smile]

(For those of you not familiar with Nabokov's famous antipathy towards Austen, I'll quote: "In our dealings with Jane Austen we had to make a certain effort in order to join the ladies in the drawing room. In the case of Dickens we remain at table with our tawny port..." He goes on in delightful ways, such as "Personally I dislike porcelain and the minor arts, but I have often forced myself to see some bit of precious translucent china through the eyes of an expert and have discovered a vicarious bliss in the process...I am sure that some readers have a better ear for Miss Austen than I have..." p63

The first chapter of his Lectures on Literature addresses Mansfield Park. In his concluding comments he writes:

"...I do not believe that anybody can be taught to write fiction unless he already possesses literary talent. Only in the latter case can a young author be helped to find himself, to free his language from cliches, to eliminate clumsiness, to form a habit of searching with unflinching patience for the right word, the only right word which will convey with the utmost precision the exact shade and intensity of thought. In such matters there are worse teachers than Jane Austen."

More penetrating commentary on her talent is probably: "the superficial action in Mansfield Park is the emotional interplay between two families of country gentlefolks." But even here note the barb of "superficial."

I really do hope time gives me the chance to tackle Pale Fire or Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. I do not like Lolita, as skilled as it is, but despite Wilson's crabbing, I do enjoy Nabokov's loving and overweening translation of Eugene Onegin, Vol. I. His various lectures on literature are cherished resources, even when disagreeing with him.)

I enjoyed your imagined comments towards Vladimir, Eman.


message 20: by Cindy (new)

Cindy I thought Isaebell's friendship with Catherine was shallow. She left Catherine to sit at the table, while she went dancing. I also thought that Isaebell was using Catherine to flirt with the brother. Did anyone think it unusual that the two brothers just show up in Bath?


message 21: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
I loved how Austen defends the novel and says novelists should stick up for each other. It is interesting that already at this time there were tropes of novels that she could make fun of (orphaned heroine, mysterious suitor, etc.)


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Deborah wrote: "Remember it's a parody of the gothic novels. We have the virginal, sheltered, naive heroine. The rather mysterious gentleman (Tilney). The clueless chaperone. And the instant female friend. Austen tweaks all of these stereotypes a bit to make them comical. Yet, if you are not really paying attention, the joke is easily missed."

Thank you for the quick abstract, Deborah. I am one of the readers who "easily missed the jokes". I am at a loss to come up with even one gothic novel I have even read - I at least have not read any of the novels mentioned in Northanger Abbey so far.

1. The most comical character? As mentioned in my previous post, I loved the passages dealing with Mrs. Allen's thoughts, so I think she is probably the most comical to me. Witnessing her thinking about things so trivial as who has the best lace on their outfit to make herself feel superior is just sad yet funny.

2. The asides about novels. I appreciated this part if only to give me a sense of what the general thoughts were at the time as to the reading of novels. But as to the specific authors mentioned, I am not familiar with them enough to give me any added insight without researching the authors a bit. I am realizing I have not read enough background literature to give me enough appreciation of this novel - so far I am enjoying the book at face value.

3. Isabella and Catherine's instant friendship. Instant indeed, but since Isabella previously knew of Catherine's brother, I didn't think at the time of reading this part that it was too much out of the ordinary for this period of time? Because of their link through James, their quick bonding seemed natural. As to Isabella's abandonment of Catherine at the dance, I had taken it as Isabella's childish excitement at wanting to dance and not wanting to wait for her friend, figuring that Catherine's partner would be there shortly. But, now that the two points of Isabella's instant friendship and abandonment are brought up, I'm beginning to rethink my initial impressions and am interested in seeing what other readers' thoughts are.


message 23: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) Everyman wrote: "Every time I pick up an Austen novel to re-read I am astonished afresh at her incredible ability to slide the most sly wit into the simplest sentences.

It starts right away, with all the reasons t..."


Yes! I'm startled every time I begin an Austen novel, by her shimmering bright wit. It's the same feeling as if an orchestra just began to play. Like music every sentence is giving us an incredibly dense amount of information.

From the first sentence Austen sets us up to understand that: "Catherine has romantic and unrealistic notions about life that are going to get her into trouble in this novel," and gives us this information in the most delightful way possible, in declarative sentences that represent the "facts" of Catherine's life after being filtered through Catherine's limitations and prejudices.

It's Austen's signature style. I think Austen invented it. It's a really effective blend of the best parts of omniscient and 3rd person limited points of view. I'm sure it has a name in lit crit but I don't know what it is. The thing that is amazing to me about Austen's style is that she can get away with being quite critical of her characters without ever seeming mean or superior to them. The only other writer I can think of who uses this literary voice with this level of skill is E.M. Forster.


message 24: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: "I thought Isaebell's friendship with Catherine was shallow. She left Catherine to sit at the table, while she went dancing. I also thought that Isaebell was using Catherine to flirt with the brot..."

Austen is poking fun at the unlikely coincidences found on the gothic novels.

The friendship made me think of modern day women. You get together and do things until somebody gets a new boyfriend. The lady with the new boyfriend is immediately unavailable to her friends :). You are correct, she's using Catharine to get to James; and Catharine in trying to cultivate friendship with Miss Tilney to get to her brother.


message 25: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I loved how Austen defends the novel and says novelists should stick up for each other. It is interesting that already at this time there were tropes of novels that she could make fun of (orphaned ..."

Novels were somewhat looked down upon as reading for women. Austen's family was different. They were great novel readers.


message 26: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Deborah wrote: "Cindy wrote: "I thought Isaebell's friendship with Catherine was shallow. She left Catherine to sit at the table, while she went dancing. I also thought that Isaebell was using Catherine to flir..."

Those were my thoughts, also. I guess some things never change!


message 27: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Deborah wrote: "Remember it's a parody of the gothic novels. We have the virginal, sheltered, naive heroine. The rather mysterious gentleman (Tilney). The clueless chaperone. And the instant female..."

Linda, while I have read Radcliffe many years ago, I easily miss the parody too. It's been very helpful to me, and has great,y increased my enjoyment by using the annotated edition. Lily was kind enough to post info on it in the background thread.


message 28: by Jenn (new)

Jenn As for comical moments, I thought Catherine's interactions (and attempts at avoidance) with Isabelle's brother have been pretty funny so far. I can picture that character very well.


message 29: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments As to favorite passages, I loved the little show that Mr. Tilney put on when he realized he had not asked Catherine any of the "proper" questions upon making her acquaintance, and they were both suppressing smiles as they went through the motions. I especially liked this:

"Have you been long in Bath, madam?"
"About a week, sir," replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.
"Really!" with affected astonishment.
"Why should you be surprised, sir?"
'Why, indeed!" said he, in his natural tone - "but in some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed, and not less reasonable than any other...."


I also loved the entire scene where Isabella pretends to be annoyed at the two "odious and alarming" young men at the ball, then hastily leaves so she and Catherine could follow them, and then later on after meeting up with James and John she was so far from seeking to attract their notice, that she looked back at them only three times.

I was also a bit baffled as to what a "quiz" was, as it was mentioned numerous times in chapter four. It was only after I realized my book had notes in the back (which are not referred to within the text at all), that they are "jokes or teases". So, some of the fun that the young party-goers have are to walk around and pointing out people who they found dressed or looked funny? Or am I misinterpreting what they were doing?


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Deborah wrote: "The friendship made me think of modern day women. You get together and do things until somebody gets a new boyfriend. The lady with the new boyfriend is immediately unavailable to her friends :)."

Ha! That's funny, Deborah. :)


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Deborah wrote: "It's been very helpful to me, and has great,y increased my enjoyment by using the annotated edition. Lily was kind enough to post info on it in the background thread."

Thanks Deborah! I did quickly glance at the background thread but have not had time to thoroughly read through the posts.


message 32: by Deborah, Moderator (last edited May 02, 2015 10:53AM) (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "As to favorite passages, I loved the little show that Mr. Tilney put on when he realized he had not asked Catherine any of the "proper" questions upon making her acquaintance, and they were both su..."

Quiz in this time period means an oddity. So the quizzical hat was an oddity. And yes, Mr. Thorpe is recommending they walk around and make comments about the oddities in appearance,


message 33: by Lynnm (last edited May 02, 2015 11:38AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I'm with Everyman and everyone else about Austen's writing style and her wit. Every time I read her novels, I feel as if I am entering a comfortable yet amusing world. She paints such a picture of the characters that you feel quite quickly that you know and understand them.

And the novel's themes are as relevent today as it was then (although admitting in a very different world)...heroes and heroines (which are still popular today YA novels and films), and of course, learning how to navigate the turbulent waters of the outside social world, friendships, and relationships.

I like Catherine and her unworldly ways. I dislike Mr. Thorpe immensely. And I don't trust Isabelle...she is using Catherine because she likes Catherine's brother.


message 34: by Madge UK (last edited May 02, 2015 12:52PM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments The Pump Room mentioned in Chapter 2 is now an upmarket restaurant. I have put some info and pics on the Background thread.

In Chap4 Mrs Allen remarks “What a delightful place Bath is,” ...as they sat down near the great clock, after parading the room till they were tired.'

Thomas Tompion (1639–1713), widely regarded as the father of English clock making, made the long case clock for the Pump Room in 1709 and it is still in working order today:

https://richardwyattblog.files.wordpr...

In Chap5 'they hastened away to the Crescent, to breathe the fresh air of better company.' The Crescent is a curved row of elegant houses where wealthier people live, then and now (pic on Background thread) It is perhaps the best example of Georgian architecure in the UK.


message 35: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "I'm with Everyman and everyone else about Austen's writing style and her wit. Every time I read her novels, I feel as if I am entering a comfortable yet amusing world. She paints such a picture of..."

I dislike Mr. Thorpe as well. He seems a borish oaf to me.


message 36: by Madge UK (last edited May 02, 2015 01:01PM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments At the end of Chap5 Austen as Narrator makes a spirited and no doubt heartfelt defence of the novelist:

“I am no novel-reader— I seldom look into novels— Do not imagine that I often read novels— It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss—?” “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."


message 37: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Is anyone having flashbacks to high school. When you were judged by what you wore, what part of town you came from. My school had an A-list and everyone wanted their name on that list. I was a shy country kid, more of a nerd. I got picked on, lots of snide comments on dress and mannerisms. Times do not change.


message 38: by Lily (last edited May 02, 2015 04:39PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Cindy wrote: "Is anyone having flashbacks to high school. When you were judged by what you wore, what part of town you came from. My school had an A-list and everyone wanted their name on that list. I was a sh..."

Do we think Austen does a decent job of describing how people deal with and overcome such barbs? It has been awhile since I have read her and I don't know that I have thought about that aspect, although Pride and Prejudice certainly does explore retaining dignity, facing family disgrace, and learning to not be thoughtless in return -- pride and prejudice as a two-way street. What other authors handle these topics well?


message 39: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Poingu wrote: "...It's a really effective blend of the best parts of omniscient and 3rd person limited points of view. ..."

Poingu -- would you give us a two or three sentence tutorial on "3rd person limited point of view"? I've done the Google search, but I still don't feel as if I understand. Maybe from someone who is comfortable using the term?


message 40: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: "Is anyone having flashbacks to high school. When you were judged by what you wore, what part of town you came from. My school had an A-list and everyone wanted their name on that list. I was a sh..."

I was a kid like you Cindy. And you are right, people somehow never learn and progress in that type of thing


message 41: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: "...I am at a loss to come up with even one gothic novel I have even read ..."

Stick around this crew and you might eventually, Linda! In now over eight years of reading alongside Eman and Madge (and a few others here), many years ago they got me through Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, although I still haven't touched the classic Walpole's The Castle of Otranto. I consider TMoU to be a bit of a shaggy dog story, written for the days when time wasn't filled with lots of faster paced entertainment. But it was fun to do -- once (even if I might well gain from rereading, but am unlikely to do so).

From the British Library:
http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victor...

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/t...

From Wiki: "Jane Austen's novel is valuable for including a list of early Gothic works since known as the Northanger Horrid Novels. These books, with their lurid titles, were once thought to be the creations of Jane Austen's imagination, though later research by Michael Sadleir and Montague Summers confirmed that they did actually exist and stimulated renewed interest in the Gothic. They are currently all being reprinted."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_f...


message 42: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) Lily wrote: "Poingu -- would you give us a two or three sentence tutorial on "3rd per..."

oh, sorry. I'm no expert on terminology and may be making up my own uses for terms I've heard. This is what I mean by it, anyway: it's when the story is told from the perspective of being inside someone's head, so you as the reader are sharing the limitations of the character spatially, you're only able to see and feel what the character sees and feels and thinks.

Austen is mostly an omniscient narrator, acting like god in control of her characters and able to move from one perspective to another freely. But her omniscient narrative voice is tinged with the limitations of the character she's writing about at any given time and it reflects that character's prejudices. That I find really interesting. It's as if the godlike narrator swoops a little too close to a character and starts to feel the same prejudices.


message 43: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Lily wrote: "Stick around this crew and you might eventually, Linda!"

Thanks Lily! I started glancing through the links you listed and came upon this list from the Wikipedia site.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

There are some that I didn't realize were gothic, so I've actually read more than zero. phew! :)


message 44: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "Since many of you were talking earlier about favorite passages, I thought I'd share mine. Of course, it would be about reading."

And then in Chapter 5 we have that marvelous passage defending the reading of novels. "I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding...Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens—there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. "

At the time, of course, novels were considered by many a rather vulgar form of reading, far below the elevated heights of poetry and sermons. (Books of sermons were published and were in every gentleman's library.)


message 45: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Linda wrote: "As to favorite passages, I loved the little show that Mr. Tilney put on when he realized he had not asked Catherine any of the "proper" questions upon making her acquaintance,..."

I quite agree with you about that delightful passage. I only wish you had continued your quotation just a bit to include

"And are you altogether pleased with Bath?"

"Yes—I like it very well."

"Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again."

Be rational again. Simply glorious.


message 46: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Deborah wrote: "Quiz in this time period means an oddity."

It also sometimes, in Austen, means put questions to in an amusing, light-hearted way.


message 47: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "
I like Catherine and her unworldly ways. I dislike Mr. Thorpe immensely. And I don't trust Isabelle...she is using Catherine because she likes Catherine's brother.
."


And what is great is that you get that picture of Mr. Thorpe and Isabelle almost entirely from their conversation. Austen doesn't bang you over the head with them, but just lets them speak their minds naturally and let you draw the inferences which I certainly agree with you about.


message 48: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Poingu wrote: "...But her omniscient narrative voice is tinged with the limitations of the character she's writing about at any given time and it reflects that character's prejudices. That I find really interesting. It's as if the godlike narrator swoops a little too close to a character and starts to feel the same prejudices. ..."

Thanks for that on third person limited point of view, Poingu! Most helpful explanation I have encountered!


message 49: by Lily (last edited May 02, 2015 08:55PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Linda wrote: "...There are some that I didn't realize were Gothic, so I've actually read more than...."

That's quite a list, Linda! Thanks for bringing to our attention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...


message 50: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Everyman wrote: "I quite agree with you about that delightful passage. I only wish you had continued your quotation just a bit to include...."

Typically when I quote favorite passages I have to restrain myself for fear of quoting entire pages. I have to remind myself that everyone here has read the book too!

But your extension of the passage was indeed glorious. :)


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