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Discuss Northanger Abbey 2010 > Completed Northanger-SpoilersPossible

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message 1: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Discuss all topics of the novel. If you would like to open threads about certain chapters, characters, etc, please feel free.


message 2: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments I just finished it today, loved it! I guess I'm curious since Catherine is the complete opposite of Henry. She's guileless and he is really sharp. I really didn't like the Thorpes!


message 3: by Badlydone (new)

Badlydone Shaun, I love this book too. It is my second favorite Austen work (after Emma). To me, Northanger Abbey is the book which brings forward Austen's mastery at satire and her immense wit. So, why is Northanger Abbey one of her less popular novels? I have come across many who swoon over Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, but are not impressed by NA. Is it because of the lack of a romantic hero like Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth? I would actually take Henry Tilney over Mr. Darcy, but I suppose that is not the opinion of a lot of women!


message 4: by Shayne (last edited Mar 05, 2010 10:24PM) (new)

Shayne | 49 comments Northanger Abbey gives me the sense of an author just having *fun*, and I find that contagious.

Persuasion is my favourite, followed by Pride and Prejudice, but for sheer fun I think Northanger Abbey is hard to beat. It doesn't have the level of complexity, the layers of meaning, all the symbolism of a work like Mansfield Park, but that's not a criticism, just an observation. What it *does* have in abundance is Jane's genius for wit.

I think John Thorpe shows how timeless Jane's work can be! Replace the horsey details with things relating to cars, and his obsessive topics of conversation wouldn't be out of place two centuries later.


message 5: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 209 comments I think Shayne is on to something. "Northanger Abbey" ought to be the most approachable introduction to Jane Austen for younger readers, if you just find the analogy - in teenage Catherine's addiction to popular literature, you see echoes of the fixation on trends, whether it's cars, movies, reality shows, whatever. You can almost imagine a contemporary Catherine addicted to the "Twilight" books in place of "Udolpho".

janetility.com


message 6: by Leshawn (new)

Leshawn | 25 comments Badlydone,
I believe Henry Tilney is a wonderful Romantic hero! He loves Catherine exactly as she is, instead of convincing himself she is perfect. He is attentive and offers amusement which will please her and not himself. When the moment comes when Catherine does something to hurt or disappoint Henry (the wonderful scene where Catherine's imagined beliefs about General Tilney and the disposal of his wife are unearthed by Henry), he remains true and does not give up on her or his love for her.
Finally, when faced with the choice between parental obedience and loyalty to romantic love, Henry Tilney does not hesitate but gallops apace to the side of Catherine.
I'm with you Badlydone, Henry Tilney is an excellent choice!


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 06, 2010 07:39AM) (new)

Hello Everyone!!

I have added separate folders for Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland. Anyone who posted here is encouraged to re-post in the new threads. We can try to keep the focus of this thread on the book itself. This will keep things from getting confusing. Feel free to add folders for other characters or other topics!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Badlydone wrote: "Shaun, I love this book too. It is my second favorite Austen work (after Emma). To me, Northanger Abbey is the book which brings forward Austen's mastery at satire and her immense wit. So, why is N..."

Northanger Abbey does not fall into the expected order of plot development that we see in the rest of Austen's books. Certainly, Catherine and Henry are parted (briefly) near the end, but that isn't the main story here. JA just wanted to have fun with her story and she took little satirical jabs at a lot of people and things along the way.


message 9: by Misty (new)

Misty | 37 comments It always amazes me when people bash this book or act like it's insignificant. I can't help but smile when I read it, because you can tell she was smiling when she wrote it. She had to have been having fun. AND it gives you insight into her head, into what she found funny, and how she felt about melodrama and pop culture. This is such a fun book. More people need to read it.


message 10: by Leshawn (last edited Mar 08, 2010 03:05AM) (new)

Leshawn | 25 comments Misty,
I saw Austen smiling as she wrote it, as well! And I loved when she winked at the reader directly!
When Catherine receives letters but her parents trouble themselves to "not" discover who sent them; in order to allow Henry and Catherine to remain in touch until General Tilney gives his assent to the union........big wink that made me smile!
When Catherine assumes Henry doesn't read novels because "gentlemen" don't and he assures her that he does.....another great wink which made me like Henry even better!
The whole thing was a very fun lark!


message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments This was the first time I read Northanger Abby and I laughed so much. I felt that Austen's voice as a writer was different in this book than her others, because it was satirical in nature. I also enjoyed that there wasn't a huge drama in the novel. What I mean by that is take Pride and Prejudice - there are dramas that make the main characters realize they like each other (Lydia running away, Jane being taken from Bingley, the horrid first proposal) - all these things help the main characters realize they should be together. In Northanger - they like each other from the start and enjoy each others company throughout the book. No drama forcing them to realize their feelings for each other. It was a refreshing change to read!


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Leshawn wrote: "Misty,
I saw Austen smiling as she wrote it, as well! And I loved when she winked at the reader directly!
When Catherine receives letters but her parents trouble themselves to "not" discover ..."


This is exactly how I felt about the book. I could see Jane laughing through the whole book. She set it all up so beautifully ~ and then almost dares the audience to disagree with her about novels, the intelligence of women, or the romance between Henry & Catherine.

I also agree with Kim that it seemed different than her other novels. All her novels have wit - but this was different. Also, as I mentioned before, Henry was cast with the witty lines instead of the heroine. Catherine isn't stupid, but she does seem naive and somewhat ignorant in certain areas. She's willing to improve herself and regrets her mistakes. She just lacks maturity and experience.

I laughed so much when Austen writes directly about the merits of novels and that kind of thing. An author could never get away with that today and yet it was wonderful. My son asked why I was laughing and I told him, "Nothing ~ just Jane Austen on her soap box." He looked at me as if I'd gone crazy and asked me to read it to him. Then we both laughed. :o)


message 13: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Northanger Abbey is the novel of Jane Austen's with the most overt authorial intrusions, whereas Emma is the novel with the least--and yet, they are very similar in certain strange ways.


message 14: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments I like Austen's "winks" the reader as well! I think that since Catherine, she is very much a young character--but she isn't one of those angst ridden broody teens. I think she really sets herself apart by being herself (even though she does create a lot of faux pas!) and not being afraid to share that. She is someone that I felt has time to grow into her own person. I think that Henry is a great partner for her because he is so different from her and yet does not discourage her from being herself.


message 15: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments I think I've established that I'm not a scholar and just read Austen for pleasure. I do tend to miss details and don't "study" the books in any way. That may be why I was confused by something at the end of Northanger.

Where did the three thousand pounds come from for Catherine? If her brother was only gong to get a living of 400 per yer and in two years time ... I was just as shocked as the General when I read it and kept re-reading to see if I had missed some detail but I couldn't find anything that actually explained it other than it was a mistake that they had imagined her to be so poor.


message 16: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
The Morelands weren't poor though actually. I don't remember if that is described in the very beginning or revealed in the next chapter or two. The Thorpes were poor though.


message 17: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Here is it Lee, Chap 1 Moreland "had a considerable independence, besides two good livings..."


message 18: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Oh, and, Lee, we are not concentrating on scholarly discussions, no need to give it another thought. I apologize if the Northanger discussion had became too serious and things went in the wrong direction.

I think we all bring out little details that make the story enjoyable and some of it is just interesting because it is 19th c. stuff. It is everyone's own call as to what parts of Austen they enjoy.

I think hers are like all novels -- they unfold differently to everyone who reads them.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I think I was surprised that Catherine had received such a handsome settlement from her parents, too. I suppose that, unlike Mr. Bennett, Mr Morland put something aside for his daughters. His sons could earn their way in the world, but he knew he daughters had limited prospects without a dowry. James may have started with 400 a year, but he would be able to move up in the world through his own efforts and the right connections.


message 20: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 68 comments I wonder if , with so many children, it made sense to give the older children more advantages with the implicit understanding that they would help the younger siblings once they were established?

(And I wonder if the Allens do end up gifting one of the Moreland girls later on. )


message 21: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
I imagine families might have planned that way. Once older siblings are established, they help the younger ones. And good point about the Allens -- is sounds like they cared about the Moreland family. And even though Mrs. Allen was a fashion fanatic, she wanted Catherine to have adventures. I loved that line -- end of Chap 1.


message 22: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Thanks for pointing that out. I never thought they were poor, but the three thousand shocked me as it seemed so large an amount when compared with her brother's living (which she did not seem surprised by) and since he doesn't marry Miss Thorpe, she has nine other siblings they have to provide for. So that must be quite some piggy bank. ;o)

As for the other, I think perspective is part of the thing. I have always looked to Austen as a sort of "comfort food" for the mind and soul.

My family, like many others lately, has been faced with trying economic issues. I think I focused mainly on how entertaining Jane is in this book. I smiled and laughed through most of it when I re-read it this past week. I appreciated it so much that I really looked forward to discussing it and then found that my simple enjoyment of the obvious was ~ well too simple.

That stole my joy. Then I thought that if it makes some other person happy to be so caught up in layers and subtext ~ so be it.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I think Sarah and I have tried to make it very clear that we want everyone to feel comfortable expressing their feelings, opinions or educated guesses as regards Jane Austen and her wonderful characters. We are here in this group because, first and foremost, we love Jane Austen's books! This is what brings us together here.


message 24: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Jeannette wrote: "I think Sarah and I have tried to make it very clear that we want everyone to feel comfortable expressing their feelings, opinions or educated guesses as regards Jane Austen and her wonderful chara..."

You have done a wonderful job. I was doing a poor job of apologizing for my part in creating the tension.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

No, you certainly don't need to apologize, Lee. Sometimes things just get carried off and the moderators are here to bring us all back. :)


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Lee, did you get the message I sent to your message inbox? I had some trouble with GR when I was composing it, so I don't know if it got to you?


message 27: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Jeannette wrote: "Lee, did you get the message I sent to your message inbox? I had some trouble with GR when I was composing it, so I don't know if it got to you?"

I did and answered. Thank you very much. :o)


message 28: by Puck (new)

Puck (gentlepuck) | 159 comments Lee wrote: "Thanks for pointing that out. I never thought they were poor, but the three thousand shocked me as it seemed so large an amount when compared with her brother's living (which she did not seem surpr..."

Lee - don't let that steal your joy.
Remember, groups are made of many and there's only one of you. You're "simple" joy can have a wonderful effect/affect on people reading these comments.
I appreciate what you're saying and I think it's a good reminder to us all that we need to realize the multiple point of views and perspectives our members sharing from. Thanks for sharing your feelings.



message 29: by Samantha (last edited Apr 04, 2010 07:53AM) (new)

Samantha (samanthan) | 25 comments I absolutely love Northanger Abbey! It's my favorite Austen book I've read so far (the others I read were Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice). Catherine is such an endearing character; the Alens are hilarious; Henry Tilney is so witty and likable; and the Thorpes are the perfect nefarious villains. Has anyone seen the Northanger Abbey BBC movie from the '80s? It's a really great adaption of the book, I definitely reccomend it.


message 30: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samanthan) | 25 comments I have to say I love Henry Tilney much more than Darcy or Captain Wentworth! Those two are very romantic and all, but they lack Henry's appeal and wit. I think Henry is more of a realistic romantic interest someone could actually have a crush on, rather than a symbol of romantic ideals like Darcy. I'll talk a personable character like Henry over Darcy any day!


message 31: by Puck (new)

Puck (gentlepuck) | 159 comments Samantha wrote: "I absolutely love Northanger Abbey! It's my favorite Austen book I've read so far (the others I read were Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice). Catherine is such an endearing character; the Alens ar..."
My only issue with that version is the music. I love a good sax but that was too much for me:)


message 32: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Samantha wrote: "I have to say I love Henry Tilney much more than Darcy or Captain Wentworth! Those two are very romantic and all, but they lack Henry's appeal and wit. I think Henry is more of a realistic romantic..."

I am glad you reminded me about that movie. I have not seen it. I have to check out that sax music Sarah!

Samantha, I really think you make a good point about Henry. He really does seem like an engaging person -- easy to converse with. I know it was debated earlier in this discussion, but I believe Henry (maybe thanks to his good relationship with his sister) had a high opinion of conversing with females. He gave Catherine credit for appreciating good conversation also. He stands apart to me for this very reason.


message 33: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments Sarah wrote: "Samantha wrote: "I have to say I love Henry Tilney much more than Darcy or Captain Wentworth! Those two are very romantic and all, but they lack Henry's appeal and wit. I think Henry is more of a r..."

I did think that Henry was a wonderful hero and one of the best romantic figures. He was witty and a great conversationalist, and he didn't condemn Catherine for her mistakes. He was upset (and rightfully so) when she basically accused her father of either neglecting or aiding in the death of his mother - but when he saw her distress over her error in judgment, he took pains to be more accommodating to her. He went out of his way to comfort her instead of distancing himself from her.

I liked him a lot.


message 34: by Samantha (last edited Apr 05, 2010 05:15PM) (new)

Samantha (samanthan) | 25 comments Yeah, at times the sax music can be a little corny in that version, but there is also an excellent musical theme throughout that movie that is (thankfully) sax-less. :)


message 35: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samanthan) | 25 comments I just watched the new 2007 Masterpiece Theatre movie adaptation of Northanger Abbey. JJ Field who plays Henry is really cute, but this version wasn't as good as the BBC version from '87. It's worth watching though.


message 36: by Ashley (new)

Ashley At the risk of appearing remiss in my reading habits, I have to post to say I just finished Northanger Abbey and was immensely pleased! I laughed aloud many times at Austen's overt parody of gothic novels and her clearly mischievous intentions. Thanks for a great discussion!


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Ashley wrote: "At the risk of appearing remiss in my reading habits, I have to post to say I just finished Northanger Abbey and was immensely pleased! I laughed aloud many times at Austen's overt parody of gothic..."

There is never a bad time to read Jane Austen. Glad you enjoyed it so much! :)


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