Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview



Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  •     New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  •     Biographies of the authors
  •     Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  •     Footnotes and endnotes
  •     Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  •     Comments by other famous authors
  •     Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  •     Bibliographies for further reading
  •     Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate


All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082642
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 12,236
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English author known primarily for her six major novels set among the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Considered defining works of the Regency Era and counted among the best-loved classics of English literature, Austen’s books include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. The latter two were published after her death.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England

Education:

Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt



From Alfred Mac Adam’s Introduction to Northanger Abbey

Austen writes at the outset of a total metamorphosis of European thought, a moment when every aspect of society was on the verge of mutation. The most obvious change is political: France enters the process of the French Revolution in 1789 and moves into the era of Napoleon, from which it emerges only after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815. France, in only a few years, moves from monarchy to republic to empire and back to monarchy. The spirit of the eighteenth-century Age of Reason, with its emphasis on universal principles (such as “All men are created equal”) turns into the age of Romanticism, when individuals discover they are radically different from one another.

Austen’s sociology too reflects an evolving literary, political, and social reality. Her main characters are not nobles, though some may be members of the titled aristocracy. Catherine Morland is the daughter of a country clergyman; she’s seen nothing of the world until her visit to Bath, a health spa and meeting place for marriageable young men and women, and her subsequent brush with provincial highlife at the grand estate of General Tilney, the father of the clergyman she eventually marries. The novel, as Austen and her contemporaries conceive it, is not concerned with kings and queens but with ordinary people, and one wonders if she had any knowledge of Madame de Lafayette’s The Princess of Cleves (1678), an early transformation of the aristocratic and courtly setting of the romance of chivalry into something very much like the psychological novel. The novel’s task is to make ordinary, usually middle-class characters interesting by creating predicaments for them in circumstances its readers would find reasonably familiar. Austen has a strong cohort of women novelists among her contemporaries who did exactly that; she refers specifically to Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) and Camilla; Or, a Picture of Youth (1796), by Fanny Burney, as well as Belinda (1801), by Maria Edgeworth: The fact that these novels are all named after their heroines certainly influenced Austen, who in its earlier incarnations gave Northanger Abbey the title “Susan” and then “Catherine.”

Again, none of us (we hope!) has ever seen a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost, though these are standard items in the gothic novel. But many of Austen’s readers would know the tribulations of finding suitable mates and the disasters that beset young people as they try to get on with life. Austen’s England is alien territory insofar as her twenty-first-century readers are concerned, especially its class structure. Marriage, for example, while it could be the happy union of two people who cared for each other, was in Austen’s day really a union of fortunes; in the same way, becoming a clergyman did not necessarily reflect religious fervor: It was a profession like any other. In Northanger Abbey, we see the impoverished Isabella Thorpe desperately trying to find a man who will be able to maintain her in upper-class style, becoming engaged to one (Catherine Morland’s brother James), and instantly throwing him over when a better candidate (Captain Frederick Tilney) appears.

Little does she know that Frederick, a flirtatious rogue and therefore Isabella’s male twin, is simply toying with her, so breaking off with James Morland ultimately leads her to disaster. But James’s parents are relieved when the engagement collapses, because, as Catherine’s mother explains to her in the most precise terms, Isabella Thorpe has no money. The same argument—poor people are not suitable as mates—almost destroys Catherine’s chances of marrying Henry Tilney. Only because his daughter marries into the nobility (a viscount), does General Tilney allow his second son (who will not, because of the laws of primogeniture, inherit his estates) to marry the daughter of a country parson with ten children.

This is what Austen considers the material of novelistic lives: how members of contemporary English society confront the issues of the day and either overcome them (Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney eventually marry) or succumb to them (by the end of the novel, Isabella Thorpe finds herself virtually destitute and without either a fiancé or a wealthy prospect). Because Austen is writing with a comic view of society, her protagonist, Catherine Morland, will triumph, even if this means her author must resort to a deus ex machina to extricate her from her dilemma: General Tilney is so happy his daughter has married a viscount that he decides his second son’s choice of a poor bride is of little importance.

Money, then, is the great variable and the controlling factor in the lives of Austen’s characters, especially her women, because without it they are, in social terms, worthless. This was as true in real life as it was in fiction: Jane Austen fell in love with Tom Lefroy in 1796, but, since she was virtually penniless and her beau an impoverished Irish barrister-to-be, marriage was out of the question, a reality she accepted. That people did fall in love, run away, and live happily ever after was certainly possible in Austen’s day, but such relationships were the exception rather than the rule.

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Northanger Abbey 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 490 reviews.
Anne_Scarlett More than 1 year ago
I have been a big Jane Austen fan since I first read Pride and Prejudice as a ten year old. Since then, my love has only grown. I thought that nothing could top Pride and Prejudice, then I read Northanger Abbey. I love this book! It is funny, sweet, has good morals, endearing characters, and everything else that a good novel needs. I would recommend this to anyone who loved Pride and Prejudice or wished that Persuasion had a bit more spice. It is perfectly lovely, and a piece of work worthy of recognition. Put this in your personal library and read it again and again!
peppered_piper More than 1 year ago
What seasoned Austen readers know is that Northanger Abbey is written almost entirely in a satirical vein. It is one of Jane Austen's finest displays of wit throughout her writing, poking fun at gothic novels and embellishing with zest. Readers who are only familiar with a few of Austen's works, like the more mainstream Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, may thus be confused by difference in tone of Austen's first novel. It is a splendid way to familiarize oneself with all of Austen's work. Five stars.
Laura-Samuelson More than 1 year ago
Very hard to read. Lots of extra, odd letters and punctuation thrown in. I can't figure out how they got it so wrong. I finally gave up on reading it.
Ann_Karr More than 1 year ago
This book, as even Austen herself would surely admit, does not particularly align with her other novels. It certailny resembles them in regards to the general plot (of woman meets man, something/someone comes between woman and man, eventually woman and man are together) but, as is also the custom with all of Austen's works, bears striking distinction. Northanger Abbey is a book about books, or more specifically the Gothic novels or other fantastic fiction. Perhaps to certain eyes characters in it may seem flat and consequently unappealing. But it is only because Austen had written this as a parody of sorts, making the novel seem as though written for those accustomed to reading Gothic novels themselves, though really for people who expect OTHERS would take everything in the book seriously. She wants her readers to share her own humors with her, and even points out her intentions by reminding her readers: that THESE chracters are characters, and only that. Personally, I should recommend it to any appreciative of both Gothic novels themselves and Austen's playful approach to dealing with people who think every time a candle goes out in the night, a knife follows with it.
bearifier More than 1 year ago
There is a problem, and I hope B&N fixes it soon. The nookbook download is not of Northanger Abbey but of Penguin's edition of Cicero's Selected Writings...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was not converted well. Lots of symbols and misspelled words. Pretty useless for reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Northanger Abbey is a fun book to read. It has very colorful characters and when reading it i could see them come to life in my head. Catherine Morland is an interesting and humorous character. She has an imagination that makes for great reading. I recommend this book to anyone who wants an entertaining read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this novel because jane austen wrote it and also because it makes fun of the gothic books that were written during that time period. Catherine started out very ditzy and childish, but by the end she had pretty much grown up. I loved warching her character develop, plus Mr. Tilney is one of my favorite heroes!
JHBookFan More than 1 year ago
One of Jane Austen's lesser known novels; but still a very good read. The heroine is a bit more fanciful than other Austen characters; but it's interesting to see her discuss/read novels that were popular during that time. Also, the hero doesn't really resist falling in love with her. In fact, the fact that she admits that she favors him makes him like her all the more. This combined with family intrigues, the adventure of discovering a new place (Bath), and Catherine's imagination running away from her at times makes for a fun, slighty mysterious read. Enjoy!
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
This is not Austen`s best novel, but it is sweet and delightful, and witty as ever. It is not my favourite book by Austen, and I suppose I might have enjoyed it more, had I read it when I was younger. The story is about a young and rather immature girl, who reads too many romantic and ghost stories. On a visit to Bath, she befriends the Tilneys. Father Tilney is very overbearing and strict, his oldest son is a scoundrel, but his two other kids, the charming, funny and intelligent Henry and his lovely sister make up for the other two. Catherine, our young heroine receives an invitation to the Tilney house, hich is rather ancient. She suspects that there are dark secrets lurking behind the family facade ...but are there really or is it simply her imagination? You have to read it to find out. It is actually a very funny story. You don`t feel the same love and understanding for the heroine, as you do for Liz Bennett, but Austen intended it that way. Like all her novels, it is a coming of age story, where the main character learns more about herself than she ever expected. Recommended.
Kiko1021 More than 1 year ago
This is actually one of Austen's first works, she kept it for fifteen years, polishing it. It is her lightest work but it is still very good. Our heroine is Catherine, she is a rather silly young girl who has read too many gothic romances. "The Mysteries of Udolpho" in particular has turned her silly head. She seems to see a gothic mystery everywhere she looks. Catherine soon learns that the world is not all melodrama and eventually matures and marries a very sensible man. What keeps Catherine likable is her capacity to learn from her mistakes. She is certainly the least mature of Austen's heroines but she is never boring. This is a marvelous book to start with if you want to get into Jane Austen, it does not have as many characters or subplots as her other works and it is very breezy.
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
Who knew a vacation trip could turn into such an important event for one girl's life. From the moment the heroine is introduced, up to the very end she is delightful, naïve and fun. The men who come in and out of the tale are a little shady, self centered and of course cause more harm to the poor girl than good in some cases. A delightful visit into another Jane Austen book. I love the interactions between all of the characters, large and small they each bring light, laughter and fun to the tale. The settings shifting through out the book are detailed, fitting and absolutely fabulous. I really want to visit a real abbey some day just to see.it is also thrilling to have a heroine who is balanced between to smart for her own good, and so dumb every step is an accident. The personalities of the other girls in the book bring out the unique qualities of the heroine and show case her in a brilliant light. A very good short read.
bookwyrmm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved Catherine and her obsession with gothic novels. I love gothics, too, and it seemed like this was Austen's way of taking a dig at the pulp reading that was so popular in her day. Despite that, I still enjoyed this immensely.
ljldml on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite Jane Austen book. Not certain why, I just love to read this book. I love a nice rainy day, a quiet house and a cup of tea. I sit and read this book all afternoon.
multifaceted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You know what's funny? How Austen manages to parody one style of book, while managing to write her book in another typical style that seems equally deserving of parody due to the overreactions it can create in readers' heads. I expected so much more from this book, thinking it a parody of "gothic fiction" kind of similar to what Lewis' "The Monk" was--I mainly expected it to still retain a plot semi-similar to popular works of the genre, with added sarcastic remarks and subtle jabs against the style itself, while--owing to who the author is--I expected it to have a "good" outcome as usual. While it does have the remarks and jabs, it is essentially a love story, no "gothic" elements at all except what is clearly in the main character's own head--thoughts which no one today would seriously entertain for long, and it's not even that comical to see the "heroine" of the story believing it. I think I'd get more from this book if I thought more about the "era" it was written in, when women really were more openly seen as inferior to men; when a thoughtless and carefree upbringing like Catherine's might have been more easily believed; and maybe when some foolish people did perhaps entertain ideas of "gothic fiction" being fully real and plausible. But I read it essentially for pleasure, and Catherine's ignorance annoyed me. Austen's sarcasm about how a female should act was sometimes too in-your-face and other times rather subtle, leading me to wonder if every point was meant to be funny, or if some points were meant in truth. The comical hints at some type of typical abduction, shady character, or what-have-you, lead me to expect one thing, and continually turn pages only to find another. In the end I just thought.... "oh, it's a romance?"
colleenharker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly funny for Austen! I first read this one for a Gothic Novels class - fantastic class by the way - and really liked it. It's not my favorite of hers, but definitely worth reading. I enjoyed the way she defended her craft against critics of the novel genre.
Wiszard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a quick read that is quite enjoyable. If you loved "Pride and Prejudice", you'll find Northanger Abbey to be in the same mold. Jane Austen brings the characters alive in this short novel.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite Austen novel. The first half of the book is rather slow, a bit dry. Luckily for the reader, the second half picks up and moves along nicely. Catherine, the MC, is a silly girl - a bit of a drama queen with a tendency to let her imagination run wild. Austen pokes fun at the novel in this story, and there are moments of humor that gave me a chuckle. Rated 3.5/5.
mpmills on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Catherine Morland, seventeen and naive, travels to Bath as a companion to neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. There she meets new friends and travels with one family, the Tilneys, to their home, Northanger Abbey. While there, Catherine lets her imagination run wild. She eventually learns the truth and finds love. I love Jane Austen.
timmoran on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though published posthumously, Northanger Abbey is the earliest of Austen's six major novels to be composed and an excellent and accessible introduction to her work. The remarkably funny opening sentence -- no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine -- sets the stage for what is both a parody and an homage to the gothic novel. Morland is no beautiful heroine and she encounters no murderous villains or supernatural mysteries. Yet her marriage to Henry Tilney is barely less fanciful. Ordinary life is revealed to be adventure enough without the need for fantastic elements to spice them. Morland is contrasted with the ultimately deceitful Isabella Thorpe. Yet the novel is somewhat ambigous as to whether this is because of the superiority of her character or chance. Thorpe professes her love for James Morland but betrays him when she learns she will have to wait two years and that their income will be modest. This disappointment coupled with her fanciful delusions, fostered by her reading habits, make it impossible for Isabella to resist the temptations of the dashing Frederick. But Morland --- who shares the love of the same books as Isabella -- is betrothed only after seeing Tilney's parsonage and knowing she will be secure. And the obnoxious John Thorpe offers little temptation. Would Morland have fared better if she had been in Thorpe's place. Morland fate is happy and her choices sound, it seems, because she is the heroine and must be favored by fortune. A sobering thought from a sober novel.
KamTonnes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I believe this is the only Jane Austen book that I had not read, and read repeatedly. I'm not sure how I overlooked it. It has much in common with her other books: a deserving young woman and her exploits in society who eventually gets the honorable man whom she loves. We hear much more of the narrator's voice in this book than any of the others. Austen's sarcasm and wit are rather delicious. I also enjoyed Catherine's development from a complete innocent, easily led by those with more worldly experience and selfish designs, to a somewhat more discerning person occasionally capable of forming her own opinions. The happy ending was satisfying.
mottu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is abook about a woman. She is Catherine. She came to Bath with Mr and Mrs Allen. When she went to balls, she met a girl. She is Isabella. She became her friend. And there She met a man. He is Henry who is destined to marry her. This book is easy to read. So everyone can read easy.
Carmenere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At seventeen, Catherine Morland reads books. She especially enjoys gothic novels like Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho which contain castles with secret passages, mysterious rooms and evil inhabitants. Miss Morland takes these romantic thoughts with her to Bath where she spends several weeks with her neighbors, the Allens. It is there that she meets Isabella and the braggart, foul mouthed, deceptive John Thorpe and both love Catherine immensely, or do they really? Catherine also befriends Henry and his sister Eleanor Tilney. Catherine loves Henry from the first sight of him. She is ecstatic to be invited to their home, Northanger Abbey. Henry fuels her romantic thoughts on the trip to the Abbey in what seems like a mockery of her love of novels. I so looked forward to reading my beautiful edition of Northanger Abbey but I was just as let down by the Abbey as Catherine. We both expected something that never transpired. There was little romance and hardly any cat and mouse games which I have become accustomed to in an Austen novel. As usual, her trademark injustices of class distinctions are present . The exception to any romantic liaison is John Thorpe who simply loves John Thorpe. I have never met a character which I detest more than this man. His gaul and audacity make me cringe.I never knew for certain Henry's feelings for Catherine as I found the story to lack passion and intensity with a conclusion that is hurried and is simply a review of events by the narrator. A tidy way to wrap things up. It is as if Austen was ready to finish this story and move on to the next. Disappointed that the object of the title did not present itself until Chapter 20! With all do respect, this novel was Austen's first but published post-humously by her brother.I recommend it to lovers of Austen though not enthusiastically.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Definitely no Pride & Prejudice! too pompous and dragged.
bethanie336 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Please don't be angry Austen fans but I'm afraid I will never be able to join your ranks. I liked Pride & Prejudice but I couldn't even finish Persuasion. I can see why fans like Northanger Abbey. Austen got in some pretty cutting comments on social mores and gothic literature. Unfortunately, the humor was not enough to draw me into the story.