The Classics Club: Northanger Abbey

This is an absolute must read!  I laughed all the way through.

Catherine Morland is a young girl with a very active imagination who is taken to Bath by friends of the family.  She meets all kinds of new people and, being a sheltered girl, doesn’t have any experience in dealing with fly-by-night friends or pushy would-be-suitors.  And, Mrs. Allen–the lady whom she is accompanying–really doesn’t offer guidance as she is more concerned with her own self and pleasure; however, Mr. Allen–when he makes any appearance at all–generally has his head screwed on tight.

Isabella Thorpe is a shallow young girl who befriends Catherine and drags her about from place to place so she (Isabella) can be admired.  First she sets after James Morland, Catherine’s elder brother, becomes engaged and then dumps him when she lands the stronger financial candidate, Captain Tilney, the heir and oldest Tilney sibling–but is eventually dumped by him.

John Thorpe, Isabella’s brother, is a school friend of James Morland.  The arrogant Thorpe is very heavy-handed about separating Catherine from anyone but himself; he changes her plans without her consent several times.

Henry Tilney is the one young person who talks sense to Catherine most of the time.  She actually develops feelings for him and wants to know him better (when not being thwarted by circumstance or Thorpe).

Eleanor Tilney, Henry’s sister, becomes a friend to Catherine.  She is kind and a bit shy.

General Tilney is quite overbearing to his children and exhibits many of the same characteristics of John Thorpe.  He is at the center of the dramas at the end of the book–and only one turns out to be an actual problem that didn’t stem from Catherine’s wild imagination.

Is this a typical Austen romance?  Yes, but we are treated to every wild imagining generated out of gothic tales which cause the “typical” to be hidden.  The imagination can easily swamp reality for Catherine–and the reader.

Will I read this again?  Absolutely!

I wish I had read this novel when I was fifteen or sixteen:  I adored horror novels–being scared was fun.  But, because of this, I still think twice (even after all these years) about walking over storm drains.  This novel might have made me take a look at my need for excitement and try to find an alternative path for it.  I probably wouldn’t have stopped reading horror novels, but I might have found something else to read in between to give myself a break!

  • Started:  end of August
  • Finished:  20 September, 2012
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2 thoughts on “The Classics Club: Northanger Abbey

  1. Pingback: A Gothic Parody from Miss Austen | Tales of the Marvelous

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