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"Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey is available for free download from our ebook catalog. This ebook is also part of The Complete Works of Jane Austen ebook compilation.

Northanger Abbey, written around 1798 but actually published in 1817, follows Catherine Morland on a visit to Bath and later to Northanger Abbey, the house of new acquaintances, the Tilneys. Because she has been reading Ann Radcliffe’s gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho, Catherine expects her visit to be full of fantastical mystery, murder, and romance.

Even though the seemingly supernatural pervades the text, like Mysteries there is always a logical reason behind it. This, coupled with Catherine's artless and trusting point of view provides the framework for many of the mysteries and misunderstandings as well as the comedic and cringe inducing scenes. Chapter One, on introducing our heroine, Austen actually uses the word "stupid". And the rest of the book does not prove her wrong! However one does not dislike our heroine for it, on the contrary. While the "bad" characters ramble on and on--and oh it is so obvious that they are not to be trusted--Catherine, with the most open and naive heart, trusts everyone.

On a personal note, not being a purist in literature, I will admit that I saw the 2007 ITV adaptation of Northanger Abbey before reading the book. Thus far I have not been disappointed in seeing an Austen adaptation first. My reasoning this time around is that JJ Field as Henry Tilney is more perfect than I could have imagined, so I am very glad to have had him in mind while reading Henry's saucy lines.

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