Wednesday, 18 September 2013

''Northanger Abbey''- Book Review

Author: Jane Austen
Published: 1817

Genre: Novel, Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5


With Northanger Abbey, I have completed reading all the six novels by Jane Austen. Austen has become one of my favorite authors. Her novels are so charming, witty, brilliant!

I really liked ''Northanger Abbey''.  Not only is it brilliant and enjoyable, it is also one of the wittiest Austen novels. The heroine, Catherine Morland, is the most immature heroine created by Austen.  Elizabeth Bennet is one of the most headstrong heroines I've ever come across. Elinor and Marianne were both sensible. Fanny Price was meek and timid (but not immature like Catherine). Anne Elliot was timid as well. Emma Woodhouse was a little immature. But Catherine, to begin with, is plain silly at the beginning of the novel.

Northanger Abbey was, in fact, the first novel that Austen completed (she completed it in the late 1790s) but it was published posthumously by her brother, in 1817, along with ''Persuasion''. 

We are introduced to Catherine Morland, who has never had the qualities that a heroine should possess. She was a tomboy and took no pleasure in music or painting. But as she grew older, she began to train herself to become a heroine.

When Catherine is seventeen years old, a neighbor, Mrs Allen, invites her to go to Bath with her. Catherine immediately accepts the invitation, hoping that through this visit to Bath, she might find her hero, and a lot of adventures.

In Bath, Catherine and Mrs Allen get bored because they have no acquaintances there. But soon, at a ball, Catherine dances with the charming and handsome Henry Tilney. Gradually, Catherine gets close to Henry, his sister Eleanor, and their father, General Tilney.

Catherine also becomes very good friends with Isabella Thorpe, who is younger sister the sister of her (Catherine's) elder brother's friend. Isabella's brother, John Thorpe, tries to woo Catherine, but the latter dislikes him. 

The Tilneys invite Catherine to travel with them to Northanger Abbey their residence in Gloucestershire.  Catherine, who is an avid reader of Gothic novels, is thrilled after getting the invitation, and immediately accepts the invitation. She expects Northanger Abbey to be a castle full of Gothic horrors and mysteries: old, hidden passages, signs of tortures and mysteries and murders. Catherine comes to draw a parallel between Northanger Abbey and Gothic castles, and begins to think General Tilney as a Gothic villain, a cold-blooded murderer. 

Throughout the novel, Catherine Morland comes across incidents that will eventually help her to find sense, maturity, and love. She is a silly, immature girl at the beginning of the novel. Her actions are really, really funny. Especially, after her arrival in Northanger Abbey, her fantasies about Northanger Abbey being a Gothic castle and General Tilney being a villain, there were so amazing and so very funny! Northanger Abbey often parodies Gothic novels. Especially, ''The Mysteries of Udolpho'' plays an important role. 

''Northanger Abbey'' was definitely an amusing, entertaining and funny read. Catherine Morland is yet another excellent character, immature and funny. Most of the novel was light, though the last chapters did become a little serious. It is not my favorite Austen (Emma is my favorite Austen, followed by Pride & Prejudice), but I really enjoyed reading it.

4 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment