Saturday, June 1, 2013

Northanger Abbey; Jane Austen's last published novel

I have recently been working my way through the Jane Austen books, with breaks between to let my mind focus on something other than romance. So after a month's break of no romances (a request from my parents) and then another month waiting for a friend to finish up her books to read it with me, I finally got to read Northanger Abbey! I was expecting it to be a lot longer, I mean, her other works were twice as long! So I finished it surprisingly fast, but enjoyed it greatly nerveless!

Cathrine Morland. She's so cute, I love her smile.
I have found out, while waiting to read this lovely novel, that while Northanger Abbey is not incredibly popular (compared to Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility) it is often a favorite with Jane Austen fans. I have to admit I was surprised. If this was a favorite, why had I not heard much about it, or watched the movie? (I had watched the three I mentioned above before reading the books) What was so different from P&P, S&S or Emma? I still don't have the answer to the first question, (I guess I was just behind), but I did ask one lady, who glowingly recommended it, why she liked it so much. Her answer? It was happy. It was a cute, simple story with a fun main character. I suppose it is nice not to have a villain every once in a while. *Glances at pictures of Wickham and Willoughby* She said the other ones are so sad sometimes. Which I suppose, Sense and Sensibility can be sad in a sense. So with this information I eagerly dove into it once my dear friend was ready. =) Here's the summery:

Catherine Morland, age 17, has finally become a lady. In her childhood she was a tom-boy and was considered quite plain, and was 'just now' becoming pretty. The Morlands live in the country and don't often get out into society, so when the Mr. and Mrs. Allen offer to take Catherine along with them to Bath, Cathrine is quite struck with delight. They journey to Bath, and become quite lonely
Isabelle Thorpe and Cathrine
when they fail to meet any one they know. They finally meet an old school mate of Mrs. Allen's, Mrs. Thorpe. Her oldest daughter, Isabelle, and Catherine become the best of friends and are constantly together.  A while after they have been in Bath James Morland (Cathrine's brother) arrives with John Thorpe to join the Thorpe party in Bath, and James is surprised, yet delighted, to find his younger sister there. (James became friends with John Thorpe at college) A friendship starts between Cathrine and a family called the Tilney's that she meets there. The Tilney's (the group is made up of Mr. Tilney, and his son and daughter, Henry and Eleanor) eventually have to quit Bath and invite Cathrine to visit there home, Northanger Abbey.....

I really liked the simplicity of this book. Jane Austen wrote this one in a different style, which I found fun to read and made the book flow. The narration parts she's almost talking directly to you, and has no fear of putting in her opinion now-n-then. =) I also found Cathrine a very fun character, though I found her quite ignorant of the ways of the world. (If we must put it that way) But over all she was a very fun young lady. Oh yes, and that was the other thing, her age. I am so used to Lizzy Bennet, Jane Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, and.. well, I guess Marianne was younger. But it was fun to have a younger aged heroine, who knows very little compared to Lizzy, Emma, and other Austen heroines.  During her Bath visit we find out that she's quite fond Ann Radcliffe's books. Which are, in short, Gothic-romance-mystery novels. I want to say I didn't like that, however, Jane Austen actually had them such a large part of the book for a purpose: to make fun of them, and to satirizes these Gothic stories. I found this quite amusing and agreed with Jane Austen, that Gothic novels are not that good of books to read and can influence ones imagination a lot, often to much. =) So since the author didn't like the said Gothic books (so much so as to make fun of them), I was fine with reading about them in this book.
Henry Tilney. He is hilarious! And his facial expressions are, oh my, so funny!

I watched the 2007 movie version of Northanger Abbey as soon as possible on finishing the book. It had a promise of being a good movie, and I was only slightly disappointed. Instead of simply stating that Catherine read Mrs. Radcliffe's novels, they go on to show what Cathrine is reading. Which can be quite disturbing. (We skipped all of the these scenes) She also imagined a little bit of her own Gothic story to make a boring journey or what not exciting, so we skipped those also. However the adventurous spirit it gave her was very funny, and she scares herself a couple times with her over active imagination. =) It is implied in the book that John Thrope swears a couple times, but the complete word was never put down in ink. The movie, of course, had him say the word several times so that wasn't that nice. =( The biggest problem I had with the movie was a scene they added between two characters that was very bad and we had to skip. The scene was not in the book and I was quite upset and disappointed that they added that.

Over all the movie was very fun to watch and followed the book really good. (Despite the things i just pointed out) I found myself wishing it was longer so that the characters had more screen time. It was only an hour and a 1/2, which ended up being an hour and 15 minutes with the said scene
Northanger Abbey. Just the name excited Cathrine..
skipping. =) Now compared to the 5 hour Pride & Prejudice (1995), and 4 hour Emma (2009) it's quite short! (Not to mention 3-4 hour Wives and Daughters, North and South, Cranford, and Return to Cranford.) And seemed to move quite fast. But it was still a very good movie, and the casting was done very nicely. I think the characters were perfect! Looks and everything.. =)

So I highly suggested reading the book, and know that you'll fall in love with Miss Cathrine Morland not long after you start the book. (Her adventurous spirit is quite fun to read about) As for the movie, I would suggest it only if you understand there are parts to skip. I really enjoyed it with those scenes removed. x)

This was actually Jane Austen's first novel ready for publication, but was the last one  to be published. The publisher didn't think it was worth publishing, which, as we all know, was a mistake!! =) Her brother took charge of it eventually and got it published, changing the name from Cathrine (Jane Austen's original title) to Northanger Abbey. He had Northanger Abbey and Persuasion bound up in one volume and published together. Which were uniquely her first and last novels she completed. (NA being the first and Persuasion being her last)

Have you read Northanger Abbey? Or watched the movie? What did you think? What, may I ask, was your opinion?

<3 Eva
“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine... But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine...”  
-Northanger Abbey


  1. Dear Eva,

    I loved the post!! Your opinions are quite the same as mine!! (So, I shan't answer that question, or I would just be repetitive! :D) I have read the book! (Sorry, it took me so long before I was ready to read it with you! :D) I have seen the movie, though the first time I watched it, I was not aware of anything in it, and had not read the book,so I was more on the disliking side, than liking, but I think I might like to see it again! ;D And as for what I thought, on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the book!!;D

    Miss Elinor Dashwood

    1. Dear Elinor,

      Thank you!! Yes, our opinions are quite similar on at least this Jane Austen! Oh it's alright that you took so long, I was reading other stuff too. =) I'm sure that would've been disturbing if you didn't know to have your remote ready! It was way better with the parts skipped. =) Yes, watch it again now that you've read the book! It is such a sweet story. =)

  2. I've seen the movie (with all those same scenes skipped) and I've started reading the book. I really liked the movie. Though, like you, I was sad it was so short.
    I finished your Elevensies Tag. It was a lot of fun! Sorry I took so long to post it; I'm not usually on the computer long enough to write blog posts. ~Emily

    1. Oh you'll have to let me know how you like the book! I enjoyed it a lot. =)

      Oh really? I'll go look at it right now! =D I totally understand, I actually think your only the 2nd person to do it, so you're not behind. =)


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