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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Kell

Jane Austen Book Group - Northanger Abbey

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Anyone who would like to get hold of a copy of this book and join in the circle - there are quite a few copies available at

Green Metropolis

 

Also available at Amazon. See link on site front page!

 

Or download it for free:

audio book at Librivox / e-book at Project Gutenberg

 

~~*~~

The fifth book being read in the Jane Austen Book Group (throughout November and December) is Northanger Abbey:

With its loveable, impressionable heroine and its themes of growing up and learning to live in the real world, Northanger Abbey remains one of Jane Austen's most irresistible and up-to-date novels. Catherine Morland is the very ideal of a nice girl from a happy family, butshe is blessed with an overactive imagination. She is also obsessed with lurid Gothic novels, where terrible things happen to the heroine. Which gets her into all sorts of trouble When Catherine meets funny, sharp Henry Tilney, she's instantly taken with him. But when she is invited to his home, the sinister Northanger Abbey, her preoccupation with fantasy starts to get in the way of reality. Will she learn to separate out the two in time?

~~***~~



In deference to those who may be reading it for the first time - if you're going to talk about a major plot point, please state which chapter your post relates to and use the spoiler tags, so that those who haven't yet reached that point will know to wait a while before reading that post!

Some discussion questions to consider:

DO NOT READ THE FIRST SET OF QUESTIONS BEFORE READING THE BOOK - THERE MAY BE SPOILERS!

 

1. Northanger Abbey is about an ordinary girl who tends to see the world in a rather blinkered light. How is Catherine Morland relevant to women today? Is she different from modern women? Is her outlook familiar in any way? If so, how?

2. Can Northanger Abbey be read as a Gothic novel? If not, in what ways does it allude to this genre of writing?

3. In what ways is Catherine in Northanger Abbey comparable to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice? Do they change at all throughout the novels?

4. What is the significance of wealth and property in Northanger Abbey? Does Jane Austen condemn or condone such outlooks?

5. Is Catherine

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I'm surprised no one has posted about this book so far! It's really an enjoyable read. If you're a fan of Jane Austen's, you'll know that this was the first book she wrote, even though it wasn't published until after her death. It's easy to picture the younger, more inexperienced Austen writing this book, as this is a story about books and what makes a good heroine.

 

The author declares that Catherine Morland isn't a good heroine, because she's healthy, happy, and with both parents still living. I thought this description was funny because the Gothic novels of the Romantic period that Austen is sort of lampooning with this book are full of consumptive, orphaned, sickly heroines who die grisly deaths, uncover murderous plots, and live lives full of hardship and woe. It's like Northanger Abbey is the anti-Gothic response to the hysteria portrayed by the Gothic novels....novels that Catherine Morland devours. Very ironic in a way that would later become Austen's signature brand of humor! :)

 

Does anyone else have any thoughts about this book?

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This is actually my favourite of Austen's novels.

 

Despite the fact that there are frequent sections of the narrative that basically go, "I'm going to tell you about such-and-such now, because you need to understand how they are to judge their later actions", I found this a lot easier than I did Emma when I read that the year before. There's a definite feel of "outsider looking in", but I think that adds to it, rather than detracting, in this case.

 

There was a rather annoying section where almost an entire chapter was given over to a commentary on the merits of novels which was completely outwith the context of the plot. I found it quite frustrating and "blethery" as I just wanted to get back to what little action there is. That said, there's much more happening here than there was in Emma (which I found decidedly dull and devoid of any action), although the titular Abbey isn

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This is actually my favourite of Austen's novels.

 

 

Mine too.

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Northanger Abbey is my favorite out of the two comedys written by Jane. I agree that there seems to be more action in this book. But in all actuality there is nothing all that different in Catherine Morlands. She lives more or less the same life as all of Jane's heroines. That's what i think is so clever about it. Jane Austen messes with our imagination, in the same way the books Miss Morland reads messes with her imagination. She does this by making it appear there is more going on than there actually is. For example, whilst reading the chapter when she spends her first stormy night in Northanger Abbey, I found myself getting quite jumpy, and gradually sinking further and further under my blanket. I love it when she gets frightened by the movement of the curtins, because i got frightened at the movement of mine. When she is nosying around the house, i was laughing at her, but at the same time I was also anxious to find out what was in the chest, what was in each room, etc.

 

In answer to one of the questions above, I do think that a lot of women today are like Catherine Morland. People to often try to mimic what the TV tells us is a normal life. For example the non-stop drama in a soap opera. I have even known some to have changed there lives in order to become closer to a character/story they have seen. Its like playing a game of life instead of actually living it. I like the way Jane presents and shows the folly of this attitude. She wrote instead about what she knew, and she seemed to know a lot about character and what makes a good one. This is one of the reasons she is my favorite author. So this book....I love it! :)

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I just finished it today. Not Austen's best, but I think there's still plenty to enjoy, mostly the sarcastic way in which the writer deals with gothic novels. Catherine, if you except her foolishness in some parts of the book, is quite a sympathetic heroine and I didn't thought she was passive. As of marriage, I don't mind, apart from the fact that each time we pretty much know how the novel is going to end

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This is actually my favourite of Austen's novels.

 

It's been a few years since I read any Austen, but like you, Kell, this is my favourite Austen and the book of hers I've read most often.

 

Despite the fact that there are frequent sections of the narrative that basically go, "I'm going to tell you about such-and-such now, because you need to understand how they are to judge their later actions", I found this a lot easier than I did Emma when I read that the year before.

 

Again, I agree! Emma is my least favourite Austen, in fact, I don't actually ever remember getting to the end, despite a few attempts to start it.

 

 

I think Northanger Abbey would be an ideal introduction to Austen for modern chick-lit fans, as it's the very comparable to a good romcom style novel, just in a historical setting. It's great fun, and a relatively easy read for a classic, and I actually think it would be great to adapt into a modern setting for a film, like Emma was the inspiration for Clueless, I think you could make a fantastic teenage romcom out of this book!

 

Just thinking about Northanger Abbey for this post has made me want to read it again, so I'll definitely have to add it to the end of by TBR list.

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I'm hoping to come across a novel one day which will be a sequel to "Northanger" - there's another story there, especially based around General Tilney .... left sulking in his gothic Abbey, and perfectly set up to be a wonderful villain!

 

That apart, I think what I like best about this novel is the way Austen "takes a pop" at the idea of - too much novel-reading!. :lol:

 

While writing her own version of a gothic novel (or so we think, at the beginning) she then shows everyone, through Catherine and her over active imagination, that taking the world of novels too literally brings only disillusionment, and embarassment, when the everyday world butts in!

Fortunately, Henry is sensible enough to overlook Catherine's youthful foolishness, and she regains her own natural good sense, and accepts the lesson she's learned calmly, passing like-advice on to her younger siblings. All well that ends well - except for the awful General, alone in his Abbey!

Edited by Booknutt
correcting type-ohs!

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Hope you enoy it, Chrys - Jane Austen laughing at herself, and fellow "gothic" authors. :smile2:

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I got a cute little green copy of this for

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How about "enthuse" then, Roxi? :) All Austen-ites do that! ;)

 

Yes, that's a brilliant way of putting it.

 

I don't remember Rawr saying that, or replying to him.

 

I'm going mad.

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Friendy greetings to Twisted Vamp - it's no surprise you like "Northanger",Twisty - Jane Austen's kinda "gothic" novel - did your avatar like it too?! ;)

 

Seriously though - "Northanger" is a very good read especially for a younger person. It's themes of shallow "friends" (the Thorpes) and rash judgements (Catherine's of the Abbey and General) are useful messages for us all. There are all kinds of villains in the world. The General wasn't the monster Cathy imagined him, but he was actually quite villianous when he ejected her from the Abbey in the middle of the night, and left her to get home on her own. In those days - that sort of treatment towards a sheltered young woman, especially by a man of rank, was pretty shocking.

 

What's next for you, Twisty? P & P? With it's wicked Wickham, and the rest of Elizabeth and Jane's socially embarrassing family? :)

Edited by Booknutt
missed a word

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OK where to start with such a book? I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to discover it.

This is only my second Austen novel. After reading Pride and Prejudice I was already prepared for the idiosyncracies of the period: the painfully slow modes of transport and communication all by letter. One of the consequences of that is that when a person in that age goes visiting they are obliged to stay for long periods with others they hardly know; and also that they may be totally ignorant of circumstances only a few miles away and heavily reliant on other's opinions.

Jane Austen uses all these factors as essential plot devices to weave a story around which seems very clever to us nowadays. ( The arrival of a letter in an Austen novel is never unimportant or uneventful!)

Also the economy of the writing is so impressive; there is no padding, everything is important.

The characters seem like they could step off the page. I was pleased to see that 17 year old Catherine was no mouse and was capable of putting a bully in his place.

When she finally gets to visit the Abbey of the title her vivid imaginings and conspiracy theories had me laughing out loud. Amazing that the writer's sense of humour comes across just as strong 200 years later.

And the reasons for the Generals strange behaviour had me hooked right until the last page.

I enjoyed the elegant use of language.

A great read . I enjoyed this very much.

Edited by vodkafan

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I have this on my TBR mountain. I've always been intrigued by the concept and what i have heard. Plus it is bound to be on my unit at some point or another when i do my degree, so I will definitely be reading it along the way.

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Great review! I love this book, usually cited as my favourite Austen (although I can sometimes be tempted to go with Persuasion and Mansfield Park as well!). Interestingly, I don't think there has ever been a successful adaptation to screen though, they never seem to capture the humour of it and make it too dark and gothic in my opinion.

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I have this on my TBR mountain. I've always been intrigued by the concept and what i have heard. Plus it is bound to be on my unit at some point or another when i do my degree, so I will definitely be reading it along the way.

 

hey Rawr, definitely one for the shelf in the cave. It is an easy read too-I urge you to read it for pleasure before you have to do it on your course.

 

Frankie: thanks!

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I am planning to read it a couple of times in advance for sure and looking forward to it! :welcome:

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Great review! I love this book, usually cited as my favourite Austen (although I can sometimes be tempted to go with Persuasion and Mansfield Park as well!). Interestingly, I don't think there has ever been a successful adaptation to screen though, they never seem to capture the humour of it and make it too dark and gothic in my opinion.

 

I was wondering if that was something that was present in the book. I've only watched 2 film adaptations and they both have this gothic theme to them. A bad foreboding, but nothing ever comes of it. The book isn't like that though? I may be more likely to pick it up and read it now....well it will join the ever growing TBR pile anyways. :welcome:

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This is actually my favourite Austen novel (I've read 4 now). It's just fabulous on every level. :welcome:

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re: Chesilbeach and Lit driven girl's comments:

 

strange I didn't catch any foreboding or dark Gothic things in the novel. It was humorous all the way through for me. I never felt Catherine was in any actual physical danger.

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