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Northanger Abbey is probably Jane Austen’s least-known novel. It was published after Austen’s death in 1817, but it was written in 1799 and was in fact her first complete novel. The story of Catherine Morland’s introduction to society, her many blunders, and her overactive imagination is usually noted for its parody of the Gothic literature that Catherine obsessively reads. But Northanger Abbey is also a very sweet little romance. Jane Austen is at her most clever and wry in this slim novel and she writes one of her most charming and funny heroes in Henry Tilney, who teases and laughs where Mr. Darcy, Edward Ferrars, or Mr. Knightley would only glower, sulk, or lecture. Northanger Abbey is the only Austen novel that Hollywood has overlooked, but there have been film versions made for television. The most recent—and far and away the most pleasing—is the production that aired as a Masterpiece Theater presentation on Public Television in 2007. Masterpiece Theater is notoriously professional and accurate in their book adaptations so every nuance of Austen’s little masterpiece is distinguished. J.J. Field and Felicity Jones play the witty Tilney and the charmingly naïve Catherine to perfection, and the ending is exceptionally sweet. If you’re an Austen lover, don’t forget about Northanger Abbey in either of its engaging forms.
posted Jun 2, 2009 at 2:42PM
After reading Mansfield Park and not enjoying it, I was not looking forward to reading this one. Fortunatly, I was happily surprised by how good a noval it was. The main character, Catherine is certainly immature, but she’s kind hearted and imaginative. The plot wasn’t as complicated as, say, Pride and Prejudice, but it was interesting and the conversation was lively. Before I read this, I watched the movie made in 2007 by Masterpiece Theater, and now I find it not half as good as the book. I would certainly recommend taking the time to read this book, and all the other Jane Austen books.
posted Jun 6, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Imaginative; loves gothic romances.