Northanger Abbey – Final Thoughts

Why is Northanger Abbey my least favourite Austen novel? I have been thinking about this for a few days.

Henry Tilney is charming and witty and the authorial voice is, at times, wickedly funny, …

Mrs Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at their being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them.

Austen’s treatment of Catherine Morland is sympathetic – we as readers like her and want to follow her on her adventure to find a hero.

So, why despite all of its good points do I not like it as much as the other novels (even Mansfield Park).

I blame Catherine Morland she is no Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot. She is young, inexperienced and a bit silly. This novel is as much a protest against the lack of female education as it is a love story.

Also, unlike other Austen novels (apart from Persuasion) there is no charming rake – no Henry Crawford, or Mr Willoughby – I like the rogues.

However, Henry Tilney and Isabella Thorpe are brilliant – is Isabella and early version of Lucy Steele?

From a social history point of view, I enjoyed the descriptions of day to day life in Bath – going to the pump room and the upper and lower rooms and the theatre.

I’m glad I read this again slowly and I hope there will be a group read of Udolpho (it’s the only way I think I’ll manage to read it).

Next Austen related book in my pile is The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet (by Colleen McCullough).

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One Response to Northanger Abbey – Final Thoughts

  1. Paige

    Enjoyed your thoughts. Agree that it’s Catherine’s character that makes it not as like-able. This is my first Austen book I’ve read from start to finish. I was expecting it to be just like Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility so I think that partially made me not like it as much. I plan to refer back to your site when I read others.

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