So this year marks the 200th anniversary of the dual publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. While Persuasion‘s popularity has increased in recent years, although no where near Pride and Prejudice or Emma; Northanger Abbey is always forgotten or shelved.
Even when it was first purchased they wouldn’t publish it, and unlike Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey took thirteen years to finally be published.
Look this is how the book begins:
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE AUTHORESS, TO NORTHANGER ABBEY
THIS little work was finished in the year 1803, and intended for immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller, it was even advertised, and why the business proceeded no farther, the author has never been able to learn. That any bookseller should think it worth-while to purchase when he did not think it worth-while to publish seems extraordinary. But with this, neither the author not the public have any other concern than as some observation is necessary upon those parts of the work which thirteen years have made comparatively obsolete. The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes.
How awful that must have been for Jane. So excited her book was published and waiting for it to come out…
Only for it to never do.
You know this is the first book she ever had ready for publication.
It was later bought back by her brother Henry, with Jane revising it and here is where we get the wit of Jane. Watch out for that pen of hers.
I love how she said she “disposed” of the book as that is how she felt what the bookseller did. And she just throws him under the bus-questioning his intelligence and business acumen. Woo-hoo, don’t mess with her.
Unfortunately, Jane never saw it published. She died before and it was combined with Persuasion and published postmortem.
But what makes this extremely sad is that people still treat her work this way. They treat her book like that bookseller did, like it is nothing.
I mean this book is awesome. It has a fantastic main character:
A wonderful man in Mr. Tilney:
It has intrigue, suspense, backstabbing, a possible murder, and more.
Do Jane proud! Don’t be like the bookseller, read her novel today!!
For more on Northanger Abbey, go to In Celebration of Northanger Abbey
For more Catherine Morland, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce
For more Mr. Tilney, go to Midnight in Austenland
For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol