I love Northanger Abbey and I have mentioned it multiple times before that I think it is really sad it isn’t as widely known as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.
Some of you might know this but for those who don’t, Northanger Abbey was written to be a play on the Gothic genre, and I personally feel specifically on novel The Female Quixote or The Adventures of Arabella.
When you read Northanger Abbey there is such wit in the words; along with little allusions and digs at other Gothic works-if you know what they refer to they are absolutely hilarious, but even if you aren’t a big fan of Gothic fiction it still remains a fun book to read.
For example, the beginning of Northanger Abbey sets up our protagonist, Catherine Morland as the complete opposite of a gothic heroine as she has no trauma propelling her forward. She comes from a complete family: no broken familial bonds, no separation between her parents, no hatred in the marriage, and unfortunately both her parents are alive and she regrettably was not placed under the household of a horrible relative.
To make matters worse, not only are both of her parents alive but they also treat her and her siblings well! Her father “was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters”, her parents don’t hide her away from society, they feed her proper meals-it is all disheartening.
And her family isn’t even poor, but well off! Oh my goodness, what’s a girl to do with this lot in life?
Now this is all written sarcastically and said in mock fun, (just like how Jane Austen wrote it), but this was a prevalent theme in gothic fiction. Most of the the time our hero or heroine is placed in some type of traumatic situation or surrounded by abusive people that propels them forward into the plot.
Catherine luckily gets her tale, and while going on ups and downs, she has her happy ending with the most well-adjusted man in gothic literature.
Like I’ve said before, if you haven’t read Northanger Abbey you totally should. It is so funny and just plain enjoyable.
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Have You a Stout Heart?: Northanger Abbey (1987)
For more on the text of Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?