Review: “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen

Thumbs up for Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Romance.

My very last unread Austen! This is the funniest, I think: the others are full of satire, to be sure, but this one satirizes the entire idea of Gothic romances, while still being one (sort of): a meta-mockery, if you will. Delightful. I recommend the Penguin edition with the excellent introduction by Marilyn Butler, which provides a useful and thorough explanation about the books Austen is referring to.

From this state of humiliation, she was roused, at the end of ten minutes, to a pleasanter feeling, by seeing, not Mr. Thorpe, but Mr. Tilney, within three yards of the place where they sat; he seemed to be moving that way, but he did not see her, and therefore the smile and the blush, which his sudden reappearance raised in Catherine, passed away without sullying her heroic importance. He looked as handsome and as lively as ever, and was talking with interest to a fashionable and pleasing-looking young woman, who leant on his arm, and whom Catherine immediately guessed to be his sister; thus unthinkingly throwing away a fair opportunity of considering him lost to her forever, by being married already. But guided only by what was simple and probable, it had never entered her head that Mr. Tilney could be married; he had not behaved, he had not talked, like the married men to whom she had been used; he had never mentioned a wife, and he had acknowledged a sister. From these circumstances sprang the instant conclusion of his sister’s now being by his side; and therefore, instead of turning of a deathlike paleness and falling in a fit on Mrs. Allen’s bosom, Catherine sat erect, in the perfect use of her senses, and with cheeks only a little redder than usual.


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