Northanger Abbey: Getting Started

In seemingly half-comedic, half-serious tone, Jane Austen begins the life of Catherine Morland. “… born an heroine,” Austen says, in placing Catherine in scene. She is among 10 siblings, has a “thin awkward figure,” and is said to be inattentive. That is to say, today she is ordinary.

Already, I can sense the scent of sarcasm in Austen’s tone in starting out Northanger Abbey. From what I already know, it’s doesn’t seem to be her style to invoke these themes of predestined heroism:

“But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.”

For Catherine’s life thus far has been uneventful, average, and loveless.


“But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.”

Looking Ahead

That’s Chapter 1. More chapters to come soon!

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2 Comments on “Northanger Abbey: Getting Started”

  1. Kaye Dacus Says:

    So glad you’re back at it. I may have to read this one along with you–it’s been far too long since I’ve read it, and it was only the one time . . .

  2. knightleyemma Says:

    I’m listening to a free audio podcast (Jane Austen Podnovel) of NA. I’ve heard up to Ch. 7 so far.

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