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Northanger Abbey

From Academic Kids

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Northanger Abbey book cover
Northanger Abbey was the first of Austen's novels to be completed for publication, though she had previously made a start on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. According to Cassandra Austen's Memorandum, Susan (as it was first called) was written about the years 1798 & 99'.

Northanger Abbey was written by Jane Austen in 1798, revised for the press in 1803, and sold in the same year for 10 to a Bath bookseller, who after allowing it to remain for many years on his shelves, was content to sell it back to the novelist's brother, Henry Austen, for the exact sum which he had paid for it at the beginning, not knowing that the writer was already the author of four popular novels. The novel was brought out posthumously in late December 1817 (given 1818 on the title-page), as the first two of a four-volume set with Persuasion.

The majority of the novel takes place in Bath, England where the young woman and heroine of the story, Catherine Morland, spends her time visiting friends and going to balls. Through her social activities, she comes in contact with a Mr Henry Tilney, who captivates her with his view on novels and knowledge of history and the world. He eventually invites her to visit his father's estate, Northanger Abbey, which, because she has been reading Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho, Catherine expects to be dark, ancient and full of fantastical mystery. In stark contrast to her expectations, the abbey is actually very clean and modern, but her mind still plays tricks on her throughout her stay.

Northanger Abbeyexposes the difference between reality and fantasy and questions who can be trusted as a true companion and who might actually be a shallow, false friend. It is considered to be the most light-hearted of her novels.

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Template:Wikisource The text is now in the public domain.

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