Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The first novel intended for publication by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey was originally titled Susan. Completed in 1803, it wasn’t published until 1817, the year of the author’s death. This  coming-of-age novel’s heroine, Catherine Morland, at first young and rather naïve, learns the ways of the world in the course of the narrative

Set in Bath, England, the fashionable resort city where the Austens lived for a time, Jane Austen critiques young women who put too much stock in appearances, wealth, and social acceptance. Catherine values happiness but not at the cost of compromising one’s values and morals.

From the 1995 Wordsworth Limited edition of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey is the most joyous of Jane Austen’s novels and is an early work conceived as a pastiche of the melodramatic excesses of the Gothic novel (a type of romance popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries).

Jane Austen was temperamentally incapable of keeping her youthful sense of fun from bubbling over, and the result makes the social and romantic trials of young heroine, Catherine Morland, a delight to follow.


Set in fashionable Bath

The story is set in fashionable Bath, where Catherine is taken to come out is society by her neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Allen. There she meets a young clergyman, Henry Tilney and his sister, the children of the eccentric General Tilney who resides at Northanger Abbey in nearby Gloucestershire.

Having been invited to Northanger Abbey by the General on mistaken grounds that she is extremely well-off, there follows the series of hilarious misunderstandings and the Gothic suspicions which are the essence of the book.

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Jane Austen Stamp Northanger Abbey 2013

Quotes from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen


A posthumous publication

Northanger Abbey was actually the first novel that Jane Austen completed with the hopes of publication, in 1803. It was first titled Susan and she sold the copyright to a London publisher for a pittance.

The publisher held on to it for years without ever printing it. It was tied up until 1816 when Jane’s brother Henry managed to buy it back, after much dispute. Jane spent some time revising the original, renaming her heroine Catherine, but by the time it was published in 1817, she died. That year, another of her novels, Persuasion, was published as well.

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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