Northanger Abbey (2007) Encore on Sunday

Don’t miss the encore presentation of Northanger Abbey (2007) on Masterpiece Classic PBS Sunday, February 14th 9:00 – 10:30 PM (check your local listings). This adaptation by screenwriter Andrew Davies stars Felicity Jones as Jane Austen’s idealistic and naïve heroine Catherine Moreland and JJ Feild as the charming and witty hero Henry Tilney. 

Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen’s most overlooked novels, but contains some great dialogue by Henry Tilney and a heroine in Catherine that most ladies will smypathize with as she ventures into society in Bath for the first time and embarks upon romance. This adaptation is both lively and beautifully filmed. 

When it originally aired in the UK in 2007 Carey Mulligan, who portrays Isabella Thorpe, was a relative unknown British actress who had a supporting role in this movie. She has since becoming the darling of British film and awarded a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for her role in An Education. What this adaptation lacks in Austen’s beautiful language it makes up for in style and charm. Enjoy! 

Why not spend Valentine’s day with Jane Austen’s ultimate hero, Henry Tilney? *swoon* Join us on Tweetgrid  or your favorite Twitter aggregator for a an informal bicoastal Northanger Abbey Twitter party during the Masterpiece Classic viewing 9-10:30 eastern and pacific times. Use hashtag #emma_pbs from the last Emma party. Enjoy!

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Austen at Large: Oh Henry! What a good Valentine

Henry Tilney Valentine 

Henry Tilney would be a wonderful Valentine I believe. Not to endorse the completely commercialized holiday but I do want to take this chance to talk about one of my favorite men in Jane Austen’s works. Henry Tilney is delightful from the first time we meet him in Northanger Abbey. He is a dutiful bother which I think says more about his character than almost anything else. He is a reader and an intelligent man. Henry also has a wonderful sense of humor and though he seems to be picking on Catherine and teasing her I think it very believable and endearing. Henry Tilney is the type of young man that many girls want to meet. He is handsome, clever, loyal and funny, an all around great nice guy!

Many girls in my class have been swooning over Mr. Tilney and one of his best qualities seems to be his attentions to his sister. Now by today’s standards he might be considered to be a little meterosexual but Mrs. Allen is very taken in by his knowledge of muslin. He is very attentive to his sister and we can suspect that he is Elanor’s only support in her difficult family. My mother always say that, “you can tell how a man will treat his wife by how he treats his mother“. Since the Tilneys mother has died some years ago, we can now look at how he treats his sister. He is a dutiful, and entertaining brother by all accounts. He goes walking with Eleanor almost every morning, thus showing his commitment. I am sure a young man in Bath can find other things to do for many mornings but he wants and does go walking with his sister.

One of the most appealing things to me about Mr. Tilney is that he is a reader and not ashamed of it! Mr. Tilney can hold conversations about countless books and even novels! I think that Henry Tilney defending novels is one of the cutest parts of the novel. Henry says,

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days – my hair standing on end the whole time.””Yes,” added Miss Tilney, “and I remember that you undertook to read it aloud to me.”

I can just Henry reading it aloud, with pure enjoyment. He would not take it to seriously or write it off as silly nonsense. He is thoughtful yet not didactic. Henry shows good judgment in is praise of novels (since he is a character in one!).

One aspect of Henry’s personality which I find to be charming, yet that others have criticized, is his sense of humor and his teasing of Catherine. Ok, so admit I am not exactly the type of girl who likes to be teased, but Catherine doesn’t always know when he is being serious and when he is joking and yet she is still enamored with him. If Catherine doesn’t mind the teasing, which she doesn’t in the end because she ends up marrying him, then I don’t either! He is also jealous of Catherine talking to Mr. Thorpe and I would not have pegged Mr. Tilney to be the jealous type but he is when Catherine’s attention is divided from him. Henry’s sense of humor shows his good nature, mild manners and that he is still young at heart.

Henry Tilney as ElvisWhen my friend and I were discussing Mr. Tilney we ended up concluding that Henry Tilney is one of those male leads that can make you giggly. He has a twinkle in his eye and a sense of fun which makes him so endearing to youth. We can see why Catherine likes him. He is also steadfast which I think Austen required in her true heroes. Though Mr. Tilney does do a lot of teasing and we can’t always tell what he is thinking, I think he would be a wonderful Valentine.

Till next time! We have begun reading Pride and Prejudice in class and I can’t wait to talk about it!

Virginia Claire

Virginia Claire our Austen at Large roving reporter is a college student studying English literature and history who just returned from her time studying abroad in Bath England and working as an intern at the Jane Austen Centre. She is the Regional Coordinator of JASNA North Carolina and a lifelong Janeite. She will be sharing her thoughts on all things Austen this semester and remembering her travels in Austenland.

Austen at Large: Isabella Thorpe as a modern blogger!

Northanger Abbey, Vintage Classics (2008)In this past week I have been finishing Northanger Abbey and as wonderful as the romance is in it, I think one of the most important lessons is about friendship. Catherine learns throughout the novel how to better read people, in particular her friends. She starts out completely fooled by Isabella Thorpe. Catherine thinks that they have a mutual friendship while Isabella is most likely just using Catherine to get closer to her brother James. For me Isabella has always been that friend that every young girl has. She is completely self consumed, silly, hyper sensitive and mellow dramatic. (What 16 year old hasn’t known someone like this?). Isabella’s false friendship with Catherine revolves around Gothic novels, shopping and young men. All of which point out, though slowly to Catherine, Isabella’s failure as a true friend.

In thinking about Isabella this week, my Jane Austen class was writing short papers on topics of our choice for Northanger Abbey. One of my friends Maggie Lally, decided to make a modern day Isabella. Her reincarnated Isabella was a teen blogger who oozed about everything from shopping to young men. The new “Bella” had most of my Jane Austen class roaring with laughter when Maggie read it aloud so I thought I would pass it on to the world at large. Maggie was so nice to let me share this wither everyone and I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did. It was pretty clever!

Maggie says of Isabella; “It seems that, given her love for both fashion and creating drama, she might best appear in the modern world as a teenaged blogger, such as xx_cutiepie22_xx, a “writer” on the fictitious site http://www.blogalot.com. Evidence of xx_cutiepie22_xx resembling Isabella Thorpe is as follows in this selected blog entry

Modern Day Isabella Thorpe

March 10th, 200-

Title: OMG!!!!!!!!1!!! New friendzzzzz!!!!!!!1

So, like, I was totally bummed when Mom said that we had to travel so she could “get over” Dad… like, I don’t get it, but whatev. At least I got some new clothes and stuff. I spent a ton of my money at like my two favorite stories EVER, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret. Like, OMG, I could totally shop there every day! Both places, I mean, cause like, they make me look so amazing and really, my sisters are just OK next to me. Daddy always said I was the pretty one, so I’m glad that Mom’s letting me spend his money… I just have to like find a guy that will let me spend his money too, cause, like, what else are boyfriends for????

So then, I get to go shopping and when I get back she’s all like “hey we’re going to Bath, which is a spa town” and I was all excited because, like, um the spa? Fabulous! I’ll come back looking better than I usually do! But then Mom was all, no, it’s the ancient city with “healing waters”-whatever, I am so not there for that. And the club scene is pretty happenin’ too and that will keep me busy. She said there’s like, a ton of shops and stuff too, so I can look totally HAWTTTTTT.

BTW, I totally met this really sweet girl, Catie, the other day. She’s pretty, like, you know, innocent, cause I think she came from one of those, you know, really big homeschooled families or something, because, like, she doesn’t know anything about fashion or what life is like in her little country town. It’s kinda a bummer, but then, like, it’s kinda fun too because I get to tell her, like, everything. I totally think we’re gonna be BFF, but maybe that’s just cause most of the people here are totally too full of themselves and like, I don’t know many people yet. So we get together to hang out every day because, like, seriously, we don’t have much else to do. I mean, my feet start hurting after all the walking I do here-shopping takes so much out of me. For realz.

I guess that’s all for now. We’re gonna go hike for a while with my brother Jack and her brother, Jimmy, who is so totally GORGEOUS! He’s an absolute babe and I think he’s got money too-apparently their family is rich, so that whole ton of kids thing is just cause the parents are weird.

Xoxo, Bella.

EDIT: OMG!!!1!! I totally hate Catie right now! She’s totally unfair cause, like, she was supposed to go hang out with this super rich girl named Eleanor (like, for real? Who names their kid that? Her parents obviously hate her) and we were all gonna go for a drive, me and Jack and Jimmy (BTW, I totally think that Jimmy is gonna ask me out, like to be his girlfriend for real, which would be totally amazing, cause like I said, he’s a babe), but Jack threw a total hissy fit because, like, it’s unfair for him to be alone while Jimmy and I are gazing into each other’s eyes (we’re going to have beautiful babies, like, I swear!) and I totally see his point, but stupid Catie wouldn’t give in and was all “oh, no I need to do this. I like Eleanor” blah blah blah. She’s just selfish and self-centered because even when I told her that we were BFF and that, OMG, I just couldn’t go without her, she insisted on having things her way. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE her!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!!

Xoxo, Bella

Guest blogger Maggie Lally

Guest blogger Maggie Lally

As the blog entry demonstrates, young women of Isabella Thorpe’s temperament still exist, since phony, fashion-conscious girls did not cease to exist after Jane Austen’s day. Bloggers like xx_cutiepie22_xx demonstrate, however ignorant they might be of Austen’s characters, that the fictional characters bear great resemblance to real life characters.

Austen was not writing merely of Bath society but showing the ignorance and folly of youth. Overall I loved Maggie’s Bella. I can just see her typing away on a blog pouring over gossip columns much like Isabella Thorpe poured over the Bath Arrivals book! Guess the world really doesn’t change. Until next week!

Virginia Claire

Virginia Claire our Austen at Large roving reporter is a college student studying English literature and history who just returned from her time studying abroad in Bath England and working as an intern at the Jane Austen Centre. She is the Regional Coordinator of JASNA North Carolina and a lifelong Janeite. She will be sharing her thoughts on all things Austen this semester and remembering her travels in Austenland.

Northanger Abbey: Henry Tilney – so becomingly important!

Illustration from Costume Parisien (1818)in the course of a few minutes, she found herself with Henry in the curricle, as happy a being as ever existed. A very short trial convinced her that a curricle was the prettiest equipage in the world; the chaise and four wheeled off with some grandeur, to be sure, but it was a heavy and troublesome business, and she could not easily forget its having stopped two hours at Petty France. Half the time would have been enough for the curricle, and so nimbly were the light horses disposed to move, that, had not the general chosen to have his own carriage lead the way, they could have passed it with ease in half a minute. But the merit of the curricle did not all belong to the horses; Henry drove so well – so quietly – without making any disturbance, without parading to her, or swearing at them: so different from the only gentleman-coachman whom it was in her power to compare him with! And then his hat sat so well, and the innumerable capes of his greatcoat looked so becomingly important! To be driven by him, next to being dancing with him, was certainly the greatest happiness in the world. The Narrator on Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey, Chapter 20 

Here’s the fangirl romantic tip of the week. Put a man in a greatcoat and half the room sighs. Jane Austen knew this and used it to her advantage, building Catherine Morland’s admiration and our confidence in her hero Henry Tilney. Yes, it was common for a Regency gentleman to own a greatcoat, but why talk about it so seductively?  “His greatcoat looked so becomingly important!” says it all. Authors and screenwriters take heed. Put your heroes in greatcoats whenever you need a romantic punch. Works for me every time.

*Illustration from Costume Parisien 1818

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Austen at Large: Catherine Morland is a delight!

Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (2007)In my Jane Austen Seminar this semester we had been talking about Austen’s juvenilia for a while but a now have shifted our focus to Northanger Abbey. It was very interesting looking at the transition between a story like Love and Friendship to Northanger because we can pretty clearly see Austen’s growth as a novelist. I fall in love with Northanger Abbey more and more each time I read it. It is such a wonderful coming of age story. Catherine Morland is a charming heroine though from the very beginning of the novel Austen tells us that “No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.” (Chapter 1).  I love that Austen takes Catherine’s normalcy and turns it around to make her a heroine. For me what is so endearing about Catherine is the fact that I see her as almost every young girl. Who in high school or as a teen was not blinded by a friend or just naïve in general? Maybe I was just a little more personally sheltered until I hit college but I can see where Austen is coming from with Catherine’s growth. She grows up and begins to see the world a little more realistically.

 Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (1986)

Catherine Morland may at times get accused of being a goose by critics, but not this one! If she is a goose at all it is her goosey parts that I love the best. She is so easily teased by Mr. Tilney it is cute. One girl in my class pointed out that it was like being on a playground and a little boy was pulling your pigtails to get your attention. It is only when your mother tell you later that “he is doing that because he likes you” that it begins to make a little sense. I sometimes feel like Mr. Tilney is just pulling Catherine’s pigtails. He knows he is witty and clever so sometimes he talks over her head but he normally tries to explain it to her whether she gets it or not. A classic example of this is when they are dancing and Mr. Tilney makes the connection between Country dances and marriage. Mr. Tilney says,

“I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours.”

 “But they are such very different things!”

” – That you think they cannot be compared together.”

“To be sure not. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a long room for half an hour.”

“And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that light certainly, their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could place them in such a view. You will allow, that in both, man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both, it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours, or fancying that they should have been better off with anyone else. You will allow all this?”

“Yes, to be sure, as you state it, all this sounds very well; but still they are so very different. I cannot look upon them at all in the same light, nor think the same duties belong to them.”

“In one respect, there certainly is a difference. In marriage, the man is supposed to provide for the support of the woman, the woman to make the home agreeable to the man; he is to purvey, and she is to smile. But in dancing, their duties are exactly changed; the agreeableness, the compliance are expected from him, while she furnishes the fan and the lavender water. That, I suppose, was the difference of duties which struck you, as rendering the conditions incapable of comparison.”

“No, indeed, I never thought of that.” (Chapter 10)

Illustration by C.E. Brock, Northanger Abbey, J.M. Dent & Sons, London (1908)This passage is rich with things to mention but what I want to point out is that Catherine does not really understand where Mr. Tilney is going with this. In fact it is hard of even the reader to understand but we can sort of see what he is getting at. Catherine’s misunderstanding of so many things around her can remind the reader (at least this reader) that the heroine is not so very different from herself. Catherine makes mistakes, misjudges people, is fooled by her supposed friends and can’t see things that are happening right in front of her and yet we still find her endearing, perhaps because Catherine seems so truly human and that’s what makes her a heroine. She is not a great beauty, or a great wit or anything really extraordinary and yet she seems delightful to us. My reason for falling in love with Catherine Morland is that though she is fooled she does has a strong resolution and can step up to the plate. When she is sent away from Northanger Abbey she is able to get herself home without any fainting fits, robberies or other calamities. Catherine is a fully competent heroine even if she is a little scatter brained at times…. But then again who isn’t?

Virginia Claire our Austen at Large roving reporter is a college student studying English literature and history who just returned from her time studying abroad in Bath England and working as an intern at the Jane Austen Centre. She is the Regional Coordinator of JASNA North Carolina and a lifelong Janeite. She will be sharing her thoughts on all things Austen this semester and remembering her travels in Austenland.

Jane Austen and the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride and Vanity

Illustration by CE Brock, Persuasion (1894)Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot’s character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did; nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. The Narrator on Sir Walter Elliot, Persuasion, Chapter 1 

As a clergyman’s daughter Jane Austen would have been well aware of the significance of the seven deadly sins, those cardinal vices identified by the Catholic church in the 6th- century and later adopted by other Christian religions as the most offensive and serious of sins against god and humanity.  Listed as luxuria (extravagance, later lust), gula (gluttony), avaritia (greed), acedia (sloth), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), and superbia (pride), they were all egregious offenses that would qualify the sinner to at least one foot in hell unless they confessed and were penitent. This collection, though not identified in the Bible, was in the eyes of the church the foundation of moral corruption and considered mortal sins, a most serious offense threatening eternal damnation. Pretty serious stuff.   

Throughout Jane Austen’s novels, her characters exhibit a wide range of qualities from integrity to dissipation and vice making them very realistic, and not unlike people of our own acquaintance or popular renown. One could say that the struggle against the seven deadly sins is the driving force in her plots and one of the main reasons why people connect with them so readily. Her most popular characters Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice are prime examples of two of the deadly sins, the offence of pride and wrath. Though Austen does not condemn them for it (as the church might), their vices are the whole axis of the story.  

Today we shall look at the sin of pride, also known as vanity which was one of Jane Austen’s most popular choices of the seven deadly sins in her novels. Vanity appears 85 times and pride 111 times. Here are a few choice quotations: 

Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. Emma 

With insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of every body’s feelings; with unpardonable arrogance proposed to arrange every body’s destiny. Emma 

Their vanity was in such good order that they seemed to be quite free from it, and gave themselves no airs; while the praises attending such behaviour, secured and brought round by their aunt, served to strengthen them in believing they had no faults. Mansfield Park 

Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, indulged in the freaks of a cold-blooded vanity a little too long. Mansfield Park 

Catherine listened with astonishment; she knew not how to reconcile two such very different accounts of the same thing; for she had not been brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know to how many idle assertions and impudent falsehoods the excess of vanity will lead. Northanger Abbey 

From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. Northanger Abbey 

In vanity, therefore, she gained but little; her chief profit was in wonder. Northanger Abbey 

It was a struggle between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then Elizabeth was happy again. Persuasion 

“That is very true,” replied Elizabeth, “and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” Pride and Prejudice 

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonimously. Pride and Prejudice 

“Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” Pride and Prejudice 

“Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed.” Pride and Prejudice 

If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him, he was the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause. Pride and Prejudice 

The world had made him extravagant and vain — extravagance and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Sense and Sensibility 

Vanity while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or at least its offspring, necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Sense and Sensibility 

Of all of Austen’s characters guilty of vanity, Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion is definitely the leading offender. Austen leaves us in no doubt of his priorities in life toward his appearance and how it impacted his family. Mrs. Allen in Northanger Abbey arrives at a distant second being excessively fond of her clothing and constantly commenting on the inferiority of others choice of fabrics and garments. Who would dare dispute that Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice has the most pride since an entire novel stems from it. Mrs. Fanny Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility in my mind is second in offence of pride after Mr. Darcy. She is so arrogant and prideful that she basically evicts her mother-in-law Mrs. Dashwood out of her home after the death of her father-in-law and talks her own husband out of giving them a decent living –  all for her vanity. There are others who come to mind: Miss Elizabeth Elliot in Persuasion who is definitely her father’s daughter, Mrs. Elton in Emma who is arrogance and puffery personified, Miss Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park who thinks herself above the truth, and that tactfully bereft General Tilney in Northanger Abbey who ejects poor Catherine Morland out of his house when he learns that she is not as flush as he thought. The list goes on and on with different degrees of offence, but in the end, we can rest assured that Austen does not treat these offenders lightly, passing her judgment according to propriety and her Christian principles.

Which characters do you find prideful and vain, and do you think that Austen portrayed them correctly?

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey Wrap Up: Giveaway Winners Announced!

“But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You have gained a new source of enjoyment, and it is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible. Besides, a taste for flowers is always desirable in your sex, as a means of getting you out of doors, and tempting you to more frequent exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the love of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the sentiment once raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?” Henry Tilney, Chapter 22 

Ahh… Henry Tilney is so wise. It is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible. As Catherine learned to love a hyacinth, I hope that readers have learned to love Northanger Abbey and gained a new source of enjoyment through the group read. For me, it was pure fun and a joy to write about. Jane Austen’s other major novels may get all the limelight, but I think it quite appropriate that it resides in a lower place like the spooky dungeons in the Gothic novels that it parodies. 

This is my second novel event here at Austenprose, and this time out I had some help from my friends with great guest blogs who added their expertise and humor to entertain us. A big thank you to all the guest bloggers. 

Amanda Grange: Henry Tilney’s Story

Diana Birchall: as Isabella Thorpe on Northanger movies

Margaret (Mags) Sullivan of AustenBlog: Henry Tilney the ultimate hero

Kali Pappas of Emma Adaptations & Strangegirl Designs: Fashion in the Northanger movies

James Jenkins of Valancourt Books: the ‘horrid novels’ of Northanger Abbey

Trina Robbins & Anne Timmons: Gothic Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 14 

An extra loud shout out to Ms Place (Vic) of Jane Austen’s World: for writing four blogs on Catherine Morland’s experience in Bath. Great job and thanks Vic. 

PRIZE WINNERS

And now for the fun stuff! Here are all the winners of the 16 prizes. Congratulations to all, and many thanks to all who participated. 

Day 01 – Oct 1             Northanger Abbey – OWC – Heather                      

Day 02 – Oct 2            Northanger Abbey – Penguin Classics – Ren

Day 04 – Oct 7            Northanger Abbey – Barnes & Noble Classics – Lucia

Day 06 – Oct 9            Northanger Abbey – Norton Critical Edition – Felicia  

Day 08 – Oct 14          Jane Austen in BathCourtney  

Day 10 – Oct 16          Jane Austen’s Guide to Good MannersEmily

Day 11 – Oct 19         Northanger Abbey Audio Unabridged – Janeen

Day 11 – Oct 19         Northanger Abbey Audio Abridged – Sylvia M.        

Day 12 – Oct 20         The Mysterious Warning – Valancourt Books – JaneFan  

Day 13 – Oct 21         Northanger Abbey Stage play – Carrie Oak Rise Cottage  

Day 15 – Oct 23         Jane Austen Entertains – Music CD – Joanna  

Day 16 – Oct 26         The Mysteries of Udolpho – OWC – Leah  

Day 17 – Oct 27         Gothic Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 14 Becky

Day 18 – Oct 28         Northanger Abbey – Broadview – Crazy_Spinster

Day 19 – Oct 29         The Mysteries of Udolpho – Penguin Classics – M

Day 20 – Oct 30         Jane Austen: Seven Novels – Barnes & Noble – Susan 

Winners – Your prompt reply is appreciated. You have one week to claim your prize! Please e-mail me, (austenprose at verizon dot net) before Saturday, November 8th, 2008. If I do not receive a response by a winner by that date, I will draw another name and continue until all of the prizes have a home to mail them to. Thanks again to everyone for your great contributions. Congrats to the winners, and enjoy! 

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey is officially concluded!

 

 

If you don’t read Northanger Abbey, Henry will know!

 

THE END 

 

Northanger Abbey Chapters 29-31: Summary, Musings & Discussion: Day 20 Giveaway

On entering the room, the first object she beheld was a young man whom she had never seen before. With a look of much respect, he immediately rose, and being introduced to her by her conscious daughter as “Mr. Henry Tilney,” with the embarrassment of real sensibility began to apologize for his appearance there, acknowledging that after what had passed he had little right to expect a welcome at Fullerton, and stating his impatience to be assured of Miss Morland’s having reached her home in safety, as the cause of his intrusion. The Narrator, Chapter 30 

Quick Synopsis 

Catherine is too wretched to be fearful of her journey home. She thinks only of Henry as she passes along the road that once took her to Woodston where she spent the happiest day of her life. She is anxious of his return to Northanger to find her gone, and her parent’s reaction when she appears unannounced. They welcome her warmly and hear the story, perplexed as she is over the general’s actions. Catherine writes to Eleanor of her safe arrival and returns the advance. She calls on the Allen’s who agree that the general acted oddly. Her mother notices that Catherine is restless and unproductive and thinks she has “been spoilt for home by great acquaintance.” Henry Tilney arrives to apologize for his father and explain that Catherine “was guilty only of being less rich than he had supposed her to be.” He has had a great argument with his father who ordered him to never see Catherine again. He proposes to Catherine who accepts. Mr. and Mrs. Morland give their consent contingent on his father’s approval. Eleanor marries her beau who was previously unacceptable until an “unexpected accession to title and fortune had removed all his difficulties.” Now a viscountess, her father is in a fit of good humor. She asks her father to forgive Henry, he agrees after learning that the Morland’s are not poor and Catherine will have a 3,000 pound dowry. They marry, the bells rang and everyone smiled. The narrator leaves it to the reader to decide if unjust interference is rather conductive to the strength of an attachment.

Musings 

Catherine’s sudden and unexplained ejection from Northanger sends her home in a tearful and wretched state. She only thinks of Henry as she passes down the same road that once took her to Woodson where she spent the happiest day of her life. She is anxious of other’s reactions when Henry arrives at Northanger to find her sent away, and for her parent’s when she arrives unannounced. After eleven hours on the road, she arrives at Fullerton. Though a true Gothic heroine would arrive home a countess in a chaise in four, our heroine sadly arrived in solitude and disgrace. Her family warmly greets her and “she found herself soothed beyond anything that she had believed possible.” At length she explained to her family what had happened, and they can not understand the general’s actions, “what could have provoked him to such a breach of hospitality, and so suddenly turned all his partial regard for their daughter? How comforting to return home after such unrest to be embraced by your family. Her mother philosophizes over her loss and hopes that “the next new friends you make I hope will be better worth keeping.” Catherine, in a pensive state can only think of Henry and that he might quickly forget HER.

She could never forget Henry Tilney, or think of him with less tenderness than she did at that moment; but he might forget her; and in that case, to meet – ! Her eyes filled with tears as she pictured her acquaintance so renewed; and her mother, perceiving her comfortable suggestions to have had no good effect, proposed, as another expedient for restoring her spirits, that they should call on Mrs. Allen. The Narrator, Chapter 29

When Catherine is restless and unproductive, her mother does not suspect love but thinks she has become a fine lady and has “been spoilt for home by great acquaintance” from her experience in Bath and Northanger. I had a good laugh at this. How little life has changed in two hundred years. Parent’s are still clueless and misread their children. What a surprise when Henry arrives. Let’s hope that this clues Mrs. Morland into their relationship.

Catherine meanwhile – the anxious, agitated, happy, feverish Catherine – said not a word; but her glowing cheek and brightened eye made her mother trust that this good-natured visit would at least set her heart at ease for a time, and gladly therefore did she lay aside the first volume of The Mirror for a future hour. The Narrator, Chapter 30

Henry is of course his charming self, and Mrs. Morland notices the change in her daughter. When he expresses a desire to pay his respects to the Allen’s seeking Catherine’s assistance to find the way, Mrs. Morland begins to understand the motive in his visit and consents to their walk. Once they are alone and can talk more freely, the truth starts to come out. He wastes no time and declares his sincere affection for Catherine and her heart in return was solicited. Hurrah! What a relief. Henry tells her that when he returned to Northanger, his father told him of her departure and ordered him to think of her no more. “Such was the permission upon which he had now offered her his hand.” He reveals to her relief that she had done nothing to offend the general and that she “was guilty only of being less rich than he had supposed her to be.” Being mistaken by her fortune and connections he had courted her acquaintance in Bath and solicited her company at Northanger. John Thorpe had informed him in Bath of his acquaintance and hopes of marrying her himself. Thorpe then proceeded to pump up her fortune from her father and legacy from the Allen’s. The general never doubted his source. Henry and Eleanor were astounded that their father’s interest in her and his command for Henry to attach her affections. John Thorpe later revealed to the General that he “confessed himself to have been totally mistaken in his opinion of their circumstances and character.” The general is enraged with everybody but himself. Catherine heard enough to “feel that in suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife, she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty.” Henry’s indignation of how Catherine had been treated rallied his honor and affections.

He felt himself bound as much in honour as in affection to Miss Morland, and believing that heart to be his own which he had been directed to gain, no unworthy retraction of a tacit consent, no reversing decree of unjustifiable anger, could shake his fidelity, or influence the resolutions it prompted. The Narrator, Chapter 30

Swoon! If Catherine had been previously influenced by the drama and sentimentality of Gothic novels, his story and reactions must have sent her into ecstasy. She is now living the romance that she so craved, but as Henry had so wisely moralized to her previously, “our pleasures in this world are always to be paid for, and that we often purchase them at a great disadvantage.” Her happiness she will learn must be dearly paid for when her parent’s agree to the marriage contingent upon the approval of the general. What a road block. Henry is estranged from his father and it is not likely that he will apologize and make amends. They must wait for his change of heart which does not look promising considering his temperament. Only a miracle could soften his resolve.

The circumstance which chiefly availed was the marriage of his daughter with a man of fortune and consequence, which took place in the course of the summer – an accession of dignity that threw him into a fit of good humour, from which he did not recover till after Eleanor had obtained his forgiveness of Henry, and his permission for him “to be a fool if he liked it!” The Narrator, Chapter 31

Austen has added a great twist to the plot when all hope seemed against our happy couple when Eleanor marries her previously unacceptable beau, whose “unexpected accession to title and fortune had removed all his difficulties” placing the general in a fit of good humor! What luck! Her influence on her brother’s behalf is aided by her position as a viscountess, the fact that the Morland’s are neither necessitous or poor, and that Catherine’s dowry will be three thousand pounds. “Henry and Catherine were married, the bells rang, and everybody smiled“, all within a twelvemonth of their meeting, despite being plagued by dreadful delays and the general’s cruelty.

To begin perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen is to do pretty well; and professing myself moreover convinced that the general’s unjust interference, so far from being really injurious to their felicity, was perhaps rather conducive to it, by improving their knowledge of each other, and adding strength to their attachment, I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience. The Narrator, Chapter 31

And so the story concludes happily, but with the narrator interjecting a bit of irony at the very end. Henry and Catherine have the blessing of their families, and we are supplied with a gentle zinger. What an appropriate and satisfying conclusion.

THE END

Further reading

Read Northanger Abbey Summary: Chapters 29-31

Read Northanger Abbey Quotes & Quips: Chapters 29-31

 

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey: DAY 20 Giveaway

Jane Austen: Seven Novels – Library of Essential Writers Series (2006) 

By Jane Austen and includes the complete and unabridged editions of : Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan

Leave a comment by October 30th to qualify for the free drawing on October 31st for one copy of the Jane Austen Seven Novels (2006)

(US residents only)

Upcoming event posts 

Day 21 – Oct 31          Go Gothic Wrap-up

 

© 2008 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey: Gothically Inspired: Day 19 Giveaway

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days – my hair standing on end the whole time.” Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey, Chapter 14 

Even though Northanger Abbey has often been touted as the least popular of Jane Austen’s six major novels in readership and sales, I have long adored it for its burlesque humor and charming characterization of hero Henry Tilney. It has always been a puzzle to me why others did not bond with it, and felt it has never gotten a fair shake. The fact that the 1986 movie adaptation of it was really odd and not a true representation of the story or characters did not help matters either. So when PBS premiered the new Andrew Davies adaptation of Northanger Abbey (2007) last January on Masterpiece Classic, I was thrilled with the possibility that it could generate a new audience for my dark horse. 

When it aired, the reception was mixed by the public and critics. I was enchanted even though it was much too short at 90 minutes and unfortunately, much had been cut out of the story. On the positive side, it was energetic and great fun and Austen’s intensions were treated much more reverently than the previous effort in 1986, so it was step in the right direction. 

One of the benefits to being a bookseller is that I see the immediate impact on the public from television and movies as viewers seek out novelizations or related books. One weekend shortly after the PBS airing of Northanger Abbey, I had an interesting encounter with a new fan as I assisted a retirement aged woman in locating a long list of titles on an assortment of subjects, none of which was Austen or Austen inspired. Her husband joined us after a few minutes with a joyous look on his face, obviously pleased that he located the title that he had wanted to purchase. “I found it” (he holds up the cover and shows it to his wife who looks surprised but annoyed). “Oh what is it now?” she bellowed. (she had selected about six books to his one) “The Mysteries of Udolpho! They had it featured as a staff rec.” He exclaimed. (I am a silent smiling observer of their husband wife acerbic discourse, and then the wife turns to me) “My husband just loved that Jane Austen movie on television, and now he wants to know why that young girl was hooked on that book.” (She points at the book cover. He smirks at her and says coldly) “Her name was Catherine Morland dear.” 

Ok, that made my day! 

Even after ten months, this story makes me smile. In a way that some objected to, the new Northanger Abbey movie did reach people in a positive way inspiring them to read Austen’s gentle parody and the Gothic fiction mentioned in the novel such as The Mysteries of Udolpho and the other ‘horrid novels’ listed in the Northanger Canon. One of my customers even quoted Henry Tilney’s great line about “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Talk about Gothically inspired! Now that gentle readers, made my entire year!

Further reading

  • Read my review of Northanger Abbey (2007)
  • Read a review of Northanger Abbey (2007) at Jane Austen’s World
  • Read about the Gothic novels mentioned in Northanger Abbey
  • Purchase The Mysteries of Udolpho

 

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey: DAY 19 Giveaway

 

Penguin Classics – The Mysteries of Udolpho (2001) 

By Ann Radcliffe introduction by Jacqueline Howard 

Leave a comment by October 30th to qualify for the free drawing on October 31st for one copy of the Penguin Classics – The Mysteries of Udolpho

(US residents only) 

Upcoming event posts

Day 20 – Oct 30          Group Read NA Chapters 29-31

Day 21 – Oct 31          Go Gothic Wrap-up