I’ve been a fan of Jane Austen for all of my life. I used to sit and watch BBC period dramas with my mum and sister all cuddled up on a Sunday night. However, I never really began to read any Austen novels until I began studying for my A levels. In English Literature, we were required to get stuck into Emma. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best teacher in the world and a lot of my classmates began to dread going to English knowing that we had to trudge through more of this “pre-historic” novel. However, I absolutely loved it (outside of lesson time) and actually really relate to Emma Woodhouse, flaws and all. Last year, Pride and Prejudice became adapated into a series of video blogs on Youtube, so I also decided to read that one, which was good.
So, for this project, I decided to hit the 50% mark and complete 3 out of her 6 published novels. I chose Northanger Abbey to read for this project because I simply loved the ITV adapation which was made in 2007. I love Jane Austen’s writing because she comments on aspects of humanity and character in such an astute and sharp way. For a woman living in such a constrained society, she is satirical through her writing, almost mocking of certain aspects of society and her true thoughts and feelings seep out through her narration. As Northanger Abbey was apparently the first novel Austen put together, the difference between her story-telling and opinionated narration is quite obvious. However, in her other books, Austen refines this skill and the lines between opinion and story become blurred.
The protagonist Catherine Morland, is a loveable character; 17, innocent, a bit daft and very into gothic novels. Mr Tilney, her main love interest is way better than Mr. Darcy (there, I SAID IT!). He’s charming, handsome and sociable. He banters with her. He’s a bantersaurus rex - someone you feel you could actually talk and laugh with, rather than admire them from afar while they brood in the corner. Yes, he is my favourite… so far! Who knows which heroes may be waiting in the novels I haven’t read yet! So, after a rather dull and uneventful 17 years, Catherine’s aunt invites her to sample the delights of Bath, and she goes and she loves it and makes lots of new friends. She then gets invited to stay at the Tilney’s house (Henry and his sister, Eleanor, who Catherine befriends). Catherine has a bit of a moment while staying in Northanger Abbey and imagines the whole place to be haunted and creepy and accurses various people of murder - because of all those gothic novels she had been reading! Tsk.
I really thought this book was ace and I love how applicable Austen’s writing is to modern day, and I adore how bright and quirky she must have been. Brilliant. Only Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Mansfield Park to go, but maybe I’ll save those until this project is over.