Northanger Abbey: Backgrounds, Criticism

Front Cover
W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2004 - Fiction - 364 pages
5 Reviews
This Norton Critical Edition is the most extensively annotated student edition available.

"Backgrounds" features material carefully chosen to enhance readers' appreciation of the novel, including biographical commentary, early works and correspondence related to Northanger Abbey, and excerpts by Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and William Wordsworth, among others, tracing Austen's connection to her Romantic contemporaries.

"Criticism" collects thirteen assessments of Northanger Abbey from a wide range of voices and periods, including essays by Margaret Oliphant and Rebecca West and critics Patricia Meyer Spacks, Claudia L. Johnson, Lee Erickson, and Joseph Litvak.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Review: Northanger Abbey

User Review  - Tasia - Goodreads

Although this isn't the most popular of Jane Austen's work, I can't help but admire the clever, subtle way she critiqued not only Gothic literature of the time, but all sorts of societal rules. I'd ... Read full review

Review: Northanger Abbey

User Review  - Lief - Goodreads

This book by Jane Austen tells the tale of a young woman named Catherine Moreland and her attempts to gain both friends and (she hopes) a husband. The novel is a great satire on gothic romances, and ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Jane Austen's life is striking for the contrast between the great works she wrote in secret and the outward appearance of being quite dull and ordinary. Austen was born in the small English town of Steventon in Hampshire, and educated at home by her clergyman father. She was deeply devoted to her family. For a short time, the Austens lived in the resort city of Bath, but when her father died, they returned to Steventon, where Austen lived until her death at the age of 41. Austen was drawn to literature early, she began writing novels that satirized both the writers and the manners of the 1790's. Her sharp sense of humor and keen eye for the ridiculous in human behavior gave her works lasting appeal. She is at her best in such books as Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816), in which she examines and often ridicules the behavior of small groups of middle-class characters. Austen relies heavily on conversations among her characters to reveal their personalities, and at times her novels read almost like plays. Several of them have, in fact, been made into films. She is considered to be one of the most beloved British authors.

Susan Fraiman is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development and Cool Men and the Second Sex . In addition to essays on Jane Austen, she has published numerous articles in the areas of feminist and cultural studies.

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