Did you know that Northanger Abbey was the first novel Jane Austen wrote and prepared for publication? And it was published posthumously since the publishers who bought the rights to it never bothered to print it? Now you know.
I had to read this for a class, but I was going to read it anyway. I absolutely loved this book. The beginning is my favorite part, by the way, but the end is also wonderful as well. It is not like other Jane Austen’s novels because it is, in part, a meta-fiction (as someone said in my literary history class). If you don’t know what a meta-fiction is, rejoice that you haven’t been burdened with anything concerning the word “meta”. But basically, that means it’s a work of fiction that comments on fiction. This book comments on the Gothic novel, in particular, and I think it is a very good introduction to what Jane Austen is doing with her novels. She isn’t attempting to write novels that fulfill the expectations of a particular genre. Her books are trying to be real, a fair representation of things how they actually happen. Now, I think many would say that her books do work within conventions of a genre and aren’t always very realistic at all, but her books are not just formulaic fluff.
Well, I let the English major part of me say too much. On a less boring level, Northanger Abbey is a delightful book that made me make strange noises at work, on the bus, and at school as I became thoroughly involved and attached to the characters and plot. The people are genuine and unique in the book, the tone is youthful, it is humorous and overall delightful.
Jane Austen is, of course, a genius.