Thursday 16 January 2014

Northanger Abbey

I have just finished rereading Northanger Abbey as research for my most recent book project.  I rarely reread books and usually find it depressing for some reason, but Jane Austen is the exception to the rule.  There is always something new to appreciate and no matter how well I know the story, it still surprises and delights me.

The first time I read Northanger Abbey, I was quite put off by the character of Henry Tilney.  He is certainly not Mr. Darcy and I thought his knowledge of Muslin's indicated that he might be gay, but a better understanding of Austen and Tilney's character has changed my idea of him.  I found his dialogue was the most entertaining in the book.  Perhaps because I am quite a bit more advanced in years from Catherine Morland, I see more clearly why Tilney enjoys teasing her so much.

When I first read the book, I was also confused by the fun Austen takes with her main character.  In fact, I often thought this time around, that Tilney really was Austen's voice a lot of the time.  On this reading, I found it more the fun that one would take with a beloved younger family member.  It reminds me of my girlhood obsession with watching the Anne of Green Gables T.V. movies.  I loved to watch her struggle and strive through life and was quite alarmed when my Dad sat down to watch with my sister and I one day only to laugh heartily through the most tragic parts.  How could he laugh at poor Anne?  Only now, I laugh at the same parts and love it even more.

It also stood out to me this time around that Tilney sees how good Catherine is.  I never noticed the part where he says she thinks well of the Thorpes because she can't imagine anyone lying, bragging and conniving the way they do because she would never do it herself.  Tilney obviously finds this an excellent quality in Catherine, but tries to protect her from her naiveté,

I am very curious now to read The Mysteries of Udolpho.  I've bought it on my phone and hope to get through it in the next year.

1 comment:

  1. Great fun, Samantha, and a read I too enjoyed but only on a first time around - haven't got to a re-read yet =)
    CLicking thru to you from our Canadian Reading Challenge.

    Wondering if you've heard of the new Austen Variations group forming on FB? Thinking you'd be a great addition if you're interested ...