disney_skin
Advertisement
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

Northanger Abbey Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Though it was written between 1798-1803, Northanger Abbey wasn't published until 1818, after Jane Austen's death. This book was published along with Persuasion, Jane Austen's last novel. Interested in why the novel took so long to get published? Check out "In a Nutshell."

Jane Austen's brother actually picked out the title for this book. Jane Austen was thinking of calling it Catherine, but hadn't picked out a definite title before she died. (You can read more about this in "What's Up with the Title?")

The Gothic novels that Isabella lists to Catherine as her favorites in Chapter 6 are referred to now as the "Northanger Canon" by many scholars.

Ian McEwan quotes a passage from Northanger Abbey in the preface of his novel, Atonement. The passage he quotes is from Chapter 24, where Henry berates Catherine for her faulty romantic assumptions. (To read this quote, check out the Quote section for the theme of "Foolishness and Folly.") McEwan is probably drawing a parallel with Catherine and Briony, the main character of Atonement. Like Catherine, Briony has an overly active imagination and jumps to bad conclusions.

Though Austen continually name-drops lots of popular Gothic novels in Northanger Abbey, she references one indirectly: Caleb Williams, by William Godwin. Caleb Williams was one of the first psychological thrillers and Austen's descriptions of General Tilney's supposedly guilty behavior are seen by many scholars to be a nod to Caleb Williams, where one of the main characters was plagued by guilt and exhibited really odd behavior. (Source: Terry F. Robinson. "A Mere Skeleton of History: Reading Relics in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey." European Romantic Review. 17.2. April 2006.)

Northanger Abbey wasn't Austen's first satire. She had written other satirical pieces in her youth, including a "History of England" which spoofed the types of history books coming out of the Scottish Enlightenment by people like David Hume. (Source: Alfred Mac Adam's "An Inspiration for Northanger Abbey," brief essay in Northanger Abbey, Barnes and Noble Classics edition.)

Ian McEwan quotes a passage from Northanger Abbey in the preface of his novel, Atonement. The passage he quotes is from Chapter 24, where Henry berates Catherine for her faulty romantic assumptions. (To read this quote, check out the Quote section for the theme of "Foolishness and Folly.") McEwan is probably drawing a parallel with Catherine and Briony, the main character of Atonement. Like Catherine, Briony has an overly active imagination and jumps to bad conclusions.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top