Thursday, September 30, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 36

I just finished Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This was Austen's first novel though it was not published until after her death {as was Persuasion}.

Austen uses this novel to poke fun at the Gothic romance novels that were popular at the time. 

The heroine of this story is the naive Catherine Morland who has the opportunity to vacation in Bath {and then also at Northanger Abbey}. During this time she finds herself in a series of {comical} predicaments that are fueled by the novels she reads and her own imagination. Through the course of the book she finds love but also meets with betrayal.

A few passages that I liked from the book:
What a strange and unaccountable character! – for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.

"Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is particularly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal." – Henry 

Catherine listened with astonishment; she knew not how to reconcile two such very different accounts of the same thing; for she had not been brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know how many idle assertions and falsehoods the excess of vanity will lead. Her own family were plain, matter-of-fact people who seldom aimed at wit of any kind; her father, at utmost, being contented with a pun, and her mother with a proverb; they were not in the habit of telling lies to increase their importance, or of asserting at one moment what they would contradict the next.

It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin... Woman is fine for her satisfaction alone. No man will admire her more, no woman will like her the better for it.

Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.

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