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Synopsis

Published posthumously in 1818 and taking up the first two volumes of a four volume set, Northanger Abbey was revised from original drafts first put together before 1800. The plot follows the fortunes of Catherine Morland as she moves in the social scenery of Bath, a step up from her childhood upbringing in the large family of a country clergyman. A series of Austenian mis-steps and mis-hearings create difficulties for Catherine which she’s able to overcome by virtue of her gradually maturing nature. It is generally thought that Northanger Abbey is a Gothic parody which uses Catherine Morland to expose the inadequacies of the genre. It’s also notable that the novel lacks the kind of editorial flourishes that are used in Austen’s previous novels; there are, for example, no italics within the text, creating a certain flatness to the dialogue.

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