Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, Sanditon and The Watsons
Publication Date: May 15, 2008
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“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
Irony, witty banter, and all the wisdom that defines Jane Austen's novels, pour forth from every page of Northanger Abbey. At the end of the 18th century, as Gothic literature was especially popular, an avid reader of such novels— young, affectionate, and unworldly Catherine Morland, the daughter of a country clergyman— sets off for the high society of lively Bath, thus to begin an adventure of her own. While dances, theater attendances, and moments of romantic intrigue, in particular with a certain charming Henry Tilney, fill her days— her head is filled with Gothic fancies— and inevitably the two worlds must eclipse.
Included with this edition is the novella Lady Susan, composed by Austen in her youth. It tells in a series of letters of the schemes and manipulations carried on by the namesake anti-heroine. Also included are the drafts of the first chapters of the novels Sanditon and The Watsons, begun by Jane Austen shortly before her untimely death.
From an authoress who has been held in high esteem by many of the great writers and intellectuals of the past two centuries, Northanger Abbey belongs in every library— unless, of course, the reader is intolerably stupid. Lady Susan and the unfinished novels are also indispensable for those who would like to read all of Austen's works.
Northanger Abbey is wonderfully satirical, though enriched with as much depth and wisdom as all Jane Austen's novels. And for her admirers, reading her earlier works and unfinished novels is recommendable. But as to her six novels, everyone should read Jane Austen— and men, let not the film adaptations scare you away, her novels were written for your enjoyment and erudition as well as that of the other sex.