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Lecture 9

ENGC69 Lecture 9: 5.2 Mocking Gothic: Northanger Abbey
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Department
English
Course Code
ENGC69H3
Professor
Sonja Nikkila

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5.2 Mocking Gothic: Northanger Abbey
Introduction to Austen & Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen with Northanger
● howdoweenterabookorplacelikeNorthangerAbbey?
● AustenispoisedbetweentheGothicgroupofwritersvs.therealismwritersNorthanger
isn’ttrulya
hybrid;Austenismorestuckbetweenthetwospaces
○ butthisisherfirstfinishedwork,makingherrootslieintheGothicgenre
● writtenin1794;published1803(13yearslater)
○ HenryAusten(herbrother)sayingthathissisterlivedanuneventfullife;straightforwardkindof
life
○ “thehandthatguidedthatpenisnowmoulderinginthegrave”Gothictone(couldbe
unconscious)
● Austen’sownadvertisementforN.Asaystrynottojudgeitbystandardsof1794;itcomesfromthe
Gothicbookculture
Northanger
● comic:
○ vulnerable,impressionablecharacterthatwearelookingupto
○ Catherineasacharacterinablankspacevs.herlifeassquareandnormal
● Austenrecognizesimpressionsofwhatacharactershouldbeand‘wipinghercanvas’byintroducing
Catherineinsuchanegativelight
○ worksforsatirethisstoryisnotwhatyouthinkitis;attemptofwomenwriterstryingtocleara
spaceforthemselves
● Heroinesalwayshavequotationsthatbolsterthemontranquilterrorofbeingscaredbutbeingsoothed
atthesametime(constantchangeofemotions)
Battle of the Books
● “whatideashaveyoubeenadmitting”theideaofopenness,Catherinebeingmoreguardedand
closedorelsetheseideaswillbeadmittedintoher
● theideaofbookcoversadvertisingN.Aasaallouthorrorstoryhavetheseartistsreadthebook?or
aretheyfarintothejoke?
● “hergreedyeye”Catherineasgreedyaswellasavailabletobeimpressedupon;shewantstobe
impressedupon(sexualdimension)
● bondsoverreadingnovelswithIsabellamet“indefiance”ofbadweathertoreadtogether(a
privatized,feminizedworld)
○ theideaofbondingwithotherwomenreadingwashowwomengottogether
○ modernartoftheNortonEdition(PicassoTwoGirlsReading
)thetwocharactersblend
together;therearenolinesbetweenthem;splitpiecesandpersonality
○ classicartoftheLongmanEditionallthewomenareseparateandclearlydefined,butareall
leaningtowardseachother
● Catherineexpressesfindingfreedomandpowerinreading;“newbooks”=Gothicnovels(becauseshe
readsoldernovels)
○ IsabelladoesnotmakethatdistinctionGothicalways=novels
○ satire“SirCharlesGrandison”=SirRichardson;Isabellamakesitsoundlikeitsagothicnovel
butit’sarealistnovel(theopposite);itshowsthatIsabellaisanuneducatedreaderonnovels

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Description
5.2 Mocking Gothic: Northanger Abbey Introduction to Austen & ​ Northanger Abbey Jane Austen with Northanger ● how do we enter a book or place lNorthanger Abbey?   ● Austen is poised between the Gothic group of writers vs. the realismNorthanger isn’t truly a  hybrid; Austen is more stuck between the two spaces  ○ but this is her first finished work, making her roots lie in the Gothic genre  ● written in 1794; published 1803 (13 years later)  ○ Henry Austen (her brother) saying that his sister lived an uneventful life; straightforward kind of  life  ○ “the hand that guided that pen is now mouldering in the grave” ­ Gothic tone (could be  unconscious)  ● Austen’s own advertisement for N.A ­ says try not to judge it by standards of 1794; it comes from the  Gothic book culture  Northanger ● comic:  ○ vulnerable, impressionable character that we are looking up to  ○ Catherine as a character in a blank space vs. her life as square and normal  ● Austen recognizes impressions of what a character should be and ‘wiping her canvas’ by introducing  Catherine in such a negative light  ○ works for satire ­ this story is not what you think it is; attempt of women writers trying to clear a  space for themselves  ● Heroines always have quotations that bolster them on ­ tranquil terror of being scared but being soothed  at the same time (constant change of emotions)  Battle of the Books ● “what ideas have you been admitting” ­ the idea of openness, Catherine being more guarded and  closed or else these ideas will be admitted into her  ● the idea of book covers advertising N.A as a all out horror story ­ have these artists read the book? or  are they far into the joke?  ● “her greedy eye” ­ Catherine as greedy as well as available to be impressed upon; she wants to be  impressed upon (sexual dimension)  ● bonds over reading novels with Isabella ­ met “in defiance” of bad weather to read together (a  privatized, feminized world)  ○ the idea of bonding with other women ­ reading was how women got together   ○ modern art of the Norton Edition (Pic​wo Girls Readin​ ­ the two characters blend  together; there are no lines between them; split pieces and personality  ○ classic art of the Longman Edition ­ all the women are separate and clearly defined, but are all  leaning towards each other  ● Catherine expresses finding freedom and power in reading; “new books” = Gothic novels (because she  reads older novels)  ○ Isabella does not make that distinction ­ Gothic always = novels  ○ satire “Sir Charles Grandison” = Sir Richardson; Isabella makes it sound like its a gothic novel  but it’s a realist novel (the opposite); it shows that Isabella is an uneducated reader on novels  ● reverse chivalry ­ Austen saying that the heroines of the novel must save each other and protect each  other from the male censure of the novels  ○ women can patronize each other ­ putting aside the patriarchy   ● John Thorpe is an idiot (we are in on the joke); like his sister Isabella, he’s stupid when it comes to  novels  ○ us as the readers have to understand the danger Catherine is in  ○ also, Thorpe enjoys tMonk​ (
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