Thursday, 18 October 2012

BORN TO BE A HEROINE - WATCHING JANE AUSTEN'S NORTHANGER ABBEY


Read  Northanger Abbey Plot Summary then work on these three fragments from the 2007 TV adaptation of the novel. 

Watch the videos and answer the questions in your worksheet
 CLICK HERE 

Video 1 - scene 1


After watching video 1, read chapter 1 from the novel and the author's presentation of her heroine, Catherine Morland. (CLICK HERE)

Video 2 - scenes 2-3



Video 3 - scene 4




1. THE NOVEL & ITS PUBLICATION

 (From "So you think you know Jane Austen?" by J. Sutherland and D. Le Faye)

Northanger Abbey is reckoned to be the third written of Austen's six major novels—although it was the last published, in a bundled, posthumous four-volume set with Persuasion. The circumstances of its early composition and belated publication are given in James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir, the 'Advertisement'to the December 1817 first edition, and some surviving letters. It seems that Austen completed the novel in 1798/9 (aged 24). The novel was sold to the bookseller, Crosby & Co., for £10, in 1803 (he was not, as legend has it, based in Bath, but London). It was promptly advertised as 'In the Press' (as 'Susan'). But by 1809, no novel had appeared. Nor, apparently, was any explanation given to the frustrated author. When Austen (under incognito) complained, Crosby offered to sell back the property for what he had given. Austen did not, apparently, recover the copyright until 1816 (Crosby not realizing that he had a manuscript by the author of Pride and Prejudice).

Austen had a spare copy of the manuscript and may, over the years, have made other changes to 'Susan' than the title. But the consensus of scholarly opinion is that the novel is substantially what she wrote in 1798/9. The author died in July 1817 and Northanger Abbey was published, posthumously, by John Murray, six months later.

What reason can Crosby have had for keeping this vivacious work unread? It is suggested that he felt that its satire might dampen the inflamed demand for the 'Gothics' he specialized in.

This, one speculates, was the only time in literary history which the demure Miss Austen suffered censorship. For her wit, appropriately enough.

In the 'Advertisement by the Authoress' to Murray's edition, Austen notes that during its thirteen years in limbo 'places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes'. Historically, the period between the Revolutionary Terror of 1789 and Waterloo changed the world utterly.



2. HERE IS  AN EXTREMELY INTERESTING ARTICLE PUBLISHED on January 28th, 2010  on THE LITERARY JOURNAL "ARTIFACTS". IT DEALS WITH FEMINISM IN NORTHANGER ABBEY AND WAS WRITTEN BY SARAH WHITECOTTON. 

"Austen’s Northanger Abbey is not outrightly depicted as a feminist novel, but by portraying Catherine in the way she does, Austen questions the literary ideal female type. Catherine’s individuality manifests itself within the very first page of the novel where Austen depicts the main character as anything but a heroine. Catherine “was fond of all boys’ plays, and greatly preferred cricket…to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush” (Austen 5)".  GO ON READING

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