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AUSTEN-L  February 2017, Week 1

AUSTEN-L February 2017, Week 1

Subject:

Northanger Abbey countless times

From:

Ellen Moody <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

AUSTEN-L Jane Austen List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 14:13:13 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (33 lines)

As I started this I realized I have read this one more often than any of
the others. I've written and published a paper on it, written and published
on the Net (in other people's blogs and a magazine on JA) essays on the
Northanger films. It is hard to get a fresh feeling.  I am noticing a few
things I didn't before:  how well off relatively Catherine's father is ,
two living besides his parish.

What I am feeling more than ever is the central topic that holds the book's
parts together is it's a study of girlhood, or very young womanhood through
what she reads and how she reacts to these books. There is such emphasis on
what a real young girl is, a real young woman, separate satirical sequences
where the author alludes to a perspective about a heroine in typical
heroine's texts (novels by women in the era, most focusing on a heroine)
and saying how Catherine departed from this or that, was not all like this
or that. It's a turning glass on the same matter. The famous peroration on
the novel then fits in here. But young girls also like to give themselves
romance names (or re-spell their own name), to dress exquisitely well, and
that Catherine does from her coquelicot ribbons or her expensive delicate
muslims to how her hair is styled, her hat.

There are precious few books which honestly try for the mind of a young
girl growing up. Chantal Thomas is rare for valuing the doll. One of my
objections to NA long felt is that Austen has a tomboy type, which I find a
cop-out: tomboy girls say they are not respectable but they are and
admired. Those of us who like Ginny dolls and Little Women and dresses are
by an equivalent made a little too much fun of; we are an easy target, an
injured body, my friends.

Now I've gotten an article on gothic and the picturesque so turn to it. I
can also share the old classic great article by  Nicholas Pevsner on JA's
Architectual settings.

Ellen

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