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Northanger Abbey is a novel published in 1817 by Jane Austen.

An atypical, Art Noveau cover for Northanger Abbey, which displays neither Gothic castles nor watercolor portraits of women from the Regency Era. Circa 1903. Credit: janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com

Synopsis[]

Catherine Morland, a young girl of seventeen, spends most of her days buried deep in various Gothic novels. Given the chance to accompany her family friends, the Allens, to the spa city of Bath, Catherine acquiesces, launching herself into a whirlwind of balls, romance, and gothic abbeys. Her overactive imagination, formed by the supernatural and horror elements of her favorite novels, often leads her to misguided judgments concerning her surroundings and the people around her.

Themes and Motifs[]

  • Parody of Gothic themes and elements
  • The power of overactive imagination
  • Ostentatious displays of wealth
  • Friendship and Trust
  • Lies and Deceit
  • Importance of Social Standing

Adaptations []

Film[]

Theatre[]

  • Northanger Abbey: a Play in Three Acts (1949, England: Theatre Royale), Dramatist: Thea Holme
  • Northanger Abbey: a Comedy in Three Acts (1950, Scotland: Dundee Repertory Theatre), Dramatist: Constance Cox
  • Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (1996, London: Greenwhich Theatre), Dramatist: Matthew Francis
  • Northanger Abbey (1997, London: Queen's Theatre), Dramatist: Kate Wood
  • Northanger Abbey: a Romantic Gothic Comedy (2000, USA: Distilled Spirits Theatre), Dramatist: Lynn Marie Macy
  • Northanger (2002, England: Jackson's Lane Theatre), Dramatist: Michael Caines
  • Northanger Abbey (2013, USA: Greenhouse Theatre Center), Dramatist: Tim Luscombe
  • Northanger Abbey Puppet Show (2014, England: Broad Stage's Edye Theatre), Dramatists: Box Tale Soup

Television[]

  • Northanger Abbey 1986 (UK - British Broadcasting Company), Screenplay: Maggie Wadey; Director: Giles Foster
  • Wishbone, "Pup Fiction" (1998, USA: Season 2, Episode 9), Series Creator: Rick Duffield; Writer: Liz Peters; Director: Ken Harrison

Published Dramatizations[]

  • "Literary Tastes," Duologues and Scenes from Novels (1895, England) Author: Rosina Filippi
  • "Life at Bath," Dramatic Scenes from English Literature (1903, England) Author: Fanny Johnson
  • Form Room Plays - Senior Book (1921, England) Author: Evelyn Smith

Novel[]

  • Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (2010, USA)  Author: Vera Nazarian

Graphic Novels[]

  • Northanger Abbey,” Gothic Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 14 (2007, USA), Writer: Trina Robbins; Illustrator: Anne Timmons
  • Northanger Abbey 2011 (USA), Writer: Nancy Butler; Illustrator: Janet Lee

Sequels and Parodies[]

  • Murder Most Austen: a Mystery (2012, USA) Author: Tracy Kiely

Appropriations []

Film[]

  • Ruby in Paradise (1993, USA – October Films), Screenplay: Victor Nunez; Director: Victor Nunez
  • The Jane Austen Book Club (2007, USA – Sony Pictures Classics) Screenplay: Robin Swicord; Director: Robin Swicord

Novels[]

  • Midnight in Austenland (2012, USA) Author: Shannon Hale
  • The Jane Austen Diaries: Northanger Alibi (2012, USA) Author: Jenni James

Cameos and Other Appearances in Popular Culture[]

Television[]

"Horrid Novels"[]

Northanger Abbey includes numerous references to Gothic and popular literature of the late 18th century, including Isabella Thorpe's list of seven horrid novels that Catherine must read. These include:

  • Castle of Wolfenbach (1793, UK), Author: Eliza Parsons
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794, UK), Author: Ann Radcliffe
  • The Necromancer; or, the Tale of the Black Forest (1794, UK), Author: Carl Friedrich Kahlert 
  • Horrid Mysteries (1796, UK), Translated from German by: Peter Will; Author: Carl Friedrich August Grosse
  • Clermont (1798, UK), Author: Regina Maria Roche
  • The Midnight Bell (1798, UK), Author: Francis Lathom
  • The Orphan of the Rhine (1798, UK), Author: Eleanor Sleath

Resources[]

  • A blog dedicated to discourse on Northanger Abbey
  • Jane Austen Society of North America
  • Exhaustive list of theatrical adaptations of Northanger
  • Jane Austen blog focused on pop culture "celebrations" of her works
  • Austenesque, a website filled with reviews on Austen sequels, fan fiction, and other "para-literature"
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