The star of Northanger Abbey is seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland, Jane Austen’s youngest and most impressionable heroine. Away from home for the first time, on a visit to Bath with family friends, Catherine, a passionate consumer of novels (especially of the gothic variety), encounters a world in which everything beckons as a readable text: not only books, but also conversations and behaviors, clothes, carriages, estates, and vistas. In her lively introduction to this newest volume in Harvard’s celebrated annotated Austen series, Susan Wolfson proposes that Austen’s most underappreciated, most playful novel is about fiction itself and how it can take possession of everyday understandings.
The first of Austen’s major works to be completed (it was revised in 1803 and again in 1816–17), Northanger Abbey was published months after Austen’s death in July 1817, together with Persuasion. The 1818 text, whose singularly frustrating course to publication Wolfson recounts, is the basis for this freshly edited and annotated edition.
Wolfson’s running commentary will engage new readers while offering delights for scholars and devoted Janeites. A wealth of color images bring to life Bath society in Austen’s era—the parade of female fashions, the carriages running over open roads and through the city’s streets, circulating libraries, and nouveau-riche country estates—as well as the larger cultural milieu of Northanger Abbey. This unique edition holds appeal not just for “Friends of Jane” but for all readers looking for a fuller engagement with Austen’s extraordinary first novel.
The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press continues its stellar collection of gorgeous, oversized editions with a new annotated version of Jane Austen’s 1817 novel Northanger Abbey. Princeton University English professor Susan Wolfson does the annotating honors this time, filling page after page with her lively and freakishly comprehensive marginalia… Her Introduction is fast-paced and insightful… The quality of the annotations themselves is universally excellent… No matter how many times you’ve read Northanger Abbey, Wolfson will teach you something, and many of the connections she draws are fascinating.
Offers up just the type of sumptuous reading experience that we’ve come to expect from this series…The Northanger Abbey text is richly illustrated with paintings, museum-quality photographs, and colorful Regency prints. A pleasure to turn, these luxurious pages will satisfy even the most book-hungry Janeite—and at a reasonable price. This is just the type of chocolate-box of a book that you will want to savor while curled up on the sofa…Wolfson’s smart and gorgeous new edition of Northanger Abbey is a must-have for anyone who looks forward to reading or rereading this novel in time for its bicentenary. You are in for a treat.
Susan Wolfson is the ideal scholar-critic to guide us through Jane Austen’s mock-gothic Northanger Abbey. With a masterly introduction, this annotated edition is a treasure-trove of historical background, intertextual illumination, and literary insight.
Through her introduction and notes, Susan Wolfson provides abundant information about Jane Austen’s life, circumstances, and cultural setting, as well as a penetrating interpretation of Northanger Abbey. This annotated edition adds to the enjoyment that the novel has given readers over almost three centuries. Austen’s spoof of the Gothic supplies not only entertainment, but also, as Wolfson demonstrates, insight into the author’s attitudes toward reading, gender relations, the novelist’s art, and much besides.
Northanger Abbey, least known of Jane Austen’s novels, offers some of her wittiest lines and most personal opinions. Susan Wolfson’s cogent and spirited introduction and her notes, acute and thorough, make this an edition every Austen enthusiast will learn from and enjoy.
- 384 pages
- 9 x 9-1/2 inches
- Belknap Press
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