Literature: Northanger Abbey
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.
— Opening Line
The definitive Gothic
parody, Northanger Abbey
was Jane Austen
's first completed novel, which she wrote as "Susan"; it developed farther the satiric vein found in her juvenilia, such as Love and Freindship
. However, circumstances prevented the novel from being published until after her death
The fourth of ten children, and eldest daughter, 17-year-old Catherine Morland is a Tomboy
grown into a major Gothic Novel
fan girl. She's become so involved in reading that she fancies herself as the heroine of such a work as The Mysteries of Udolpho
. One day, she is invited to come along with the childless Allens for a trip to the spring resort of Bath. There, she meets two families, the Thorpes and the Tilneys. The Thorpes' eldest son, the egocentric twit John, tries to woo her. However, Catherine fancies the Tilneys' second son, the gentleman Henry. Henry's father, General Tilney, invites Catherine over to the Tilneys' estate, the eponymous Northanger Abbey. There, Catherine's expectations of the world clash with bitter reality.
Countering the Adaptation Overdosed
tendency of Austen's other works, this has to be the least adapted of all her works. It was twice adapted into Made for TV Movies
, once by The BBC
in 1986 and once by ITV
in 2007. Marvel Illustrated is releasing a Comic Book Adaptation
starting November 2011, script by Nancy Butler, pencils and inks by Janet Lee, and covers by Julian Totino Tedesco. It was also the second book given a modern day Setting Update
by The Austen Project, written by Val McDermid
The novel provides examples of:
Tropes appearing in adaptations:
- Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub: When Catherine is in her bath, she drifts into fantasy and her bathroom becomes a symbolically fertile woodland grove. Then Henry stops by to admire the view, so to speak.
- Romance-Inducing Smudge: There's a lovely splash of mud on Catherine's face and Henry tries to clean it... Shown during the montage in the Abbey after General has left and the trio of young people enjoy their time together.
- Romantic Rain: In ITV's TV movie, during Catherine's visit to the Abbey, Catherine and Henry go horse riding to see Henry's parsonage. When they reach it, it's about to start raining. Catherine suggests they race back to the Abbey. It's quite a rainy and muddy ride and at the Abbey, Henry cleans and caresses Catherine's face.
I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.
— Closing Line