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Northanger Abbey

Walter Scott noted Austen's "resistance to the trashy sensationalism of much of modern fiction - 'the ephemeral productions which supply the regular demand of watering places and circulating libraries'". Yet her rejection of these genres is complex, as evidenced by Northanger Abbey and Emma. Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be completed for publication, in 1803. However, it was not published until after her death in 1817. Austen first titled the novel Susan, when she sold it in 1803 to a London bookseller, Crosby & Co. This publisher did not print the work but held on to the manuscript. Austen reportedly threatened to take her work back from them, but Crosby & Co responded that she would face legal consequences for reclaiming her text. What's ironic about this publishing delay is that, out of all of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey has one of the most specific historical contexts and agendas. The agenda here was satire and the targets were the Gothic novels that were hugely popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Northanger Abbey is the story of the naive Catherine Morland, a willing victim of the contemporary craze for Gothic literature. When Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey, the grand though forbidding ancestral seat of her suitor, Henry Tilney, she finds herself embroiled in a real drama of misapprehension, mistreatment, and mortification. Enjoy free online English audiobook “Northanger Abbey”, the first novel completed for publication by Jane Austen.

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