Thursday, April 19, 2012

Visiting Northanger Abbey

Arcturus Paperback Classics Edition
Last week I "rescued" this copy of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey from a secondhand shop based on a whim and the pretty cover. On closer inspection I also found a clever Introduction that tells about the history of Northanger Abbey and a synopsis on the back cover that is possibly the best I've ever seen. This edition also divides the text into Volume One and Volume Two which I'd never seen before.

I liked this particular cover because it shows a house which is more in keeping with Jane Austen's description of the Abbey rather than the turreted castles that both film versions use and quite a few other book editions tend towards. 
On further inspection I learned that the painting is Chawton House and Church (1809) which would have been painted not too long before Jane Austen lived at Chawton Cottage! Very interesting that the publishers would have chosen a painting of that particular for the cover. 

This is a photo of Chawton Church with Chawton House in the distance:

Having such a lovely volume of Northanger Abbey tempted me to re-read some of my favorite passages and there were a few quotes that stuck out to me. These quotes come from Chapter 17 when the Tilneys invite Catherine to stay at the Abbey with them.

"Northanger Abbey! These were thrilling words, and wound up Catherine's feelings to the highest point of ecstasy."

"The circumstances of the morning had led Catherine's feelings through the varieties of suspense, security, and disappointment; but they were now safely lodged in perfect bliss; and with spirits elated to rapture, with Henry at her heart, and Northanger Abbey on her lips, she hurried home to write her letter."

"She was to be their chosen visitor, she was to be for weeks under the same roof with the person whose society she mostly prized - and, in addition to all the rest, this roof was to be the roof of an abbey! Her passion for ancient edifices was next in degree to her passion for Henry Tilney - and castles and abbeys made usually the charm of these reveries which his image did not fill."

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Chapter 17

These quotes spoke to me because I could so perfectly understand Catherine's excitement at going to Northanger Abbey. Also it seems that according to the author Catherine was quite in love with Henry Tilney when she went to Northanger Abbey and was looking forward to learning more about him - another feeling I quite understand! :)

Have you read Northanger Abbey lately?
When you think of the Abbey what does it look like to you?


Sarah White said...

I love Northanger Abbey - it's a close second to Pride and Prejudice in my opinion - a truly wonderful book! Have to say I think the 2007 ITV adaptation got the Abbey about right in my opinion - Lismore Castle in Ireland suited it perfectly. :)

Miss Woodhouse said...

I read NA quite recently, but I already want to again :)

I think the house on the front looks quite a bit like the NA I had pictured. Funny how things like that work out :)

Somersaulting Through Life said...

The cover looks lovely - well found! :)

Stephanie said...

Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen books (although I love them all). I just adore the copy you found...the cover is inspirational!


Sara Lyn said...

I LOVE Northanger Abbey. I think of quite frequently, but it's been about ten years since I've read it. I think I'll rectify that soon. That's a beautiful cover. Hooray for you for a great find!!

Mel said...

I almost squealed when I read this. I have this same copy and it is this particular one that I carry around with me all the time. I just adore the cover and the colour of it.
I just love that you happen to love the same one! :)

Anna said...

May I ask, has the paper in this particular edition started to yellow at all? I am looking for a set of Austen novels on acid-free paper (hopefully with pretty covers like this one) that won't yellow, since I sometimes become a bit allergic to books when they do.


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