Monday, November 12, 2012

Rereading Northanger Abbey

At the end of last month I finished my second reading of Northanger Abbey, with a great deal of delight. There's nothing like reading a book for a first time, but Jane Austen books are wonderful for rereading multiple times... as I am sure we all know. ;-)

If possible I think I was even more pleased with Henry Tilney this time than last...it struck me more than ever that if he were to be transported to modern times, he would probably be just the sort of person I would like; he might tease just a tad too much, but he does know when to be serious, at least. But what I really noticed this time was that his opinions seem to match mine quite well in some areas--or the 19th-century version of them, anyways. And he as such an understanding of muslin! ;) But see, he doesn't mind admitting that he has an understanding of muslin. He's not insecure, haha. And he admits to reading novels. My 21st-century version of that is always that he would read Jane Austen and like it, and admit it. ;-) There was one thing I particularly noticed this time, when Henry said--

I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.

See, it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when men and women are given stereotypes, and it seems like he has the right ideas.

Anyway, enough rambling about Henry Tilney. (Ha, I can just hear some of you saying "No!") I think Isabella Thorpe made me laugh more this time. (You know, if you take some of the things she says seriously, she actually has some pretty good quotes, too. As do Mrs. Elton and Caroline Bingley.) I thought it was hilarious and served her right when Catherine never understood her insinuations.

John Thorpe made me feel madder, if that's possible. He is SO annoying. I have to say, I think he's the most irritating of all Jane Austen's villains. Grrrrrr.

So, I really haven't much to say, but I decided when I reread to S&S to post about my first rereads of Miss Austen's novels.. This is a delightful book, but very different from JA's others and I think one should definitely read at least most of her other books before this one. And preferably have a slight understanding of those old Gothic novels and their tendencies, or you won't understand the satire.

By the bye, the 2007 movie (which, I must disclaim, I do not approve of in its entirety) didn't get that at all right. For instance, in the movie, as soon as Catherine claps eyes on Northanger Abbey, she says "It is exactly as I imagined it would be!" In the book, they arrive during a rainstorm and she never really gets to view the outside of the house until later on, and the inside is much too modern to be like what she imagined. Also there's this one scene where she sees Henry with his sister, but she doesn't know it's his sister and you can tell she's all disappointed (haha), but in the book Jane Austen clearly said that she did not do that (as other heroines would, you see), but that she guessed immediately it was his sister; it looked right, and he'd mentioned having a sister before.

That's just a couple of examples. But it doesn't have much to do with the book so I'll quit ranting talking about it.

Oh, and I have a question for you all. Have any of you read There Must Be Murder, which is a sequel to NA by Margaret C. Sullivan? I really enjoy what I know of her writing in general, but I'd have to buy it so it is nice to have recommendations. I'm a person who likes libraries. Heehee. Unfortunately they don't have it.

I can't think of a good way to tie up this short and ramble-y post besides to put a few quotes from NA. These are ones that I scribbled down during my re-read & didn't do last time.

"...while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable."
~Catherine Morland

"A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can."

"...from politics, it was an easy step to silence."

"[T]o marry for money I think the wickedest thing in existence."
~Catherine

6 comments:

Miss Dashwood said...

I think I'd like Henry tremendously too... he just seems so very Nice. (Heh. Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh.)

No, no, never enough rambling about dear Mr. Tilney! :D

"This is a delightful book, but very different from JA's others and I think one should definitely read at least most of her other books before this one." YESYESYESYESYES. I am so glad you agree with me on this very important mattuh, dearling!!

Ooh, now I really want to see the 2007 movie (minus the Bad Bits) just so I can point fingers with you and say, "That's not the way it was in the booooooook!"

"From politics, it was an easy step to silence." HA! Love that!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Oh yes, multiple reads and especially for NA! :)

"Mr. Tilney!!!" I'm so glad you liked him even more on this read through! He surely is a tease but he's at all times a gentleman. I love that when he teases his teasing is appropriate and often times gets Catherine to think about what she's doing or what others mean by their words or actions. Also reading about him finding Catherine in his mother's rooms always melts my heart - instead of being totally upset (like they make him in the 2007 movie) he is so gentle and kind to her, lovingly corrects her. He definitely knows how to be serious and to his duty when it counts but I do love that he doesn't take things too serious and helps Catherine to be at ease too.

I don't think stereotypes are completely a bad thing but certainly there are things that don't necessarily belong strictly to men or women (such as cooking, crafts, mechanical repair, gardening, musical ability).

You can't ramble on about Henry Tilney too much for my taste! ;)

Isabella and John Thorpe always just make me laugh. They can be irritating sometimes but their boasting way of talking and thinking they are "all that" always crack me up. They are so full of themselves and trying to make themselves look good in front of others that it's just so comical!

I like several of Isabella's quotes too (hence my post some time back about them many quotes I like of her's) and she does have pepperings of truths in with her nonsense. A lot of what she says are probably things that Eleanor Tilney would do (such as "there is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends") but it's the way Isabella says them that shows she really doesn't mean what she says. Also, if you have to keep repeating your maxims then you're probably all talk. "Actions speak louder than words"! :)

I have indeed read 'There Must Be Murder'! It was a while back when Mags Sullivan posted it on the Jane Austen Centre website as a periodical and then she later published it in book form. I know I really enjoyed it so I would definitely recommend it! :)

Love those quotes!

Hmm...speaking of the bad things about the 2007 film makes me think I should send you something. I've been meaning to ask if you'd be interested and now that you've re-read NA... ;)

Melody said...

Mousie,
Hahaha. He is indeed Nice. ;-) Although being so particular about one's word usage might start to get annoying if he did it too much. I mean, I don't mind that occasionally (I probably wouldn't like you as much as I do if I did, HAHAHA) but I have a feeling he might do it just to Be That Way.

Haha, I'm glad we agree too. ;D And you should watch it so you can point fingers with me. Heehee. I know, the politics quote is swellissimus. ;)


Miss Laurie,
Yes, that is true. And I hated what they did in the movie with him finding her in his mother's room, after reading the book. I was quite annoyed. I mean, in the book you could tell he was shocked and rather disappointed in her for the moment, but he was still so considerate about it. I mean, he could tell Catherine was feeling uncomfortable, haha. Actually, he seems rather Mr. Knightley-ish in that scene. Heehee. :D And I like how they're nice to her afterwards, instead of him leaving in a huff. Good grief. And not even seeing him again before she is 'evicted'! Nononono. He was gone, but a couple of weeks had passed.

Well, it just annoys me when people say about certain things that 'girls think this way' about it and 'guys are such-and-such way', when really it depends upon taste and personality. It's especially annoying when people think guys and girls should be a certain way, or if people think someone's weird for not being a certain way, and...
Shutting up.

Oh, what were you thinking of sending me? I am so curious! Don't leave me in such suspense, Marilla! ;)

Lily of the Valley said...

Henry Tilney is just delightful, and I would be OVERJOYED to meet him. (haha) Don't you think, Melody, that he is just the sort of man who would use the word indubitably and love it just as much as we do? : ) Meanwhile, I believe I really truly fell in love with Jane Austen after reading Northanger Abbey (It was the third book of Jane Austen's that I read) It is such a cleverly written story, and I must admit, my imagination is every but as wily as Catherine's. Not to mention my curiosity... Oh, and I just love to hate John Thorpe - what a toad he is!

Melody said...

Lily,
Oh, yes, and I would be THRILLED. ;) And of course he would understand about indubitably. Indubitably. :D

Oooh, have you really and truly fallen in love with Jane Austen, then? Why, how delightful! I am quite pleased. I must prescribe an order of continuance for you. Er, that is, my humble suggestion, my dear, which you have every right to ignore, is that now you have finished S&S you should watch the 1995 version, and when you are done with that read Persuasion, and then after that reread P&P and then watch the 1995 mini-series again. (You simply must sometime, you know. And it's so delightful to watch directly after you read the book.) Preferably by yourself, over a few evenings, wrapped up in a blanket with popcorn and cocoa...

Hahahaha. Or perhaps you should do the P&P things before reading Persuasion. One can never have too much P&P. :P
But Persuasion is well worth your attention too. ;-)

And John Thorpe is indeed a toad. Good word for him, that.

~nutty me

Lily of the Valley said...

Melody, we're a couple of geese, aren't we? I find that delightful, as I couldn't think of anyone better to be goosie with than you! : )

Ahem, on matters of Jane Austen, I am indeed in love with her and her stories... you should be monstrous proud, m'dear! Yes, it is high time that I watch S&S 1995 again, and then I believe t'will be time to read Persuasion. And all that will leave is Mansfield Park... although I am not quite as excited about that one as the others. Haha, just don't make me pick a favorite Jane Austen book, because it would be nigh impossible for me to decide...

Ta ta for now!

P.S. P&P 1995 movie will be on my movie list, most assuredly. ; )

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