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Northanger Abbey is the coming-of-age story of Catherine Morland, a seventeen-year-old girl who’s entering society for the first time. Despite her naivete, she quickly gains two potential suitors. We follow Catherine as she tries to navigate the difficulties of romance, friendship, and responsibility—problems amplified by the fact that Catherine views her world through the lens of the dramatic Gothic novels she loves to read. Austen deftly satirizes both the Gothic novels popular at the time (especially Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho), as well as contemporary society and woman’s role in it.
Completed in 1803, Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be completed, but it was only published posthumously in 1817.
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