English 4210: English Novel
Northanger Abbey Response Topics
1. How is Northanger Abbey a satire of the Gothic?
2. What does Northanger Abbey satirize, apart from Gothic conventions, and how? Why?
3. Consider the quotation about novels at the end of Volume 1 Chapter 5. It begins, “Yes, novels—for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom . . .” and ends at the end of the chapter. (It’s on pages 29-30 in the Longman edition). Marilyn Gaull, the editor of the Longman edition, claims that this is part of the parody (footnote, p. 30; there are serious discussions of poetry and literature in other Gothic novels that might inspire such a parody). But can this passage be read seriously? If so, what serious point is Austen’s narrator making here? What purpose does this digression serve?
4. On a related topic, how does Northanger Abbey function as literary criticism?
5. Choose your own adventure.