Northanger Abbey

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Northanger Abbey (1817) is a novel by Jane Austen. An early version, called Susan was completed in 1803, but was not published. Austen revised the manuscript in 1816, and it was published as Northanger Abbey after her death in 1817.


  • Mrs. Morland was a very good woman, and wished to see her children everything they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in lying–in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books — or at least books of information — for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all.
    • Chapter 1, paragraph 3 (one of the earliest references to baseball in English literature, Oxford English Dictionary)
  • But Mrs. Morland knew so little of lords and baronets, that she entertained no notion of their general mischievousness, and was wholly unsuspicious of danger to her daughter from their machinations.

Chapter 2[edit]

  • Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them. p. 34, 2013
  • As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it came, but she did not depend on it. p. 36, 2013

Chapter 3[edit]

  • Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again. p. 50, 2013
  • Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. p. 52, 2013
  • “As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to be that the usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”
    “And what are they?”
    “A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.” p. 52, 2013
  • Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. "I am no novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel." Such is the common cant. "And what are you reading, Miss — ?" "Oh! It is only a novel!" replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. "It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.

Chapter 14[edit]

  • "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Mr. Tilney
  • “Historians, you think,” said Miss Tilney, “are not happy in their flights of fancy. They display imagination without raising interest.”, p. 226, 2013
  • “That little boys and girls should be tormented,” said Henry, “is what no one at all acquainted with human nature in a civilized state can deny; but in behalf of our most distinguished historians, I must observe, that they might well be offended at being supposed to have no higher aim; and that by their method and style, they are perfectly well qualified to torment readers of the most advanced reason and mature time of life.”, p. 226, 2013
  • “I use the verb ‘to torment,’ as I observed to be your own method, instead of ‘to instruct,’ supposing them to be now admitted as synonimous.”, p. 228, 2013
  • You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my life at home, you would allow that to torment and to instruct might sometimes be used as synonimous words., p. 228, 2013
  • But historians are not accountable for the difficulty of learning to read; and even you yourself, who do not altogether seem particularly friendly to very severe, very intense application, may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worth while to be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it., p. 228, 2013
  • Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much, that they never find it necessary to use more than half., p. 228, 2013
  • 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.

Volume 2, Chapter 1[edit]

  • Me?— yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible., p. 268, 2013

Volume 2, Chapter 2[edit]

  • A distinction to which they had been born gave no pride., p. 284, 2013

Volume 2, Chapter 3[edit]

  • If we do not have hearts, we have eyes; and they give us torment enough., p. 294, 2013

Volume 2, Chapter 4[edit]

  • No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment., p. 302, 2013
  • It is probable that she will neither love so well, nor flirt so well, as she might do either singly., p. 302, 2013
  • Nay, if it is to be guess-work, let us all guess for ourselves. To be guided by second-hand conjecture is pitiful. The premises are before you., p. 302, 2013
  • I will not say, ‘Do not be uneasy,’ because I know that you are so, at this moment; but be as little uneasy as you can., p. 304, 2013

Volume 2, Chapter 7[edit]

  • You have gained a new source of enjoyment, and it is well to have as many holds on happiness as possible., p. 356, 2013
  • The mere habit of learning to love is the thing; and a teachableness of disposition in a young lady is a great blessing.

Volume 2, Chapter 9[edit]

  • I am come, young ladies, in a very moralizing strain, to observe that our pleasures in this world are always to be paid for, and that we often purchase them at a great disadvantage, giving ready-monied actual happiness for a draft on the future, that may not be honoured., p. 428, 2013

Volume 2, Chapter 10[edit]

  • Prepare for your sister-in-law, Eleanor, and such a sister-in-law as you must delight in! Open, candid, artless, guileless, with affections strong but simple, forming no pretensions, and knowing no disguise.

Volume 2, Chapter 13[edit]

  • His departure gave Catherine the first expermental conviction that a loss may be sometimes a gain., p. 448, 2013

External links[edit]

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