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Showing posts from January, 2014

Austen 2014: Introduction to Northanger Abbey

Below is my introduction to the first novel we'll tackle in our journey through Austen, Northanger Abbey. As will be the case with all of my entries, it is the work of a "partial, prejudiced & ignorant" scholar, so please be kind.

What's it about?

It's about a young woman meeting a man, falling love, and then becoming engaged to him near the novel's end, with an indication from the narrator that they will have a happy marriage. ...What, too vague? Fine,      

Northanger Abbey is the story of Catherine Morland, a young woman who is one of 10 children of a rural vicar--not too dissimilar from Austen herself. She is taken by the Allens, a wealthy, childless couple who are friends of the Morlands, to Bath, England's second city in terms of society. (Bath and its society is central to both NA and Persuasion--indeed, we will begin and end this year-long journey in Bath, so I'll be doing an extra post about Bath in the near future.) There she meets friends…

Austen 2014: Reading Schedule & General Introduction

Now that the holidays are over, the decorations have been put away, and the resolutions have either been committed to or forgotten, it's time to focus on what really matters in 2014: reading all of Jane Austen's major novels. Partially because her work is so much more familiar to people generally, and partly out of a selfish desire to write fewer, but higher quality, posts, we're going to handle this read-a-thon slightly differently from the way we have the previous two. Only slightly, however--I'm not reinventing the wheel here.

So, we begin with Northanger Abbey which was (possibly? I'll do a note before we begin each discussing the problems of dating the first three novels) completed first, but wasn't published until after her death, when it was packaged together with her last novel, Persuasion, in 1818. Indeed, the "definitive" modern editions of her novels, those published by Oxford University Press and edited by R.W. Chapman, still follow that p…

War and Peace 2013: Entry 24--The First Epilogue

N.B.--This post will cover the First Epilogue to War and Peace, which means it essentially deals with the final outcomes of most of the characters. In other words, SPOILERS AHEAD. Also, this will not necessarily be my last post on this topic, but it very well might be, so, if you're reading this--thanks for reading any/all of these posts and keeping me company on this journey. :)

People joke that the First Epilogue is essentially the "Peace" part of War and Peace. While that's an oversimplification, it's roughly accurate. The tone and feeling of the First Epilogue is rather different from what came before it. While there are brief mentions of what's going on in the outside world, there's a much more timeless quality to these domestic scenes of the combined Rostov/Bolkonskaya/Bezukhov families. The story that Tolstoy was telling is over, so the epilogue merely shows us what happened later to our main characters.
After some explanation of the Rostov's fin…