Rare in Burlesque: Northanger Abbey

Lansdown, Richard (2004) Rare in Burlesque: Northanger Abbey. Philological Quarterly, 83 (1). pp. 61-81.

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[Extract] It has been appreciated for many years that a special part of the appeal and literary-historical significance of Northanger Abbey lies in the way the novel dramatizes and articulates the relationship between the two fictional modes it deploys: novelistic realism on the one hand and a satiric version of Gothic fiction on the other (what Reginald Farrer called in 1917 "serious drama" and "parody"). "As for the reader," Farrer concluded, "the closer his study of the dovetailing of the two motives, the profounder his pleasure."! Reflection on the moral and aesthetic effects of this dovetailing has frequently been seen as central to what Jane Austen's novel encourages and has to offer. For Walter Anderson Northanger Abbey presents a struggle between "fatuous imaginings" and "common, sensible pleasures in reading," in which Austen "intends her work ... to compete with and ultimately outstrip Gothic romances."2 For Marvin Mudrick, "The problem is to write simultaneously a Gothic novel and a realistic novel, and to gain and keep the reader's acceptance of the latter while proving that the former is false and absurd."3 In Northanger Abbey, according to Susan Morgan, "Austen mocks sentimental and gothic conventions because they are unnatural and therefore incredible."

Item ID: 4661
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1930-1812
Keywords: english language; literature
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Reproduced with permission from Philological Quarterly. Lansdown, Richard (2004) Rare in Burlesque: Northanger Abbey. Philological Quarterly, 83 (1). pp. 61-81.

Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2009 01:01
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