This is the third post about Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey which the BHPL book group will discuss on Friday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m.
Having left all our faithful blog readers at the point where I had read the first three chapters online, I then read three more chapters using the actual hard copy this time and felt there was no difference in the reading experience other than the relative comfort of my sofa versus computer chair. In chapters three to five we find that our heroine, the naive and overly-imaginative Catherine Morland, meets the worldly social-climber Isabella Thorpe and they become fast friends who share a love of "horrid" (ie: gothic) novels. We read Austen’s Defense of the Novel which famously posits that novel reading is just as respectable and worthwhile as reading other forms of literature. And we find Isabella’s list of scary/romantic/gothic/"horrid" novels which she recommends to Catherine. The list has become known as the Northanger Canon.
Here are links to websites of interest for readers of Jane Austen's works: (found by searching the Librarians Index to the Internet.)
Jane Austen website from Brandeis University
Jane Austen's World
Hampshire, the Inspirational World of Jane Austen (travel info from the U.K.)
Book a Minute Classics which are very, very short synopses of classic books including the entire works of Jane Austen summarized in several sentences.
I have now finished 25 of the 31 chapters and rather than reinvent a summary, here is a link to a synopsis of the plot from Vanderbilt University by way of the Republic of Pemberly website.
Here is a Reading Group Guide list of discussion questions.