Friday, May 2, 2008

Discussing Northanger Abbey

The library book group met this morning to discuss Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, a parody of the gothic novels popular in the late 18th century which Jane herself enjoyed reading. (see previous three posts on the subject.) The turnout was quite high which seemed to indicate that the book was a hit with the group. Of the nine book group participants present: three wholeheartedly liked the book; but a few did not want to reread it or could not get through it; several thought it was not her best work; most found the wordiness made it harder to read than a contemporary novel; all detected some humor in it, but none wanted to read any more Jane Austen as a selection for the group. Many had seen the recent PBS version of the novel or at least had seen some film version of various Austen novels and found those easier to enjoy than the books.
The BHPL Book Group obviously are not Janeites, but I enjoyed my visit to Austen's world, reading critiques of her work online and in the reference collection and rereading the book more carefully than the first time around when I was in school. The book group found my story of visiting and applying for citizenship to the online website the Republic of Pemberly, a community for Janeites and all things Austen, very amusing. So I thank the Pemberlians for their kind hospitality and for sharing their love of Jane Austen. Next in my Jane adventure - an online discussion of NA with several of my former highschool classmates.

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