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"O Fortuna" From Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
Northanger Abbey was written in the later 1790s but not published until 1817. Begun as a satire on the improbable plots and characters of the typical gothic novel, such as Mrs. Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), Northanger Abbey developed into a treatment of Jane Austen's favorite theme, the initiation of a young woman into the complexities of adult social life.
CATHERINE MORLAND, who comes from the comfortable family of a village clergyman, is invited to Bath for the season by her wealthy friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. In Bath she meets ISABELLA THORPE, a sophisticated young woman whose brother John is a friend of Catherine's brother, JAMES MORLAND. Isabella encourages Catherine's interest in romantic fantasies and "horrid" fictions. After Isabella becomes engaged to James Morland, she tries to promote a romance between Catherine and her irresponsible brother, JOHN THORPE, but Catherine is more interested in a young clergyman she has met, HENRY TILNEY, the son of General Tilney of Northanger Abbey. Under the illusion (fostered by John Thorpe) that Catherine is wealthy, GENERAL TILNEY invites her to stay at Northanger Abbey. There Catherine's imagination runs wild: she becomes convinced that Northanger Abbey is like the setting of a gothic novel and that General Tilney had murdered his late wife. She is humiliated when General Tilney returns suddenly from London and orders her to leave the abbey. This action is based on another false report from John Thorpe, who claims that Catherine is totally without wealth and has deceived the general.
Meanwhile, Henry Tilney's wordly brother, Captain Tilney, has flirted with Isabella Thorpe and caused her to break off her engagement to James Morland. But Captain Tilney is too shrewd to be taken in by the scheming Isabella, and she is left without a husband. Eleanor Tilney's fortunate marriage to a viscount and the discovery that Catherine will have a substantial income allay the general's anger, and after Henry has explained the misunderstanding to Catherine's family, the marriage both have desired finally takes place.
From the Jane Austen Information Page
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