This week on The Literary Life podcast, our hosts are pleased to begin talking about Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. For this introduction episode Cindy Rollins and Angelina Stanford are joined by Thomas Banks. Together they discuss the advent of the novel as a form, as well as some predecessors of Austen.
Angelina points out Austen’s satirical voice in poking fun at the sentimental novel in the first few chapters. She also encourages us to look for the real life dangers the main characters encounter in contrast to those sensations of the popular sentimental or gothic novel. Furthermore, we ought to notice who is reading various genres of literature and what that says about those characters.
Cindy and Angelina also talk about Jane Austen’s writing and her economy of style and the lasting quality of her books. Along with criticism of sensationalism, Austen also adds a healthy dose of criticism of the education given young women in her day. We also learn that this is a novel of development as we watch Catherine Moorland learn her way around the world.
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The Dying Christian to His Soul
by Alexander Pope
Vital spark of heav’nly flame!
Quit, O quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond, Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me my soul, can this be death?
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav’n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?
Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Pamela by Samuel Richardson
Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
The Castle of Ontranto by Horace Walpol
Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
Othello by William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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