Is Northanger Abbey a Celebration of the Gothic, Rather Than a Condemnation?

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Northanger Abbey was posthumously published in 1816 and despite this, was also one of the first written by her. It centres around the enlightenment of Catherine Morland, a naïve girl whom has a fascination for the gothic, a motive which is driven heavily throughout the novel, with heavy gothic leanings and imagery preceding over her narration. At the time, it was written as a parody towards the gothic, whilst further highlighting the idiotic viewpoints society held towards gothic literature; yet in by doing so, does this parody lean itself towards a celebration or a condemnation? It can be inferred that through the excessive hyperbole and extended socio-economic allegories, that Northanger Abbey is in fact a true celebration of all things associated with the Gothic. The uses of excessive description and hyperbole in Catherine’s language (especially during chapters 23, 24 and 25) can show in some ways that Northanger Abbey is very much celebratory of the gothic genre. Catherine’s strange change of tone occurs from chapter 23, whereby she is given a grand tour of the Abbey and becomes fascinated and engrossed with the General, extrapolating that he may have something direct to do with his wife’s death. It’s interesting to note the shift in descriptive dialogue in this chapter, akin to gothic novels such as “The Castle of Otranto” for its fanciful and shadowy narration of the castle and of the other protagonists and their actions. She describes the general as having “solitary rambles” which, at least to Catherine, “did not speak a mind at ease, or a conscience void of reproach”, seemingly using fanciful descriptions to infer something which simply isn’t there; “void of reproach” sounds very menacing and malevolent, something Austen has done deliberately to highlight the melodrama a gothic tale and description can cause. Catherine furthers her claim of the general,
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