“While Writing with 18th Century Wit and Precision, Jane Austen Also Questions the Role of the Imagination in Developing Autonomy.” Identify and Evaluate the Key “Romantic” Elements at Play in “Northanger Abbey” and One

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“While writing with 18th century wit and precision, Jane Austen also questions the role of the imagination in developing autonomy.” Identify and evaluate the key “Romantic” elements at play in “Northanger Abbey” and one other related text of your own choosing. The Romantic Period was a sharp contrast to the strict rules and guidelines of the Eighteenth Century. Romantic literature features themes of the exotic, nature, and freedom. Rather than looking to reason and logic for wisdom, the Romantics believed that knowledge was gathered from nature. Northanger Abbey satirizes the popularity of gothic romances and excessive imagination, but Austen also less obviously satirizes the lives and values of the high middle-class and the social and historical paradigms of 18th century patriarchal society. It encourages reader to consider a compromise between the extremes of Romanticism and the favoring of reason and abstract thinking in Classicism. Austen’s irony, wit and parody like stance suggest ‘the possibility of personal freedom and happiness’ through mutual respect instead of adopting ‘concealment, repression and accommodation’. In Austen’s “Northanger Abbey”, Catherine Morland acquires control of her unruly imagination and excessive emotions but Austen satirizes the imbalance in social standards for female and male misbehavior. For example, Frederick and John retain their pride, but Isabella is humiliated and loses both suitors. Therefore, Austen’s romantic resolution of marriage is not a cry of despair. These marriages represent what can be achieved. Like many novels written in the time of the ‘romantics’, Northanger Abbey looks at the idea of individualism. For example, the scene in which Catherine is in the Bath’s Upper Rooms celebrating at the ball. Austen indeed provides an exaggeration of gothic entrapment, but she

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