Gothic Novels - Be Very Afraid!
2019 May 25
|Our May meeting this year was a novel study of Northanger Abbey. Amy discussed the genre of gothic novels that grew out of medieval belief in the supernatural. The gothic novel had a tendency to certain cliches - atmosphere, castles, dark corridors, etc. Amy discussed Ann Radcliffe and her use of terror, the stimulation of the senses, versus horror, the use of physical things such as corpses.|
|Very little is known of Ann Radcliffe as no correspondence or journal survives though she was certainly a successful author. She sold the manuscript for the Mysteries of Udolpho for 500 pounds which was a great sum for the time. It was interesting to compare Henry Tilney's reaction to the Mysteries of Udolpho with his 'hair standing on end the entire time' with a more modern impression of the book, which is that the book is long and rather wordy. We discussed the possible differences in culture that would allow for this. One of the theories was that people would not necessarily have travelled as much and would require extensive descriptions of locale to fully immerse themselves in the books. Amy also wondered if it was simply an expression of requirement of constant stimulation in our modern brains.||
Northanger was very much a parody of the typical gothic novel of the time and we enjoyed discussing the various ways Jane Austen poked fun at the cliches present in those novels.
After tea we separated into groups to discuss the following questions.
It was generally agreed upon that Catherine was in a better state to be mentored because of age and situation and that even had she the opportunity, Isabella would likely not have benefitted from a positive mentor.
It was felt that the narrator was a key link to the audience, the narrator 'felt like Jane'. Thus, we got the best sense of what it may have been like to have had something explained by her personally.
This group felt that Catherine was very much formed by the works she read as she had been very sheltered by sheer physical situation. It was also proposed that books like the Mysteries of Udolpho would have been, in that time, what every one would have been talking about in social settings and would have played a large social role. Jane Austen used other works to frame her plot and establish the characters.
Thanks to Amy and Amber for a memorable conclusion to the first half of the year.
Happy summer everyone! We will see you in September.
The "stakes" are high and vampires rule when legendary author Jane Austen joins the ranks of the undead in Janet Mullany's bloody wonderful literary mash-up.
Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Their mother also left them something else: a diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra.
Newly updated, Jane Austen: A Brief Life offers a rich and sympathetic insight into a writer who was just as much the Romantic genius as Keats, Shelley or Byron – full of youthful exuberance, intensely creative once she had found her individual voice, and dead before she reached middle age.
Permit yourself the indulgence of an interval of recreation and amusement to make your acquaintance with the riddles and conundrums contained within; for you are sure to receive no inconsiderable pleasure from the puzzling over and resolving of them. Your quest for an amiable distraction will be over, leaving your curiosity entirely satisfied.
Two of the three military heroes emerge straight from Jane Austen: Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam and Colonel Christopher Brandon. The third, Colonel Sir John Buford, has been conjured up from the author’s fertile imagination. One is married (Brandon); one gets married (Buford); one wants marriage (Fitzwilliam).
Thanks to Jennifer for this donation.
Our meetings are 2:00 - 4:00, held at Sunalta Community Association, 1627 10 Ave SW, a location that is wheelchair accessible.
Only a few special events require pre-paid tickets,
such as the annual Tea celebrating
Jane Austen's birthday.
View map for meeting location
Only a few special events require pre-paid tickets, such as the annual Tea celebrating Jane Austen's birthday.