October 26, 2007

I have a confession to make:

I have never read Northanger Abbey.

Ordinarily I would feel such great shame at so fundamental a failing that I would never reveal it to anybody, but in this case I have good reason for my omission.

Because as long as I don’t read Northanger Abbey there will always be more Jane Austen in the world for me to read. And the idea that there is more Jane Austen in the world to read fills me with hope.

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13 Responses to I have a confession to make

  1. Jonathan says:

    I stopped short of reading Persuasion, though my reasons were far more prosaic than your own.

    The Jane Austen Book Club was still a fun read, however.

  2. gordon says:

    A similar sentiment has led me to save Henry James’s “The Tragic Muse” as a (thin) consolation for old age. Perhaps next week?

  3. Jill Smith says:


    Suddenly I am very sad that I have read Northanger Abbey. Several times, in fact.

    I didn’t like The Jane Austen Book Club in the slightest, and shall not speak of the murder mysteries featuring a fictionalized Austen.

  4. Sparky says:

    It’s good to know that we’re still kindred spirits when it comes to the things that really matter, like Jane.

  5. campbell says:

    A wholly uneccessary self denying ordonance,there is always more Austen to read. Every time you re-read one of the novels you discover new things.

    That said, Nothanger Abbey is probably the best one to hold out on being, in my opinion, the weakest of the bunch.

    Jonathan: give it a try dear boy, it it her greatest novel by a very long way

  6. Eric says:

    I am wholly deplorable as I have never read Austen.

  7. Daniel says:

    People who like Austen are good people.
    It’s really just that simple.

  8. michael says:

    What if you get hit by a bus tomorrow? As you expire on the asphalt, will you regret not having read it?

  9. Jeffrey says:

    Whenever I get to the end of “The Great Gatsby,” I feel so sad that it’s over that I think I must start reading it again. It’s a wonder I’ve managed to read anything else ever.

  10. carl says:

    Agreed: Northanger Abbey is the weakest of the bunch. I assume you haven’t denied yourself the pleasure of Sanditon and Lady Susan.

  11. David says:

    I won’t tell you what I haven’t read.

  12. TED says:

    To be the weakest, something must already be weak. Jane Austen is never weak. Northanger Abbey is, perhaps, the least wonderful of Miss Austen’s novels, but only because it’s the only novel where she seems to have something of an axe to grind. Not that The Mysteries of Udolpho didn’t deserve some skewering.

    I find the mere existence of Jane Austen’s novels to be sufficient reason for hope. I am also amazed that you are able to cross the street without being terrified that you might be hit by a bus and sent to your grave with some Austen unread.

  13. Boz says:

    I am so with you on this. In times of deep crisis there needs to be a Jane Austen book I have not read to retreat into.

    Northanger is more fun, less social commentary. Apart from Bath, which is still the axis of all that is evil and malevolent. Mwahahhaa.


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