Saturday, June 13, 2009

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

Finally, with the book half finished, the title comes into the story! Catherine will be joining her friend Eleanor Tilney (and Eleanor's brother, who is Catherine's secret love) for an extended stay at their home, which is called Northanger Abbey.

This installment (read online courtesy of contained some spectacular Austen sentences. I try to teach my students to use parallelism, symmetry, and balance in their writing, and nowhere are these qualities more beautifully displayed than in sentences like these:

"With all the chances against her of house, hall, place, park, court, and cottage, Northanger turned up an abbey, and she was to be its inhabitant. Its long, damp passages, its narrow cells and ruined chapel, were to be within her daily reach, and she could not entirely subdue the hope of some traditional legends, some awful memorials of an injured and ill-fated nun."

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