Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Northanger Abbey: A Quick Review

I just want to say I loved Sunday night's PBS version of Northanger Abbey. I need to watch it again, though, because our PBS station was pretty fuzzy for some reason and I missed a few minutes at the beginning and was having a difficult time watching the snowy screen. I haven't read many reviews and I have little time, but I wanted to let you all know my basic impression.

  • Despite my viewing issues, I was drawn into the story and kept entertained throughout. I also thought that someone unfamiliar with the book would have a fair representation of the novel.

  • Henry Tilney was perfectly casted. Isabella was appropriately silly, Thorpe appropriately creepy and annoying, General Tilney as stern as ever, and I thought the actress who played Catherine Moreland did a superb job -- she was both naive and delightful and full of remorse.

  • Some of the Gothic novel/dream portrayals were a bit much at times and were sometimes jarring-- though they weren't innacurate. I've read some of those Gothic novels that Austen skewers and belive me, they deserve her sharp pen. They are much like the cheap thrillers and romance novels of today, and I might compare something like The Monk to that one about the Templar Knights secret society that they made into a equally bad movie starring Tom Hanks. (You read The DaVinci Code because it's a page-turner and then you dismiss it, knowing it is nothing but fiction.)

  • Most of the minor changes to the chronology of the storyline didn't bother me, though I thought some of the other deviations from the novel (like the promiscuity of Isabella) were indelicate and didn't fit with Austen.

  • Overall, I would highly recommend this. I'm not quite done with my re-read of the novel, and perhaps when I do I'll present a more autobiographical review. This is my second favorite Austen novel, partially because now I see so much of myself as a young girl in silly Catherine Moreland, especially getting things in novels mixed up with how they are in the real world. But that will be a much longer post for another day...


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