northanger*

Literally the only three things you need to know about Jane Austen

1. Her first major novel (Northanger Abbey) was written solely because she was so salty about how dramatic and cliche and formula Gothic novels were. You know what I mean. Every castle is foreboding. Every villain is awful but can’t bring himself to kill the heroine because she’s Too Pure. Every middle-aged female companion wants to do the heroine in. The heroine is Pure and Perfect and Is Good At Everything Young Women Should Be and recites quotes and/or the Bible whenever she’s in danger and that makes everything better. All butlers are evil. Jane Austen wrote a book specifically to go “THIS is how NORMAL people react to things!!!”

2. “She never changed her opinion about books or men”

3. “As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances” and you know what that means. Jane Austen started off writing smut fanfiction. If that’s not writing reassurement that you can be great no matter what you choose to write, I don’t know what is.

(Both quotes from the Penguin Classics version of Northanger Abbey)

Your Literary Dinner Party Experience:

Wuthering Heights: The food is as unappealing as the host’s personality. You find yourself fleeing the estate and taking refuge in the surrounding moorlands before the second course is served.

Great Expectations: The host wears a mildewed wedding dress as she cuts what looks to be a thirty-year-old piece of vanilla cake. You sit quietly and try to fake a smile.

Northanger Abbey: You think your host is the type of person who might have murdered his wife and hid her body in a dusty old dresser. As you take a bite of the pot roast it doesn’t even occur to you that he might just be a dick.

Jane Eyre: The fare is far better than the stale bread and bitter tea provided at your boarding school, but that’s little comfort when the host’s wife keeps setting the table linens on fire.

Dracula: You know that you are sipping on a fine Cabernet, but what is he drinking?

Pride and Prejudice: Over dessert, one of your guests confesses that he has fallen in love with you in spite of your family’s terrible table manners. You stab your pudding with your spoon and tell him he’s the last man you could ever be prevailed upon to marry.

Northanger Abbey is so underrated like no offense but the heroine of that book is into sports and shenanigans growing up and doesn’t learn anything in school or have any accomplishments or interests until she has a growth spurt, gets hot, and reads so many gothic novels that she almost ruins her relationship w her love interest bc she convinces herself his house is haunted and does an inappropriate ghost hunt.