The Corner

The one and only.

Janeite Interest


Well, having caught up on Christmas stuff, just a few presents left to wrap
when the kids are asleep, I spent this afternoon reading Northanger Abbey.
Not prime Jane: I agree with the common opinion that all the
mock-affectionate references to the pop fiction of Jane’s own time (which of
course nobody has read for 150 yrs) get a bit tedious. I thought the sudden
appearance of Eleanor’s lover on the last page but one was also a bit much;
and the General’s change of temper — from
kind-and-worldly-if-slightly-formidable to
suspicious-calculating-gullible-and-resentful — was unconvincing to me.
Still, all one’s favorite Janeisms are there. I especially like the way
Jane deals with people who are decent and honest but silly or dim — the
kind of people the world is full of.

“Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can
raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who
could like them well enough to marry them. She had neither beauty, genius,
accomplishment, nor manner. The airt of a gentlewoman, a great deal of
quiet, inactive good temper, and a trifling turn of mind, were all that
could account for her being the choice of a sensible, intelligent man like
Mr. Allen.”

I have met Mrs. Allen many times. We all have. That’s the pleasure of
reading Jane.


Sign up for free NR e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review