Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen

Illustrated by Jonathan Burton

Introduced by Val McDermid

The last of Austen’s novels to be published, this is a tongue-in-cheek tale of the hazards of female friendship and undesirable suitors.

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If adventures will not befall a lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.

Crumbling castles shrouded in secrets, ghostly skeletons cloaked in black veils, and innocent maidens held in the gravest of danger: the clichéd tropes of gothic romance fill the mind of Catherine Morland, the young, naïve, but warm-hearted heroine of Jane Austen’s parody of the popular fiction of her time. Venturing away from her country parsonage home to delight in her first season amongst fashionable society in Bath, Catherine must navigate the more prosaic hazards of female friendship and undesirable suitors to secure the affection of eligible Henry Tilney. But when Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey, the Tilneys’ ancient stately home, her love of sensational stories of murder and mystery fires her imagination, and threatens to destroy her future happiness.

Bound in blocked metallic cloth

Set in Baskerville with Trajan display

232 pages

Frontispiece and 5 colour illustrations

Blocked slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝

‘Somehow, Austen had the insight and skill to delineate life beyond her years and her experience.’
  1. Val McDermid

The last of Austen’s novels to be published, appearing posthumously in 1818, Northanger Abbey was the first to be completed, written when Austen was in her early twenties. Simply told in lively and elegant prose, this is Austen’s most playful work. But the tongue-in-cheek tone that characterises the story belies the skill of a truly great writer flexing her creative muscles. Just as Austen’s talent for satire exposes the failings of the overwrought gothic novels of the age, her subtle, beautifully observed portrait of Bath society reveals the real value of fiction: its power to convey ‘the most thorough knowledge of human nature’. As Val McDermid writes in her introduction – a heartfelt account of how Northanger Abbey has reinvented itself for her with each rereading – ‘Austen unfailingly provides us with the opportunity to investigate our own lives and find surprising truths there.’

Jonathan Burton has contributed six colour illustrations, depicting both the ballrooms of Bath and the imposing Abbey. Witty, fresh and perceptive, the images perfectly reflect Austen’s wonderfully sardonic novel. The penultimate edition in Folio’s Jane Austen series, this volume is bound in gold cloth, and the slipcase reproduces the work’s spirited first line.

About Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775, the seventh child and youngest daughter of George Austen, rector of Deane and Steventon, and his wife, Cassandra. She began writing poems, plays and stories for her family from a young age, and her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, was released by Thomas Egerton to sell-out acclaim in 1811. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815) followed, and these were the last of Austen’s works to come out in her lifetime. Her novels, including the posthumously published Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818), are today considered amongst the finest in the English language. She died at Winchester in 1817.

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is an award-winning crime writer with more than 30 novels to her name, translated into over 40 languages. She grew up in Fife, and after a career in newspaper journalism in Glasgow and Manchester, she published her first crime novel, Report for Murder, in 1987. Notable among her books are The Mermaids Singing (1995) which won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award; A Place of Execution (1999), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; The Grave Tattoo (2006), winner of the Portico Prize for Fiction; and Northanger Abbey (2014), a modern re-imagining of Austen’s novel. She was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger award in 2010, in recognition of her work.

About Jonathan Burton

Jonathan Burton has worked as an illustrator since 1999, after graduating with an MA from Kingston University, London. He has been awarded two silver medals from the Society of Illustration in New York, two Awards of Excellence from Communication Arts, and has received the Overall Professional Award for 2013 from the Association of Illustrators. For The Folio Society he has also illustrated Cover Her Face by P. D. James, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the full 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R. R. Martin and the entire Hitchhiker's series along with an extraordinary limited edition of Adams’s comedic space odyssey. Most recently, he illustrated the Folio edition of The Enchanted Wood. Jonathan lives in Bordeaux, France.


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