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Original scientific paper

Literary Games in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

Tatjana Šepić ; Polytechnic of Rijeka

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Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first completed novel, published posthumously only in 1818. At first sight this “literary toddler”, compared to her other five major novels, may seem as a less successful combination of a Gothic pastiche, social satire and romance. Yet, modern literary criticism has shown that there are deeper coded meanings underlying the surface of the literal representation of this text that is possible to interpret from, for example, psychological or feminist perspectives. This article focuses on the dual nature of the discourse in Northanger Abbey, which is autoreferential and referential at the same time, as well as on numerous metafictional elements and on the examples of explicit or coded citations, all of which reveal a very modern, metapoetic aspect of the novel. If we read Northanger Abbey as a novel about the novel as a genre, its conventions and artificiality, the ways in which it is written and read, i.e. as a novel about the text, the writer and the reader, and their relationship, we can say that it represents Jane Austen's ars poetica of fiction.


the Gothic novel/pastiche, autoreferentiality/referentiality, etafictionality, intertextuality

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