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Gothic Literature

5. Northanger Abbey

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About this Lecture


In this module, Elly talks about Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey', published a year before the first edition of Frankenstein, in 1817. In this novel, Austen appears to parody Gothic themes - both for comic effect, but also for social commentary on the role of women in society. If women must stay in the home and read non-serious literature all day, Austen appears to be saying, the result will be the kinds of things that happen in Northanger Abbey.


For many, the genre of gothic horror is epitomised by the novels Frankenstein and Dracula. In this course, we explore the origins of the genre through lesser-known, but no less influential works, the Castle of Otranto (1764) and The Monk (1796): the former is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, and the latter (which was described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as “the offspring of no common genius”) one of the most important gothic novels of its time - decades before Frankenstein, and over a century before Dracula.


Elly is a second-year DPhil student at the University of York. While her thesis is on the reception of Arthurian legend in children's literature, she is au fait with all Victorian literature. In her spare time, she writes a food blog called 'Nutmegs, seven'

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McCausland, E. (2018, August 15). Gothic Literature - Northanger Abbey [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McCausland, E. "Gothic Literature – Northanger Abbey." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,