We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

The Three Northanger Abbey Films · 7 April 08

From an old Judy Bolton novel

Dear Harriet,

I am just so delighted to be able to tell you an essay-review I wrote,
“The Three Northanger Abbey Films” is up on Jane Austen Today
and Jane Austen’s World.

About 3 weeks ago, the editor of Jane Austen’s World asked me if I would like to participate in a celebration of the Jane Austen film season on PBS. She and the editor of Jane Austen Today were inviting four guest bloggers to write about the films. This worked right into my project towards a book, The Austen Movies. I chose to write about the 1987 Northanger Abbey, the 1993 Ruby in Paradise and the 2007 Northanger Abbey.

Why? I just love Ruby in Paradise, have been intensely touched by the ‘07 NA (I’ve watched it at least 5 times by now), and think the ‘87 NA has been misrepresented by (among others) me!

Catherine Morland (Katherine Schlesinger) reading Radcliffe’s Udolpho aloud to Isabella Thorpe (Cassie Stuart) (1987 NA)

Catherine Morland watches her gothic dreams burn away (1987 NA)

Ruby (Ashley Judd) meditating as she writes in her journal (1993 Ruby in Paradise)

Outside a topless bar which Ruby has rejected as an option after watching how the women are treated and paid inside; she now gazes at some of the women selling sex, and rejects this scene & takes an exhausting job as a laundress (1993 Ruby in Paradise)

More: I am intensely fond of Austen’s Northanger Abbey and had been contemplating writing something on its relationship to the gothic (a long-time fascination); my proposal for a paper centering on Austen’s novel and the critical tradition, “The Ungothic Northanger Abbey; or, It’s Suprizing what Tricks Memory plays upon us when it comes to the Gothic” had been recently accepted for a panel at the coming EC/ASECS in Washington, D.C. (“Re-evaluating Austen”).

Claude Lorraine (1600-82), The Enchanted Castle

So it was a work of love, a happy thing like my brief life of Anne Finch a few years ago.

Do go over the read it! I accompanied it with no less than 12 stills.

Catherine Morland (Felicity Jones) going up labyrinthine stairs to Mrs Tilney’s room (2007 Northanger Abbey)

Eleanor Tilney (Catherine Walker) going up labyrinthine stairs to top where her father awaits her (2007 Northanger Abbey)


Posted by: Ellen

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  1. From Caroline:

    “That’s awesome!”
    Elinor    Apr 7, 12:59pm    #
  2. From Clare:

    “I posted my congratulations on Janeites, but I can understand your being chuffed, especially as it was such a fine, yet light essay. It really looked good with all the stills. I felt proud to know you.”
    Elinor    Apr 7, 2:38pm    #
  3. From Judy:

    “Congratulations, Ellen! I very much enjoyed reading the essay (now need to watch the older NA again!) and, as you say, the two sites have made it look lovely, with all your stills.”
    Elinor    Apr 7, 3:10pm    #
  4. From Diana:

    “Oh, Ellen, I’ve had time to read and study it now and it looks absolutely GLORIOUS!

    Who knew that when a really intelligent article is put on a frivolous blog, it amps it up until it looks – stunning. It’s kind of the way being framed in the Regency World magazine made my Warren Hastings article look so handsome. It’s a delight to read – and I like the nice respectful way she introduced you. This will bring you a bigger audience than ever and it is lovely to see you treated like an eagle among sparrows. Very, very good.

    Love, Diana”
    Elinor    Apr 7, 11:28pm    #
  5. From Nick:

    “Congratulations on the Northanger Abbey articles – they
    read with great force and lucidity.”
    Elinor    Apr 8, 4:25pm    #
  6. Words are not enough to express how grateful and proud I am to have your post sit on my blog. Although few comments were made, the numbers were among the highest my blog has ever attracted, due in large part, I suspect, to your contribution.

    Your thoughts about Jane and her novels inspire me. Thank you, Ellen, from the bottom of my heart.
    Victoire aka Ms. Place    Apr 8, 5:15pm    #
  7. Dear Vic,

    And it was a pleasure to write for your blog and with you.

    Elinor    Apr 9, 8:22am    #
  8. "Love your pictures. Enjoyed browsing through them. Thanks for sharing.

    Lee Henderson"
    Elinor    Apr 9, 8:24am    #
  9. From Kathy C:

    “Dear Ellen,

    My sluggish computer finally allowed me to read your review of Northanger Abbey. I’m so impressed. Your knowledge ranges widely (so many Austen film links I’ve never head about) and your graceful style ties it all together neatly in a bow. You should be writing for New York Review of Books or other intellectual publications which could benefit from a little of your levity and scholarship.

    Northanger Abbey- was my least favorite Austen book but now I’ll have to reread it. I vaguely remember Ruby in Paradise, though I probably didn’t link it with Austen.

    Elinor    Apr 9, 7:03pm    #

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