The “Northanger Canon”: Jane Austen’s Booklist

Most of us who read Jane Austen are always seeking new titles to read, and ways to answer the 200-year old question of “what to read when you have finished all of Jane Austen.”  Other than the almost mandatory requirement to RE-READ Austen whenever possible, it is a “truth universally acknowledged” that an Austen reader will be soon in want of another book!   I have seen many such lists and though always subjective to the list-maker, they are a great start.  But what about Austen’s own reading?  A number of articles have been written on this, as much is known from her letters, but as our JASNA-Vermont Chapter recently had a meeting and discussion on Northanger Abbey, and we know that NA was Austen’s tribute to the novel and reading, I would like to provide a list of books she actually cites throughout NA….it is an illuminating compilation and should keep us all busy for the next year at least!  [ please note that there is no particular order to this list…. and if I have left anything out, please let me know!]

The Northanger Canon [ i.e. the “Horrid” Novels as referenced by Isabella Thorpe in Chapter 6 of NA]; also see the article describing each book in more detail at The University of Virginia’s Gothic Books Collection.

  • THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO.  by Ann Ward Radcliffe.  London, 1794.
  • THE CASTLE OF WOLFENBACH.  by Mrs. Eliza Parsons. London, 1793.
  • CLERMONT: A TALE.  by Regina Maria Roche.  London, 1798.
  • THE MYSTERIOUS WARNING.  by Mrs. Eliza Parsons.  London, 1796.
  • THE NECROMANCER; OR THE TALE OF THE BLACK FOREST, FOUNDED ON FACTS.  Translated from the German of Lawrence Flammenberg by Peter Teuthold.  London, 1794.
  • THE MIDNIGHT BELL, A GERMAN STORY.  by Francis Lathom.  London, 1798.
  • THE ORPHAN OF THE RHINE: A ROMANCE.  by Mrs. Eleanor Sleath.  London, 1798.
  • THE HORRID MYSTERIES, A STORY FROM THE GERMAN OF THE MARQUIS OF GROSSE.  by P. Will.  London, 1796.
  • THE ITALIAN.  by Ann Ward Radcliffe.  London, 1797.

Other titles cited in Northanger Abbey:                          

  1. Burney, Fanny.  CECELIA, OR MEMOIRS OF AN HEIRESS  (1782)
  2. ____________.   CAMILLA, OR A PICTURE OF YOUTH (1796)
  3. Edgeworth, Maria.  BELINDA  (1801)
  4. Fielding, Henry.  TOM JONES  (1749)
  5. Richardson, Samuel.  SIR CHARLES GRANDISON (1753-4)
  6. _________________.  #97 THE RAMBLER  (quoted)
  7. Lewis, Matthew Gregory. THE MONK  (1796)
  8. Johnson, Samuel.  JOHNSON’S DICTIONARY (1755)
  9. Blair, Hugh.  LECTURES OF RHETORIC  (1783)
  10. Hume, David.  HISTORY OF ENGLAND  (1754-62)
  11. Robertson, William.  HISTORY OF SCOTLAND  (1759)
  12. “The Mirror”, an essay by John Homespun, March 6, 1779.
  13. Cowper, William [noted in the Biographical Notice by Henry Austen as JA’s favorite poetic moralist]
  14. Gilpin, William. Three essays on the Picturesque: Beauty, Travel, Sketching Landscape (1792)
  15. Gay, John. FABLES: “The Hare and Many Friends” (1727)
  16. Pope, Alexander.  “Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady” (1717)
  17. Gray, Thomas.  [his ELEGY is misquoted]
  18. Shakespeare, William.  [misquoted OTHELLO, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, TWELFTH NIGHT ]
  19. Thompson… “The Seasons” [misquoting “The Spring” ]
  20. Milton, John.  [ mentioned ]
  21. Moss, Rev. Thomas.  “The Beggars Petition” from POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS  (1769)
  22. Prior, Matthew.  [there is an undocumented reference to Prior in the “Literary Allusions” listing noted below for NA; Prior’s HENRY AND EMMA (1709) is alluded to in Persuasion]
  23. THE SPECTATOR
  24. Sterne, Laurence.  A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

William Gilpin's "Picturesque" View of Tintern Abbey

Sources: 

1. “Literary Allusions in Jane Austen’s Writings” at The Republic of Pemberley (mostly compiled from Chapman’s indexes)

2. Ehrenpreis, Anne Henry.  “Introduction to Northanger Abbey“ [ Penguin, 1972 ].  An excellent introduction to the novel, with notes on all the books cited by Austen, with a nice discussion of the “horrid” novels as well as references to other works cited in the novel.

3.  Chapman, R.W.  Indexes to Northanger Abbey and Persuasion [ volume 5 of his edition ]

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3 thoughts on “The “Northanger Canon”: Jane Austen’s Booklist

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: Preview of Oxford World’s Classics: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe: Day 16 Giveaway « Austenprose

  2. Pingback: Ann Radcliffe ~ July 9, 1764 « Bygone Books Blog

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