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Becoming a Heroine: Northanger Abbey as a Parody of Novel Conventions
Název práce v češtině: Jak se stát hrdinkou: Opatství Northanger jako parodie románových konvencí
Název v anglickém jazyce: Becoming a Heroine: Northanger Abbey as a Parody of Novel Conventions
Klíčová slova: Jane Austenová|Opatství Northanger|románová hrdinka|gotický román|anglická literatura|parodie|vypravěč
Klíčová slova anglicky: Jane Austen|Northanger Abbey|novel heroine|gothic novel|English literature|parody|narrator
Akademický rok vypsání: 2014/2015
Typ práce: bakalářská práce
Jazyk práce: angličtina
Ústav: Ústav anglofonních literatur a kultur (21-UALK)
Vedoucí / školitel: PhDr. Soňa Nováková, CSc.
Řešitel: skrytý - zadáno a potvrzeno stud. odd.
Datum přihlášení: 03.09.2015
Datum zadání: 03.09.2015
Schválení administrátorem: zatím neschvalováno
Datum potvrzení stud. oddělením: 09.09.2015
Datum a čas obhajoby: 20.06.2017 00:00
Datum odevzdání elektronické podoby:23.05.2017
Datum proběhlé obhajoby: 20.06.2017
Odevzdaná/finalizovaná: odevzdaná studentem a finalizovaná
Oponenti: PhDr. Zdeněk Beran, Ph.D.
Zásady pro vypracování
While being focused on the Bildungsroman interpretation of the novel, the thesis will aim to prove that Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey as a parody of novel conventions in order to depict the coming-of-age of Catherine Morland. My aim will be twofold. Firstly, I will concentrate on the fact that the revival of Gothic fiction influenced the novel immensely because it did not meet Austen’s conviction that situations in novels (as characters, their lives, experiences and situations) should resemble real life. From this standpoint, I will examine how Austen took the idea of a gothic heroine and twisted her into a plain and real girl, who wasmeant to becomea heroine one day, if only Northanger Abbey was following novel conventions about heroines. Secondly, Northanger Abbey is not only a parody of the gothic theme itself, but other conventions typical for the novel genre, more precisely the characteristics of the heroine - including her interest in Gothic fiction projected also on the level of imagery - as well as the portrayal of landscape and the narrator’s discourse - including irony and narratorial comments - were all parodied as well. All of these help to underline the realism hidden in the development of Catherine Morland. In the end, I will attempt to define the Bildungsroman genre and analyse howits main features are projected in Northanger Abbey and how they mark Catherine’ development, only to prove that the novel lacks some of those, which is evident in Catherine’s unheroic qualities apparent even after her development. Lastly, I will compare the parody of novel conventions and the Bildungsroman genre in order to emphasise that Austen deliberately used parody in Northanger Abbey in order to depict Catherine’s development.

Firstly, I will place Northanger Abbey into Jane Austen’s oeuvre. Although the novel was published posthumously, it is Austen’s earliest work. It shares similarities with her other novels, such as common themes (heroine in need of reform, the pursuit of happiness – marriage), rituals, society, extensive use of theepistolary form, and also irony and free indirect speech. But apart from these, Northanger Abbeyworks on the basis of a parody and it is what differentiates the novel the most.
Before focusing on the novel itself, I will define parody and explain its function. Then I will state that parody is projected in the character of the heroine and through the narrator. From this point, I will describe Catherine as a flawed and ordinary girl, who does not seem to have any heroic qualities. She also lacks knowledge, which is apparent,for example, in her views of landscape. However, landscape does not only help to underline Catherine’s ignorance, it also works on the basis ofdiscourse as it provides a contrast between the Tilneys and the Thorpes in addition to their contrasting views on Gothic fiction. To support my argument, I willmention three major locations – Blaize Castle, Beechen Cliff and Northanger Abbey.
Catherine cannot “read” landscape and her surroundings. But she also cannot tell between fiction and reality, which is depicted in her obsession with Gothic fiction. Austen directly criticises such inability by making references to Gothic works and Gothic elements, which are projected on the level of imagery (scary visions and situations, the cabinet and General Tilney as a murderer). Most of these make appearances during Catherine’s stay at Northanger Abbey and they help her to realise her mistakesand to develop.
Concerning the development, I will make a contrast between Catherine at the beginning and at the end of the novel, and I will also concentrate on other people as influences for her development, especially Henry as her lover and mentor. Finally, I will make a connection to the narrator with an emphasis on his/her appearances in individual sections and ironical comments concerning stereotypes about heroines, Catherine’s lack of knowledge and the cases where Henry Tilney appears as if he was the narrator – he is not the narrator but he similarly teases Catherine about her lack of knowledge, satirizes people and very often uses irony and wit. This suggests that the narrator is not the only one who depicts Catherine’s coming-of-age, but Henry does it as well as he educates her and helps her to develop – hence the mentor lover. Lastly, I will examine how Catherinehas changed into a reformed heroine, and conclude it by stating that Austen chose to parody these elements of the novel to depict Catherine’s development and to stress the importance of realist depiction.
To support my argument, I willalso use examples from other Jane Austen’s novels:
- Contrast to other heroines: Emma, Fanny and Anne
- Landscape: Box Hill (Emma), Pemberley (Pride and Prejudice)
- Mentor lover in Emma and Mansfield Park
- Lack of knowledge: Emma (Emma), Edmund (Mansfield Park)
- Irony: Pride and Prejudice
Seznam odborné literatury
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Wallace, TG. “Northanger Abbey and the Limit of Parody”.Studies in the Novel 20.3. (1988): 262 – 273. JSTOR 5 June 2015.
Wenner, Barbara Britton. Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006.
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