Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dueling Authors: Austen vs. Dickens

The Classics Circuit is hosting a Dueling Authors: Austen vs. Dickens tour this May, and I’m one of the participants. Basically, after you sign up, you have to read either a Dickens or Austen novel, and write a post about it. We’re all waiting to see who can knock the other out and emerge as the victor.

An unread copy of A Tale of Two Cities sat in my TBR pile, but, in the end, I decided to read Austen’s Northanger Abbey. I read it a couple of years ago, but I don’t remember anything about it. At all. However, I’ve come across numerous bloggers saying they loved Northanger Abbey, and thought it was hilarious. I couldn’t even imagine Northanger Abbey and hilarious in the same sentence, since I thought it was ridiculously boring.

But then I realized something.

When I read Northanger Abbey a couple of years ago, I had no idea who Anne Radcliffe was and had never heard of The Mysteries of Udolpho. Most of the humor in the book, according to numerous sources, relies on knowing the basic premise of The Mysteries of Udolpho—and having an appreciation for dark castles on stormy nights.

So, I’m going to see for myself.

I’m off to reread Northanger Abbey now.

It’s too late to sign up, but the tour schedule can be found here.


Zibilee said...

Though I do really love Austen, I would have to say that I prefer Dickens and hope that he wins this battle! I am going to have to follow along with this!

Audra said...

Ooh, see, I'm an Austen fan over Dickens, although now that I think about it, I haven't read any Dickens as an adult. Maybe I'd prefer him.

I'm doing a read of Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons although it won't be exactly the same. ;)

Katherine Cox said...

Of Dickens I've only read Mugby Junction but I liked his style and hope to soon read more.
I'm a fan of Austen's work and have always enjoyed Northanger Abbey, but it's true the humor is lost if you don't know some background on Anne Radcliffe and the Georgian Regency. I hope you enjoy it this time round, looking forward to reading your thoughts.

simplerpastimes said...

The copy I have of Northanger Abbey is actually bond together with Radcliffe's The Italian, so the uninitiated can read one of the Gothic novels Austen was parodying, which I think really does improve the enjoyment of the Austen. I haven't actually read Udolpho, but I would like to before my reread of Northanger Abbey. I hope you are enjoying your reread, and I look forward to your thoughts!


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