Only a Novel–3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 2

In case you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, I’ve been nominated by Wandering Words to participate in the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge. Today is Day 2!

Without further ado, here is my second quote—one of my favorite passages from Jane Austen’s Gothic parody, Northanger Abbey:

 “And what are you reading, Miss—?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.

(Thanks to the Gutenberg Project for the text, since unfortunately my copy of Northanger Abbey is back home)

This cover features Catherine reading one of her precious novels.
This cover features Catherine reading one of her precious novels.

You may remember that I mentioned Northanger Abbey in my very first blog post, The Gothic Lit Starter Kit. While the book can now be considered a classic, in Austen’s day, novels in general, and especially Gothic novels, were looked down on and sneered at as something trivial that silly women wasted their time on. Novels were not regarded as high art, and their readers—especially women—were made to feel ashamed for enjoying them. Today of course, novels are regarded with much greater esteem—but not all novels. I’ve found that the genres that are especially associated with women tend to still be mocked and looked down on. “Chick Lit” is often said in a condescending tone and Romance is dismissed as a genre with little literary merit. Let’s take a page out of Jane Austen’s book and stand up for the books that we enjoy. You should never be made to feel ashamed for what you like to read.

I must include, as a runner-up quote, the moment when Henry, the male love interest in Northanger Abbey, wins our hearts by standing up for novels as well, despite Catherine’s self-degrading notion that “gentlemen read better books”:

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

And on that note, I will pass on the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge to a few of my fellow book bloggers:

My Nominations:

  1. Lee @ Thoughtful Tomes
  2. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase
  3. Brittany @ Please Feed the Bookworm

In case you’ve forgotten the rules, I’ll list them below:

The Three Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (one quote per day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day!

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