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Rachel M. Brownstein

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Jane Austen Books You May Not Have Discovered Yet

Posted: 06/28/11 08:21 AM ET

So what's your favorite Jane Austen?

People take Jane Austen personally: she's all about us. Readers and moviegoers line up behind their heroine of choice with the fierce ambition to be special that little girls bring to telling you their favorite color ("I used to like pink, but magenta..."). As I show in my new book, "Why Jane Austen?," most fans identify with brilliant Elizabeth, over-confident Emma, or exquisitely sensitive Anne--and simultaneously with the novelist herself.

The heroine of "Northanger Abbey" is not so popular, maybe because the title is hard to pronounce, maybe because the novel wasn't re-made for television until 2007, but probably because Catherine Morland doesn't have much in the way of an identity. The narrator writes that no one would take her for a heroine--and then throws a hero in her path and makes her one.

To look beyond the big three Austen novels most often read and adapted is to find unexpected pleasures. So you think you know Jane Austen? Here are some works you may not have discovered yet...

"Northanger Abbey"
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Catherine is just a normal, healthy 17-year-old, plain, provincial, and naïve, when she gets plucked out of her large family to keep a tedious woman company in a vacation spot. There she is introduced to a clever young man who likes her because she admires him. Due to a misunderstanding, she gets moved to the kind of spooky houses she reads about in novels, but danger is averted and she finds perfect happiness in the end. Romance or anti-romance? Critics are divided.
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This Jane Austen Work
Eh, this looks boring
I want to read this!

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Top 5 Jane Austen Works
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