Welcome to Part Five of our current Tale for Our Time: an autumn audio entertainment by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.
In tonight's episode, Catherine has a dance partner but he's not the most attentive of fellows:
She could not help being vexed at the non-appearance of Mr. Thorpe, for she not only longed to be dancing, but was likewise aware that, as the real dignity of her situation could not be known, she was sharing with the scores of other young ladies still sitting down all the discredit of wanting a partner. To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of those circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine's life, and her fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character.
The mortification of being undanced lingered among the ladies until comparatively recently. The late Lynsey de Paul in the Seventies:
Beach Boy Bruce Johnston liked the number enough to make a record of it, but not enough to put himself in Miss Paul's situation. So he turned it into a song about his daughter:
And then social dancing more or less died, and non-binary grooving ended the whole wallflower thing.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Five of our adventure simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes of Northanger Abbey can be found here, and previous Tales for Our Time here.
Yesterday's episode noted that all the boffo Gothic blockbusters mentioned by Catherine or disparaged by John Thorpe are now known chiefly through passing references in Northanger Abbey. featured a Klontion. Robert, a First Fortnight Founding Member from Ottawa, spotted that the only novel Mr Thorpe enthuses over is hanging in there:
I notice John Thorpe makes an exception for The Monk. That one has some staying power; the edition I have is from Dennis Wheatley's Library of the Occult, published in 1974.
The Monk - by Monk Lewis, as he became known - is definitely a boy's book, Robert, so it's all about the horror, which is why, I think, it's lasted longer than the girlie Gothic. Also it was a popular work for adaptation. Here's Gounod's crack at it. If you don't dig Lynsey de Paul, have some Gothic opera on me:
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Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Six of Northanger Abbey.
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