"In a Style Entirely New": The Power of Austen's Irony


Jane Austen’s use of irony promotes discernment and creates a sense of community with the novel’s readers. The heroine of Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, lacks an ear for such irony, because she is limited by her literalism. Accordingly, as the novel progresses, a major theme that emerges is the importance of a proper education.


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Lorraine Murphy is associate professor of English at Hillsdale College. She received her B.A. from Davidson College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Loyola University – Chicago.