The earliest of her six major novels, Northanger Abbey remained unpublished until after Jane Austen’s death. A deliciously witty satire of popular Gothic romances, it is perhaps Austen’s lightest, most delightful excursion into a young woman’s world. Catherine Morland, an unlikely heroine—unlikely because she is so ordinary—forsakes her English village for the pleasures and perils of Bath. There, among a circle of Austen’s wonderfully vain, dissembling, and fashionable characters, she meets a potential suitor, Henry Tilney. But with her imagination fueled by melodramatic novels, Catherine turns a visit to his home, Northanger Abbey, into a hunt for dark family secrets. The result is a series of hilarious social gaffes and harsh awakenings that for all of Austen’s youthful exuberance nevertheless conveys her mature vision of literature and life—and the consequences of mistaking one for the other.