• If you have read The Lovers of Reading Abbey on this blog, you may already know that two years ago, I helped my pupil, The Royal Shrimp, write a detective story for her English class in high school. As she didn't like detective stories, I suggested we work on a "what if" alternate version of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

    During the writing process, we got further and further away from the original material, and I can't remember precisely which idea came from whom... But my original idea stuck, and after a looong time, I finally finished writing my own version. This means that if you have read The Royal Shrimp's story, you might find similar elements in mine.

    Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy both stories! About "The Mystery of Northanger Abbey"


    About "The Mystery of Northanger Abbey"

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  • This short story was written by my pupil for an English class assignment in her first year in high school. They spent the whole year studying detective stories in class, and as a "final task", they had to produce their own detective story.

    We worked on it together. As she had not liked working on detective stories and I am a big fan of Jane Austen, I suggested we work on a rewriting of Northanger Abbey in a "what if" mode: "What if Catherine was right to suspect the Colonel of a horribe crime against his wife?". I also suggested we add literary references to show that she had worked seriously, despite her dislike (e.g. ref. to the Canterbury Tales; the story takes place at Reading Abbey, in reference to Anne's love for reading - Reading Abbey is a real place, except that it is an abbey fallen to ruins, it wasn't turned into a residence).

    About "The Lovers of Reading Abbey" About "The Lovers of Reading Abbey" About "The Lovers of Reading Abbey"


    We had just read and/or watched Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre so we took some inspiration from it as well. And the funny thing is that we ended up unconsciously re-writing Northanger Abbey into Jane Eyre (at some point, the Colonel was in love with the governess and so on, until my pupil's mom remarked that it sounded a lot like Jane Eyre's story...).

    Her mother also suggested using the Titanic at the end (but you'll need to read through to the end to know how ^^)

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy it About "The Lovers of Reading Abbey"


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  • This was actually a homework I had to do for a literature seminar I took this semester. The seminar dealt with adventure novels at the turn of the 20th century, by famous authors such as Conrad, Stevenson and Conan Doyle, and how through this supposedly very minor genre, they tried to redefine realism.

    Our professor thus asked us to write the parody of a realist novel (or at least, the beginning). I wrote a short story.

    Concerning the plot, my memories about realist novels were quite old... But I kind of remembered the basic elements of Maupassant's realist short story Le collier ("The Necklace"), so I tried to imitate what I could remember about it.

    The character of Sophie is kind of based upon me (and I really did wear the outfit from the first scene, so this actually is realistic...). Also, the first scene is based on what happened during one of the seminars. The professor really threw a piece of chalk at a girl on the front row as an illustration of Conrad's quote!

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