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Fall 2019: “No one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do.” A Back-and-Firth discussion of Northanger Abbey

A Village-wide (that's all of you!) discussion of Northanger Abbey with the Ladies of "Back and Firth"

Saturday, September 28, 2019 1:30-3:30 pm

Community Meeting Room

Evanston Public Library

1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston

Refreshments served after the program. Admission is free.


Is Henry Tilney a proto-Mr. Bennet? How do Marianne Dashwood and Catherine Morland, both 17 years old at the start of Sense & Sensibility and Northanger Abbey, respectively, stack up to one another? Is James Morland as naive as his sister? And fairly or not, how does the narrator color our opinion of Catherine? How do the Morlands fair when compared to the Bennets, Prices, Sir Walter, and other parents in Austen’s work?

Jennifer Swenson and Mary Kravenas, lifelong friends and the scribes behind “Back and Firth” will be leading an interactive discussion about Northanger Abbey, Gothic novels, and the 2007 movie.


Jennifer and Mary have been inseparable since high school, where they bonded over Anne Rice vampires, Jane Austen novels, and a general malaise about gym class. Jennifer is an program manager who secretly quotes Austen in meetings to see if anyone catches her. She lives in Rockford with her husband and three rowdy boys. Mary worked in publishing, where she once helped market the spin-off title Mr. Darcy Take a Wife (you are welcome world!), and lives in Chicago.