rhi_el
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Hi everyone!

I have been told that as part of my preparation for starting university in September I should make myself familiar with as much pre-1850 English Literature as possible. I was wondering whether anyone had any suggestions? I am well read however I don't want to have overlooked anything that people think would be worth a read
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by rhi_el)
Hi everyone!

I have been told that as part of my preparation for starting university in September I should make myself familiar with as much pre-1850 English Literature as possible. I was wondering whether anyone had any suggestions? I am well read however I don't want to have overlooked anything that people think would be worth a read
Anything by Charles Dickens; Great Expectations is an easy read. If you want something a bit more substantial then try Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Bleak House too.

Anything by Elizabeth Gaskell too. I personally enjoyed Ruth, but her most prominent novel is North and South.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a relatively quick read.

Anything by Shakespeare of course and his contemporaries. Webster, Marlowe, Milton, Beckett, etc.

Aphra Behn is a good one actually. You could try reading some slave narratives - that might be of a new thing you'd like to explore. At uni, we usually call that sort of literature transatlantic, then sub-categorize it as slave narrative. Fredrick Douglass My Bondage and Freedom and Harriet A Jones An Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl too.

That's just some of the top of my head.
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rhi_el
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
Anything by Charles Dickens; Great Expectations is an easy read. If you want something a bit more substantial then try Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Bleak House too.

Anything by Elizabeth Gaskell too. I personally enjoyed Ruth, but her most prominent novel is North and South.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a relatively quick read.

Anything by Shakespeare of course and his contemporaries. Webster, Marlowe, Milton, Beckett, etc.

Aphra Behn is a good one actually. You could try reading some slave narratives - that might be of a new thing you'd like to explore. At uni, we usually call that sort of literature transatlantic, then sub-categorize it as slave narrative. Fredrick Douglass My Bondage and Freedom and Harriet A Jones An Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl too.

That's just some of the top of my head.
Thanks so much! I have read a couple of the books you have recommended which is promising! I will make a start on the others as soon as I have read the set texts
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supernerdural
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Read poetry, as that'll probably be the stuff you're most unfamiliar with. Percy Bysshe Shelley is a good start, as is Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer is often covered at uni, so even though it's written in Middle English it's good to get a head start
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rhi_el
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(Original post by supernerdural)
Read poetry, as that'll probably be the stuff you're most unfamiliar with. Percy Bysshe Shelley is a good start, as is Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer is often covered at uni, so even though it's written in Middle English it's good to get a head start
Thank you! I have also been reading some of Donne's poetry and Shakespeare's sonnets!
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JM_1998
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Maybe some 18th century sentimentalists like Richardson's Pamela, or Sterne's A Sentimental Journey?
Then there's Defoe's Robinson Crusoe - regarded by most to be the first English novel. And, also Jonathan Swift's satirical works.
For Gothic Literature there's Walpole's Castle of Otranto, as well as Mrs Radcliffe's novels and Matthew Lewis' The Monk- and Edgar Allan Poe's stories.
Then, preceding Jane Austen you could maybe try Frances Burney's comedies of manners ( Evelina in particular), and maybe something along the lines of Maria Edgeworth's Belinda?
With regards to the first half of the 19th century, aside from the aforementioned Dickens and Gaskell, there are also Jane Austen's novels, and the Brontë sisters' novels ( Anne in particular tends to be overlooked).
Poetry wise, the Romantics are a good place to start - so, in addition to Shelley: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats.
All of the above are, perhaps not crucial to be read texts, but really great reads; with my personal favourites being Burney's Evelina, and the Brontë sisters' works.
P.S - I know it doesn't fit into the time frame, but some Realism and Modernism never hurt anyone, so I'm also going to recommend some Henry James and Virginia Woolf
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rhi_el
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(Original post by JM_1998)
Maybe some 18th century sentimentalists like Richardson's Pamela, or Sterne's A Sentimental Journey?
Then there's Defoe's Robinson Crusoe - regarded by most to be the first English novel. And, also Jonathan Swift's satirical works.
For Gothic Literature there's Walpole's Castle of Otranto, as well as Mrs Radcliffe's novels and Matthew Lewis' The Monk- and Edgar Allan Poe's stories.
Then, preceding Jane Austen you could maybe try Frances Burney's comedies of manners ( Evelina in particular), and maybe something along the lines of Maria Edgeworth's Belinda?
With regards to the first half of the 19th century, aside from the aforementioned Dickens and Gaskell, there are also Jane Austen's novels, and the Brontë sisters' novels ( Anne in particular tends to be overlooked).
Poetry wise, the Romantics are a good place to start - so, in addition to Shelley: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats.
All of the above are, perhaps not crucial to be read texts, but really great reads; with my personal favourites being Burney's Evelina, and the Brontë sisters' works.
P.S - I know it doesn't fit into the time frame, but some Realism and Modernism never hurt anyone, so I'm also going to recommend some Henry James and Virginia Woolf
Aw, this is brilliant! Thank you so much. I have a lot to be getting on with now...
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Андрей
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Get to know the major works within the literary canon, at least summarily, before you start your degree. Start with Homer and work your way back to the present day.
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Georg Hegel
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I agree with the recommendations above. A few extra ones worth considering...

Theory:
The Rise of The Novel
Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language
The New Critical Idiom Series

Classics (try to read what writers read too):
Three Theban Plays
Freud
The Prince

How to Write Better Essays
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