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1801-1900..Novels of this era you LOVE (rep avail) Watch

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    I am educating myself about Britain in the 19th century.

    Please recommend fiction published in this period that illustrates what life was like across all social classes in this century.

    I would be greatful if you posted a title, author, year, synopsis and mini review explaining why you like the novel.

    It doesn't matter if your suggestion is something obvious like Dickens, I just want to be inspired to read these books based on your honest reviews of them.
    The more passionate your reply, the more likely I am to add your book to the list. REP FOR THE REPLY THAT HAS THE LONGEST LIST OF INTERESTING READS. i will choose best answer at noon on monday 10th august.

    Thanks, Bee xx
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    Anything by Jane Austen especially Pride and Prejudice though all of her novels were published in the early 1800s (e.g. P & P was 1813)

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is also very good =]

    Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

    Great Expectations and Oliver twist are my favourite by Dickens though a lot of people don't like him =/ Try them though! I think everyone should at least attempt a Dickens novel!

    Madamn Bovary by Flaubert is also decent.

    Frankenstein!!

    LITTLE WOMEN!! I love this! its by Louisa May Alcott!

    Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is good too =]

    The picture of Dorian Grey I liked =]

    And also Dracula by Bram Stoker is great =D

    You know what there are loads! I think that Austen, Dickens and Hardy novels give the most accurate portrayal of life and society in the 19th century.
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    Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell.
    This book highlights the problems for the working class faced during the Industrial Revolution and how the Bourgoise exploit the workers for their own gain. Other than commenting on just the political and social aspects of England, it's a love story too
    It's pretty hard going at first but eventually you'll get drawn into it.
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    H.G Wells - War of the Worlds
    Useful in terms of learning about British Imperialism and also comments on Darwins ideas of Natural Selection.

    Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    I studied this a few years ago and i'm reading it again for pleasure.
    I adore this book!
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    Wuthering Heights

    Dorian Grey

    Notre Dame de Paris

    Les Misérables



    (I realise that the last 2 are in france not britain:tongue:)
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    Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Bronte's.
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    Hardy is king, especially Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and Far From the Madding Crowd (in that order).
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    Well you're going to get some romantic literature and some victorian literature here, so I would start with the obvious greats, and then start reading more stuff in the area I found most interesting. So I would start with some Coleridge (Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, or however the lad settled on spelling it), some Keats (all the Odes), some Shelley, along with the obvious Austen and the Bronte sisters. George Elliot as well, if you can stand it - maybe try Adam Bede, though it's a wedge of a book. Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South), Dickens (Great Expectations), Hardy (Tess of the D'urbervilles, but also look at his poetry, which is really rather melancholy and/but good), any Wilde, and Robert Louis Stevenson (there's a creepy but excellent short story The Suicide Club which is well worth it). I'm sure there are at least five massively obvious people I have left out, and I shall kick myself in the morning about it.

    I would also read three quite different poets: Gerald Manley Hopkins writes some very beautiful, but also sea-sick-inducing, over-the-top poetry that you should certainly read if you want a feel of what late nineteenth century poetry was all about, and also a hint at what direction poetry was about to collapse into in the C20th. I would look at Tennyson for your bog standard Victorian poetry (and Swinburne as well, if you can, and good luck). And Lewis Carrol for the nonsense verse side of things.

    Shame you don't want to get familiar with American literature in this century; you're missing out on some beauties

    Edit: Just realised you said novels and not poetry. Ah well. Ne'ermind.
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    I am a big fan of Victorian Literature and it has always been one of my favourite eras to read and study. Here are some of the ones that I have liked to read:

    Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
    Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
    Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
    Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
    Charles Dickens Great Expectations
    Charles Dickens Oliver Twist
    Charles Dickens Bleak House
    Charles Dickens Hard Times
    Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton
    Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South
    George Eliot's Middlemarch
    Thomas Hardy Return of the Native
    Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Urbervilles
    Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure
    Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret
    Bram Stoker's Dracula
    Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
    Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

    I've tried to include as many of the authors that I have come across for the list. I do think any of the novels that have been written by Dickens, Gaskell, Hardy, Eliot and Wilde are probably some of the key ones that really look at society in great detail. Gaskell and Dickens have written some excellent novels that are part of the 'Condition of England' question tradition and I certainly recommend Middlemarch by George Eliot, despite it being a huge novel, because it looks at how all members in society are connected together regardless of class background. Some of the later novels by Hardy especiall Tess and Jude are also very well worth reading because they focus on the social anxieties starting to emerge and Dracula by Bram Stoker and also Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray paint some interesting ideas on how ninteenth century stability was being threatened by external factors and doubt was being created. I would also recommend, despite it being a play, The Importance of Being Earnest by Wilde as it shows some of the artificial nature of society and the double standards running through society. Great Expectations is probably my top favourite novel because it speaks a great deal about how a persons class can alter how they behaved in Victorian society, amongst other important themes and also that what makes a true gentleman isn't about class position but about being innately good and it coming from the heart and that a true gentleman cannot be made. They have to be born to be that way. Furthermore, I also think Gaskell's North and South shows some important ideas about how judgements are made on class positions as well and the fears for both upper and lower classes at the time.
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    ^ most passionate and detailed answer so far:yes:
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    It's an obscure one, but I recently enjoyed Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. I had to read it for the second year of my English/History degree, and it sort of ties in with Gaskell's Mary Barton as a 'Condition of England' novel of the 1840s. It's pretty long, though (over 600 pages, I think).
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    Not a novel but as a very readable overview to the Victorian period, try A.N. Wilson's The Victorians - packed full of information and interesting stuff.

    Hardy - A Pair of Blue Eyes, The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Return of the Native, Far From the Madding Crowd.
    Don't read them all in quick succession unless you want to be seriously depressed about humanity though! APoBE has an interesting scene involving someone dangling off a cliff and looking at a fossil - good example of the Victorian amateur scientist. Science wasn't yet something elite, articles were published in magazines like Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine alongside fiction and essays. Hardy read Darwin and his novels explore the implications of CD's theories. The Woodlanders isn't as well known as Tess or Jude but it's good.
    George Eliot - Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Felix Holt, Daniel Deronda.
    George Eliot is amazing, fact. Don't let the size of some of them (*cough* Middlemarch *cough*) put you off, they're well worth your time. I especially like DD.
    Mrs Gaskell - Mary Barton, North and South, Sylvia's Lovers, Cranford. SL isn't set in Victorian times, but historical fiction can tell you lots about the period it was written as well as the period it was written about. N&S and Cranford also have good BBC adaptions (*swoons at Mr Thornton's accent*).
    Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady, What Maisie Knew, The Turn of the Screw, The Ambassadors, The Figure in the Carpet, The Spoils of Poynton.
    The Brontes - Villette, The Professor, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
    Thackeray - Vanity Fair
    Dickens - Sketches by Boz, Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit. My favourite is probably Bleak House, it's a rich tapestry of interlocking stories and ideas (and the BBC adaption is very good!)
    Conan Doyle - A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of SH, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
    Read them all, they're fantastic. As popular fiction rather than high 'literature', they're ideal for looking at late Victorian views on gender, crime, etc. as well as empire and science which are there more subtlely. Also think about perception and disguises - the Victorians were interested in looking, seeing, perceiving...it's the age of the Great Exhibition, photography, great scientific innovation.
    Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Grey
    Perhaps read a biography of Wilde too, his life is nothing if not entertaining...
    Olive Schreiner - The Story of an African Farm
    This isn't set in the UK, but in South Africa. Its heroine is one of the 'New Women', making it interesting if you want to see how Victorian ideas of women were being challenged by the end of the century.
    Grant Allen - The Woman Who Did
    More New Woman stuff, nice and short, and it's popular fiction so pretty readable. Allen was a friend of Conan Doyle and they both published in the Strand magazine.
    Benjamin Disraeli wrote several novels, popular at the time though little read today - interesting because he's Benjamin Disraeli (NB: I'm not saying they're any good...)
    Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White, The Moonstone They're...sensational.

    Lots of Victorian children's literature is good too - try some George Macdonald, I really like him. Lewis Carroll too, of course, and Christina Rossetti wrote some slightly odd stories for little girls in the same vein. Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies was actually the trigger for abolishing the practice of pushing little boys up chimneys to sweep 'em - consider why children's literature is a good medium for social comment. Ooh, and Tom Brown's Schooldays is awesome (read Nicholas Nickleby for more school portrayals).

    Do also try some 20th c. fiction set in Victorian times like A.S. Byatt's Possession or The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles - both fantastic. Ooh, or Byatt's latest, The Children's Book - the first part is later Victorian going into Edwardian, and it's so so good.

    And go to the Dickens museum and the Sherlock Holmes museum in London if you get the chance. :yes:
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    (Original post by Reverie.)
    Not a novel but as a very readable overview to the Victorian period, try A.N. Wilson's The Victorians - packed full of information and interesting stuff.

    Hardy - A Pair of Blue Eyes, The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Return of the Native, Far From the Madding Crowd.
    Don't read them all in quick succession unless you want to be seriously depressed about humanity though! APoBE has an interesting scene involving someone dangling off a cliff and looking at a fossil - good example of the Victorian amateur scientist. Science wasn't yet something elite, articles were published in magazines like Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine alongside fiction and essays. Hardy read Darwin and his novels explore the implications of CD's theories. The Woodlanders isn't as well known as Tess or Jude but it's good.
    George Eliot - Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Felix Holt, Daniel Deronda.
    George Eliot is amazing, fact. Don't let the size of some of them (*cough* Middlemarch *cough*) put you off, they're well worth your time. I especially like DD.
    Mrs Gaskell - Mary Barton, North and South, Sylvia's Lovers, Cranford. SL isn't set in Victorian times, but historical fiction can tell you lots about the period it was written as well as the period it was written about. N&S and Cranford also have good BBC adaptions (*swoons at Mr Thornton's accent*).
    Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady, What Maisie Knew, The Turn of the Screw, The Ambassadors, The Figure in the Carpet, The Spoils of Poynton.
    The Brontes - Villette, The Professor, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
    Thackeray - Vanity Fair
    Dickens - Sketches by Boz, Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit. My favourite is probably Bleak House, it's a rich tapestry of interlocking stories and ideas (and the BBC adaption is very good!)
    Conan Doyle - A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of SH, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
    Read them all, they're fantastic. As popular fiction rather than high 'literature', they're ideal for looking at late Victorian views on gender, crime, etc. as well as empire and science which are there more subtlely. Also think about perception and disguises - the Victorians were interested in looking, seeing, perceiving...it's the age of the Great Exhibition, photography, great scientific innovation.
    Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Grey
    Perhaps read a biography of Wilde too, his life is nothing if not entertaining...
    Olive Schreiner - The Story of an African Farm
    This isn't set in the UK, but in South Africa. Its heroine is one of the 'New Women', making it interesting if you want to see how Victorian ideas of women were being challenged by the end of the century.
    Grant Allen - The Woman Who Did
    More New Woman stuff, nice and short, and it's popular fiction so pretty readable. Allen was a friend of Conan Doyle and they both published in the Strand magazine.
    Benjamin Disraeli wrote several novels, popular at the time though little read today - interesting because he's Benjamin Disraeli (NB: I'm not saying they're any good...)
    Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White, The Moonstone They're...sensational.

    Lots of Victorian children's literature is good too - try some George Macdonald, I really like him. Lewis Carroll too, of course, and Christina Rossetti wrote some slightly odd stories for little girls in the same vein. Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies was actually the trigger for abolishing the practice of pushing little boys up chimneys to sweep 'em - consider why children's literature is a good medium for social comment. Ooh, and Tom Brown's Schooldays is awesome (read Nicholas Nickleby for more school portrayals).

    Do also try some 20th c. fiction set in Victorian times like A.S. Byatt's Possession or The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles - both fantastic. Ooh, or Byatt's latest, The Children's Book - the first part is later Victorian going into Edwardian, and it's so so good.

    And go to the Dickens museum and the Sherlock Holmes museum in London if you get the chance. :yes:
    Have you read all of them?
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    (Original post by Reverie.)
    Benjamin Disraeli wrote several novels, popular at the time though little read today - interesting because he's Benjamin Disraeli (NB: I'm not saying they're any good...)
    :ditto: to all of that.

    Sybil (which is probably the one most relevant here) is a pretty dreadful read, because frankly, Disraeli isn't really much of a novelist and he's quite unashamed about the fact that he's really just using the form as a vehicle, and, well, it shows... So it's all a bit clunky and clearly cobbled together from commissioners' reports etc. - because obviously he never had any first-hand experience of the life of industrial weavers - with a couple of fairly cringeworthy romantic scenes and mostly quite crudely-drawn characters thrown in. For the whole social angle, it's an interesting read, though, because it's a novel which is basically all about class. Much is initially made of the fact that the hero (some sort of minor aristocrat - a baronet's son, or something like that) and the heroine (ostensibly a saint-like working-class girl) are separated by a gulf and effectively belong to "two nations". If you look closely, though, it's just an illusion. Although no-one ever bothered to tell her, it turns out that Sybil really belongs to a family much more anxient and noble than Egremont's, so all those comments about how noble and un-working-class-like she talks and acts suddenly make sense: it's all in the blood, after all. Which kind of ruins the symbolism in the union between the "two nations" at the end, and is very revealing of contemporary attitudes to class.
    As I said, no-one really enjoys reading Sybil, but nevertheless, it's a very useful book to have read, especially because it doesn't just deal with the whole chartism thing, but there's also a kind of subplot describing the relation between the new nobility (who are always hoping to be "promoted" to the next rank whenever there's a new government, and anxious to disguise the fact that their families aren't really all that grand and old) towards the old aristocracy (who are above such petty things and revered by everyone, and who unlike the new nobility they secretly look down on, have an awful lot of influence but very little actual power). That's something you won't find in very many novels, and Disraeli is actually really good at describing the ambivalence in the relationship between the two - perhaps because it's a little closer to home for him. There's also a bit at the very end, where he basically lapses into what sounds less like the conclusion of a novel and more like a speech which is surprisingly punchy and in a way makes for a much better read than the rest of the novel...

    Erm, anyway, the bottom line is that although it's very unlikely that you'll actually like Sybil or enjoy reading it (and to be fair, I didn't either), I think it's really worth reading and I'd highly recommend it. Besides, reading something you don't really like as such and learning to appreciate it anyway will be a good exercise for doing English at degree-level. It's a vital skill to have.:p:
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    I do agree with the recommendation to read Benjamin Disrael's novels and in particular Sybil because of how Disraeli coined the phrase of there being 'two nations' who are the same when it comes down to it as we are all made up of the same but the class boundaries in place create a divide between the upper and lower classes. Despite it not being very popular, I agree that it is well worth reading because it speaks volumes about the class system and the prejudice against the working class and how each of the classes are seperated from each other. I know that only primary texts were mentioned about you only wanting to read but there is an excellent set of secondary books that you can buy that really help inform about the Victorian Period. They are as follows:

    - The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel
    - The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry
    - The Cambridge Companion to the Fin De Siecle
    - A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture (This is a huge book and well worth getting as it goes through every aspect of Victorian Literature and Culture and really helped me understand more about the period as well).
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    (Original post by T kay)
    Have you read all of them?
    No, no, I haven't. I've barely read any Henry James, nor read all of Dickens, or Adam Bede. Ask me again in five years.
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    (Original post by Reagan Smash)
    Anything by Jane Austen especially Pride and Prejudice though all of her novels were published in the early 1800s (e.g. P & P was 1813)

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is also very good =]

    Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

    Great Expectations and Oliver twist are my favourite by Dickens though a lot of people don't like him =/ Try them though! I think everyone should at least attempt a Dickens novel!

    Madamn Bovary by Flaubert is also decent.

    Frankenstein!!

    LITTLE WOMEN!! I love this! its by Louisa May Alcott!

    Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is good too =]

    The picture of Dorian Grey I liked =]

    And also Dracula by Bram Stoker is great =D

    You know what there are loads! I think that Austen, Dickens and Hardy novels give the most accurate portrayal of life and society in the 19th century.
    I actually love you, and your avatar :p: All great choices.
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    (Original post by Reverie.)
    Not a novel but as a very readable overview to the Victorian period, try A.N. Wilson's The Victorians - packed full of information and interesting stuff.

    Hardy - A Pair of Blue Eyes, The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Return of the Native, Far From the Madding Crowd.
    Don't read them all in quick succession unless you want to be seriously depressed about humanity though! APoBE has an interesting scene involving someone dangling off a cliff and looking at a fossil - good example of the Victorian amateur scientist. Science wasn't yet something elite, articles were published in magazines like Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine alongside fiction and essays. Hardy read Darwin and his novels explore the implications of CD's theories. The Woodlanders isn't as well known as Tess or Jude but it's good.
    George Eliot - Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Felix Holt, Daniel Deronda.
    George Eliot is amazing, fact. Don't let the size of some of them (*cough* Middlemarch *cough*) put you off, they're well worth your time. I especially like DD.
    Mrs Gaskell - Mary Barton, North and South, Sylvia's Lovers, Cranford. SL isn't set in Victorian times, but historical fiction can tell you lots about the period it was written as well as the period it was written about. N&S and Cranford also have good BBC adaptions (*swoons at Mr Thornton's accent*).
    Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady, What Maisie Knew, The Turn of the Screw, The Ambassadors, The Figure in the Carpet, The Spoils of Poynton.
    The Brontes - Villette, The Professor, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
    Thackeray - Vanity Fair
    Dickens - Sketches by Boz, Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit. My favourite is probably Bleak House, it's a rich tapestry of interlocking stories and ideas (and the BBC adaption is very good!)
    Conan Doyle - A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of SH, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
    Read them all, they're fantastic. As popular fiction rather than high 'literature', they're ideal for looking at late Victorian views on gender, crime, etc. as well as empire and science which are there more subtlely. Also think about perception and disguises - the Victorians were interested in looking, seeing, perceiving...it's the age of the Great Exhibition, photography, great scientific innovation.
    Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Grey
    Perhaps read a biography of Wilde too, his life is nothing if not entertaining...
    Olive Schreiner - The Story of an African Farm
    This isn't set in the UK, but in South Africa. Its heroine is one of the 'New Women', making it interesting if you want to see how Victorian ideas of women were being challenged by the end of the century.
    Grant Allen - The Woman Who Did
    More New Woman stuff, nice and short, and it's popular fiction so pretty readable. Allen was a friend of Conan Doyle and they both published in the Strand magazine.
    Benjamin Disraeli wrote several novels, popular at the time though little read today - interesting because he's Benjamin Disraeli (NB: I'm not saying they're any good...)
    Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White, The Moonstone They're...sensational.

    Lots of Victorian children's literature is good too - try some George Macdonald, I really like him. Lewis Carroll too, of course, and Christina Rossetti wrote some slightly odd stories for little girls in the same vein. Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies was actually the trigger for abolishing the practice of pushing little boys up chimneys to sweep 'em - consider why children's literature is a good medium for social comment. Ooh, and Tom Brown's Schooldays is awesome (read Nicholas Nickleby for more school portrayals).

    Do also try some 20th c. fiction set in Victorian times like A.S. Byatt's Possession or The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles - both fantastic. Ooh, or Byatt's latest, The Children's Book - the first part is later Victorian going into Edwardian, and it's so so good.

    And go to the Dickens museum and the Sherlock Holmes museum in London if you get the chance. :yes:
    this is the best answer.
    all these books are going onto the list as soon as i've read oliver twist.
    thanks, and sorry for the late reply, parents took me on a spontaneous trip to london:p:
    will rep now...........
 
 
 
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