Since it is Victober, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the Victorian literature on my Goodreads TBR. I used a random number generator and picked six Victorian books that were closest to those numbers.
The Pre-Raphaelites From Rossetti to Ruskin edited by Dinah Roe
I bought this collection of Pre-Raphaelite poetry at the Tate Britain during my last trip to the UK. I adore Pre-Raphaelite artists, but I haven’t read much of their poetry and thought I would give it a try. I have to be in the right mood for poetry since it’s not really my thing, and the mood hasn’t struck yet. But when it does, I’ll have the book on hand!
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Confession time: I was supposed to read Adam Bede for a course on Romance and Realism I took during my master’s. I got through about a quarter of it and decided to just…not finish it. I don’t usually do that with school books! But it was the last one of the term and I just was not in the mood. I also tend to really struggle with George Eliot. The only book by her I’ve truly enjoyed was The Mill on the Floss. But I really hate dnf-ing books, especially when it’s a book that’s within my specialty, so I fully intended to go back to this at some point.
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native is another book I started during my master’s and didn’t finish. My advisor suggested I may be able to use it for my thesis, so I got the free Kindle version and read the first few chapters. Even though I was enjoying it, I realized quickly it wouldn’t work for what I was writing about. I had so much other reading to work on that I had to put it down, and I haven’t found a chance to get back to it yet. I really want to though; I’ve loved everything I read by Hardy.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
I’ve never read anything by Wilkie Collins (I’m actually planning to read The Moonstone for Victober), and The Woman in White has been on my TBR for quite a while. I saw the BBC miniseries of it a few years ago and loved it. Really, the only reason I haven’t read it yet is that I don’t have a physical copy so it doesn’t come to mind when I’m in the mood for a creepy classic. I probably would have picked it over The Moonstone if I did.
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend is the last novel Dickens completed, and as a Victorianist, I feel that I obviously must read it. But I have to be in a particular mood to read Dickens. While that mood has struck several times in the last few years, I don’t have a physical copy of this book so I pick up ones that I do own. Apparently this is a common problem for me. However, it will probably end up being on my reading list for qualifying exams, so I will get to read it then.
The Lifted Veil: Women’s 19th-Century Stories edited by Kathryn Hughes
This short story collections doesn’t just feature Victorian writing; it features stories by British and American women writers from across the 19th century. However, it does have several stories by Victorian women writers, including two of my favorites: Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s published by the Folio Society, which means it’s gorgeous and expensive. I don’t have a copy and I’m probably unlikely to get one; I did a quick search on their website and it didn’t come up, so they probably aren’t printing it anymore. Ah well. I can dream.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?