Another semester is about to start, and that means new books! I’m taking a 19th-century American literature seminar called National Space in Early Republican and Antebellum Writings and an independent study on Victorian women novelists and how they portray women. These aren’t all the books for the courses, just the ones I purchased from ThriftBooks. There will be another post with the Amazon orders as soon as they all arrive.
Romola by George Eliot
This is the first book for my independent study, and I’ve already finished it. You can read my full review here. It’s historical fiction set in 15th-century Florence, and I really enjoyed it. Romola is a fantastic character, I can’t wait to discuss it with my professor.
Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
This sensation novel has been on my TBR for years, and I’m happy to have the chance to read it. It features bigamy, murder, child abandonment, and more. I’m particularly interested in looking at how it sets up the “Angel in the House”/”Fallen Woman” dichotomy as well as the portrayal of governesses.
Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
This is one of two books by Gaskell on my reading list. I already own Wives and Daughters. Ruth also deals with the Fallen Woman figure. I’ve generally only seen this trope handled by male authors, so I’m interested to see what Gaskell will do with it.
The Heavenly Twins by Sarah Grand
I was not expecting this one to be so large. It’s giant! I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that it’s the final book for my independent study. This is a ‘New Woman’ novel written by the woman who coined the term. I really hate the cover, but it was cheap, so oh well.
Ruth Hall by Fanny Fern
I’ve heard Fern’s name before, but I’ve never read anything by her. So I’m excited to discover a new female writer, even if she is American. All I know about this book is that it follows a female protagonist through her life. Since the representation of women by women is something I’m interested in, I hope I’ll get something out and enjoy it.
Cecilia by Frances Burney
Okay, this is the only one that I’m not actually using in a class this semester. But it was an inexpensive copy by an author I’m interested in working with, so I figured I’d buy it and include it here. Burney is an 18th-century precursor to Jane Austen, and I loved her Evelina. Depending on how things go, I may choose to include some 18th-century writers in my dissertation, and Burney will definitely be one if I do.