What is it about autumn and Victorian novels? They just seem to go together. Come cooler weather and homey pleasures, I want to curl up with a long, sprawling novel. Maybe one by Dickens, Bronte, or Collins...I just want to sink into that world and follow the characters' adventures. A comfortable chair, a cup of tea at my side and a fire in the fireplace complete my cold weather fantasy. At that moment, all is right with the world.
I started to think about my favorite Victorian novels. Many people consider the novel to be the greatest literary genre of the nineteenth-century. That is when some of the greatest novelists were writing: Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy. They created some of the most famous stories and characters of all time. They wrote books that you can sink into and enter a fully formed world. Books in which you can understand what daily nineteenth-century life was like. They created memorable landscapes: Trollope's cathedral town of Barchester, Dickens London, Emily Bronte's Yorkshire moors, Thomas Hardy's Wessex. These are places that live on in our imaginations long after we finish the books. One of these writers, Wilkie Collins, is credited with having created the first detective novel: The Moonstone. Here are a few Victorian novels that I have enjoyed over the years:
The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Great Expectations and many others by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre and Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
Which ones are your favorites?
Speaking of Charles Dickens, there is a new film adaptation of Great Expectations starring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham that is excellent. Have you seen it?
If I could pick a dream location in which to do all this reading...
This cozy hotel is one of my favorite places to stay, especially at this time of the year.