Friday, November 22, 2013

Autumn and Victorian Novels

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?

Holiday Grainger as Estella and Jeremy Irvine as Pip in the new film Great Expectations

If I could pick a dream location in which to do all this reading...

It would have to be the exquisite library at The Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vermont!
This cozy hotel is one of my favorite places to stay, especially at this time of the year.

Happy reading!


  1. know my love of George Eliot and today, Nov. 22 is her birthday. Of course "Daniel Deronda" and "Middlemarch "are my favorites. Trollope's" He Knew He was Right" is wonderful also.

    I am so glad you wrote about "Great Expectations" which I have now seen twice!

  2. I know you are a fan of George Eliot! What great novels she wrote. I really enjoyed "Great Expectations," it reminded me of how good the book is!

  3. Sunday, we are coming into spring here in Australia, so no autumn weather fireside reading here, but I agree that the pairing of chilly outside and cosy with a book inside, is a great notion. I haven't read William Thackeray or Wilkie Collins, but have read all the others with great pleasure, many years ago. In fact I have been thinking of re-reading Villette, as I read this when I was about 20, and that's more than a little while ago now!
    I remember reading an interview with Nicci Gerrard, of the British writing duo Nicci French, (who write psychological thrillers) and she remarked that Wilkie Collins was one of her early influences.
    I did enjoy your photos from your English visit and the Bloomsbury spots you visited.
    Thanks for your blog, it's always interesting!
    Kind regards,
    Deborah from Melbourne, Australia

    1. Hi Deborah, thanks so much for your lovely comment. I would also like to re-read Villette, I remember enjoying it very much. You might want to try The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. It is so good! Glad you enjoyed the photos of London and Sussex.
      All the best, Sunday

  4. I haven't seen the new Great Expectations adaptation yet, but I definitely will! Think I need to read some Dickens soon...

  5. Sunday-
    I am reading a book called "At Home" by Bill Bryson.
    I think you would enjoy it, if you haven't already read it.
    Richard ( the librarian )

  6. I love Tess of the D'Ubervilles, both the novel and the film. Hoping after Thanksgiving to curl up with a novel, but right now only curled up with recipes, lists, silver polish, etc. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Sunday, and I'm always so thankful for your wonderful blog.

  7. Jane Eyre is my favorite. My very favorite. I also plan on reading Villette soon. I hope you have a very lovely Thanksgiving.

  8. How nice you write. beautiful!
    Greetings from uruguay, south América.