Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Victorian Celebration: Wrapping Up

Despite what the absence of posts related to this summer's Victorian Celebration might suggest, I did actually read for this event. In fact, I was so preoccupied with my nineteenth-century reading that I opted to stick my nose between the pages rather than sit down to write on my silly little blog. 

The Victorian period is my golden age, my belle epoque. So I truly appreciated Allie giving me an excuse to revel in this beloved era. I've read some fantastic literature, some old and some new (to me). A summary of what I got up to over the past several weeks is just ahead. But first...

 London 1888 -- I adore Victorian photography!

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde: This play has more gravitas than The Importance of Being Earnest, but I loved what Wilde had to say about the hypocrisy of polite society in late Victorian England.

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon: My reading provided me with yet another fascinating Lady. How I would like to be a Lady! But to the point...this nineteenth-century mystery is full of murder, deception and madness. I can't wait to read more from this genre.

Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: In a word, stunning! This collection of poems Barrett Browning wrote for her husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, are passionate and poignant. I read some of the letters this literary couple wrote to one another for my MA research, so I'm somewhat familiar with the details of their courtship and marriage. It was fun tracing biographical elements in these sonnets.

The Professor by Charlotte Bronte: I have now read every Bronte novel. Wahoo! This isn't Charlotte's finest work. I struggled through the first chunk of the novel, but its strong second half made the effort worthwhile. Now that I've finished all the Bronte novels, I'll be moving on to biographies and juvenilia. 

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool: Not yet finished, but I've been reading small doses of this intriguing work of non-fiction here and there. Pool's book elucidates all those little details of nineteenth-century life present in Victorian fiction that, over the years, have become enigmatic to the majority of twenty-first-century readers. Some of the information is a refresher course in what I already know and some sections are enlightening. I'm looking forward to discovering what else this text has in store for me.

Increasing my breadth of reading was a New Year's resolution of mine, so I'm proud of the range I managed --even when sticking within the parameters of the Victorian period. Two novels, one play, one collection of poetry and one work of non-fiction. Success! I'll be sharing more about these texts in future posts.

Although the Victorian event has concluded, I won't be straying too far from it in the immediate future. My dad, sister and I will be reading Bleak House together. The truth: I'm a wee bit nervous about it. I'll also be participating in Adam's Austen in August event. Austen + The Victorians = Fantastic Summer!

What have you been reading? Any tips on how best to approach a beast like Bleak House?


o said...

Ah, Bleak House and I did not get on to well, however I'm the first to admit it's a technical masterpiece!

I rather liked The Professor, but yes, not the best. I think CB said she loved it the way a parent loves her idiot child!

Diana said...

Haha! I think I heard that Charlotte quote somewhere. My edition has another quote from her on the back, stating she thought the middle and end sections were 'as good as I can write.' I think I'd agree. Those bits were up to her usual standard of outstanding prose.

I am a bit nervous about Bleak House because it seems as though people either really love it or really don't. Hopefully I'll be added to the former category!

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

Haven't read Bleak House, although I really enjoyed the BBC miniseries. I keep saying I'm going to read it, but so far no... My issue is more time rather than intimidation--my edition is an old two-volume hardback set, which makes it seem much shorter than it actually is! Good luck!

Cassandra said...

You read a lot and wrote little, just like me :)
I am really thankful for this event because firstly it was great fun and secondly it moved me to pick up Oscar Wilde for the first time and now I'm addicted to him!

Good luck with Bleak House! I only know that it's one of Dickens's later works and I prefer them in great consolation I'm afraid :)

Sarah Noel said...

What a reading list! I wish I'd been tackling some of these this summer as well!

the Reverie blog

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

I love how your passion for the Victorian era just jumps off the screen :) I am going to have to check some of these books out!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Diana, it's been two months. Maybe I've overlooked something in your posts that would count as a reason - come on, write something, ANYTHING!

Paula said...

I just finished reading Sonnets from the Portuguese and I have to say... not only do I love the poems but I have a new found admiration for Elizabeth Barrett Browning as a writer and as a woman.

Anyway, just to let you know that I'm sending The One Lovely Blog Award your way. You can check the details on my blog ( if you wish to accept it. Thanks, Paula xx