19th Century Literature

alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca
Tue Jul 31 01:12:49 EDT 2001

And here come my two cents.

In short, I *love* much of nineteenth century lit.  I think one of the
chief reasons for it is the one that Georgia touched on (a hit, a palpable
hit!)--namely the same sense of reading about a different world that one
gets from speculative fiction, with the decided advantage that one can get
a great many novels written in what is more or less the same world.  I
also like Victorian novels because they are big, fat, with
exciting and satisfyingly convoluted plots, characters both interesting
and likeable, and a solid, engaging, refreshingly un-modern moral
backbone. (An engaging backbone, now, there's a notion.  Oik.  Of course,
there is some Victorian moralizing that turns my stomach, like the whole
bit on Fallen Women, yurk, but there's also a good deal of tough-minded
reflection on basic personal morals that I find edifying--and, to answer
another fine point raised by, I think, Georgia again, I *do* rather enjoy
intelligently preachy books as long as they're not bigoted. :)

I think my favourites are George Eliot and Trollope and some of Dickens
and Wilkie Collins and Charlotte Bronte:  all writers of
exciting plots with appealing characters in complicated situations. (Is
Kipling Victorian? If I may count him as such, he tops the list, for _Kim_
and _The Jungle Books_.  I've also doubts as to the Victorianness of Jane 
Austen and Walter Scott:  both of whom I love.) And I'm tremendously
grateful for people brigning up their favourites:  fodder for the to-read
pile, all right!


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