In the past few years that I’ve gotten back into reading I’ve been keeping up with book releases and getting recommendations on books through what is often dubbed BookTube. One of the terms I hear most often on BookTube is Victober where people read Victorian-era books during the month of October, so I thought that this October I would do a post on my efforts to read more Victorian literature.
One of Victorian Britain’s most prolific writers, Anthony Trollope wrote an unbelievable 47 novels and 42 short stories. His magnum opus is typically considered to be The Way We Live Now, but his most well-known works tend to be the two interconnected series, The Chronicles of Barsetshire and The Palliser Novels which mainly revolve around country politics and British politics.
I’ll admit that I was drawn to pick up Anthony Trollope’s works because I had heard of his “productivity tips” which allowed him to write so many books while also having a full time job in the postal service. Honestly, I generally stay away from very prolific writers as I usually have a hard time believing a mere human can produce that many books (with most of them being great quality) but I’ve heard great things about Trollope so I decided to start with the Palliser and Barsetshire series. The two series are interconnected, but you can read whichever series first as you don’t need to read one to understand the other. The Barsetshire Chronicles focuses more on church and village politics while the Palliser series focuses more on London society and politics. My personal preference is towards the latter, but I know the Barsetshire Chronicles is more well-known and generally more well-loved.
Famous for North and South, Gaskell is one of the most well-known writers from the Victorian era. She wrote eight full length novels, several novellas, many short stories and several non-fiction books.
I have only read Wives and Daughters which I absolutely loved. It’s a page turner, relatable and lighthearted but still has some deep and poignant moments.
I tried many, many times to get into Charles Dickens. I first tried to read Great Expectations 10-11 years ago but I just couldn’t get past the first three chapters or so. I recently tried to read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations again, but still couldn’t get past the first few chapters. If you have any suggestions for me, please leave a comment!
The Brontë Sisters
I read Wuthering Heights a long time ago (I think I was in 10th grade) and I did not like it at all. It just really wasn’t my type of book and to this day I still don’t understand why people love it so much. I probably should reread and give it another chance, because I know people rave about it all the time.
Synonymous with dark novels, Thomas Hardy actually also wrote lots of poetry and during his time was more well-regarded for his poetry. I’ve seen the movie adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd starring Carey Mulligan and I enjoyed it so I would like to read that one day.
A brilliant writer, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) didn’t write as much as the other writers in this list (seven novels total). However what she lacks in quantity she definitely makes up in quality. Middlemarch is often cited as one of the best books ever written in the English language. Period. Read my previous post on Middlemarch here (spoiler, I LOVE it). I love Middlemarch so much that I bought a copy of Daniel Deronda and Romola. Actually, I think George Eliot might be my favorite English writer.