Friday, January 24, 2014

Victorian Challenge Wrap-Up

One of my goals for 2013 was to read one Victorian author per month. I read ten authors and had mixed feelings about them. As I wrote earlier, the more obscure novels (even some by well-known authors) have fallen off everyone's radar for the very good reason that they don't hold up over time. These are the last two books I read neither of which merited a review of its own.

Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales by Juliana Horatio Ewing - While I did not love this book, it did grow on me. In several stories,foolishness is severely punished rather than virtue being rewarded (a little hard on modern sensibilities). Half of the stories were very good and the other half were forgettable. Unfortunately the book starts out with the mediocre tales.The story of the two widow ladies who live at the base of a monastery is a classic which needs to be revisited. I loved the introduction, which is quoted here.

Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems by Matthew Arnold - Arnold was a lover of classical Greek literature and many of his poems have themes relating to those well-known (at the time) stories. But this makes his poetry obscure to most modern readers. Helpful explanatory notes for each poem are in the back of book but were virtually unusable on my Kindle since it’s very difficult to page back and forth.

The tweaked list:
1. George Eliot - Adam Bede - really liked it
2. Wilkie Collins - The Moonstone - liked it but didn't love it
3. Robert Louis Stevenson - The Master of Ballantrae - really enjoyed it
4. Charles Dickens - David Copperfield - really enjoyed it
5. Anne Brontë - Tenant of Wildfell Hall - liked it
6. Margaret Oliphant - The Marriage of Elinor - strongly disliked
7. Charlotte Yonge - The Heir of Redclyffe - didn't make it to this author
8. Mary Louisa Molesworth - The Carved Lions - okay
9. Juliana H. G. Ewing - Fairy Tales - see above
10. Thomas Hardy - A Pair of Blue Eyes - liked it, but didn't love it
11. Matthew Arnold - Sohrab and Rustum and other Poems - see above
12. Anthony Trollope - The Claverings - okay


JaneGS said...

That's an interesting personal challenge, especially reading some of the lesser knowns. I liked to read an author I like end-to-end, which involves reading some of the lesser knowns of that author's work, which is always interesting.

I've read Adam Bede twice, and really enjoyed it; I feel the same way about The Moonstone (Woman in White is the better novel, imo); and David Copperfield is on my reread list for this year.

I enjoyed reading the intro to the Fairytales book--thanks for linking to it.

Sherry said...

I wish I felt I had time to re-rad David Copperfield. It's my favorite Dickens, I think.