anonymous asked:

What books should I try to understand Victorian literature better?

I’m assuming this is because I posted that screenshot of my English Literature notes, is it not? I’ll do my best since the course has started only two weeks ago!

My personal favourites from the Victorian period are of course “Jane Eyre”, by Charlotte Brontë; “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë; “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell; Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poetry; and I’ve always been meaning to read “Middlemarch” by George Eliot (pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans) and “Villette” by Charlotte Brontë, as well as Anne Brontë’s works.

Charles Dickens is, in my opinion, quite fundamental as far as understanding the Victorian Age goes, and although it was published too early (1818), “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley “sets the scene a bit dramatically”, to borrow my friend’s @percybysshes‘ words.

On the philosophical side of things, I’d mention John Stuart Mill, and let me give a shout out to my favourite art kids: THE PRE-RAPHAELITE BROTHERHOOD.

Across the pond we had during this time, just to mention a few: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hermann Melville, and (my babe) Walt Whitman.

If you’re interested in what was happening in Italian Literature doing that time, I give you: my main man, my fave, my bae, Alessandro Manzoni (think Victor Hugo, but with a cooler mom*), who wrote “I Promessi Sposi” (“The Betrothed”); Giacomo Leopardi, a poet who wrote a great many beautifully depressing poems; Giovanni Verga, “verismo” (realist literary current) novelist; just to cite three greats. 

*Giulia Beccaria, daughter of the great Cesare Beccaria, and cool as fuck. I’m in love.

Finally, our reading list for my university course (which also stretches beyond the Victorian age) is:

  • Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes E and F
  • Oscar Wilde, “The Happy Prince” and “The Fisherman and his Soul”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “The Preface to Dorian Gray”, “Dorian Gray”
  • James Joyce, “Dubliners”
  • Kathrine Mansfield, “The Garden Party”
  • Joseph Conrad, “’Twixt Land and Sea”
  • Rudyard Kipling, “Kim”
  • Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall”
  • George Orwell, “1984″
  • Alan Sillitoe, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”, “Saturday Afternoon”
  • Thomas Hardy, “During Wind and Rain”, “Neutral Tones”, “The Convergence of the Twain”, “Ah, Are You Digging on my Grave”
  • W.B. Yeats “Innisfree”, “Sailing to Byzanthium”, “The Tower”, “An Irish Airman Foresees His Doom”
  • T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
  • Dylan Thomas “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London”
  • Derek Walcott “The Schooner Flight”
  • Samuel Beckett, “Endgame”

I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you read any of these and like them :)



literature meme | poetry (½): The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1833, of twenty stanzas, the other in 1842 of nineteen stanzas.

According to legend, the Lady of Shalott was forbidden to look directly at reality or the outside world; instead she was doomed to view the world through a mirror, and weave what she saw into tapestry. Her despair was heightened when she saw loving couples entwined in the far distance, and she spent her days and nights aching for a return to normality. One day the Lady saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of the mirror, and dared to look out at Camelot, bringing about a curse. The lady escaped by boat during an autumn storm, inscribing ‘The Lady of Shalott’ on the prow. As she sailed towards Camelot and certain death, she sang a lament. Her frozen body was found shortly afterwards by the knights and ladies of Camelot, one of whom is Lancelot, who prayed to God to have mercy on her soul. The tapestry she wove during her imprisonment was found draped over the side of the boat.

The Lady of Shallots, John William Waterhouse, 1888, oil on canvas (with slight modern additions).

I just made an art history/produce pun, which means the potential audience is like, one person. and that person is me.