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
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 :)
+++ PEOPLE WITH MORE EXPERTISE WELCOME TO ADD USEFUL INFO