18th-19th Century Britain Message Board

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18th-19th Century Britain Message Board

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1aarti Primeira Mensagem
Jul 24, 2006, 7:19 pm

I noticed that a lot of Library Thing members have a similar love for all things British, and decided to start a group for it!
What is it that makes these books, especially those set during the Georgian and Regency eras so interesting for you?
For me, it started with Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, but it rapidly evolved to not just reading fiction of the era or taking place in the era, but wanting to know much more about the era itself. It's so fascinating- from the French Revolution to Beau Brummell to now really enjoying fantasy novels set in an alternate world of that sort, such as Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton.
Hopefully, this group will allow us all to easily peruse each other's shelves in hopes of finding something else to our liking- I know my TBR list is always ready to grow larger!

Jul 24, 2006, 7:36 pm

I'm particularly fond of Richard Burton, about whom I have a website (Richard Burton on the Web). In this line, I heartily recommend Mary S. Lovell's recent Rage to Live.

Jul 24, 2006, 10:15 pm

I admit to not knowing much about Richard Burton at all, though the book you mention sounds very good. I have to confess that when I saw you had a Richard Burton website, I thought it was for the actor!

4Eurydice Primeira Mensagem
Jul 25, 2006, 2:31 am

The book on Beau Brummel sounds excellent - like most eccentrics, he's fascinating. I loved Virginia Woolf's biographical essay on him (and others) in her Second Common Reader. The life of Cowper, especially, though brief, generally glowed with an imaginative sympathy and detail which one only hopes to find in longer works.

Burton's also fascinated me - from a distance. I've yet to actually read any of his books, though I did pick up First Footsteps in East Africa just recently.

In answer to aarti's question, though: a combination of Tristram Shandy and an awareness of my own ignorance kindled a real interest in the 18th and very early 19th centuries this time two years ago. And my interest keeps inching backwards in time. - To the Restoration and before. As yet, the nonfiction I'd like to underpin other reading with is a little scanty... but I can't wait to add more.

Recommendations, anyone? :)

Jul 25, 2006, 4:50 am

A love for all things British? Wow. :-)

(Yes, I *am* British...) I grew up reading Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen thanks to my mother's collection, then studied Romantic and Victorian literature at university, so I've a reasonable selection of commonly set texts and wider reading.

Jul 25, 2006, 8:52 am

Recommendations on non-fiction, Eurydice? I would certainly recommend Beau Brummell. Also, I have a book Ladies of the Grand Tour which is very informative. And the boook Courtesans, which tells the "underworld" side of the era. I have the book Princesses, but I haven't read it yet- just got it! And a book on Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
I agree that my interest keeps going back in time, too- the Restoration is another fascinating era! Have you read the book The King's Touch? It's told from the point of view of the Duke of Monmouth.

Jul 25, 2006, 9:00 am

Hehe- yes, BoPeep, I do have a love for (almost all) things British. I studied in London for a semester and loved it- though most things there are out of my price range! I also adore Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. My favorite Heyer is probably The Talisman Ring and my favorite Austen is Persuasion, I think.

Jul 25, 2006, 6:20 pm

Persuasion is without doubt my favorite Austen, as well.

Thank you for the suggestions, aarti. The King's Touch looks especially good. One of the Amazon reviewers noted there was little anachronism, which I really appreciate in an author. I've gotten a bit more non-fiction on the Restoration era than on others, though as I picked it all up in the same month (or two), I've not yet made it through everything. :) I'm hopeful that Adrian Tinniswood's biography of Wren will give some closer approach - or attention - to what he was like than Lisa Jardine's did. On a Grander Scale was more of a pro-Hooke apology; which, while probably inevitable in some degree, given their close collaboration and Hooke's diaries, was almost inappropriate in its pervasive insistence. Hooke didn't 'emerge' the hero of the story: he was placed as one by his author's advocacy, even when writing, ostensibly, about Wren. Admittedly, the latter seems to have been elusive, but I hope one can make a closer approach. Jardine was enlightening, though, on the early history of the Royal Society and science in the Civil War, under the Commonwealth, etc.

So, despite my reservations about her biographical treatment of Wren, I did buy Ingenious Pursuits... one of my shelves' attractive unread.

Apologies for the length - and I hope no one will mind if I quote myself in a long-intended review. I have trouble bestirring myself to actually write them. So no start should be wasted. :)

Jul 25, 2006, 9:10 pm

I've never read a biography about Wren- it sounds very intriguing! I have a copy of Samuel Pepys' Diary lying around somewhere, but I haven't gotten to that one yet. I think that would be interesting to read. As would a book about Guy Fawkes, I think.

If anyone is interested, and is a member of Yahoo, I have just formed a brand new reading group called British Classics, where we will read and discuss classic British authors (one book per month, I think). If you would like to join, here is the link:


Jul 25, 2006, 9:57 pm

Yeah - Pepys' Diary gets called on for a lot, as does that of John Evelyn; though I've not yet purchased either one. (Lay it down to budgeting, though; not disinterest!) Do you know if Claire Tomalin's biography of Pepys is good?

I've got more reading on my plate right now than I'd like to commit to adding more to; but thank you. I will definitely keep it in mind.

Jul 25, 2006, 10:00 pm

Oakes would have that one - on Guy Fawkes. - One no one else does. :) It does sound interesting, though I confess I'd rather read Beau Brummell first!

Jul 26, 2006, 9:19 am

Yes, I would read the Beau Brummell one- I ran out and bought it when it came out, and I find it to be an excellent biography. Kelly really likes his subject.

Jul 27, 2006, 9:20 am

Sorry- just wanted to make it clear that the British Classics reading group is =not= just for 18th and 19th century books! It's classics overall. So in that case, I probably shouldn't have it as the link here :-)

But if anyone is interested, I also have a Georgian-era RPG on Yahoo which is fun to play in :-)

BoPeep, what's your favorite Heyer novel?

Jul 27, 2006, 11:20 am

Ooooh. Possibly Arabella because it's the first one I read, and one I like to go back to for comfort. (It's also the first book I ever drew in *blush* - green crayon on the inside front cover. In my defence, I was about 18m old.)

Jul 27, 2006, 12:11 pm

Haha- nice. I do like Arabella, though I think my favorite is The Talisman Ring. But I also love Black Sheep and Cotillion. And, er, Devil's Cub ;-)

Jul 27, 2006, 12:12 pm

Haha- nice. I do like Arabella, though I think my favorite is The Talisman Ring. But I also love Black Sheep and Cotillion. And, er, Devil's Cub ;-)

Jul 27, 2006, 12:20 pm

Hi aarti! Nice to meet someone else who lists Devil's Cub as one of their favorite Heyers. For some reason it isn't often mentioned.

Jul 27, 2006, 12:55 pm

Really? I thought it was a more popular one. I prefer Dominic to his father, personally- I never really warmed to Avon and I REALLY disliked Leonie, whereas I loved Mary and think Dominic is much easier to like. I actually have greatly expanded my Heyer collection recently, due to paperbackswap.com. But I haven't read all of them- especially her mysteries. I think she's the author that got me very, very interested in the Regency era, though.

Jul 29, 2006, 9:13 am

Devil's Cub was the first Heyer book I read, and I did enjoy it enough to read it again (I'm with you, aarti, I never cared for Avon or Leonie much). I recently picked up Charity Girl and The Quiet Gentleman, but haven't cracked the pages yet. I'm currently in a re-read through the Lord Peter Wimsey series and just finished Gaudy Night; love that book! (Incidently, here's a brillant piece of fan art for it... http://www.deviantart.com/view/4069621/ ). Hmm... I guess Lord Peter doesn't really count as 19th century Britain. Oops! Well, swing over to my group Baker Street and Beyond and we'll welcome Wimsey-lovers there ;-).

Jul 29, 2006, 9:38 pm

I've only read the first of the Peter Wimsey books, but I have a few sitting on my shelves. I think once I finish with Lindsey Davis and her Falco series, I'll start on Lord Peter and Amelia Peabody :-)

Jul 30, 2006, 11:36 pm

Ooooooh, Georgette Heyer! My favourite book of hers is Frederica, but my favourite character is Avon. Dominic is too much of a spoiled child for me, but Mary is wonderful.

Jul 31, 2006, 9:08 am

Has anyone read any of Elizabeth Gaskell's works? I am starting North and South for a group read soon and am looking forward to it. I LOVE the BBC versions of both her North and South and Wives and Daughters.

Jul 31, 2006, 1:14 pm

I started with Georgette Heyer too.

Recently, though, I got hooked on the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. That was a surprise to me, because I'm not fond (to put it lightly) of military history. But it is so well-written, that I read all the books my library had, then went out and bought the whole series of 20! I'm on my second read-through, because the first time I wasn't able to get them all in order, and I missed some because they weren't available.

Ago 3, 2006, 10:36 am

I love this Touchstone works and authors thing that's showing up at the side of the screen! I think the check marks are the ones that you have in your own library. So far, I have most of the ones mentioned here. Thought that could just be because I'm the one that's mentioned them.

Has anyone read Fingersmith? And if so, how do you like it? I've heard a lot of good things about it recently, and about Waters' other works.

Ago 3, 2006, 10:38 am

The only books by Bernard Cornwell I've read are Gallows Thief and The Last Kingdom, though I do have the first in his Arthurian series here as well. I really liked Gallows Thief, but I didn't think The Last Kingdom was as good as I'd hoped. And I haven't tried the Arthur book yet. But one of my friends LOVES his Sharpe series. Eventually, I might give it a try.

Ago 3, 2006, 12:04 pm

aarti, I love Fingersmith, and have read all her others bar Night Watch which got put away when I was in the middle of reading it! (Long story, involving a collapsing bookcase, the horror of most LT users I imagine.)

I think Affinity is my favourite, but Fingersmith has some wonderful twists and turns.

Ago 3, 2006, 3:57 pm

Thanks for the info, BoPeep. Fingersmith and Affinity are now both officially on my Amazon wish list. As opposed to merely being on the wishlist in my head :-) Another book on my wish list, mostly because the Gothic theme was so resonant during this time period, is The Mysteries of Udolpho, though I admit that I've never purchased it because I don't know if I'd even find it an enjoyable read. I just want to have read it!

Ago 4, 2006, 11:22 am


I see that BoPeep has encouraged you to pick up Fingersmith. I know it is hard to prioritize the wish list with so many great recommendations from this site but I would move this one towards the top.

Ago 4, 2006, 11:50 am

Haha- I shall. Once I find a copy of it, that is :-) I don't think I will allow myself to buy any more books for a long time, as I've bought twenty this month already. But if I find it in the library, I'll be sure to snatch it up. Thank you all for the heads-up on this one! I'd heard a lot about it, but never got over the hump to actually procuring it, I guess.

Ago 4, 2006, 11:50 am

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Ago 4, 2006, 1:15 pm

Hi, everyone!

I'm reading Woman in White by Wilkie Collins right now which I'm really loving. I'm about halfway through and each time I have to make a stopping point, I don't want to put it down! The characters are amazingly developed and the plot-suspense pulls you in... great Victorian novel if I say so myself!

Has anyone else read it? What did you think of it?

Also, has anyone read Moonstone? I was thinking of picking it up after I finish Woman in White, but I'd like to hear some other people's opinions first. (I've heard that WiW is much better than MS?)

Chelsea :)

Ago 5, 2006, 9:38 pm

I've never read any Wilkie Collins, but his book Armadale is our next group read at the British Classics group on Yahoo. It sounds excellent, though I think it was one of his earlier works.

I'm currently reading North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. It took me longer than I anticipated to really get into it- probably because it has a choppy beginning- but now that I'm in, I'm really enjoying it. I also watched the BBC movie version last night, for the second time. Does anyone else have this movie? Or has at least seen it? It's VERY good, especially if you like the BBC Pride and Prejudice. And Richard Armitage has very pretty eyes :-)

Ago 6, 2006, 2:41 am

Oh yes I have it and I've seen it and it is great just as you say! Actually it is one of my favourites among the more recent BBC adaptations (along with P&P of course). But there are so many good ones, other favourites include Bleak House (by Charles Dickens), Middlemarch (by George Eliot), Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell) and Our Mutual Friend) also by Dickens...

Ago 6, 2006, 11:27 pm

Yes, I really like Wives and Daughters as an adaptation as well- I plan to get it from Amazon ASAP. I sadly missed the Bleak House presentation on PBS, but I also plan to catch that one once it gets on DVD. I'm such a sucker for costume drama!

Ago 7, 2006, 1:23 pm

Actually, the DVD *has* been out for half a year or so, and for both regions 1 and 2 (so for Europe and the States and anywhere else)!http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CEXG0U/sr=1-1/qid=1154971191/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0101027-3104668?ie=UTF8&s=dvd

8 hours of pure bliss!

Ago 7, 2006, 4:17 pm

Gracious, it seems my undergrad's English department failed to mention a lot of great authors from the 19th century! I keep hearing really good things about Elizabeth Gaskell. Which one is the best by her?

Chelsea :)

Ago 8, 2006, 3:46 am

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Ago 8, 2006, 10:42 am

I'm really only familiar with her Wives and Daughters, which was unfinished, and North and South. I've heard very good things about Ruth, as well. She writes about life in the earlier part of the Victorian era, and a lot about class and gender rights. I really like her!

And thanks for the heads up about Bleak House, lesezeichen- I'll see if the library has it first.

Ago 8, 2006, 7:00 pm

Chelsea, I've read both of Wilkie Collins' books, in fact I went back to re-read The Moonstone just a few months ago. I would consider both books to be favorites, but I have to admit to a sneaking preference for Moonstone. Gabriel Betteredge and Sergeant Cuff are some of my favorite characters - right up there with Count Fosco. :)

Ago 9, 2006, 1:19 pm

Awesome! Moonstone is on my list to read next. I didn't realize Wilkie Collins wrote so many novels/short stories. I was doing a catalogue search, and tons of titles came up (not just the repeats of copies... haha). I'm just more surprised that his name isn't talked about more.

I have about 100 more pages until I finish Woman in White, and I'm waiting for something to be done about Fosco. He may be a "Napoleon of Crime" but the good guy has to be vindicated in the end!... at least that's always my hope. :P

Chelsea :)

Ago 12, 2006, 2:16 am

After hearing so much about Moonstone, I had to get it when I saw it in the bookstore today! I also picked up The Tenant of Wildfell Hall because it was nominated as a group read on one of my reading groups, and it sounded so intriguing to me- and then I found out it took place in Regency England and of course I had to buy it!

I also purchased Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, as I've heard a lot about that one. And a few more :-)

42tess_lt Primeira Mensagem
Ago 12, 2006, 11:50 am

My mum is English (I'm Canadian), so I grew up with Enid Blyton, "squashed fly" biccies and "window cake" from M&S and a deep interest in the history of the country. Well, I love all history, but through Jean Plaidy I discovered the people and events that shaped Great Britain. Everything grew from there. The 18th C fascinates me because of the Enlightenment and the role women played in scientific progress during that period (Pandora's Breeches is a great book about this topic.

I also love the 18th c because of all the other change - the French Revolution and its complicated history and process, the English and European reaction to it etc, as well as Polish history (the Constitution and the reactions by the great powers).

The Regency is also fascinating - the rules, the war, the clothes, the language :-)

Ago 12, 2006, 1:13 pm

I've never heard of Pandora's Breeches, though it sounds intriguing, at the very least :-)

I love the periods for much of the same reasons you do, ladytess, though I don't know as much about Polish history at this time. Though I did just get the book Push Not the River, about Poland before the Napoleonic wars. I don't know how realistic a portrayal it might be, though.

Ago 12, 2006, 1:14 pm

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Ago 12, 2006, 1:15 pm

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Ago 12, 2006, 3:16 pm

Although the conversation has moved on somewhat I just tuned in. I want to talk about my favorite Heyer too! I can't convince anyone I know that Heyer is wonderful, and they should love her. Anyway, I also like Devil's Cub better than These Old shades. I like The Corinthian, False Colours, Arabella, The Reluctant Widow... Okay, I admit it, they are all my favorite! Chivers audio makes, I think, really good audio versions of Heyer novels.

Ago 13, 2006, 11:51 pm

I've never listened to an audiobook of a Heyer novel. I think it could either be a masterpiece or an utter failure, in my view. For my favorites, I think I have a pretty specific "voice" in mind for each of the characters, and if the way the reader portrayed it in an audiobook didn't match with the way I pictured the character, then I'd really be devastated. Or annoyed that the reader was wrong- since of course my interpretation would be correct!

I'm a huge fan of The Reluctant Widow as well. It's one of my favorites. Along with The Talisman Ring and Cotillion, I think.

Has anyone read Amanda Foreman's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire? I have it on my shelf but haven't read it yet. Which is surprising, as I think I'd really enjoy it.

Ago 14, 2006, 5:49 am

I read a lot of Heyer, Plaidy and Enid Blyton as a child but I rarely talk about it in public! I did English at university, so read a lot of 19th century literature, which led to a love of 19th century history and continued interest in Victorian novelists. I live in London, so Dickens still feels 'current': my local pub was his favourite for eating oysters by the Thames.

I like the Victorians' energy, syntax and concern with 'issues'. The novels are generally of a good length so that you feel immersed in the plot. I seem to have read all the 'major' novels and am trying more 'populist' works now, like William Harrison Ainsworth and others mentioned in Louis James' Print And The People 1819-1851.

Ago 14, 2006, 6:40 am

aarti, Georgiana's great reading. She had a fantastically interesting life, full of scandal and affairs and politics.

Ago 29, 2006, 5:08 am

You will not be disappointed! Anne Brontë's The Tennant of Wildfell Hall is, in my opinion, the best of the Brontë novels.

If you ask me Anne was far more knowledgable and wise than her sisters and she found the perfect balance in style between light and easily readable (a la Charlotte) and dark and difficult (a la Emily).

Don't get me wrong. All the Brontë's and all their books will remain top in my list of favourites forever. Wuthering Heights was, until "Tennant", my favourite Brontë novel, although Jane Eyre was a close second. I think I probably enjoyed Jane Eyre more when I was younger (13ish) and Wuthering Heights when I was a bit older (17ish) but now as a proper-grown-up I think I can appreciate Anne Brontë, the least well known Brontë sister, a whole lot more.

Also The Woman in White is amazing. But Armadale by Wilkie Collins is, in my opinion, better than either of his two better known novels.

Persuasion is the best Jane Austen if you ask me.

I own Fingersmith by Sarah Waters but haven't read it yet. I hear it's good.

And for books about the 19th Century I'd recommend The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes by Henry Mayhew

Ago 29, 2006, 9:19 am

I think what gives The Tenant of Wildfell Hall some of it's power is the autobiographical nature of it, the alcoholic Huntingdon being based on her brother Bramwell. This also explains family reaction to the novel, Charlotte claimed, "The choice of subject was an entire mistake". (This was outdone by a critic who claimed that book was "utterly unfit to be put in the hands of girls" - ah, the good old days).

The four main novels of Wilkie Collins are worth reading, the two listed above plus No Name and The Moonstone. It's interesting that in all four novels the main female character overshadows the men.

Although Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel I couldn't say it's her best work, that would have to be Emma.

Editado: Ago 29, 2006, 11:54 pm

I disagree; I thought Persuasion the finest, as well as my own favorite. Perhaps I'm only prejudiced, but truly was most impressed by it. :) For me, Emma comes second.

Ago 30, 2006, 3:39 am

I'm a big Georgette Heyer fan, favourites... toss up between Devil's Cub and The Masqueraders but I own so many of them now (and plan to own a lot more as well.)

Of Jane Austen, the only one I really like is Pride and Prejudice, but I think that's only because I read it first.

Ago 30, 2006, 4:37 am

Persuasion is the most interesting Austen for a number of reasons - it is the only (more-or-less) contemporary novel she wrote; it reverses the situation found in the other novels, in that it is the hero who has to attain self-knowledge; and she died before she had finished revising it, since she left no notes there has been much debate on what she planned to do.

On a completely different tact, I would like to recommend Uncle Silas and In A Glass Darkly. LeFanu wrote too much, as well as fiction he wrote a lot of journalism, sometimes virtually the whole paper he was currently editing, which meant that much of work is not as good as it could have been. However, Uncle Silas is a superb novel, a Gothic novel without the supernatural traits - if you like Wilkie Collins then this is also worth searching out. The short story collection contains 'Camilla', one of the first and best vampire stories, amongst other excellent supernatural tales. In the narrator, Dr. Hesselius, Le Fanu created, for better or worse, one of the first investigators of the supernatural in fiction.

Editado: Ago 30, 2006, 9:00 am

Hmm...I was aware that Huntingdon was based partly on Branwell, but I was unaware of the family's reaction to the novel when it was published.
I think perhaps the horror that the family might have felt at something they found to be very personal (and pointing to family scandal) stems from the very thing that makes the book so great. It is its realism and it's raw truthful feeling that gives it its edge but also it's smoothness. The book has a sort of seamless narrative that I think is greatly facilitated by authors writing what they know.

As for Persuasion I'm in two minds about it. If you ask me some days it's my favourite Jane Austen but admittedly not her best and some days I can't admit for any other book being considered her best. It remains my favourite nonetheless, but I'm not sure what I would class as her best if not Persuasion possibly Emma but also very possibly Pride and Prejudice. Although her other works are often overlooked in favour of Pride and Prejudice and despite its being the best known (and therefore probably not the best written in some people's eyes, as is often the case with prolific authors) I think it merits its wide acclaim and may very well be the best written and the best formulated in terms of plot and character.
Then again Emma which I'm re-reading now is certainly a priceless gem, and the characters are no less believable and the plot no less sparkling than in Pride and Prejudice. I tend to want to end these arguments within my own mind by settling on naming Persuasion as top Austen and leave it at that. Otherwise I'll be sitting here all afternoon thinking about it and when I get home I'll feel compelled to pull them all off the shelf and compare them.

I own No Name but have not read it yet. I think Collins shines when it comes to his female characters. They have a believability and a novelty in strength and spirit that other contemporary novels didn't have. I loved Lydia Gwilt in Armadale and despite the fact that she was hated and reviled when the book was first published I think Collins showed remarkable sympathy for her and understanding of what a difficult life might do to a person and what it might drive them to do that they would not otherwise have done under different circumstances. Through the sections of the novel narrated in her own voice, from her own diary we find that she is not altogether as conniving and 'evil' as she first appeared and indeed has great capacity for love and goodness, if only her sense of desperation and helplessness under pressure of her circumstances hadn't got the best of her.

I also felt a great affinity with Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White. More so than with her sister. He had a knack for painting realistic portraits of self-assured Victorian women.

Ago 30, 2006, 10:50 pm

I'm very excited to read Collins' Armadale, after what everyone here is saying! For those of you who might be interested, we will be reading it for discussion at my Yahoo group starting Sept. 19th. The group homepage is:


It would be fun if you all could join us as you seem very knowledgeable :-)

I am looking forward to reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as well. I love that it takes place during the Regency era, which is by far my favorite era of English history. While at the bookstore last weekend, I picked up two other books that relate to that era. A Traitor's Kiss and The Thieves' Opera, both of which sound very interesting.

And I'm currently reading an EXCELLENT novel on the French Revolution entitled A Place of Greater Safety. It is huge and therefore very heavy to hold, but it's very, very well-written. I'd highly recommend it!

I just finished Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, which I also enjoyed, though I must be sacriligious and say I prefer the BBC movie version to the book.

As for Jane Austen- I think we can probably move that discussion to a different forum :-) But I'll weigh in on the side of Persuasion. I think her characters in that book were excellently drawn and that the humor was so arch and mature, and the situation just so completely one that readers can sympathize with- mastery, IMHO.

Ago 30, 2006, 11:04 pm

Well, you've got me hooked. I've always been very partial to all-things Britsh too, and Wilkie Collins has been a favourite since I was a teenager. I haven't read Armadale yet though, so I'm going to take you up on the invitation and join your group. Wonderful!

Ago 31, 2006, 5:15 am

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Ago 31, 2006, 12:13 pm

Katylit, I didn't get any message saying you tried to join the group. Not to be a stalker, of course ;-) But let me know if you've had problems and I can send you an invite to your e-mail.

Ago 31, 2006, 3:36 pm

Aarti, I had to leave the computer last night before I could register, but I just did, so hopefully everything will go right now. I just ordered Armadale from Amazon too, so now I have something to look forward to in the mail and to read. Thanks for checking :-)

Ago 31, 2006, 7:32 pm

Ok, I got the message saying you became a member today. I'm really looking forward to Armadale, too! It sounds very intriguing. Though it's actually a much longer book than I expected. I never really mind reading long books, though I admit that I'm slightly intimidated at times to pick them up. A Place of Greater Safety is big, and it's definitely beginning to weigh on my wrists!

Set 1, 2006, 1:53 pm

I just looked up A Place of Greater Safety on Amazon, it does sound good - gosh, I might just have to order that one too!! I've always been a fan of French Revolution stories since reading Tale of Two Cities

Set 5, 2006, 8:00 pm

katylit, I finished up A Place of Greater Safety this weekend and heartily recommend it! I reviewed it, too, with five-star honors. It was VERY well-written, and emotionally draining.

Set 10, 2006, 8:07 pm

So great to find other fans of Elizabeth Gaskell. I've loved her books since college (and wrote my senior thesis on North and South,) but she never seems to get the attention lavished on Austen and the Brontes. I thought the TV series of Wives and Daughters was really well-made, but only tolerated the adaptation of North and South. I just wasn't crazy about how they tweaked the plot. Mr. Bell proposing to Margaret?? As for her other books, I'd like to plug Sylvia's Lovers - not the best of her stories, but I think it could make a great film.

Wilkie Collins - I love, love, The Woman in White; I found The Moonstone harder to get into, but rewarding.

Set 10, 2006, 8:51 pm

Speaking of Elizabeth Gaskell, I recently had to read her North and South online because neither the library or the bookstore had copies. In fact, there was nothing by Gaskell in either place.

What's the world coming to?

Set 14, 2006, 4:52 am

While I agree that nothing is quite like the feel and smell of a real book, online sources are much easier on the pocket! There is no end of good quality 19C Lit. including most of the author's mentioned here at http://www.online-literature.com/. I'm working through the short stories of Ambrose Bierce, but will break off now to read Wilkie Collins' 'Law and the Lady' having seen it praised here.

Set 17, 2006, 11:51 am

I actually really loved the BBC adaptation of North & South. I also think it was weird the way they had Mr. Bell propose to Margaret, but I thought Richard Armitage was a very, very good Mr. Thornton.

I actually own both North & South and Wives and Daughters and love them both. But I'm such a sucker for a good costume drama!

I plan on starting Wilkie Collins' Armadale tonight, so I'm excited to see that people really like his work!

Out 31, 2006, 1:41 am

Wilkie Collins is great! I recently listened to "Woman in White" (I'd read it before) and "No Name" (new to me). The latter reminded me of Dickens - can't wait for "Armadale" to be out in audio soon.

I hadn't heard of Gaskell until I happened across "Cranford" on the library audio shelf not long ago, which I thought pretty good.

Nov 2, 2006, 12:58 pm

On eBay one day, I happened onto Harriette Wilson's memoirs - not the Lesley Blanch version, but Harriette's actual book.

Harriette may not be the most reliable narrator, being somewhat partisan to herself, but the book is quite entertaining in a gossipy Madame Campan way, and it got me interested in 18th- and 19th-century courtesans.

Nov 3, 2006, 4:13 pm

Finished Armadale recently and thought it was good, except a bit hard to believe in parts. But with a Victorian Gothic, one must suspend belief, I think :-)

I have read Harriette Wilson's Memoirs in parts. Our university had an old copy that I could go through once in a while. And she's quoted a lot in other books of the period. I have the Lesley Blanch version on my shelf. I think it's probably edited, which is fine as Harriette was a bit melodramatic, wasn't she? :-)

I also have a large volume of Lord Chesterfield's Letters.

71Kather1ne Primeira Mensagem
Nov 30, 2006, 9:56 am

Cranford is a good introduction - on the surface it's avery genteel novel with not a lot happening, but between the lines you get a lot of information about the restricted lives - and incomes of women in 19th cent Britain and soceity's lack of respect for them.
Mary Barton is a grittier protest about the appalling lives of Victorian factory workers, only spoiled by the melodrama at the end and the saintly nature of Mary herself.

72Deutschebea Primeira Mensagem
Maio 17, 2007, 6:27 pm

May I come back to the original theme. I like Georgette Heyer also with her Regency Romances and with her mistery stories. But I think, meanwhile I like her Misteries more. The regency things are for the yound ones who are fond of gentlemanship and so on. If you grow older, you know men better... There fore I prefer the Misteries

Jul 4, 2007, 1:42 pm

I'm glad to find this group. I got interested in the history of this period through Jane Austen (hardly original of me, but hey). I read all her major, finished works and then really wanted to know more about the society of the era, since so much of her work seems like a satire of or commentary on the manners and morals of her contemporaries. I like all her works for different reasons, but my favorites are Persuasion and Mansfield Park (hence my username).

I also got interested in the history of this period through studying women's history in the Middle East - completely random, I know, but my professor was always making analogies between the two and talking about how the English were such good record-keepers that there is a wealth of English social history and women's history regarding this period. It provides a nice contrast to much of the early modern Middle Eastern history, for which records are often in short supply.

Jul 4, 2007, 2:26 pm

After reading all the Jane Austen I could get hold of including The Watsons and Sanditon, and biographies like the appreciation by Lord David Cecil, I started looking to her antecedents and found Fanny Burney who was a "mistress of the robes" to the queen, which she hated because she had to live in the palace and her life was very lonely. She wrote a novel called Evelina without putting her name on it, because she thought her father Charles Burney, the musicologist, would disapprove. The book was a great success and her father allowed her to give up the job with the queen, and encouraged her to write more. And voila! she fell in love at around the age of forty with a french emigre from the french revolution, General d'Arblay. They were tremendously happy, and she made a bundle on her novel Camilla and with it, bought a house. Her husband never was able to recover his estates in France. She had a son named Alexander, who became a vicar, but died young.
She had a mastectomy without anaesthetic, and lived to tell the tale. Some people call her the mother of the English novel, and some hand the title to Aphra Benn. I say let them share it, but Orinoko is no match for Pride and Prejudice.
To jump to the regency period, after you have read all the Georgette Heyer, and there are no more left to read, you might try Claire Darcy. She is not a bad substitute. Her novels have titles that are women's names.

Jul 4, 2007, 3:15 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I still have Jane Austen's Sanditon and Other Stories, which includes all her unfinished works and juvenile writings and a few letters/random things, I think.

I figured after I finished with Austen, I would do exactly as you suggest - move on to her predecessors and her contemporaries. Try to read the novels that influenced her. I am very interested in the epistolary-style novels that were written in this era, but I have not yet read one. Any suggestions?

Jul 4, 2007, 3:30 pm

Austen was a great fan of Samuel Richardson who is the master of the epistolary novel (imho). I read Clarissa until it came apart and my daughter bought me a new copy.

Jul 4, 2007, 7:11 pm

fannyprice and gautherbelle:Sir Charles Grandison is another epistolary Richardson novel that influenced Jane Austen. There was a film about Jane Austen that had something to do with it-maybe she was turning it into a play.

Maria Edgeworth was an Irish writer around the time of Jane Austen or perhaps a little earlier, and she has done comedy Castle Rackrent and lots of other novels, one of which is Belinda.

I have a set that is very old, but if you are interested I will look up the other titles in it, although they may be out of print. Castle Rackrent is very funny, and is about English absentee landlords in Ireland. She also wrote educational books. She had a lot of siblings, and she and her father taught them, and wrote educational pamphlets. I think she was fairly popular in her time.

How about Joseph Andrews, by Fielding, Barry Lyndon, & Pendennis by Thackeray, and also by Fielding-Tom Jones and Amelia.

Editado: Ago 4, 2007, 3:27 am

Hello everybody! :-)

What a wonderful group, to be able to find people who love to read the same things as I do!

Another great friend of British 18/19th Century literature here. I came to it through watching the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice on TV. Since then I read all the Books of Jane Austen and over the time many other works of that period found a way to my shelf.

I mostly like:

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice: That's one of my great favorites. I read it so often since I have that little book and some passages I could tell off-hand. As mentioned, I love her other novels as well - Lady Susan is a little sarcastic gem among the other great novels.

Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South - a bit boring first, but after some pages I couldn't lay it down! I love the BBC series as well, I watched it several times!

Elizabeth Gaskell: Wives and Daughters - another fine story, even if it's an unfinished one. But just the last chapter is missing - not an crucial part. The BBC series are also good.

Elizabeth Gaskell: Mary Barton. That's a little gem as well. Not so much as a love story but more as a social critic on the live circumstances of the mill workers at that time.

Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White: A real pageturner. When reading Collins it allways need a bit time to get in the book, but then it takes your breath away and you can't put it down! That man has had an great ability to create good charakters and a thrilling plot.

Wilkie Collins: No Name - The same thing here - you need get through the first chapters and than the story get so thrilling! I read that book on one weekend with laying half the nights too awake, because I couldn't put it down.

Wilkie Collins: Man and Wife - That book I'm reading in the moment. Another good one.

Fanny Burney: Evelina. I came to that book because it was mentioned in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. I found it really nice little gem.

Fanny Burney: Camilla: I think the story as such very interesting - a very good picture of the society of that time. But it's fairly thick and somethimes a bit peripatetic.

The Bronte-sisters: I like all the novels of them, Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Villette (Charlotte), The Tenant of Wakefielt Hall (Anne) and Wuthering Heights (Emily).

George Eliot: Middlemarch. I read that book some times ago in german translation and found it a little gem as well. Now I got it in its original language and will read it soon again!

William Thackeray: Vanity Fair. A really nice bunch of charakters. I read that book too in german translation first - but i will read it in it's original language too in a little while.

I have several other books in my shelf, but they are still unread. :-)

Ago 4, 2007, 9:38 am

Falkin81b, what about Dickens? Since you mention Thackeray, I think you should give Charles Dickens a try too.
I love all the authors you mention, by the way.

Editado: Ago 4, 2007, 10:38 am

Hi aluvalibri,

I have already an Dickens novel in my shelf, freshly delivered by Amazon on Wednesday this week: Bleak House - still unread in the moment. When I'm through with Wilkie Collins Man and Wife, I will start with it! :-)

What I really like about 18/19th century novels is that they gain worth every time you read them again. And every time one find new things among them, that one haven't seen the time before.

Ago 4, 2007, 12:18 pm

I'm a big fan of Thomas Hardy. I started reading the "big hits" back in high school: Tess of the Durbervilles, Jude the Obscure, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge etc. But now I'm finding some of the lesser-known novels, like The Woodlanders.

82chizztizz-lady Primeira Mensagem
Ago 11, 2007, 12:15 pm

hey just wana knw the politically,economically,technologically and morechanges from 19th century till today