Victorian Literature Challenge

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Victorian Literature Challenge is hosted by Bethany of words, words, words. It runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 - and a good thing, too, because I have signed up for many challenges this year, so I'll need that time to get through them all!

Victorian literature is, by definition, writing published during Queen Victoria's reign from 1837-1901, but this is a flexible definition - Jane Austen, for example, is being considered Victorian for the purposes of this challenge.

There are four levels:
Sense and Sensibility - 1-4 books
Great Expectations - 5-9 books
Hard Times - 10-14 books
Desperate Remedies: 15+ books

I am challenging myself to the Great Expectations level, although there are many more Victorian-era books I am hoping to read in the next few years. I am not sure exactly which books I will read, but here are some of my hopefuls:
1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (the only one I've yet to read!)
2. Wings of a Dove by Henry James
3. Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and Pickwick Papers - All by Dickens. I have never been able to "get along" with him (see my post about my relationship with A Tale of Two Cities) and would like to remedy the situation.
4. I would like to read more Bronte sisters - I've only read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
5. I'm also hoping to read some Elizabeth Gaskell, especially Wives and Daughters

Well, that will do for now. I can't wait for the new year to start so I can get into these books.


  1. A thought on Dickens-- I've only ever read A Christmas Carol and Hard Times, both of which I enjoyed. I thought he was very funny in Hard Times. But my aunt Allison has told me repeatedly that her favorite Dickens is absolutely David Copperfield. So maybe consider putting that on your list? I trust her book judgement completely. Although she has also told me to read a few other Dickens novels first because nothing ever compares to David Copperfield.

  2. +JMJ+

    Good luck with Dickens! =) He's not on my own list, but 2011 will be a good year for me to start and (again!) and to finish (finally!) Great Expectations.

    My own last Jane Austen novel was Mansfield Park, which was so good that I felt that I had "saved the best for last." I hope Northanger Abbey will be as satisfying a read for you. =)

  3. Another blogger suggested that Great Expectations was a good place to start with Dickens so I'm planning on replacing Bleak House with that on my VC list.

  4. I've never been able to get along with Dickens either...but I love Wilkie Collins and Anthony Trollope, so at this point I don't really care. lol

  5. Hi! I'm a friend of your sisters-in-law, who told me about your blog. Since you're writing about one of my all time favorite subjects--Victorian Lit--I had to add my two cents!

    I know what you mean about Dickens. He can be tough. But he really does have lots of different stuff out there, so I really believe that there is a Dickens book out there for every reader. I LOVE Great Expectations, and would second the ealier recommendation about that one. But just a year or so ago, I read Little Dorrit before the PBS miniseries came out, and loved that one too. So give him a try again.

    And I'm so excited that you are going to try Elizabeth Gaskill. She is one of my favorite writers, and a woman who really doesn't get the kind of props that she deserves. I know Wives and Daughters is her most famous, but while I liked it, it's not my favorite. Mary Barton is a really cool murder mystery/romance, and North and South is one of my all time favorite books. I even made Kathryn and Ashleigh come over and watch the 4 hour BBC version with me once. Talk about true friendship, right?

    And one more shout out to the Bronte sisters. I have to recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte. One of the first feminist novels, but still with a Gothic feel. REALLY liked that one too.

    Happy Reading! I love your blog!

    Katie Nelson

  6. Yay! Thanks for joining! Liking the look of your list! I HATED David Copperfield but LOVED a Tale of Two Cities so here it goes for Great Expectations! Enjoy!

  7. I joined this one, too -- I can't wait to start!

  8. 'Northanger Abbey' is great fun. Emily Bronte's poems are worth a read. And I'm hoping to read more Gaskell too. Enjoy the challenge!

  9. @ AMitton & Bethany - I am thinking that I will have to read David Copperfield eventually. There is so much Dickens out there. I'm hoping I will improve my relationship with him this year and that even if I don't get to all the books on my list with him I will like him enough to keep reading him.

    @Enbrethiliel - I loved Mansfield Park - I think it may have been my favorite so far. I just got some lovely illustrated versions free for my Kindle of all of Jane Austen's works so I am thinking about doing a reread of all of them!

    @everybookandcranny - We'll have to compare notes once we've both gotten through it. I've heard good things about Great Expectations so I'm looking forward to it.

    @Eva - Oh shoot. I knew there was someone I was leaving off my list! I am hoping to read some Wilkie Collins too. Do you have any suggestions with where to start?

    @Katie - Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciated all your comments. I just got Tenant of Wildfell Hall for my Kindle and I am going to look up Mary Barton and North and South in a minute. I'll be in Modesto next week - maybe we'll run into each other :)

    @Coffee and a Book Chick - I know. I want to start reading them now, not wait until January!

    @decidedlybookish - I had no idea that Emily Bronte wrote poetry. I'll have to look into that!


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