Victorian literature specialist John Sutherland, Emeritus Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, told us that "the Victorian age wasn’t just a golden age for British literature – it was more particularly a golden age for fiction.” He spoke to us about the best Victorian novels.
Charles Dickens features prominently in our Victorian literature section as does Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Other highly recommended books from the Victorian era include Dracula and Jane Eyre.
The Victorian era was a golden age for fiction, says Victorian literature specialist John Sutherland, Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He talks us through the some of the best novels written during the Victorian period, and what they reveal about the people who wrote them.
Anthony Trollope compared being a writer to being a cobbler and wrote highly readable novels that nonetheless exposed all our human foibles. Bestselling children’s author and Trollope enthusiast Francesca Simon explains her fascination with Anthony Trollope and recommends some of her favourite books by the Victorian novelist.
Why was 1897 such a great year for horror? How did Charles Darwin’s discoveries impact the genre? Trinity College, Dublin professor Darryl Jones selects some of the best of the genre—and discusses why we find these stories so fascinating.
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 56 short stories and four novels starring his fictional sleuth. Michael Dirda – Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, writer and lifelong Sherlockian – gives us his personal choice of the best Sherlock Holmes books and tells us more about their creator.
George Eliot is all but synonymous with Victorian realism; for D H Lawrence, she was the first novelist to start ‘putting all the action inside.’ Here, Philip Davis, author of The Transferred Life of George Eliot, selects the best books by or about one of the greatest novelists of all time: ‘If you want to read literature that sets out to create a holding ground for raw human material—for human struggles, difficulties, and celebrations—read George Eliot’
Oscar Wilde cultivated an image of himself as an idle genius, dashing off masterpieces with a lazy brilliance. But below the glittering linguistic surface of his works, suggests Sos Eltis, lies an anarchic politics and a phenomenal analysis of power.
We often assume the Victorians had puritanical attitudes to sex, but this was far from the reality. From familiar classics to neglected gems, Claire Jarvis—Stanford academic and author of Exquisite Masochism: Sex, Marriage and the Novel Form—selects the best books on sex in Victorian literature.
by Charles Lamb
Culture and Anarchy and Other Writings
by Matthew Arnold
Selected Essays, Poems, and Other Writings
by George Eliot
Studies in the History of the Renaissance
by Walter Pater
The Hands of the Living God: An Account of a Psychoanalytic Treatment
by Marion Milner
With the advent of the Victorian age, polite maxims of eighteenth-century essays in the Spectator were replaced by a new generation of writers who thought deeply—and playfully—about social relationships, moral responsibility, education and culture. Here, Oxford literary critic David Russell explores the distinct qualities that define the Victorian essay and recommends five of its greatest practitioners.
Return of the Native (Illustrated)
by Clare Leighton (illustrator) & Thomas Hardy
Moby Dick (Illustrated)
by Herman Melville & Rockwell Kent (illustrator)
Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (Illustrated)
by Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë & Fritz Eichenberg (illustrator)
by Jane Austen & Joan Hassall (illustrator)
The craze of the 1930s and 1940s was for beautifully illustrated editions of the great Victorian novels, affordably priced to take pride of place in a middle-class home. Lecturer and author Rosalind Parry recommends five outstanding editions whose illustrations are as striking as their stories.
Wilkie Collins, the sensationalist author and inventor of the detective novel, knew precisely how to “make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait”. Jason Hall, Victorian literature expert and editor of a new edition of Jezebel’s Daughter, chooses the five best books from Collins’s extensive oeuvre – and considers the voracious appetites and unorthodox lifestyle of this intriguing Englishman.