Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

In 1805, Walter Scott sat down to write the opening chapters of Waverley, a book that was to usher in an entirely new type of literary genre, the historical novel.In the same year Scott had published his narrative poem, The Lay of the Minstrel, which was received enthusiastically, but when he submitted the first few … Continue reading Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

    Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell’s second book, was published in 1853 and is the surprisingly compassionate portrayal of a ‘fallen woman.' It contains elements that remind me of several books I’ve read:The Scarlet Letter (1850) with its religious hypocrisy; Tess of the d\'Urbervilles (1891), in that a naïve & vulnerable young woman is pressured into … Continue reading Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

The Growth of a Soul: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (1876)

  Daniel Deronda was George Eliot’s final novel and her most controversial work.The book contains a double plot, which was quite common with Victorian novelists such as Charles Dickens and William Thackeray, but Eliot took an unusual direction in this novel by introducing a Jewish theme. Between 1860 and 1874, the idea of re-establishing a … Continue reading The Growth of a Soul: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (1876)

Adam Bede by George Eliot (1819-1880)

Adam Bede is an unusual book in many respects, which shouldn't be surprising, as George Eliot was an unusual woman.   *  George Eliot was the non de plume of Mary Ann Evans *  Eliot was a fervent Evangelical up until her early twenties, when she rejected her Christian beliefs *  Although she rejected her … Continue reading Adam Bede by George Eliot (1819-1880)

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (?1730-1774)

Oliver Goldsmith counted among his friends the distinguished 'man of letters,' Dr.  Samuel Johnson and the famous artist Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was admired by Goethe, Sir Walter Scott and William Makepeace Thackery, author of Vanity Fair, but he when he arrived in London in 1756, he was penniless, unknown and had a face disfigured … Continue reading The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (?1730-1774)