It is hard to believe but this week marks one decade of blogging on Christian Victorian Literature. Many things have happened in my life during that time, but one thing that has not changed is that I continue to return to my favourite period of literature in the history of the English language – the nineteenth century. The satisfaction literary works from this era offer (and the eighteenth century as well) I have personally found to be unparalleled. Few novels from any later periods display the same intellectual power, and intellect is pretty much everything when it comes to a novel. The intellectual capacity of the author sets the parameters for the depth of the psychology of the characters, the meaningful description of the landscape, the usage of symbolism and metaphor, the complexity of the plot and so much more – a whole, vast world with great purpose and meaning set before the reader, achieved through incredible powers of observation and abstract thought. When I read a nineteenth century novel, I often feel like I’m going down into a deep-sea dive and plunging into a thought universe which, if it weren’t for the novels left behind, people today couldn’t even imagine had ever existed.
Top Posts of All Time
1. My Story: A Victorian Healing – Though only very tangentially related to my blog’s main theme, my personal story of incredible healing has so far garnered almost 1800 reads.
2. The Fall of Women in Victorian Novels – The ruin of women through seduction was a common theme in literature of the 1800’s. Ruth, by Elizabeth Gaskell, stands apart in its treatment of this theme.
3. For the Student of Literature – Whether university is ahead of you or behind you, take advantage of reading works by Christian scholars who respond to the influential philosophies of our time.
Posts with Most Comments
1. Introducing “The Fisherman’s Lady” – Everyone agrees – this book needs to be made into a movie already.
2. My Story: A Victorian Healing – I received many comments and private emails from people thanking me for this post and telling me how it helped them exit their world of chronic pain.
3. Introducing “Cranford” – While typical Victorian novels uphold romantic, marital love as the penultimate relationship, Cranford appreciates sisterly and neighbourly love.
1. Introducing “Aurora Leigh” – I can’t underscore enough that this book is the consummate find of my blog thus far.
2. Nature Reveals the Glory of God in “Lorna Doone” – Through John’s eyes, we see nature entirely imbued with the imprints and traces of a maker.
3. Introducing “The Heir of Redclyffe” – Although you may have never heard of it before, The Heir of Redclyffe was one of the most popular novels of the Victorian Era. Although it used to be published by Wordsworth Classics not long ago, it is now out of print.
The Long Victorian (@longvictorian2) said:
I mostly cover the period c. 1789-1914, and many writers popular and admired in that period are still popular and admired today. Quite an achievement.
I did a blog post once noting that Victorian/Edwardian cigarette packets in Britain often had collectable cards inside – this included a series with a top writer of the day on it – including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, the Brontës, G.K. Chesteron, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Hilaire Belloc etc. The point is that manufacturers could rely on the “ordinary smoker on the street” knowing and admiring these top writers.
But then along came modernism and a split appeared. Popular novels were often disparaged, and critically admired novels often weren’t popular. And I think this is a pity. When I was in the book trade we almost had to beg people to buy books on the Booker prize shortlist – it just wasn’t writing that appealed to the public. A huge contrast to the public excitedly waiting by the quayside for the unloading of the latest Dickens.
The Long Victorian (@longvictorian2) said:
10 years is an in impressive achievement! I’m not sure how long I have had my blog – probably not as long – and I had a gap. But returning to blogging I find many of those who started about the same time have vanished, alas.
I feel the novel peaked in the nineteenth century – the golden age – and then came a regrettable (to my mind) break between what was popular and what was critically admired.
Perhaps, and yet some of what was considered popular in the Victorian era is now critically admired….