Hello beautiful people!
As you might have seen in some of my previous posts, I am once again participating in Victober this month and I couldn’t be more excited to dedicate a lot of my time to Victorian literature again. I also wanted to focus a bit more on Victorian literature on the blog as well, so I thought I would try* to post once a week about it in October… So it’s the beginning of a month-long Victober series! For this first week, I wanted to talk about my favourite Victorian novels, so without further ado, let’s do this!
*we’ll see how this goes, as I’m quite busy with uni, reading and everything else, haha.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1874)
Far from the Madding Crowd is the novel that started it all, reignited my love for classics and made me fall in love with Hardy’s writing, it also is one of my top 3 favourite novels. It follows Bathsheba Everdene, an independent and proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men, making her the object of scandal and betrayal. I adore how it discusses the place of women in a world dominated by men and how strong Bathsheba is (even though she can be quite annoying at times), the way Hardy describes rural communities and most of all, I adore Gabriel Oak so much. I’d also totally recommend the 2015 movie adaptation with Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts, it’s one of my favourite movies and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1848)
If you don’t know Anne Brontë is my favourite Brontë sister, even though I love them all. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall impressed me so much, it was so ahead of its time and Victorian society wasn’t really ready for it, which only makes me love it more. This novel is about a mysterious woman who lives at Wildfell Hall, running away from her past (I don’t want to say too much, so I shall stay quite mysterious in my summary)… It deals with so many important themes, such as gender roles, abuse and alcoholism, and is considered a feminist novel. Helen is one of the strongest female heroines I have come across in the 19th century and I can’t help but to adore her. If you still haven’t read Anne’s works, please give her a chance, she deserves it so much.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
Wuthering Heights is the first Victorian novel I read as a teenager, because I was curious about English literature and it sure didn’t disappoint. This novel starts when Lockwood has to seek shelter at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the tempestuous story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how it influenced the lives of their descendants. I adored Emily’s dark and twisted characters, the story and her writing style as well as the chilling atmosphere on the moors. It’s been so long since I first read this one, so I’m hoping to reread it before the end of the year or at the beginning of the next one, we’ll see.
Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891)
I know it’s not very original to mention one of Hardy’s novels for the second time in this post, but he’s one of my favourite writers and I rated so many of his novels 5/5 stars. This one is about Tess Durbeyfield who has to claim kinship with the wealthy d’Ubervilles family, but meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. Later on, Tess meets Angel Clare, who seems to offer her love and salvation, but she has to decide whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. Once again, I adored the themes Hardy addressed in this one, with the theme of the ‘fallen woman’ in a very patriarchal society, as well as the criticism of social conventions and the thin line that exist between what society considers right or wrong. It’s a very heartbreaking read, but a stellar novel. I also adored the 2007 BBC adaptation, which starred Gemma Arterton as Tess and Eddie Redmayne as Angel (okay, I first wanted to read this novel because of Eddie, I’ll confess it).
Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)
Another Victorian author I adore is Elizabeth Gaskell and my favourite of her works is Ruth, which isn’t very well-known. This novel is about Ruth, who works in a sweatshop and is selected to attend a ball to repair torn dresses, which leads her to meet aristocrat Henry Bellingham. They form a secret friendship which goes horribly wrong for Ruth when she discovers she is pregnant. It centers around the ‘fallen woman’ theme again, which might seem a bit weird, but a lot of my favourite classic novels deals with that topic. I find it really interesting when authors take a stand and criticize how women who had children out of wedlock were judged and treated by society, even though it’s quite revolting and heartbreaking. I love how compassionate Gaskell’s take was, especially considering it was the first half of the 19th century. I also adore North and South, her most famous novel, but this one definitely took me by surprise!
So there you have it, here are my favourite Victorian novels! You can quite tell who my favourite Victorian authors are thanks to this post for sure. I have so many Victorian novels I am eager to read, though, so I hope this list will grow bigger and bigger as time goes on.
Lots of love,