Victober 2022

Victober is a celebration of Victorian literature (British and Irish literature written or published between 1837 and 1901) where we read throughout the month of October. I jumped the gun a little. I read Villette and started The Mayor of Casterbridge before October started. I guess they don't really count, then, but I'm recording them here anyway.

Villette - Charlotte Brontë (1853)

Katie’s challenge: Read a Victorian Bildungsroman/coming of age story

Marissa discussed this with Katie in 2021

I really enjoyed this. I started reading it after hearing John Mullan call it "Better than Jane Eyre." I found it unpredictable, in a good way. Nothing I thought was going to happen happened and the things that did happen I did not see coming. It challenged my school French, though. There really was quite a lot of untranslated French. Did Charlotte Brontë just assume all of her readers could read French? I guess that was fairly common in her day, but– gosh– even some of the characters in Villette spoke only English or only French.

cover of Villette

The Mayor of Casterbridge - Thomas Hardy (1886)

Ros did a round up of the #victober2022 group read.

I listened to this on audiobook. It's very strange. I don't know what to make of it. It was good though. Just strange.

cover of audiobook

The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens (1836)

I listened to this one as well. It is very long. It was originally published monthly for 20 months. I'm guessing reading it that way might be better. Reading it all at once is somewhat tiresome. It's funny, but maybe not quite funny enough.

cover of audiobook

The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne - Anthony Trollope (1861)

Marissa’s challenge: Read a Victorian short story

This was wonderful. I need to read more Trollope!


The Eagle - Alfred Lord Tennyson (written 1830s, published 1851)

Ros’s challenge: Read a work of Victorian poetry, long or short

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Vitae Summa Brevis - Ernest Dowson (1890s)

Bonus poem! If you're like me, you'd heard the phrase "days of wine and roses," but didn't know where it was from. Perhaps never even thought about it. Well, it's from a Victorian poem!

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Daniel Deronda - George Eliot (1876)

Petra’s challenge: Read a Victorian book and watch a screen adaptation of it

I thought this was a little uneven, but I enjoyed the adaptation (2002). The acting is first rate.

Why do we still call George Eliot George Eliot? She published under the name George Eliot, but we know her real name was Mary Ann Evans? I guess lots of women published under male pseudonyms in those days. Why do some have their real names restored and some not? For example, all three Brontë sisters had male pseudonyms— Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (which interestingly retained both their common surname and initials)— but we don't use those anymore.

cover of Daniel Deronda

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë (1848)

This was fascinating, though brutal. The format of the novel was interesting; it has only one narrator, but he reads diaries and letters which changes it to other first-person perspectives.

cover of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall