Book review: The Time Machine by H G Wells,1895

Continuing with my Wells-athon, all of which have been quite short novels, I now turn to the hugely influential ‘The Time Machine’. Time travel was not a new concept, but Wells’s novel was one of the earliest on this theme, and established some concepts and principles that remain with us. having said that, I found the behaviourContinue reading “Book review: The Time Machine by H G Wells,1895”

Book review: The Invisible Man, by H G Wells, 1897

The power to transform the human body using advances in scientific understanding. This was the theme that captured the imagination of many nineteenth century writers, including, among others, Mary Shelley in ‘Frankenstein‘, Robert Louis Stevenson in ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde‘, and H.G. Wells in ‘The Invisible Man‘. In this late Victorian novella, Wells exploresContinue reading “Book review: The Invisible Man, by H G Wells, 1897”

Book review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle 1892

Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ contains 12 short stories, all originally published in the Strand magazine between June 1891 and July 1892. Some are better known than others, but all follow a fairly rigid format – a curious case is brought to Holmes’s attention by a flustered individual, often incognito, Watson’s support isContinue reading “Book review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle 1892”

Book review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte, 1848

It is quite rare for me to open a classic Victorian novel and have almost no idea what it is going to be about. But that was the case here – I have somehow avoided television and radio adaptations, reviews, blogposts etc – and the kindle edition even removes the clues provided by the blurb and illustrationsContinue reading “Book review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte, 1848”

Comment: Gammon

Just a quick follow up to yesterday’s post about ‘Nicholas Nickleby’. Earlier this year there was a very slight fuss in the UK media about the use of the term “gammon” as a pejorative description of older white men who get red in the face when upset. The Urban Dictionary defines it disrespectfully as: “AContinue reading “Comment: Gammon”

Book review: Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1848

“Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.” Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’ draws its name from ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’. It was published in nineteen monthly instalments, and as with many Victorian novels shows some evidence of padding – the scenes in continental Europe at theContinue reading “Book review: Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1848”

Supplementary: Clothing in Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’

It is probably a statement of the obvious that the clothes people wear can tell us a lot about them.  In Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte uses descriptions of her characters’ clothing to give the reader ways of interpreting their roles and their relationships. One example of this is in the description of Jane’s clothing theContinue reading “Supplementary: Clothing in Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’”

Book review: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, 1847

I think a case can be made for ‘Jane Eyre’ as the definitive nineteenth century novel. It has it all: Romance – the scene in chapter 22 when Rochester teasingly proposes to Jane, and she slowly comes to realise he is serious, is as touching and effective as anything in Austen, and the final reconciliationContinue reading “Book review: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, 1847”

Book review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, 1847

‘Wuthering Heights’ has over 22,000 reviews on Goodreads alone; one has to wonder what else I could possibly add to that overwhelming weight of opinion and consideration? The dark and gothic tale is constructed with a complex variety of framing structures – at one point the narrative is told by Mr Lockwood, the tenant ofContinue reading “Book review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, 1847”

Book review: Sybil, by Benjamin Disraeli, 1845

“Would he have made the cut if he had not become prime minister?” asks Robert McCrum in his Guardian article explaining why he chose ‘Sybil’ for his “top 100 novels written in English” list. He goes on: ”his literary contemporaries such as Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, and even Anthony Trollope are much greater novelists. Disraeli’sContinue reading “Book review: Sybil, by Benjamin Disraeli, 1845”