Monday, December 15, 2008

When Friends Ask for Lists...

...I get too, too eager to fulfill the request.

Tucker asked me to recommend 5 starter books of 19th British fiction by women authors that he could listen to via I asked if it had to be women authors, and he conceded that I could include book's with female protagonists. (I can't write any book lists that don't include Thomas Hardy). I liked the list I emailed him, and decided to post it in case anyone else is hankering for Vic Fic. (Meaning Victorian Fiction. I think I just coined that, but so did probably 900 other people this week).

Books for listening to and growing as a human being in the 21st century written by those in the 19th century, by or about women

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A fierce voice speaking against hypocrisy in an age where "appropriateness" was a woman's highest virtue. This book is sexy, tragic, triumphant, emotionally & theologically intelligent and unflinching. One of my core-life texts.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Austen's most mature, sophisticated and autobiographical novel

Tess of the D-Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
A pastoral novel about simple people, that turns the mirror back to society, questioning what purity and innocence really mean. This book is a great intertext with the book of Ruth.

Adam Bede by George Eliot
Eliot's narration beats with a warm and poetic heart on behalf of the unheroic nature of everyday people

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I don't particularly like this book, but you have to read it. It's a dark and tortured story from the mind of a brilliant young woman who's passionate intellect was trapped in the life of a parson's daughter. It's psychologically disturbing and hugely un-romantic despite how people try to treat it, but if you're going to read Victorian literature by women, you cannot bypass this one. (and all the Brontes are brilliant- Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and the fact that all 3 were published in their lifetime, makes reading at least two of the Brontes another necessity when it comes to surveying victorian women's lit.)

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