Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

I can't find the edition I read, which is certainly at least 120... I’ve written before about how my parents renovated rambling country houses, and the problem of those many empty bookshelves my mother filled up with bargain job lots from auctions, which often consisted of late Victorian and early Edwardian popular fiction. That was … Continue reading Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

Heathcliff – No Romantic Hero: Vengeance and Forgiveness in ‘Wuthering Heights’.

I have recently been reading Marianne Thormählen’s fascinating book ‘The Brontës and Religion’ (Cambridge University Press 1999). I shouldn’t be. Really, I should be doing more research,  but I couldn’t resist it. I came across it through its mention in the notes of the 1994 Wordsworth Classic Edition of ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ as … Continue reading Heathcliff – No Romantic Hero: Vengeance and Forgiveness in ‘Wuthering Heights’.

Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders: Part II: Samuel Richardson’s Lovelace, Mr B and Pamela

I ended my former post of lay psychologising about the high prevalence of characters who seem to have personality disorders in famous books, by mentioning Robert Lovelace, the rapist anti-hero of Clarissa. I have written about this fellow elsewhere as a fascinating example of a character personifying the dark side of an author’s psyche – … Continue reading Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders: Part II: Samuel Richardson’s Lovelace, Mr B and Pamela

‘Lady Audley’s Secret’: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Mid Victorian Sensationalist Novel

How embarrasing: I typed and published a whole post - a review of this notorious Victorian novel - and only the image came out! I blame the new editing system on WordPress....Well, that and my own muddle headedness... Lady Audley’s Secret’ , the 1862  best selling Victorian sensationalist novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, is based … Continue reading ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Mid Victorian Sensationalist Novel

The Value of Criticism, Criticism and Entertainment and Romantic Novels

I am a bit perturbed (I’m good at being perturbed, aren’t I?) at a New Age view which has infiltrated popular thinking. A recent blog post by Mari Biella on free speech https://maribiella.com/2017/03/19/free-speech-fake-news-and-the-internet/ inspired me to write this one. This 'New Age'  view that has to some extent infiltrated popular thinking is the  ‘No Negativity’ … Continue reading The Value of Criticism, Criticism and Entertainment and Romantic Novels

Jane Austen’s Unfinished Work ‘The Watsons’

To my shame, I never had got round to reading Jane Austen’s unfinished work, ‘The Watsons’ until now. Well, that’s not quite true. I began to read it in my early twenties, and got distracted by something else and never got back to it. In a way, it’s a comfort remembering that, because since then … Continue reading Jane Austen’s Unfinished Work ‘The Watsons’

Re-reading ‘A Phantom Lover’ (or ‘Oke of Okehurst’ by Vernon Lee

    This is actually the third time I've read this, which has to be a compliment to the author. A fellow writer mentioned it not long ago, and the whole concept of a woman being infatuated with a ghost, and that made me eager to re-read it. I first read it in my early … Continue reading Re-reading ‘A Phantom Lover’ (or ‘Oke of Okehurst’ by Vernon Lee

Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

I always find it interesting how through reading fiction written by authors at about the time that the story is set, or shortly afterwards, you can get authentic background detail about various aspects of everyday life. This varies as to the social position of the author, of course, and how far he or she is … Continue reading Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

Re-Reading ‘The Go Between’ by LP Hartley

I have just started re-reading ‘The Go Between’ by L P Hartley. I last read it longer ago than I care to admit – in my early twenties. It made a big impression on me then. I was struck by the vivid writing, brilliant use of a string of connected images and the striking ability … Continue reading Re-Reading ‘The Go Between’ by LP Hartley

The Brilliant ‘Bodily Harm’ by Margaret Atwood Revisited

Recently, I broke off from my ongoing good old independent research into women's escapism  (and if anyone reading this has read anything recent  and not partisian on the topic of women’s escapism and reading romances, do let me know). Finding Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm on the shelves of someone I was visiting, I pounced on … Continue reading The Brilliant ‘Bodily Harm’ by Margaret Atwood Revisited