Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The English Review Vol. 4 | Literature and Society in Victorian Britain

As the name suggests, this was an English course with a serious History bent. It was super fascinating finding out more about the Victorian era (and super handy for this semester which is once again looking at the Victorian era) and how its novels were both influenced by and influenced society.

Since one of the main things you do in English studies, and one of my favourite parts, is looking at the connection between literature and the society and culture that produced, it proved to be both useful and insightful to have a topic so grounded with actual information about the era. Having said that, a bit more focus on the actually novels would have been good…  

Reading list: selection of poetry, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, Middlemarch by George Elliot, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Middlemarch was much more enjoyable than I expected and Heart of Darkness much more confusing. Our Mutual Friend restored my faith in Dickens as a writer and the likelihood of Little Dorrit being as good as the 2008 BBC adaptation.

And then there was Jane Eyre.  

Jane Eyre was a novel I’d been wanting to read for a while, so I was excited to see it on the course list. But I was also apprehensive, worried it wouldn’t be what I wanted and expected. Jane was as fierce and independent and headstrong as I hoped and she more than made up for the fact that Rochester is actually a super dodgy guy. I liked being in Jane’s head as she came to terms with the world and found her place in it. I enjoyed that more than the romance, which was enjoyable but, like I said, Rochester is dodgy as.

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