fiction between Swift and Dickens
Posted: 30 November 2012 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3026
Joined  2007-02-26

It occurs to me I have read no work of fiction publshed between 1730 and 1830.

It’s quite a hole.

What do you recommend I start with.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2012 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4658
Joined  2007-01-03

Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne
Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding
Anything by Jane Austen

If you’re aiming for poetry, I’m fond of Wordsworth’s 1799 (two-part) Prelude.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2012 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2310
Joined  2007-01-30

A few more not to be missed.

Tobias Smollett, a wonderfully funny novelist and one of Dickens’ favourites. I suggest starting with Roderick Random and then Humphrey Clinker (in my opinion his best work.)

Samuel Richardson. The master of the epistolary novel. Try Pamela and the massive Clarissa Harlowe (daunting in its sheer size but once you’re into it you won’t want to put it down.) Henry Fielding wrote a wickedly funny parody of Pamela entitled Shamela (the two writers were poles apart and cordially detested each other). In fact Joseph Williams, Fielding’s first major novel (Shamela and Jonathan Wild are satires rather than novels) begins as a parody of Pamela, Joseph being supposedly Pamela‘s brother, but soon drops the parody and becomes one of the greatest comic novels in English, limbering Fielding up for his masterpiece Tom Jones. You won’t easily forget such characters as Parson Williams, Partridge the servant and the inimitable Mrs Slipslop, the worthy predecessor of Mrs Malaprop. (I admire Richardson but I love Fielding, who was also one of the greatest comic playwrights in English, his stage career being cut short by the infamous Licensing Act of 1737 and consequent censorship of plays.)

I’m getting carried away so I’ll cut it short with a quick recommendation of the precocious Fanny Burney and her Evelina (Samuel Johnson delighted in it) and don’t miss her diaries of life at Court and George III ("What, what, what?").

Enjoy!

BTW the incredible sales of Richardson’s Pamela (it was said that a dog-eared copy could be found on the window-sill of every inn in England) resulted in the name’s sudden rise to become one of the most common in England. Hitherto it had been practically unknown save for readers of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia , of which work she is the heroine.

[ Edited: 30 November 2012 09:45 AM by aldiboronti ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2012 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4658
Joined  2007-01-03

I would avoid Pamela. It’s a truly awful novel for the modern sensibility—it touts the moral virtues of women marrying their stalkers and rapists. It’s indispensable if you’re studying the history of the novel, but for general reading it is best left alone.

I left Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein off my short list.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2012 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3026
Joined  2007-02-26

Somehow I had the idea that Frankenstein was later than that.

Thanks, all.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 December 2012 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4658
Joined  2007-01-03

Dracula is later (1897), but Frankenstein is 1818.

Profile