Mary's Library

Monday, May 29, 2006

What I'm Reading

Over the weekend I've been reading Mrs Gaskell’s Ruth (1853)

I’m becoming very interested in Mrs Gaskell. Unlike many Victorian writers (Trollope for one) she addresses unpleasant social problems. North and South was about the appalling condition of factory workers and Ruth is about an unwed mother. This was a hot topic in the mid-19th century and most novelists wouldn’t touch it. Mrs Gaskell’s book was actually burned by some and her husband wouldn’t allow it in the house.

I’m also reading The Prime Minister (1876) by Anthony Trollope, and Belinda (1883), by Rhoda Broughton. Broughton is a lesser-known novelist of the period and I haven’t made up my mind about this book yet. It annoys me because it’s written in the present tense, which was terribly advanced for the time, by the way. Now we take it for granted.

I have a handful of other books on my night stand and coffee table, but I’m so wrapped up in the troubles of Ruth and Belinda and the Duke of Omnium and Gatherum that I can’t seem to find time for the rest.


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