2019 TBR Pile Challenge, George Sylvester Viereck, Gothic, LGBT, vampire, Victorian

The House of the Vampire by G.S. Viereck

George Sylvester Viereck published The House of the Vampire in 1907. It is one of the first “psychic vampire” novels ever written, but what makes it even more interesting is the romance at its center is a homosexual one (in fact, a homosexual love triangle, of sorts.)

I first encountered Viereck while working on my dissertation (which, side note, has been edited and revised, and is soon to be published as a book on Amazon; I’ll be posting about this soon), and I was surprised by the themes of his work, the stark clarity with which he wrote them, and the deep awareness he brought to issues of gender and sexuality in a time that always seems so deeply ignorant and puritan to our contemporary one. (Spoiler Alert: My book upends a lot of these misconceptions about the early-twentieth century!)

Perhaps the most compelling element of this novel, gay “romance” of the early-1900s aside, is the psychic aspect. It is not a straightforward, “the vampire will drink your blood” kind of horror. Instead, the antagonist feeds off of the creativity of those around him, specifically focusing on a slow devouring of one talented individual at a time. The vampire takes an apprentice under his wing, showers him (or her) with affection, and all the while drinks the life-source of that individual’s creative talents, until the writer, artist, or poet has nothing left to give. It’s in many ways more horrific than the simple vampire villain.

Despite being relatively unknown, it is safe to say that House of the Vampire is, or deserves to be, a classic of the Victorian Gothic genre. The writing is suitably Romantic, the blurring of lines between reality and the supernatural is present and effective, and the exploration of humanity through art and relationships, love and fear, is both interesting and touching. Although relatively short and fast-paced, much more akin to Jekyll than Udolpho, the questions at its core are what make House of the Vampire worth reading, and reading in particular for the honesty with which Viereck treats the possibilities of human love and action.

Overall: 3.5/5.0 This book was selected as part of my 2019 TBR Pile Challenge.

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2013 TBR Pile Challenge, Book Review, Gender Studies, GLBT, Historical, History, Homoeroticism, Homosexuality, Homosocial Relationships, LGBT, Morris B. Kaplan, Non-Fiction, PhD, Queer Theory, Sexuality, Victorian

Thoughts: Sodom on the Thames by Morris B. Kaplan

1025812Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times by Morris B. Kaplan
Final Verdict: 3.5 out of 4.0
YTD: 20

Sodom on the Thames is a descriptive and argumentative essay divided into four chapters, each of which focuses on one element of male same-sex love and/or sex in the late-Victorian period.

Part One, “Sex in the City,” deals with the infamous Boulton and Park case.  In it, the history of two men (Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park) who were also crossdressers and likely prostitutes, known as Lady Stella Clinton (Boulton) and Fanny Winifred (Park), is given and their trial for intent to commit the act of sodomy is relayed.  Kaplan employs readings from court records, newspapers, personal correspondences (diaries, letters, etc.) and a famous pornographic novel written by John Saul to reconstruct the world of Boulton and Park, including the way male-male love and sexuality manifested itself.

Part Two, “Love Stories,” recounts the story of William Johnson Cory, a master at Eton College who had intimate relations with some of his students.  It also relays the story of those students’ relationships with each other (and other male and female lovers) as they aged and moved on from college (high school).  Kaplan again relies heavily on primary source documents, such as letters and diaries, to reconstruct their friendships and romantic and sexual relationships.  He also discusses linked fears and perceptions between the Boulton and Park case and the pederasty and effeminizing nature of all-boys schools (where boys were encouraged to play the role of women in plays, for instance).

Part Three, “West End Scandals,” and Part Four, “Wilde’s Time,” both deal with sexual and romantic scandals of the period, not all of which were homosexual in nature (many were about Irish divorce cases, for instance).  His primary investigation here is not just how homosexual acts were persecuted and prosecuted, but how class and wealth impacted one’s treatment by the law and by the press.  Kaplan makes the case that the aristocratic and powerful “criminals” were often given preferential treatment under the law, but the press at this time became more publically outspoken against such biased treatment and often pushed prosecution of offenders when the legal authorities might have otherwise turned a blind eye.  Such realities set the scene for Oscar Wilde’s trial and are likely why he was eventually convicted and sentenced to such severe punishment.

The introduction, epilogue, and conclusion are, like the intermediary chapters, very interesting and add much to Kaplan’s overall argument.  He discusses in these sections, for instance, the role that queer and feminist theories play on the construction of this work.  He also supports his decision to relay these histories in story form as a way to add depth and honesty to the discussion, elements which historical analysis or theoretical approaches might typically lack.  Kaplan is clearly passionate about the subject material –sometimes arguably to the point of bias- and anyone interested in sexuality and gender issues of the late-Victorian period will likely gain much from reading this book.  Though it is not in the strictest sense a historical synthesis (the lack of a works cited/bibliography speaks to this), Kaplan’s argument for adding storytelling narrative to historical analysis is well-taken and well-received.

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1001 Books, Book Review, British Literature, Jane Austen, Pragmatism, Romanticism, Victorian

Thoughts: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

85635 (1)Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0
YTD: 10

Jane Austen is perched on a curious point in the literary timeline, caught somewhat between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, both of which influenced her work. She greatly admires Samuel Johnson (as demonstrated by the many Johnson quotes & references that can be found in her various works), and many, if not most, of her works are about a woman attempting to –or somehow finding herself- climbing the social ladder, out of her station and, through marriage, into a higher one. This is largely an influence of eighteenth century works, such as Pamela. Still, there is much of Romanticism and the nineteenth century in her works, as in their preference for intelligence and natural beauty over traditional wealth and caste systems. Austen’s work also dips into the Victorian concerns of sensational-realism, which is where Mansfield Park and its Pragmatism are mostly situated. In its exploration of modernity, shifting family dynamics, city and suburban lifestyles supplanting the country manors, parties, and public scandals, and politics (such as the Slave Trade and aristocratic corruption), Mansfield Park is much wider-reaching and more concerned with society and the world-at-large than her earlier works (whose simplicity and blind-eye caused her to be much maligned).

At the center of the story is Fanny Price, who leaves her parents’ home to live with her aunt and uncle at Mansfield Park. Fanny’s mother, though once beautiful, has been run ragged. She married beneath her and, soon after her marriage, her husband became permanently disabled and a drunk. Fanny, at first, is a black sheep at Mansfield. Although she is kind and mild in temperament, her female cousins tease her mercilessly and her ridiculous Aunt Norris spites her at every occasion. Eventually, through natural charm and beauty, Fanny does manage to win over her hosts, Sir Bertram and Lady Bertram (who is her mother’s sister) and also her cousin, the youngest brother of the family, Edmund.

Unlike Austen’s other works, which are largely episodic (likely because they were originally written or imagined in epistolary form), the style and structure of Mansfield Park is much more aligned with the traditional novel, with lengthy chapters and regular progression of time. Austen manipulates time and chronology in clever and subtle ways, so that the reader is navigated through the story without being given many direct reminders of where she is in the calendar. This is something typically Austen and can be seen in her other novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice; and though a simple thing, this control of time and keeping it both relevant and in the background truly helps hold the story together by maintaining the fictive illusion and also the structural integrity of the work.

In Mansfield Park there are balls and plays, flirtations and scandals. While most of Austen’s novels are rather complex, Mansfield Park is perhaps the most complex of all her work and is probably an inspiration for later Victorian novels (many of which are concerned with child orphans, their patronage and rise from nothingness into seemingly-unachievable stations). Fanny, like other Austen heroines, is a young woman on the verge of adulthood and who will find her place through her soon-to-be husband. Unlike other of Austen’s novels, though, which are primarily interested in the act of courtship, family, and love, Mansfield Park also tackles ideas of nature vs. nurture (what makes a person who they are?) and true positive qualities, in family and friends (both Edmund and his father, Lord Bertram, learn much about themselves and about others, by the end of the story – because of their growing appreciation for and admiration of the quiet but naturally classy Fanny). The book is also interested in the nature of vice and it uses two polar locales, the city and the country, as backdrops for “bad” and “good.” Surprising, for readers of Austen’s other works in particular, are the inclusions, though subtle, of sexuality (what we will eventually see from Freudian symbolism), of social and political morality, and of graphic poverty.

Ultimately, I found Mansfield Park to be one of the least exciting, most dense of Austen’s novels; however, it is also the most complex, the most daring, and the most revolutionary of her works. She takes many risks, borne out of disillusionment and hardship, which would likely inspire the next generation of Victorian novelists who would champion the lower classes and write for social justice. It was a difficult read, being slow-paced and simultaneously familiar to and wildly different from other Austen works, but while it may not be as perfectly constructed, entertaining, or accessible as her most popular work, Pride and Prejudice, it might just be her most important.

Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: High School +
Interest: Pre-Victorian Novel, Nature vs. Nurture, City vs. Rural, Caste System, Scandal, Slave Trade, Pragmatism, Romanticism.

Notable Quotes:

“I think it ought not to be set down as certain, that a man must be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself.”

“We do not look in great cities for our best morality.”

“Good-humoured, unaffected girls, will not do for a man who has been used to sensible women. They are two distinct orders of being.”

“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”

“She was not often invited to join in the conversation of the others, nor did she desire it. Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”

“I was so anxious to do what is right that I forgot to do what is right.”

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.”

“Varnish and gilding hide many stains.”

“When I am out of doors, especially when I am sitting out of doors, I am very apt to get into this sort of wandering strain. One cannot fix one’s eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy.”

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Anthony Trollope, Book Review, British Literature, Classics, Fiction, Literature, Victorian, Victorian Celebration

Review: The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

Final Verdict: 3.25 out of 4.0

YTD: 27


Plot/Story:
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable

The Warden is a little book with a big story.  It tells the tale of Mr. Harding, a clergyman and Warden of an almshouse in Barchester.  The twelve old men who live in this almshouse hear that they might be entitled to a certain monthly or yearly stipend, of which the Warden (and all wardens before him) has been keeping for himself.  The Church sinecure suddenly finds itself at the center of a larger public outcry against Church corruption in general, and our poor, good-hearted Warden, who wants nothing more than to follow the law and do what is right, even at the cost of his wealth and his employment, is exposed to great ridicule in the county newspapers, who care nothing for the truth or for Harding’s laudable attempts at settling issues amicably and fairly. 


Characterization:ng>
3 – Characters well-developed

Perhaps the greatest moment in the book is when the narrator is railing against purely evil and purely saint-like characters (in reference to Charles Dickens’s oft cut-and-dry characterization).  Trollope clearly appreciates characters who are more realistic, with elements of good and bad – shades of grey – within each.  He achieves this here, with the possible exception of Archdeacon Grantly, who seems to be, simply, a jerk.  Take, for example, Mr. Harding’s dear friend, the Bishop.  While he is a kind and generous man, he is also too soft, at times.  Mr. Harding, while genuine and honest, has a nervousness and self-consciousness which sometimes restricts him from confronting more forceful personalities, even when he knows he is right.  Harding’s daughter is devoted to her father, but in such a way as to be almost blinded to the possibility that he is capable of making mistakes, too.  So, each of the characters, the good and the bad, have elements of the opposite in them.  None are perfect – all are flawed.  This makes a believable story even more realistic, because every reader can find something of him/herself in these characters.


Prose/Style:
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story

While the story was interesting and the characters were believable and fun, the narrative itself sometimes dragged.  Trollope’s style is not quite grandiose, but is somewhat dry and dense.  Trollope tends to take a mile to describe what could be explained in a yard – he will go on about, and revisit, the same scene or theme over and over again, so that it sometimes feels like the story is going nowhere or, while it is moving, it is moving in circles.  This made a rather short novel (about 180 pages) feel like a thick tome and it took far longer to read than would be expected.  It reminds one, in a way, of a less-flowery Proust or a less-suspenseful Radcliffe; Trollope, like these formers, is a writer who seems to like the sound of his own pen.    


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

Trollope’s story is interesting, in that it simultaneously ridicules both the Church of England and the Church’s foes, the “reformers.”  One of the most delightful elements of the story is its use of satire and parody.  Readers will find, for instance, characters who have been enlarged for parodies sake, but who are distinctly recognizable as popular writer-reformers of the period (he pulls no punches against Charles Dickens, for example, in his characterization of “Mr. Popular Sentiment”, and he does the same of Carlyle, who is written in as “Dr. Pessimist Anticant.”  Apparently, Trollope is well-known for satirizing the Church, and he certainly does so here – from the poorest alms men to the general clergy, and right on up to the sweet but bumbling bishop.  Leaving this grand element and general setting aside, though, what one finds is an exploration of the human conscience.  Trollope places his main character, Mr. Harding, in direct opposition to characters who exemplify different elements of the human nature; where Harding is honest and sincere, we find the newspaper man, Tom Towers, to be hypocritical and conniving; where Mr. Harding is simple and self-sacrificing, we find his son-in-law the Archdeacon to be bombastic, domineering, and selfish.  These personality contrasts and the exploration of humankind is the heart of the novel.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: High School+
Interest: Satire, Parody, Victorian Literature, Church of England, Anti-Press


Notable Quotes:

“One evening call is worth ten in the morning.  It’s all formality in the morning; real social talk never begins till after dinner.  That’s why I dine early, so as to get as much as I can of it.”

“A man may have the best of causes, the best of talents, and the best of tempers; he may write as well as Addison, or as strongly as Junius; but even with all this he cannot successfully answer, when asked by the Jupiter.”

“A clergyman generally dislikes to be met in argument by any scriptural quotation.”

“Velvet and gilding do not make a throne, nor gold and jewels a scepter.  It is a throne because the most exalted one sits there – and a scepter because the most mighty one wields it.”

“There are some points on which no man can be contented to follow the advice of another – some subjects on which a man can consult his own conscience only.”

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?” 


–The Warden was Book #6 completed for the Victorian Celebration.


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Adelaide Anne Procter, Book Review, Charles Dickens, Compilation Fiction, Elizabeth Gaskell, Fiction, George Augustus Sala, Hesba Stretton, Literature, London Literati, Short Story, Victorian, Victorian Celebration, Wilkie Collins

Review: The Haunted House by Charles Dickens

The Haunted House by Charles Dickens

Final Verdict: 2.75 out of 4.0

YTD: 24

Plot/Story:
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.

The Haunted House by Charles Dickens is actually a compilation work, with contributions from Hesba Stretton, George Augustus Sala, Adelaide Anne Procter, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell.  Each writer, including Dickens (who wrote the opening and closing segments, as well as a middle segment) writes one “chapter” of the tale.  The premise is that a group of people have come to a well-known haunted house to stay for a period of time, experience whatever supernatural elements might be there to experience, then regroup at the end of their stay to share their stories.  Each author represents a specific person within the tale and, while the genre is supposed to be that of the ghost story, most of the individual pieces fall flat of that.  The conclusion, too, is saccharine and unnecessary – it reminds the reader that, though we came for ghost stories, what we leave with is a mirthful Christmas story.


Characterization:
2 – Characters slightly developed.

Because this is a compilation of separate short stories, one would not expect much character growth and development (short stories are, after all, more about the theme/event/plot than they are about the characters).  Still, because they were interconnected via the primary story (a group of folks coming together to the same house), there could have been at least a bit of time spent developing those guests, so as to better understand the stories they ultimately told.  Gaskell’s story, being the longest, did allow for some characterization and what was done, was done well.  The characters remain generally flat throughout, but they are recognizable characters – a mother who would act like a mother, a father who acts like a father, etc.  Still, when coming to this collection, it cannot be for its interesting characters because they just are not very interesting (and this could be even more acceptable if the stories themselves were thrilling ghost stories, because then there is something else to entertain and occupy the reader, but….). 


Prose/Style:
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.

Dickens, Gaskell, and Collins are clearly the masters here, but in my opinion Dickens was in fact out-shone by the other two in this one.  Dickens’s portions read too much like someone trying to write a thriller but not quite knowing how (it felt like someone mimicking Poe – getting the general mechanics right, but not quite being Poe).  Gaskell’s piece is the longest, and her narrative brilliance – use of dialect in particular- are clear.  Collins has the best paced and most appropriately toned prose which, from the author of The Woman in White, probably should have been expected.  Salas’s writing seemed pompous, arrogant, and long-winded; it was funny, at times, but a bit too self-serving.  The inclusion of Procter’s verse added a nice element to the overall scheme, and a nice break from the various competing proses.  The verse itself was haunting and reminded me quite a bit of the pace and scheme of Poe’s “The Raven.”  Stretton’s short piece was perhaps the most enjoyable, because it was so well-written and more intricately layered than the rest. 


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
3 – Additional elements are present and cohesive to the Story.

Dickens himself was reportedly underwhelmed and disappointed by his peers’ contributing portions of this serial Christmas tale.  I believe his hope was that each of the authors would put into print a certain fear or terror particular to each of them, as Dickens’s story did.  The “haunting,” then, would be something personal and, while not necessarily supernatural, could still be understandably frightening.  Like Dickens, I was left disappointed by the end-result of this ambition. For Dickens, the fear was in revisiting his impoverished youth, the death of his father and the fear of never escaping the “ghost of [his] own childhood.”  Gaskell’s story revolved around betrayal by blood – the loss of a child and lover to the darker elements of humanity.  Again, understandably frightening in its way.  Sala’s story was a dream within a dream within a dream, but while the dream could have been unnerving, there seemed little that was truly frightening about it, supernatural or otherwise.  Wilkie Collins’s story is the one in this compilation which could actually be considered a “suspense” or “thriller” story.  Hesba Stretton’s story, too, while not necessarily scary, is romantic, somewhat suspenseful, and well-accomplished overall.  When considering the group of tales in this compilation, it is Stretton’s which leaves me wanting to read more of her work.  Ultimately, though it is called “The Haunted House,” this compilation of ghost stories is not really a ‘Halloween’-type read.  If one reads this collection as a study of these individual writers, their thoughts, and what they considered haunting, then it is quite interesting.  But as a ghost story, it is no extraordinary achievement, possibly because Dickens (and presumably the other writers) was a skeptic and found the popular interest in the supernatural rather silly.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: High School +
Interest: Victorian Literature, London Literati, Creative/Fictional Autobiography, Short Story, Compilation Fiction.

Notable Quotes:

“The women (their noses in a chronic state of excoriation from smelling-salts), were always primed and loaded for a swoon, and ready to go off with hair-triggers.” – Dickens

“On some subjects it is better to have a silent understanding than an expressed opinion.” – Stretton

“No star is ever lost we once have seen, / We always may be what we might have been.” – Procter

“The hopes that, lost, in some far distance seem, / May be the truer life, and this the dream.” – Procter

“No other ghost has haunted the boy’s room, my friends, since I have occupied it, than the ghost of my own childhood, the ghost of my own innocence, the ghost of my own airy belief.” – Dickens

“What ardently we wish we long believe.” – Gaskell

“But the broken-hearted go home, to be comforted of God.” – Gaskell


–The Haunted House is Book #5 completed for the Victorian Celebration.

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1001 Books, Book Review, Classics Club, Emile Zola, Fiction, French, Literature, Victorian, Victorian Celebration

Review: Germinal by Emile Zola

Germinal by Emile Zola

Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0

YTD: 23


Plot/Story:
4 – Plot/Story is interesting/believable and impactful (socially, academically, etc.)

If you ever want to read a book about miners, or a book about family, or a book about unions, or a book about poverty, or a book about the whole wide-world and how awful and wonderful, hopeful and disappointing, romantic and coldly real it is – if you ever want to read a book about humanity and everything that it means, Germinal is that book. The book is one in Zola’s famous twenty-book series, Les Rougan-Macquart.  It is considered to be the best of the series and also Zola’s crowning achievement – a masterpiece. Its purpose is to expose and lament the horrendous and inhumane working and living conditions of miners in rural France during the 1860s.  Germinal vilifies the excesses and indulgencies of the bourgeoisie, while lauding Socialism and Darwinism.  Etienne Lantier, the main character (who first appears in Zola’s L’Assommoir), is an outsider – a wandering mechanic who is searching for employment.  His rise to leadership in the mining community is almost accidental and highly unlikely, in that he never intended to become a worker, nor did he plan to stay in the community.  Yet, as he spends time with these poor creatures, he realizes that someone must force a change – soon, after hours of study and correspondence with strike leaders in Paris- he unites the miners and leads a revolt, with heartbreaking consequences.


Characterization:
3 – Characters well-developed.

Germinal has a host of characters, primarily Etienne and the Maheude family, with whom he lives after his decision to stay at the mining colony.  There are mining women and mining men, managers and invalids, wealthy owners, Parisian visitors, and revolutionaries of all types (including simple strikers and also full anarchists).  There are bar owners, retirees, abusive husbands, whorish daughters, and every imaginable person in-between.  While Zola certainly creates a great and diverse community, with nearly every conceivable character, few of them truly stand out on their own.  Chaval, in his animalistic brutality is one, as is Etienne as the primary focus.  La Maheude, the sensible mother and ultimately one of the most tragedy-stricken of the cast, is interesting particularly in contrast to the other female-mother figures of the village (in that she, for the most part, seems more responsible, less prone to impulse, and, on the whole, a genuine person).  Still, the downfall to such a large cast of characters is that not much time is spent developing many of them, even the major ones.  Etienne certainly has a journey and he changes somewhat over time – but, in the end, it is the community itself, as a whole, which is being characterized.  The community is what is alive – what is awakened.  The miners, as a group, are the story – it is their journey, their oppression, their battle, their failure, which constitutes the growth and development, here.  Their larger story is more interesting to witness than any single story within it.


Prose/Style:
4 – Extraordinary Prose/Style, enhancing the Story.

For the longest time, I was nervous about reading Zola.  I find French literature to be either extraordinarily appealing (Victor Hugo) or almost impossible to bear (Marcel Proust).  Fortunately, Zola reads to me similarly to the greatest Russian writers – like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. It is simultaneously beautiful, self-reflective, and transporting.  The language of Germinal is warm and real, it allows you to feel enveloped, but never loses sight of the fact that it is the means to an end – its purpose is to guide the reader through an instructive, meaningful story.  There are moments, such as in the description of the miners’ final revolt, where all sense of restraint has been cast off, when the story seems to press onward with a fierce intensity, like a tidal wave rolling mightily onward, unstoppable – dangerous.  And there are moments of pure tenderness, as when Etienne and Catherine come together after being held apart for so long.  The dialogue is well-crafted and the voices of the bourgeoisie and the managers are distinctly different from that of the miners.  The story itself is powerful, but the prose takes it to a transcendent level.


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

When Emile Zola passed away, his funeral was attended by masses of people.  At the ceremony, they began to chant: “Germinal! Germinal!”  It is telling that the crowd would call out the name of this one book, even though the author had been such a prolific writer – it is telling and it is understandable.  Germinal, similar to its peers (such as Les Miserables, War and Peace, and The Grapes of Wrath) is an epic tale about “the people.”  It’s a story of desire and passion, working life, family, friendships, and community.  The nature of humanity, from its most noble capacities to its darkest, most dangerous possibilities, is explored in microscopic detail, painful and wondrous to witness. It is, quite literally, a tale about germination – the planting of a seed, an idea, and the birth and growth of a movement.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: High School/Adult
Interest: France, Labor, Working Class, Mining Life, Revolution, Sexual Desire, Politics, Philosophy, Class Studies.

Notable Quotes:

“Coal transmits sound over great distances with the clarity of crystal.”

“He went away calmly like an exterminating angel, headed for anywhere that he could find dynamite to blow up cities and the men who live in them.”

“There’s no pleasure in life when you’ve lost your hope.”

“You’re better off on your own, there’s nobody to disagree with.”

“When the men and the girl came back from the pit, they’d have to eat again; for nobody had yet discovered how to live without eating, unfortunately.”

“If people can just love each other a little bit, they can be so happy.”

“Blow the candle out, I don’t need to see what my thoughts look like.”


–Germinal is book #121 completed for the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die” Challenge.

–Germinal is Book #4 completed for the Victorian Celebration.

Germinal is Book #4 completed for The Classics Club.

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Giveaway, Giveaways, Victorian, Victorian Celebration

A Victorian Celebration Contest!

Greetings, Victorian Celebration Participants!

Giveaway Closed: Congratulations to the Winner:

Jean from Howling Frog Books!

Jean chose to receive a copy of the Penguin Clothbound Edition of The Mill on the Floss.

The Mill on the Floss

Welcome to A Victorian Celebration Contest!  This Contest is open ONLY to registered participants of “A Victorian Celebration,” hosted by A Literary Odyssey.  

The contest is simple!  Starting today (Wednesday, June 27th) and until 10pm on Wednesday, July 3rd, participants in the celebration can Take This Quiz on Victorian Literature.

After the deadline, I will review the answers and the person with the highest score will receive a prize!  

If there is a tie for the highest score, I will randomly select a winner from that group.  The winner will be e-mailed and will have 48-hours to respond, before a new winner is selected.

Simple Rules:

1. Be a participant in Allie’s “A Victorian Celebration”

2. Take the Quiz (You can use any available resources to help you find the answers).

The Prize:

Any Victorian novel of your choice (to be shipped from the Book Depository) up to $15 USD!

If more than 25 valid (i.e. from registered participants) entries come in, I will add a second winner!

Good Luck, Challengers!


My Victorian Celebration Reading So Far:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Autobiography of Mark Twain

Germinal by Emile Zola (currently reading)

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