You'll adore The Oxford Handbook of The Victorian Novel edited by Lisa Rodensky.
I confess: I always felt a great attraction for Victorian Age. It will be because a correspondent was fixated with Victorian Age, or maybe because when I was little someone presented me Little Dorrit and later I discovered A Christmas Carol by Dickens, or maybe because I read Oliver Twist and David Copperfield with which I share the day I was born in, Friday. Maybe because my favorite actor Johnny Depp portrayed Victorian Age in From Hell; Jack the Ripper is part of the mystery of that historical period.
Maybe just because during that age there was grace, elegance, but also a society, like this one, in turmoil and evolution in every field of society. Just, that one was still in its complexity, a healthy society.
A peculiar historical moment that one for UK, because rural places started to be abandoned by people in search for some jobs in cities.
Cities started to be "populated" by the most diversified factories, industrialization, unions, new illnesses brought by new works; a complicated life the one that would have encountered most people originally born in a countryside as remembers very well Elizabeth Gaskell in one of the most enchanting, graceful book that you can read regarding this topic: North and South.
Not just beauty for the social description of that age and period, but because of the beautiful sentiments, language and dialogues descripted in the book; an harmony difficult to find in modern books and a relaxation while you are reading this book that you thought it was gone forever.
These novels are in fact in grade to transport the reader in a dimension of good values, where life had a strong significance, and where love, friendship were sentiments felt, not just proclaimed; where love was so felt that sometimes the protagonists would have won all adversities for staying together and where difficulties were, at the end, sorted out.
Victorian Novels became a genre.
Novels inspired by love, friendship, work, social class, where money would have played an important role as we can see in A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, and so on close to another word: ambition. All these novels have a characteristic: a happy end, most of the times for the principal protagonists.
Readers of all ages fell fascinated by these adoring books and characters. Wonderful plots, dreaming locations, sometimes hard conditions of life, where the reader could imagine a best life for the protagonists because these novels have the characteristic of being very powerful: the dimension of dream is strong and in grade to transport the reader in a parallel world so beloved and plenty of attraction.
A lot of polemic in this sense involved writers and Hardy interrupted his writing because of this reason: people wanted to read a certain kind of novels.
A certain kind of books.
Victorian Novels made the difference and had adoring fans everywhere; addicted to them.
Everyone read these books. Everyone loved them.
Thanks to the arrival, creation of public libraries, the possibility of reading books for free increased tremendously enthusiastic readers of all age of Victorian Novels.
Happy ends paid a lot in terms of good mood for readers. These novels brought and bring optimism, the possibility of imagining a good life. After all, a book is important for this reason as well.
This beautiful handbook, divided in ten parts where every aspect of the production of Victorian Novel is analyzed, is for students, general readers, for whoever is in love for Victorian Novel.
It is great if you plan a thesis on this topic, but also if you are a teacher or just, if you want to discover more. I know for sure that you must intercept and capture this book. It's a treasure of knowledge that you will adore and you'll love forever.
I thank Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori