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Book Report: Cranford

Do y'all remember when Your Humble Blogger was on about how despite a deep and abiding love for the novels of Charles Dickens, the Victorian Novel generally had little appeal? And then I read Felix Holt and liked it a lot? Well, I watched the video of Cranford based largely on the cast (Eileen Atkins! Will I ever tire of watching you scowl?), and adored it, and so I pick up the book. I can't say I adored the book, although I enjoyed it despite its narrative deficiencies, but I liked it enough to want to read something else by Elizabeth Gaskell at some point. I'm all full up for reading, just now, but it'll stick in the back of my mind. I may end up liking Victorian Novels despite myself, and then where will I be?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


If you liked Felix Holt, you might find Gaskell's novels Mary Barton or North and South to be appealing. Both are representatives of the industrial novel subgenre to which Felix Holt and Hard Times also belong. And, well, if you are working on convincing yourself that you actually like the Victorian novel, then you ought also to read Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, which is the missing link (not so missing, actually) between Bleak House and Sherlock Holmes.

You know, I had forgotten about Wilkie Collins. I've read Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which I remember finding mildly entertaining, but not startlingly so, or lastingly, either. As for Mrs. Gaskell, North and South is what's next on my list, to the extent that I have a list, or am moving along it. It's also next on my list of Masterpiece Theater shows to watch, and that's likely to happen sooner.


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