For my own reading life, I’ve been desperately trying to distract myself from Ulysses, which remains stubbornly unread and discarded on my desk. My latest plan is to spend the summer filling in the most shameful blanks in my knowledge of nineteenth century literature. Seeing as this seems to be a lot of people’s favourite period, I feel quite behind on it all, so my plan is to put together a must-read of nineteenth century literature and then, umm, well, read it.
The first thing I want to start with is Jane Eyre as it seems to have been referenced frequently enough this year for me to have been forced to reveal my ignorance to just about all of my classmates at one point or another. (I know, I know, it’s very appalling. How it is possible not to have read it yet is almost beyond comprehension, I quite agree, and I can feel your disappointment from across the digital divide.)
But I’d like your suggestions of what else I must read from the nineteenth century if I am not to look like a complete buffoon every time someone flings Gaskell in my direction, or tries to wheedle an opinion on Mark Twain out of me.
So sock it me, you lovely bunch of boffin-heads – 19th Century must-reads, go…