• Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Marriage, Class, and Love in Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley

    Many readers were no doubt first introduced to the Bronte sisters through either Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I myself was no exception, and it is easy to see why these two iconic books have shaped what people think of when they think of a quintessential “Bronte novel,” since both conjure up images of windswept moors and thwarted lovers. (These books in particular are also by far the most popular because Anne’s works in years past were little read, and are only in the last decade or so gaining popularity.) Shirley then, at first glance, seems a different creature entirely. More akin to a smaller…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Middlemarch: A Monumental Undertaking

    Judging by its sheer size alone, it is little wonder that many people express intimidation upon viewing what is widely regarded as George Eliot’s greatest literary achievement: Middlemarch. Deemed by many as “the greatest English novel” Eliot’s classic social commentary on middle-class Britain is considered a premier example of Victorian fiction. Despite the seeming quaintness and self-containedness of its setting, the story is in no way hampered by myopia as some might expect; on the contrary, Eliot manages to sketch and portray a wide array of distinct characters. It is difficult to distill Middlemarch down to a basic summary. It is at once a critique of religion, politics and class,…

  • Book Talk

    Spring has Sprung: Gardening Through Literature

    The seed for the idea for this post was planted over a month ago, but it wasn’t until the semester ended that I felt I could dedicate the necessary time to bring it to fruition. During my last semester of college, I was able to take a really interesting course called Nature Writing. The class was unlike any other I had previously taken, and it focused on environmental literature, as well as analyzing narratives with a nature lens. In addition to this we were also given opportunities to write critically and creatively using the natural world as a vehicle for our work. It was a really insightful class, and in…

  • Uncategorized

    Wives and Daughters: Gaskell’s Influence in Victorian Literature

    Whew! I feel so happy with myself right now. This book that I am going to talk about today is one that has been on my to-be-read list for so long, and this finally was the year I read it. I have been familiar with Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters for several years now and have watched the beautiful costume mini-series created by Andrew Davies, (who has created countless stellar period pieces for the BBC), multiple times. I also have read Gaskell’s North and South, and watched its accompanying adaption, as well as Cranford. Overshadowed by her many peers, Elizabeth Gaskell is a fabulously underrated author who is only in…