Bookish Discussions · Reviews

Anthony Trollope’s The Warden:



‘What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee? Was ever anything so civil?’

Rating: 2 stars

Read: 12 September – 19 September, 2018



I’ve had my beady little eyes on Trollope’s The Warden for a while now, and it’s thanks to uni that I’ve finally picked it up. It’s a short novella, crammed full of wit and satire. It’s the story of a quiet cathedral town that is shaken by scandal as the traditional values of Septimus Harding are attacked by zealous reformers and ruthless newspapers. It’s is a drama of conscience that pits individual integrity against worldly ambition, or so says my Penguin English Library edition.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed by this one. I just assumed that I would love the Chronicles of Barsetshire, and that Trollope would be a writer that I grew to adore. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. I’ve heard that the later books are much better, so for that reason (twinned with my love for Victorian literature) I will carry on with the series. I want to follow Eleanor through her life, because Trollope did her dirty, so I really hope she appears in the later books.

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Bookish Discussions · Reviews

Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journals:



Rated: 2 stars

Read: 9 September – 10 September, 2018

‘It is a breathless grey day that leaves the golden woods of Autumn quiet in their own tranquility, stately & beautiful in their decaying, the lake a perfect mirror’



Dorothy’s journals were on the suggested reading for my Romantic Victorians module. I have never read them in their entirety, only briefly analysing some for my Wordsworth course last year. They record her life with William, giving an insight into the daily life of the poet and his friendship with Coleridge. They are remarkable for their ‘spontaneity and immediacy, and for the vivid descriptions of people, place, and incidents that inspired some of Wordsworth’s best-loved poems’.

I read from the Oxford World’s Classics edition of ‘The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals‘, which I would recommend if you’re looking for a detailed insight. They have an extensive notes section and a lengthy introduction. The Grasmere Journals began in May 1800 and was kept for three years, and the Alfoxden Journals was written during 1797 to 1798. Dorothy wrote pretty much everyday, addressing the most mundane activities of her day. It definitely isn’t a read for everyone.

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Bookish Discussions · Reviews

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton:



Rating: 4 stars 

Read: 3 September – 8 September, 2018

‘Don’t think to come over me with th’ old tale, that the rich knows nothing of the trials of the poor; I say, if they don’t know, they ought to know. We’re their slaves as long as we can work; we pile up their fortunes with the sweat of our brows, and yet we are to live as separate as if we were in two worlds…’

During the first few weeks of September, I felt myself steadily declining into a reading slump. I’ve read so much this past year, and I think it’s finally catching up to me. Despite it taking me longer than usual to read a book of this length, I think Mary Barton stopped me from sinking into that hole. It was an interesting tale, and goes a little something like this…

Set in Manchester in the 1840s – a period of industrial unrest and extreme deprivation – Mary Barton depicts the effects of economic and physical hardships upon the city’s working class community. Running alongside this is the story of Mary herself: a factory worker’s daughter who attracts the attention of two opposite men. She soon becomes caught up in the violence of class conflict when a brutal murder forces her to confront her true feelings and allegiances.

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