Rating: 2 stars | Read: 28 August – 29 August, 2018
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne were prolific writers in their childhood, constantly writing plays, poetry and novelettes set in their imaginary worlds of Angria, Glass Town and Gondal. Charlotte was twenty-two when she wrote ‘Stancliffe Hotel’, meaning this is one of her later pieces. With lively irony, she depicts the exploits and intrigues of the decadent inhabitants of Angria, at the centre of which is the power struggle between the Duke of Northangerland and his Byronic son-in-law Zamorna.
I must admit, I didn’t enjoy this that much. The Angrian stories don’t tend to interest me in all fairness. I’m not a fan of narratives of war and politics, which is what their juvenilia is primarily made up of. I do, however, appreciate how different this is to Charlotte’s later work. There’s such a jump between Jane Eyre and Shirley to her juvenilia. It’s kind of crazy to think she wrote both of them. I definitely think her age played into this; she had free reign to explore these things in her youth, whereas her later work had to tailor to a specific standard. It’s nice to see that she covers a range of topics.
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Rating: 4.5 stars | Read: 27 August – 28 August, 2018
The Victorian period, especially Queen Victoria herself, has always fascinated me. It was a period of growth and prosperity, and the queen was at the centre of it. She lived such a long and interesting life, and I’ve been dying to find out more. I knew I had to start with Jane Ridley’s Victoria: Queen, Matriarch and Empress as it’s recently been re-released in paperback.
Ridley seeks to tackle some rather large questions in this rather small biography (it’s only 117 pages, excluding notes, further reading, picture credits and indexes). Why was Victoria so strong-willed as a young woman? How did her marriage change her? How did she survive the death of Albert, and how was she altered by it? Ridley tries to answer these by looking closely at her private and public life.
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(Just a little note before I get into today’s post: I won’t be posting three times a week anymore. Trying to fit blogging around working, university and reading is proving a little difficult at the minute, so I’ll be posting twice a week instead. I hope you understand!)
In the last semester of my undergraduate degree, I studied a module dedicated to Gothic literature titled ‘Vamps & Villains’. I don’t tend to read that much Gothic fiction. I’m never creeped out by them, and if I am it doesn’t tend to last for long. I’m also never convinced by the story, so there’s that.
Thanks to uni, however, I’ve stumbled across two novels that immediately drew me in. As I don’t have a huge amount to say on each books, I thought I’d stick them both into one. Here’s my review of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House…
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