Category Archives: Victoriana

Anthony Trollope, “Phineas Redux”

Is Phineas Redux the weakest of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels? Or am I not fair to it? I probably wasn’t fair on this reading, letting it linger on my bedside table and reading only before going to sleep. Did Phineas … Continue reading

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Edith Wharton, “Old New York”

When I was talking to Pat Ryan of the New York Times about this wonderful piece in that newspaper (commemorating Mrs. Wharton’s 150th birthday on January 24), I remembered Wharton’s marvelous series of novellas called Old New York, and realized I … Continue reading

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Sarah Waters, “Fingersmith”

“‘If you might only hear yourself! Terrible plots? Laughing villains? Stolen fortunes and girls made out to be mad? The stuff of lurid fiction! We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been … Continue reading

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George Gissing, “The Odd Women”

Odd as in, not one of a pair. As in, wouldn’t fit on Noah’s Ark. As in, unmarried. George Gissing was a late-nineteenth century English novelist who had come from the lower middle class and knew better than most of … Continue reading

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Charles Dickens, “Little Dorrit” 3

It did not occur to me until page 751 that one of Dickens’ subjects in Little Dorrit is the very creation of narrative.  Of course in a book this big the author’s got a lot of preoccupations and I wonder … Continue reading

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Charles Dickens, “Little Dorrit,” 2

This book is a massive read: what my children might call “a beast” of a book.  But that’s one of its pleasures, I find. Lurking at the back of my mind, day in and day out, is this alternate universe, … Continue reading

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Charles Dickens, “Little Dorrit”

Man, I hate crying on the subway. I was just sniffling gently and seeping tears, but you feel so exposed. And slightly embarrassed. Oscar Wilde famously wrote that “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the … Continue reading

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