Friday, July 31, 2009
"As for Selma, I think her as good in her way as Gwendolen Grandcourt. Every stroke tells, and you never forget the inconscient quality of her selfishness; you never fall into the error of making her deliberately false or cruel. The lesser characters seem to me admirably differentiated, from Mrs. Margaret Rodney Earle to the incomparable Mr. Lyons, whose speech to the Benham Institute in the nomination of Miss Luella Bailey is a masterpiece of American rhetoric."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Prodigal Judge by Vaughan Kester
The Valiants of Virginia by Hallie Erminie Rives
What Can She Do? by Rev. E. P. Roe
Woven of Many Threads by Cecilia Viets Jamison
The Holcombes: A Story of Virginia Home-Life by Mary Tucker Magill
Newlyn House: The Home of the Davenports by A.E.W.
The Curate and the Rector by Elizabeth Strutt
The Pink and White Tyranny by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Old Margaret by Henry Kingsley
I am ever on the lookout for novels set in Virginia and, as can be seen, there are two on the above list. Of course I have no idea at this point whether I will enjoy reading any of the above, but it is great fun to browse and acquire books when there is no cost involved.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Best Selling Books of 1862
As listed by Victorian Web
- The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant
- The Last of the Mortimers by Margaret Oliphant
- Ravenshoe by Henry Kingsley
- Held in Bondage by Ouida
- Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- A Strange Story by Bulwer-Lytton
- The Lord Mayor of London by Harrison Ainsworth
- Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
- No Name by Wilkie Collins
Victorian Web does not give the source for the best sellers lists it has put up. The reader will note that there is not a single American author on the list for 1862. This could be explained, perhaps, by the fact that the Civil War was raging in the US that year. Or does the word Victorian mean that only English authors and their books were considered for the list? I'm guessing this is the case, as there is no mention of Edith Wharton, W. D. Howells, or Henry James for any of the years (the lists range from 1862 to 1901).
Sunday, July 26, 2009
by Robert Grant
The book overview of Robert Grant's Unleavened Bread at books.google.com reports that Unleavened Bread was one of the best selling novels of 1900. Today it is all but forgotten, which is a shame, as it is very readable and captures the period well. The setting is a state in New England, city of Benham, with one part set in New York City. Selma White is a school teacher at the beginning of the book and has reached the conclusion that teaching is not how she wants to spend the rest of her life. She feels she is destined to play a larger role in life, and the book chronicles her aspirations and efforts to find and fill that larger role.
Selma uses marriage to project herself in life, riding the coattails of her husbands, one marriage ending in divorce and one in widowhood. She strives for acceptance both socially and intellectually and meets with both disappointment and success along the way.
This is one of those forgotten books that would almost certainly do well if republished today. The action begins in about the 1870s and gives a portrait of New England and New York society through the years following the Civil War from the perspective of the children of soldiers in that war. This is not a novel of Reconstruction as it is set in the north, but issues devolving from that war are a part of the atmosphere.
Unleavened Bread could be read as a northern counterpart to Ellen Glasgow's novel Virginia, set in Richmond at the same time period. The experiences of the two protagonists, Selma and Virginia, are very different, reflecting the roles of women in the north and the south in the post-Civil War years.
I'm not sure I understand the title. Unleavened bread is bread made without yeast or other leavening agents. It is flat, does not rise. Is this a reference to Selma's efforts to rise in society?
Also available at Project Gutenberg.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Appended to the same article is a review, not very complementary, of What Maisie Knew by Henry James.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
One of the books banned by the Boston Public Library in 1901 was Mrs. Harrison's Good Americans. I have not read it (yet), but I found a review in the New York Times for October 22, 1898. I'm still looking for more information on the BPL committee which made decisions about which books should be "rejected".
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I found this article by doing a search for reviews of Judge Robert Grant's novel, Unleavened Bread, which the committee has labeled "a very disagreeable and excellent story against women's clubs. . .". Edith Wharton is said to have admired this book, which is available both at the Gutenberg Project and Google Books. I haven't read it yet, but I have converted the Gutenberg version for reading on my Sony PRS-505, and it's next on my list.
I had never heard of the BPL committee and its lists of "rejected" and "unsafe" books. This bears more looking into.