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Can I feel dumb here and ask about Vicotrian era, Pride & Prejudice and British Lit?


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My dd is wanting to put her own literature course together. Right now she is really interested in Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Wives & Daughters and such.

 

Please help me sort this out....would this be considered the Victorian era? If so, would this be more considered British Lit? She has read and watched P&P numerous times and watched all the movies of the others, but is now working on reading the books themselves. She wants to learn more about customs, women's role during that time, clothing, etc.

 

Can anyone help me, first off, know what time period we are working on and what all we should consider adding and reading to go along with this. Any other thoughts welcome.

 

Thanks!

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This is definitely British Lit!

 

Jane Austen is Regency/Napoleonic era from the early 1800s. Queen Victoria didn't come onto the scene until the mid 1800s.

 

A really good contrast to Austen's writing would be the books by the Bronte sisters -- Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights. Their style and their women characters are quite different from Jane Austen's, and it is interesting to consider why that is -- what aspects of the culture perhaps influenced each author?

 

There is a terrific book just out by Bill Bryson called At Home, which is a cultural history of Britain in the 1700s and 1800s (and to a lesser extent of America.) A caveat is that it is a fairly adult book due to the frank but never lurid discussions of s*x and the consequences of transmitted diseases and the horrors of child birth during the time. My 15yo ds enjoyed the book, and there was nothing in the content that bothered me -- nothing I wish I had censored, but it may not be right for other families.

 

Anyhow, reading At Home has helped me appreciate literature from this period so much more because I understand so much more about everything from the color of the wall paper (aresenic made it green!!) to the different classes in society to the layout of houses to the agricultural economy and how it changed.

 

I'm sure all the English Lit posters will have much more to say on this topic. KarenAnne has been my resource for much of this period as her PhD is in the literature of the era, and we meet regularly for coffee and talk about books. But there are others on this board as well such as Lori D who always has terrific lists of titles to recommend.

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Jane Austen is Regency, not Victorian. Regency is a small twenty to thirty year period between the late 1700's and early 1800's. All of Jane Austen's works are considered British Lit.

 

I am doing a Jane Austen Literature Study with my dd16 and her friends this year. I have all my web resources and books in a word doc that I don't mind sharing with you. Just pm me your email address. It's too big to fit in a regular pm ;)

 

For our study, the girls are reading through the six main novels of Jane Austen and then one or two of her other unfinished works. They are also reading through various other books. We are spending a month on each book, except Pride and Prejudice, we'll spend two months on it. I have a website on the Regency era that has some hands-on projects and recipes. We are trying to do one of these a month. The girls are also keeping a blog of their study this year. They are required one blog project per book, plus posting their favorite quotes.

 

Their blog is http://theaustensisterstogether.blogspot.com/ if you would like to check it out.

 

We have finished Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey and the girls are having a blast! If I can be of any help, please let me know :001_smile:

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Victorian literature would be works that were written during the reign of British monarch Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Jane Austen's published work was written from about 1800-1817, and so she is considered a Pre-Victorian author.

 

Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell was written in the mid-1860s, and so falls into the Victorian literature category. This Wikipedia article has more information on Victorian authors and works. = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature

 

Just a suggestion: what about calling the course: 19th Century British Female Authors? Then DD can include both of the authors she expressed interest in, but you could also include Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), George Eliot (pen name of Mary Anne Evans -- Middlemarch or Silas Marner), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poet), Christina Rossetti (poet), and others? KarenAnne on this board has a lot of background with female British authors and with British lit. in general, so you might ask her for some help for ideas in setting up a course.

 

Enjoy! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Here's a documentary that covers Queen Victoria and the happenings in various parts of her realm. It's called PBS Empires: Queen Victoria's Empire. It's about four hours long, but it's never boring -- I watch it at least once a year because I love it so much. If your daughter is interested in learning about the Victorian era, this DVD is almost a must.

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for your suggestions. I have requested all the books from my library. The dvd sounds wonderful, however, our library doesn't have that and netflix doesn't either, right now. But I did save it. :o(

 

The other books sound wonderful!

 

I am still :bigear: listening for any other suggestions!

Thanks again!

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There is a terrific book just out by Bill Bryson called At Home, which is a cultural history of Britain in the 1700s and 1800s (and to a lesser extent of America.) .

 

I just finished reading this book, and loved it! I found it fascinating, and was sorry when it ended. So many historical facts & tidbits, written in his usual engaging manner. I had my dd (13) read parts of it, but next time through this time period I'm having her read the whole book. My husband read it at the same time I did, and we had such great conversations about various topics found in the book. Last night we watched a good movie called "Victoria & Albert", and they showed the plans for the glass building at the Exhibition. We knew all about it, thanks to Bill Bryson. Great read!

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Everyone has given you great suggestions for what sounds like a great course of reading!

 

A fairly new book that might be useful and fun is Jane's Fame, by Clair Harmon. I wouldn't have your dd read the whole book, but the first chapters give a good basic sketch of Austen's life and times and the way that her family thought about her authorship and attempted to shape and control her posthumous reputation -- really fascinating. Similar censoring went on regarding the Brontes; Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte which attempted to present her as a relatively conventional Victorian woman, domesticated in all but her writing, which of course wasn't the case at ALL; Charlotte herself burned what seems to have been the manuscript of Emily's second novel, in an attempt to protect her sister's reputation from attack. The last chapter in Jane's Fame discusses the movies -- not very well, really, but it's a starting place for discussion.

 

Anyone who really loves Austen ought to read Fanny Burney's Evelina at some point; this was an inspiration for Austen, and Burney's far more conservative social stance makes a good contrast with Austen, showing up her more unconventional, challenging side. It's hard to get a feel for just how unusual Austen's heroines were, how unsentimental her writing, unless you read at least one of the more typical books that women were producing and reading avidly at the time. The Romance of the Forest by Anne Radcliffe is a longish but fun read, an instance of the early Gothic novel, and one of the authors/books/plot lines ridiculed so wonderfully in Northanger Abbey. If your dd is more interested in going on to Victorian writers, you could skip these non-Austens, but they really do give a contextual depth to any discussion of her novels. And along these lines, some of Austen's Juvenalia, although unpolished, is really, really funny and satiric. I loved "Lady Susan" in particular.

 

Another offshoot would be to read some of the current trendy Austen sequels/spin-offs, with an eye to why these books are in such vogue at this historical moment. There are not only the vampire/zombie versions and the romance continuations (Darcy's Daughters, etc.), but also at least one mystery series (by Stephanie Barron) and a book about Austen's "lost years" and a supposed trip to Australia (this is, needless to say, fiction).

 

If your dd is going to read Wives and Daughters, can I plead for a reading and possibly watching the recent BBC series Cranford? That is my favorite by far of Gaskell's work, although I don't know if the mixed age group the novel takes on would resonate as much with a young girl as some of the other books with younger heroines. But as far as painting a vivid picture of genteel middle class Victorian life and its stresses and pleasures, that's your ticket. I especially like it because it manages by and large to escape the confines of the romance plot (be it conventional or twisted, Bronte style), which tends to dominate so much of women's fiction during that period.

 

There was a BBC series a number of years ago in which modern day people were put back into a particular time period to try to live that lifestyle for a while: Frontier House, World War II House, etc. There was one done on the Regency era. I haven't seen it, but you can look it up on the internet and see whether it looks worth a watch. As I remember, the reviews were more mixed on that one than on others in the series, which seems to point to a kind of exremism in emotional response that was not triggered by the others.

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This is definitely British Lit!

 

Jane Austen is Regency/Napoleonic era from the early 1800s. Queen Victoria didn't come onto the scene until the mid 1800s.

.

 

Jane Austen is Regency, not Victorian. Regency is a small twenty to thirty year period between the late 1700's and early 1800's. All of Jane Austen's works are considered British Lit.

 

 

 

Correct. Victoria became queen c. 1837. It might be interesting to do 19th C British lit and to see the changes that occurred, etc.

 

If you do focus on this, your dd may be interested to read the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, a regency era feminist, as well the Victorian novel, Frankenstein, which was written by her daughter. Incidentally, she died in childbirth, so her daughter never know her and who ended up marrying the the poet Percy Shelly (his second wife). There is so much that went on behind the scenes!

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If your dd is interested in the lives of ordinary women during these times, there are a couple of diaries she might want to dip into -- not necessarily read the whole things.

 

The Diary of Hannah Cullwick is fascinating because it is one of the only existing diaries of the time kept by a working class woman; she was a servant who married her master at one point, but they kept it secret -- and he loved to see her dressed up like a servant, in man's clothes, etc. Her diary often consists of page after page of a long list of cleaning tasks and cooking chores, which is eye-opening after reading all the typical romance-centered plots of the era.

 

Victorian Diaries, edited by Heather Creaton, is a collection of excerpts from men's and women's diaries.

 

Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders is great for paging through and browsing -- lots of pictures as well as explanations. It's a huge expensive hardback, so look at your library.

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If she watched P & P numerous times, she will love to watch North and South with Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyYiwD1Q1aY

 

 

It's intresting that both heroines rejected the proposal based on prejudice and changed of heart later once they were able to see the heroes' true nature. But in P & P, Lizzy was less fortunate financially and family connections compared to Mr. Darcy who's Mr. perfect in terms of conditions. In N & S, Margaret was cultured in South and Mr. Thornton, a self-made industrial man, had to win her heart despite her dislike. Both heroines are strongminded.

 

Personally I prefer Mr. Thornton since he's a self-made man. I might be biased though becaused of Richard Armitage's great acting and deliciously melting voice.

http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/north-and-south/north-south-thornton1.html

 

I found this english 322/ survey of british literture course link. Thought it would be a good source.

http://www.jadwin.net/322/#description

 

And here's victorianweb link. http://www.victorianweb.org/index.html

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A fairly new book that might be useful and fun is Jane's Fame, by Clair Harmon. I wouldn't have your dd read the whole book, but the first chapters give a good basic sketch of Austen's life and times and the way that her family thought about her authorship and attempted to shape and control her posthumous reputation -- really fascinating. Similar censoring went on regarding the Brontes; Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte which attempted to present her as a relatively conventional Victorian woman, domesticated in all but her writing, which of course wasn't the case at ALL; Charlotte herself burned what seems to have been the manuscript of Emily's second novel, in an attempt to protect her sister's reputation from attack. The last chapter in Jane's Fame discusses the movies -- not very well, really, but it's a starting place for discussion.

 

Anyone who really loves Austen ought to read Fanny Burney's Evelina at some point; this was an inspiration for Austen, and Burney's far more conservative social stance makes a good contrast with Austen, showing up her more unconventional, challenging side. It's hard to get a feel for just how unusual Austen's heroines were, how unsentimental her writing, unless you read at least one of the more typical books that women were producing and reading avidly at the time. The Romance of the Forest by Anne Radcliffe is a longish but fun read, an instance of the early Gothic novel, and one of the authors/books/plot lines ridiculed so wonderfully in Northanger Abbey. If your dd is more interested in going on to Victorian writers, you could skip these non-Austens, but they really do give a contextual depth to any discussion of her novels. And along these lines, some of Austen's Juvenalia, although unpolished, is really, really funny and satiric. I loved "Lady Susan" in particular.

 

Another offshoot would be to read some of the current trendy Austen sequels/spin-offs, with an eye to why these books are in such vogue at this historical moment. There are not only the vampire/zombie versions and the romance continuations (Darcy's Daughters, etc.), but also at least one mystery series (by Stephanie Barron) and a book about Austen's "lost years" and a supposed trip to Australia (this is, needless to say, fiction).

 

 

There was a BBC series a number of years ago in which modern day people were put back into a particular time period to try to live that lifestyle for a while: Frontier House, World War II House, etc. There was one done on the Regency era. I haven't seen it, but you can look it up on the internet and see whether it looks worth a watch. As I remember, the reviews were more mixed on that one than on others in the series, which seems to point to a kind of exremism in emotional response that was not triggered by the others.

 

KarenAnne,

 

Thank you for the book recommendations. Jane's Fame and Evelina are two that I have not run across yet!

 

We just finished Northanger Abbey in our study and I had planned for the girls in my group to read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe while reading N.A. That is, until I saw how long it was! :tongue_smilie: We read a couple excerpts from it and that was it. Lady Susan is our "holiday" read. I haven't finished it yet.

 

We plan to spend two months on Pride & Prejudice because I am planning for them to read Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. My friend thinks that is crazy :D but I said we need to see how Jane has influenced modern culture.

 

I am going to go look for that BBC series. I have a great group of girls and they have plenty of their own opinions about all we are reading.

 

Thanks for the extra info!

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We plan to spend two months on Pride & Prejudice because I am planning for them to read Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. My friend thinks that is crazy :D but I said we need to see how Jane has influenced modern culture.

 

I vote with you. I think that sounds really, really fun.

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By the way, don't feel stupid about the Jane Austen/Victorian issue. It took an extended correspondence between Sonlight and me to get them to remove their catalogue description of Pride and Prejudice as 'Victorian'.

 

Laura

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