Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Top ten modern Victorian novels

Paraic O’Donnell is a writer of fiction, poetry and criticism.

His essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Spectator, the Irish Times and elsewhere. His first novel, The Maker of Swans, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut of the Month for February 2016, and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category. O’Donnell's latest novel is The House on Vesper Sands.

One of the author's ten top modern Victorian novels, as shared at the Guardian:
Possession by AS Byatt (1990)

While literary critics have occasionally embraced historical fiction, academic literary theorists have taken a harder line. They take a dim view of representing things generally, but especially of representing the past. This novel isn’t just aware of all this; it gleefully writes it into the plot. Its intricate parallel narratives involve a pair of fusty academics who discover both a secret affair between two Victorian poets and a hesitant passion of their own. The resulting novel (or rather, “romance”, both in the literary sense and the usual one) manages to be both extravagantly learned and utterly charming.
Read about another entry on the list.

Possession also appears on a list of four books that changed Charlie Lovett, Michelle Dean's list of the six best books about university life, Kelly Anderson's top five list of books for newlyweds, Rebecca Mead's list of six favorite books that illuminate the Victorian era, Marina Warner's ten top list of fairytales, Ester Bloom's top ten list of fictional feminists, Niall Williams's list of ten of the best books that manage to make heroes out of readers, Kyle Minor's list of fifteen of the hottest affairs in literature, Emily Temple's list of the fifty greatest campus novels ever written, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the most memorable libraries in literature, ten of the best fictional poets, ten of the best locks of hair in fiction, ten of the best graveyard scenes in fiction, and ten of the best lawyers in literature, and on Rachel Syme's list of the ten most attractive men in literature, Christina Koning's critic's chart of six top romances, and Elizabeth Kostova's top ten list of books for winter nights.

--Marshal Zeringue