Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of… the 1850's, pt.1 (1850-1855)

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

I'll admit I'm a bit lost with some of the authors here, so I may well have picked the wrong Thackeray or Wilkie Collins to include.

Also this has served to inform me that the most painstakingly documented literary genre of the 1850's on wikipedia is positive "plantation" novels published to counteract "Uncle Tom's Cabin". This made me angry enough to include it even though I'm sure it's horribly offensive too.

Poll Results

Moby Dick by Herman Melville 16
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 3
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 2
Bleak House by Charles Dickens 2
Vilette by Charlotte Bronte 1
Hard Times by Charles Dickens 1
Graziella by Alphonse de Lamartine 1
The Warden by Anthony Trollope 0
Memoirs Of A Police Sergeant by Manuel António de Almeida 0
The Grandma by Božena Němcová 0
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell 0
The Heir Of Redclyffe by Charlotte M. Yonge 0
Doctor Antonio by Giovanni Ruffini 0
The Fisherman by Dmitry Grigorovich 0
Ruth Hall by Fanny Fern 0
Debit and Credit by Gustabv Freytag 0
Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley 0
Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy 0
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell 0
The History Of Henry Esmond by William Makepeace Thackeray 0
The Blind Woman Of Sorrento by Francesco Mastriani 0
The Wide, Wide World by Susan Warner 0
Antonina, or The Fall Of Rome by Wilkie Collins 0
The History of Pendennis by William Makepeace Thackeray 0
The String of Pearls: A Domestic Romance by Anonymous 0
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas 0
The Queen's Necklace by Alexandre Dumas 0
The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne 0
The King Of The Golden River by John Ruskin 0
Antonina by Evgenia Tur 0
Amalia by José Mármol 0
Childhood by Leo Tolstoy 0
The Blithledale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne 0
Life And Adventures of Jack Engle by Walt Whitman 0
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Hariet Beecher Stowe 0
The Simpleton by Aleksey Pisemsky 0
Green Henry by Gottfried Keller 0

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 4 May 2020 15:15 (five months ago) link

Voted Hard Times because Mr.Gradgrind's speech at the begining is the perfect distillation of phony capitalist moralism.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 4 May 2020 15:18 (five months ago) link

also: Walt Whitman wrote a crime novel!

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 4 May 2020 15:19 (five months ago) link

The big gorillas here, Dick and Bleak, are hard not to vote for and hard to choose between. I'll think about it.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 4 May 2020 15:27 (five months ago) link

There's some cool stuff here, but Moby-Dick unquestionably

iirc (it's been +20 yrs) Uncle Tom's Cabin is worth reading for historical value and nothing else

dip to dup (rob), Monday, 4 May 2020 15:33 (five months ago) link

I’mma state the obvious: one of these options is Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.

pomenitul, Monday, 4 May 2020 16:20 (five months ago) link

Villette's my favourite novel, so there's my vote

There are 'it's Charlotte's best' takes out there going into great detail, so I'll just say Lucy and Ginevra's relationship is the best, and the sweetest little joke the unreliable narrator plays on us.

abcfsk, Monday, 4 May 2020 16:37 (five months ago) link

Moby Dick was a great book that was nearly ignored when it was published, but Uncle Tom's Cabin was a book that will probably be ignored by ILB, which had huge social repercussions, and not just in the USA. Hard Times falls somewhere between the two.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 4 May 2020 23:54 (five months ago) link

It seems I have read many fewer of these than the 1840s ones. Even the dickens ones here are more familiar in adaptation than through actually reading.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 5 May 2020 02:01 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 8 May 2020 00:01 (five months ago) link

I keep meaning to read Uncle Tom's Cabin. The only one of these I've read is Moby Dick.

o. nate, Friday, 8 May 2020 01:21 (five months ago) link

S'gotta be Moby Dick, a pleasure to read and deeply weird.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 May 2020 02:36 (five months ago) link

Please, let us preserve our illusion of a luxurious variety of choices for as long as possible.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 8 May 2020 02:52 (five months ago) link

I really like Vilette as well. as well as the repeated embarrassing lack of coverage of non English lit, poll reminds me i’ve never read Westward Ho!

Otherwise it’s a Bleak Dick scenario folks, and v hard to see how yerman Herman doesn’t win out.

Fizzles, Friday, 8 May 2020 07:50 (five months ago) link

Since Moby Dick will deservedly win this, I'll toss my vote to the elegant, romantic Graziella.

There was a piece about that:


xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 May 2020 09:40 (five months ago) link

Hey, thanks for that!

I've only read Moby Dick. Love it very much, like everyone else.

What's The Scarlet Letter like? The only other novel in this list that was on my radar at any one time.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 May 2020 09:45 (five months ago) link

Can I be that guy and ask why we are splitting decades into 6- and 4- year polls instead of two halves?

Microbes oft teem (wins), Friday, 8 May 2020 09:52 (five months ago) link

This is I Love Books not I Love Maths.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 8 May 2020 09:56 (five months ago) link

What's The Scarlet Letter like?


Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Friday, 8 May 2020 19:44 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 9 May 2020 00:01 (five months ago) link

Predictable, utterly deserved.

pomenitul, Saturday, 9 May 2020 00:06 (five months ago) link

I have hateful memories of being forced to read The Scarlet Letter at a young age, but reading it as an adult would probably be very different

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 9 May 2020 00:09 (five months ago) link

It was chosen for a book club me and the missus attend and I admit we chickened out on that one

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 9 May 2020 12:05 (five months ago) link

Just started reading Villette. Iirc there is or was a twitter thread about women dying in 18thC literature, this one has to be top five: the lady having over-exerted herself at a ball, caught cold, took a fever, and died after a very brief illness.

a slice of greater pastry (ledge), Thursday, 14 May 2020 08:02 (five months ago) link

yes yes, 19thC.

a slice of greater pastry (ledge), Thursday, 14 May 2020 08:21 (five months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.