Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of… the 1860's, pt.1 (1860-1864)

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Poll Results

Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne 3
The Mill On The Floss by George Eliot 2
Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert 2
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 2
Silas Marner by George Eliot 1
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo 1
Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev 1
The House Of The Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky 1
Amor De Perdição by Camilo Castelo Branco 1
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope 1
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins 1
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne 1
A Dark Night's Work by Elizabeth Gaskell 0
Romola by George Eliot 0
Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell 0
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley 0
The Trail Of The Serpent by Mary Elizabeth Braddon 0
Captain Fracasse by Theophile Gautier 0
Five Weeks In A Balloon by Jules Verne 0
What Is To Be Done? by Nikolay Chernyshevsky 0
The House By The Churchyard by Sheridan LeFanu 0
Martin Rivas by Alberto Blest Gana 0
Lucíola by José de Alencar 0
On The Eve by Ivan Turgenev 0
Max Havelaar by Multatuli 0
Elsie Venner by Oliver Wendell Holmes 0
The Adventures Of Philip by William Makepeace Thackeray 0
East Lynne by Ellen Wood 0
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope 0
Humiliated And Insulted by Fyodor Dostoevsky 0
One Of Them by Charles Lever 0
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon 0
The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy 0
No Way Out by Nikolai Leskov 0

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 16:13 (five months ago) link

Some good stuff in here - liked Silas Marner, Fathers & Sons - but it's gotta be Les Mis for me.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 16:15 (five months ago) link

Flaubert bis for me.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 16:15 (five months ago) link

I have read very few of these, but felt I should vote anyway, because House of the Dead is the key book to knowing how Dostoevsky became Dostoevsky.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 19 May 2020 18:20 (five months ago) link

Look, Great Expectations is my Dickens, but The Mill on the Floss is so enormously moving, a break of sorts for Eliot, being so personal and intimate, but with all her best qualities still in there.

So I'm voting for The Mill On the Floss.

Some decent 'sensation' novels on this list but the problem with books like Lady Audley's Secret is they're only so much fun at first, and end on a cowardly whimper.

abcfsk, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:20 (five months ago) link

One o' these:

Can You Forgive Her?
On the Eve
Fathers and Sons
The Mill on the Floss
Great Expectations

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:24 (five months ago) link

The Mill on the Floss, East Lynne, Great Expectations and Silas Marner all good. As for what to vote for, I’m currently torn between the two Eliots; I put Mill on my “quarantine reading” pile I arranged a month or so back (haven’t read it in 20 years).

A White, White Gay (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:25 (five months ago) link

As an Eliot-head I never got why Silas Marner was the go-to choice for teachers. It's a fine read, but imo lacks much of what made Eliot unique.

abcfsk, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:39 (five months ago) link

It's short.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:41 (five months ago) link

It made little impression on me either, and I read Daniel Deronda for the third time last November.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:41 (five months ago) link

these are getting harder

it's Great Expectations for me over the Eliots and Flaubert, but maybe I should have given a vote to The Woman in White, Collins' best and most influential book

The Marble Faun is better than I expected, sort of proto-James

Brad C., Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:42 (five months ago) link

kinda love/hate Silas Marner for how firmly "Eppie in the coal hole!" is inscribed on my brain (from the movie admittedly, but I read the book more than once)

might go with Hugo as it was the longest book I'd ever finished when I read it the first time, an accomplishment of which I was embarrassingly proud

dip to dup (rob), Tuesday, 19 May 2020 20:24 (five months ago) link

It's a cliché that pretentious ppl believe "big book = great book" but I think there IS something that happens when you get into a 500+page book where you just get so used to the characters and world that you tend to forgive a lot of weak parts - there's just so much of it! - and the experience of finishing it feels somehow weightier than with a shorter book because you're saying goodbye to all these characters who've been with you so long.

I mean, I don't want to bring this to ad absurdum, obviously there's plenty of 700 page books where that very much doesn't happen.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 09:39 (five months ago) link

Daniel, do you know of a (good) English translation of 'Amor De Perdição'? (I suspect you've read it, but maybe you did so in Portuguese?)

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 09:52 (five months ago) link

Oof, Portuguese literature in translation tends to be a nightmare once you get past Saramago, Pessoa and some Eça. I read it in school yeah, found it rather sappy at the time but I have enjoyed other Camilo novels since.

Do you speak French? My impression is that France is much better at translating Portuguese lit than the Anglo space, probably because of the huge immigrant population.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 09:55 (five months ago) link

I read French p ok I think, so I'll have a go at it. The translation issue you laid out might be why there's hardly any English translations to be found of said books, compared to French, Spanish etc.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:01 (five months ago) link

Oh, to be clear, I meant "a nightmare" in the sense of none of it being available, not that Portuguese is particularly hard to translate when compared with French, Spanish, etc. I think the lack is more to do with geopolitical soft power, alas. :(

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:05 (five months ago) link

Ah, gotcha :) Yeah, that is a shame.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:06 (five months ago) link

Flaubert bis for me.

― pomenitul, mardi 19 mai 2020 18:15 (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

same here. almost voted for gautier's capitaine fracasse which i really enjoyed as a kid, as i did jules verne. but for the latter, my fondest memories of his books are for other ones, michel strogoff and de la terre à la lune (planning to go to the moon being shot from a massive cannon, what's not to love!). great expectations didn't leave much of a mark, but also falls in the category of books i read abridged versions of for school. i almost started reading les misérables at the beginning of the confinement and just after having seen ladj ly's movie but could not find a copy at the library i went to before everything shut down.
tbf i did not expect that a list of novels from the early 1860's would deal mostly with childhood reads.

Jibe, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 16:19 (five months ago) link

"Eppie in the coal hole!"


i am a horse girl (map), Wednesday, 20 May 2020 17:13 (five months ago) link

Love 'Amor De Perdição' the Oliveira film, which will hopefully be reissued someday.

Only read Fathers and Sons. Eliot is the big gap in my reading life.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:34 (five months ago) link

voted for journey to the center of the earth mainly for the long sequence at the beginning where they spend what feels like weeks trying to decipher a mysterious coded manuscript only to accidentally discover (SPOILER) that you just have to hold it up to the light cuz it's backwards writing!

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 20 May 2020 22:07 (five months ago) link

xp xyzzzz when/if you do try Eliot, I'd say start at the peak w Middlemarch; Mill is cool except maybe for the ending, but at least it's melodramatic, not wimpy. Can't go too wrong with either (haven'tread the others). Alfred's our resident advisor on her.

dow, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 23:03 (five months ago) link

I love the Mill ending!

abcfsk, Thursday, 21 May 2020 08:35 (five months ago) link

I like the Trollope’s parliamentary novels but ‘Can you forgive her?’ is a drag. Alice Vavasor has to be the worst female character in Victorian fiction. I started rereading the series recently and it’s no wonder she gets dropped from adaptations. Her whole will she won’t she vacillation is infuriating.

I think Silas Mattner is the pick for me, although I have fond memories of journey to centre of the earth and didn’t realise it was so early. I’d assumed it was 1890s.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Thursday, 21 May 2020 10:49 (five months ago) link

Humiliated And Insulted by Fyodor Dostoevsky would be a good song title

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 21 May 2020 10:55 (five months ago) link

The Palliser novels blur, but I guess that's the point. The Way We Live Now, which isn't in the series, is probably my favorite.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 May 2020 10:56 (five months ago) link

I need to restart my reread of the Parliamenty series, got diverted by rereading the Patrick O’Brien novels, but I think Phineas Finn is my favourite novel and character.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Thursday, 21 May 2020 11:03 (five months ago) link

That's the first I read.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 May 2020 11:05 (five months ago) link

dow -- thanks, and yes going straight for Middlemarch.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 21 May 2020 11:55 (five months ago) link

Amazing how this suddenly gets SO much more "currently canonical" when you cross 1860. Anyway, Can You Forgive Her? for me. Les Miserables and Great Expectations are both probably great but also both ruined for me by enforced middle-school reading when I couldn't grasp them.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:39 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 22 May 2020 00:01 (five months ago) link

Oh wow, middle school? They wait until high school to drop the classics on us in Portugal.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 22 May 2020 09:40 (five months ago) link

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

System, Saturday, 23 May 2020 00:01 (five months ago) link

Well this is an upset!

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 23 May 2020 10:34 (five months ago) link

Can you forgive them?

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 23 May 2020 11:31 (five months ago) link

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