Armchair BEA, May 26, 2014, Literature


"What do you think of when you think of literature? Classics, contemporary, or something else entirely?"

My first thought is a fiction classic. I'm old school, believing literature to be a creative work of beautiful prose. An emphasis is on the language of the story. Charles Dickens novels are literature; Fifty Shades of Grey is not literature (there will be those readers who will disagree). 
Non-fiction can be literature when its writing has a novel type atmosphere. 

Charles Dickens is my favorite author. I've read the following novels by him: David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities.
I'm currently reading Our Mutual Friend, for a reading project which lasts until November 2015. It's a slow reading, 32 pages in the month of May. The project is in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the story. 

David Copperfield, is my number one favorite book. 
It's filled with vivid and dramatic characters, memorable quotes, villains and heroes, and a protagonist that I would like to swaddle tight in a blanket and cart away to safety. 
Reading David Copperfield, is like visiting a dear friend and I feel at home. 

A second favorite author is George Eliot, also known as Mary Ann Evans. She wrote the following books: The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch, Adam Bede, and Daniel Deronda. I've read The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner. I have Middlemarch, on the bookshelf, but unread. Also unread is a biography of George Eliot by Rosemary Ashton. 

George Eliot, Mary Ann Evans

A third and fourth favorite authors are Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte. An interesting bit of trivia, both were friends, Gaskell wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte entitled: The Life of Charlotte Bronte. This book is a favorite of mine, it paints the life story of Charlotte, but also tells me how people lived in the early to mid 1800s in England. 
By the way the kindle price of The Life of Charlotte Bronte is $2.99!

Charlotte Bronte's novels are: Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, The Professor, Emma Brown (finished and published by Clare Boylan). I've read all of them except The Professor. I've also read some of Charlotte's poetry. 
Charlotte Bronte

Elizabeth Gaskell's novels are: Mary Barton, Cranford, Ruth, North and South, Sylvia's Lovers, and Wives and Daughter's. She has a lengthy list of novellas, short stories, and non-fiction work. I've read Ruth, and have tried to read Sylvia's Lovers (the language is difficult). I'm hoping this year to read North and South, and Wives and Daughter's (I've seen the BBC film). 

Elizabeth Gaskell


  1. Beautiful post. I love Charles Dickens as well. I wrote a post on another blog about his home and personal life. He was a very interesting fellow.

  2. oh i love the images you included! Charles Dickens is so timeless with all of his books - Miss Havisham will forever be branded in my memory - she was such a character - in a hundred different ways {yup, pun intended}
    Happy Armchair BEA Week!

  3. thanks for sharing those goodies. I enjoy Dickens a lot. and his biography by Tomalin is fantastic by the way

  4. I first read Silas Marner in middle school and it is still a beloved classic of mine. I do agree with you though about literature vs non literature

  5. I'm a big fan of Charles Dickens, too. I think my favorite so far is David Copperfield (or Great Expectations). I loved The Mystery of Edwin Drood and wish it had been finished! I can't wait to read Our Mutual Friend, as I have a feeling that will become my favorite...but I'm kind of saving it. I love Gaskell and the Brontes, too - I'm a big fan of classic literature, so these three are a must, of course.

  6. I have to admit I haven't read tons of classics. I read what was mandatory reading in school, and a couple I have ventured to read on my own, but always seem to be excited by new talent.

  7. Happy Armchair BEA to you, I like your definition of literature.


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