Annotation:Dark and darkly humorous, this novel takes on the labyrinthine legal system of Chancery, juxtaposing it with the no less labyrinthine and absurd (as Dickens implies) social codes of the upper and middle classes.
Annotation:Searing novel about the penalties for difference in late Victorian England. Education, class, religion, sex--it's all here; the outcry provoked when it was published in 1895 was so great that Hardy never wrote another novel.
Annotation:A heartbreakingly good, intensely compassionate imagining of what matters of life-and-death importance look like when tangled in the details and compromises of daily life.
Annotation:The subtitle is accurate: this is a romance in the fullest sense of the word, a tale of seemingly hopeless quests, impossible dreams, the knowledge of the body and the wisdom of the heart. Byatt intertwines the narrative of two (fictitious/fictionalized) Victorian poets with the drama of the scholars who study them. Absolutely unputdownable, especially for those with an interest in gender and the life of the mind.
Annotation:My favorite of James' novels, this is a novel of relationships so subtle, and so finely observed, that drawing room conversations can read like the events of a thriller, in marvelously precise and sensual prose.
Annotation:Fowles is a master of the well-constructed sentence. A dense, sensual novel about vivid characters in a no less vivid historical landscape.
Annotation:Trollope's commentary on the folly of economic speculation is scarily relevant, and his psychological insight, wielded with a wicked sense of humor, makes this a superb read.
Annotation:The subtitle says it all: a scathing satire of social ambition, and searing critique of the monsters created by oppressive social systems.
Annotation:Walkowitz uses a good deal of theory, but wears it lightly, weaving a compelling narrative about cultural anxiety in an era of rapid change. An engaging read.