BR & FR: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy

(Beware of spoilers) Far from the Madding Crowd is one of Hardy's earliest and most pastoral novels. I read it partly while visiting family in Hampshire and was swept away by the vivid descriptions of the changing rural landscape, reflecting the fluctuating moods and fortunes of the characters. The novel centres around Bathsheba Everdene, a... Continue Reading →


BR: ‘Bleak House’ by Charles Dickens

'London. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an... Continue Reading →

BR: ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot

'Middlemarch' is a novel comprised of a series of interlinked sketches of provincial life in 1830s England. The plot revolves around three major characters: Dorothea Brooke, who struggles to express herself in the constricted world afforded to women at the time; Tertius Lydgate, whose dreams of groundbreaking medical research are complicated by the demands of... Continue Reading →

BR: ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

'Great Expectations' begins irresistibly with the narrator, the orphan Pip, encountering a mysterious convict on the Kent marshes. This terrifying experience is contrasted later with his more insidiously haunting visits to Miss Havisham, for whom time stopped on the day she was jilted. Both of these characters have a great influence on Pip as he... Continue Reading →

BR: ‘Metamorphoses’ by Ovid

'Metamorphoses' is a Roman epic poem which chronicles everything from the mythical beginnings of the world to the foundation of Rome and the deification of Julius Caesar. I was very impressed by the fact that David Raeburn had translated it into hexameter verse, the meter in which it is written in Latin, so that the narrative swings along... Continue Reading →

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