Sunday, November 03, 2019

Fortnightly Book, November 3

The next fortnightly book will be Charlotte Yonge's The Heir of Redclyffe. When Yonge published it in 1853, it became a worldwide bestseller, perhaps the most widely read contemporary fiction work in the world at the time. The protagonist, Guy Morville became a widely admired fictional hero among young men; young women cried over the sad turns of the tale. While Wilkie Collins didn't like the unrealistic characters, he was very much in the minority of the critics. It made Charlotte Yonge a lot of money and, what is more important, established her as one of the major authors of her day.

Yonge is not read all that much, anymore, perhaps because her High Church Anglo-Catholic values, for which she was famous, are not in fashion, or perhaps because she wrote eminent examples of a kind of novel that has itself fallen out of favor, or perhaps because people think that if they have Austen and Eliot and Dickens and Thackeray, they have enough. She wrote prolifically, everything from the novels for which is best known to her history of Greece for children, but very little of it is read or studied, except by a few devotees, and even then it is mostly The Heir of Redclyffe. But it's a good choice for a starting point; it was a novel that shaped a generation, and not an insignificant or unliterary generation, at that, and we will see how it reads.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.