How to Guide for Reading and Loving Victorian-Era Novels!

How to Guide for Reading and Loving Victorian-Era Novels!

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Harsh Prabha Singh

Founder & Owner of: Serendipity and Soliloquy

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Family & Life and Healthy Living Writer

“Surely, by ‘Victorian Novels’ you don’t mean those big-fat, age-old decrepit weighty tomes people call Classic?” Er. Yes, I do, but I also mean those intellectually fulfilling creations of art, the legacy of great minds who lived long before our time.

The most common myth with respect to Victorian literature is that it is extremely difficult to understand. Here’s what I want you to know, it is exactly that, a myth. Great minds create great books which again create great minds. How’s that for a great thought and a great tongue twister?

Here are 5 tips for you on how to start reading and loving the books that were written by English men and women, over a hundred years ago !

  • Understand the backdrop:

You know what? That classic wasn’t written yesterday. It was written over a century ago. It was a different time. The society in that era gave credence to etiquette, mannerism, propriety, and rules. It was Queen Victoria’s regime. It was England. It wasn’t anything like today. You have to fathom these facts before you start reading. Why? Because it will help you relate to the characters, their behavior, actions, and relationships.

  • Keep the dictionary nearby:

You are going to add a lot of words to your current vocabulary by reading Victorian literature, provided, you keep the dictionary close and continuously look for the words that baffle you like ‘WHAT?’. Soon you’ll start enjoying those words. You will feel, no other word could have done justice to the meaning of a particular sentence.

  • Use your imagination:

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.”

That is a wonderful quote from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Widen your horizons of imagination to get the best out of classic literature. You are going to find lots and lots of rhetorical devices and figures of speech. You will realize, they absolutely add delightful effects to the text. Here’s a tip, do not read these books at a speed of light. Take your time to understand a sentence, pause and reflect upon it and then move on. Life’s too short to finish Victorian books in a hurry!

  • Feel the emotions:

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”

The characters, make them your best friends, worst enemies or anything in between. It’s important to become a part of the fictional world, to see every word through the eyes and feel the emotions through the heart. Did you know, reading good books make you less of a judgmental freak and more of a lovely forgiving person? So, why not transform ourselves into better human beings? You will soon gain the ability to understand why real people in real world, do what they do, without hating them.

  • Discuss:

Once you are done reading that glorious novel, it’s time to discuss it out! If you can’t find a friend who has read the same book, seek online communities. Try Goodreads. Book discussions are the best for two main reasons. First, you get to let out your immense love or hatred for a particular character who, by the way, never existed in real life. Second, you might just come across something you absolutely missed out while you were reading it yourself!

These were my tips and tricks on how to get loving the most sumptuous of literary classics. If you are a voracious reader or just a regular one or if you’ve just finished your first Victorian classic and you have a particular style of reading, please do share in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to mention your most favorite Victorian classic!

Article Credits: Harsh Prabha Singh

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor

(For Book, Writing Bloggers & More)

50 thoughts on “How to Guide for Reading and Loving Victorian-Era Novels!”

    1. Hey,
      I have studied and read old English literature but like you say it is quite hard to get your head around. Have you read sense and sensibility by Jane Austen? I find her books quite interesting despite the complex structure as there was less grammatical structure the further back in time that books were set in. Hope this helps.

  1. I’ve read Pygmalion and Lord of The Flies for my GCE O Level Examinations and that’s when I began to fall in love with classics. Before that I always thought they were boring and could not understand them! I’m now reading Little Women and enjoying it very much 🙂 Great post btw!

  2. My family and I are definitely suckers for Period Dramas so I am desperate to get stuck in to a good book in said genre. I have no clue where to start though. I’d very much like to read Poldark or one of Jane Austen’s books.

  3. I know I should read more victorian style books. I had to read a lot of them in college, it takes a critical and intuitive mind to fully understand writers in those days. It should be taught more in public school to help kids understand what passionate writing is about.

  4. I’ve only read a few Victorian novels but I’d like to read a lot more. Jane Eyre and Great Expectations are the ones I’ve read that first spring to mind. I agree that it’s super important to take the time to understand what you’re reading. I guess people are put off by complicated language, but old novels are like a little glimpse into history. Great post! Xx

  5. I’ve always been into Victorian style writing probably due to my love of history and they’re seriously like the only books I read. Jane Austen and Austen themed books always grab my attention.

    1. I think Pride and Prejudice is a good one to start.. not sure if it belongs to Victorian Era but.. it’s a classic. 🙂
      Also Gone with the Wind is a good one. I didn’t like the movie though..

  6. I am a huge fan of Victorian novels. “Jane Eyre”, “Wuthering Heights” and “Great Expectations” are my favourites. Reading your post has been a real pleasure! I will be looking forward to more Victorian-time-themed writings!

  7. Heyy!!! Thanks.. It helped a lot. I have Victorian novels in my syllabus this semester and I didn’t know how to complete reading the novels without sleeping off ;-).. Thanks to you I have completed 1 of the novels. Good start for me;).

  8. Great post !! My girlfriend bought be a collector’s edition of Charles Dickens’ works for Christmas. It contains A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol! Can’t wait to read them 🙂 Which one should I start with?

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