Want to explore the world of Victorian novels, but just not sure where to begin? Answer these quiz questions and I’ll match you to a Victorian novel that’s just your cup of tea.
For me, when I think of “classic books,” the first species of book that comes to mind is the Victorian novel. Perhaps this is because we have so many novels from the Victorian era, novels that greatly influenced genres and characters and plots right up to today.
Or perhaps it’s just because I personally enjoy reading this type of classic(:
Regardless, the many Victorian novels that are regarded as classics deserve that status because they have stood the test of time. They were interesting and well-written back then, and they are interesting and well-written today.
When was the Victorian era in literature?
A lot of people have the vague notion that “Victorian literature” refers to pretty much anything from Jane Austen to World War I. However, those parameters are far too generous. If you want to be accurate, know that a Victorian novel is a piece of literature written when Queen Victoria of England was on the throne. So 1837 to 1901.
That means that Jane Austen, who died in 1817, was not a Victorian novelist. Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, who completed their first books in and 1837 and 1847 respectively, were. And then you have authors like Henry James, the Beethovens of literature who straddle two periods. (In James’s case, he was both a Victorian and a Modernist.) Realistically, the average reader isn’t a walking encyclopedia of dates, so if you call Frankenstein a Victorian novel no one is going to haul you to Newgate prison.
All dating aside, I would like to invite you to plumb the period of Victorian literature for yourself, because you will find some very exciting, odd, funny, sad, satisfying books therein. Please don’t let a couple hundred years of distance scare you off. Many of these old books are wonderfully accessible, even if they contain a more expansive and eloquent vocabulary than what you read and hear today.
Which Victorian novel should you read?
Now, where to begin? With hundreds of books published during Victoria’s reign, how can you be sure to find one that you, personally, enjoy? It can be a bit of a time investment, after all!
If you’ll allow me, I shall serve as your guide. I’ve prepared a short literary quiz to help you pick which Victorian novel you should read. Without further ado, let’s begin. Click the red button below to get started. (And don’t forget to share this quiz with people whom you think ought to read more Victorian lit, alright?)
If this puts you in a quizzical mood, go here to take the quiz where you test your knowledge of famous first lines from classic books!