Prominent Victorian Writers: Background information when reading The Marriage Plot

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The Marriage Plot

A Novel

by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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Beyond the Book:
Prominent Victorian Writers

Print Review

Madeleine Hanna, heroine of The Marriage Plot, is enthralled with the tidy, thoughtful novels of the nineteenth century. Here are three prominent Victorian writers and information about their literary styles that will make the experience of reading Eugenides's story all the more pleasurable.

George Eliot (1819-1880)
George Eliot Born with the name Mary Ann Evans, Eliot took a masculine pen name in the hopes that her fiction would be treated seriously by Victorian readers. Her seven novels, among them Middlemarch, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner, are noted for their flawed, imperfect characters and protagonists. Most of her novels take place in the rural English countryside and contend with religious and social issues.
Henry James (1843-1916)
Henry James Originally from New York, Henry James spent much of his life in Europe, and his novels are transatlantic - marked by encounters between Americans and Europeans. James was particularly talented at handling interior monologue and narration, and his works mark a period in time that was interested in understanding the depths of human psychology.
Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)
Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was a prolific writer who penned over fifteen novels, novellas, and works of non-fiction (including the first biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë). Her writing is rich with the dialects and conversations that occurred around the social reforms, riots, and strikes of Victorian England. Gaskell was a people's writer, and her novels, such as North and South, May Barton, Cranford, and Wives and Daughters, preserve the social concerns of the time via realistic and vivid characters.

This article was originally published in October 2011, and has been updated for the September 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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