Monday, 7 May 2012

Books to read: 2012

Rather late, I know, and on a busy university year, but still a stackload of books have gone unread. Here are my resolutions, which will probably extend to 2013.

  1. Charles Darwin: Voyaging by Janet Browne
  2. John Keats by Robert Gittings (midway)
  3. Patronage by Maria Edgeworth (published 1814. She was Jane Austen's best-selling rival, so says the cover)
  4. Selections from Ruskin, published by Smith, Elder and Co. (a 1871 edition, I got it for a mere 14 pounds at an old bookstore)
  5. Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (it's in English, not French, no idea why the title is French)
  6. Ovid's Metamorphosis (Oxford World's Classics - a better translation than Penguin)
  7. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  8. Hazlitt: a Modern Man by Duncan Wu 
  9. Thud! by Terry Pratchett (no problem with that, I enjoy my Pratchetts)
  10. Queen Mab by Percy Shelley
  11. Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  12. The Mabinogion (Welsh mediaeval tales by unknown author, Oxford World's Classics)
  13. Endymion by Keats
  14. Ode to a Nightingale by Keats (I read it when I was 15, but I didn't understand it then)
  15. Ode to a Grecian Urn by Keats
  16. Idylls of the King by Tennyson
  17. The Princess by Tennyson
  18. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  19. Utilitarianism and other essays by John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham
  20. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
  21. Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
  22. Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I am ordinarily not a fan of mythology. The reason I am making myself read Ovid is because I am in the midst of writing a novel set in the Romantic era, and it's got elements of fantasy in it. Apparently the stories in Ovid deal with transformation from human to beast, which is exactly what my story contains. I need inspiration from the ancient classics, as befitting the classical inspiration of the 19th century. The Romantics were also fond of Mediaeval art and folklore which is also why I am reading Le Morte d'Arthur. So far the only genuinely mediaeval thing I've read is The Nun's Priest Tale by Chaucer 2 years ago. The Eve of St Agnes doesn't count, as it was written in the 19th century.

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