Monday, 6 February 2012


It's so refreshing to hear somebody other than me criticising Charles Dickens.* This won't be an entirely serious post - I'm too happy...

*I'm not sure about John Sutherland's list of top ten Victorian novels that are better than Dickens, however, so of course, I've got to compose one myself. (This could be an easy and random task, considering my deep irrational dislike for Dickens, so I'll also try to pick novels that are actually good.)

1. Middlemarch by George Eliot: because this is possibly the greatest novel of all time, so how can we not start with this one?

2. Adam Bede by George Eliot: because I'm deeply unfashionable.

3. Villette by Charlotte Bronte: because she can write much better than she did in [parts of] Jane Eyre, and here's the evidence.

4. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: because of the gurgoyle and its doings!

5. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope: because I have only read a handful of Trollope's books, but this is my favourite so far.

6. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: because I've heard quite enough about Treasure Island while this exists.

7. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell: because it's still better than Dickens although she didn't manage to finish it!

8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: because it's so much better than The Moonstone, and it's a cracking good read.

9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot: because I'm a bit obsessed by George Eliot.

10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: because actually it's still quite good, if you squint a bit through the middle section.

And lots more, especially by Gaskell, Eliot, Trollope and Hardy. (I'm afraid I can't cope with Vanity Fair or Wuthering Heights either, but that's another story...)


  1. I love this list.

    But nothing on it is better than Bleak House.

    1. Now if you'd said Great Expectations, you might have had a case :)