The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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November 20, 2016

'We are not amused...'

      At Buckingham Palace in the early spring of 1841 the Prince was reading to Victoria what he believed to be a masterpiece, Goethe's Leiden des jungen Werthers, although he admitted 'the beginning is dry'. Some of the Queen's reading sounds more dutiful than pleasurable. 'I have not read Barchester Towers all through,' she once wrote to Vicky after her marriage, 'but I am told it is not meant to be so ill-natured. But I don't like reading it aloud to Papa as there is not enough romance in it.' But The Mill on the Floss 'I must say ... made a deep impression upon me. The writing and description of feeling is wonderful and painful!' It would be interesting to know if George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss has been read by any member of the royal family since.  Middlemarch the Queen thought fine but a disappointing book, for all the people were failures; Jane Eyre she considered 'a wonderful book but very peculiar in parts.'  ...

from Queen Victoria at Home, by Michael De-la-Noy


JoAnn said...

Oh, my... lol!
Looking forward to a return to Trollope in 2017 anyway :)

Karen K. said...

I loved Barchester Towers and Middlemarch, but I haven't read The Mill on the Floss since high school. It was my very first Victorian novel and I did not like it at all, though I was reading it for a high school paper which was probably not the best introduction to George Eliot. I should really give it another try someday.

Jane @ Beyond Eden Rock said...

I have just finished Barchester Towers, and I see my library has this. Thank you for pointing me towards it!

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