Cover Image: My Victorians

My Victorians

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Member Reviews

My Victorians: Lost in the Nineteenth Century is an uneven mix of memoir and history. The history portion of the book is fantastic! I learned fascinating new information about Charles Dickens, George Gissing, John Millais, and the Bloomsbury Group. Unfortunately, the uneven nature of the personal narrative made the book hard to read.
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My Victorians by Robert Clark is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late October.

Clark researching the Victorian era as a way to escape modern life’s inpredictabilities, finding respite there in the personalities who too felt of out of time, and traveling to England to visit locations where Victorian scenes takes place (now too new, too clean, and/or inconveniently hidden or destroyed), bearing witnesses to long-complete interactions, to embrace their desires, and their constant grief of non-consummation. He takes upon an air of passive observation, lingering passionate fantasy of otherworlds, and being straight-up morbid.
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This is a rather uncategorisable kind of book, neither fish nor fowl; not quite a personal memoir, not quite an essay collection or more formal exploration of the Victorians. In practice it's a sustained meditation on certain Victorian cause celebres. I wanted to love this, but I ended up repelled. On the Anglo-Catholic movement and the triangle between Grey, Ruskin, and Millais it is interesting; when it deals with the author's exploits in dating/connecting to women as a middle-aged divorce, it is rather less so. They don't marry well, the personal and the Victorian, the author and the objects of his desire: the recitations of his failure to understand women offset against Ruskin's own misunderstanding, Dicken's framing of women, Gissing's doomed relationship is bathic, and it is grating how often he projects things onto the women he dates, how amazed he then is when they refuse to live up to them, to serve as his manic pizie dreamgirls who will gift him the keys to understanding Holman Hunt, etc. I suspect he thinks it charming or comic; that he repeatedly calls one 'Janey the Madwoman' is less than charming.
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A fascinating read a hybrid of a travelogue memoir as the author shares personal facts from his life his divorce the women he dated in England.His interest in the painters authors of the Victorian era made this a fascinating read.#netgalley#uofiowapress
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A fascinating book, well researched and well written.
I liked how it is organized and the style of writing. As I'm fascinated by the Victorian age I read it as fast as I could.
Recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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