Monday, June 4, 2012

A List of Victorian Writers (A Victorian Celebration).

I thought it might be a good idea to organize a massive list of Victorian writers. I have had a lot of questions about who is really a Victorian writer and whether writers from countries other than England will count towards the challenge (for the record, they count).

This is not an exhaustive list, but merely the writers that I know fall into the parameters of being in the Victorian time period. Please let me know if someone should be added or removed, since I am sure that some of you know more than I do about the subject!

A loose definition of Victorian literature is anything published during the time of Queen Victoria and her reign (1837-1901). Actual Victorians include the British writers who were living IN Britain during her reign, but I know the term has also been placed on writers from America and elsewhere in Europe. Victorian literature also creates a bridge between the Romantic and Dark-Romantic writings of the early 19th century, to the Progressive/Modern eras in America and the Edwardian eras of literature at the turn of the 20th century. For the purposes of my challenge and event here, I am allowing any book published during Victoria's reign to count as a valid entry, as well as any books focused on that time period (biographies, etc, as well as neo-Victorians). If you are ever unsure whether a book will "count," email me (aliteraryodyssey at gmail dot com) or tweet me (@alliedanielson).

So, using those parameters, here is a big old list of Victorians, broken down in a way that will hopefully help guide you towards more Victorian literature for the event, or in the future (again, let me know of more to add!).

The Major Victorians (the ones we all know!):
  • Charles Dickens
  • Anthony Trollope
  • Wilkie Collins
  • William Makepeace Thackerary
  • George Eliot
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Anne Bronte
  • Emily Bronte
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
Lesser-known Victorians:
  • Matthew Arnold
  • Edward Lear
  • R.D. Blackmore
  • Marie Corelli
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Thomas Hughes
  • Alfred Tennyson
  • Robert Browning
  • Gerard Hopkins
  • Thomas Carlyle
  • Christina Rosetti
  • Thomas de Quincey
  • George Macdonald
  • George Gissing
  • Edith Nesbit
  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • Margaret Oliphant
  • Olive Schreiner
  • Anna Sewell
  • H. Rider Haggard
  • Mary Jane Seacole
  • Ellen Wood
  • Mary Augusta Ward
Writers from Countries other than England:
  • Mark Twain
  • Grant Allen
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Henry James
  • Herman Melville
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Thomas Braken
  • Emile Zola
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Florence Nightengale
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • William Lloyd Garrison
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Alexandre Dumas
  • Victor Hugo
Victorians who verge on the Edwardian Period (their work can be either/or):
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • H.G. Wells
  • Bram Stoker
  • Jerome K. Jerome
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett

There you have it! A big ol' list of Victorian era writers. I don't think I missed anyone major, but please let me know if you have another Victorian writer I should add to the list, or if you think anyone should be moved.

Enjoy your reading!

**Just a side not as I added a few more writers: this is in no way a definitive list. I am sure there are many we have left, or some that scholars would argue about (in regards to us labeling as Victorian). But this is a great starting point for all of us, and I know that I have added a ton more authors to my TBR list!


  1. This gives me an idea for my intro to lit always give me ideas for my classes!

    1. Um, you're welcome? ;) I'm glad I could be of help!

    2. Thanks for your site A Literary Oddysey of Victorian writers. It is most educative, and tells us all who love reading what we've missed. Actually, the Internet, and the information which it provides, has in a way made old fashioned university studies obsolete. I think that your list is marvellous. Thank you very much! - Bulu Imam, Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award UK 2011 winner, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand State, INDIA

  2. Hmmm... I've already got my picks for this event, but looking at this makes me want to add Zola (Germinal), Melville (Billy Bud, Sailor), Hawthorne (House of the Seven Gables) and maybe some Poe and/or Dickinson. But I don't think I'll have time for anything other than what I've already picked...

    My review for Agnes Grey goes live tomorrow, and I'm reading book #2 (Autobiography of Mark Twain) now. w00t!

    1. Germinal is BRILLIANT. That is all.

    2. I know what you mean, Adam. There are a million more books to read in my lifetime-I will never get to them all!

      And yes, you NEED to read Germinal.

  3. GREAT list! And Burnett is included! Yay!

  4. Awesome list. I like the way you broke it down into categories. I thought I'd add a few lesser-known authors. There some authors that were writing during the Victorian Era that people often forget to include on lists of this time period because they are associated with other social/political movements as well. Some of these people only have speeches or essays published, but I think they're all pretty interesting.

    H. Rider Haggard
    Frederick Douglass
    Mary Jane Seacole
    William Lloyd Garrison
    Florence Nightingale
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Susan B. Anthony
    Sojourner Truth

    1. Thank you for pointing out a bunch more! All we added!

  5. I'm so glad you included Robert L. Stevenson! I am reading Treasure Island and was not really sure you would accept it.

    Thanks for the list :)

    1. You're welcome! I've found it helpful as well!

  6. The ones I have on my pile:

    Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (Complete)
    The Autobiography of Mark Twain (In Progress)
    Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
    The Warden by Anthony Trollope
    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    The Haunted House by Charles Dickens (& others)
    The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

    So, that's 7 books in my pile; I'm hoping to get through 6, but if I can also get to some of the others I mention above (like the Melville or Zola), that'd be awesome. It's only 2 months, though... I don't want to dream too big a dream! :P

    1. I feel like we have a different Autobiography for Twain because mine is near 1000 pages...sneaky Twain.

      So many good titles on your list. I just ordered a copy of The Warden. I have Barchester Towers on my 250 list, but Warden comes first.

      And I vote that you read Germinal. It was one of the first books I read for this project and I STILL think about it often.

  7. Don't forget Ellen Wood (Mrs. Henry Wood)!

  8. I think Alexandre Dumas could be included as well in the Writers from Countries other than England.

    1. Added him. :) Dumas is a favorite of mine!

  9. You've got a great list going!

    I think we should add Victor Hugo to the Non-British Victorians list.

    According to my former professor, a man who was a walking encyclopedia of all things Victorian, Mary Augusta Ward wrote the best-selling novel of the century. The only problem is I've forgotten which of her novels it was. Oops.

    I'm glad to see H. Rider Haggard getting a shout out. He's tragically underrated. :)

    1. Added both of them! I'll have to look into the Ward novel!

  10. Great list! Nice to see George Gissing and Margaret Oliphant included. They're both on my short list of books to read in June & July, as soon as I get caught up with all my book group selections.

    I loved Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. So much fun.

    1. I have a copy of Braddon's novel coming my way. :) My husband isn't going to be please with the influx of new reading material in these parts.

  11. This is a great list for a novice like me! Thanks so much!

  12. Now I can post my Pile :) ...

    1. I love book piles.

      My husband does not. ;)

  13. Great list - thanks for giving me a few new names to investigate! I think Hardy might be a Victorian/Edwardian candidate though, he didn't write any novels in the 20th Century, but focused on his main passion: poetry. :)

    1. Yeah, Hardy is a bit on the verge, but we'll count him in anyway. :)

  14. There are also books about famous artists and actors. The Pre-Raphaelites, Sarah Bernhart, Rodin,Tennyson,John Singer Sargent,
    Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, Bram Stoker, John Ruskin, William Morris and many others.

    1. Oh gosh! So many names! I'll do some investigating and add them-maybe their own category?

  15. I really want to participate in this and I said in the initial sign up that I would. I'm not reeeeeally blogging at the moment, but I have just started The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, which I'm so excited about. Also love that Edith Nesbit is on the list! I may have to dig out some of her books, and I also want to read North and South. Hopefully I'll find some motivation to write reviews from somewhere to because this event is brilliant!

    1. no worries! If you're reading, you're participating. :)

      North and South is fabulous. And so is Nesbit. I haven't read anything by her since I was a kiddo, but I loved The Five Children and It. It fascinated me a child!

    2. I've got The Railway Children out at the moment, I think I'm going to have to watch the movie too though!

      Also, I just got a really pretty collection of Charlotte Perkins Gilman short stories, about half of which were published in the right time frame. I know she's not English and so not technically Victorian, but does that count?

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  17. Didn't read through all the comments but you forgot Jules Verne in the list of authors not from Britain

  18. Hi!
    I did not see Sir Walter Besant on this list. you might wish to include him as well.
    Warmest regards,
    Emery Lee

  19. Thanks for this wonderful list of Victorian writers. I only wish there was a direct Google access on the site to the writers and their works. Thanks, Bulu Imam, Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award 2011, UK

  20. Thanku for the list.But dont u think u missed JANE AUSTEN?She is my favourite

  21. Rossetti - two esses and two tees.