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Fantastic Victorian Novels in Translation

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Queen Victoria’s long reign (1837-1901) was a prolific time for British novelists. The Brontë Sisters, Charles Dickens, William Thackery, Wilkie Collins, George Elliot, Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy, among others, created classics during this time that remain among our most beloved and widely-read books. Literature mirrors its society, and Victorian literature was no exception, depicting a growing awareness of inequalities and moves toward democratization -- by-products of the Industrial Revolution -- juxtaposed with persistent and stuffy social constraints, particularly on women. The “novel of manners” portrayed these social strictures. Not only England but much of Europe experienced similar tensions between progressive tendencies and rigid social rules. As a result, great writers from outside Britain also created “Victorian” novels. With their vivid and realistic descriptions of setting and character, these novels hold pride of place next to their British counterparts.

The Doll Cover Image
By Boleslaw Prus, Stanislaw Baranczak (Introduction by), David Welsh (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590173831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - February 8th, 2011

A wonderful evocation of life in Warsaw in the latter half of the 19th century, Prus knits a compelling tale of Wokulski, a striver who pursues the love of a heartless Warsaw socialite and the respect of the Polish aristocracy. His ambition and heedless desire for the beautiful Izabela lead him to sacrifice his money, his pride and his happiness.

The Family Mashber Cover Image
By Der Nister, Leonard Wolf (Translated by), David Malouf (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590172797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - May 20th, 2008

Moshe is the eldest son of a wealthy mercantile family in western Ukraine and a prominent leader in the local Jewish community. His brother, Luzi, returns home after years of wandering in search of spiritual fulfillment. Luzi loves Moshe but is openly critical of his brother’s profession and opulent lifestyle. With a large cast of colorful characters, this novel examines the moral hypocrisy of the town’s merchants and the financial decline of a family. Pinchus Kahanovich, who wrote under the pseudonym “Der Nister” was arrested and executed by Soviet authorities. A sequel to The Family Mashber was reportedly completed before his arrest but never found.

Eline Vere Cover Image
By Louis Couperus, Ina Rilke (Translated by)
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780981955742
Availability: Special Order
Published: Archipelago - June 25th, 2010

Eline lives a disaffected and privileged existence in The Hague. Her friends and relatives desperately try to marry her off to someone of her station, but Eline questions her love for her betrothed and ambivalently allows circumstances to pull her closer and closer to an older cousin with an unsavory past.

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics Series) Cover Image
By Thomas Mann, John Edwards (Translated by), T. J. Reed (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780679417378
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Everyman's Library - October 4th, 1994

The story of the economic and moral fall of a prominent German family, the members of which are brought to life in Mann’s vibrant and observant style. Mann describes the slow and painful descent of a wealthy family with sympathy and subtle humor.

Anna Karenina: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780142000274
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Books - December 1st, 2001

While already enjoying a large readership, it would be remiss to omit Tolstoy’s masterpiece of St. Petersburg society. Within its pages collide an obsessive passion, a roguish lover, and a husband who stands firm in upholding society’s expectations of women and marriage.