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Saturday, March 25

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On the Web Mon Aug 24 2009

Audrey Niffenegger on The Moonstone

Audrey Niffenegger has written a nice piece for the Guardian on her love of Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone, giving us an idea of what and how she reads:

It would be delightful to be able to read a book as its original readers did, to have the impact of the experience without knowing what would come after. Wilkie Collins's masterpiece, The Moonstone, must have seemed especially strange and new to its first readers. It was the first detective novel written in English. There are whole sections of bookstores, vast swaths of ISBNs devoted to The Moonstone's progeny. I happened to read it after the Sherlock Holmes stories, after Dracula, after Lord Peter Wimsey and Nero Wolfe and Philip Marlowe. But its first audience read it as a serial in Charles Dickens's weekly magazine All the Year Round. I suppose we could recreate this experience by reading one chapter each week and firmly putting the book away in the intervals, but I am much too impatient for that, myself.

 
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Jennifer Sampson / August 25, 2009 8:43 AM

I've enjoyed trying the experiment Niffenegger suggests with The Moonstone and other Victorian novels. This fall, in fact, I'm teaching a seminar at the Newberry Library called "How to Read Like a Victorian: The Scandal of Jane Eyre and Vanity Fair" that attempts to recreate (on a slightly accelerated schedule) the experiences of the first readers of works by Charlotte Bronte and William Makepeace Thackeray. Link text

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