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Raven

Novels That Shaped Our World

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I looked down that listing wondering how on earth that selection could be regarded as changing our world (some, yes, but most, no).  However,  I then read the blurb in more detail, and it's very much a personal selection of books that changed the panel's lives.  Rather more parochial!  Should still be an interesting programme to watch.

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I'm not sure about some of the topics either, I don't think I would have put The Tenant of Wildfell Hall under Family & Friendships, and some of the fantasy novels seem to be in a strange category too.  But yes it is personal and I'm sure will generate a lot of discussion.

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Raven, that is quite a list. I must admit that I have not read most of the books on the list, however, those on the list that I have read are all excellent.

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Do you know, I completely forgot about this program - haven't watched a single episode!

 

I think I should take a look at iPlayer...

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On 04/12/2019 at 10:27 PM, Raven said:

Do you know, I completely forgot about this program - haven't watched a single episode!

 

I think I should take a look at iPlayer...

 

Same here!

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Has anyone watched the BBC series? Tempted to give it a go, they cover some very broad themes about writers and fiction.

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I have often wondered how much Charles Dickens' books influenced society. Robert Tressel's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was credited with winning the 1945 general election for Labour. 1984 by George Orwell must have been very influential.

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15 hours ago, KEV67 said:

I have often wondered how much Charles Dickens' books influenced society. Robert Tressel's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was credited with winning the 1945 general election for Labour. 1984 by George Orwell must have been very influential.

 

As far as I'm aware, Charles Dickens gave us the Christmas that we celebrate now. Saw a TV program on that once (can't remember the name of said program)

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I think it was the Victorians in general who shaped Christmas as we know it today, it was Prince Albert who introduced the idea of the Christmas tree.

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I was thinking more along the lines of improving welfare for orphans, reducing legal corruption, reducing institutional bureaucracy, improving factory conditions, improving education. He usually criticised some area of society in his books. As he was so popular, I wondered whether he had any effect.

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On 10/05/2021 at 10:29 AM, Madeleine said:

I think it was the Victorians in general who shaped Christmas as we know it today, it was Prince Albert who introduced the idea of the Christmas tree.

It was Queen Charlotte (wife of George III ) who brought Christmas trees to England. Albert popularised them.

Edited by France

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18 hours ago, KEV67 said:

I was thinking more along the lines of improving welfare for orphans, reducing legal corruption, reducing institutional bureaucracy, improving factory conditions, improving education. He usually criticised some area of society in his books. As he was so popular, I wondered whether he had any effect.

I'm sure he had an effect, just like Charlotte Bronte did apparently with Jane Eyre and her description of Lowood School (I think that's the name!) which highlighted the conditions for so-called charity cases and they were much improved.

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I definitely think Dickens influenced society with his writing, very intentionally so. I think the divorce reform conversations happening in the 1850s are an interesting example. Dickens was publishing other people's articles on the subject, well as his own, in his periodical Household Words for a while. Then he wrote about the unfairness of divorce laws in Hard Times and just a couple of years later the Bill was finally passed. The conversation would have happened without Dickens, but he reached a lot of people with his publications and used them to generate empathy for working-class people trapped in unhealthy marriages because they couldn't afford to get divorced. I definitely think he would have changed a few minds on the subject :) 

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4 hours ago, France said:

I'm sure he had an effect, just like Charlotte Bronte did apparently with Jane Eyre and her description of Lowood School (I think that's the name!) which highlighted the conditions for so-called charity cases and they were much improved.

 

Interesting. Elizabeth Gaskell got in a bit of hot water, because in her biography of Charlotte Brontë, she repeated her criticisms of the school on which Lowood School was based (Cowen Bridge). When Jane Eyre came out former pupils quickly recognised the school and some of the staff. One of the problems was that the school was located in an unhealthy place. Another problem was the cook was very bad. IIRC, the reverend at the school wrote a defence, and I think his son-in-law did too.

 

Jane Eyre contained a feminist outburst at one point. She complained about the lack of opportunities for women. I wonder if that had an effect.

Edited by KEV67

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