Books from 1821, 1871,1921 and 1971

Every year I plan to give an indication of books published 50, 100, 150 and 200 years ago and every year I forget. This year I remembered so here goes.


Not a bumper year. It included Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years), the follow-up to his better-known Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship)
Walter Scott’s Kenilworth
James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy and Shelley’s Adonaïs. I have to admit to having read none of them.


Definitely a better year with George Eliot’s Middlemarch (the first instalments) being the highlight and also including:
Henry James’ Watch and Ward
George Meredith ‘s The Adventures of Harry Richmond
Palgrave’s Personal Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia
Émile Zola’s La Fortune des Rougon
Lewis Carroll ‘s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There
Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. And I have read all of them.


With the malaise of post World War 1 easing off, this was quite a good year. It saw:
Hjalmar Bergman‘s Farmor och Vår Herre (Thy Rod and Thy Staff)
John Galsworthy’s To Let, the last of the The Forsyte Saga
Jaroslav Hašek‘s Osudy Dobrého Vojáka švejka Za Svetové Války (The Good Soldier Schweik)
Aldous Huxley‘s Crome Yellow
Sigrid Undset’s Husfrue (The Wife or The Mistress of Husaby, second part of Kristin Lavransdatter)
Henry Williamson‘s The Beautiful Years, the first in his Flax of Dream series
Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I have to admit to not having read the latter.


With the modern era well under way, we are now getting some more exotic books, with:
Oğuz Atay‘s complex, post-modern and difficult to obtain Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected)
Kofi Awoonor‘s This Earth, My Brother …
Ingeborg Bachmann‘s Malina (Malina)Gruppenbild mit Dame (Group Portrait with Lady)
Don DeLillo‘s Americana, his first book
George Garrett‘s Death of the Fox, one of my favourite historical novels
Bohumil Hrabal‘s Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England)
the second volume of Uwe Johnson‘s Jahrestage (Anniversaries)
Ismail Kadare‘s Kronikë në gur (Chronicle in Stone)
the controversial Jerzy Kosinski‘s Being There, possibly his best novel but possibly plagiarised from Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz‘s Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy (The Career of Nicodemus
Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven
Doris Lessing‘s Briefing for a Descent into Hell
Naguib Mahfouz‘s المرايا (Mirrors)
Spike Milligan’s Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall
V. S. Naipaul‘s In a Free State
Joyce Carol Oates‘s Wonderland
Walker Percy‘s Love in the Ruins
Anthony Powell<'s Books Do Furnish a Room
Tayeb Salih’sبندر شاه مريود (Bandarshah)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s August 1914
João Ubaldo Ribeiro‘s Sargento Getúlio (Sergeant Getúlio)
John Updike‘s Rabbit Redux

I haven’t read the Solzhenitsyn but have read the rest. I have missed out quite a few which you can see here. I shall probably forget to do this next year.

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