Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Precious Bane

Finished yesterday Precious Bane by Mary Webb, which instantly goes in into my top 50 novels of all time, or what is called by North Americans 'a keeper' because in a few years I should like to read it again. A rich, evocative and deeply emotional romantic novel, a Beauty and Beast story - except that it's the heroine who is the beast.
Imagine Thomas Hardy but with richer countryside descriptions, with language as artfully constructed as P G Wodehouse (though different), and Anthony Trollope with characters who even more utterly compelling, convincing, yet contrary, with painful tragedy yet softened with a touch of warm, gentle humour.
Why do we do Jane Eyre at school and not novels like this one?
Googling brought up this information about Precious Bane, and with the e-text available online.


  • At 3:58 pm, Anonymous Kate H said…

    Precious Bane is a superb novel. Have you come across George Moore yet? Esther Waters is also very good (though I'd say more for character than lyrical descriptions). Hmm, don't get me started on Victorian lit. I can get verrrrry boring...

  • At 9:49 pm, Blogger Kate Allan said…

    I shall check out George Moore, thanks. :)
    All new to me - at school it was a steady diet of Brontes, Hardy, Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare with occasional forays into the likes of James Joyce and Ursula Fanthorpe.


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