Arts & Culture
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Megan Ward

Point Park University English professor Megan Ward is a Victorianist, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that her reading includes a lot of 19th century British fiction. She also loves the fiction of Michael Chabon, which Ward finds "Dickensian in its exuberance... its intricacies and weirdness."

Lately she's been reading:

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Few novelists have ever attempted so broad a canvas as George Eliot in her masterpiece, Middlemarch. Portraying every level of social life in a provincial Midlands town called Middlemarch, she interweaves several intensely dramatic stories of love and death, betrayal and reconciliation, into one of the finest pictures of nineteenth-century England ever created. Its acute psychological penetration also makes it an exceptionally modern work, particularly in the romantic idealism of Dorothea Brooke, who often resembles George Eliot herself, and in the disastrous marriage and thwarted career of the young reformist doctor, Lydgate. Virginia Woolf called it “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”—and it is truly great literature that ranks among the best novels in the world.-Bantam Classics Charles Dickens, Bleak HouseWidely regarded as Dickens’s masterpiece, Bleak House centers on the generations-long lawsuit Jarndyce and Jarndyce, through which “whole families have inherited legendary hatreds.” Focusing on Esther Summerson, a ward of John Jarndyce, the novel traces Esther’s romantic coming-of-age and, in classic Dickensian style, the gradual revelation of long-buried secrets, all set against the foggy backdrop of the Court of Chancery. Mixing romance, mystery, comedy, and satire,Bleak House limns the suffering caused by the intricate inefficiency of the law.-Bantam Classics Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayA young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age. -Random House