C18 Reading Room

This page is going to be a constant work in progress (forever, it seems).  If you have recommendations about 18th century novels you liked, loved, or even hated, leave a comment!

C18 Female Authors:

A Celebrations of Women Writer’s Full List

Chawton House Library, a UK registered charity with a unique collection of books focusing on women’s writing in English from 1600 to 1830

Fanny Burney

Maria Edgeworth – the Irish Jane Austen

Anne Finch – (Also see YouTube Channel Anne Finch Poetry, an ongoing project of Finch’s poems read aloud with music accompaniment and portraits)

Mary Hays – The Memoirs of Emma Courtney

Eliza Haywood

Elizabeth Inchbald

Charlotte Lennox – The Female Quixote

Ann Radcliffe

Charlotte Turner Smith

Madame de Stael

C18 Male Authors:

James Boswell – Known for biography of Samuel Johnson and London Journals

William Cowper

Daniel Defoe

Henry Fielding – Tom Jones

Oliver Goldsmith

William Henry-Ireland (He of the great Shakespearean hoax)

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos –  Dangerous Liasons

Samuel Richardson –  Clarissa; Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

Laurence SterneThe Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, a Gentleman

Jonathan SwiftGulliver’s Travels

Original and Satirical Books: The Standoff

Georgian History:

Dan Cruikshank – The Secret History of Georgian: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital

A.D. Harvey – Sex in Georgian England

Hallie Rubenhold – Harris’s List of Convent Garden Ladies, The Lady in Red

Amanda Vickery – The Gentleman’s Daughter; Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England

French Revolution Historical Fiction:

Catherine Delors – Mistress of the Revolution


Novels of the 18th Century.  A list of  mostly 20th and 21st century historical novels taking place during the period.  British, Contintenal Europe, and North American works.  A great starting point.

8 thoughts on “C18 Reading Room

  1. sensing a pattern in you reading list my dear…I’m oh so tempted to join you on your quest to read 100 in 2010, and I’s ever so glad you did not add the stipulation they must be classic novels…

  2. If we’re talking novels the big authors of the C18th seem to be


    Defoe not only gave us Robinson Crusoe but the much more interesting Moll Flanders and Roxane – but I am very keen on Defoe, he has such a sparse and uninflated style.

    Richardson wrote Pamela and Clarissa – I’ve not read these two yet.

    Fielding is absolutely brilliant and novelwise he gave us Joseph Andrews (a fantastic taster to C18th novels) and Tom Jones – which is just fantastic in all ways, adore it. He also wrote a few other things including Jonathan Wild, which is a bit bitter for my taste.

    Sterne is my favourite – and Tristram Shandy one of the most frustrating and wonderful books ever. I absolutely love it and Uncle Toby is my favourite ever fictional character. (A Sentimental Journey is less good admittedly).

    Smollett – I didn’t like Roderick Random, too boisterous and laddy – but I am going to read Humphry Clinker at some point.

    As well as all that there are things like Vathek (which is short and fun) Castle of Otranto (which is short and boring)

    And if you really fancy a struggle – work through the uncut Boswell’s Life of Johnson – a long and at times tedious book, but gives the reader so intense a relationship with the great man that I cried at the end.

    1. Thanks, Adam. I must say, I’ve watched more film interpretations of these books rather than actually read them. Moll Flanders and Tom Jones are high up on my tbr list, though. Clarissa by Richardson = depressing. And as far as Boswell goes, I’ve read some of his London journals but not the Life of Johnson. Uncut and tedious? I’m not sure I’m up for that, but then again if it made a grown man cry . . . well, I suppose that has my interest 🙂

      1. Ah, I’ll be running into you on June 2nd then. I’m hoping the beginning letters of Evelina catch my interest this time around. I remember thinking they were slow for a first read.

    1. Absolutely wonderful link! I’ve wedged it right under C18 female authors with a short description of Chawton House as used on site homepage. Thanks for sharing!

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