Sunday, January 13, 2013

allyspock said: What is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel? What's it about?

it’s a lengthy novel about the resurrection of English Magic in the 19th century. it’s written in a VERY 19th century style, and takes place during the napoleonic wars, in a world where magic does technically exist but has been dormant for the past 300 years or so. “theoretical magicians” still exist, but they are all academics who study the history of magic and magicians.

jonathan strange and mr norrell are the two men who bring magic back to england. norrell is basically scrooge, but with books instead of money. he’s been a practising magician for years without anyone knowing about it because he lives in a house in the middle of nowhere, yorkshire, surrounded by all the books he bought with his vast family fortune. jonathan strange is a young, aimless upper-class gentleman who decides to become a magician in order to prove to his girlfriend that he’s a Serious Person (because “magicians” are all serious, respectable academic types) but accidentally finds out that he’s enormously powerful magic-user.

i don’t really want to say any more because spoilers, but this book is INCREDIBLE and has some of the best worldbuilding i have ever read, if not THE best. the dialogue and characterisation is all incredibly detailed and specific, and the unnamed narrator is wonderfully witty and wry. and WELLINGTON shows up because jonathan strange goes off to fight napoleon in portugal for a while.

(nb i couldn’t tell if this question was taking the piss or not, so i answered it anyway. i guessĀ  my tumblr must be a little annoying/confusing recently for people who don’t want to read posts about jonathan strange & mr norrell/jonathan strange book club?)


  1. allyspock said: I always skipped your Jonathan Strange posts because I had no idea what it was. This question was absolutely genuine, so thank you for answering. It sounds interesting, and I may have to pick it up…
  2. hellotailor posted this