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The Beth Book

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  13 reviews
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We be ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published by Virago Modern Classics (first published 1897)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Debbie Zapata
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
Sarah Grand was my choice for June in my Literary Birthday Challenge. Another new name for me, this author was born in Ireland to English parents in 1854. The Beth Book is described in the GR blurb as semi-autobiographical, and since I usually enjoy such books, I chose it out of the three titles available at Gutenberg.

This story did indeed follow the broad outlines of Grand's own life, if Wiki is at all accurate about her. And it was not an easy life; it was not a happy story. I cringed through
Deborah Pickstone
I love this book - the depiction alone of Uncle James ('Jimmy-Wimmy') and the description of the dreadfulness of a male nag is priceless! It's very in keeping with the writing of that era, a story of a girl growing up and finally reaching an independent state after living under male....constriction.

The author eventually became the first Lady Mayoress (of Bath) in her own right in Britain and the story is probably strongly autobiographical, though it is not an autobiography.

In my Top Twenty - pr
Aug 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: virago, britlit
I read this voraciously in one day. Very good at the beginning but by the end a little hard to deal with. The problem was that the main character, Beth, changed from a child to an adult. That in itself is not a problem. The problem is that she suddenly became perfect perfect ethically perfect with only perfect motives and only perfect goals. The plot included the man sympathetic to intelligent female position i.e. "oh gracious I had never thought of it as such!! This female gives up her all for ...more
I recommend it! Surprisingly funny. There's a little bit of that Victorian style, but just enough of the modern style that it makes it an interesting read for the contemporary reader. Plays with gender roles in an interesting way for the time period, too, of course (reading it for a gender and lit class). Also, I really related to the main character, and I think anyone who remembers their childhood well will.
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a total Anglophile, (including Scotland and Ireland) and this is another beautifully written portrait of a young woman.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To quote the story itself, this book has done me good.
Jenny Yates
I wish I could’ve liked this book more. There’s some very inspired writing, here and there, and the title character, Beth Caldwell, is a singular personage. But it has one bad habit, and that’s a tendency to lecture the reader at every turn.

It can be very strident, but its causes are worthwhile. Written in 1897, it is very much a feminist novel, holding forth for equality and respect for women, and for men to stop acting like idiots.

The first half of the book is about Beth’s childhood and form
I enjoyed The Beth Book more than any other book I've read in a long time. It was a fairly large book, & I took my time reading it, wanting to enjoy every page. I found this book, by chance, in a used book store. It had fallen, or had been placed behind the books on a shelf. I am amazed that I never heard of the author, Sarah Grand. This would have been a perfect book to have been read by high school or college girls, as it discusses women's rights quite a lot. I had to double check the date of ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic that I discovered in The White Cat used book store. It is the story of an unusual girl from birth to age 25, set in the mid to late 1800's. It is semi-autobiographical in nature and reading the story was eye-opening. The women of today owe much to the women of that day. I cannot imagine a society that stifled their women in so many ways, from thought, word and deed to financial, family and career. It was plain to see the author felt the same way and it was courageous of her to ...more
I was required to read this book for a graduate-level gender and literature course. I may be forever indebted to my professor for finding my new favorite character in Victorian literature -- Beth. Watching her grow and evolve as a character and as a woman was fascinating for me. I enjoyed seeing her negotiate relationships with various people - her mother, Dan, Arthur, various other women - in spite of and through society's conventional class and gender roles. One can certainly learn much about ...more
Jed Mayer
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this novel gives a subtle portrait of the development of a young girl's mind, comparable in many ways to Joyce's, Richardson's and Woolf's later experiments. While this goes on for rather too long, it is really the heart of the work, which falters once it shifts to a portrayal of a loveless and destructive marriage. Yet even this would have made a compelling counterbalance to the early chapters if it hadn't ended in the protagonist finding salvation in yet another men, rather t ...more
Sally Anne
Read this a million years ago and somehow it just came to mind. Very much enjoyed these Virago Press books in the 1970s and '80s.
Patricia Giverin
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“Just like the mountains, all jumbled together when you view them from a distance, had Beth's impulses and emotions already begun to be in their extraordinary complexity at this period; and even more like the mountains where you are close to them, for then, losing sight of the whole, you become aware of the details, and are surprised at their wonderful diversity, at the heights and hollows, the barren wastes, fertile valleys, gentle slopes, and giddy precipices- heights and hollows of hope and despair, barren wastes of mis-spent time, fertile valleys of intellectual accomplishment, gentle slopes of aspiration undefined, and giddy precipices of passionate impulse and desperate revolt. Genius is sympathetic insight made perfect; and it must have this diversity if it is ever to be effectual- must touch on every human experience, must suffer, and must also enjoy; great, therefore, are its compensations. It feels the sorrows of all mankind, and is elevated by them; whereas the pain of an individual bereavement is rather acute than prolonged. Genius is spared the continuous gnawing ache of the grief which stultifies; instead of an ever-present wearing sense of loss that would dim its power, it retains only those hallowed memories, those vivid recollections, which foster the joy of a great yearning tenderness; and all its pains are transmuted into something subtle, mysterious, invisible, neither to be named nor ignored- a fertilizing essence which is the source of its own heaven, and may also contain the salvation of earth. So genius has no lasting griefs.” 0 likes
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