Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Introduction

Hello, everyone! I’m delighted to return to Tor.com with a new project, a reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, designed to lead up to the forthcoming BBC adaptation (likely to begin in January).

JS&MN is one of my favorite books, and certainly my favorite book of the last decade or so. I love the prose, the characters, the worldbuilding (those footnotes!), the magic, the portrait of English society in an only slightly-alternate Regency… pretty much all of it, in other words. So I’m very excited to have the chance to talk about it in depth.

Granted, it won’t be in quite as much depth as with the Tolkien rereads, because with the upcoming TV series in mind, this will not be a chapter-by-chapter reread. Instead, I’ve divided the book into fourteen parts of roughly 50-60 pages. Why fourteen parts, and not, say, seven, which is how many episodes the show will be? Because the novel is divided into volumes as well as chapters, and this way I could have sections that were roughly equal in length, did not violate volume or chapter boundaries, and were a manageable size. I’ll also reread The Ladies of Grace Adieu, most likely in two parts.

This, then, is advance notice for anyone who might like to read along (please do!): the first post will be next Friday, October 10, and cover chapters 1 through 4. Posts will generally appear weekly thereafter (a full schedule is below). I can already tell that I am going to have to be ruthlessly selective in what I chose to write about lest I strain the interest of you, dear readers, not to mention my hands and my other commitments; so please do expand upon the discussion in the comments! They were one of the best things about the Tolkien rereads, and I’m eager to hear what you have to say.

Here’s the full schedule:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Volume I

1. October 10, 2014: chapters 1 to 4
2. October 17, 2014: chapters 5 to 10
3. October 24, 2014: chapters 11 to 16
4. October 31, 2014: chapters 17 to 22

Volume II

5. November 7, 2014: chapters 23 to 26
6. November 14, 2014: chapters 27 to 30
7. November 21, 2014: chapters 31 to 34
(Break for U.S. Thanksgiving)
8. December 5, 2014: chapters 35 to 39
9. December 12, 2014: chapters 40 to 44

Volume III

10. December 19, 2014: chapters 45 to 49
(Break for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Christmas, New Year’s)
11. January 9, 2015: chapters 50 to 54
12. January 16, 2015: chapters 55 to 59
13. January 23, 2015: chapters 60 to 64
14. January 30, 2015: chapters 65 to 69

The Ladies of Grace Adieu

1. February 6, 2015: “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” through “The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse” (revised)
2. February 13, 2015: remainder of collection

See you next week!


Kate Nepveu was born in South Korea and grew up in New England. She now lives in upstate New York where she is practicing law, raising a family, and (in her copious free time) writing at Dreamwidth and her booklog.

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