#TBT: 1850s

Popular Books Published in the 1850s

A Tale of Two Cities / Charles Dickens (1859)

When the starving French masses rise to overthrow a corrupt and decadent government, both the guilty and innocent become victims of their frenzied anger. (FIC DICKENS)


Madame Bovary / Gustave Flaubert (1857)

The classic tale of a woman who craves passion and intimacy, but finds only greed, betrayal, and heartbreak, as she stumbles towards suicide. (FIC FLAUBERT)


Cranford / Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

A comic portrait of early Victorian life in a country town which describes with poignant wit the uneventful lives of its lady-like inhabitants, offering an ironic commentary on the separate spheres and diverse experiences of men and women. (FIC GASKELL)


The Scarlet Letter / Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

In early colonial Massachusetts, a young woman endures the consequences of her sin of adultery and spends the rest of her life in atonement. (FIC HAWTHORNE)


Moby Dick / Herman Melville (1851)

The story of the ill-fated voyage of a whaling ship led by the fanatical Captain Ahab in search of the white whale that had crippled him. (FIC MELVILLE)


Uncle Tom’s Cabin / Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)

Uncle Tom’s master sells him, separating him from his wife, and he becomes attached to the gentle daughter of his new owner, but after her death, he is sold to the evil Simon Legree. (FIC STOWE)


Walden / Henry David Thoreau (1854)

Walden is a treatise on the subjects of self-sufficiency, individualism, relationship with nature, and rejection of material ambition. (818.303 THO)


The Warden / Anthony Trollope (1855)

Set in the world of the Victorian professional and landed classes, the book centers on Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity who is nevertheless in possession of an income from a charity far in excess of the sum devoted to the purposes of the foundation. (FIC TROLLOPE)


Leaves of Grass / Walt Whitman (1855)

The poems of Leaves of Grass are loosely connected, with each representing Whitman’s celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity. (811.3 WHI)


Did you know? Elisha Otis installed the first elevator on March 23, 1857. 

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