Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: Faerie and the Fate of England
Described by Neil Gaiman as ‘the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last 70 years’ Susanna Clarke’s 2004 international bestseller broke records for a fantasy novel. It charts the lives of two magicians, the young, gregarious, and confident Jonathan Strange, and the bookish and reclusive Mr Norrell, as they navigate the politics of an alternative Regency England in which ‘English Magic’ and the unsettling world of Faerie are alarmingly real forces. It was made into a BBC TV series in 2015. This talk aims to examine the themes and structure of the novel, leading to a deeper understanding of Clarke’s enthralling alternative past.
Reading: Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
Dr Mark Williams is Fellow and Tutor in English at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford. He is a specialist in the medieval languages and literatures of Wales and Ireland, and the author of Ireland’s Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth (Princeton, 2016), and The Celtic Myths that Shaped the Way We Think (Thames & Hudson, 2021). He is in training as a Jungian psychoanalyst
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