The Evening Before the Day

Having just finished Scarlett Thomas' "PopCo", I find myself longing for non-contemporary novels. I have been reading many books recently but all have all been written within the last thirty years. I long for a different sort of prose, a different perspective. And so I have been looking at my book shelves, thought about the books I have had to abandoned earlier in my life, and then I finally uncovered James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". The choice was between "Portrait", "Ulysses" and Sterne's "Tristram Shandy". Clearly I'm going for the easy option because, well, I'm like that.

But I have a credit card and access to I also have ideas (some borrowed from Harold Bloom, others from Clifton Fadiman and finally a few picked up along the way) about what to buy. But I want to ask you for a recommendation.

    The criteria:

    written in English

    written pre-1940



    nothing I will have read before (which excludes all of Austen, actually)

Feel free to add as many slightly left-field recommendations as you'd like and, if you want, your reason for recommending the novel.

In other news, I foolishly thought I would take tea with some good friends today (it is my birthday tomorrow). This led to a collapse in public and a subsequent three-hour nap. Sometimes I forget how little energy I actually do have and that I cannot just dismiss the lack of energy. Unfortunately every little action has a consequence.