Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke published by Bloomsbury in 2004. ISBN 1-58234-416-7. A fantasy novel relating to the work of two English wizards during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, it is written in the style of the era it portrays, acting more as a history, complete with references and footnotes, than a fantasy. It is the author's first novel and spent several weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.


Volume I: Mr Norrell

He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him.

1 The library at Hurtfew

  • Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.

2 The Old Starre Inn

  • ²The Great church at York is both a cathedral (meaning the church where the throne of the bishop or archbishop is housed) and a minster (meaning a church founded by a missionary in ancient times). It has borne both these names at different periods. In early centuries it was more usualy called the Minster, but nowadays the people of York perfer the term Cathedral as one which elevates their church above those of the nearby towns of Ripon and Beverly. Piopn and Beverly have minsters, but no cathedrals.

3 The stones of York

  • Long, long ago, (said the voice,) five hundred years ago or more, on a winter's day at twilight, a young man entered the Church with a young girl with ivy leaves in her hair. There was no one else there but the stones. No one to see him strangle her but the stones. He let her fall dead upon the stones and no one saw but the stones. He was never pnished for his sin because there were no witnesses but the stones. The years went by and whenever the man entered the church and stood among the congregation the stones cried out that this was the man who had murdered the girl with ivy leaves wound into her hair, but no one ever heard us. But it is not too late! We know where he is buried! Pull up the paving stones. Dig up his bones! Let them be snashed with the shovel! Dash his skull against the pillars and brak it!Let the stones have vengeance too! It is not too late! It is not too late!

4 The Friends of English Magic

5 Drawlight

  • Mr. Norrell, thought confident now that his guest was no great magician or a great magician's servant, was still not much inclined to take Childermass's advice. His invitation to Mr Drawlight to sit down at the breakfast-table and take some chocolate was the coldest sort. But slky silences and black looks had no effect upon Mr Drawlight whatsoever, since he filled up the silences with his own chatter and was too accustoned to black looks to mind them.

6 "Magic is not respectable, sir."

  • You are a magician, sir?" said Mrs Wintertowne. "I am sorry to hear it. It is a profession I have a particular dislike to." She loooked keenly at him as she said so, as though her disapproval might in itself be enough to make him renounce magic instantly and take up some other occupation.

7 An opportunity unlikely to occur again

8 A gentleman with thistle-down hair

9 Lady Pole

10 The difficulty of finding employment for a magician

11 Brest

12 The Spirit of English Magic urges Mr Norrelll to the Aid of Britannia

13 The magician of Threadneedle-street

14 Heart-break Farm

15 "How is Lady Pole?"

16 Lost-hope

17 The unaccountable appearance of twenty-five guineas

“The stout gentleman opened his eyes wide in fright, anger and indignation. He opened his mouth wide to begin accusing Stephen but in that moment he began to change. His body became the trunk of a tree; he suddenly sprouted arms in all directions and all the arms became branches; his face became a bole and he shot up twenty feet; where his hat and umbrella had been there was a thick crown of ivy. "An oak tree in Piccadilly," thought Stephen, not much interested. "That is unusual." Piccadilly was changing too. A carriage happened to be passing. It clearly belonged to someone of importance for as well as the coachman upon his box, two footmen rode behind; there was a coat of arms upon the door and it was drawn by four matched greys. As Stephen watched the horses grew taller and thinner until they seemed about to disappear entirely and at that point they were suddenly transformed into a grove of delicate silver birches. The carriage became a holly bush and the coachman and the footmen became an owl and two nightingales which promptly flew away. A lady and gentleman walking along together suddenly sprouted twigs in every direction and became an elder-bush, a dog became a shaggy clump of dry bracken. The gas lamps that hung above the street were sucked up into the sky and became stars in a fretwork of winter trees and Piccadilly itself dwindled to a barely discernible path through a dark winter wood. But just as in a dream where the most extraordinary events arrive complete with their own explanation and become reasonable in an instant, Stephen found nothing to be surprized at. Rather, it seemed to him that he had always known that Piccadilly stood in close proximity to a magical wood. He began to walk along the path. The wood was very dark and quiet. Above his head the stars were the brightest he had ever seen and the trees were nothing more than black shapes, mere absences of stars. […] The sad bell sounded much clearer in the wood than it had in London and Stephen followed the sound along the path. In a very short while he came to an immense stone house with a thousand windows. A feeble light shone out of some of these openings. A high wall surrounded the house. Stephen passed through (though he did not quite understand how, for he saw no sign of a gate) and found himself in a wide and dreary courtyard where skulls, broken bones, and rusting weapons were scattered about, as if they had lain there for centuries. Despite the size and grandeur of the house its only entrance was a mean little door and Stephen had to bend low to pass through. Immediately he beheld a vast crowd of people all dressed in the finest clothes.”

18 Sir Walter consults gentleman in several professions

19 The Peep-O'Day-Boys

20 The unlikely milliner

21 The cards of Marseilles

22 The Knight of Wands

Volume II: Jonathan Strange

"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."

23 The Shadow House

24 Another magician

25 The education of a magician

26 Orb, crown and sceptre

27 The magician's wife

28 The Duke of Roxburghe's library

29 At the house of José Estoril

30 The book of Robert Findhelm

31 Seventeen dead Neapolitans

32 The King

33 Place the moon at my eye

34 On the edge of the desert

35 The Nottinghamshire gentleman

36 All the mirrors of the world

37 The Cinque Dragownes

38 From The Edinburgh Review

39 The two magicians

40 "Depend upon it; there is no such place."

41 Starecross

42 Strange decides to write a book

43 The curious adventure of Mr Hyde

44 Arabella

Volume III: John Uskglass

It is the contention of Mr Norrell of Hanover-square that everything belonging to John Uskglass must be shaken out of modern magic, as one would shake moths and dust of of an old coat. What does he imagine he will have left? If you get rid of John Uskglass you will be left holding the empty air. - Jonathan Strange, Prologue to The History and Practice of English Magic, pub. John Murry, London, 1816

45 Prologue to The History and Practice of English Magic

46 "The sky spoke to me..."

47 "A black lad and a blue fella - that aught to mean summat."

48 The Engravings

49 Wildness and madness

50 The History and Practice of English Magic

51 A family by the name of Greysteel

52 The old lady of Cannaregio

53 A little dead grey mouse

54 A little box the colour of heartache

55 The second shall see his dearest possession in his enemy's hand

56 The Black Tower

  • A lovely young Italian girl passed by. Byron tilted his head to a very odd angle, half-closed his eyes and composed his features to suggest that he was about to expire from chronic indigestion. Dr. Greysteel could only suppose that he was treating the young woman to the Byronic profile and the Byronic expression.

57 The Black Letters

58 Henry Woodhope pays a visit

59 Leucrocuta, the Wolf of the Evening

  • "England is full of magicians. Hundreds! Thousands perhaps! Norrell refused them. Norrell denied them. Norrell silenced them. but they are magicians nonetheless."
  • "Tree speaks to stone; stone speaks to water. It is not so hard as we have supposed. Tell them to read what is written in the sky. Tell them to ask the rain! All of John Uskglass's old alliances are still in place. I am sending messengers to remind the stones and the sky and the rain of their ancient promises."
  • Drawlight had the strangest feeling. It was something he had felt before when magic was about to happen. Invisible doors seemed to be opening all around him; winds blew on him from far away, bringing scents of woods, moors and bogs.

60 Tempest and lies

61 Tree speaks to Stone; Stone speaks to Water

62 I came to them in a cry that broke the silence of a winter wood

63 The first shall bury his heart in a dark wood beneath the snow, yet still feel its ache

  • It was a superior sort of shop with an uncluttered interior and elegant modern chairs for the customers to sit upon; in fact is was so very refined an establishment that is was by no means clear what it sold.

64 Two versions of Lady Pole

65 The ashes, the pearls, the counterpane and the kiss

  • "So many people dead, just to find my name," sighed Stephen.

66 Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

67 The hawthorn tree

68 "Yes."

69 Strangites and Norrellites

  • 5There are very few modern magician who do not declare themselves to be either Strangite or Norrellite, the only notable exception being John Childermass himself. Whenever he is asked he claims to be in some degree both. As this is like claiming to be both a Whig and Tory at the same time, no one understands what he means.

  • "Bell," he said, "do not wear black. Do not be a widow. Be happy. That is how I wish to think of you."