What's on the Shelves in Downton Abbey's Library?
March 02, 2014
Every time I watch Downton Abbey, I find myself in awe at the amount of effort put into each small detail. The producers' quest for historical accuracy can be seen in everything from vocabulary to seating arrangements to wallpaper patterns. But there's one room I'm itching to see more of: the library. We never get a good look at the contents of Downton’s library, but if we did, I’m sure we’d find that same thirst for detail reflected in every title. Here are some books that I imagine would be in that library—the books that the Crawley family and their servants would have a hard time putting down.
Howards End by E.M. Forster (1910)
It’s doubtful that Lord Grantham would approve of this critique of the class system, but the politically-minded Mrs. Crawley would have devoured it… and Lady Violet could use it to learn a thing or two about delivering a quick quip.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912)
Anna Bates is a respectable, capable lady’s maid… but she seems like the kind of gal who’d like to curl up with an exotic, vine-swinging adventure, like this one.
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (1912)
This book, about an American orphan who goes to college and falls in love, would have been the ideal escape for a talented, exuberant girl like Lady Sybil.
Dubliners by James Joyce (1914)
Perhaps Tom Branson would have relished Joyce’s celebration of Dublin and the hardworking, hard-living people that populate it.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)
Snooty, brooding Thomas would appreciate this cynical tale of becoming an outsider in your own home.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920)
If they could ever find a moment to themselves, it’s not hard to picture Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore discussing this, the first appearance of Hercule Poirot, over a cup of tea downstairs.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1922)
I think we can be assured that doting grandma Cora would make sure babies Sybbie and George had the most up-to-date toys and books, including this destined-to-become-classic story of a stuffed bunny who just wants to be real.
You know the best thing to accompany some of these classic books? All four seasons of Downton Abbey! Now that's high class.