Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Summary

Susanna Clarke
- 2004
Historical Fiction
This book is good to read when you feel enchanted.

Key Takeaways

  1. The rivalry and eventual partnership between Strange and Norrell reflect the broader conflicts between tradition and progress, reason and imagination.
  2. Clarke's meticulous attention to detail and the blend of historical and fictional elements create a believable world where magic feels tangible and real.
  3. The book’s exploration of English folklore and magical history is both a tribute to and a reimagining of the classic fantasy genre.


Mr Norrell’s demonstration of practical magic to the government marks the return of English magic, drawing the reclusive Norrell out of obscurity.

Jonathan Strange becomes Mr Norrell’s pupil but eventually breaks away, driven by a wilder, more ambitious approach to magic that leads him to the Napoleonic Wars.

Their conflicting views on magic come to a head in a series of dramatic confrontations that alter the course of England’s history.

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