Things Fall Apart
1958 English language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. The archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats's poem "The Second Coming"
Things Fall Apart
The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo ethnic group. In addition it focuses on his three wives, his children, and the influences of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on his traditional Igbo (archaically "Ibo") community during the late nineteenth century.
458 BCE. Trilogy of Greek tragedies by Aeschyles concerning the curse of the house of Atreus: Agamemnon: Agamemnon returns from Trojan War and is murdered by wife, Clytemnestra; The Libation Bearers; Agamemnon's children Orestes and Elektra reunite and avenge father; The Eumemides: Orestes tried by Athena to determine whether he was wrong in his murder of Clytemnestra.
An academic satire by Kingsley Amis, first published in 1954 by Victor Gollancz. It was Amis's first published novel. Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English university (based in part on the University of Leicester. The novel uses a precise and seemingly plain-spoken narrative voice.
The novel reaches its climax during Dixon's public lecture on "Merrie England," which goes horribly wrong as Dixon, attempting to calm his nerves with a little too much alcohol, uncontrollably begins to mock Welch and everything else that he hates; he finally goes into convulsions and passes out. Welch, of course, fires Dixon.
However, Christine's uncle, who reveals a tacit respect for Dixon's individuality and attitude towards pretension, offers Dixon the coveted assistant job in London that pays much better than his lecturing position. Dixon then meets Margaret's ex-boyfriend, who reveals that he was not exactly Margaret's boyfriend at all, and the two realize that the suicide attempt was faked to emotionally blackmail both men. Dixon feels he is free of Margaret. Dixon finally has the last laugh, as Christine finds out Bertrand was also pursuing an affair with the wife of one of Dixon's former colleagues; she decides to pursue her relationship with Dixon. At the end of the book, Dixon and Christine bump into the Welches on the street; Jim cannot help walking right up to them, with Christine on his arm, and exploding in laughter at how ridiculous they truly are.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
1969 autobiography of Maya Angelou. The first in a six-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 17. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.
One of eleven surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual gratification from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy that, consequently, inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual politics in a male-dominated society.
the earliest-surviving work of dramatic theory and the first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. In it, Aristotle offers an account of what he calls "poetry" (a term which in Greek literally means "making" and in this context includes drama—comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play—as well as lyric poetry, epic poetry, and the dithyramb). He examines its "first principles" and identifies its genres and basic elements. His analysis of tragedy constitutes the core of the discussion. Although Aristotle's Poetics is universally acknowledged in the Western critical tradition," Marvin Carlson explains, "almost every detail about his seminal work has aroused divergent opinions."
A short lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold. It was first published in 1867 in the collection New Poems, but surviving notes indicate its composition may have begun as early as 1849. The most likely date is 1851.The title, locale and subject of the poem's descriptive opening lines is the shore of the English ferry port of Dover, Kent, facing Calais, France, at the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part (21 miles) of the English Channel, where Arnold honeymooned in 1851.
Sweetness and Light
Sweetness and light is an English idiom that indicates a person's friendliness and ease. Today, it is generally used ironically to describe insincere courtesy. For example: The two had been fighting for a month, but around others it was all sweetness and light. 
Jonathan Swift coined the term in his 1704 essay, "The Battle of the Books". Matthew Arnold popularized it in his 1869 essay "Culture and Anarchy."
Sweetness and Light
Arnold claims that every culture strives for sweetness and light, which is the ideal combination of beauty and intelligence. Sweetness is beauty, and light is intelligence. He argues that culture moves to continually perfect itself, and that sweetness and light are the outcome of any good culture. He says that sweetness and light are "the essential character of human perfection."
In Memory of W.B. Yeats
1939 by W.H. Auden. There is a long history of elegiac poetry, poems written on the occasion of someone's death. "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" is a poem within that tradition, but it's also a poem which extends the tradition. Poems about death tend to be concerned not just with loss, but also with what remains after a man or a woman dies. Elizabethan sonnets, like those of Spenser or Shakespeare, often take this idea of something persisting after death and use it in the context of an imagined dialogue between lovers, rather than in relation to an actual death: the lover promises his beloved that even though she must die, she will live on forever in his verses. In the elegy, that living-on after death may be thought of in religious terms, or perhaps in terms of cherished memory, or it may make itself felt by changing those who remain, transforming despair into the resolve to go on with life. This last possibility is what Tennyson's poem, "Ulysses," is all about.
Musée des Beaux Arts
Poem by W. H. Auden from 1938. The poem's title derives from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels which contains the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, thought until recently to be by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, though still believed to be based on a lost original of his.
"Brueghel's" painting portrays several men and a ship peacefully performing daily activities in a charming landscape. While this occurs, Icarus is visible in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, his legs splayed at absurd angles, drowning in the water.
The allusions in the first part of the poem to a "miraculous birth" and a "dreadful martyrdom" refer obliquely to Christianity, the subject of other paintings by Breughel in the museum that the poem evokes (e.g. "The Census at Bethlehem" and "The Massacre of the Innocents"). The "forsaken cry" of Icarus alludes to Christ crying out on the cross, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Some years after Auden wrote this poem, William Carlos Williams wrote a poem titled "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" about the same painting.
The Unknown Citizen
poem by W. H. Auden. Auden wrote it in 1939, shortly after moving from England to the United States. It was first published in 1939 in The New Yorker, and first appeared in book form in Auden's collection Another Time (1940). The poem is the epitaph of a man, identified only by a combination of letters and numbers somewhat like an American Social Security number ("JS/07/M/378"), who is described entirely in external terms: from the point of view of government organizations such as the fictional "Bureau of Statistics." The speaker of the poem concludes that the man had lived an entirely average, therefore exemplary, life. The poem is a satire of standardization at the expense of individualism. The poem is implicitly the work of a government agency at some point in the future, when modern bureaucratizing trends have reached the point where citizens are known by arbitrary numbers and letters, not personal names.
The Handmaid's Tale
a dystopian novel, a work of science fiction or speculative fiction, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. Set in the near future, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency. The novel's title was inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories ("The Merchant's Tale", "The Parson's Tale", etc.).
Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
A book of literary criticism by Erich Auerbach, and his most well known work. Written while Auerbach was teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, where he fled after being ousted from his professorship in Romance Philology at the University of Marburg by the Nazis in 1935, it was first published in 1946 by A. Francke Verlag.
Mimesis famously opens with a comparison between the way the world is represented in Homer's Odyssey and the way it appears in the Bible. From these two seminal Western texts, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including even the Modernist novelists writing at the time Auerbach began his study.
By Jane Austen, is a novel about the perils of misconstrued romance. The novel was first published in December 1815. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively 'comedy of manners' among her characters.
Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; and she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives and is often mistaken about the meanings of others' actions.
the first of Jane Austen's novels to be completed for publication, though she had previously made a start on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. According to Cassandra Austen's Memorandum, Susan (as it was first called) was written about the years 1798-99. It was revised by Austen for the press in 1803, and sold in the same year for £10 to a London bookseller, Crosby & Co., who decided against publishing. In 1817, the bookseller was content to sell it back to the novelist's brother, Henry Austen, for the exact sum — £10 — that he had paid for it at the beginning, not knowing that the writer was by then the author of four popular novels. The novel was further revised before being brought out posthumously in late December 1817 (1818 given on the title-page), as the first two volumes of a four-volume set with Persuasion.
Northanger Abbey follows seventeen-year-old Gothic novel aficionado Catherine Morland and family friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen as they visit Bath, England. Catherine is in Bath for the first time. There she meets her friends such as Isabella Thorpe, and goes to balls. Catherine finds herself pursued by Isabella's brother, the rather rough-mannered, slovenly John Thorpe, and by her real love interest, Henry Tilney. She also becomes friends with Eleanor Tilney, Henry's younger sister. Henry captivates her with his view on novels and his knowledge of history and the world. General Tilney (Henry and Eleanor's father) invites Catherine to visit their estate, Northanger Abbey, which, from her reading of Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho, she expects to be dark, ancient and full of Gothic horrors and fantastical mystery.
Pride and Prejudice
published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 17th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of four daughters of a country gentleman, living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy, Mr Bennet, Jane, Mary, and Catherine Bennet, Charles and Caroline Bingley
Sense and Sensibility
Published in 1811, it was Austen's first published novel, which she wrote under the pseudonym "A Lady".
The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love.
Go Tell it On the Mountain
Go Tell It on the Mountain is a 1953 semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin. The novel examines the role of the Christian Church in the lives of African-Americans, both as a source of repression and moral hypocrisy and as a source of inspiration and community. It also, more subtly, examines racism in the United States.
Notes of a Native Son
Notes of a Native Son is a non-fiction book by James Baldwin. It was Baldwin's first non-fiction book, and was published in 1955. The volume collects ten of Baldwin's essays, which had previously appeared in such magazines as Harper's Magazine, Partisan Review, and The New Leader. The essays mostly tackle issues of race in America and Europe.
Murphy, first published in 1938, is a novel as well as the third work of prose fiction by the Irish author and dramatist Samuel Beckett. The book was Beckett's second published prose work after the short-story collection More Pricks than Kicks (published in 1934) and his unpublished (until 1992, post-mortem) first novel Dream of Fair to Middling Women. It was written in English, unlike much of Beckett's later writing, which he composed in French. After many rejections, it was published by Routledge on the recommendation of Beckett's painter friend Jack Butler Yeats.
The plot of Murphy follows an eponymous "seedy solipsist" who, urged to find a job by his lover Celia Kelly, begins work as a male nurse at the Magdalen Mental Mercyseat in north London, and finds the insanity of the patients an appealing alternative to conscious existence.
Waiting for Godot
Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's premiere. It was voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century". Waiting for Godot is Beckett's translation of his own original French version, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only) "a tragicomedy in two acts". The original French text was composed between 9 October 1948 and 29 January 1949. The première was on 5 January 1953 in the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris.
Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 - October 6, 1979) was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956 and a National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 1970. Elizabeth Bishop House is an artists' retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia dedicated to her memory. She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century.
In contrast to this confessional style involving large amounts of self-exposure, Bishop's style of writing, though it sometimes involved sparse details from her personal life, was known for its highly detailed and objective, distant point of view and for its reticence on the sordid subject matter that obsessed her contemporaries. In contrast to a poet like Lowell, when Bishop wrote about details and people from her own life (like she did in her story about her childhood and her mentally unstable mother in "In the Village"), she always used discretion.
William Blake (28 November 1757 - 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry has led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life except for three years spent in Felpham he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself".
The Rhetoric of Fiction
Wayne C. Boothe argues that all narrative is a form of rhetoric.
The book can be seen as his critique of those he viewed as mainstream critics. Booth argues that beginning roughly with Henry James, critics began to emphasize the difference between "showing" and "telling" in fiction and have placed more and more of a dogmatic premium on "showing."
Booth argues that despite the realistic effects that modern authors have achieved, trying to distinguish narratives in this way is simplistic and deeply flawed, because authors invariably both show and tell. Booth observed that they appear to choose between the techniques based upon decisions about how to convey their various "commitments" along various "lines of interest."
The Rhetoric of Fiction (cont)
Booth's criticism can be viewed as distinct from traditional biographical criticism (still practiced, especially among popular critics), the new criticism that argued that one can talk only about what the text says, and the modern criticism that argues for the "eradication" of authorial presence. Booth claimed that it is impossible to talk about a text without talking about an author, because the existence of the text implies the existence of an author.
Booth argued not only that it does not matter whether an author—as distinct from the narrator—intrudes directly in a work, since readers will always infer the existence of an author behind any text they encounter, but also that readers always draw conclusions about the beliefs and judgments (and also, conclusions about the skills and "success") of a text's implied author, along the text's various lines of interest:
However impersonal he may try to be, his readers will inevitably construct a picture of the official scribe who writes in this manner -- and of course that official scribe will never be neutral toward all values. Our reaction to his various commitments, secret or overt, will help to determine our response to the work.
The Rhetoric of Fiction (cont)
This implied author (a widely-used term that Booth coined in this book; who he also called an author's "second self") is the one who "chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; we infer him as an ideal, literary, created version of the real man; he is the sum of his own choices"
Booth also spent several chapters—which include numerous references to and citations from widely recognized works of fiction—describing the various effects that implied authors achieve along the various lines of interest that he identifies, and the pitfalls they fall into, depending upon whether or not the implied author provides commentary, and upon the degree to which a story's narrator is reliable or unreliable, personal or impersonal.
Booth detailed three "Types of Literary Interest" that are "available for technical manipulation in fiction":
(1) Intellectual or cognitive: We have, or can be made to have, strong intellectual curiosity about "the facts," the true interpretation, the true reasons, the true origins, the true motives, or the truth about life itself. (2) Qualitative: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire to see any pattern or form completed, or to experience a further development of qualities of any kind. We might call this kind "aesthetic," if to do so did not suggest that a literary form using this interest was necessarily of more artistic value than one based on other interests. (3) Practical: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire for the success or failure of those we love or hate, admire or detest; or we can be made to hope for or fear a change in the quality of a character. We might call this kind "human," if to do so did not imply that 1 and 2 were somehow less than human.
(1962) is an English-language collection of short stories and essays by Jorge Luis Borges.
It includes "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", "The Garden of Forking Paths", and "The Library of Babel", three of Borges' most famous stories. Many of the stories are from the collections Ficciones (1944) and El Aleph (1949)
by Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847. The novel merges elements of three distinct genres. It has the form of a Bildungsroman, a story about a child's maturation, focusing on the emotions and experiences that accompany growth to adulthood. The novel also contains much social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, and finally has the brooding and moody quality and Byronic character typical of Gothic fiction.
by Emily Bronte, published in 1847. The title of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors of the story. The narrative centres on the all-encompassing, passionate but doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.
We Real Cool
poem written in 1959 by poet Gwendolyn Brooks and published in her 1960 book The Bean Eaters, her third collection of poetry.
It consists of four verses of two rhyming lines each. The last word in most lines is "we". The next line describes something that "we" do, such as play pool or drop out of school. Brooks has said that the "we"'s are meant to be said softly, as though the protagonists in the poem are questioning the validity of their existence. The poem has been featured on broadsides, and is widely studied in literature classes and re-printed in literature textbooks. It also contains references to the Seven Deadly Sins.
The last lines of the poem, "We / Die soon," indicate the climax, which comes as a surprise to the boasts that have been made previously. It also suggests a moment of self-awareness about the choices that the players have made.
an eponymous epic novel/poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poem is written in blank verse and encompasses nine books (the woman's number, the number of the prophetic books of the Sibyl). It is a first person narration, from the point of view of Aurora; its other heroine, Marian Erle, is an abused self-taught child of itinerant parents. The poem is set in Florence, Malvern, London, and Paris. She uses her knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, while also playing off modern novels, such as Corinne ou l'Italie by Anne Louise Germaine de Staël and the novels by George Sand. Through Book 5, Aurora narrates her past, from her childhood to the age of about 27; in Books 6-9, the narrative has caught up with her, and she reports events in diary form. Elizabeth Barrett Browning styled the poem "a novel in verse", and referred to it as "the most mature of my works, and the one into which my highest convictions upon Life and Art have entered."
Sonnets from the Portuguese
written ca. 1845-1846 and first published in 1850, is a collection of forty-four love sonnets written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poems largely chronicle the period leading up to her 1846 marriage to Robert Browning. The collection was acclaimed and popular even in the poet's lifetime and it remains so today.
Sonnets from the Portuguese
Elizabeth was initially hesitant to publish the poems, feeling that they were too personal. However, her husband insisted that they were the best sequence of English-language sonnets since Shakespeare's time and urged her to publish them. To offer the couple some privacy, she decided that she might publish them under athe poems as translations of foreign sonnets. Therefore, the collection was first to be known as Sonnets from the Bosnian, until
Sonnets from the Portuguese
Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear
The name I used to run at, when a child,
From innocent play, and leave the cow-slips piled,
To glance up in some face that proved me dear
With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear
Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled
Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,
Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,
While I call God--call God!--So let thy mouth
Be heir to those who are now exanimate.
Gather the north flowers to complete the south,
And catch the early love up in the late.
Yes, call me by that name,--and I, in truth,
With the same heart, will answer and not wait.
Sonnets from the Portuguese
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
My Last Duchess
a poem by Robert Browning, frequently anthologized as an example of the dramatic monologue. It first appeared in 1842 in Browning's Dramatic Lyrics.
My Last Duchess
The poem is preceded by the word Ferrara:, indicating that the speaker is most likely Alfonso II d'Este, the fifth Duke of Ferrara (1533-1598) who, at the age of 25, married Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici, 14-year-old daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Eleonora di Toledo.
My Last Duchess
The poem is set during the late Italian Renaissance. The speaker (presumably the Duke of Ferrara) is giving the emissary of his prospective second wife a tour of the artworks in his home. He draws a curtain to reveal a painting of a woman, explaining that it is a portrait of his late wife; he invites his guest to sit and look at the painting. As they look at the portrait of the late Duchess, the Duke describes her happy, cheerful and flirtatious nature, which had displeased him. He says, "She had a heart -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad..." He goes on to say that his complaint of her was that "'twas not her husband's presence only" that made her happy. Eventually, "I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together." He now keeps her painting hidden behind a curtain that only he is allowed to draw back, meaning that now she only smiles for him. The Duke then resumes an earlier conversation regarding wedding arrangements, and in passing points out another work of art, a bronze statue of Neptune taming a sea-horse.
The Pilgrim's Progress
The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678.
The Pilgrim's Progress
Christian, an everyman character, is the protagonist of the allegory, which centers itself in his journey from his hometown, the "City of Destruction" ("this world"), to the "Celestial City" ("that which is to come": Heaven) atop Mt. Zion. Christian is weighed down by a great burden, the knowledge of his sin, which he believed came from his reading "the book in his hand", (the Bible). This burden, which would cause him to sink into Tophet (hell), is so unbearable that Christian must seek deliverance. He meets Evangelist as he is walking out in the fields, who directs him to the "Wicket Gate" for deliverance. Since Christian cannot see the "Wicket Gate" in the distance, Evangelist directs him to go to a "shining light", which Christian thinks he sees. Christian leaves his home, his wife, and children to save himself: he cannot persuade them to accompany him. Obstinate and Pliable go after Christian to bring him back, but Christian refuses. Obstinate returns disgusted, but Pliable is persuaded to go with Christian, hoping to take advantage of the paradise that Christian claims lies at the end of his journey. Pliable's journey with Christian is cut short when the two of them fall into the Slough of Despond. It is there that Pliable abandons Christian after getting himself out.
(12 January [NS] 1729-9 July 1797) was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party.
He is mainly remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the "Old Whigs", in opposition to the pro-French Revolution "New Whigs", led by Charles James Fox.
Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the 19th century. Since the 20th century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of modern Conservatism, as well as a representative of classical liberalism.[7
A Red, Red Rose
"My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose" is a 1794 song in Scots by Robert Burns based on traditional sources. The song is also referred to by the title My Love is Like A Red, Red Rose or Red, Red Rose and is often published as a poem.
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.
"Tam o' Shanter" is a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1790. Many consider it to be one of the best examples of the narrative poem in modern European literature.
First published in 1791, it is one of Burns's longer poems, and employs a mixture of Scots and English. It tells the story of a man who stayed too long at a public house and witnessed a disturbing vision on his way home.
The name is often misspelled "Tam O'Shanter", by mistaking "o'", a contraction of "of", for the Irish patronymic prefix "O'".
Holy Willie's Prayer
Holy Willie's Prayer is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1785 and first printed anonymously in an eight page pamphlet in 1799.
It is considered the greatest of all Burns' satirical poems, one of the finest satires by any poet, and a withering attack on religious hypocrisy.
It is written in the Scots language, but is accessible to most modern English readers.
The poem is an attack on the bigotry and hypocrisy of some members of the Kirk (Church), as told by the (fictional) self-justifying prayer of a (real) kirk elder, Holy Willie. Throughout the poem, Holy Willie displays his hypocrisy by justifying his own transgressions while simultaneously asking God to judge harshly and show no mercy to his fellow transgressors. Burns used the example of Holy Willie to make the point that the Calvinist theology underpinning the entire Kirk was equally hypocritical.
To a Louse
"To A Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church" is a 1786 Scots language poem by Robert Burns in his favourite meter, Standard Habbie. The poem's theme is contained in the final verse:
To a Mouse
"To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough" is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. According to legend, Burns wrote the poem after finding a nest full of mice during the winter.
Anatomy of Melancholy
The Anatomy of Melancholy (Full title: The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up) is a book by Robert Burton, first published in 1621.
Anatomy of Melancholy
In his satirical preface to the reader, Burton's persona Democritus Junior explains, "I write of melancholy by being busy to avoid melancholy." The Anatomy is a wide-ranging document, containing digressions and commentary. Whatever its strengths as a medical text or as a historical document, it is the Anatomy's vast breadth - addressing topics such as digestion, goblins, the geography of America, and others - and the particularly characteristic voice of its author that are most commonly cited by its admirers as the main sources of its appeal. Both satirical and serious in tone, the Anatomy is "vitalized by (Burton's) pervading humour", and Burton's digressive and inclusive style, often verging on a stream of consciousness, consistently informs and animates the text.
Hudibras is an English mock heroic narrative poem from the 17th century written by Samuel Butler. The work is a satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The work was begun, according to the title page, during the civil war and published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, with the first edition encompassing all three parts in 1684 (see 1684 in poetry). The Mercurius Aulicus (an early newspaper of the time) reported an unauthorised edition of the first part was already in print in early 1662.
Erewhon: or, Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters "h" and "w" are transposed, therefore Erewhon is anagram of nowhere. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is a satire of Victorian society.
The first few chapters of the novel, dealing with the discovery of Erewhon, are in fact based on Butler's own experiences in New Zealand where, as a young man, he worked as a sheep farmer for about four years (1860-1864) and explored parts of the interior of the South Island.
The greater part of the book consists of a description of Erewhon. The nature of this nation is intended to be ambiguous. At first glance, Erewhon appears to be a utopia, yet it soon becomes clear that this is far from the case. Yet for all the failings of Erewhon, it is also clearly not a dystopia, such as that depicted by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. As a satirical utopia, Erewhon has sometimes been compared to Gulliver's Travels (1726), a classic novel by Jonathan Swift; the image of utopia in this latter case also bears strong parallels with the self-view of the British Empire at the time. It should also be compared to William Morris' novel News from Nowhere.
Erewhon satirizes various aspects of Victorian society, including criminal punishment, religion and anthropocentrism. For example, according to Erewhonian law, offenders are treated as if they were ill whilst ill people are looked upon as criminals. Another feature of Erewhon is the absence of machines; this is due to the widely shared perception by the Erewhonians that they are potentially dangerous. This last aspect of Erewhon reveals the influence of Charles Darwin's evolution theory; Butler had read On the Origin of Species soon after it was published in 1859.
The Way of all Flesh
The Way of All Flesh (1903) is a semi-autobiographical novel by Samuel Butler which attacks Victorian-era hypocrisy. Written between 1873 and 1884, it traces four generations of the Pontifex family. It represents a relaxation from the religious outlook from a Calvinistic approach, which is presented as harsh. Butler dared not publish it during his lifetime, but when it was published it was accepted as part of the general reaction against Victorianism. Pontifex family.
The History of the Dividing Line
The History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina is an account by William Byrd II of the surveying of the border between the U.S. states of North Carolina and Virginia in 1728. Byrd's account of the journey to survey the contentious border with his chief surveyor William Mayo included such nuggets as the derivation of the name of "Matrimony Creek," so named because of its 'brawling' waters.
Each of the two colonies provided surveyors and technicians to the team. William Byrd was the chief representative from Virginia, and Edward Moseley was the chief representative from North Carolina[clarification needed]. Byrd also compiled a "Secret History" of the work. Byrd's text is also the focus of David Gatten's film project, also titled The Secret History of the Dividing Line.]
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood. Origin of Byronic Hero.
Don Juan (Spanish, or "Don Giovanni" in Italian) is a legendary, fictional libertine whose story has been told many times by many authors. Byron's epic poem Don Juan (1821)
The Stranger or The Outsider (L'Étranger) is a novel by Albert Camus published in 1942. Its theme and outlook are often cited as examples of existentialism, though Camus did not consider himself an existentialist; in fact, its content explores various philosophical schools of thought, including (most prominently and specifically) absurdism, as well as determinism, nihilism, naturalism, and stoicism.
The title character is Meursault, an Algerian ("a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture") who seemingly irrationally kills an Arab man whom he recognises in French Algiers. The story is divided into two parts: Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively.
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. It comprises about 120 pages and was published originally in 1942 in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe; the English translation by Justin O'Brien followed in 1955.
In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre.
My Ántonia (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable of "Ántonia"), first published 1918, is considered one of the greatest novels by American writer Willa Cather. It is the final book of her "prairie trilogy" of novels, the companion volumes being O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark. The book's narrator, Jim Burden, arrives in the fictional town of Black Hawk, Nebraska, on the same train as the Shimerdas, when he goes to live with his grandparents after his parents have died. Jim develops strong feelings for Ántonia, something between a crush and a filial bond, and the reader views Ántonia's life, including its attendant struggles and triumphs, through that lens.
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha), is a novel written by Miguel de Cervantes. Published in two volumes a decade apart (in 1605 and 1615), Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published. In one such list, Don Quixote was cited as the "best literary work ever written".
The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly in verse, although some are in prose) are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return.
Following a long list of works written earlier in his career, including Troilus and Criseyde, House of Fame, and Parliament of Fowls, the Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's magnum opus. He uses the tales and the descriptions of the characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church. Structurally, the collection resembles The Decameron, which Chaucer may have come across during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372.
Troilus and Criseyde
Troilus and Criseyde is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer which re-tells in Middle English the tragic story of the lovers Troilus and Criseyde set against a backdrop of war in the Siege of Troy. It was composed using rime royale and probably completed during the mid 1380s. Many Chaucer scholars regard it as the poet's finest work. As a finished long poem it is certainly more self-contained than the better known but ultimately uncompleted Canterbury Tales.
The Awakening is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899 (see 1899 in literature). Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers around Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism.
The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernism; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.
The Story of an Hour
"The Story of an Hour" is a short story written by Kate Chopin and published in 1894.
The story describes the series of emotions Louise Mallard endures after hearing of the death of her husband, who was believed to have died in a railroad disaster. Mrs. Mallard suffers from heart problems and therefore her sister attempts to inform her of the horrific news in a gentle way. Mrs. Mallard locks herself in her room to immediately mourn the loss of her husband. However, she begins to feel an unexpected sense of exhilaration. "Free! Body and soul free!" is what she believes is a benefit of his death. At the end of the story, it is made known that her husband was not involved in the railroad disaster and upon his return home Mrs. Mallard suddenly dies. The cause of her death is ambiguous and left for analysis as it can range from her known heart problems to psychological factors.
Autobiography in discourse by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which he published in 1817. The work is long and seemingly loosely structured, and although there are autobiographical elements, it is not a straightforward or linear autobiography. Instead, it is meditative, with numerous essays on philosophy. In particular, it discusses and engages the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling. Being fluent in German, Coleridge was one of the first major English literary figures to translate and discuss Schelling, in particular.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797-98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner relates the experiences of a mariner who has returned from a long sea voyage. The Mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The Wedding-Guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience and fear to fascination as the Mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: for example, Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create either a sense of danger, of the supernatural or of serenity, depending on the mood of each of the different parts of the poem.
poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in Christabel, Kubla Khan, and the Pains of Sleep in 1816. According to Coleridge's Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing the Tartar king Kublai Khan. Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200-300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. Although the specific details of Coleridge's Preface are debatable, he most likely composed Kubla Khan during autumn 1797 but left unpublished and kept for private readings until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was made available to the public.
The poem is different in style and form from other poems composed by Coleridge. While incomplete and subtitled a "fragment", its language is highly stylised with a strong emphasis on sound devices that change between the poem's original two stanzas. The first stanza of the poem describes Khan's pleasure dome built alongside a sacred river fed by a powerful fountain. The second stanza of the poem is the narrator's response to the power and effects of an Abyssinian maid's song, which enraptures him but leaves him unable to act on her inspiration unless he could hear her once again. Together, they form a comparison of creative power that does not work with nature and creative power that is harmonious with nature.
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series (1899) in Blackwood's Magazine. It is widely regarded as a significant work of English literature and part of the Western canon.
Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad originally published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900.
An early and primary event is Jim's abandonment of a ship in distress on which he is serving as a mate. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with his past.
Last of the Mohicans
The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in February 1826. It is the second book of the Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy and the best known. The Pathfinder, published 14 years later in 1840, is its sequel.
The story takes place in 1757, during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War), when France and Great Britain battled for control of the North American colonies. During this war, the French called on allied Native American tribes to fight against the more numerous British colonists.
The Deerslayer, or The First Warpath (1841) was the last of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking tales to be written. Its 1740-1745 time period makes it the first installment chronologically and in the lifetime of the hero of the Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo. The novel's setting on Otsego Lake in central, upstate New York, is the same as that of The Pioneers, the first of the Leatherstocking tales to be published (1823). The Deerslayer is considered to be the prequel to the rest of the Leatherstocking tales. Fenimore Cooper begins his work by relating the astonishing advance of civilization in New York State, which is the setting of four of his five Leatherstocking tales.
The Open Boat
"The Open Boat" is a short story by American author Stephen Crane (1871-1900). First published in 1897, it was based on Crane's experience of surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Florida earlier that year while traveling to Cuba to work as a newspaper correspondent. Crane was stranded at sea for thirty hours when his ship, the SS Commodore, sank after hitting a sandbar. He and three other men were forced to navigate their way to shore in a small boat; one of the men, an oiler named Billie Higgins, drowned after the boat overturned. Crane's personal account of the shipwreck and the men's survival, titled "Stephen Crane's Own Story", was first published a few days after his rescue.
The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871-1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound—a "red badge of courage"—to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer.
an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents allegorically the soul's journey towards God. At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called "the Summa in verse."
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (commonly known simply as Moll Flanders) is a novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1722, after his work as a journalist and pamphleteer. By 1722, Defoe had become a recognised novelist, with the success of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. His political work was tapering off at this point, due to the fall of both Whig and Tory party leaders with whom he had been associated; Robert Walpole was beginning his rise, and Defoe was never fully at home with the Walpole group. Defoe's Whig views are nevertheless evident in the story of Moll, and the novel's full title gives some insight into this and the outline of the plot:
novel by Daniel Defoe that was first published in 1719. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum (opium and alcohol) addiction and its effect on his life. The Confessions was "the first major work De Quincey published and the one which won him fame almost overnight...."
First published anonymously in September and October 1821 in the London Magazine, the Confessions was released in book form in 1822, and again in 1856, in an edition revised by De Quincey.
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
"Oh! just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for 'the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,' bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure of blood...."
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
"Some of these rambles led me to great distances; for an opium-eater is too happy to observe the motions of time. And sometimes in my attempts to steer homewards, upon nautical principles, by fixing my eye on the pole-star, and seeking ambitiously for a north-west passage, instead of circumnavigating all the capes and headlands I had doubled in my outward voyage, I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys, such enigmatical entries, and such sphinx's riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters, and confound the intellects of hackney-coachmen."
novel by Charles Dickens, published in twenty monthly installments between March 1852 and September 1853. It is held to be one of Dickens's finest novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon. The story is told partly by the novel's heroine, Esther Summerson, and partly by an omniscient narrator. Memorable characters include the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn, the friendly, but depressive John Jarndyce, and the childish and disingenuous Harold Skimpole, as well as the likeable but imprudent Richard Carstone.
novel by Charles Dickens, first published as a novel in 1850. Like most of his works, it originally appeared in serial form a year earlier. Many elements within the novel follow events in Dickens' own life, and it is probably the most autobiographical of all of his novels. In the preface to the 1867 Charles Dickens edition, he wrote, "... like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield."
novel by Charles Dickens. It was first published in serial form in the publication All the Year Round from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. It has been adapted for stage and screen over 250 times.
Great Expectations is written in the first person from the point of view of the orphan Pip. The novel, like much of Dickens's work, draws on his experiences of life and people.
novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book appraises English society and is aimed at highlighting the social and economic pressures of the times.
(December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life.
1572 (between 24 January and 19 June) - 31 March 1631), English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest, is now considered the preeminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are notable for their strong and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of his contemporaries. John Donne's style is characterised by abrupt openings, various paradoxes, ironies, dislocations. These features in combination with his frequent dramatic or everyday speech rhythms, his tense syntax, and his tough eloquence were both a reaction against the smoothness of conventional Elizabethan poetry and an adaptation into English of European baroque and mannerist techniques. His early career was marked by poetry that bore immense knowledge of British society and he met that knowledge with sharp criticism. Another important theme in Donne's poetry was the idea of true religion, which was something that he spent a lot of time considering and theorising about. He wrote secular poems as well as erotic poems and love poems. Donne is particularly famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits.
Crime and Punishment
novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his return from five years of exile in Siberia, where he was serving his sentence in Katorga camps, the Tsarist forced-labor system and equivalent to the Soviet Gulag. Crime and Punishment is the first great novel of his "mature period" of writing.
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money. Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless parasite. He also commits this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of, and even have the right to do, such things. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by connecting himself mentally with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.
The Brothers Karamazov
the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880. Dostoyevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner, but he died less than four months after its publication.
The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia. Dostoyevsky composed much of the novel in Staraya Russa, which is also the main setting of the novel. Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut and Pope Benedict XVI as one of the supreme achievements in literature.
Sister Carrie (1900) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream by first becoming a mistress to men that she perceives as superior and later as a famous actress. It has been called the "greatest of all American urban novels."
(9 August 1631 - 1 May 1700) was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet Laureate in 1667.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is a sermon written by American Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards, preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut. Like Edwards' other sermons and writings, it combines vivid imagery of Hell with observations of the world and citations of scripture. It remains Edwards' most famous written work, and is widely studied by Christians and historians, providing a glimpse into the theology of the Great Awakening of c. 1730-1755.
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her companion George Henry Lewes. During the following year Eliot resumed work, fusing together several stories into a coherent whole, and during 1871-72 the novel appeared in serial form. The first one-volume edition was published in 1874, and attracted large sales.
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures—the poem has become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month" (its first line); "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; and (its last line) the mantra in the Sanskrit language "Shantih shantih shantih."
Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of Eliot's career as an influential poet. With its weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, sense of decay, and awareness of mortality, Prufrock has become one of the most recognized voices in modern literature.
novel written by Ralph Ellison, and the only one that he published during his lifetime (his other novels were published posthumously). It won him the National Book Award in 1953. The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.
(May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Iphigenia in Aulis
the last extant work of the playwright Euripides. Written between 408, after the Orestes, and 406 BC, the year of Euripides's death, the play was first produced the following year by his son or nephew, Euripides the Younger, and won the first place at the Athenian city Dionysia.
The play revolves around Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek coalition before and during the Trojan War, and his decision to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis and allow his troops to set sail to preserve their honour in battle against Troy. The conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles over the fate of the young woman presages a similar conflict between the two at the beginning of the Iliad. In his depiction of the experiences of the main characters, Euripides frequently uses tragic irony for dramatic effect.
an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed her for another woman. Euripides produced Medea along with the lost plays Philoctetes, Dictys and the satyr play Thersitai, winning the third prize (out of three) at the City Dionysia festival for that year.
In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances. The name derives from a 15th century English morality play called Everyman.
The contemporary everyman differs greatly from his (or her) medieval counterpart in many respects. While the medieval everyman was devoid of definite marks of individuality to create a universality in the moral message of the play, the contemporary storyteller may use an everyman for amoral, immoral, or demonstrative purposes.
Christian in Pilgrims Progress
Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest
Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Ted Mosby in the comedy series How I Met Your Mother
Jim Halpert/Tim Canterbury in the TV series The Office
The narrator of the novel Fight Club and the film adaptation
Mick Travis in O Lucky Man!
Rhys Williams in Torchwood 
Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four
Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters
Stan Marsh in South Park
Xander Harris in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Homer Simpson in The Simpsons
Theo Faron in "Children of Men"
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying is a novel by the American author William Faulkner. He claimed to have written the novel in six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published in 1930, and described it as a "tour-de-force." It is Faulkner's fifth novel and consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's The Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
The novel is known for its stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, and varying chapter lengths; in fact, the shortest chapter in the book consists of just five words, "My mother is a fish."
The Sound and the Fury
novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a number of narrative styles, including the technique known as stream of consciousness, pioneered by 20th century European novelists such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel, and was not immediately successful. In 1931, however, when Faulkner's sixth novel, Sanctuary, was published — a sensationalist story which Faulkner later claimed was written only for money — The Sound and the Fury also became commercially successful, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.
Light in August
1932 novel by the American author William Faulkner.
Light in August is an exploration of racial conflict in the society of the Southern United States. Originally Faulkner planned to call the novel Dark House, which also became the working title for Absalom, Absalom!. Supposedly, one summer evening while sitting on a porch, his wife remarked on the strange quality that light in the south has during the month of August. Faulkner rushed out of his chair to his manuscript, scratched out the original title, and penciled in Light in August; however this story is probably apocryphal given the huge symbolic role that both light and the month of August play in the novel.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, often known simply as Tom Jones, is a comic novel by the English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding. First published on 28 February 1749, Tom Jones is among the earliest English prose works describable as a novel. The novel, totaling 346,747 words, is divided into 18 smaller books, each preceded by a discursive chapter, often on topics totally unrelated to the book itself.
The Great Gatsby
novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in 1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922.
The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic.
Tender is the Night
novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel, and was first published in Scribner's Magazine between January-April, 1934 in four issues. The title is taken from the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats.
In 1932, Fitzgerald's wife Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was hospitalized for schizophrenia in Baltimore, Maryland. The author rented the "la Paix" estate in the suburb of Towson to work on this book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It was Fitzgerald's first novel in nine years, and the last that he would complete. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent, and write short stories for commercial magazines. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald was conceiving and working on the book, were certainly the darkest years of his life, and accordingly, the novel has its bleak elements.
Madame Bovary (1856) is Gustave Flaubert's first published novel and is considered his masterpiece. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novel's true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was notoriously a perfectionist about his writing and claimed always to be searching for le mot juste ("the right word").
The novel was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors when it was first serialized in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, resulting in a trial in January 1857 that made the story notorious. After the acquittal on 7 February 1857, it became a bestseller when it was published as a book in April 1857, and now stands virtually unchallenged not only as a seminal work of Realism, but as one of the most influential novels ever written.
Aspects of the Novel
Aspects of the Novel is a book compiled from a series of lectures delivered by E. M. Forster at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1927, in which he discussed the English language novel. By using examples from classic texts, he highlights the seven universal aspects of the novel: story, characters, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm.
novel by E. M. Forster, first published in 1910, which tells a story of class struggle in turn-of-the-century England. The main theme is the difficulties, troubles, and also the benefits of relationships between members of different social classes. Many critics, including Lionel Trilling, consider Howards End "undoubtedly Forster's masterpiece"
The book is about three families in England at the beginning of the twentieth century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), who have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced. The motto of the book is "Only connect..."
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
A Passage to India
A Passage to India (1924) is a novel by E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its "TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005". The novel is based on Forster's experiences in India.
The story revolves around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Ms. Adela Quested. During a trip to the Marabar Caves (modeled on the Barabar Caves of Bihar), Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to assault her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India.
A Room with a View
a 1908 novel by English writer E. M. Forster, about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century. Merchant-Ivory produced an award-winning film adaptation in 1985.
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Although it had a tortuous publication history after Franklin's death, this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of autobiography ever written.
Franklin's account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them. In these parts, several aphorisms are made about friendship. These are somewhat confusing, but can be understood with some comprehension skills. There are actual breaks in the narrative between the first three parts, but Part Three's narrative continues into Part Four without an authorial break (only an editorial one).
(March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963) was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.
Anatomy of Criticism
Herman Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton University Press, 1957) attempts to formulate an overall view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism derived exclusively from literature. Frye consciously omits all specific and practical criticism, instead offering classically-inspired theories of modes, symbols, myths and genres, in what he termed "an interconnected group of suggestions." The literary approach proposed by Frye in Anatomy was highly influential in the decades before deconstructivist criticism and other expressions of postmodernism.
Frye's four essays are sandwiched between a "Polemical Introduction" and a "Tentative Conclusion." The four essays are titled "Historical Criticism: A Theory of Modes", "Ethical Criticism: a Theory of Symbols", "Archetypal Criticism: A Theory of myths", and "Rhetorical Criticism: A Theory of Genres."
"Howl" is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955 and published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation, along with Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) and William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959). "Howl" was written as a performance piece and later published by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books. Upon its release, Ferlinghetti and the bookstore's manager, Shigeyoshi Murao, were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and both were arrested. On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene, and "Howl" went on to become the most popular poem of the Beat Generation.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts: Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil (translated as: Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy) and Faust. Der Tragödie zweiter Teil (Faust: The Second Part of the Tragedy). Although written as a closet drama, it is the play with the largest audience numbers on German-language stages. Faust is Goethe's most famous work and considered by many to be one of the greatest works of German literature.
Goethe completed a preliminary version of Part One in 1806. The 1808 publication was followed by the revised 1828-29 edition, which was the last to be edited by Goethe himself. Prior to these appeared a partial printing in 1790 of Faust, a Fragment. The earliest forms of the work, known as the Urfaust, were developed between 1772 and 1775; however, the details of that development are no longer entirely clear.
Goethe finished writing Faust Part Two in 1832, the year of his death. In contrast to Faust Part One, the focus here is no longer on the soul of Faust, which has been sold to the devil, but rather on social phenomena such as psychology, history and politics, in addition to mystical and philosophical topics. The second part formed the principal occupation of Goethe's last years. It was completed and sealed in 1831 and appeared only posthumously in 1832.
Far From the Madding Crowd
(1874) is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive. Hardy revised the text extensively for the 1895 edition, and made further changes for the 1901 edition
Gabriel Oak is a young shepherd. With the savings of a frugal life, he has leased and stocked a sheep-farm. He falls in love with a newcomer eight years his junior, Bathsheba Everdene, a proud beauty who arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst. She comes to like him well enough, and even saves his life once, but when he makes her an unadorned offer of marriage, she refuses; she values her independence too much and him too little. Gabriel's blunt protestations only serve to drive her to haughtiness. After a few months, she moves to Weatherbury, a village some miles off.
Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The themes in the novel revolve around issues of class, education, religion, and marriage. Hardy began making notes for the story in 1887.
The novel tells the story of Jude Fawley, a village stonemason in the southern English region of Wessex who yearns to be a scholar at "Christminster", a city modeled on Oxford. In his spare time while working in his aunt's bakery, he teaches himself Greek and Latin. Before he can try to enter the university, the naïve Jude is manipulated, through a process he later calls erotolepsy, into marrying a rather coarse and superficial local girl, Arabella Donn, who deserts him within two years. By this time, he has abandoned the classics altogether.
The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
Young Goodman Brown
"Young Goodman Brown" (1835) is a short story by American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story takes place in 17th century Puritan New England, a common setting for Hawthorne's works, and addresses the Calvinist/Puritan belief that humanity exists in a state of depravity, exempting those who are born in a state of grace. Hawthorne frequently attempts to expose the hypocrisy of Puritan culture in his literature and is an over bearing theme in several of his works. In a symbolic fashion, the story follows Young Goodman Brown's journey into self-scrutiny which results in his loss of faith.
The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables is a Gothic novel written in 1851 by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne and published the same year by Ticknor and Fields of Boston. Hawthorne explores themes of guilt, retribution, and atonement in a New England family and colors the tale with suggestions of the supernatural and witchcraft. The story was inspired by a gabled house in Salem belonging to Hawthorne's cousin Susanna Ingersoll and by those of Hawthorne's ancestors who played a part in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The book was well received upon publication and later had a strong influence on the work of H. P. Lovecraft. The House of the Seven Gables has been adapted several times to film and television.
The Minister's Black Veil
"The Minister's Black Veil" is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was first published in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, edited by Samuel Goodrich. It later appeared in Twice Told Tales, a collection of short stories by Hawthorne published in 1837.
"The Birth-Mark" is a romantic short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne that examines obsession with human perfection. It was first published in the March, 1843 edition of The Pioneer. It later appeared in Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of short stories by Hawthorne published in 1846.
The Blithedale Romance
The Blithedale Romance (1852) is Nathaniel Hawthorne's third major romance. In Hawthorne (1879), Henry James called it "the lightest, the brightest, the liveliest" of Hawthorne's "unhumorous fictions."
The novel takes place in the utopian community of Blithedale, presumably in the mid-1800s. The main character, Miles Coverdale, embarks on a quest for betterment of the world through the agrarian lifestyle and community of the Blithedale Farm. The story begins with Coverdale's chat with a character named Old Moodie, who reappears throughout the story. The legend of the mysterious Veiled Lady is introduced; she is a popular clairvoyant who disappears unannounced from the social scene. Coverdale then makes the voyage to Blithedale, where he is introduced to such characters as Zenobia and Mr. and Mrs. Silas Foster. At their first community dinner they are interrupted by the arrival of Hollingsworth, a previous acquaintance of Coverdale's, who is carrying a frail, pale girl. Though Hollingsworth believes the girl (whose age is never clarified) is an expected guest, none of the Blithedale citizens recognize her. She immediately develops a strong attachment to Zenobia, and reveals her name to be Priscilla.
a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953, and the novel was first published in 1961. It is set during World War II in 1943 and is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot.
The novel follows Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier, and a number of other characters. Most events occur while the Airmen of the fictional 256th squadron are based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea west of Italy.
The Sun Also Rises
1926 novel written by American author Ernest Hemingway about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. An early and enduring modernist novel, it received mixed reviews upon publication. Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes that it is "recognized as Hemingway's greatest work", and Hemingway scholar Linda Wagner-Martin calls it his most important novel. The novel was published in the United States in October 1926 by the publishing house Scribner's. A year later, the London publishing house Jonathan Cape published the novel with the title of Fiesta. Since then it has been continuously in print.
The Sun Also Rises
On the surface the novel is a love story between the protagonist Jake Barnes—a man whose war wound has made him impotent—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Brett's affair with Robert Cohn causes Jake to be upset and break off his friendship with Cohn; her seduction of the 19-year-old matador Romero causes Jake to lose his good reputation among the Spaniards in Pamplona. The novel is a roman à clef; the characters are based on real people and the action is based on real events. In the novel, Hemingway presents his notion that the "Lost Generation", considered to have been decadent, dissolute and irretrievably damaged by World War I, was resilient and strong. Additionally, Hemingway investigates the themes of love, death, renewal in nature, and the nature of masculinity.
A Farewell to Arms
a semi-autobiographical novel written by Ernest Hemingway concerning events during the Italian campaigns during the First World War. The book, which was first published in 1929, is a first-person account of American Frederic Henry, serving as a Lieutenant ("Tenente") in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army. The title is taken from a poem by 16th-century English dramatist George Peele.
A Farewell to Arms works on two literary levels. First, it is a story concerning the drama and passion of a doomed romance between Henry and a British nurse, Catherine Barkley. Second, it also skillfully contrasts the meaning of personal tragedy against the impersonal destruction wrought by the First World War. Hemingway deftly captures the cynicism of soldiers, the futility of war, and the displacement of populations. Although this was Hemingway's bleakest novel, its publication cemented his stature as a modern American writer.
(3 April 1593 - 1 March 1633) was a Welsh born English poet, orator and Anglican priest.Throughout his life, he wrote religious poems characterized by a precision of language, a metrical versatility, and an ingenious use of imagery or conceits that was favoured by the metaphysical school of poets. Charles Cotton described him as a "soul composed of harmonies". Herbert himself, in a letter to Nicholas Ferrar, said of his writings, "they are a picture of spiritual conflicts between God and my soul before I could subject my will to Jesus, my Master". Some of Herbert's poems have endured as hymns, including "King of Glory, King of Peace" (Praise), "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing" (Antiphon) and "Teach me, my God and King" (The Elixir).
a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha.
The book, Hesse's ninth novel (1922), was written in German, in a simple, powerful, and lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated Siddhartha to Romain Rolland and Wilhelm Gundert.
The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth). The two words together mean "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". The Buddha's name, before his renunciation, was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. He was Prince of Kapilvastu, Nepal. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".
Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly called simply Leviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. The publisher was Andrew Crooke, partner in Andrew Crooke and William Cooke. Leviathan ranks high as a classical western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince and is one of a number of related works incident upon the crisis of the English state framework of the time.
In Leviathan, which was written during the English Civil War (1642-1651), Hobbes argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. He wrote that chaos or civil war - situations identified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes ("the war of all against all") - could only be averted by strong central government.
The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege, the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war and similar, tending to appear near the beginning, and the events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' looming death and the sack of Troy, prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly approaching the end of the poem, making the poem tell a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War.
Along with the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC. The Iliad contains over 15,000 lines, and is written in Homeric Greek, a literary amalgam of Ionic Greek with other dialects.
The Odyssey (Ancient Greek: Ὀδύσσεια, Odysseia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature. It was probably composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.
The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.
It continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe that the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos (epic poet/singer), perhaps a rhapsode (professional performer), and was more likely intended to be heard than read. The details of the ancient oral performance, and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars. The Odyssey was written in a regionless poetic dialect of Greek and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most impressive elements of the text are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by women and serfs, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
(28 July 1844 - 8 June 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous 20th-century fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.
26 March 1859 - 30 April 1936), usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems were mostly written before 1900. Their wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War. Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.
Housman was counted one of the foremost classicists of his age, and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars of all time.  He established his reputation publishing as a private scholar and, on the strength and quality of his work, was appointed Professor of Latin at University College London and later, at Cambridge. His editions of Juvenal, Manilius and Lucan are still considered authoritative.
(February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue"
Their Eyes were Watching God
a 1937 novel and the best-known work by African American writer Zora Neale Hurston. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel garnered attention and controversy at the time of its publication, and has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African American literature and women's literature. The main character, an African American woman in her early forties named Janie Crawford, tells the story of her life and journey via an extended flashback to her best friend, Pheoby, so that Pheoby can tell Janie's story to the nosy community on her behalf. Her life has three major periods corresponding to her marriages to three very different men.
26 November 1909 - 28 March 1994) was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude and insignificance of human existence.
a play by Eugène Ionesco, written in 1959. The play belongs to the school of drama known as the Theatre of the Absurd. Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses; ultimately the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Bérenger, a flustered everyman figure who is often criticized throughout the play for his drinking and tardiness. The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Communism, Fascism and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of conformity, culture, mass movements, philosophy and morality.
a one-act play by Eugène Ionesco. It was first performed in 1951 in a production directed by Marcel Cuvelier (who also played the Professor). Claude Mansard played the Maid and Rosette Zuchelli played the Pupil in that production. Since 1957 it has been in permanent production at Paris' Théâtre de la Huchette, on an Ionesco double-bill with The Bald Soprano. The play has been regarded as an important work of what some critics have called the "Theatre of the Absurd."
Rip Van Winkle
a short story by the American author Washington Irving published in 1819, as well as the name of the story's fictional protagonist. Written while Irving was living in Birmingham, England, it was part of a collection entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. Although the story is set in New York's Catskill Mountains, Irving later admitted, "When I wrote the story, I had never been on the Catskills."
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., written while he was living in Birmingham, England, and first published in 1820. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today.
Turn of the Screw
a novella (short novel) written by Henry James. Originally published in 1898, it is ostensibly a ghost story.
Due to its ambiguous content, it became a favourite text of academics who subscribe to New Criticism. The novella has had differing interpretations, often mutually exclusive. Many critics have tried to determine the exact nature of the evil hinted at by the story.
The Aspern papers
a novella written by Henry James, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1888, with its first book publication later in the same year. One of James' best-known and most acclaimed longer tales, The Aspern Papers is based on an anecdote that James heard about a Shelley devotee who tried to obtain some valuable letters written by the poet. Set in Venice, The Aspern Papers demonstrates James' ability to generate suspense while never neglecting the development of his characters.
The Vanity of Human Wishes
The Vanity of Human Wishes: The Tenth Satire of Juvenal Imitated is a poem by the English author Samuel Johnson. Written in 1749 (see 1749 in poetry), it was completed while Johnson was busy writing A Dictionary of the English Language and it was the first published work to include Johnson's name on the title page.
As the subtitle suggests, it is an imitation of Satire X by the Latin poet Juvenal. Unlike Juvenal, Johnson attempts to sympathize with his poetic subjects. Also, the poem focuses on human futility and humanity's quest after greatness like Juvenal but concludes that Christian values are important to living properly. It was Johnson's second imitation of Juvenal (the first being his 1738 poem London). Unlike London, The Vanity of Human Wishes emphasizes philosophy over politics. The poem was not a financial success, but later critics, including Walter Scott and T. S. Eliot, considered it to be Johnson's greatest poem.
a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.
The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence, and maturity.
a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature, it has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement". "Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking."
Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle). The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel (e.g., the correspondence of Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, Molly Bloom to Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus). Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.
Ulysses is approximately 265,000 words in length and uses a lexicon of 30,030 words (including proper names, plurals and various verb tenses), divided into eighteen episodes. Since publication, the book attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual "Joyce Wars." Ulysses' stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose—full of puns, parodies, and allusions, as well as its rich characterisations and broad humour, made the book a highly regarded novel in the Modernist pantheon. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, and published first in book format in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch, New York. The first English edition was published by the Egoist Press in February 1917. The story describes the formative years of the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus.
A novel written in Joyce's characteristic free indirect speech style, A Portrait is a major example of the Künstlerroman (an artist's Bildungsroman) in English literature. Joyce's novel traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised. He finally leaves for abroad to pursue his ambitions as an artist. The work is an early example of some of Joyce's modernist techniques that would later be represented in a more developed manner by Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The novel, which has had a "huge influence on novelists across the world",
The Trial (Kafka's original German title: Der Process, later as Der Prozess and Der Prozeß) is a novel by Franz Kafka, first published in 1925. One of Kafka's best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor the reader.
Like Kafka's other novels, The Trial was never completed, although it does include a chapter which brings the story to an end. Because of this there are certain inconsistencies which exist within the novel, such as disparities in timing in addition to other discontinuities in narration.
After Kafka's death in 1924, his friend and literary executor Max Brod edited the text for publication.
a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect-like creature.
31 October 1795 - 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.
Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his life, his reputation grew after his death to the extent that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He has had a significant influence on a diverse range of later poets and writers: Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats was the most significant literary experience of his life.
The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popular and analyzed in English literature.
March 12, 1922 - October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Tom Robbins, Will Clarke, and Haruki Murakami. Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the Hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward it. In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac's literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody and Big Sur.
Women in Love
novel by British author D. H. Lawrence published in 1920. It is a sequel to his earlier novel The Rainbow (1915), and follows the continuing loves and lives of the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun and Ursula. Gudrun Brangwen, an artist, pursues a destructive relationship with Gerald Crich, an industrialist. Lawrence contrasts this pair with the love that develops between Ursula and Rupert Birkin, an alienated intellectual who articulates many opinions associated with the author. The emotional relationships thus established are given further depth and tension by an intense psychological and physical attraction between Gerald and Rupert. The novel ranges over the whole of British society before the time of the First World War and eventually ends high up in the snows of the Tyrolean Alps.
As with most of Lawrence's works, Women in Love caused controversy over its sexual subject matter. One early reviewer said of it, "I do not claim to be a literary critic, but I know dirt when I smell it, and here is dirt in heaps—festering, putrid heaps which smell to high Heaven."
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
irst appearing in 1690 with the printed title An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke concerns the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. He describes the mind at birth as a blank slate (tabula rasa, although he did not use those actual words) filled later through experience. The essay was one of the principal sources of empiricism in modern philosophy, and influenced many enlightenment philosophers, such as David Hume and George Berkeley.
Book I of the Essay is Locke's attempt to refute the rationalist notion of innate ideas. Book II sets out Locke's theory of ideas, including his distinction between passively acquired simple ideas, such as "red," "sweet," "round," etc., and actively built complex ideas, such as numbers, causes and effects, abstract ideas, ideas of substances, identity, and diversity. Locke also distinguishes between the truly existing primary qualities of bodies, like shape, motion and the arrangement of minute particles, and the secondary qualities that are "powers to produce various sensations in us" such as "red" and "sweet." These secondary qualities, Locke claims, are dependent on the primary qualities. He also offers a theory of personal identity, offering a largely psychological criterion. Book III is concerned with language, and Book IV with knowledge, including intuition, mathematics, moral philosophy, natural philosophy ("science"), faith, and opinion.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(February 27, 1807 - March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets.
The Song of Hiawatha
n 1855 epic poem, in trochaic tetrameter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, featuring an Indian hero and loosely based on legends and ethnography of the Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinaabeg) and other Native American peoples contained in Algic Researches (1839) and additional writings of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. In sentiment, scope, overall conception, and many particulars, Longfellow's poem is very much a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition, despite Longfellow's insistence that "I can give chapter and verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends."
a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (About Principalities). But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. This was done with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII, but "long before then, in fact since the first appearance of the Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings".
Although it was written as if it were a traditional work in the Mirror of Princes style, it is generally agreed that it was especially innovative. This is only partly because it was written in the Vernacular (Italian) rather than Latin, a practice which had become increasingly popular since the publication of Dante's Divine Comedy and other works of Renaissance literature.
The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics and ethics.
Ars Poetica is a term meaning "The Art of Poetry" or "On the Nature of Poetry". Early examples of Ars Poetica by Aristotle and Horace have survived and have since spawned many other poems that bear the same name (perhaps most recognized being Archibald MacLeish's modernist entry, ending with the well-known couplet "A poem should not mean/But be"). Three of the most notable examples, including the work by Horace, are as follows.
Horace's Ars Poetica (also known as "The Art of Poetry", Epistula Ad Pisones, or Letters to Piso), published c. 18 BC, was a treatise on poetics. It was first translated into English by Ben Jonson. Three quotations in particular are associated with the work:
"in medias res", or "into the middle of things"; this describes a popular narrative technique that appears frequently in ancient epics and remains popular to this day
"bonus dormitat Homerus" or "good Homer nods"; an indication that even the most skilled poet can make continuity errors
"ut pictura poesis", or "as is painting so is poetry", by which Horace meant that poetry (in its widest sense, "imaginative texts") merited the same careful interpretation that was, in Horace's day, reserved for painting.
The latter two phrases occur back-to-back, near the end of the treatise.
The work is also key for its discussion of the principle of decorum (using appropriate vocabulary and diction in each style of writing), and for Horace's criticisms of purple prose.
Horace also introduced the five-act play: "A play should not be shorter nor longer than five acts." Under his influence Seneca the Younger wrote plays in five acts, and as a result of the Renaissance, playwrights such as William Shakespeare divided their plays into five acts.
In verse 191, Horace warns against deus ex machina, the practice of resolving a convoluted plot by fiat (e.g. by having an Olympian god appear and set things right). Horace writes "Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus": "That a god not intervene, unless a knot show up that be worthy of such an untangler."
The best known poem by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), published in 1926, took its title and subject from Horace's work. His poem "Ars Poetica" contains the line "A poem should not mean/but be", which was a classic statement of the modernist aesthetic. The original manuscript of the poem resides in the Library of Congress.
Le Morte d'Arthur
Le Morte d'Arthur (originally spelled Le Morte Darthur, Middle French for "the death of Arthur") is a compilation by Sir Thomas Malory of Romance tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. The book interprets existing French and English stories about these figures, with some of Malory's own original material (the Gareth story). First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d'Arthur is perhaps the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their principal source, including T. H. White for his popular The Once and Future King and Tennyson for The Idylls of the King.
(baptised 26 February 1564; died 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.
A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May 1593. No reason for it was given, though it was thought to be connected to allegations of blasphemy—a manuscript believed to have been written by Marlowe was said to contain "vile heretical conceipts". On 20 May he was brought to the court to attend upon the Privy Council for questioning. There is no record of their having met that day, however, and he was commanded to attend upon them each day thereafter until "licensed to the contrary." Ten days later, he was stabbed to death by Ingram Frizer. Whether the stabbing was connected to his arrest has never been resolved. Doctor Faustus.
To His Coy Mistress
is a metaphysical poem written by the British author and statesman Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) either during or just before the Interregnum.
This poem is considered one of Marvell's finest and quite possibly the most well recognized carpe diem poem in English. Although the date of its composition is not known, it may have possibly been written in the early 1650s. At that time, Marvell was serving as a tutor to the daughter of the retired commander of Oliver Cromwell's army, Sir Thomas Fairfax.
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, written by American author Herman Melville and first published in 1851, is widely considered to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that on this voyage Ahab has one purpose, to seek out a specific whale: Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg, which now drives Ahab to take revenge.
On Liberty (1859) is a philosophical work by British philosopher John Stuart Mill. It was a radical work to the Victorian readers of the time because it supported individuals' moral and economic freedom from the state.
Perhaps the most memorable point made by Mill in this work, and his basis for liberty, is that "over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign". Mill is compelled to make this assertion in opposition to what he calls the "tyranny of the majority", wherein through control of etiquette and morality, society is an unelected power that can do horrific things. Mill's work could be considered a reaction to this social control by the majority and his advocacy of individual decision-making over the self. The famous Harm Principle, or the principle of liberty, is also articulated in this work: the state or any other social body has no right to coerce or restrict the individual unless the individual causes harm to others, crucially, the individual's own physical or moral harm is not justification for constriction of their liberty. All branches of liberalism—as well as other political ideologies—consider this to be one of their core principles. However, they often disagree on what exactly constitutes harm.
On Liberty was an enormously influential work; the ideas presented in the book have remained the basis of much liberal political thought ever since. Aside from the popularity of the ideas themselves, the book is quite short and its themes are easily accessible to a non-expert. It has remained in print continuously since its initial publication. To this day, a copy of On Liberty has been passed to the president of the British Liberals, and then Liberal Democrats, as a symbol of office and succession from the party that Mill helped found.
The Crucible is a 1952 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the US government blacklisted accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of "contempt of Congress" for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended. It was first performed at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Miller felt that this production was too stylized and cold and the reviews for it were largely hostile (although The New York Times noted "a powerful play [in a] driving performance"). Nonetheless, the production won the 1953 "Best Play" Tony Award. A year later a new production succeeded and the play became a classic. Today it is studied in high schools and universities because of its status as a revolutionary work of theatre and for its allegorical relationship to testimony given before the Committee On Un-American Activities during the 1950s. It is a central work in the canon of American drama
Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Premiered at the Morosco Theatre in February 1949, the original production ran for a total of 742 performances.
a poem by John Milton, written in 1637 as a pastoral elegy. It first appeared in a 1638 collection of elegies, entitled Justa Edouardo King Naufrago, dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a collegemate of Milton's at Cambridge who drowned when his ship sank in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales in August 1637. The poem is 193 lines in length, and is irregularly rhymed. While many of the other poems in the compilation are in Greek and Latin, "Lycidas" is one of the poems written in English. Milton republished the poem in 1645.
an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 (though written nearly ten years earlier) in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve books (in the manner of the division of Virgil's Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification; most of the poem was written while Milton was blind, and was transcribed for him.
The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men" and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will. Although the primary event in the epic is about the Fall of Man, the character Satan serves as an anti-hero and as a prominent driving force in the plot. His depiction has fascinated critics, some of which have interpreted Paradise Lost as a poem questioning the church's power (a common theme during the English Renaissance) rather than only a description of the fall of Adam and Eve.
Milton incorporates Paganism, classical mythology, and Christianity into the poem. While Milton's principal goal in the work is to give a compelling Theodicy, he nevertheless deals with a range of topics, from marriage to politics (Milton was politically active during the time of the English Civil War). Many difficult theological issues are deliberately addressed, including fate, predestination, the Trinity, the introduction of sin and death into the world, as well as the nature of angels, fallen angels, Satan and the war in heaven. Milton draws on his knowledge of languages, and diverse sources — primarily Genesis, much of the New Testament, the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, and other parts of the Old Testament. Milton's epic is often considered one of the greatest literary works in the English language, along with those of Shakespeare.
Tartuffe (full title: Tartuffe, or the Impostor, French: Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur) is a comedy by Molière. It is one of his most famous plays.
Utopia (in full: De optimo reip. statv, deque noua insula Vtopia, libellus uere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festiuus) is a work of fiction by Thomas More published in 1516. English translations of the title include A Truly Golden Little Book, No Less Beneficial Than Entertaining, of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia (literal) and A Fruitful and Pleasant Work of the Best State of a Public Weal, and of the New Isle Called Utopia (traditional). (See "title" below.) The book, written in Latin, is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs.
a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set for the present action in 1873, just after the American Civil War (1861-1865), but with many of the signature Morrison flashbacks to many years before and during the Civil War, including the years of slavery for the characters, this novel is based on two articles Morrison stated she read about the true story of Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a slavery-free state. Due to the provisions in the relatively recently passed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, even the slavery-free Northern states had to cooperate in returning escaped slaves to slavery states, or to many Southern States. A group of white men arrived in Cincinatti to retrieve Garner, Garner's husband, their four children, and another man who escaped with them. The new law gave slave owners the right to pursue slaves across state borders. Garner killed her infant daughter, the youngest of four children, stating later she intended to kill all four of her children and herself.
a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian. The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze for whom his private nickname is Lolita.
After its publication, Nabokov's Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne.
(March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, O'Connor wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. O'Connor's writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.
(October 16, 1888 - November 27, 1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. O'Neill wrote only one well-known comedy (Ah, Wilderness!). Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism.
(first published in 1949) by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, accomplished with a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc), which is administrated by a privileged Inner Party élite. Yet they too are subordinated to the totalitarian cult of personality of Big Brother, the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as thoughtcrimes; thus the people of Oceania are subordinated to a supposed collective greater good. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record is congruent with the current party doctrine. Because of the childhood trauma of the destruction of his family — the disappearances of his parents and sister — Winston Smith secretly hates the Party, and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.
As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style, because many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular since its publication in 1949. Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which refers to official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past in service to a totalitarian political agenda.
an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD, and what he saw of the results of the influence of Communist policy ("ceaseless arrests, censored newspapers, prowling hordes of armed police" - "Communism is now a counter-revolutionary force"), during the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel "contre Stalin.
Dulce et Decorum est
Dulce et Decorum est is a poem written by poet Wilfred Owen in 1917, during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. Owen's poem is known for its horrific imagery and condemnation of war. It was drafted at Craiglockhart in the first half of October 1917 and later revised, probably at Scarborough but possibly Ripon, between January and March 1918. The earliest surviving manuscript is dated 8 October 1917 and addressed to his mother, Susan Owen, with the message "Here is a gas poem done yesterday, (which is not private, but not final)"
a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood; forgoing the philosophy and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, Paine structured Common Sense like a sermon and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.  He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.  Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as, "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era."
Age of Reason
The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of Christianity. Published in three parts in 1794, 1795, and 1807, it was a bestseller in the United States, where it caused a short-lived deistic revival. British audiences, however, fearing increased political radicalism as a result of the French Revolution, received it with more hostility. The Age of Reason presents common deistic arguments; for example, it highlights what Paine saw as corruption of the Christian Church and criticizes its efforts to acquire political power. Paine advocates reason in the place of revelation, leading him to reject miracles and to view the Bible as an ordinary piece of literature rather than as a divinely inspired text. It promotes natural religion and argues for the existence of a creator-God.
Most of Paine's arguments had long been available to the educated elite, but by presenting them in an engaging and irreverent style, he made deism appealing and accessible to a mass audience. The book was also inexpensive, putting it within the reach of a large number of buyers. Fearing the spread of what they viewed as potentially revolutionary ideas, the British government prosecuted printers and booksellers who tried to publish and distribute it. Paine nevertheless inspired and guided many British freethinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and his influence and spirit endures in the works of contemporary writers like Christopher Hitchens.
(October 27, 1932 - February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Born in Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge before receiving acclaim as a professional poet and writer. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and they lived together first in the United States and then England, having two children together: Frieda and Nicholas. Following a long struggle with depression and a marital separation, Plath committed suicide in 1963. Controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy.
Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two collections published: The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.
a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. The dramatic date of the dialogue has been much debated and though it must take place some time during the Peloponnesian War, "there would be jarring anachronisms if any of the candidate specific dates between 432 and 404 were assigned". It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech", culminating in a city ruled by philosopher-kings; and by examining the nature of existing regimes. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.
Edgar Allan Poe
(born Edgar Poe, January 19, 1809 - October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian".
Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, "The Raven", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.
Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.
An Essay on Criticism
An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744). It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.
The poem first appeared in 1711, but was written in 1709. It is clear from Pope's correspondence that many of the poem's ideas had existed in prose form since at least 1706. It is a verse essay written in the Horatian mode and is primarily concerned with how writers and critics behave in the new literary commerce of Pope's contemporary age. The poem covers a range of good criticism and advice. It also represents many of the chief literary ideals of Pope's age.
Pope contends in the poem's opening couplets that bad criticism does greater harm than bad writing:
'Tis hard to say, if greater Want of Skill
Appear in Writing or in Judging ill,
But, of the two, less dang'rous is th' Offence,
To tire our Patience, than mis-lead our Sense
Some few in that, but Numbers err in this,
Ten Censure wrong for one who Writes amiss;
A Fool might once himself alone expose,
Now One in Verse makes many more in Prose. ... (1-8)
Despite the harmful effects of bad criticism, literature requires worthy criticism.
Pope delineates common faults of critics, e.g., settling for easy and cliché rhymes:
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line:
While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhymes;
Wher'er you find "the cooling western breeze",
In the next line, it "whispers through the trees";
If crystal streams "with pleasing murmurs creep",
The reader's threatened (not in vain) with "sleep" . . . (347-353)
Throughout the poem, Pope refers to ancient writers such as Virgil, Homer, Aristotle, Horace and Longinus. This is a testament to his belief that the "Imitation of the ancients" is the ultimate standard for taste. Pope also says, "True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learned to dance" (362-363), meaning poets are made, not born.
As is usual in Pope's poems, the Essay concludes with a reference to Pope himself. Walsh, the last of the critics mentioned, was a mentor and friend of Pope who had died in 1710.
An Essay on Man
n Essay on Man is a poem published by Alexander Pope in 1734. It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to "vindicate the ways of God to man" (l.16), a variation of John Milton's claim in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, that he will "justify the ways of God to man" (1.26). It is concerned with the natural order God has decreed for man. Because man cannot know God's purposes, he cannot complain about his position in the Great Chain of Being (ll.33-34) and must accept that "Whatever IS, is RIGHT" (l.292), a theme that would soon be satirized by Voltaire in Candide. More than any other work, it popularized optimistic philosophy throughout England and the rest of Europe.
Pope's Essay on Man and Moral Epistles were designed to be the parts of a system of ethics which he wanted to express in poetry. Moral Epistles have been known under various other names including Ethic Epistles and Moral Essays.
On its publication, An Essay on Man met with great admiration throughout Europe. Voltaire called it "the most beautiful, the most useful, the most sublime didactic poem ever written in any language". In 1756 Rousseau wrote to Voltaire admiring the poem and saying that it "softens my ills and brings me patience". Kant was fond of the poem and would recite long passages of the poem to his students . However later Voltaire renounced his admiration for Pope and Leibnitz's optimism and even wrote a novel, Candide, as a satire on Pope and Leibnitz's philosophy of ethics.
The essay, written in heroic couplets, comprises four epistles. Pope began work on it in 1729, and had finished the first three by 1731. However, they did not appear until early 1733, with the fourth epistle published the following year. The poem was originally published anonymously; Pope did not admit authorship until 1735.
The Rape of the Lock
a mock-heroic narrative poem written by Alexander Pope, first published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany in May 1712 in two cantos (334 lines), but then revised, expanded and reissued under Pope's name on March 2, 1714, in a much-expanded 5-canto version (794 lines). The final form was available in 1717 with the addition of Clarissa's speech on good humour.
The poem satirizes a petty squabble by comparing it to the epic world of the gods. It was based on an incident recounted by Pope's friend, John Caryll. Arabella Fermor and her suitor, Lord Petre, were both from aristocratic recusant Catholic families at a period in England when under such laws as the Test Act, all denominations except Anglicanism suffered legal restrictions and penalties (for example Petre could not take up his place in the House of Lords as a Catholic). Petre, lusting after Arabella, had cut off a lock of her hair without permission, and the consequent argument had created a breach between the two families. Pope, also a Catholic, wrote the poem at the request of friends in an attempt to "comically merge the two." He utilized the character Belinda to represent Arabella and introduced an entire system of "sylphs," or guardian spirits of virgins, a parodized version of the gods and goddesses of conventional epic.
Pope's poem mocks the traditions of classical epics: the abduction of Helen of Troy becomes here the theft of a lock of hair; the gods become minute sylphs; the description of Achilles' shield becomes an excursus on one of Belinda's petticoats. He also uses the epic style of invocations, lamentations, exclamations and similes, and in some cases adds parody to imitation by following the framework of actual speeches in Homer's Iliad. Although the poem is humorous at times, Pope keeps a sense that beauty is fragile, and that the loss of a lock of hair touches Belinda deeply. As his introductory letter makes clear, women in that period were essentially supposed to be decorative rather than rational, and the loss of beauty was a serious matter.
"The New Star," Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for The Rape of the Lock
The humour of the poem comes from the storm in a teacup of vanity being couched within the elaborate, formal verbal structure of an epic poem.
Three of Uranus's moons are named after characters from The Rape of the Lock: Belinda, Umbriel, and Ariel, the last name also (previously) appearing in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
It is one of the most commonly cited examples of high burlesque.
(30 October 1885 - 1 November 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry. He became known for his role in developing Imagism, which, in reaction to the Victorian and Georgian poets, favored tight language, unadorned imagery, and a strong correspondence between the verbal and musical qualities of the verse and the mood it expressed. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos, which consumed his middle and late career, and was published between 1917 and 1969.
Remembrance of Things Past
a novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is popularly known for its considerable length and the notion of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the "episode of the madeleine." The novel is widely referred to in English as Remembrance of Things Past but the title In Search of Lost Time, a literal rendering of the French, has gained in usage since D. J. Enright adopted it in his 1992 revision of the earlier translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. The complete story contains nearly 1.5 million words and is one of the longest novels in world literature.
The novel as it is known today began to take shape in 1909 and work continued for the remainder of Proust's life, broken off only by his final illness and death in the autumn of 1922. The structure was established early on and the novel is complete as a work of art and a literary cosmos but Proust kept adding new material through his final years while editing one volume after another for print; the final three volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages which existed in draft at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert.
The work was published in France between 1913 and 1927; Proust paid for the publication of the first volume (by the Grasset publishing house) after it had been turned down by leading editors who had been offered the manuscript in longhand. Many of its ideas, motifs and scenes appear in adumbrated form in Proust's unfinished novel, Jean Santeuil (1896-99), though the perspective and treatment there are different, and in his unfinished hybrid of philosophical essay and story, Contre Sainte-Beuve (1908-09). The novel has had great influence on twentieth-century literature, whether because writers have sought to emulate it, or attempted to parody and discredit some of its traits. Proust explores the themes of time, space and memory but the novel is above all a condensation of innumerable literary, structural, stylistic and thematic possibilities.
The Mysteries of Udolpho
The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe, was published in four volumes on 8 May 1794 by G. G. and J. Robinson of London. The firm paid her £500 for the manuscript. The contract is housed at the University of Virginia Library. Her fourth and most popular novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho follows the fortunes of Emily St. Aubert who suffers, among other misadventures, the death of her father, supernatural terrors in a gloomy castle, and the machinations of an Italian brigand. Often cited as the archetypal Gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho plays a prominent role in Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, in which an impressionable young woman, after reading Radcliffe's novel, comes to see her friends and acquaintances as Gothic villains and victims with amusing results.
Sir Walter Raleigh
(c. 1554 - 29 October 1618) was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England.
Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known for certain of his early life, though he spent some time in Ireland, in Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, taking part in the suppression of rebellions and participating in the Siege of Smerwick. Later he became a landlord of properties confiscated from the Irish rebels. He rose rapidly in the favour of Queen Elizabeth I, and was knighted in 1585. He was involved in the early English colonisation of Virginia under a royal patent. In 1591 he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen's permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset.
In 1594 Raleigh heard of a "City of Gold" in South America and sailed to find it, publishing an exaggerated account of his experiences in a book that contributed to the legend of "El Dorado". After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 Raleigh was again imprisoned in the Tower, this time for allegedly being involved in the Main Plot against King James I, who was not favourably disposed toward him. In 1616 he was released to lead a second expedition in search of El Dorado. This was unsuccessful and men under his command ransacked a Spanish outpost. He returned to England and, to appease the Spanish, was arrested and executed in 1618.
The Blessed Damozel
The Blessed Damozel" is the best known poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which was first published in 1850 in The Germ. Rossetti subsequently revised the poem twice and republished it in 1856 and 1870.
Rossetti was partially inspired by Poe's "The Raven", with its depiction of a lover grieving on Earth over the death of his loved one. Rossetti chose to represent the situation in reverse. The poem describes the 'Damozel' observing her lover from heaven, and her unfulfilled yearning for their reunion in heaven.
Rossetti painted a large oil on canvas illustrating the poem, and later repeated and varied the composition. In the paintings the lover on earth is portrayed in a predella below the main composition, separated by the structure of the frame.
Claude Debussy composed a setting of Rossetti's poem in French translation: "La damoiselle élue" (1888), a cantata for two soloists, female choir, and orchestra.
an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from St. Augustine of Hippo's Confessions. Covering the first fifty-three years of Rousseau's life, up to 1765, it was completed in 1769, but not published until 1782, four years after Rousseau's death - even though Rousseau did read excerpts of his manuscript publicly at various salons and other meeting places.
Confessions were two distinct works, each part consisting of six books. Books I to VI were written between 1765 and 1767, and published in 1782; books VII to XII, was written in 1769-1770, and published in 1789. Rousseau alludes to a planned third part, but this was never completed. Though the book is somewhat flawed as an autobiography - particularly, Rousseau's dates are frequently off, and some events are out of order - Rousseau provides an account of the experiences that shaped his influential philosophy. For instance, the parts of his own education he liked best are clearly present in his account of ideal education, Emile: Or, On Education.
Rousseau's work is notable as one of the first major autobiographies. Prior to his writing the Confessions, the two great autobiographies were Augustine's own Confessions and Saint Teresa's Life of Herself. Both of these works, however, focused on the religious experiences of their authors. The Confessions was one of the first autobiographies in which an individual wrote of his own life mainly in terms of his worldly experiences and personal feelings. Rousseau recognized the unique nature of his work; it opens with the famous words:
I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent, and which, once complete, will have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray will be myself.
Some scholars[who?] believe that his prediction was wide off the mark. Not long after publication many other writers (such as Goethe, Wordsworth and De Quincey) wrote their own similarly-styled autobiographies. However, Leo Damrosch argues that Rousseau meant that it would be impossible to imitate his book, as nobody else would be like Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The Confessions is also noted for its detailed account of Rousseau's more humiliating and shameful moments. For instance, Rousseau recounts an incident when, while a servant, he covered up his theft of a ribbon by framing a young girl - who was working in the house - for the crime. In addition, Rousseau explains the manner in which he disposes of his five illegitimate children, whom he had with his world-wide known companion, Therese Levasseur.
The Social Contract
Of The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique) (1762) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way in which to set up a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society which he had already identified in his Discourse on Inequality (1754).
Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
The Sovereign, having no force other than the legislative power, acts only by means of the laws; and the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled.
Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law.
The legislative power belongs to the people, and can belong to it alone.
The Social Contract was a progressive work that helped inspire political reforms or revolutions in Europe, especially in France. The Social Contract argued against the idea that monarchs were divinely empowered to legislate; as Rousseau asserts, only the people, in the form of the sovereign, have that all powerful right.
The heart of the idea of the social contract may be stated simply: Each of us places his person and authority under the supreme direction of the general will, and the group receives each individual as an indivisible part of the whole...
The Stones of Venice
The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853. Intending to prove how the architecture in Venice exemplified the principles he discussed in his earlier work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, Ruskin examined the city in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city as well.
The book aroused considerable interest in Victorian Britain and beyond. The chapter "The Nature of Gothic" (from volume 2) was admired by William Morris, who published it separately in an edition which is in itself an example of Gothic revival. It inspired Marcel Proust; the narrator of the Recherche visits Venice with his mother in a state of enthusiasm for Ruskin.
Various shortened editions have been published, including one edited by J.G. Links published in the USA in 1960.
Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, alienation, language, and rebellion. It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million books. The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.
The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the United States and other countries for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.
an epistolary novel by the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, which was published in 1938 and written while he was teaching at the lycée of Le Havre. It marks Sartre's first novel and one of his best-known.
The novel takes place in a town similar to Le Havre and concerns a dejected historian, who becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea.
French writer Simone de Beauvoir claims that La Nausée grants consciousness a remarkable independence and gives reality the full weight of its sense.
It is widely considered one of the canonical works of existentialism. Sartre was awarded, though he ultimately declined, the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. The Nobel Foundation recognized him "for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age." Sartre was one of the few people ever to have declined the award, referring to it as merely a function of a bourgeois institution.
The novel has been translated into English at least twice, by Lloyd Alexander as "The Diary of Antoine Roquentin" (John Lehmann, 1949) and by Robert Baldick as "Nausea" (Penguin Books, 1965).
No Exit is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original French title is Huis Clos, the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors; English translations have also been performed under the titles In Camera, No Way Out and Dead End. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944, just before the liberation of Paris in World War II.
It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, and is the source of Sartre's most famous quotation, l'enfer, c'est les autres ("Hell is other people").
The Flies (known in the original French as Les Mouches) is a play by Jean-Paul Sartre, written in 1943. It is an adaptation of the Electra myth, previously used by the Greek playwrights Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides. The play recounts the story of Orestes and his sister Electra in their quest to avenge the death of their father Agamemnon, king of Argos, by killing their mother Clytemnestra and her husband Aegisthus, who had deposed and killed him.
Sartre incorporates an existentialist theme into the play, having Electra and Orestes engaged in a battle with Zeus and his Furies, who are the gods of Argos and the centerpiece for self-abnegating religious rituals. This results in fear and a lack of autonomy for Zeus's worshippers, who live in constant shame of their humanity.
Ivanhoe is a historical fiction novel by Sir Walter Scott in 1819, and set in 12th-century England. Ivanhoe is sometimes credited for increasing interest in Romanticism and Medievalism; John Henry Newman claimed Scott "had first turned men's minds in the direction of the middle ages," while Carlyle and Ruskin made similar claims to Scott's overwhelming influence over the revival based primarily on the publication of this novel.
Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a time when the English nobility was overwhelmingly Norman. It follows the Saxon protagonist, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who is out of favour with his father for his allegiance to the Norman king, Richard I of England. The story is set in 1194, after the failure of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by the Duke of Saxony on his way back, was believed to still be in the arms of his captors. The legendary Robin Hood, initially under the name of Locksley, is also a character in the story, as are his "merry men." The character that Scott gave to Robin Hood in Ivanhoe helped shape the modern notion of this figure as a cheery noble outlaw.
The Seafarer is an Old English poem recorded in the Exeter Book, one of the four surviving manuscripts of Old English poetry. It consists of 124 lines, followed by the single word "Amen". In the past it has been frequently referred to as an elegy, a poem that mourns a loss, or has the more general meaning of a simply sorrowful piece of writing. Some scholars, however, have argued that the content of the poem also places it in the category of Sapiential, or Wisdom, Literature. This kind of literature mainly consists of proverbs and maxims and is named in references to Old Testament books. The Seafarer has "significant sapiential material concerning the definition of wise men, the ages of the world, and the necessity for patience in adversity" (Hill 806).
It is told from the point of view of an old seafarer, who is reminiscing and evaluating his life as he has lived it. In lines 1-33a, the seafarer describes the desolate hardships of life on the wintry sea. He describes the anxious feelings, cold-wetness, and solitude of the sea voyage in contrast to life on land where men are surrounded by kinsmen, free from dangers, and full on food and wine. The climate on land then begins to resemble that of the wintry sea, and in lines 33b-66a, the speaker shifts his tone from the dreariness of the winter voyage and begins to describe his yearning for the sea. Time passes through the seasons from winter—"it snowed from the north" (31b)—to spring—"groves assume blossoms" (48a)—and to summer—"the cuckoo forebodes, or forewarns" (53a).
Though this poem begins as a narrative of a man's life at sea, it becomes a praise of God. At line 66b, the speaker again shifts, this time not in tone, but in subject matter. The sea is no longer mentioned; instead the speaker preaches about the path to heaven. He asserts that "earthly happiness will not endure" (line 67), that men must oppose "the devil with brave deeds" (line 76), and that earthly wealth cannot travel to the afterlife nor will it determine the wealth of the soul (lines 97-102). Next the speaker provides the reader with maxims and proverbs and then calls to men to consider where they want to spend the afterlife and "then reflect upon how we could come there" (line 118). Heaven is a goal for man to reach by living a good, honourable life. This is a reward to man for faith, as well as a reward for God who "has honoured us for all time" (124). The poem is ended with thanks to the Lord.
In view of the structure and content, as outlined above, it is helpful to think of the seafarer's narration of his experiences as an exemplum, used to make a moral point; and to persuade his hearers of the truth of his words. It has been asserted that this poem demonstrates the fundamental Anglo-Saxon belief that life is shaped by fate. Another understanding was proposed by the Cambridge Old English Reader in 2004, namely that the poem is essentially concerned to state: "Let us (good Christians, that is) remind ourselves where our true home lies and concentrate on getting there"
The Second Shepherd's Play
The Second Shepherds' Play is a famous medieval mystery play which is contained in the manuscript HM1, the unique manuscript of the Wakefield Cycle. It gained its name from the fact that in the manuscript it immediately follows another nativity play involving the shepherds. In fact, it has been hypothesized that the second play is a revision of the first.
The play is actually two separate stories presented sequentially; the first is a non-biblical story about a thief, Mak, who steals a sheep from three shepherds. He and his wife, Gill, attempt to deceive the shepherds by pretending the sheep is their son. The shepherds are fooled at first. However, they later discover Mak's deception and toss him on a blanket as a punishment.
At this point, the storyline switches to the familiar one of the three shepherds being told of the birth of Christ by an angel, and being told to go to Bethlehem, where they offer gifts to the Christ child.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)[nb 1] was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".[nb 2] His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays,[nb 3] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 - 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.
He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council.
Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823.
Shelley had travelled the region in which the story takes place, and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. The actual storyline was taken from a dream. Shelley was talking with three writer-colleagues,Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori, and they decided they would have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for weeks about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what she had made. Then Frankenstein was written.
Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story, because unlike in previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. The story is partially based on Giovanni Aldini's electrical experiments on dead and (sometimes) living animals and was also a warning against the expansion of modern humans in the Industrial Revolution, alluded to in its subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films.
The name "Frankenstein" - actually the novel's human protagonist - is often incorrectly used to refer to the monster itself. In the novel, the monster is identified via words such as "monster", "fiend", "wretch", "vile insect", "daemon", and "it"; The monster refers to himself speaking to Dr. Frankenstein as "the Adam of your labors", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead your "fallen angel."
Percy Bysshe Shelley
4 August 1792 - 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley was his second wife.
He is most famous for such classic anthology verse works as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud and The Masque of Anarchy, which are among the most popular and critically acclaimed poems in the English language. His major works, however, are long visionary poems which included Queen Mab (later reworked as The Daemon of the World), Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonaïs and the unfinished work The Triumph of Life. The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820) were dramatic plays in five and four acts respectively. Although he has typically been figured as a "reluctant dramatist", he was passionate about the theatre, and his plays continue to be performed today. He wrote the Gothic novels Zastrozzi (1810) and St. Irvyne (1811) and the short prose works "The Assassins" (1814), "The Coliseum" (1817) and "Una Favola" (1819). In 2008, he was credited as the co-author of the novel Frankenstein (1818) in a new edition by the Bodleian Library in Oxford and Random House in the U.S. entitled The Original Frankenstein, edited by Charles E. Robinson.
Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-denigrated figure during his life and afterward. Mark Twain took particular aim at Shelley in In Defense of Harriet Shelley, where he lambasted Shelley for abandoning his pregnant wife and child to run off with the 16-year-old Mary Godwin. Shelley never lived to see the extent of his success and influence; although some of his works were published, they were often suppressed upon publication.
He became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets. He was admired by Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, William Butler Yeats, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's passive resistance were apparently influenced and inspired by Shelley's non-violence in protest and political action, although Gandhi does not include him in his list of mentors.
The Defence for Poesie
Sir Philip Sidney wrote An Apology for Poetry (or, The Defence of Poesy) in approximately 1579, and it was published in 1595, after his death.
It is generally believed that he was at least partly motivated by Stephen Gosson, a former playwright who dedicated his attack on the English stage, The School of Abuse, to Sidney in 1579, but Sidney primarily addresses more general objections to poetry, such as those of Plato. In his essay, Sidney integrates a number of classical and Italian precepts on fiction. The essence of his defense is that poetry, by combining the liveliness of history with the ethical focus of philosophy, is more effective than either history or philosophy in rousing its readers to virtue. The work also offers important comments on Edmund Spenser and the Elizabethan stage.
The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by journalist Upton Sinclair. Sinclair wrote the novel with the intention of portraying the life of the immigrant in the United States, but readers were more concerned with the large portion of the book pertaining to the corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early-20th century, and the book is now often interpreted and taught as a journalist's exposure of the poor health conditions in this industry. The novel depicts in harsh tones poverty, absence of social programs, unpleasant living and working conditions, and hopelessness prevalent among the working class, which is contrasted with the deeply-rooted corruption on the part of those in power. Sinclair's observations of the state of turn-of-the-century labor were placed front and center for the American public to see, suggesting that something needed to be changed to get rid of American wage slavery. The novel was first published in serial form in 1905 in the socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason. It was based on undercover work done in 1904: Sinclair spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards at the behest of the magazine's publishers. He then started looking for a publisher who would be willing to print it in book form. After five rejections by publishers who found it too shocking for publication, he funded the first printing himself. A shortened version of the novel was published by Doubleday, Page & Company on February 28, 1906 and has been in print ever since.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his beard and skin, save for his red eyes. The "Green Knight" offers to allow anyone to strike him with his axe if the challenger will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts, and beheads him in one blow, only to have the Green Knight stand up, pick up his head, and remind Gawain to meet him at the appointed time. In his struggles to uphold his oath, Gawain faithfully demonstrates the qualities of chivalry and loyalty until his honor is called into question by a test crafted by the lady of the castle in which much of the story takes place. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the better-known Arthurian stories, which date back to the 12th century.
The poem survives in a single manuscript, the Cotton Nero A.x., that also includes three religious pieces, Pearl, Purity, and Patience. These works are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, dubbed the "Pearl Poet" or "Gawain Poet." All four narrative poems are written in a North West Midland dialect of Middle English. The story thus emerges from the Welsh and English traditions of the dialect area, borrowing from earlier "beheading game" stories and highlighting the importance of honour and chivalry in the face of danger.
In addition to its complex plot and rich language, the poem's chief interest for literary critics is its sophisticated use of medieval symbolism. Everything from the Green Knight, to the beheading game, to the girdle given to Gawain as protection from the axe, is richly symbolic and steeped in Celtic, Germanic, and other folklore and cultural traditions. The Green Knight, for example, is interpreted by some as a representation of the Green Man of folklore and by others as an allusion to Christ.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an important poem in the romance genre, which typically involves a hero who goes on a quest that tests his ability. The ambiguity of the poem's ending, however, makes it more complex than most. Christian readings of the poem argue for an apocalyptic interpretation, drawing parallels between Gawain and Lady Bertilak and the story of Adam and Eve. Feminist interpretations disagree at the most basic level, some arguing that women are in total control from beginning to end, while others argue that their control is only an illusion. Cultural critics have argued that the poem is best read as an expression of tensions between the Welsh and English present at the time in the poet's dialect region. The poem remains popular to this day, through translations from renowned authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and Simon Armitage, as well as through recent film and stage adaptations.
a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 442 BC. Chronologically, it is the third of the three Theban plays but was written first. The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it and picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends.
Oedipus the King
also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Over the centuries, it has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence.
The Faerie Queene
an incomplete English epic poem by Edmund Spenser. The first half was published in 1590, and a second installment was published in 1596. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it was the first work written in Spenserian stanza and is one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, written in praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim of publishing The Faerie Queene was to "fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline."
The Faerie Queene found political favour with Elizabeth I and was consequently a success, to the extent that it became Spenser's defining work. The poem found such favour with the monarch that Spenser was granted a pension for life amounting to 50 pounds a year, though there is no evidence that Elizabeth l read any of the poem.
The Shepheardes Calendar
The Shepheardes Calender was Edmund Spenser's first major poetic work, published in 1579. In emulation of Virgil's first work, the Eclogues, Spenser wrote this series of pastorals to begin his career. However, Spenser's models were rather the Renaissance eclogues of Mantuanus. The title, like the entire work, is written using deliberately archaic spellings, in order to suggest a connection to medieval literature, and to Geoffrey Chaucer in particular.
The poem introduces Colin Clout, a folk character originated by John Skelton, and depicts his life as a shepherd through the twelve months of the year. The Calender encompasses considerable formal innovations, anticipating the even more virtuosic Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (The "Old" Arcadia, 1580), the classic pastoral romance by Sir Philip Sidney, with whom Spenser was acquainted. It is also remarkable for the extensive commentary included with the work in its first publication, ascribed to an "E.K." E.K. is an intelligent, very subtle, and often deeply ironic commentator, and is frequently assumed to be an alias of Spenser himself. The term sarcasm is first recorded in English in Spenser's poem.
Soon after his publication of The Shepheardes Calender, Spenser began writing his epic, The Faerie Queene.
Three Lives (1909) was Gertrude Stein's first published work. The book is separated into three stories, "The Good Anna," "Melanctha," and "The Gentle Lena."
The three stories are independent of each other, but all are set in the fictional town of Bridgepoint.
Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California.
Based on Steinbeck's own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath), the title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", which read: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry.)
East of Eden
East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952.
Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors.
The Hamilton family in the novel is said to be based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck's maternal grandfather. A young John Steinbeck also appears briefly in the novel as a minor character.
According to his last wife Elaine, he considered this to be a magnum opus for himself—his greatest novel. Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: "It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years." He further claimed: "I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this."
Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they sought jobs, land, dignity and a future.
Kidnapped is a historical fiction adventure novel by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. Written as a "boys' novel" and first published in the magazine Young Folks from May to July 1886, the novel has attracted the praise and admiration of writers as diverse as Henry James, Jorge Luis Borges, and Seamus Heaney. A sequel, Catriona, was published in 1893.
As historical fiction, it is set around 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "Appin Murder", which occurred near Ballachulish in 1752 in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rising. Many of the characters, and one of the principals, Alan Breck Stewart, were real people. The political situation of the time is portrayed from different viewpoints, and the Scottish Highlanders are treated sympathetically.
Beginning with some of the earliest reviews of Kidnapped in 1886, it has been thought the novel was structured after the true story of James Annesley, a presumptive heir to five aristocratic titles who was kidnapped at the age of 12 by his uncle Richard and shipped from Dublin to America in 1728. He managed to escape after 13 years and return to reclaim his birthright from his uncle in one of the longest court-room dramas of its time. As Annseley biographer Ekirch says, "It is inconceivable that Stevenson, a voracious reader of legal history, was unfamiliar with the saga of James Annesley, which by the time of Kidnapped's publication in 1886 had already influenced four other 19th-century novels, most famously Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering (1815) and Charles Reade's The Wandering Heir (1873)."
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr Hyde
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of a novel written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The original pronunciation of Jekyll was "Jeekul" which was the pronunciation used in Stevenson's native Scotland. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or simply Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Edward Hyde.
The work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often spuriously called "split personality", wherein within the same person there are at least two distinct personalities. In this case, the two personalities in Dr Jekyll are apparently good and evil, with completely opposite levels of morality. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (or, more briefly, Tristram Shandy) is a novel by Laurence Sterne. It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next 10 years.
As its title suggests, the book is ostensibly Tristram's narration of his life story. But it is one of the central jokes of the novel that he cannot explain anything simply, that he must make explanatory diversions to add context and colour to his tale, to the extent that we do not even reach Tristram's own birth until Volume III.
Consequently, apart from Tristram as narrator, the most familiar and important characters in the book are his father Walter, his mother, his Uncle Toby, Toby's servant Trim, and a supporting cast of popular minor characters, including the chambermaid, Susannah, Doctor Slop, and the parson, Yorick.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. The play expands upon the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, the courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The action of Stoppard's play takes place mainly "in the wings" of Shakespeare's, with brief appearances of major characters from Hamlet who enact fragments of the original's scenes. Between these episodes the two protagonists voice their confusion at the progress of events of which—occurring onstage without them in Hamlet—they have no direct knowledge.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
ncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman.
Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and an active abolitionist, featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters—both fellow slaves and slave owners—revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings.
Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States alone. In 1855, three years after it was published, it was called "the most popular novel of our day." One million copies of the book were sold in Great Britain. The impact attributed to the book is great, reinforced by a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, Lincoln declared, "So this is the little lady who started this great war." The quote is apocryphal; it did not appear in print until 1896, and it has been argued that "The long-term durability of Lincoln's greeting as an anecdote in literary studies and Stowe scholarship can perhaps be explained in part by the desire among many contemporary intellectuals ... to affirm the role of literature as an agent of social change."
The book, and the plays it inspired, also helped popularize a number of stereotypes about black people, many of which endure to this day. These include the affectionate, dark-skinned "mammy"; the "pickaninny" stereotype of black children; and the 'Uncle Tom', or dutiful, long-suffering servant faithful to his white master or mistress. In recent years, the negative associations with Uncle Tom's Cabin have, to an extent, overshadowed the historical impact of the book as a "vital antislavery tool."
First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift (also known as Dean Swift) that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.
The book became popular as soon as it was published (John Gay said in a 1726 letter to Swift that "it is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery"); since then, it has never been out of print.
A Modest Proposal
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.
The Playboy of the Western World
The Playboy of the Western World is a three-act play written by Irish playwright John Millington Synge and first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on January 26, 1907. It is set in Michael James Flaherty's public house in County Mayo (on the west coast of Ireland) during the early 1900s. It tells the story of Christy Mahon, a young man running away from his farm, claiming he killed his father. The locals are more interested in vicariously enjoying his story than in condemning the immorality of his murderous deed. He captures the romantic attention of the bar-maid Pegeen Mike, the daughter of Flaherty.
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 - 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.
Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as "In the Valley of Cauteretz", "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and fellow student at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a brain haemorrhage before they could marry. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, "Ulysses," and "Tithonus." During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success.
A number of phrases from Tennyson's work have become commonplaces of the English language, including "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
Do not go Gentle into that Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night, a villanelle, is considered to be among the finest works by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953). Originally published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951, it also appeared as part of the collection "In Country Sleep." Written for his dying father, it is one of Thomas's most popular and accessible poems.
The poem has no title other than its first line, "Do not go gentle into that good night", a line which appears as a refrain throughout the poem. The poem's other equally famous refrain is "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".
Fern Hill (1945) is a poem by Dylan Thomas, first published in the October, 1945, Horizon magazine, with its first book publication as the last poem in Deaths and Entrances. The poem starts as a straightforward evocation of his childhood visits to his Aunt Annie's farm:
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
In the middle section, the idyllic scene is expanded upon, reinforced by the lilting rhythm of the poem, the dreamlike, pastoral metaphors and allusion to scenes from the Garden of Eden. By the end, the poet's older voice has taken over, mourning his lost youth with echoes of the opening:
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
The poem uses internal half rhyme and full rhyme as well as end rhyme. Thomas was very conscious of the impact of spoken or intoned verse and explored the potentialities of sound and rhythm, in a manner reminiscent of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He always denied having conscious knowledge of Welsh, but "his lines chime with internal consonantal correspondence, or cynghanedd, a prescribed feature of Welsh versification".
The house Fernhill is just outside Llangain in Carmarthenshire. Thomas had extended stays here in the 1920s with his aunt Annie and her husband, Jim Jones. His holidays here have been recalled in interviews with his schoolboy friends, and both the house and the Thomas family network in the area are detailed in the same book.
Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self reliance.
Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.
Thoreau did not intend to live as a hermit, for he received visitors regularly, and returned their visits. Rather, he hoped to isolate himself from society to gain a more objective understanding of it. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period. As Thoreau made clear in his book, his cabin was not in wilderness but at the edge of town, about two miles (3 km) from his family home.
Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War.
History of the Pelopennesian War
The History of the Peloponnesian War is an account of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece, fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens). It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian general who served in the war. It is widely considered a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History was divided into eight books by editors of later antiquity.
Analyses of the History generally fall into one of two camps. On the one hand are those who view the work as an objective and scientific piece of history. The judgement of J. B. Bury reflects this traditional interpretation of the work: "[The History is] severe in its detachment, written from a purely intellectual point of view, unencumbered with platitudes and moral judgements, cold and critical." A more recent interpretation, associated with reader-response criticism, argues that the History is better understood as a piece of literature than an objective record of the past. This view is embodied in the words of W. R. Connor, who describes Thucydides as "an artist who responds to, selects and skillfully arranges his material, and develops its symbolic and emotional potential." The former outlook views Thucydides as pathbreaking, modern, and philosophical, ahead of his time; the latter views the historian as closely connected with his historical and cultural context. Both interpretations are accepted by scholars, sometimes by the same scholar, and seem to capture the contradictory impulses and tensions within the History.
a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with its editor Mikhail Katkov over issues that arose in the final installment; therefore, the novel's first complete appearance was in book form.
Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, when he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel. The character of Anna was likely inspired, in part, by Maria Hartung (Russian spelling Maria Gartung, 1832-1919), the elder daughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Soon after meeting her at dinner, Tolstoy began reading Pushkin's prose and once had a fleeting daydream of "a bare exquisite aristocratic elbow", which proved to be the first intimation of Anna's character.
Although Russian critics dismissed the novel on its publication as a "trifling romance of high life", Fyodor Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is currently enjoying popularity as demonstrated by a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors by J. Peder Zane, published in 2007 in The Top Ten, which declared that Anna Karenina is the "greatest novel ever written".
War and Peace
a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature. It is regarded as Tolstoy's finest literary achievement, along with his other major prose work Anna Karenina (1873-1877).
War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to the French invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version of the novel, then known as The Year 1805, were serialized in the magazine The Russian Messenger between 1865 and 1867. The novel was first published in its entirety in 1869. Newsweek in 2009 ranked it top of its list of Top 100 Books.
Tolstoy himself, somewhat enigmatically, said of War and Peace that it was "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle." He went on to elaborate the best of Russian literature usually do not conform to standard norms. Tolstoy regarded Anna Karenina as the first of his novels.
What is Art?
is an essay by Leo Tolstoy in which he argues against numerous aesthetic theories which define art in terms of the good, truth, and especially beauty. In Tolstoy's opinion, art at the time was corrupt and decadent, and artists had been misled.
What is Art?
According to Tolstoy, art must create a specific emotional link between artist and audience, one that "affects" the viewer. Thus, real art requires the capacity to unite people via communication (clearness and genuineness are therefore crucial values). This aesthetic conception led Tolstoy to widen the criteria of what exactly a work of art is. He believed that the concept of art embraces any human activity in which one emitter, by means of external signs, transmits previously experienced feelings. Tolstoy offers an example of this: a boy that has experienced fear after an encounter with a wolf later relates that experience, infecting the hearers and compelling them to feel the same fear that he had experienced—that is a perfect example of a work of art. As communication, this is good art, because it is clear, it is sincere, and it is singular (focused on one emotion).
However, genuine "infection" is not the only criterion for good art. The good art vs. bad art issue unfolds into two directions. One is the conception that the stronger the infection, the better is the art. The other concerns the subject matter that accompanies this infection, which leads Tolstoy to examine whether the emotional link is a feeling that is worth creating. Good art, he claims, fosters feelings of universal brotherhood. Bad art inhibits such feelings. All good art has a Christian message, because only Christianity teaches an absolute brotherhood of all men. However, this is "Christian" only in a limited meaning of the word. Art produced by artistic elites is almost never good, because the upper class has entirely lost the true core of Christianity.
Furthermore, Tolstoy also believed that art that appeals to the upper class will feature emotions that are peculiar to the concerns of that class. Another problem with a great deal of art is that it reproduces past models, and so it is not properly rooted in a contemporary and sincere expression of the most enlightened cultural ideals of the artist's time and place. To cite one example, ancient Greek art extolled virtues of strength, masculinity, and heroism according to the values derived from its mythology. However, since Christianity does not embrace these values (and in some sense values the opposite, the meek and humble), Tolstoy believes that it is unfitting for people in his society to continue to embrace the Greek tradition of art.
Among other artists, he specifically condemns Wagner and Beethoven as examples of overly cerebral artists, who lack real emotion. Furthermore, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 cannot claim to be able to "infect" their audience, as it pretends, with the feeling of unity and therefore cannot be considered good art. Children's songs and folk tales are superior to the work of Wagner and Beethoven.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
Perennially popular with readers, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics since its publication. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "******", despite strong arguments that the protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is in fact anti-racist.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain is a 1876 novel about a young boy growing up alongAn imaginative and mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother, Sid, in the Mississippi River town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. After playing hooky from school on Friday and dirtying his clothes in a fight, Tom is made to whitewash the fence as punishment on Saturday. At first, Tom is disappointed by having to forfeit his day off. However, he soon cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. And then he realizes that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. He trades the treasures he got by tricking his friends for whitewashing, for tickets given out in Sunday school for memorizing Bible verses and uses the tickets to claim a Bible as a prize. He loses much of his glory, however, when, in response to a question to show off his knowledge, he incorrectly answers that the first two disciples were David and Goliath. the Mississippi River. The story is set in the town of "St. Petersburg", inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Mark Twain lived.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The book was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Some early editions are titled A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.he novel explains the tale of Hank Morgan, a 19th-century resident of Hartford, Connecticut who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself inexplicably transported back in time to early medieval England at the time of the legendary King Arthur.
The story begins first person narrative in Warwick Castle, where a man details his recollection of a tale told to by an "interested stranger" who is personified as a knight through his simple language and familiarity with ancient armor.
After a brief tale of Sir Launcelot of Camelot and his role in slaying two giants from the third-person narrative, the man named Hank Morgan enters and, after being given whiskey by the narrator, he is persuaded to reveal more of his story. Described through first-person narrative as a man familiar with the firearms and machinery trade, Hank is a man who had reached the level of superintendent due to his proficiency in firearms manufacturing, with two thousand subordinates. He describes the beginning of his tale by illustrating details of a disagreement with his subordinates, during which he sustained a head injury from a "crusher" to the head caused by a man named "Hercules" using a crowbar. After passing out from the blow, Hank describes waking up underneath an oak tree in a rural area of Camelot where a knight questions him for trepassing upon his land, and after establishing rapport, leads him towards Camelot castle. Upon recognizing that he has time-traveled to the sixth century, Hank realizes that he is the de facto smartest person on Earth, and with his knowledge he should soon be running things.
Cane is a 1923 novel by noted Harlem Renaissance author Jean Toomer. The novel is structured as a series of vignettes revolving around the origins and experiences of African Americans in the United States. The vignettes alternate in structure between narrative prose, poetry, and play-like passages of dialogue. As a result, the novel has been classified as a composite novel or as a short story cycle. Though some characters and situations recur between vignettes, the vignettes are mostly freestanding, tied to the other vignettes thematically and contextually more than through specific plot details.
The ambitious, nontraditional structure of the novel - and its later influence on future generations of writers - have helped Cane gain status as a classic of High Modernism. Several of the vignettes have been excerpted or anthologized in literary collections, perhaps most famously the poetic passage "Harvest Song", included in several Norton poetry anthologies. The poem opens with the line, "I am a reaper whose muscles set at sundown."
a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: or, Optimism (1947). It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply Optimism) by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not outright rejecting optimism, advocating an enigmatic precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".
Candide is characterised by its sarcastic tone, as well as by its erratic, fantastical and fast-moving plot. A picaresque novel with a story similar to that of a more serious bildungsroman, it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is mordantly matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years' War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. As philosophers of Voltaire's day contended with the problem of evil, so too does Candide in this short novel, albeit more directly and humorously. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers through allegory; most conspicuously, he assaults Leibniz and his optimism
a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.
The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad, written in the 8th century BC. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier called Billy Pilgrim. Ranked the 18th greatest English novel of the 20th century by Modern Library, it is generally recognized as Vonnegut's most influential and popular work.
The work is also known under the lengthy title: Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death, by Kurt Vonnegut, a Fourth-Generation German-American Now Living in Easy Circumstances on Cape Cod [and Smoking Too Much], Who, as an American Infantry Scout Hors de Combat, as a Prisoner of War, Witnessed the Fire Bombing of Dresden, Germany, 'The Florence of the Elbe,' a Long Time Ago, and Survived to Tell the Tale. This Is a Novel Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where the Flying Saucers Come From. Peace.
The Color Purple
an acclaimed 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker. It received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.
Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on female black life during the 1930s in the Southern United States, addressing the numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.Celie, the protagonist and narrator of The Color Purple, is a poor, uneducated, fourteen year-old black girl living in rural Georgia. Celie starts writing letters to God because her father, Alphonso, beats and rapes her. Alphonso has already impregnated Celie once. Celie gave birth to a girl, whom her father stole and presumably killed in the woods. Celie has a second child, a boy, whom her father also steals. Celie's mother becomes seriously ill and dies. Alphonso brings home a new wife but continues to abuse Celie.
"Everyday Use" is a widely studied and frequently anthologized short story by Alice Walker. It was first published in 1973 as part of Walker's short story collection, In Love and Trouble.
The story is told in first person by the "Mama", an African American woman living in the Deep South with one of her two daughters. The story humorously illustrates the differences between Mrs. Johnson and her shy younger daughter Maggie, who still live traditionally in the rural South, and her educated, successful daughter Dee,or "Wangero" as she prefers to be called, who scorns her immediate roots in favor of a pretentious "native African" identity.
All the King's Men
a novel by Robert Penn Warren first published in 1946. Its title is drawn from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. In 1947 Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King's Men. All the King's Men portrays the dramatic political ascent and governorship of Willie Stark, a driven, cynical populist in the American South during the 1930s. The novel is narrated by Jack Burden, a political reporter who comes to work as Governor Stark's right-hand man. The trajectory of Stark's career is interwoven with Jack Burden's life story and philosophical reflections: "the story of Willie Stark and the story of Jack Burden are, in one sense, one story."
The novel evolved from a verse play that Warren began writing in 1936 entitled Proud Flesh. One of the characters in Proud Flesh was named Willie Talos, in reference to the brutal character Talus in Edmund Spenser's late 16th century work The Faerie Queene.
The House of Mirth
The House of Mirth (1905), is a novel by Edith Wharton. First published in 1905, the novel is Wharton's first important work of fiction, sold 140,000 copies between October and the end of December, and added to Wharton's existing fortune.
Although The House of Mirth is written in the style of a novel of manners, set against the backdrop of the 1890s New York ruling class, it is a text considered to be part of American literary Naturalism. Wharton places her tragic heroine, Lily Bart, in a society that she describes as a "hot-house of traditions and conventions."
Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1920, which won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s. In 1920, The Age of Innocence was serialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London.
Phillis Wheatley (1753 - December 5, 1784) was the first African American poet and first African-American woman whose writings were published. Born in Gambia, Senegal, she was made a slave at age seven. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry.
The 1773 publication of Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral brought her fame, with figures such as George Washington praising her work. Wheatley also visited England for five weeks accompanying her master's son and was praised in a poem by fellow African American poet Jupiter Hammon. Wheatley was emancipated by her owners after both her poetic success and the death of her master, and she soon married. However, when her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness.
Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of Myself", "I Sing the Body Electric", and in later editions, Whitman's elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd".
The Importance of Being Ernest
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.
The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas, an intimate friend of Wilde, planned to present Wilde a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards, however, their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was eventually sentenced to imprisonment. Wilde's notoriety caused the play, despite its success, to be closed after just 86 performances. After his release, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
The Critic as Artist
The Critic as Artist is an essay by Oscar Wilde, containing the most extensive statements of his aesthetic philosophy. A dialogue in two parts, it is by far the longest one included in his collection of essays titled Intentions published in May 1891. The Critic as Artist is a significantly revised version of articles that first appeared in the July and September issues of The Nineteenth Century, originally entitled The True Function and Value of Criticism. The essay is a conversation between its leading voice Gilbert and Ernest, who suggests ideas for Gilbert to reject.
The essay sets to collapse the distinction between fine art and criticism cherished by artists and critics such as Matthew Arnold and James Abbott McNeill Whistler - only critical faculty enables any artistic creation at all, while criticism is independent of the object it criticises and not necessarily subject to it. The essay champions contemplative life to the life of action. According to Gilbert, scientific principle of heredity shows we are never less free, never have more illusions than when we try to act with some conscious aim in mind. Critical contemplation is guided by conscious aesthetic sense as well as by the soul. The soul is wiser than we are, writes Wilde, it is the concentrated racial experience revealed by the imagination. Criticism is above reason, sincerity and fairness; it is necessarily subjective. It is increasingly more to criticism than to creation that future belongs as its subject matter and the need to impose form on chaos constantly increases. It is criticism rather than emotinal sympathies, abstract ethics or commercial advantages that would make us cosmopolitan and serve as the basis of peace.
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The Broadway production was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden. The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Renee Asherson and was directed by Laurence Olivier.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a play by Tennessee Williams. One of Williams's best-known works and his personal favorite, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. Set in "the bed-sitting room of a plantation home in the Mississippi Delta" of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton tycoon, the play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy's family, primarily between his son Brick and Brick's wife Maggie the "Cat".
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof features several recurring motifs, such as social mores, greed, superficiality, decay, sexual desire, and death. Dialogue throughout is often rendered phonetically to represent accents of the American South.
The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie is a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams. Williams worked on various drafts of the play prior to writing a version of it as a screenplay for MGM, to whom Williams was contracted. Initial ideas stemmed from one of his short stories, and the screenplay originally went under the name of 'The Gentleman Caller' (Williams envisioned Ethel Barrymore and Judy Garland for the roles that eventually became Amanda and Laura Wingfield although Louis B. Mayer insisted on casting Greer Garson as Laura).
The play premiered in Chicago in 1944. It was championed by Chicago critics Ashton Stevens and Claudia Cassidy whose enthusiasm helped build audiences so the producers could move the play to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945. Laurette Taylor originated the role of the all-too-loving mother, Amanda Wingfield, and many who witnessed it consider that performance to be an incomparable, defining moment for American acting. In the 2010 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, Broadway veterans nearly unanimously rank Taylor's performance as the most memorable of their entire lives. The Glass Menagerie was Williams's first successful play; he went on to become one of America's most highly regarded playwrights.
The Red Wheelbarrow
The Red Wheelbarrow is a poem by, and often considered the masterwork of, American 20th-century writer William Carlos Williams. The 1923 poem exemplifies the Imagist-influenced philosophy of "no ideas but in things." This provides another layer of meaning beneath the surface reading. The style of the poem forgoes traditional British stress patterns to create a typical "American" image.
The subject matter of The Red Wheelbarrow is what makes it the most distinctive and important. He lifts a brazier to an artistic level, exemplifying the importance of the ordinary; as he says, a poem "must be real, not 'realism', but reality itself." In this way, it holds more in common with the haiku of Bashō than with the verse of T. S. Eliot.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should have an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.
Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly, which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly in order to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume but died before completing it.
While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Although it is commonly assumed now that the Rights of Woman was unfavourably received, this is a modern misconception based on the belief that Wollstonecraft was as reviled during her lifetime as she became after the publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798). The Rights of Woman was actually well-received when it was first published in 1792. One biographer has called it "perhaps the most original book of [Wollstonecraft's] century".
Mrs Dalloway (published on 14 May 1925) is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels.
Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister", the novel's story is of Clarissa's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. With the interior perspective of the novel, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters' minds to construct an image of Clarissa's life and of the inter-war social structure.
In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present.
To the Lighthouse
To the Lighthouse (5 May 1927) is a novel by Virginia Woolf. A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, centering on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skilfully manipulates temporal and psychological elements.
To the Lighthouse follows and extends the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, where the plot is secondary to philosophical introspection, and the prose can be winding and hard to follow. The novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls childhood emotions and highlights adult relationships. Among the book's many tropes and themes are those of loss, subjectivity, and the problem of perception.
A Room of One's Own
A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on 24 October 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled "Women and Fiction", and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction. The essay is generally seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.
Black Boy (1945) is an autobiography by Richard Wright. The author explores his childhood and race relations in the South. Wright eventually moves to Chicago, where he establishes his writing career and becomes involved with the Communist Party.
Native Son (1940) is a novel by American author Richard Wright. The novel tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, an African American living in utter poverty. Bigger lived in Chicago's South Side ghetto in the 1930s. Bigger was always getting into trouble as a youth, but upon receiving a job at the home of the Daltons, a rich, white family, he experienced a realization of his identity. He thinks he accidentally killed a white woman, runs from the police, rapes and kills his girlfriend and is then caught and tried. "I didn't want to kill," Bigger shouts. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill."
Wright gets inside the head of "brute Negro" Bigger, revealing his feelings, thoughts and point of view as he commits crimes and is confronted with racism, violence and debasement. The novel's treatment of Bigger and his motivations conforms to the conventions of literary naturalism.
While not apologizing for Bigger's crimes, Wright is sympathetic to the systemic inevitability behind them. The novel is a powerful statement about racial inequality and social injustices so deep that it becomes nearly impossible to determine where societal expectations/conditioning end and free will begins. As Bigger's lawyer points out, there is no escape from this destiny for his client or any other black American, since they are the necessary product of the society that formed them and told them since birth who exactly they were supposed to be. "No American Negro exists," James Baldwin once wrote, "who does not have his private Bigger Thomas living in his skull." Frantz Fanon discusses this feeling in his 1952 essay L'Experience Vecue du Noir, or "The Fact of Blackness". "In the end," writes Fanon, "Bigger Thomas acts. To put an end to his tension, he acts, he responds to the world's anticipation."
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 (see 1798 in poetry) and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature. The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a landmark, changing the course of English literature and poetry.
Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". (Additionally, though only the two writers are credited for the works, William's sister Dorothy Wordsworth's diary which held powerful descriptions of everyday surroundings influenced William's poetry immensely).
A second edition was published in 1800, in which Wordsworth included additional poems and a preface detailing the pair's avowed poetical principles. Another edition was published in 1802, Wordsworth added an appendix titled Poetic Diction in which he expanded the ideas set forth in the preface.
The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind is an autobiographical, "philosophical" poem in blank verse by the English poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth wrote the first version of the poem when he was 28, and worked over the rest of it for his long life without publishing it. He never gave it a title; he called it the "Poem (title not yet fixed upon) to Coleridge" and in his letters to Dorothy Wordsworth referred to it as "the poem on the growth of my own mind." The poem was unknown to the general public until published three months after Wordsworth's death in 1850, its final name given to it by his widow Mary.
The Second Coming
"The Second Coming" is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919 and first printed in The Dial (November 1920) and afterwards included in his 1921 collection of verses titled Michael Robartes and the Dancer. The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in post-war Europe. The poem is considered a major work of Modernist poetry and has been reprinted in several collections including The Norton Anthology of Modernist Poetry.