Recommended Reading List British Literature
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Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
When Hank Morgan is magically transported back in time to
the year 528, he becomes minister to King Arthur. Morgan has
many adventures bringing nineteenth-century know-how to the
peasants and knights.
Daily life in a medieval English village was often a struggle
against adversity. This novel provides a fascinating, historically
accurate picture of that life in its vivid portrayal of the
trials and triumphs of Marion, a fictional medieval woman.
Earliest English Poems
by Michael Alexander
Anglo-Saxon poets composed a variety of poems, including heroic
poems, riddles, and elegies. This book gathers much of the
best Old English poetry in modern English translations.
George Bernard Shaw
In the early 1400s, while still in her teens, Joan of Arc
led French soldiers to victory in a pivotal battle in the
Hundred Years War. Shaw's play explores the character of this
courageous and unconventional woman, who believed that she
was divinely inspired and who was sentenced to death for refusing
to renounce her belief.
Prince Hamlet is horrified to learn that his father, the king
of Denmark, did not die of natural causes but was secretly
poisoned by Claudius, who has now assumed the throne. At the
urging of his father's ghost, Hamlet seeks revenge. Shakespeare's
play is a marvelous meditation on power and politics, loyalty
Shakespeare's Othello tells the story of Othello, a
noble general; Desdemona, his loving wife; and Iago, the scheming
henchman who comes between them. In this new "what if?" retelling
of their story, Lester portrays Iago and Othello as fellow
African immigrants to Elizabethan England. This new twist
to the old tale allows Lester to explore the tragic consequences
of racism while remaining substantially true to the central
themes of Shakespeare's play.
Children of Henry VIII
King Henry VIII's death ushered in a period of intrigue and
bloody turmoil. Although his heirs belonged to the same family,
they were raised separately, and each had a distinctive, willful
personality. This book chronicles their tumultuous relationships
and the power struggles within their society.
Marlowe's play dramatizes one of the most enduring legends
of Western literature that of Doctor Faustus, a brilliant
scientist who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for
superhuman knowledge. As the hour of his death draws near,
Faustus begins to realize the true implications of this unnatural
and irreversible pact.
In this biting satire, barnyard animals overthrow their human
masters to create a society based on equality and justice.
At first they live peacefully, but soon a small group of pigs
takes over, distorting the founding principles of their society
and imposing a dictatorship on their fellow animals.
Parcel of Patterns
Jill Patton Walsh
This novel tells the story of Mall Percival, a young woman
living in the 1600s, whose life is tragically affected when
a parcel of dress patterns brought from London carries the
plague to her restful town. Mall is frightened and confused
as family and friends become stricken with the deadly disease.
As the death toll rises, the townspeople make a pact to stay
within the boundaries of their town in order to avoid carrying
the disease to neighboring villages.
Daniel Defoe Robinson
Crusoe survives a shipwreck only to be marooned alone on an
island. Equipped with just a few tools and materials salvaged
from the ship, Crusoe builds a house, a boat, and a new life.
Defoe's story captures the imagination in its depiction of
survival techniques and provides insights into the life and
morals of the eighteenth century.
Book of Eulogies: A Collection of Memorial Tributes, Poetry,
Essays, and Letters of Condolence
This anthology offers the reader fascinating insights into
the lives of some celebrated figures, as well as touching
tributes to personal heroes and loved ones as told by those
who knew them best. Included here are Robert Kennedy's remarks
upon hearing of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr.; Thomas Jefferson's thoughts about George Washington;
and the touching memories of parents bereaved of their beloved
children. The account of these ordinary and extraordinary
lives bring solace and inspiration to those living today.
Jane Austen Elizabeth
Bennet is the bright, self-assured, and irreverent daughter
of a poor country gentleman. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the snobbish,
disapproving, and very proper nephew of a wealthy landowner.
What happens when these two opposites attract? Austen's novel
recounts the comic misadventures of two whose stubborn pride
and foolish prejudices threaten to keep them forever apart.
and the Man of Cloth
This fictional mystery features the author Jane Austen as
an amateur sleuth who must unravel the secrets of High Down
Grange, a dismal manor house where she and her family take
refuge during a storm. When a murder takes place near the
manor, villagers suspect the ringleader of the local smuggling
trade. But could the murderer actually be mysterious, attractive
Geoffrey Sidmouth, master of High Down Grange?
Romantic Poets 17851832: An Anthology
by Jennifer Breen
Two main groups of women wrote poetry during the Romantic
Era: elite women of letters who wrote for the love of it,
and workingclass women, who wrote for the money in it.
This collection presents some of the finest works of both
social groups, including such well-known authors as Dorothy
Wordsworth, Anna Barbauld, and Mary Lamb.
Way to Xanadu: Journeys to a Legendary Realm
Caroline Alexander has had a lifelong fascination with "Kubla
Kahn," the masterful poem in which Samuel Taylor Coleridge
describes the great vistas of Mongolia, Ethiopia, and other
exotic lands. Yet Coleridge never visited these places; he
learned about them from travel accounts. Alexander undertakes
the journey that Coleridge missed, visiting the locales of
the poem and describing their wondrous beauty and rich history.
At the center of this brooding romance are Cathy Earnshaw,
a beautiful, vivacious, and privileged woman, and Heathcliff,
the penniless servant who loves her. When their union is thwarted,
Heathcliff plots the ruin of the Earnshaws, all the while
pursuing a close relationship with Cathy. Imbued with a deep
sense of mystery, this classic novel of ill-fated love is
a masterpiece of storytelling.
Tale of Two Cities
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." So
begins this novel of friendship, sacrifice, and redemption
set during the bloody struggle of the French Revolution. The
story revolves around Charles Darnay, who has been recently
released from the notorious Bastille prison, brought to London
by a French doctor to recover his health. Darnay and the doctor's
daughter fall in love, but their happiness is threatened when
Darnay is pulled back into the maelstrom of French politics.
Their friend, the flawed but loveable Sydney Carton, plays
a pivotal role in securing their happiness.
Angel Thirkell was related to both Pre-Raphaelite painter
Edward Burne-Jones and author Rudyard Kipling. In this heart-warming
memoir, she recalls a happy Victorian childhood of holidays
by the sea and youthful adventures. Filled with the sights
and sounds of early nineteenth-century England, Three Houses
provides a fascinating glimpse of life as it was lived during
the reign of Queen Victoria.
Importance of Being Earnest
Jack Worthing and his friend Algernon Moncrieff are practicing
elaborate deceptions to woo the women they love. Jack pretends
to be a fictitious character named Ernest; Algernon invents
a sick friend named Bunbury who serves as a convenient excuse
to leave town whenever the going gets tough. This witty satire
of Victorian social conduct is one of the most frequently
performed plays in the English language and one of the
It is the 2600s, and society is ruled by scientific principles
administered by the state. People are born in hatcheries,
raised in government nurseries, and assigned jobs based on
their intellectual abilities. When John the Savage, a remnant
of the old order, enters into this "brave new world," the novel
builds to a gripping confrontation between the individual
and the state. Written during the 1930s, a time when severe
economic depression led many intellectuals to call for greater
government control over the economy and the state, this cautionary
tale still has much to say to today's readers.
Among the Pigeons
At the tranquil Meadowbank School, young girls from elite
families are provided with the best education money can buy.
In this sheltered environment, no one is prepared for the
murder of the school's gym teacher. Hercule Poirot, a shrewd
and elegant Belgian detective, is called from the other side
of the world to solve the riddle of the killer's identity.
This landmark play portrays the predicament of Vladimir and
Estragon, two tramps who are trapped in an endless wait for
the arrival of a mysterious figure named Godot. Until he arrives,
they dare not leave; yet it is questionable whether Godot
will ever arrive at all. In simple but poetic language,
Beckett portrays the human condition as alternately comic
and tragic. One of the most influential dramas of the twentieth
century, Waiting for Godot helped usher in the theatrical
movement known as theater of the absurd.
In the early 1900s, few women attended prestigious universities
such as Oxford. Vera Brittain, a young Englishwoman, had to
struggle just to be accepted there. She seemed destined for
a brilliant academic career, but her life was forever changed
with the outbreak of World War I. Determined to participate
in the war effort, Brittain left school, traveled to the front,
and helped care for wounded soldiers. This moving memoir recounts
her experiences of a devastating war that deprived her of
a sweetheart, a brother, and several close friends.