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Emma by Jane Austen

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Emma

Emma

“Emma”, by Jane Austen, is a novel about the perils of misconstrued romance. 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.
Although convinced that she herself will never marry, Emma Woodhouse, a precocious twenty-year-old resident of the village of Highbury, imagines herself to be naturally gifted in conjuring love matches.

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Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

“Northanger Abbey” was the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be completed for publication. Northanger Abbey follows 17-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. 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.

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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

“Wuthering Heights” tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.
Recounting the doomed affair between sweet Cathy Earnshaw and the brutal outsider Heathcliff, “Wuthering Heights” is a romantic drama, a passionate romance that proved that ardour can survive grimmest landscape and weather.
Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative’s stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty.

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The Death of the Lion

The Death of the Lion

“The Death of the Lion” is a short story by Henry James. The narrator suggests writing an article on Neil Paraday; his new editor agrees. The former spends a week with Neil and writes the article whilst there, alongside reading Paraday’s latest book. His editor rejects the article however; he decides to write an article for another newspaper, but it goes unnoticed. Neil Paraday gets excited about writing another book, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem successful still.

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Little Women

Little Women

Little Women” is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott. The book was written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—and is loosely based on the author’s childhood experiences with her three sisters.
The first volume was an immediate commercial and critical success, prompting the composition of the book’s second volume titled “Good Wives”, which was successful as well. This book presents the two parts, both “Little Women” and “Good Wives”, in one volume.
Alcott followed “Little Women” with two sequels, also featuring the March sisters, Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). “Little Women” has been adapted as a play, a musical, an opera, a film, and animation.

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The Art of War

The Art of War

“The Art of War” is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations. With Introduction and Critical Notes.

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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is now one of Burnett’s most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of children’s literature.
The main character of this story is Mary Lennox, a sickly, sallow and sour-faced girl. She has been born to rich British parents that are currently living in India. Her self-interested parents were busy with extravagant parties and neglected Mary, leaving her alone. Orphaned by an outbreak of cholera, she is sent back to England to be cared for by her mother’s sister’s husband.
The only person who has any time for the little girl is the chambermaid Martha Sowerby, who tells Mary about a locked up garden. Mary finds the key to the secret garden buried outside with the help of a robin. The same robin shows her where the door is hidden beneath overgrown ivy. Once inside, she discovers that although the roses seem lifeless, some of the other flowers have survived. She decides to tend the garden herself.
The author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, was a practitioner of Christian Science due to the premature death of her son as well as personal illness. As a result, The Secret Garden espouses the concepts of New Thought and theosophy as well as ideas about the healing powers of the mind.
The garden is the book’s central symbol. The secret garden at Misselthwaite Manor is the site of both the near-destruction and the subsequent regeneration of a family. Using the garden motif, Burnett explores the healing power inherent in living things. continue reading…

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

“Sense and Sensibility” is the first novel wrote by the English novelist Jane Austen, 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.

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Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Metamorphosis

“Metamorphosis”, by Franz Kafka, 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; Elias Canetti described it as “one of the few great and perfect works of the poetic imagination written during this century.” The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect.
However, Gregor remains a devoted son, and takes to hiding beneath a sofa whenever someone enters his room in order to shield them from his insect form. When alone, he amuses himself by looking out of his window and crawling up the walls and on the ceiling.

Translation by David Wyllie
Copyright © 2002 by David Wyllie

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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

“Pride and Prejudice” has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Though the story’s setting is characteristically turn-of-the-19th-century, it retains a fascination for modern readers.
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 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.

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