Lisbeth Bette Fischer, a seamstress for the demimonde of actresses and courtesans and the poor relation of Baron Hulot, has a secret: she is helping to support a poor but noble Polish sculptor. Scary and psychologically acute. Byron was a gentleman, a womanizer, a cad, and a liberator. He poured a lifetime of observations into this seventeen canto poem.
Thus Byron transformed his greatest masterpiece—his life—into art. Beautiful and high-spirited Janie Crawford wants love and adventure. But, as Hurston shows in her finest novel, living in an all-black town is no shield against the sexism that dictates her young life. Forced to marry one controlling old geezer, she deserts him only to end up with another. When she marries Tea Cake, Janie finally enjoys the essence of a true relationship. Her happiness is short-lived when disaster strikes, but it becomes the catalyst for ultimate self-discovery. PCle 8 ED The few survivors, spread out across the barren United States, are visited in their dreams by a kindly old woman in Nebraska and a sinister man in the West.
They begin making their way toward these separate camps for what will prove to be a last stand between the forces of good and evil. DFW 9 JW 9. Through the services of his two servants, the base Caliban, to whom the island had originally belonged, and the sprite Ariel, Prospero exacts revenge upon his stranded enemies while engineering the marriage of his daughter to a young nobleman.
A collection of short stories about the inhabitants of a town whose physical isolation mirrors their psychological distance. With compassion and sadness, Anderson evokes small-town life and thought through a wide range of characters who are not visited by any tragedies save their own inability to forge a bit of happiness in their lives of quiet desperation. This rollicking yet existential adventure with deep religious undertones begins with fatherly advice: pursue a stable career. But the wastrel son denies his father because he is tempted by the sea. This salty path gets young Robinson kidnapped by Moorish pirates, sold into slavery, and shipwrecked on a remote island filled with cannibals.
JC 7 AG The form of this novel, about two Native American families, reenacts that of a traditional Chippewa Indian story cycle—fourteen stories told by seven characters, forming a collage that forces the reader to sift through and weigh voice against voice, truth against truth. Squire Allworthy provides a loving home to his bad nephew Blifil and the bastard orphan Tom. Lusty Tom is sent away after an affair with a local girl whom Blifil desires, and he begins his picaresque adventures on the way to London, including love affairs, duels, and imprisonment.
Comic, ribald, and highly entertaining, Tom Jones reminds us just how rowdy the eighteenth century got before the nineteenth came and stopped the fun. Forster This long epistolary novel—full of sexual tension, violence, and psychic conflict—tells the tale of the virtuous Clarissa Harlowe and her rakish suitor, Robert Lovelace. Disowned by her family, confined in a brothel and raped, Clarissa pays a high price for her morality. Yet she accepts her fate with a moving acceptance in this landmark of English realistic fiction.
EDon 10 VV 7. Caught up in the web of old New York society, Lily Bart angles for a wealthy husband. Though presented with ample opportunity, the beautiful and well-connected Lily rejects one man after another as not rich enough, including her true love, Laurence Stern. When she becomes a hapless victim of her own ambition—blackmailed and wrongly accused of adultery—Lily is cast out of high society before making one final attempt to redeem herself.
Simultaneously philosophical and nightmarish, this collection of short stories, parables, and essays popularized both Latin American magic realism as well as metafiction. Borges, a blind Argentine librarian and polymath, here provides almost mathematically concise miniatures—of a man who remembers literally everything, for instance—that read like episodes of The Twilight Zone as written by a metaphysician.
Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan S. This his and hers pairing, like twinned guest towels, reveals dirty fingerprints on the underside of a tidy looking s Midwestern, middle-class marriage. The novels, set a decade apart, reveal two dimensions of the troubled family, which includes three children. He squanders what little money he earns.
His stories range from the slightest fragments, parables, and epigrams to the novella-length classic, The Metamorphosis. JCO 6 APhil In this landscape, Winston Smith is a man in danger simply because his memory works. Gulliver towers over six-inch Lilliputians and cowers under the giants in Brobdingnag.
He witnesses a flying island and a country where horses are civilized and people are brutes. Lou Ford is the boy next door—a deputy sheriff in his Texas hometown. ABrav 7 WK 9. There was a copy in the library of my Scottish school; after all, the novel sold 40, copies in , the year it was published. I finally succumbed only a few years ago at the urging of a dear friend. Some books, much lauded on publication, rapidly gather dust, but luckily for me The Fountain Overflows remains as lustrous and passionate as when West penned the last page. The novel tells the story of the Aubrey family living in Edwardian London.
Aubrey is a charismatic and unreliable journalist; Mrs. Aubrey, a former pianist, is an awkward woman of immense moral intelligence. Around these two orbit the Aubrey children: the musical Mary and Rose, the awful Cordelia who wants to be musical, and the beloved Richard Quinn. The story is told by Rose. A man comes to complain to Mrs.
Aubrey about her husband having an affair with his wife. After she has done her best to cheer him up, Mrs. Aubrey takes refuge in Madame Bovary and, by the time her husband arrives home, is absorbed in the novel. Together they praise and criticize Flaubert. Only then does she recall what brought herto pick up the novel in the first place.
Some art is much more real than some life, I mean. And this is exactly how I feel about The Fountain Overflows; it is more real, and more pleasurable, than most life. ML 7 DMcF 9. Martin Scorsese called his movie of this novel the most violent film he had made—quite a statement from the director of Raging Bull. Starting with the real-life psychiatric treatment of poet and British officer Sigfried Sassoon for shellshock, Barker shows how the war ruined but failed to replace nineteenth-century norms of gender, class, sexuality, and honor.
DMcF 6 AWald 9. SA 8 JCO 7. DMcF 8 TP 7. But as his world narrows and he must make life or death choices, his life becomes a complicated display of salvation. The story of star-crossed Veronese lovers, this early romantic tragedy painfully depicts the fatal course of young lovers ruined by circumstances beyond their control, belonging as they do to two families who hate each other for long forgotten reasons.
The intense violence at the heart of the play is matched only by the intense passion of Romeo and Juliet, who pay the ultimate price for the brief, intense, and pure love they shared. Built mosaic-like from many intimate, seemingly inconsequential encounters and scenes, the narrative moves with the pace, prismatic glitter, and cumulative force of a glacier, sweeping along sex, art, business, politics, and values in its wake.
To find out if there was still copper underground and how much the rest of it was true, the width of the sky, the depth of the stars, the air like new wine, the harsh noons and long, slow dusks. SC 8 KHarr 6. Chilling and absurd, teeming with black comedy and dark insights into the human soul, The Tin Drum is both an artistic triumph and an act of reclamation. Two French missionaries come to the vast and untamed deserts of New Mexico in Through a series of often symbolic stories about their shared and personal experiences over forty years, Cather depicts both vanished landscapes and timeless themes of faith, loneliness, and our relationships with one another and the natural world.
Ingratiating Uriah Heep, talented Mr. Micawber, devoted nurse Peggoty, and willing Barkis are some of the most memorable characters in the entire Dickens canon. KHarr 7 JI 6. Ambitious farm girl Carrie Meeber comes to Chicago, gaining the favor of a wealthy bar manager named Hurstwood to avoid the sweatshops. The smitten man ditches his family, absconds with company funds, and moves to New York with Carrie.
Beginning with his first trip at age ten, we watch him master the art of hunting, learning the ways of men and the woods. RBP 10 ST 3. In her epic fusion of structural experiment and exhaustive realism, Lessing lays bare the splintered state of modern womanhood. In four separate notebooks, Anna Wulf records different aspects of her life: her consecutive and unfulfilling love affairs, her memories of Africa, her struggles with motherhood, and above all, her growing disenchantment with communism.
MD 3 JE Like an existential sadist, Sophocles explores the tragic complexities of fate by hurling his characters into situations in which they are simultaneously guilty and innocent, forced to choose between right and right or wrong and wrong—or some painfully imprecise combination of the two. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is desperate to escape his fate—that he will murder his father and marry his mother—yet inexorably fulfills it with devastating effect. In Oedipus at Colonus, the blind, self-exiled ruler moves toward faith and goodness as his sons battle for his throne.
In the third play, Antigone, his loving and upright daughter is forced to choose with climactic consequence between equally worthy goals as Sophocles depicts our struggles to explain a world we can scarcely comprehend. SMK 4 AW 9. Still, they produce twin boys, but Cathy, driven by undeniable demons, forsakes the newborns for her old life. Adam tells his rivalrous sons—Caleb, the bad penny, and sweet Aron—their mother is dead. MB 7 GDG 6. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson This novel might easily have become a victim of its own surpassing fame, which has removed all suspense from its central riddle: What is the relationship between Dr.
Yet as our narrator plumbs Dr. ALK 9 IR 4. Trying to avoid the conformity of their suburban neighbors on Revolutionary Road, Frank and April Wheeler talk of moving to France where Frank might write the great book or think the great thoughts April believes he is capable of. However, infidelity and alcohol abuse dissolve their dreams as Frank and April lose faith in each other and themselves in this exquisitely painful novel. The golden age of comics and the Holocaust power this Pulitzer Prize—winning saga about two Jewish cousins in Brooklyn who create the Nazi-bashing superhero, the Escapist.
Through the tragic, comic, often superhuman adventures of Joe Kavalier—a refugee determined to rescue the relatives he left behind in Nazi-controlled Czechoslovakia—and Sammy Clay, Chabon weaves a lyrical and magical tale about war and mysticism; the connections between love, fear, hope, and art; and the nature of escape. He is a man of ideas; she is an egotistical, spoiled girl. Can Daniel redeem her? Another character who needs saving is Mirah Cohen, yet through her, Daniel finds a form of salvation by discovering his hidden Jewish heritage in this novel that exposes the deeply rooted anti-Semitism of Victorian England.
After the enraged widow rejects him, he redoubles his efforts. Set on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, this wise, steamy, and playful novel jumps between past and present, encompassing decades of unrest and war, recurring cholera epidemics, and the environmental ravages of development. Lewis In this, the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia, King Caspian sets sail to the end of the world to rescue the seven lost lords of Narnia. Along with three English children—who have come to Narnia this time by stepping into a painting—and other companions such as the brave, sword-wielding mouse Reepicheep, Caspian has numerous adventures that resonate with Christian and classical mythology.
LG 4 LMill 8. The son of a Russian aristocrat who was assassinated for his belief in democracy, Nabokov had a preposterously privileged childhood, including teams of governesses and servants and sojourns along the Riviera. When the Bolsheviks arrived, the family was forced to flee amid a hail of bullets. Later, as a student at Cambridge, Nabokov confronted those who romanticized the politics that exiled him. AG 7 AWald 5. The man Brendan Gill credited with inventing The New Yorker short story also wrote nicely observed novels of cynical slumming and sexual frankness.
Appointment in Samarra relates the long weekend in which a Cadillac dealer gleefully destroys his life; BUtterfield 8 follows a cheap-date actress through the ferocious demimonde of speakeasy New York. JGil 4 MM 8. Middle-aged Lambert Strethers is sent to Paris to retrieve a young American whose wealthy parents fear he has taken up with an inappropriate woman, but Strethers sees that the young man is truly happy.
The pitch-perfect voices Salinger provides his characters make their dead-serious search for meaning taste like candy. It is, instead, an examination of Roman Catholic faith as it is used, abused, embraced, and rejected by the Flytes, an aristocratic English family visited by alcoholism, adultery, and homoeroticism.
Set in Chicago in the s, this novel tells the story of Bigger Thomas, an African American twisted and trapped by penury and racism. In this highly charged, deeply influential novel, Wright portrays a black man squeezed by crushing circumstances who comes to understand his own identity.
BMC 9 KK 2. The two discuss the true self that is not destroyed in death and states of release from the human realm of suffering. As a cornerstone of Hindu faith and yogic philosophy, the Bhagavadgita has had a profound impact on philosophical and religious traditions in both the East and West. Abbott One day in August a man disappeared.
The man was an entomologist and had set out into the desert with a canteen of water and a pack filled with the tools he used to collect specimens. It was his hope to discover an as yet unknown species of insect that lived in the sand dunes. Abe, trained as a medical doctor, writes as a clinician, dispassionately and with exactitude.
In the dunes his hero, Niki Jumpei, falls captive to the enigmatic woman from whom he seeks shelter for a night. Every day Jumpei must join the inhabitants in their necessary work: shoveling away the sand that threatens to bury them and their homes. The Woman in the Dunes transcends the form of allegory—often lifeless and didactic—to engage its readers to the point of discomfort. Two years before Nigeria won its independence from Britain, Achebe published this clear-eyed novel set in the years leading up to colonial rule.
Loosely based on the life of Cambridge spy Anthony F. Snappy puns, clever palindromes, stream of consciousness insights, and brilliant non sequiturs fill the dialogue bubbles of this surreal collection of comic strips that chronicle the epistemological adventures of a faceless baby named Leviathan, his wise pet Cat, and his favorite toy Bunny. Sigmund Freud, Emily Dickinson, and St. Also a poet, Brand wrote sensitively about mental illness when the topic was still taboo.
Bitchiness, bile, and sexual braggadocio vie in this gossipy, literary vivisection of high society. Cartmell and Charles Grayson At that time I only had four dollars, and spending over half of it on one book, even a hardcover, was a tough decision. Yet the house, a symbol of the past, keeps beckoning Godfrey St. Peter, a professor in his mid-fifties whose outward success at work and home mask a passionless heart. But it had never occurred to him that he might have to live like that. PCam 9 ES 1. A terribly shocking book in its day, The Awakening tells the story of an artistic, twenty-eight-year-old New Orleans woman who finds life with her husband and two children unfulfilling.
On summer holiday, she has an affair with a younger man. Revived, she leaves her family. But her happiness is short lived as she is punished by a society that has little tolerance for such independent women. Coetzee Fifty-two years old and twice divorced, Professor David Lurie thought the affair with his student might bring passion back to his life. Instead, it costs him his job and his friends when he refuses to repent his sin. But his tranquil oasis is shattered by racial violence in this uncompromising novel by the South African Nobel laureate.
A magistrate for an unspecified empire finds himself thrust into a growing conflict on the frontier. Clyde Griffiths wants to be more than just the son of a Midwestern preacher. Leaving home, he follows a path toward the American Dream that is littered with greed, adultery, and hypocrisy. In this disquieting social novel, Clyde faces a moral dilemma that reveals the corruption of his soul and the materialistic culture that seduces him.
BMC 2 EF 8. In this wild, oddball novel, Lily and Art Binewski purposely create a family of freaks and geeks by procreating under the influence of experimental drugs. This formally unique, dense, National Book Award—winning novel is composed almost entirely of dialogue and reads like a stream of conversation. Here is everything you could want in a novel about ancient Rome: warfare and spectacle, scandal and intrigue and still more intrigue. It is soap opera on an epic scale, dramatizing the fall of Roman republican ideals. Barry Hannah can make readers laugh about the grimmest subject while never for a second losing sight of the essential horror.
In this story collection, the Mississippi writer creates a cast of scarred, hyperkinetic characters—including a Confederate soldier recalling the tragedy and glory of war to a contemporary man obsessed with his estranged wife—who are stumbling toward illumination. Great chess players used to test their skills by playing several matches at once. James examines one of his signature themes—the terrible vulnerability of love to betrayal—in this vertiginous, psychologically acute work. TM 4 RPri 6. Lawrence This sexually ambiguous, daring archaeologist fascinates us for the same reason we still read The Iliad: our need for stirring examples of grace under pressure.
Henrik, a nobleman of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Konrad, a humble man with ambition, became best friends in military school. Then, one night, their relationship ruptured. Forty-one years pass until they meet again before the embers of a fading fire, where they probe their relationship and their lives. Truth, trust, and hope serve as plot and protagonist in this often comic, philosophical novel that anticipated postmodernism by a century.
Many sagas novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of love and war creates haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of remarkably vivid characters. Through the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.
The Third Policeman is that rare and lovely thing—a truly hallucinatory novel, shot through with fierce logic and intellectual rigor. It is a lyrical, amoral, funny nightmare: the most disciplined and disturbing product of an always interesting writer. His sins grow with him, making a logical progression from book theft to burglary and murder—all this against a heightened version of poor, rural Ireland: a setting layered with absurd but weirdly recognizable detail.
He then stumbles into a potentially fatal alternative reality: a haunting, teasing Irish countryside of parlors and winding roads from which it seems impossible to return. And there is always the dark humor that both excuses and condemns us. His imprisonment and threatened execution seem even more troubling because they are nonsensical, perhaps even kind. Slowly it becomes clear that, among other things, this novel is about hell—a much-deserved, amusing, irrational, and entirely inescapable hell. Beyond this, The Third Policeman is genuinely indescribable: a book that holds you like a lovely and accusing dream.
Which will be the truth. ALK 8 AO 2. The Nobel Prize—winning master of menacing understatement subtly links exfoliating, abstract power struggles with banal domestic situations in two of his finest plays. The interrogation and abduction of a helpless and perhaps guiltless tenant makes The Birthday Party simultaneously celebrated as an ironic mockery of the phenomena of survival and continuity.
The result is opaque, disturbing, enthralling drama. The author uses a stream of consciousness technique to describe the fraught experiences and often choked-off feelings of a Spanish shopkeeper during the s and s as her nation becomes gripped by civil war and fascism. The play has a kind of baroque richness to both plot and language as Antony and Cleopatra delight in seclusion while the Roman forces opposing them, led by the sober and ambitious Octavius Caesar, close in on the lovers. Cornered, the emperor and queen bring the play to a suicidal climax that exquisitely fuses sexual pleasure and death.
Serialized during wartime, this epic novel chronicles the decline of the Osaka family and the transformation of traditional Japanese society. As their fortunes wither, elder sisters Tsuruko and Sachiko try to preserve the family name and marry off the talented, sensitive Yukiko. Tanizaki uses detailed descriptions of Japanese traditions, such as the tea ceremony, to underscore their fleetingness in an era of rapid modernization.
The desperate alcoholism of Gervaise Lantier and her husband held a mirror to the shocking moral condition of the urban poor. Nana is a low-born courtesan who succeeds among the French elite. Zola meant his heroine to represent the corruption of the Second Empire under the twin stresses of hedonism and capitalism. But like some uncontrollable genie uncorked from a bottle, she becomes the greatest femme fatale since Helen of Troy.
The most explicit of the classic nineteenth-century novels, Nana exists in the vital midpoint between Anna Karenina and Valley of the Dolls. Though their origins are vague—Aesop may have been born a slave in Asia Minor in b. Its core narrative relates the clashes between two groups of royal Indian cousins—one descended from gods, the other from demons. War, disguises, asceticism, drunken brawls, and the god Dharma as a dog swirl through this magical panorama of ancient India, which also includes the famous sermon Bhagavadgita, the Hindu equivalent to the New Testament.
In The American Dream he lambasts that concept in a one-act farce featuring an over-the-top dysfunctional family and a murder. In The Zoo Story, a psychotic loner cannily provokes a complacent bourgeois into killing him. A profound story of Christian faith constructed of the thoughts, half-thoughts, jottings, and observations, the joys and disappointments, of a priest in provincial France. The protagonist suffers through the novel—he is a martyr to a dark, often wicked world.
But as he declines, the grace he receives builds.
One of the great critiques of Victorian society and morality, this autobiographical novel charts the Pontifex family over several generations. In conversations with a chance acquaintance, a once-successful Paris lawyer recounts his fall into psychological self-destruction after ignoring a woman drowning in the Seine. Ultimately, this existential antihero persuades himself that all good works are motivated by self-interest, all virtue merely a ploy for success or popularity. With no hope of redemption, he descends into debauchery and profligacy, impatient for the relative simplicity of death.
Dermout was sixty-seven years old when she debuted with this semiautobiographical novel about a Dutch woman named Felicia raising her son in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Her love of life and nature is challenged by violence and murder that bring sadness and summon the courage of resilience. Myshkin a scarcely disguised self-portrait of the author tries again and again to help the people he encounters, only to have his efforts mocked or misunderstood. On the surface a love story, the novel is a contemplation of goodness in the world, and while its conclusions are dark, the portrait of this simple, good man endures.
LShriv 3 BU 6. His stories are shot through with brutal violence and alcohol, characters whoalternate between sanctity and transgression, and tough moral choices. Familial duty has seldom been so sadly rendered, and Eliot drew much from her own childhood in creating Maggie Tulliver and her self-righteous brother Tom. Passionate Maggie gives up her lover out of propriety and deference to Tom, but the character was thought so wicked that many nineteenth-century girls were forbidden to read this book.
Despite having lived with a married man herself, Eliot dealt Maggie a harsh fate. What would you do if the man who promised you love, children, and a throne, after convincing you to slay your brother and exile yourself from your home, decided to marry a richer woman instead? That she is not punished for this deed is a stunning conclusion to this riveting play.
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The title poem is considered the signature poem of the Beat generation. What can be seen as a manifesto against the conformist society of America in the s can also be read as a love poem for the promising idea of America. In a fleabag Scottish motel, divorced and depressed, Jock McLeish once again seeks consolation and strength through massive doses of alcohol and sadomasochistic sexual fantasies some starring a woman named Janine.
Through frank, complex language Gray takes us inside the addled mind of a powerless man seeking to impose some control over his life. In the first chapter Michael Henchard sells his wife and child at a country fair. When he meets his forsaken wife Susan and daughter Elizabeth-Jane years later, he is no longer a drunken hay-trusser but mayor of his town. Henchard has improved his position in life but not his disposition, and this tragedy of misplaced pride, torturous guilt, and immense bitterness is vintage Hardy. Nick Guest is a young gay man desperate for love, the son of a modest antiques dealer who wants to climb the social ladder.
The original desperate housewife, pampered Nora Helmer commits forgery for the money she needs to take her sick husband on a lifesaving trip. When her husband discovers her deceit, he is appalled. A brilliant literary colorist, adept with rich jewel tones, earthy pigments, and deep chiaroscuro alike, Mann recalls the Dutch Masters in his painterly command of bourgeois interiors and intimate domestic scenes. In equally lucid detail, often with tongue in cheek, he probes the psychological depths of his characters as they follow the arc from Enlightenment vigor to Romantic decadence in this sprawling family saga bristling with comedy and pathos.
Mann probes the complex tensions between aesthetics and morality, culture and politics, in his trademark dense, precise, endlessly qualified prose. JB 7 RPri 2. Tartuffe, for example, the Christian hypocrite who attempts to seduce a young virgin, inhabits the same plane of immortality as Falstaff or Don Quixote. The first miracle: A novel built from a strictly limited construction—the description of one single moment in a Paris apartment building—blossoms into an encyclopedia of stories and life spanning centuries, the globe, the history of literature.
The second miracle: A moving, humane novel composed of implausible, even impossible parts. Published in , Life is infinitely entertaining, but it also can change how you see your surroundings; the wall between novel and world leaks. If Perec can imagine four paintings and their histories reproduced inside yet another painting, and the wallpaper against which that work hangs, and the life of the man who selected the wallpaper, then suddenly the world outside the book more proudly displays its own wondrous plumage, imagined by some creator even more ingenious than Perec.
Powers Joe Hackett wanted to be a saint. Her peculiar genius is to make these unpromising creatures the centerpieces of her work. PCam 4 CS 5. KHarr 2 AWald 7. Henry thus construed is a great national hero. But the play actually subverts, or at least compromises, such a reading. We see Henry collude with the church to prosecute a vicious campaign for nationalistic, rather than necessary, reasons.
The brave king broods on the burdens of kingship and the righteousness of his cause, but then casually orders the slaughter of French prisoners. The epilogue looks forward to the reign of Henry VI, who lost all that Henry V gained and more, as if to question the worth of all this killing. Othello centers on the black general of the Venetian army and his white wife, Desdemona, daughter of a Venetian senator.
A brave and successful warrior essential to the security of Venice, Othello is extremely susceptible to jealousy, a weakness exploited by the villain Iago, whom Othello passes over for a lieutenancy in favor of another. Young John Hawkins was told to beware a man with one leg. But after discovering a treasure map, he acquires a ship and hires—you guessed it—one-legged Long John Silver to cook for his ship and hire the crew, a band of villainous pirates.
In beautiful, perceptive prose suggestive of its subject, this novel brings readers inside the conflicted mind and soul of Henry James. Set between and , when a mid-career James was reassessing his life, the novel flows with memories of his youth and accomplished family members. What emerges is the portrait of a man determined to avoid complications—especially those posed by homosexuality; who wrestles with his need to turn his life into art, and his desire to push away life so he can create his art.
DMcF 4 AS 5. The energy of the Icelandic sagas blends with an immensely detailed panorama of fourteenth-century life. Hollywood is not alluring in this savage, apocalyptic novel about fame and its perversions. Painter Tod Hackett comes to Hollywood to design sets and find success. Instead, he finds a population of the physically and psychically maimed crouching at the edges of the film industry, desperately believing that only luck and time separate them from stardom.
At the end, their disappointment explodes into violence and Tod sums up his despair with his single great painting: The Burning of Los Angeles. Set in the once working-class French Quarter of New Orleans, Williams tells the story of Blanche DuBois, an alcoholic relic of the waning genteel South, and her brother-in-law, the sensuous working-class brute Stanley Kowalski. Their mutual attraction and repulsion drive the conflict in this sexually frank, lyrical melodrama about the boundaries between illusion and reality and the changing South. Aubyn The tension becomes almost unbearable as Rastignac wrestles with his conscience and readers confront Vautrin, whose contempt for conventional morality prefigures every existential hero since.
The first great love story in English, this epic poem tells the story of what befell two lovers, Criseyde and Troilus, during the Trojan war. Her pledge of eternal fidelity to Troilus is broken when she is seduced by the Greek warrior Diomedes. Is she a tramp or a victim of circumstances?
Happily married with one child, Eliot Nailles is a chemist working to make better mouthwash. Chekhov helped transform the theater through his pioneering use of indirect action—the gunshot fired offstage—and his ability to develop themes not just through dialogue but by creating a mood or atmosphere on stage. He was also a master of characterization. These skills are apparent in this wonderfully complex play, set on an estate in nineteenth-century Russia, which details the relationships among family members who look back on their lives with regret.
A retarded, nearly mute, harelipped man goes native in a South Africa torn by civil war, living off the land before being picked up and passed among institutions. However, Jim violates the code one life-defining night when, in a panic, he abandons his sinking ship while the passengers sleep. Often now misread as a condemnation of terrorism, The Secret Agent is really an ironic critique of abstract ideology and careerist bureaucracy—both forces that use and crush the individual.
Instead he hits Mary Dempster, who soon gives birth, prematurely, to a boy with birth defects. In the humorless martinet Gradgrind, who preaches and practices uncompromising logic and efficiency, Dickens lampoons the soulless utilitarianism of Victorian philosopher John Stuart Mill. Here she uses Anthony Keating, a former BBC official turned failed real estate developer, to explore the gloomy interregnum between the go-go s and the more seriously materialistic Thatcher era, when the cozy values of old England were growing increasingly shabby without any new values to replace them.
Dionysus seduces Pentheus into witnessing a Bacchanalian orgy, where he is torn to pieces by the revelers, including his own mother. The comic trouble starts when a naive footman rejects the advances of his employer, Lady Booby, and her servant, Slipslop. Like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the world rewards their goodness with violent complication. The year is and, it seems, reason is finally giving the heave-ho to faith.
Though he has made a pledge of celibacy, he is now in love and so must puzzle the questions of chaos and order, fate, chance, and the wonders of the soul in this funny, sharp novel of ideas. Here, Glasgow depicts the declining fortunes of two tradition-bound Virginia families, the Archibalds and the Birdsongs. Through young Jenny Blair Archibald, she represents the possibility of feminine independence in this penetrating account of southerners being forced into the modern era.
In this bleak but moving novel, class barriers stymie Jude, a self-educated stonemason and would-be scholar, while convention damns his lover Sue, a pagan protofeminist. TM 6 LShriv 2. Imitation is the most annoying form of flattery for archfiend Dr. Hannibal Lecter in this terrifying predecessor to The Silence of the Lambs. Red Dragon describes the original capture of cannibalistic serial killer Lecter and his subsequent indignation on hearing that another monster is imitating his sadistic methods.
Harris skillfully leaves open who is manipulating whom when Lecter agrees to help the FBI track down the copycat, who matches Lecter eye for eye—literally. Set before and during World War II, Shining Through mixes romance with espionage as a poor girl from Queens marries the most handsome lawyer on Wall Street and eventually is sent on a secret mission to wartime Berlin.
After a nuclear war devastates the planet, residents of what had been the Florida Keys try to rebuild their lives and communities in a landscape where shards from the obliterated past—religious stories, Jimi Hendrix records, parking decks—remain but are barely understood. Gregor is not dreaming; he really has become a bug who hides under the sofa to keep from horrifying his mother, and who is pummeled with apples and cursed by his father.
The strange magic of the story is the way Kafka sustains our empathy with this creature, such that the bizarre and claustrophobic scenes intensify, and even haunt, our awareness of human vulnerability. A pastiche that deliberately recalls the narrative games of Tristram Shandy, this novel uses seven thematically linked tales as well as forays into philosophy, musicology, literary criticism, and autobiography to explore the permeable borders between Eastern and Western Europe, eroticism and banal libertinism, and the public versus the private, which Kundera sees as the shrinking, doomed cradle of civilization.
It shows the planning and politics of the insurrection, the street battles that accompanied it, and the successful, remorselessly cruel nationalist counterattack the nationalist general throws captured communists in the furnaces of a train. When the book was published in , the Chinese revolution looked kaput.
When the communists triumphed in , it seemed prophetic. Like a late nineteenth-century Tom Wolfe, Maupassant reveals the codes and rivalries of social success by chronicling the rise of Georges Duroy, a handsome, down on his heels ex-soldier. Georges rewards his friend by coveting his wife, Madeleine, a smart, energetic free spirit who seems like Madame Bovary—after successful therapy. When her husband dies, Georges proposes literally over his corpse. But soon he is looking even higher. Seeking escape, Norwood decides to find an old Marine buddy who owes him seventy dollars.
After terrorists blow up their plane, two Indian actors fall from the sky. When they land, one has a halo, the other horns. This lush, lyric, sensual, and surreal novel then follows two main interrelated plots that skate along the blurry lines between good and evil, love and betrayal, knowledge and ignorance. The tension mounts when Moreau learns his adversary hopes to wed his beloved. Sebald During decades of travels through Europe, a nameless architectural historian accidentally keeps meeting Austerlitz, a neurasthenic architect who is incrementally confronting his buried connection to the Holocaust.
Incantatory and almost vertiginous in its repetitiveness, this one-paragraph novel depicts the struggle of a personal narrative to melt the frozen memory of collective trauma. This parable about the parent—child bond features an apple tree that gives and gives and a boy who takes and takes. As the boy matures, his needs become harder to meet. But the tree never fails, ultimately sacrificing life and limb. Comic and tragic, the story moves with symphonic grace toward its final denouement. These beautifully structured stories are vast in range, moving from supernatural tales to historical stories of love.
Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in , is especially good at portraying the little moments of daily life and creating vivid characters—often the poor and dispossessed in his native India—that continue to haunt us. Tom even manages to eavesdrop on his own funeral. The way he convinces his friends to pay him for the privilege of whitewashing his fence proves that he is a trickster for the ages.
And white lies are even more complicated, as two young Englishmen of leisure learn when they try to avoid undesirable social obligations by claiming their noble services are required by needy and imaginary friends.
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This searing story of two sisters, both destined for unhappiness, and their unfolding lives, is riveting. The novel follows the sisters, children of divorce, over four decades. Sarah settles into an unhappy marriage while Emily is torn by one love affair after another, and her burgeoning job success begins to fade out along with her romantic prospects.
The ending, as Emily begins her slow spiral down is shocking and somehow inevitable. Gorgeously written, this book deserves to find a new audience. These tales of medieval chivalry, romance, and high adventure composed primarily from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries feature a host of iconic characters: Sir Galahad, Lancelot, Mordred, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: for girls who grew up reading about these four sisters, the names run together as readily as John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
Readers get their pick of heroines: motherly Meg, harum-scarum Jo, goodness-personified Beth, or naughty Amy. Cared for by their saintly mother, Marmee, while their father is away fighting in the Civil War, the sisters get into scrapes, go on larks, find love, and suffer loss. TBiss 6 RW 1. Austen doubled her heroines here, giving us the down-on-their-luck Dashwood sisters. Following the painful end of an eight-year lesbian relationship, Barnes crafted this avant-garde novel that explores love, desire, and obsession in rich lyric prose.
Set mostly in Paris during the years between the world wars, Nightwood revolves around the mysterious Robin Vote and the two lovers she abandoned: her German husband, Baron Felix Volkbein, and an American woman, Nora Flood. Heartbroken and confused, the spurned lovers seek advice from a most unlikely source, an alcoholic transvestite named Dr.
Moses Herzog has two problems: his book on imagination and the intellect has stalled and his second wife has run away with his best friend. This is the first novel featuring hard-boiled Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe, a tough guy with a fast gun and a quick wit. CH 4 RBP 3. In this gloomy Russian drama, the youthful hopes of siblings Olga, Masha, and Irina Prozorov curdle with time into the desperate sins and bitter resentments of later life.
Often called a play in which nothing happens, The Three Sisters—one of four major dramas written by Chekhov at the end of his life—is actually a masterly study in dramatic texture, its voices and themes counterpointing each other as if they were notes in an orchestral piece. The trilogy moves outward: The first novel creates a series of characters that are real grotesques, offering vignettes of adultery, drunkenness, and destroyed dreams. Life gets no easier in the second novel, but Big Lucien Letourneau, who runs an automobile junkyard, displays a rare and generous compassion.
The third novel, which has the most political overtones, echoes the legend of Robin Hood to suggest how Egypt, Maine, and her people have been exploited. Infused with the radical politics of the s and s and littered with newspaper excerpts, stream of consciousness prose, and biography, this triptych weaves an epic American narrative tapestry. Mixing newspaper reportage with fiction long before the word postmodern gave academics something to write about, U.
NM 5 RBP 2. While the title suggests a rational universe, this novel focuses on the jarring dislocations of three women who meet at Cambridge in the s. Expatriate experience and cultural contrasts energize the knowing, roomy fiction of the native Canadian, sometime Parisian, master. The comedians—who hide their true identities behind masks—include Mr.
Brown, a failed art swindler and now inheritor of a waning imperial hotel, Mr. Jones, a con man, and the oblivious Mr. Smith, who dreams of establishing a vegetarian center on the troubled island. As Greene contrasts these schemers with men combating Duvalier, he delivers a gripping geopolitical novel that packs a moral punch. The story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity. When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder.
As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic. LShriv 7. Over the course of a festive summer in the Italian countryside, Sophie, who is half English and half Italian, has an affair with Tancredi, an Italian who is separated from his wife and family. Like Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary, Hedda Gabler is trapped in a loveless marriage, which she entered into for security and cannot leave for fear of scandal. PCle 3 VV 4. By the time McMurphy learns that he is now under the cruel control of Nurse Ratched and the asylum, he has already set the wheels of rebellion in motion.
White This inspiringly sad story of misfits in a working-class Georgia town is attuned to the racial and social dynamics of the Depression-era South.
Yet, McCullers also conveys a pervasive loneliness and desperation broader than any given historical moment. A broken Everyman, Willy Loman is about to be fired from his job as a traveling shoe salesman. A withering assault on the American Dream, the play is an affecting portrait of a man unable to understand the forces that have shaped his life. The beautiful princess Elizabeth is about to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon destroys her castle, burns her clothes and kidnaps Ronald.
The clothes-less Princess—and proto-feminist heroine—dons a large paper bag and hunts down the dragon and her cherished prince. Gritty realism, social conscience, and American dreams power this tale of an oafish mineworker who becomes an unlicensed dentist in San Francisco. He marries a young woman and together they share a happy life, until she wins a small fortune in the lottery. This luck enflames their greed and the envy of their friends, leading to ruin for all and to one of the most memorable climaxes in literature: two men—one alive, one dead—handcuffed to one another in Death Valley.
His versions of Orpheus, Narcissus, Pygmalion, and Hercules have been etched in our collective memory. Of all the Latin authors, Ovid, who also wrote a sex manual, is the one who never once reminds you of a marble bust. The author, a maverick cleric and observant physician, gave our modern world, at the moment of its birth in the Renaissance, its first comprehensive picture of what it was and what it could become.
The world borrowed his name for its most treasured and common kind of humor: Rabelaisian, meaning rowdy, rude, satirical, unsparing, obscene, and sometimes cruel.
As Rabelais invented a new literary form, the exorbitant picaresque satire, he invented a new language to express it. His pages are a Babel of polyglot puns, monkish obscurities, legalisms, overblown fustian, and street demotic. Lists abound: diseases and cures, body parts, herbs, geographical oddities, and cusswords in droves. At the same time, it presents an earthy panorama of daily concerns and relationships. Unique among the great visionary works, Gargantua and Pantagruel is the only slapstick comedy. Among all comedies, it is one of the best. Rochester, the mad wife locked in the attic.
Rhys said the fame this book brought her, at age 70, came too late. Truly, an essential read. Like Ernest Hemingway, Rulfo found men who are shaped by violence too fascinating to judge or condemn. Set in the period around the Mexican Revolution, his short stories use pared down prose to portray peasants who are seized sometimes by historical forces and given the opportunity to create and destroy on a mass scale. More usually, they decimate or are decimated in miserable increments.
Seemingly unrelated, the sketches weave a strange tapestry of grief, tranquility, nostalgia, and despair. Seuss This picture book is a poignant environmental fable about a beautiful forest of Truffula trees destroyed for the sake of the mass production of curious garments called Thneeds. Despite its hopeful title, this coming-of-age story set in offers an unflinching look at poverty, cruelty, sex, and death.
A coming-of-age story filled with high adventure and Scottish history, this is the story of David Balfour, an orphan sent in to live with his greedy uncle. David and another captive escape the ship. Tolkien — An Oxford medievalist, Tolkien drew on his vast knowledge of mythology, theology, and linguistics to imagine this epic trilogy. CD 6 RPow 1. Its blustering, bumfuzzled antihero is Ignatius J. Reilly, an unintentionally hilarious, altogether deluded, and oddly endearing student of man who lives with his mother in New Orleans. Forced by a series of misadventures to finally find work, he endures stints as a pirate-clad hot dog vendor and a file clerk.
The novel—the second in the Palliser series—is long. But Trollope reminds us that sometimes more is more. Marieb PDF Download. Free Collected Works of Ken Wilber: v. Free Rudiments of music Novello, Ewer, and Co. PDF Download. Genova e la Liguria nella storia. In the Night Garden: Happy Friends! Is it About a Bicycle? Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion? Mary Plain, V. Erickson: Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erikson PDF Download. La mejor forma de llevar tu blog al siguiente nivel.
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