English Writers

William Morris: News from Nowhere

By William Morris - Scanned from Pamela Todd, Pre-Raphaelites at Home, New York: Watson-Guptill, 2001, Public Domain, via WikipediaNews from Nowhere is an 1890 novel by William Morris. It is an early work of utopian science fiction, which presents Morris's socialist ideals through the narrator's journey into a future in which they have been realised.

It was partly intended as a riposte to a similar work published the previous year, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, which Morris characterised as 'State Communism, worked by the very extreme of national centralization.' In his review of Bellamy's book, Morris argued that 'variety of life is as much an aim of true communism as equality of condition, and that nothing but an union of these two will bring about real freedom.' It is this more pastoral vision which is reflected in News from Nowhere.

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Thomas Malory: Le Morte D'Arthur

MortdarthurLe Morte D'Arthur is a late 15th Century work by Thomas Malory, recounting the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Compiled from earlier English and French romances, it became the definitive English-language version of the Arthurian legend, and later writers such as Mark Twain and T.H. White have freely borrowed from it.

Its popularity partly reflects the comparative readability, especially when presented with modernised spellings, of Malory's prose, which is partway between the Middle English of Chaucer and the early modern language of Shakespeare. Although the narrative is often episodic, it presents a number of great themes, including the relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere, the quest for the holy grail, and making and breaking of the fellowship of the Round Table.

The book was printed in 1485 by William Caxton, but an earlier and rather different manuscript version was discovered in Winchester in 1934. The identity of its author, who describes himself as a 'knight prisoner' has been the subject of much scholarly debate.

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Gutenberg: Le Morte D'Arthur Vol I | Vol II. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats. 
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Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers

Mrs_Proudie_and_the_ArchdeaconBarchester Towers is an 1857 novel by Anthony Trollope, the second in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. It recapitulates many elements of the plot of The Warden, in a more complex form with a broader cast of characters. The high-church arcadia of Barchester Cathedral is threatened this time not by the idealistic John Bold, but by the mendacious Mr Slope.

While Slope is undoubtedly a great satirical creation, this does take away some of the breadth of vision of the earlier book. Trollope has a way of inveigling us to favour his Tory characters when his Whigs have the better arguments, but even this is testimony to the realism of the milieu he creates.

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Anthony Trollope: The Warden

The Warden is an 1855 novel by Anthony Trollope. 975px-Hospital_of_St._Cross _Winchester._Gateway_and_dwellings._Wellcome_M0007983

The title character, Septimus Harding, heads a hospital which supports a dozen retired workingmen, but whose charitable income has swollen over the centuries and now provides him with a very comfortable living.

His right to this money is challenged by John Bold, a young reformer, who involves the law and the press despite his own love for Harding's youngest daughter.

Bold is opposed by Harding's son-in-law, Theophilus Grantly, son of the Bishop of Barchester, and a stern defender of the traditional prerogatives of the church.

The Warden was Trollope's first major literary success, inaugurating the Barchester Chronicles, which returned to the same setting in a fictional cathedral city in the West of England. It is a classic of socio-political observation, despite its ultimately critical view of the reforming impulse which underlay much literary realism.

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Gutenberg: The Warden. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: The Warden. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Standard Ebooks: The Warden. AZW3, EPUB and KEPUB formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Warden. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
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Other Resources
Librivox: The Warden - Public domain audiobook.
The Trollope Society: The Warden
Wikipedia: Anthony Trollope - The Warden
Further reading 
Rabelais - Rev. Grantly keeps a volume of the French satirist hidden in his study.
Charles Dickens - satirised by Trollope as Mr Popular Sentiment
Thomas Carlyle - caricatured as Dr Pessimist Anticant


Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer_Troilus_frontispieceTroilus and Criseyde is a Middle English epic poem composed by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century.

It belongs to the medieval literature known as the Matter of Rome, which embroidered on the classical myths. While Troilus, the son of Priam was known to the ancients primarily for his murder by Achilles, medieval traditions of courtly romance endowed him with a lover, who became Criseida in Boccaccio, the most immediate inspiration for Chaucer's own version of the tale.

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Internet Archive: Troilus and Criseyde. 1888 edtion. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Online Medieval and Classical Library: Troilus and Criseyde. HTML format
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Jane Austen: Persuasion

Thomson-ch23-LettrePersuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel, published posthumously in 1818.

The book's heroine, Anne Elliott is the daugher of a baronet in reduced circumstances, who rents his house to a relative of Anne's former fiancé. The eventual renewal of the engagement is the central example of the titular theme which unites many of the novel's subplots.

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Gutenberg: Persuasion.  EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. 1892 Athenaeum edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
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Jane Austen: Mansfield Park

Thomson-MP-ch07Mansfield Park is an 1814 novel by Jane Austen, the third published during her lifetime.

It's protagonist is Fanny Price, sent at ten years old to live with her aunt at Mansfield Park, where she is a literal poor relation among the fashionable younger set. She ultimately asserts herself by rejecting an unsuitable proposal, and marrying Edmund Bertram, the younger son of the master of the estate, who is destined to be a clergyman.

A number of themes have contributed to Mansfield Park's reputation as perhaps Austen's most controversial novel. Her portrait of Fanny has divided critics, though it is significant as an early treatment of the inner life of a young girl. Edmund's attachment to his religous vocation is often seen as reflecting Austen's critique of the French Revolution, and the role of the Bertrams in the Caribbean slave trade has sparked debate about Austen's own enigmatic views on the subject.

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Gutenberg: Mansfield Park. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: Mansfield Park. 1892 Athenaeum edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Standard Ebooks: Mansfield Park. AZW3, EPUB, KEPUB and Advanced EPUB formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Mansfield Park. EPUB, HTML and MOBI format.
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Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

MaryWollstonecraftA Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a 1792 work by Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest modern statements of the case for political and social equality for women.

Wollstonecraft strongly defended the French Revolution against the criticisms of Edmund Burke in her previous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Men. Her dismay at the new French regime's conservative proposals for female education provided the immediate occasion for a second Vindication addressed to the statesman responsible, Talleyrand. Though novel, her argument that women should exercise full political citizenship, and be educated accordingly, drew heavily on prevalent enlightenment concepts of natural rights.

After her early death, Wollstonecraft's work was overshadowed by the hostile reception to William Godwin's biography of her. However, her reputation recovered with the growth of the women's movement by the early twentieth century, and the Vindication has come to be seen as a central precursor to modern feminism.

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Early Modern Texts: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.
Gutenberg: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats. 
Internet Archive: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 1891 Unwin edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. HTML and other formats.

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Jane Austen: Emma

Image_taken_from_page_379_of_'(Emma._New_edition.)'_(11299328635)Emma is an 1815 novel by Jane Austen, the last published during her lifetime. Unlike Austen's earlier heroines, the title character is wealthy enough to feel no need to marry, and occupies herself with matchmaking for others.

Many critics consider the work on advance on Austen's earlier better-known novels, in part because of the portrayal of the wider community within which it is set, the fictional Surrey town of Highbury.

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Internet Archive: Emma, 1892 Atheenaeum edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
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University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Emma. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.
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Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France

Edmund_Burke_by_James_NorthcoteReflections on the Revolution in France is a 1790 work by Edmund Burke. The best-known critique of the revolution, it was originally written with a polemical purpose which deployed elements of satire as well as more considered arguments in attacking the revolutionaries and their British supporters.

Although many of Burke's factual claims have warranted close historical scrutiny, the influence of his ideas about the organic nature of society and the dangers of radical change based on abstract theory, have nevertheless made the Reflections a founding text of modern conservative thought.

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Early Modern Texts: Reflections on the Revolution in France, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.
Gutenberg: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol III. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: On the Sublime and Beatiful, Reflections on the French Revolution, Letter to a Noble Lord. Harvard Classics edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Reflections on the Revolution in France. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
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