English Literature

Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe

Robinson_Crusoe_1719_1st_editioncropRobinson Crusoe is a 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe. Like several of Defoe's works, it purported to be a genuine autobiography, in this case that of an English seaman, shipwrecked for many years on a desert island off the coast of South America, who nevertheless manages to maintain a civilised existence with the help of a native servant, Friday.

The novel proved immediately and enduringly popular, inspiring a genre of castaway stories, sometimes known as Robinsonades. Modern critics have often interpreted Crusoe as representing an emergent economic individualism. 

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Daniel Defoe: Moll Flanders

Moll_Flanders (1)The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders is a 1722 novel by Daniel Defoe.

The eponymous heroine recounts a picaresque life story that was presented as a genuine autobiography on first publication. The title page records that Flanders was 'born in Newgate, and during a life of continu'd variety for threescore years, besides her childhood, was twelve years a whore, five times a wife (whereof once to her own brother) twelve years a thief, eight years a transported felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, liv'd honest, and died a penitent.'

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Samuel Richardson: Clarissa

Robert_Lovelace_Preparing_to_Abduct_Clarissa_HarloweClarissa, or The History of a Young Lady, is a 1748 novel by Samuel Richardson. Composed as a series of letters, it portrays the young heroine's attempt to maintain her virtue and independence in the face of a domineering family, and of the villainous attentions of the libertine Robert Lovelace.

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Internet Archive: Clarissa Harlowe, from the Complete Novels of Samuel Richardson: Vol. I | Vol. II | Vol. III | Vol. IV | Vol. V | Vol. VI | Vol. VII | Vol VIII. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Clarissa Harlowe. EPUB, HTML and MOBI format.

Other Resources

The Guardian: The 100 best novels - No 4 – Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748), by Robert McCrum, 14 October 2013.

Librivox: Clarissa Harlowe, or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson, in 9 Volumes. Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Samuel Richardson - Clarissa

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Samuel Richardson: Pamela.

Rousseau: Julie, ou la Nouvelle Heloise

Bloom's Western Canon: Clarissa is listed.


Charles Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Mystery_of_edwin_drood_0011The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the last novel by Charles Dickens, left unfinished at his death in 1870, after six of a planned twelve parts had been published in serialization.

The story is set in Cloisterham, a thinly-veiled version of the Kent cathedral town of Rochester, the setting for a murder to which the title refers. A number of adaptations have attempted to provide a resolution to the story.

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Charles Dickens: Our Mutual Friend

Illustration_Our_mutual_friend-gaffer_lizzie_1864Our Mutual Friend is Charles Dickens' last completed novel, originally serialized in 1864-5.  It's complex plot centres on a legacy left to John Harmon, on condition that he marry Bella Wilfer, a woman, he has never met.

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Charles Dickens: Little Dorrit

Little_Dorrit _Little_Dorrit_leaving_the_Marshalsea _by_PhizLittle Dorrit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialized from 1855 to 1857. The title character, Amy Dorrit, begins the novel in Marshalsea Prison where her father is held as a debtor, as Dickens' own father had been in the 1820s. 

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Charles Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit

Martin_chuzzlewit_Pecksniff_and_CoMartin Chuzzlewit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialized from 1842 to 1844. In outline the plot is typically Dickensian, with a young protagonist's progress in the face of miserly and hypocritical villains, though in practice, Mr Pecksniff is one of the best-realised of the latter. Poor sales prompted a diversion of the story, introducing Martin's attempt to settle in America. The satirical portrayal of the United States, based on Dickens' 1842 visit, embroiled Dickens in a notorious transatlantic literary spat.

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Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

Great_Expectations_FrontispieceGreat Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised from 1860 to 1861, when it was published in two volumes. In this tale of a young man's unexpected fortune, Dickens returns to some of the autobiographical themes of his earlier work, but employs them in the service of a famously suspenseful plot, producing perhaps the best-loved of his later novels.

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Charles Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas_nickleby08The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is the third novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised in 1838-9.

The story of a young man's progress in the face of hypocritical antagonists set the pattern for Dickens' mature novels, while retaining elements of broad comedy which have earned more popular success than critical praise.

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Charles Dickens: Hard Times

HT_Rachel_bending_over_Blackpool_(Harry_French)Hard Times is an 1852 novel by Charles Dickens. Set in the fictional Coketown in the North of England, it is Dickens' most sustained engagement with the world created by the industrial revolution. His portrayals of the characters of Thomas Gradgrind and Stephen Bounderby are a forceful satire of utilitarian ideas.

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