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A Victorian "sensation novel" par excellence, but perhaps a little challenging for some when it was first published: 'One of the most hardened female villains whose devices and desires have ever blackened fiction' The Athenaeum reviewer of Armadale (1866). Throughout the novel you know Lydia Gwilt is a wicked woman and that she is out to destroy Alan Armadale, but you can't help wishing her success.
Brother Jacob is the story of a confectioners apprentice who steals from his mother to emigrate to Jamaica and make his fortune. It is a satirical modern fable that draws telling parallels between eating and reading.
The immense popularity of Common Sense contributed to fomenting the American Revolution. The work is a political pamphlet denouncing British rule written by Thomas Paine and first published in 1776. To help spread its ideas Paine donated the copyright for Common Sense and paid for the first printing himself. At the height of its popularity only the Bible outsold it.
The best known of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels. Cranford is the small rural town which serves as the backdrop for a series of episodes in the lives of Mary Smith and her friends, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two spinster sisters.
First published in 1781 Critique of Pure Reason is widely regarded as the most influential and widely read work of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and one of the most influential and important in the entire history of Western philosophy. Kant saw the work as an attempt to bridge the gap between rationalism and empiricism and as a counter to the radical empiricism of David Hume.
David Copperfield is a marvellous showcase for Dickens' writing brilliance. In it, the title character David Copperfield relates the story of his life, growing up in a world that has kinder moments but which too often can be so cruel. As usual, Dickens has created a cast of interesting characters who at times add comic moments to the story and almost always present Copperfield with many a life lesson. In part autobiographical, this story has been described by Dickens himself as his "favourite son". A must read.
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