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An idealistic young man, the title character of Nicholas Nickleby is left to find work and to support and protect his mother and sister after his father's death leaves them penniless. After his cold-hearted Uncle Ralph turns down his pleas for help, Nicholas Nickleby is left to find his own way, opening him up to all manner of queer folk, rogues and scoundrels. Dickens shows himself not only to be a literary genius but a comic one as well.
Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird) 1876 - 1938 was born and raised on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota. She lived a traditional lifestyle until age eight when she left for Quaker school. Old Indian Legends is a collection of folktales that she gathered during her visits home to the reservation.
An extraordinary story of love and hope set in the early years of the 19th century. Silas Marner is wrongly accused and expelled from his community. He becomes a recluse who lives only to work and hoard his meagre pay. He seems trapped in this small dark life until the arrival of a young orphan sets in motion changes with unknowable consequences. The story was adapted by Steve Martin in his 1994 movie A Simple twist of Fate.
The novel tells the story of Tess whose fate is changed when her ne'er-do-well father tries to improve the family fortune via a misguided association with a local well to do family. Hardy's writing produces such empathy for Tess that one is compelled to continue reading even though it is unbearable to imagine where the story will go.
When first published in 1899 the work received a mixed critical reception; praise for its outstanding writing style and condemnation for it's frank presentation of the limits of a woman's role and its sexual openness. At the time the book only had one printing. After it's rediscovery in 1969 the book has been praised for its treatment of issues facing women and its wonderful style.
The Bleak House is Dickens' satire of a decaying society. Its story draws together a group of disparate people through the interminable suit of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce at the Court of Chancery. Often described as a savage, though also comic, critique of Victorian society.
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