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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.
Ruth Hilton, a young orphaned seamstress, becomes involved with Harry Bellingham - a gentleman who ultimately deserts her, leaving a terrible legacy. Ruth copes and begins to re-build her life, only to re-encounter Harry. The honest portrayal of Ruth and her illegitimate child were a challenge to the views of the society when it was written in 1853.
Historical fiction novel. The story begins with an actual historical tragedy - the 1672 lynching of the Dutch Grand Pensionary (roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister) Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis, by a wild mob of their own countrymen - one of the most painful episodes in Dutch history, described by Dumas with a dramatic intensity.
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.
The Decameron is a collection of 100 very readable novellas finished in 1353. It is known for its bawdy tales that span the spectrum from erotic to tragic. The tales are told by a party of ten fleeing the black plague, on each of 10 days they each tell a tale on a particular theme. The stories remain compelling for the modern reader while providing a unique window into medieval life.
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