Lawrence Lessig - "a brilliant agile mind - absolutely extraordinarily prolific writer and speaker and above all an advocate for all the right things"
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The novel follows Chichikov, an unscrupulous young gentleman of a middle social class who is determined to make his fortune. He plans to buy the title to serfs that have died since the last census. The owners should be agreeable as they are still paying tax on the dead 'souls'. Nabakov described Gogol as a great writer whose prose style combined superb descriptive power with a disregard for novelistic clichés. In this most unusual work Gogol combines devastating satire and beautifully rendered characters to create an enduring masterpiece.
In Dialogues Hume explores the question 'What can we infer about the nature of God using reason?' using a dialogue between three characters. All believe in the existence of God but disagree on his nature and relationship with mankind. These issues and augments are still at the centre of debate and conflict today. For example, Hume explores the issue of an Intelligent Designer and the argument from design that is convulsing the US school system.
The temptations of illicit passion are a theme in Ethan Frome. Wharton had been advised to take up writing more seriously to relieve her stress and tension, and many point to the possibility of autobiographical elements in the novel. Wharton delivers austere and penetrating impressions of rural working-class New England as the environment to explore Ethan Frome's marriage to an unsympathetic Zeena and the infatuation he develops for their maid.
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