The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.
(This book has not been prepared, endorsed, or licensed by any person or entity that created, published, or produced the Harry Potter books or related properties.)
In the years leading up to 1606, Shakespeare’s great productivity had ebbed. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn—King Lear—then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.
It was a memorable year in England as well—a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation’s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom.
It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra.
“Exciting and sometimes revelatory, in The Year of Lear, James Shapiro takes a closer look at the political and social turmoil that contributed to the creation of three supreme masterpieces” (The Washington Post). He places them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. “His great gift is to make the plays seem at once more comprehensible and more staggering” (The New York Review of Books). For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.
“The arrival of a significant young nonfiction writer . . . A measured yet bravura performance.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
James Joyce’s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the modernist era and changed the novel for all time. But the genius of Ulysses was also its danger: it omitted absolutely nothing. Joyce, along with some of the most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it. The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to the book’s landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933. Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say Yes to Ulysses.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
CliffsNotes on Frankenstein digs into Dr. Victor Frankenstein's scientific creation, a "hideous and gigantic" monster that the good doctor tries to defeat throughout most of the novel.
Following the story of an obsessive man whose determination to create a new race of humans produces monstrous results, this study guide provides summaries and critical commentaries for each part within the novel. Other features that help you figure out this important work includePersonal background on the author, including career highlightsIntroduction to and synopsis of the bookIn-depth analyses of the principal charactersCritical essays on the book's themes, plots, and moreReview section that features interactive questions and suggested essay topicsResource Center with books, films and other recordings, and websites that can help round out your knowledge
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
“How lucky the young poet who discovers this wisest and most lighthearted of manuals.”—James Merrill
“Marvelously comprehensive, clarifying and useful, and a delight to read.”—John Reardon, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A virtuoso performance and a mandatory text for poetry readers and practioners alike.”—ALA Booklist
Even if you've never read the novels and have only seen the films, you know that the world of Middle-earth is a complicated one. Tolkien took great care in representing this world, from creating new languages to including very particular cultural details that add to the richness of the world's fabric. Many other books have been written about Tolkien and his works, but none have come close to providing the kind of reference needed to comprehend the world of Middle-earth. That's what veteran Dummies author and unabashed Tolkien fan Greg Harvey attempts to do in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies.
As the author says in his introduction to the book, this is not an encyclopedia or quick guide to all the diverse beings, languages, and history that make up Tolkien's Middle-earth. Nor is it a set of plot outlines for the novels. Rather, what you'll find in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies is a basic guide to some of the possible linguistic and mythological origins of Middle-earth, plus a rudimentary analysis of its many themes and lessons for our world. This book can help enrich your reading (or re-reading) of Tolkien's novels, and it will challenge you to think about the themes inherent in Tolkien's Middle-earth and their implications in your own life.
Here's just a sampling of the topics you'll find covered in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies:Exploring the main themes in Tolkien's works, including immortality and death; the heroic quest; love; fate and free will; and faith and redemption Investigating the diverse lands of Middle-earth – including the Shire, Gondor, and Mordor – and their significance Examining the different cultures of Middle-earth, such as Hobbits, Elves, Men, and those wily Wizards Touring the history of Middle-earth Understanding Tolkien's creation of new languages to enrich the story of Middle-earth Top Ten lists on the battles in the War of the Ring, online resources, and the ways the films differ from the novels
So, whether you're reading Tolkien's novels or watching the films for the first time, or you've been a fan for many years and are looking for a new take on Tolkien's works, The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies can help you enhance your reading or viewing experience for years to come.
In CliffsNotes on The Picture of Dorian Gray, you explore Oscar Wilde’s great works about narcissism, rife with symbolism and classic themes. Here, you meet Dorian Gray and discover his secret pact with the devil to stay young and handsome, and the subsequent destruction of his soul.
This study guide carefully walks you through Dorian’s story by providing summaries and critical analyses of each chapter of the novel. You'll also explore the life and background of the author, Oscar Wilde, and gain insight into how he came to write this novel. Other features that help you study includeA list of charactersGlossaries to define new and unfamiliar termsCritical essays about Oscar Wilde’s views and lifeA review section that tests your knowledgeA list of online resources for more study
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
CliffsNotes on 1984 introduces you to the modern world as imagined by George Orwell, a place where humans have no control over their own lives, where nearly every positive feeling is squelched, and where people live in misery, fear, and repression.
Orwell's vision of the future may be grim, but your understanding of his novel can be bright thanks to detailed summaries and commentaries for every chapter. Other features that help you study includeCharacter analyses of major playersA character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the charactersCritical essaysA review section that tests your knowledgeA Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
Begun as a “joke,” Orlando is Virginia Woolf’s fantastical biography of a poet who first appears as a sixteen-year-old boy at the court of Elizabeth I, and is left at the novel’s end a married woman in the year 1928. From Orlando’s early days as a page in the Elizabethan court, through first love, heartbreak, and gender transformation, we follow Woolf’s protagonist across centuries, through adventures in Constantinople and friendship with the poet Alexander Pope. All along, Orlando pursues literary success with her long poem, The Oak Tree.
Part love letter to Vita Sackville-West, part exploration of the art of biography, Orlando is one of Woolf’s most enduringly popular and entertaining works. It has inspired a number of adaptions, including a film version starring Tilda Swinton. This edition, annotated and with an introduction by Maria DiBattista, author of Imagining Virginia Woolf, will deepen readers’ understanding of Woolf’s brilliant creation.
Characterization has long been a troubled and neglected problem within literary theory. Through close readings of such novels as Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, and Le Père Goriot, Woloch demonstrates that the representation of any character takes place within a shifting field of narrative attention and obscurity. Each individual--whether the central figure or a radically subordinated one--emerges as a character only through his or her distinct and contingent space within the narrative as a whole. The "character-space," as Woloch defines it, marks the dramatic interaction between an implied person and his or her delimited position within a narrative structure. The organization of, and clashes between, many character-spaces within a single narrative totality is essential to the novel's very achievement and concerns, striking at issues central to narrative poetics, the aesthetics of realism, and the dynamics of literary representation.
Woloch's discussion of character-space allows for a different history of the novel and a new definition of characterization itself. By making the implied person indispensable to our understanding of literary form, this book offers a forward-looking avenue for contemporary narrative theory.
As Nineteen Eighty-Four protagonist Winston Smith has admirers on the right, in the center, and on the left, the contributors similarly represent a wide range of political, literary, and moral viewpoints. The Cold War that has so often been linked to Orwell's novel ended with more of a whimper than a bang, but most of the issues of concern to him remain alive in some form today: censorship, scientific surveillance, power worship, the autonomy of art, the meaning of democracy, relations between men and women, and many others. The contributors bring a variety of insightful and contemporary perspectives to bear on these questions.
"I have been led into an exploration of the way the social form of Elizabethan holidays contributed to the dramatic form of festive comedy. To relate this drama to holiday has proved to be the most effective way to describe its character. And this historical interplay between social and artistic form has an interest of its own: we can see here, with more clarity of outline and detail than is usually possible, how art develops underlying configurations in the social life of a culture."--C. L. Barber, in the Introduction
This new edition includes a foreword by Stephen Greenblatt, who discusses Barber's influence on later scholars and the recent critical disagreements that Barber has inspired, showing that Shakespeare's Festive Comedy is as vital today as when it was originally published.
"[Auerbach] has seen more Hammer movies than I (or the monsters) have had steaming hot diners, encountered more bloodsuckers than you could shake a stick at, even a pair of crossed sticks, such as might deter a very sophisticated ogre, a hick from the Moldavian boonies....Auerbach has dissected and deconstructed them with the tender ruthlessness of a hungry chef, with cogency and wit."—Eric Korn, Times Literary Supplement
"This seductive work offers profound insights into many of the urgent concerns of our time and forces us to confront the serious meanings that we invest, and seek, in even the shadiest manifestations of the eroticism of death."—Wendy Doniger, The Nation
"A vigorous, witty look at the undead as cultural icons."—Kirkus Review
"In case anyone should think this book is merely a boring lit-crit exposition...Auerbach sets matters straight in her very first paragraph. 'What vampires are in any given generation,' she writes, 'is a part of what I am and what my times have become. This book is a history of Anglo-American culture through its mutating vampires.'...Her book really takes off."—Maureen Duffy, New York Times Book Review
Following a literary analysis, historical documents trace the European powers' partition of Africa and the creation and colonization of Nigeria, home of the Igbo people. Several chapters on Igbo cultural harmony feature materials that explain the Igbo view of the world of humans and the world of the spirits, Igbo language, and traditional Igbo religion and material customs. Selections on the African novelists' novel place Things Fall Apart in the context of African literature and emphasize the difference between African and Western elements of fiction. A concluding chapter examines the debate on writing African novels in ex-colonizers' languages. This casebook will greatly enhance the reader's appreciation of the novel and understanding of Igbo history, society, culture, and civilization.
Writing for Harper’s Magazine, Edgardo Krebs describes Professor Borges:“A compilation of the twenty-five lectures Borges gave in 1966 at the University of Buenos Aires, where he taught English literature. Starting with the Vikings’ kennings and Beowulf and ending with Stevenson and Oscar Wilde, the book traverses a landscape of ‘precursors,’cross-cultural borrowings, and genres of expression, all connected by Borges into a vast interpretive web. This is the most surprising and useful of Borges’s works to have appeared posthumously.”
Borges takes us on a startling, idiosyncratic, fresh, and highly opinionated tour of English literature, weaving together countless cultural traditions of the last three thousand years. Borges’s lectures — delivered extempore by a man of extraordinary erudition — bring the canon to remarkably vivid life. Now translated into English for the first time, these lectures are accompanied by extensive and informative notes by the Borges scholars Martín Arias and Martín Hadis.
CliffsNotes on Great Expectations explores Charles Dickens's renowned work, a novel that gives you plots that twist and turn, themes of good and evil, and people who want for means to make sense of their lives.
Following the story of an orphaned boy whose first-person take on the world around him gives readers a detailed picture of Victorian England, this study guide provides summaries and critical commentaries for each chapter within the novel. Other features that help you figure out this important work includePersonal background on the authorIntroduction to and synopsis of the bookIn-depth character analysesCritical essays on topics of interestReview section that features interactive questions and suggested essay topics and practice projectsResource Center with books, films, and websites that can help round out your knowledge
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's masterpiece--the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure--and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead's life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.
From the Hardcover edition.
In CliffsNotes on Silas Marner, you explore the life of Silas Marner, a weaver who has been outcast from his original home and lives a lonely, miserable existence until his gold is stolen and a child comes into his life to replace it. This memorable novel is George Eliot's most well-known and admired work—one that strives to present realistic human relationships and address the function of religion in society.
Chapter summaries and commentaries take you through Silas Marner's journey, and critical essays help you understand the plot, structure, characterization, themes, and use of symbolism in the novel. Other features that help you study includeAnalyses of each of the main charactersA section on the life and background of George EliotA section of review questionsA selected bibliographyA genealogy chart to help you understand the complex relationships of the novel
Pipes looks at the Rushdie affair in both its political and cultural aspects and shows in considerable detail what the fundamentalists perceived as so offensive in The Satanic Verses as against what Rushdie's novel actually said. Pipes explains how the book created a new crisis between Iran and the West at the time--disrupting international diplomacy, billions of dollars in trade, and prospects for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon.
Pipes maps out the long-term implications of the crisis. If the Ayatollah so easily intimidated the West, can others do the same? Can millions of fundamentalist Muslims now living in the United States and Europe possibly be assimilated into a culture so alien to them? Insightful and brilliantly written, this volume provides a full understanding of one of the most significant events in recent years. Koenraad Elst's postscript reviews the enduring impact of the Rushdie affair.
"The Rushdie Affair is a lucid, balanced often startling and ultimately convincing analysis....scrupulously fair, respectful of Islam yet unintimidated by the flood of threats and invective."--Mark Caldwell, Philadelphia Inquirer
"[A] work of impeccable scholarship.Pipes offers a number of conclusions that merit attention at all levels."--Amir Tahiri, Los Angeles Times
Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the New York Post and the Jerusalem Post. Among his books are The Long Shadow: Culture and Politics in the Middle East, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (both published by Transaction), Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition, and Friendly Tyrants: An American Dilemma.
Koenraad Elst is a Belgium-based writer on comparative religion, Indian history, and Hindu-Muslim relations.
"Very highly recommended for anyone seeking a better understanding of contemporary Islam in general, and this defining controversy in particular."--Wisconsin Bookwatch
Emma Donoghue brings to bear all her knowledge and grasp to examine how desire between women in English literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. Donoghue looks at the work of those writers who have addressed the “unspeakable subject,” examining whether such desire between women is freakish or omnipresent, holy or evil, heartwarming or ridiculous as she excavates a long-obscured tradition of (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history.
Donoghue writes about the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been told and retold over the centuries, metamorphosing from generation to generation. What interests the author are the twists and turns of the plots themselves and how these stories have changed—or haven’t—over the centuries, rather than how they reflect their time and society.
Donoghue explores the writing of Sade, Diderot, Balzac, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard, Elizabeth Bowen, and others and the ways in which the woman who desires women has been cast as not quite human, as ghost or vampire.
She writes about the ever-present triangle, found in novels and plays from the last three centuries, in which a woman and man compete for the heroine’s love . . . about how—and why—same-sex attraction is surprisingly ubiquitous in crime fiction, from the work of Wilkie Collins and Dorothy L. Sayers to P. D. James.
Finally, Donoghue looks at the plotline that has dominated writings about desire between women since the late nineteenth century: how a woman’s life is turned upside down by the realization that she desires another woman, whether she comes to terms with this discovery privately, “comes out of the closet,” or is publicly “outed.”
She shows how this narrative pattern has remained popular and how it has taken many forms, in the works of George Moore, Radclyffe Hall, Patricia Highsmith, and Rita Mae Brown, from case-history-style stories and dramas, in and out of the courtroom, to schoolgirl love stories and rebellious picaresques.
A revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition—brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.
From the Hardcover edition.
In CliffsNotes on The Prince, you explore the Italian Renaissance in Florence in the late 1400s and early 1500s, during which Machiavelli was a statesman who took a special interest in observing the distinct intelligence that made certain rulers successful. In a nutshell, The Prince is an analysis of how to acquire and maintain political power. It remains one of the definitive statements of power and control and is based on what Machiavelli saw, not what he felt or imagined.
This study guide carefully walks you through The Prince by providing summaries and critical analyses of each chapter of the book. You'll also explore the life and background of the author. Other features that help you study includeA list of people the book exploresGlossaries in each chapter to define new termsCritical essays about topics like the vilification of Machiavelli and free willA review section that tests your knowledgeA ResourceCenter with books, magazine articles, and websites for more study
To introduce readers to Joyce and his work, the volume begins with a short biography and a survey of the importance and cultural impact of Ulysses. Most beginning readers find it difficult to follow Joyce's plot, and so they abandon the text in frustration. Thus the book includes the most detailed available plot summary of Joyce's novel. The chapters that follow overview the novel's publication history; its historical and cultural contexts, including Modernism, Irish literature and history, and political and social trends; major themes and issues; Joyce's narrative art, including his character development, language, images, and style; and the academic and critical response to the work. The volume closes with a bibliographical essay.
This book attempts to range far and wide in the writings of Chesterton, perhaps even to betray him slightly by trying to systematize his thought. It is, however, not betraying Chesterton to claim that there is one central theme around which all his thinking and writing can be ordered: the theme of the grandeur of the reality of human, created in the image of God and participating in the beauty of divine creativity. His philosophy, if we want to characterize it in any one way, is a philosophy of life, of human living, with all that implies of rationality and freedom, of truth and paradox, of religion and morality, or faith and hope and love--in short, of all that makes human living spectacularly worthwhile.
This guide encourages readers to see connections between the play and related events and ideas. Dramatic Context considers subjects such as the nature of tragedy, the historical source of the play (with timeline of Scottish history), and the language and thematic patterns within it. Historical Context includes a wide variety of seventeenth-century primary documents that bring the turbulent political context to life.Macbeth's journey to the present reveals how changing attitudes and expectations about acting styles, political viewpoints, and social values have influenced the play's performance and interpretation over the centuries. Contemporary Applications provides materials on political parallels such as Duvalier's Haiti, as well as the social and psychological impact of contemporary events on which the play casts a shadow. This resource book is an ideal companion for teacher use and student research. It will encourage a broad spectrum of approaches to the play and help the student discover and appreciate a wide variety of conflicting ideas and interpretations that can inform and enrich the student's experience of the play.
In CliffsNotes on A Tale of Two Cities, you experience one of Charles Dickens's most important works as he recounts the horrors of the French Revolution in what amounts to a cautionary tale warning of the possibility of revolution in 18th-century England. From its first line ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times") to its last ("It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"), Dickens's novel of revolution, sacrifice, and redemption continues to captivate modern imaginations.
Chapter summaries and commentaries lead you through Dickens's "Tale," and critical essays give you insight into the women of A Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution. Other features that help you study includeCharacter analyses of the main charactersA character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the charactersA section on the life and background of Charles DickensA review section that tests your knowledgeA Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
In Bilbo's Journey go beyond the dragons, dwarves, and elves, and discover the surprisingly deep meaning of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel The Hobbit.
Bilbo's quest to find and slay the dragon Smaug is a riveting tale of daring and heroism, but as renowned Tolkien scholar Joseph Pearce shows, it is not simply Bilbo's journey, it is our journey too.
It is the Christian journey of self-sacrifice out of love for others, and abandonment to providence and grace.
In Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning of The Hobbit you will relive the excitement of Tolkien's classic tale, while discovering the profound Christian meaning that makes The Hobbit a truly timeless adventure.
The audiobook edition of Bilbo's Journey is read by Kevin O'Brien.
Jordan draws on insights from narratology and psychoanalysis in order to explore multiple dimensions of Esther’s complex subjectivity and fractured narrative voice. His conclusion considers Bleak House as a national allegory, situating it in the context of the troubled decade of the 1840s and in relation to Dickens’s seldom-studied A Child’s History of England (written during the same years as his great novel) and to Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx. Supposing "Bleak House" claims Dickens as a powerful investigator of the unconscious mind and as a "popular" novelist deeply committed to social justice and a politics of inclusiveness.
Victorian Literature and Culture Series
Warner uncovers a buried and neglected history of the way in which the idea of the novel was shaped in response to a newly vigorous market in popular narratives. In order to rein in the sexy and egotistical novel of amorous intrigue, novelists and critics redefined the novel as morally respectable, largely masculine in authorship, national in character, realistic in its claims, and finally, literary. Warner considers early novelists in their role as entertainers and media workers, and shows how the short, erotic, plot-driven novels written by Behn, Manley, and Haywood came to be absorbed and overwritten by the popular novels of Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Considering these novels as entertainment as well as literature, Warner traces a different story—one that redefines the terms within which the British novel is to be understood and replaces the literary history of the rise of the novel with a more inclusive cultural history.
Following Blake’s life from beginning to end, acclaimed biographer Leo Damrosch draws extensively on Blake’s poems, his paintings, and his etchings and engravings to offer this generously illustrated account of Blake the man and his vision of our world. The author’s goal is to inspire the reader with the passion he has for his subject, achieving the imaginative response that Blake himself sought to excite. The book is an invitation to understanding and enjoyment, an invitation to appreciate Blake’s imaginative world and, in so doing, to open the doors of our perception.