100 Must-Read Classic Novels - download pdf or read online

By Whitaker's

This publication is a wealthy collection of writing that has encouraged the 20 th century and past. With 100 of the simplest titles totally reviewed and one other advised, you’ll fast set out on a trip of discovery. The e-book additionally lets you browse via subject and comprises “a reader’s fast-guide to the classics,” prior award-winners, and booklet membership recommendations.

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Its alternative title was ‘The Two Nations’ and Disraeli’s aim was to show that English society was indeed divided into two nations, the rich and the poor, between whom, as a character in the novel says, ‘there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws’.

Charles Gould, English owner of the country’s largest silver mines, is acutely aware that his reserves of silver are a prize the competing parties long to seize and he is determined that neither should do so. Two men – the cynical journalist Martin Decoud and the book’s anti-hero, Nostromo – are entrusted with the task of hiding the silver from the revolutionaries. Eventually they find a hiding place on an otherwise deserted island off the coast. As Conrad’s complex narrative unfolds, Decoud is destroyed by his own cynicism and lack of inner faith while the vainglorious Nostromo, seduced by his own sense of himself as a heroic man of the people and believing that Gould has used and exploited him, is slowly driven further and further into a life of deceit and disenchantment.

It was all too much for some critics. One described the genre as ‘unspeakably disgusting’ and castigated its ‘ravenous appetite for carrion’. The bestknown purveyor of ‘sensation fiction’ was Wilkie Collins. Collins was the son of a well-known landscape painter and his first literary work was a life of his father but, encouraged by his friend >> Charles Dickens, he began publishing fiction in the 1850s. The Woman in White, published in 1860, is a melodramatic and complicated tale of a conspiracy to dispossess an heiress of her money, filled with dark secrets of lunacy, illegitimacy and mistaken identities and made memorable by the suave and sinister Italian, Count Fosco.

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