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Henry Ossian Flipper was one of the nineteenth-century West’s most remarkable individuals. The first African American graduate of West Point, he served four years in the West as a cavalry officer but was court-martialed and dismissed from the service in 1882. He spent the rest of his long life attempting to clear his name. Flipper’s record of accomplishment was significant for any individual in any time, and for a nineteenth-century black American it was phenomenal. As historian Quintard Taylor points out, in his post-Army career Flipper was a surveyor, cartographer, civil and mining engineer, interpreter, translator, historian, inventor, newspaper editor, special agent for the Justice Department, deputy U.S. mineral surveyor, aide to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and consultant to the secretary of the interior. His work carried him to Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain, and he left a record of achievement that demonstrates his enormous talent and unrelenting effort.Show more
'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' is a gothic story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' was first published in 1820.Show more
Originally published in 1889, The Blue Fairy Book was the first of 12 volumes of fairy tales from around the world, collected by renowned folklorist Andrew Lang. For more than a century it has been the book that introduces young readers to timeless fairy tales that include 'Hansel and Gretel,' 'Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots,' 'The Forty Thieves,' and 'Snow-White and Rose-Red.'Show more
Lewis’ scathing satire of middle-class America, Babbitt explores the social pressures of conformity and materialism. It tells the story of George Babbitt, a middle-aged family man who becomes disillusioned with both conformity and his belated attempts at rebellion. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Zenith, Babbitt offers a powerful critique of the American Dream and all it entails.Show more
For many centuries, Aristotle's Physics was the essential starting point for anyone who wished to study the natural sciences. Aristotle deals with many abstract ideas in this book, examining the phenomenon of being, space, motion, matter, time, infinity, magnitude, and more. This book is basically an explanation on how the universe works--as Aristotle understood it. It's not so much a straight forward philosophical text as it is a sort of compendium of problems that philosophers have spent the past several millenniums trying to figure out. As a book of philosophy, it seems more concerned with creating a system where these sorts of questions can be fully articulated and worked on than it is in fully solving any of them.Show more
The great drinking hall, Heorot, provides merriment for warriors and wenches alike. But it provokes only avenging rage from swamp creature Grendel. Now, in sixth-century Denmark’s darkest hour, a light of hope comes in the warrior Beowulf of the Geats. With his quest to defeat Grendel and his vengeful demon mother, Beowulf embarks on a journey from the murky lagoon to the throne of the Geats. Beowulf, the Old English epic poem published anonymously centuries ago, remains one of the most influential pieces of English literature, inspiring generations of writers from J. R. R. Tolkien to George R. R. Martin.Show more
American short-story writer and novelist Constance Woolson, a grandniece of James Fenimore Cooper, was born in 1840 in New Hampshire, but moved with her family to Cleveland, Ohio. She became known first as a writer of the Midwest; but in the 1870s, when she wintered with her mother in Florida, she traveled around the South and used that region in her writing. She called the Civil War, then still fresh in memory, the “heart and spirit” of her life, and many of her stories concerned the cultural differences between the North and the South. She never married and in 1879, after the death of her mother, she moved to Europe, where she became close to Henry James; the two sometimes traveled together on the Continent. In 1894, she either fell or jumped to her death from her apartment on the Grand Canal.Show more
An afternoon of a cold winter’s day, when the sun shone forth with chilly brightness, after a long storm, two children asked leave of their mother to run out and play in the new-fallen snow. The elder child was a little girl, whom, because she was of a tender and modest disposition, and was thought to be very beautiful, her parents, and other people who were familiar with her, used to call Violet. But her brother was known by the style and title of Peony, on account of the ruddiness of his broad and round little phiz, which made everybody think of sunshine and great scarlet flowers. The father of these two children, a certain Mr. Lindsey, it is important to say, was an excellent, but exceedingly matter-of-fact sort of man, a dealer in hardware, and was sturdily accustomed to take what is called the common-sense view of all matters that came under his consideration. With a heart about as tender as other people’s, he had a head as hard and impenetrable, and therefore, perhaps, as empty, as one of the iron pots which it was a part of his business to sell. The mother’s character, on the other hand, had a strain of poetry in it, a trait of unworldly beauty—a delicate and dewy flower, as it were, that had survived out of her imaginative youth, and still kept itself alive amid the dusty realities of matrimony and motherhood. So, Violet and Peony, as I began with saying, besought their mother to let them run out and play in the new snow; for, though it had looked so dreary and dismal, drifting downward out of the gray sky, it had a very cheerful aspect, now that the sun was shining on it. The children dwelt in a city, and had no wider play-place than a little garden before the house, divided by a white fence from the street, and with a pear-tree and two or three plum-trees overshadowing it, and some rose-bushes just in front of the parlor windows.Show more
In September of 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson, then in his mid-thirties, moved with his family to Bournemouth, a resort on the southern coast of England, where in the brief span of 23 months he revised A Child's Garden of Verses and wrote the novels Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. An intriguing combination of fantasy thriller and moral allegory, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities — one essentially good, the other evil — for the soul of one man.Show more
The Blithedale Romance is Nathaniel Hawthorne's third major romance. Its setting is a utopian farming commune based on Brook Farm, of which Hawthorne was a founding member and where he lived in 1841. The novel dramatizes the conflict between the commune's ideals and the members' private desires and romantic rivalries.Show more
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