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War and Peace
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The grand epic set during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia: a vividly detailed view of nineteenth-century Russian life by the author of Anna Karenina.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written, War and Peace is Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus, a groundbreaking work of literary realism, and a psychologically acute examination of Tsarist society in the Napoleonic Era. The narrative follows the fates, fortunes, loves, and betrayals of five aristocratic Russian families from an elegant soirée in 1805 Saint Petersburg to the abandoned and burning Moscow of 1812.
With a panoramic cast of characters, including peasants, soldiers, nobles, and historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov, Tolstoy presents a hugely ambitious portrait of the human condition. First published in 1865, this edition of War and Peace was translated into English by Louise and Alymer Maude.
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This masterpiece of modern literature by the author of Orlando is an intimate and probing account of a single day in the life of a London society woman.
It’s the spring of 1923 and Clarissa Dalloway must prepare her Westminster home for the guests she will receive this evening. As the wife of a Parliament Minister, proper decorum is of upmost importance, and she decides to buy the flowers herself. Walking through the streets of London, Clarissa’s entire life swirls through her mind as Big Ben tolls out the passing hours of the day.
On her journey, Clarissa will encounter friends and memories; regrets and dreams of what might have been. From her happy youth to the realities of World War I and the very logical reasons for marrying her husband, her stream of consciousness is evoked with lucidity and depth by one of the twentieth century’s most important literary stylists.
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is “conceived so brilliantly, dimensioned so thoroughly and documented so absolutely that her type, in the words of Constantin Stanislavsky, might be said to have been done ‘inviolably and for all time’” (The New York Times).
Jude the Obscure
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Thomas Hardy’s final novel: A passionate and tragic story of the follies of Victorian England’s most rigid institutions: class, marriage, and higher education
Growing up in southern England, Jude Fawley dreams of one day transcending his country life and becoming a scholar at Christminster’s most prestigious college. It’s the driving focus of his young life, leading him to rigorous study of classical Greek and Latin after spending long days working as a stonemason.
But everything changes when Jude meets Arabella Donn, a calculating local girl who ensnares him in marriage. As his dreams of Christminster recede into the background, Jude finds himself trapped in one unhappy marriage while the woman her loves, his free-thinking cousin Sue Bridehead, is trapped in another.
Though Jude and Sue are able to escape their first spouses, their new life together proves to be no simpler. With two young children born out of wedlock, Jude and Sue’s unconventional relationship is burdened by the judgments of society. But it isn’t until the unexpected arrival of Jude’s first son, born of his troubled relationship with Arabella, that the accumulation of Jude’s misfortunes reaches its final, shattering crescendo.
The Custom of the Country
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Edith Wharton’s classic story of one woman’s quest for wealth and status after the turn of the twentieth century
Beautiful, selfish, and driven, Undine Spragg arrives in New York with all of the ambition and naiveté that her midwestern, nouveau riche upbringing afforded her. As cunning as she is lovely, Undine has but one goal in life: to ascend to the upper echelons of high society. And so with a single-minded tenacity, Undine continues to maneuver through life, finding all the while that true satisfaction remains just beyond her grasp.
Hailed by Elizabeth Hardwick as “Edith Wharton’s finest achievement,” The Custom of the Country is a riveting novel of ruthless ambition and a literary master class in the art of the antiheroine.
The Last Chronicle of Barset
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A clergyman’s daughter falls in love with a member of high society while her father stands accused of a terrible crime in this classic Victorian novel.
The final installment of the Chronicles of Barsetshire provides a fitting close to the delightful tales author Anthony Trollope developed over the course of six unforgettable and influential novels.
When Rev. Josiah Crawley, the perpetual curate of Hogglestock, is accused of stealing a check, the allegation hinders the romantic aspirations of his daughter, Grace, who hopes to marry the archdeacon’s widowed son, Maj. Henry Grantly. Grace must overcome the objections raised by Grantly’s family and win their favor while her father stands accused.
The final masterwork in a groundbreaking saga that did much to elevate the status of the English novel, The Last Chronicle of Barset is one of the most beloved novels in the Barsetshire treasury, as well as Trollope’s personal favorite. The author ties together many of the loose threads from the series, turning an attentive eye to some of the Chronicles’ most beloved—and most loathed—characters. Readers will delight in visiting Barsetshire’s cathedral and hamlets one last time.
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