Young Adult Classics
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) Joan (of Arc) The Beecher Family Romeo and Juliet Ossian Legends Venus and Adonis William Blake Edgar Allan Poe Christina Rossetti
The novel Benigna Machiavelli relates the story of a young girl who notices one aspect of the stories that she reads, which apparently escapes the attention of everybody else: the real action always seems to be caused by the villain. Well, she thought, what if the "villain" was a good villain, instead? This insight unlocks the rest of her life, as she creates change unnoticed, but to good effect, and not necessarily to her own benefit.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of Herland, The Yellow Wallpaper, and a scholarly paper, Women and Economics, is a cousin in the Beecher family.
Matilda is the story of a child growing up almost alone. Her joy when her absent father returns is unbounded, but is destined to be dashed. A weepy novel, if you're up for it.
Her most popular novel, however, written when she was just eighteen years old, has become a classic in the genre that she helped create: sci-fi. Popularized in films, the novel itself has three stories embedded in each other around the theme of the possible consequences of the human surge toward grasping the future.
Frankenstein, raises questions about what it means to be human.
Although Mark Twain is most noted for his wry tales of ordinary people, he devoted great attention in his last book to report, as much as possible, the actual events and people around a child named Joan, and into her role and astonishing career as the leader of French troops that fended off the English invasion, as Joan of Arc.
He speaks in the character of a childhood friend, compatriot in the campaigns, and recorder at her trial, at which she was condemned, and died at the age of 19.
Joan is a remarkable story.
The Beechers Through the 19th Century follows a remarkable family, whose members had great impact on the development of the young United States. The Beechers follows the eleven children of Lyman Beecher, a preacher and then leader at the Cincinnati Seminary. His open family discussions led most of them into careers in writing, preaching, founding schools, and more. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher were the most famous; Catherine Beecher created "home economics," and called for thousands of women to go West to found schools; Thomas K. Beecher re-created the function of a church into a social center; Charles Beecher helped create the first modern hymnals, Edward Beecher, a theologian, set out to reconcile all Protestant denominations into one (unsuccessfully). Isabella Beecher Hooker became a leading feminist.
The Beechers Through the 19th Century was originally a radio play; the audio is still available online.
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is specifically about two teenagers caught up in a two-family feud, taking desperate measures to be together, that goes awry. An immortal tale.
This and 17 other Shakespeare plays are also formatted for actual stage production. Visit the Shakespeare pages to get full information.
Before he was famous as a playwright, Shakespeare was known for his poetry; he had published Venus and Adonis, an adaptation in verse of the classic story of the Goddess of Love, encountering the young Adonis, not yet introduced to the act of love.
The 14th Century bard Ossian, as revived in James MacPherson's reconstruction, presents a rougher life, full of passion, betrayal, heartbreak, longing, and daring
William Blake's Everlasting Gospel and Other Poems is a sharing of a lifetime of deep thought, but somehow he never loses a youthful optimism and even cheerfulness on deep subjects. His Proverbs of Hell and others are not just clever two-liners, they manage to "play" with ideas in an illuminating way.
Edgar Allan Poe may strike fear in the hearts of some; he is heavy on the "puzzle it out" side of things, but for those who can't resist a mystery, Poe is the one who invented the genre.
With three stories, his C. Auguste Dupin is the model of Sherlock Holmes, along with his bumbling sidekick and the officious but useless police agent.
The First Detective
Christina Rossetti was by birth part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, with two famous brothers: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William M. Rossetti. She wrote children's books and religious books. Goblin Market is her most famous piece, about two sisters and how far one will go to rescue the other.
Nation-building Women Authors
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