Jane Eyre accepts a position as governess at Thornfield Hall and meets Mr. Rochester, the moody and cynical master of the manor. Growing up an unwanted orphan, Jane has known very little love in her life, but in spite of this, she has always been thoughtful and kind. Jane`s and Rochester`s apparent differences attract them to each other, but little does Jane know that something far more damaging than social statuses will keep them apart. Like the work of Janes Austen, `Jane Eyre` (1847) is a love story that holds up over time, and it is no wonder that it has been adapted so many times. Ruth Wilson from `The Affair` (2014) starred as Jane in 2003, and before he was James Bond, Timothy Dalton took on the role as the complicated Mr. Rochester. 2011 saw the most beautiful adaptation yet with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in the leading roles.
"Please, sir, I want some more," Oliver says, holding out his bowl for more gruel, a Dickens scene recognisable to most. A young orphan, Oliver Twist has only ever seen the tough side of life and having to suddenly live on the streets does not make surviving any easier. But being the sweet and innocent boy he is, Oliver eventually manages to attract the compassion of others, and time will reveal secrets about his past that could radically change his bleak future. Originally published in instalments, Oliver Twist (1839) is Charles Dickens` second - and hugely successful - novel. It introduced the concept of the child protagonist in the Victorian novel, and while doing so, plainly criticised the social injustices in England.
Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad originally published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900. An early and primary event is the abandonment of a ship in distress by its crew including the young British seaman Jim. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with his past. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Lord Jim #85 on its list of the 100 best English language novels of the 20th century.
Ethan Frome is a novel published in 1911 by the Pulitzer Prize winning American author Edith Wharton. It is set in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. The novel was adapted into a film, Ethan Frome, in 1993. Ethan Frome tells the story of a tragic love triangle. Set in the highly symbolic wintry landscape of Starkfield, Massachusetts, the narrative centers on the title character's fraught relationships with his "sickly, cantankerous" wife Zeena and his young, beautiful cousin Mattie Silver.
Catherine is well on her way to becoming a spinster. She`s 21 and part of New York`s upper-class society, but she has never had a flirt and is plain-looking without the sparkling personality to make up for it. Or so her father thinks. Because when the handsome Mr. Morris Townsend catches her eye, Catherine falls head over heels in love with him. But does Townsend really like her back, or does he just like all the money she is set to inherit? Based on a true story as told to him by a friend, `Washington Square` (1880) is probably Henry James` most accessible novel. Fans of Jane Austen will definitely like this.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.` So opens Jane Austens second novel Pride and Prejudice, which was first published in 1813. It follows the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their five single daughters. The whole town is set aflutter by the arrival of prosperous Mr Bingley and his friend Mr Darcy, and as the prejudice of the latter hurts the pride of headstrong Elizabeth Bennet, friendship, love, and strife enfold. Perhaps the most beloved of all of Austens work, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted numerous times, including in the 1995 BBC mini-series featuring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, and the 2005 movie adaption by Joe Wright with Keira Knightley in the role of Elizabeth Bennet.
"Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way - or always to have it." When her parents die, Mary, spoiled, yet unloved, is shipped from India to England to live with her absent uncle. When she discovers a secret garden, and starts to tend to it, like the flowers, she comes to life. One day she hears a cry from within the mansion, and soon learns that she is not the only one in need of some fresh air. `The Secret Garden` (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett is among the most loved children`s novels of all time. It has been adapted for the stage and screen many times, most famously in 1993 with Dame Maggie Rogers in the cast.
Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with this 1920 novel about Old New York society. Newland Archer is wealthy, well bred, and engaged to the beautiful May Welland. But he finds himself drawn to May's cousin Ellen Olenska, who has been living in Europe and who has returned following a scandalous separation from her husband.
Who could have known that when Rudyard Kipling wrote these Jungle Book stories in 1893-94, they would eventually inspire the Oscar nominated song "The Bare Necessities" - one of the most recognizable tunes of all time? The adventures of the young boy, Mowgli, raised by wolves in an Indian jungle, have been praised since their publication and adapted numerous times. Most people know the 1967 animated movie with Phil Harris as the charismatic bear Baloo. 2016 saw Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and Lupita Nyong`o in a live-action Disney movie. And even Marvel Comics has had their hands on this classic coming-of-age tale of the importance of family and belonging.
An imaginative, clever, and mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn witness a murder in a graveyard and Tom is forced to testify against the murderer, Injun Joe. Injun Joe escapes and when Tom and his crush Becky Thatcher meet him in a dark cave their hope of escape diminishes...
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a very well known and popular coming of age story concerning the American youth. Originally a commercial failure, the book ended up being the best selling of any of Twain's works during his lifetime. Although The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is sometimes overshadowed by its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the book is considered a masterpiece of American literature, and was one of the first novels to be written on a typewriter.
Mark Twain was greatly inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings and Tom and Huck's relationship is by many compared to that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an 1876 novel by Mark Twain. It is the first book in the series of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896).
The story takes place in the extreme conditions of the Yukon during the 19th century Klondike Gold Rush, where strong sled dogs were in high demand. After Buck, a domesticated dog, is snatched from a pastoral ranch in California, he is sold into a brutal life as a sled dog. The novella details Buck's struggle to adjust and survive the cruel treatment he receives from humans, other dogs, and nature. He eventually sheds the veneer of civilization altogether and instead relies on primordial instincts and the lessons he has learned to become a respected and feared leader in the wild. The Call of the Wild is London's most popular work and is considered the masterpiece of his so called 'early period'. The novella is often classified as children's literature because of its animal protagonist, but the maturity of its subject matter makes it valuable for older audiences as well. Major themes include survival of the fittest, civilization versus nature, and fate versus free will.
One night at Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean and greedy man, gets a visit from the ghost of his dead business partner. The ghost warns him about the awful punishment that awaits if he continues to live his life selfishly. The next three nights, Scrooge is visited by three separate spirits who confront him with Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Will the horrors and the joy Scrooge sees make him change his ways? Adapted for film and television more times than any other Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol (1843) is one of the most famous Christmas stories ever told. In the popular 2009 animated film, Jim Carrey voices the grouchy main character alongside Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Warm, empathetic, and socially aware, this classic novella is bound to put any listener in the proper Christmas mood.
Sense and Sensibility (1811) was Jane Austens first published novel. When their father dies the Dashwood sisters and their mother find themselves destitute and soon, under the influence of his greedy wife Fanny, their half-brother John forces them out of their home in Sussex and the bereaved women have to move to a distant relatives cottage in Devonshire. The two oldest sisters Elinor and Marianne struggle with their newfound lower status, as they fall in love and face heartbreak. Elinor is responsible and restrained whilst Marianne is passionately romantic but both have to meet societys expectations of respectable young ladies despite their hardships. As Austen writes, 'Young women who have no economic or political power must attend to the serious business of contriving material security'. Like Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Sense and Sensibility features Austens trademark witty writing and was, amongst other, turned into the award-winning eponymous 1995 movie, featuring Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman.
When Lemuel Gulliver wakes up on an island after a shipwreck, tied on his hands and feet and with arrows pointed at him, you would think all hope is lost. But his captors are the size of a finger, their rope is as thin as thread, and their tiny arrows barely break the surface of his skin. This is not even as absurd as it gets on Gulliver`s travels at sea, but, hilariously, he has no emotional response to any of it. Jonathan Swift`s `Gulliver`s Travels` (1726) is political satire at its best. Published shortly after Daniel Defoe`s `Robinson Crusoe`, it offers a very different view on humankind than Defoe`s optimistic account, poking fun and in doing so opening the door for wider discussions.
Before its 1902 publication, Heart of Darkness appeared as a three part series (1899) in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the '100 best novels' and part of the Western canon. The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the African natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium's King Leopold II. In the story, Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region.
When an old sea captain dies mysteriously in his parent`s inn, young Jim Hawkins finds a treasure map in the captain`s possessions that will spark a wild and adventures treasure hunt. Joined by a handful of untrustworthy pirates, he meets the antagonistic Long John Silver, a character whose fame transcends the tale. With Treasure Island (1883), author Robert Louis Stevenson invented the modern image of the pirate, without which we likely wouldn`t have experienced Johnny Depp as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. For more than a hundred years, Treasure Island has been finding its way to the screen. The first non-silent movie adaptation was directed by Victor Fleming, the director of The Wizard of Oz (1939).
The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in February 1826. It is the second book of the Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy and the best known. The Pathfinder, published 14 years later in 1840, is its sequel.
"True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid..." Dorothy is in a bit of a pickle. Her house has been swept away in a vicious tornado with just herself and her dog inside, and when she walks out the front door again, she finds that she is not in Kansas anymore. She is in the mysterious lands of Oz. Along with her new friends, a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion, she sets out to find the Wizard, who is said to know how to get her home. But the Wicked Witch of the West has other plans for her. Inspired in part by 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', `The Wonderful Wizard of Oz` (1900) is one of the most beloved children`s books of all time. It is highly associated with the iconic 1939 movie adaptation staring Judy Garland in which she sings the Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow".
The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley. The classic story of how Rat, Mole, and the other river bankers saved Toad from his excesses. This book has it all: excitement, sentiment, destruction of private property (plenty of that), paganism, and a happy ending. The prose is beautiful and occasionally requires the use of a dictionary. Written as a children's story, The Wind in the Willows is enjoyed by many grown ups who relish Grahame's ability to evoke the long summer days of childhood.
Sara Crewe is devastated when the news of her beloved father`s death in India reaches her at her boarding school in London. Miss Minchin, the heartless and greedy headmistress, immediately moves Sara to the attic and forces her to become her servant. Despite being used to luxury, Sara quickly adjusts to her new life and never stops being kind and polite to everyone. Little does she now that someone out there is looking for her, and they might be much closer than they think.
Author Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett - most famous for her novel The Secret Garden (1911) - originally wrote A Little Princess as a short story, and later a play, finally turning it into a novel on her publisher`s recommendation in 1905. As smart and imaginative as Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, Sara has been winning over readers for over a hundred years, and A Little Princess is considered one of the best children`s stories of all time.
"I thinkSilas Marnerholds a higher place than any of the author's works," said Henry James of this classic George Eliot novel. When a little girl wanders into a random house one cold night, the lives of two different men are about to change dramatically. The house is owned by the town outsider, Silas Marner, and upon finding the girl`s mother dead in the snow, he decides to adopt her. Little does he know that the girl`s biological father is the rich Godfrey Cass, who now considers himself off the hook and free to marry the girl he loves. Published in 1862, Silas Marneris a simple and subtle story that explores the relationship between the individual and the community.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," writes Charles Dickens in the opening of this dark and meaningful classic novel. It is the year 1775 and Jarvis Lorry is tasked with a secret mission for his employer. 17-year-old Lucie Manette joins him on his travels from London to Paris and is shocked to learn that her father is alive and has been released from eighteen years in a Paris prison. Set in the two metropolises just prior (and during) the French Revolution, Dickens paints a distinct picture of the social and political events of the time. `A Tale of Two Cities` is masterfully written, includes Dickens' perhaps greatest villain, and ties up everything in an especially satisfying ending.
In a time when poor Irish families struggled to feed their children, Jonathan Swift wrote an essay, which he published anonymously, making a few suggestions. He called it `A Modest Proposal` (1729) or `A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick.`The solution was simple: Fatten up the undernourished children and sell them as food for the rich. Everybody wins! Though written in a serious tone, the humour in this essay is undeniable, and so is its mocking of the heartless attitudes towards poor people.
"I returned to the City about three o`clock on that Monday afternoon pretty well disgusted with life. I had been three months in the Old Country, and was fed up with it." So opens John Buchans The Thirty-Nine Steps and with it he creates a whole new genre: the adventure novel. Richard Hannay, the protagonist, finds himself reluctantly drawn into a chain of events that drags him away from the civilisation of London and into the Scottish wilderness, where he is chased both by villains and by policemen.
This book has been adapted countless times, the most famous one certainly being Alfred Hitchcock`s 1935 version. Full of excitement and good humour, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a modern classic you`ll never want to put down.