Seattle Picks: British Classics
Annotation:In this sparkling satire of love and matrimony, all five Bennett sisters require suitable husbands, to the chagrin of their harried parents, and all available suitors seem somehow deficient.
Annotation:After accepting a position as governess in Edward Rochester's home and falling in love with him, Jane begins to suspect that all is not what it seems, and that Thornfield Hall is haunted by a dreadful secret.
Annotation:When Lockwood is forced to shelter with his unsociable landlord, he learns the tragic story of Heathcliff's passionate love affair with Catherine, and why her ghost still haunts the bleak Yorkshire moors.
Annotation:The satiric saga of the Pontifexes outlines the struggles of its conscientious, freethinking sons against the hypocrisies of wealth, education, class, family and religion in Victorian England.
Annotation:Rich portrayals of 14th century English life narrated in the richly descriptive, bawdy style Chaucer is famous for, these character sketches transcend time.
Annotation:In the first police mystery, the disappearance of the Moonstone diamond on Rachel Verinder's birthday spurs an investigation by the dogged Sergeant Cuff, who uncovers more than simple theft.
Annotation:A castaway marooned on a desert island, Crusoe survives a harsh and primitive existence for nearly thirty years, relying on his English ingenuity and the help of a man called Friday. Inspired by a true story.
Annotation:By turns hilarious and terrifying, this tale of a young man determined to escape the life of a common pickpocket and to better his chances in the world features truly unforgettable characters.
Annotation:The panorama of nineteenth-century provincial society comes to life in a multi-faceted story of its inhabitants who, like Dorothea Brooks, search for happiness in love and significant lives.
Annotation:Young Tom takes readers on a roller coaster ride through eighteenth century British life, after his sexual exploits get him into trouble with his adoptive family and force him to seek his fortune in the world.
Annotation:Three English newcomers to Chandrapore eagerly form a friendship with the educated Indian, Dr. Aziz, but jeopardize international relations when one of them accuses him of sexual assault.
Annotation:As with Job, disaster strikes Dr. Primrose's fortune and family, but he suffers poverty and public humiliation with gentle patience, relying on his faith, wit and good natured outlook.
Annotation:The fictional lost autobiography of Emperor Tiberius Claudius reveals his intelligence and political savvy, amidst a decadent, cruel and superficial society that thinks him a stuttering idiot.
Annotation:Disaster looms beneath the thin veneer of civilized good cheer in British West Africa, when a scrupulously honest native police official jeopardizes his honor for the love of a woman.
Annotation:When a fellow explorer goes missing, Allan Quartermain and his daring companions embark on a perilous search that leads them to ancient treasure in the heart of darkest Africa in this ultimate adventure yarn.
Annotation:While working in her wealthy cousin's house, Tess succumbs to his sexual advances. Will she bear alone the shame of childbirth and the condemnation of the man she loves?
Annotation:The creeping encroachment of European civilization on indigenous traditions is seen through young Abel's love for Rima, and their journey to her rain forest home across the dense terrain of South America.
Annotation:Both social critique and loving portrait of the everyday lives of urban dwellers at the dawn of the last century, these fifteen stories reflect the inherent self-sufficiency and strength of the Irish people.
Annotation:Paul Morel's domineering mother runs life up into his early manhood, and threatens to doom him forever unless he disconnects from her neediness and recreates himself as a man.
Annotation:Philip Carey's search for freedom and self-actualization goes tragically awry when he his dreams and his heart are shattered by a destructive sexual obsession.
Annotation:Madame la Guillotine hovers menacingly over innocents in French prisons until their timely rescue by a swashbuckling masked avenger, known to the world and even his wife as an ignoble and foppish Englishman.
Annotation:While the dastardly King John threatens to usurp King Richard's throne, Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades to reclaim his inheritance, save a maiden in distress and team up with Robin Hood to defeat the Normans.
Annotation:Fascinated by the quest for eternal life, Victor plays God when his unnatural experiments with cadavers bring forth a new being into the world, and then forsakes his own creation, with horrifying results.
Annotation:Eyewitness news reports and diary excerpts lend eerie credence to this nightmarish story of a shadowy man hunter who stalks London by night in search of fresh blood. Jack the Ripper, eat your heart out.
Annotation:In this brilliant social and political satire, Lemuel Gulliver embarks on four fantastic voyages to strange lands governed by tiny men, giants, pedantic fools, and an enlightened race of intelligent horses.
Annotation:Social vanity and inequity are on full display as the lives of five Victorians are contrasted, compared, and held to the light like trinkets at a fair.
Annotation:With wry humor and quirky characters, the author reveals the dangers of evangelical infighting as the incompetent new bishop, Dr. Proudie and the slimy curate, Slope, struggle for control of Barchester diocese.
Annotation:Lord Sebastian Flyte, worldly scion of the aristocratic Marchmain clan, indulges in the mad decadence of the 1920's only to endure the mordant hangover of the 30's and the ageless ennui of alienated privilege.
Annotation:Already uneasy about the mysterious bandage-wrapped newcomer Mr. Griffin, citizens of the town of Iping, wind up defenseless and petrified when his vengeful wrath takes murderous form.
Annotation:One day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to host a society party, proves to be fertile ground for fond remembrances, recriminations and musings on the life's splendid futility.