Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good mental machinery ought to break its own wheels and levers, if anything is thrust among them suddenly which tends to stop them or reverse their motion. A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad. ~ The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power; that is all. ~ The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. No one knows when Shakespeare wrote the play, but it first appeared in print in 1597.
The play features two star-crossed lovers whose deaths reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime. Along with Hamlet, it is one of his most frequently performed plays.
“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.” ~ Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- Quotes from Romeo and Juliet
- Romeo and Juliet at Amazon.com
- Shakespeare didn’t even know what a balcony was—so how did one end in his most famous scene? ~ The Atlantic
Bronte died in 1848 and Wuthuring Heights is her only novel. The review from the Atlas is typical of the response to the novel at the time of its publication.
Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story. There are evidences in every chapter of a sort of rugged power—an unconscious strength—which the possessor seems never to think of turning to the best advantage. The general effect is inexpressibly painful. We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity.
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If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. ~ Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Villette is the fourth novel by Charlotte Bronte. It was published in 1853. Bronte drew on her own experience as a teacher in Brussels in writing the novel. The book features an interesting mix of gothic and psychological themes.
I seemed to hold two lives—the life of thought, and that of reality; and, provided the former was nourished with a sufficiency of the strange necromantic joys of fancy, the privileges of the latter might remain limited to daily bread, hourly work, and a roof of shelter. ~ Villette by Charlotte Bronte
A Tale of Two Cities is the twelfth novel by Charles Dickens. The book was published in weekly installments in All the Year Round. The first chapters of the book were published in April of 1859. The last chapter was printed in November of that same year.
The book deals with the French revolution. It’s one of the two historical novels by Dickens. Barnaby Rudge is the other.
The idea for the novel came from a production of The Frozen Deep. In 1857 Dickens acted in the play and portrayed the character of Richard Wardour. (Dickens was interested in the stage and sometimes performed in amateur productions.) In the play Wardour decides that he’s going to kill Frank Aldersley because Frank stole his true love, Clara Burnham. Instead Wardour saves Aldersley’s life at the cost of his own. Wardour dies in Clara’s arms and earns her eternal gratitude for saving the life of the man that she loves.
In addition to giving Dickens the idea for A Tale of Two Cites, the play brought about lasting changes to Dickens’s life. Professional actresses were hired to act in a benefit production of The Frozen Deep. One of them was Ellen Ternan. She became Dickens’s mistress. Their affair lasted until Dickens’s death in 1870.
Learn More about A Tale of Two Cities
- A Tale of Two Cities information from our partner site, Charles Dickens Info
- Who’s Who in A Take of Two Cities from our partner site, Charles Dickens Info
- Get the book at Amazon – A Tale of Two Cities
- Get the 1980 movie version of A Tale of Two Cities
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. ~ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us? ~ Dune by Frank Herbert
Come what may, I am bound to think that all things are ordered for the best; though when the good is a furlong off, and we with our beetle eyes can only see three inches, it takes some confidence in general principles to pull us through. ~ The Stark Munro Letters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Anthony Trollope (April 24, 1815 – December 6, 1882) was one of the most successful and prolific novelists of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire.
Trollope was born in London. His father, Thomas Anthony Trollope, was an unhappy man. He wanted his sons to be raised as gentlemen, but didn’t have the means to make that happen. The money situation came to a head in 1834 when the entire Trollope family moved to Belgium to avoid being arrested for debt.
Later in 1834 Anthony accepted a position as clerk in the General Post Office in London. He worked for the postal system in various positions and locations until 1864.
Trollope wrote in his spare time and while traveling for his postal service job. His finished his first novel, The Macdermots of Ballycloran, in 1845.
Ride at any fence hard enough, and the chances are you’ll get over. The harder you ride the heavier the fall, if you get a fall; but the greater the chance of your getting over. ~ Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope
The Novels in the Chronicles of Barsetshire are:
- The Warden (1855)
- Barchester Towers (1857)
- Doctor Thorne (1858)
- Framley Parsonage (1861)
- The Small House at Allington (1864)
- The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)
Learn More about Anthony Trollope
- The Anthony Trollope Society
- Quotes by Anthony Trollope
- The Anthony Trollope Collection (The Barchester Chronicles / He Knew He Was Right / The Way We Live Now) – DVD set
- The Pallisers – The Complete Collection – DVD set
- Trollope by Victoria Glendinning – biography
Moby Dick is based in part on Melville’s experience on a whaler. On December 30, 1840, he signed on as a green hand on the Acushnet.
The sinking of the Nantucket ship Essex in 1820 was another inspiration for the novel. The ship sank after it was rammed by an enraged sperm whale.
Melville also drew on one other true-life event for the tale. An article in the May 1839 issue of The Knickerbocker told about an albino whale known as Mocha Dick. The whale was rumored to have 20 or so harpoons in his back from other whalers, and appeared to attack ships with premeditated ferocity.
Despite the popularity of the novel today, only about 3,200 copies were sold during the Melville’s life. He earned a little more than $1,200 for writing the book.
Though amid all the smoking horror and diabolism of a sea-fight, sharks will be seen longingly gazing up to the ship’s decks, like hungry dogs round a table where red meat is being carved, ready to bolt down every killed man that is tossed to them. ~ Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Learn More about Moby Dick