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British Literature Books

British Literature Books

Thomas Hardy was shy to a fault. He surrounded his house, Max Gate, with a dense curtain of trees, shunned publicity and investigative reporters, and when visitors arrived unexpectedly he slipped quietly out of the back door in order to avoid them. Furthermore, following the death of his first wife Emma, he burnt, page by page, a book-length manuscript of hers entitled "What I think of my husband", together with letters, notebooks, and diaries - both his and hers. This behaviour of Hardy's therefore begs the question: did he have something to hide, and if so, did this 'something' relate to his relationship with Emma? "Thomas Hardy: Behind the Mask" pierces the veil of secrecy which Hardy deliberately drew over his life, to find out why his life was so filled with anguish, and to discover how this led to the creation of some of the finest novels and poems in the English language.

In the 1930s, writers associated with the Communist Party of Great Britain set out to transform English culture. Creating a substantial body of Marxist literary criticism, and drawing on ideas from their own cultural traditions and from the Soviet Union, critics such as Christopher Caudwell, Alick West and Ralph Fox showed how Marxism could play a major role in analysing literature and its place in society. This book is the first full-length study of the British communist critics of the Thirties. Seeking to relate Marxist literary criticism to the broader history of the communist movement, it shows how the work of the leading critics both reflected and subverted the left-wing orthodoxies of the day.

The Victorian era produced many famous writers and poets, including Dickens, Thackeray, H.G. Wells and Tennyson. Magazines like The Strand launched famous creations such as Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, whose cliff-hanger stories were told in part-works to add to the excitement.The poetry was epic, Tennyson’s Morte d’Arthur and The Lady of Shalott tapped into the Pre-Raphaelite style so popular in the art of the day. Russell James has explored the role of the Victorian writer and their genres, from Dickens’ desire to correct social wrongs and expose poverty to H.G. Wells’ desire to escape the modern world. The responsibility of the Victorian poet is also revealed from romantic declaration and escapism to heroism and historical commemorations – would modern generations know about the Charge of the Light Brigade if Tennyson hadn’t immortalised it? Together with A-Zs of writers and poets, this is a must-read book for everyone who loves good writing and wants to discover more.

Between about 1880 and the end of the First World War there was a widespread and multi-faceted revival in traditional handcrafts in the Lake District. Inspired initially by the teachings of John Ruskin, pioneers such as Albert Fleming, Marian Twelves, and Hardwicke and Edith Rawnsley established workshops in Keswick, Kendal and elsewhere to produce textiles (especially linen and lace), woodwork and metalwork made by hand by local craftsmen and women. Their output found a ready market both locally and nationally and formed the basis of a series of highly successful art exhibitions, notably those at Kendal in 1891 and 1899. The Lakeland arts revival has hitherto been neglected by writers more concerned with national developments in this period, or else wrongly regarded as part of the Arts and Crafts Movement, whereas it developed earlier and independently, springing from essentially local roots. This new study, based on the author's Manchester University Ph.D. thesis, for the first time gives proper weight to the Lakeland revival and rescues a number of important figures from undeserved obscurity.

An entirely new kind of biography, Oscar’s Books explores the personality of Oscar Wilde through his reading. For Wilde, as for many people, reading could be as powerful and transformative an experience as falling in love. He referred to the volumes that radically altered his vision of the world as his ‘golden books’; he gave books as gifts – often as part of his seduction campaigns of young men; and sometimes he literally ate books, tearing off corners of paper and chewing them as he read. Wilde’s beloved book collection was sold at the time of his trials to pay creditors and legal costs. Thomas Wright, in the course of his intensive researches, has hunted down many of the missing volumes which contain revealing markings and personal annotations, never previously examined.

In this unique book, Keith Armstrong assesses the life and work of Newcastle born writer Jack Common, in the light of the massive social, economic and cultural changes which have affected the North East of England and wider society, through the period of Common's life and afterwards. He seeks to point out the relevance of Common to the present day in terms of his ideas about class, community and the individual and in the light of Common's sense of rebelliousness influenced by a process of grass roots education and self improvement.

They're called the classics for good reason. Whether they're a work of wacky imagination, a piercing insight into social and cultural traditions at the time of writing, or simply a fantastically absorbing story, all the books featured in "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" have come about out of people's desires to communicate a story, a message or a lesson. From much loved tales to off-beat cult fiction and the timeless classics of the nineteenth century, discover the influences on the authors, plots and characters of the books that really should make up part, if not all, of your library.Battle orks with Frodo and Aragorn in "Middle Earth", go on the road with Kerouac in search of freedom, get involved with questions of gender and androgyny with Orlando, immerse yourself into the full and expansive portrait of India created by Seth in "A Suitable Boy" and enter the world of Christoper Boone in his touching and amusing quest to find the killer of his neighbour's pet dog. All of these books, and many more are reviewed with fresh perspectives in terms of plot, the ideas that they bring out and why they deserve, above others, to be recommended and read.

When Agatha Christie, the so-called 'Queen of Crime', disappeared from her home in Sunningdale in Berkshire for eleven days on 3 December 1927, the whole nation held its breath. The following day, when her car was found abandoned fourteen miles away, a nationwide search was instigated. From a painstaking reconstruction of Agatha's movements and behaviour during those eleven days, Dr Andrew Norman is able to shed new light on what, in many ways, has remained a baffling mystery. Only now, fifty years after Agatha's death, is it possible to explain fully, in the light of scientific knowledge, her behaviour during that troubled time. By deciphering clues from her celebrated works, "Agatha Christie: The Finished Portrait" sheds light on what is perhaps the greatest mystery of all to be associated with Britain's best-loved crime writer, namely that of the person herself.

The life of Edmund Gosse was one of continuous contradiction. As he recalled in "Father and Son", he was a precocious only child brought up by his extraordinary father, whose thinking and conduct were dominated equally by the Bible and the "Actinologica Britannica", a study of marine life. Later, with inexplicable poise, he was simultaneously the intimate of Swinbourne and a sunday school superintendant, and public opinion divided in calling him the most discerning critic in England and a 'literary charlatan' with a 'genius for inaccuracy'. Gosse's rise to pre-eminence was rapid, and at his death he was acknowledged as the friend of Tennyson and Hans Christian Anderson, the confidant of Browning, R.L. Stevenson, Thomas Hardy and Henry James, and the champion of Ibsen, Gide and Yeats. In her biography, Ann Thwaite has painstakingly separated the facts from prejudice and rumour to reveal a picture of Edmund Gosse which can at last be called true to life. She refuses to ignore his many contradictions, but shows how they reflect the complexity of his singular genius.

Using a combination of newspaper cuttings and articles, Public Records information and other documents, this book gives a detailed account of the events leading to the arrest, trial and conviction of George Edalji - a South Staffordshire solicitor sentenced to 7 years penal servitude for maiming a horse in 1903. The author describes in great detail the background to what became one of the great miscarriages of justice of the 20th century.

This book brings to life the growth of the socialist movement among men and women artists and writers in late nineteenth-century Britain. For these campaigners, socialism was inseparable from a desire for a new beauty of life; beauty that also, for many, required them rejecting the sexual conventions of the Victorian era. From the early 1880s and well into the twentieth century, the efforts of these writers and activists existed in critical tension with other contemporary developments in literary culture. Livesey maps the ongoing dialogue between socialist writers like William Morris, decadent aesthetes such as Oscar Wilde and defining figures of early modernism including Virginia Woolf and Roger Fry. She concludes that socialist writers developed a distinct political aesthetic in which the love of beauty was to act as a force for revolutionary change. The book draws on archival research and extensive study of socialist periodicals, together with readings of works by writers including Morris, Wilde, Schreiner, George Bernard Shaw, Isabella Ford, Carpenter, Alfred Orage, Woolf and Fry. Livesey uncovers the lasting influence of socialist writers of the 1880s on the emergence of British literary modernism and by tracing the lives of neglected writers and activists such as Clementina Black and Dollie Radford, she provides a vivid evocation of an era in which revolution seemed imminent and the arts a vital route to that future.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936): short storywriter, author and poet, but also imperialist, racist, misogynist, and sexually confused? Kipling's life and experiences spanned exhilaration (growing up in India during the Raj) and cataclysm (losing his only son in World War I). He has been vilified as an imperialist and racist; his work considered 'politically incorrect'. Yet, he is one of the few, if not only, writers of the time to describe his world in exacting, caring detail - to tell us of 'the little man', whether private soldier, sailor or a poor native boy. Having lived a charmed early childhood in India and experienced a rather more horrid existence in foster homes and boarding schools as a boy, Kipling's early years equipped him with an imagination that allowed him to create such ever popular children's classics as The Jungle Book and Just So Stories for Children. Perhaps because his poetry was more straightforward and easily understood in a single reading, critics have not bothered to analyse it for hidden meaning and warning, looking for the irony behind the simple language he used. If he was truly a champion of British Imperialism, why would he turn down a knighthood and the position of Poet Laureate, yet accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907? Is Kipling the Man as simple to understand as his work or is there complexity hiding under the veneer? Would a committed patriot and imperialist pen lines such as 'If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied.' ('Common Form', 1919). This new biography sheds light on the man and places him in context as a sensitive artist of his time.

Kate Grenville's "The Secret River" was one of the most loved novels of 2006. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and awarded the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, the story of William Thornhill and his journey from London to the other side of the world has moved and exhilarated hundreds of thousands of readers. "Searching for the Secret River" tells the story of how Grenville came to write this wonderful book. It is in itself an amazing story, beginning with Grenville's great-great-great grandfather. Grenville starts to investigate her ancestor, hoping to understand his life. She pursues him from Sydney to London and back, and slowly she begins to realise she must write about him. "Searching for the Secret River" maps this creative journey into fiction, and illuminates the importance of family in all our lives.

British Literature (Student Book)

A high school study of British literature from the Anglo Saxon Age, through empires, wars, and world domination to the twentieth century. With this rich curriculum, your homeschool student will learn about the classic books and writers that make up the British literary canon and their contexts – learning from a strong biblical worldview! Provides thorough college-prep coverage of literature and literary analysis.

British Literature: A Full-Year High School Course uses a full-year’s no-busywork literature study guides to help build meaningful ELA credit. titles covered by these study guides include:

    by George Orwell by Robert Louis Stevenson by J.R.R. Tolkien by Charles Dickens by various poets by T.S. Eliot by Charles Dickens by H.G. Wells by Jane Austen

Click any of the above titles to view excerpts from the study guides.

Or click here to view an excerpt from British Literature.

NOTE: The books for British Literature: A Full-Year High School Course must be obtained separately this British Literature high school curriculum is comprised of the STUDY GUIDES ONLY to accompany the reading of the books themselves. Most titles can be found in your local library, or JUST CLICK HERE if you’d like to order new or used copies of these classics.

(Full disclosure: We are Amazon Associates. Purchasing through this link provides a commission to 7Sisters.)

10-Day No-Questions-Asked Money-Back Guarantee on all 7Sisters EBook curriculum.

Sabrina Justison’s philosophy of teaching literature to teens and tweens:

Some kids are natural bookworms some are not. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, “Do you LOVE to read??” But homeschoolers pretty much universally agree that teens and tweens need to read books. Why is it important for our kids to read books – good books, and sometimes even hard books! – and what are ways we can help them engage in the process, gaining rich learning from it…even if they are not naturally bookworms?

Here’s a thought: A book is nothing unread.

Something amazing happens when a reader opens an author’s book. It’s not simply that the author’s words are released from captivity. Instead, much more than that happens.

The author’s words are released and brought into an encounter with the reader. The ideas, experiences, settings, characters and relationships that poured out of the author’s mind and onto the page meet up with all that has been a part of the reader’s life to that point. Anything might happen in such a meeting!

How can we encourage our kids to read classic literature, help them actually get something worthwhile out of it, but also be honest enough to validate any frustrations they feel, and help them move beyond that frustration to something like satisfaction with the experience?

As our kids grow from early readers to late elementary school reading assignments, we focus a lot of attention on READING COMPREHENSION, right? Vocabulary must be mastered. Simple devices like symbolism or personification must be introduced. We have them answer questions to make sure they are following the plot. We have them draw pictures when they are young and write papers when they are older describing characters and their relationships with one another…all so that they will be able to understand what they are reading. And these are all good things – don’t get me wrong!

Comprehending what you read is absolutely vital to success as a student, and even to success in life as an adult. But there is a lot more to reading than comprehension. In fact, comprehension is only the FIRST level of a reader’s grasp of a book.

Reading for Interpretation is another layer, a deeper level of interaction with a book. When we read for interpretation, we are trying to understand the book IN LIGHT OF a particular idea. How different might it be to read Harper Lee’s classic story of the challenge to overcome prejudice in the Great Depression era American south if you were not encouraged to keep the idea of “prejudice and its damage to society” in mind as you read? Sometimes all it takes is a simple mention of an idea on which to focus teens don’t need to find every single instance of prejudice causing damage, but they may benefit from some gentle direction to keep their eyes open and pay attention when they do encounter it.

Inferential Reading adds another experience and set of skills. When we read for inference, we gain knowledge from the book and then reach a conclusion based on that knowledge. We try to predict what will come next, thinking about cause and effect. We ponder a character’s motives that are not clearly spelled out for us. The conclusion one person reaches may be vastly different from the conclusion reached by another reader.

It needs to be okay for a young person to learn something different from the book than what I learned, as long as he or she can take a reasonable stab at sharing with me HOW that conclusion was reached. Teens should get full credit for using their brains as they read, even if they reach an unusual conclusion!

Reading for Evaluation is yet another type of reading. When we evaluate a book, we determine its worth. This is a highly subjective process, and it can be empowering for students who are NOT natural bookworms when we teach them to evaluate a book and encourage them to articulate their conclusions.

The worth of book can be defined in countless ways. Pick one, and ask your student to evaluate it in light of a particular question. Questions like, “Even if you didn’t like this book, was it filled with vivid descriptions of a time and place you didn’t know much about before?” or “You may not have liked it, but did it give you a new understanding of the roots of Communism in the Soviet Union?” For extra layers of learning, you can give students a couple of different scales and ask them evaluate the book based on the two or three different sets of parameters. Often kids who thought a book was “stupid” will have a new way of thinking open up to them when they are asked to evaluate a book.

The literature guides I’ve written for 7Sisters attempt to lead tweens and teens into new types of reading experiences beyond simple comprehension, building skills for interpretation, inference and evaluation. In my experience with my own kids (some of whom were NOT bookworms!) and with hundreds of teens in our local homeschool community, these guides usher even reluctant readers into new levels of engagement with really good books.

I was thrilled to have Cathy Duffy review my American Literature study guide bundle and earn her glowing endorsement. You can read Cathy’s review here:

For some great info on specific ways to increase your student’s engagement with literature check out these resources on the 7Sisters website:

Over the years, this workshop I’ve taught to homeschool parents on successful ways to teach literature to teens has been really well-received. You can get the full transcript of my teaching on this topic in PDF format.

Printables for summarizing a book or analyzing a character – great for visual learners!

Have you thought about using a few movies as opportunities for literary analysis? Yes, it can be a legitimate way to learn in high school! Here’s how:

Do you have concrete, black-and-white, or literal thinkers who really struggle with moving to the deeper levels of understanding literature? This blog post may help:

Are you unsure about literature study guides altogether…like, isn’t reading good books enough? This episode of The Homeschool High School Podcast will give you a fresh perspective:

Like podcasts? There are SO MANY episodes of The Homeschool High School Podcast just waiting to encourage and equip you for the adventure! Check out the full library of episodes here at The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network…and see if some of the other awesome podcasts there might also be worth a listen!

If you feel uneasy about the basic requirements for homeschooling through high school, or want to read up on the most common transcript must-haves, Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has been offering current information and helpful data to homeschool families for decade in addition to providing legal defense for homeschoolers. Learn more about homeschooling high school with confidence at HSLDA’s website.

Queen Victoria embodied ideals of virtue, modesty, and honor. In fact, the term Victorian has in the past been almost a synonym for prim, prudish behavior. At the same time, London and other British cities had countless gaming halls which provided venues not just for gambling but also opium dens and prostitution. With the influx of population into the cities, desperate working class women turned to prostitution in attempts to support themselves and their children. Historian Judity Walkowitz reports that 19th century cities had 1 prostitute for every 12 adult males (quoted in “The Great Social Evil”: Victorian Prostitution by Prof. Christine Roth). Because of rampant sexually transmitted diseases among the British military, Parliament passed a series of Contagious Diseases Acts in the 1860s. These acts allowed police to detain any woman suspected of having a sexually transmitted disease and to force her to submit to exams that were considered humiliating for women at that time. Police needed little basis for such suspicions, often simply that a woman was poor.

Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Ruined Maid” reveals one reason many women turned to prostitution (ruined is a Victorian euphemism for an unmarried woman who has lost her virginity): in the poem, two young women converse. One woman, Melia, has left the farm to become a prostitute. When she meets a former friend, the contrast between the two women is pronounced: Melia is wearing fine clothes and is well fed and well cared for. The virtuous young woman, doing honest work on the farm, is wearing rags, digging potatoes by hand for subsistence, and suffering poor health. Hardy forces his readers to question what kind of society would reward prostitution while leaving the virtuous woman in abject poverty.

A History of British Working Class Literature

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Book description

A History of British Working-Class Literature examines the rich contributions of working-class writers in Great Britain from 1700 to the present. Since the early eighteenth century the phenomenon of working-class writing has been recognised, but almost invariably co-opted in some ultimately distorting manner, whether as examples of 'natural genius' a Victorian self-improvement ethic or as an aspect of the heroic workers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century radical culture. The present work contrastingly applies a wide variety of interpretive approaches to this literature. Essays on more familiar topics, such as the 'agrarian idyll' of John Clare, are mixed with entirely new areas in the field like working-class women's 'life-narratives'. This authoritative and comprehensive History explores a wide range of genres such as travel writing, the verse-epistle, the elegy and novels, while covering aspects of Welsh, Scottish, Ulster/Irish culture and transatlantic perspectives.


'A History of British Working Class Literature consists of 25 essays by more than 30 contributors hailing from the US, the UK, and Germany. This reviewer cannot imagine a more comprehensive commentary on this much-neglected topic. … This reviewer recommends every essay in this splendid collection, because singling out some is to implicitly and unfairly devalue others. … This collection is a must read for those interested in politics and literature. … Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.'

‘Goodridge and Keegan’s book is a timely contribution to the literary, social, and political study of working-class writing, emphasising the continuing significance of class in British society and literature.’

A History of 1930s British Literature

This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Online publication date: May 2019
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online ISBN: 9781108565592
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108565592
  • Subjects: Literature, English Literature after 1945, English Literature 1900-1945

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Book description

This History offers a new and comprehensive picture of 1930s British literature. The '30s have often been cast as a literary-historical anomaly, either as a 'low, dishonest decade', a doomed experiment in combining art and politics, or as a 'late modernist' afterthought to the intense period of artistic experimentation in the 1920s. By contrast, the contributors to this volume explore the contours of a 'long 1930s' by repositioning the decade and its characteristic concerns at the heart of twentieth-century literary history. This book expands the range of writers covered, moving beyond a narrow focus on towering canonical figures to draw in a more diverse cast of characters, in terms of race, gender, class, and forms of artistic expression. The book's four sections emphasize the decade's characteristic geographical and sexual identities the new media landscapes and institutional settings its writers operated in questions of commitment and autonomy and British writing's international entanglements.


'… a vast compendium edited by Benjamin Kohlmann and Matthew Taunton, full of penetrating insights into a decade one had previously thought over-explored.'

D. J. Taylor Source: The Times Literary Supplement

' …essay after essay shows careful study, archival attention, and a strong editorial hand … the editors have done a fine job of presenting an interesting array of research which certainly does some fine direction pointing for future research.'

Matthew Chambers Source: The Modernist Review

‘The range, intelligence, originality and scholarship of its essays make this a valuable collection.’

Alistair Davies Source: Textual Practice

‘The volume supports and extends scholarship that recognizes the decade’s connections to as well as departures from modernism, and that seeks to more closely understand the distinctive forms and practices, and broadening networks of writers and professionals in the cultural sphere, that emerged during the thirties … This volume showcases the breadth, diversity and vitality of 1930s cultural texts and producers (stretching the purely literary to other media including music, film, and radio), and offers an invaluable resource for students and scholars.’

Naomi Milthorpe Source: The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914–1945

British Literature for Average High School Students

British literature for average high school students is not only possible, it can be enjoyable. Not every title has to be 500 pages long with challenging vocabulary! Average teens can have a meaningful experience with British Literature by concentrating on ideas rather than length and challenge-level of books.

Here are 3 tips for helping your homeschool high schooler enjoy British Literature:

Read real books and poets, but choose those that have clear storylines, understandable lyrics and are at least vaguely familiar to your teen.

That is what the 7Sisters’ British Literature: A Full-Year High School Course is about. It brings to life British Literature for average high school students. The titles are familiar to many families. The study guides included are:

  • Animal Farm
  • Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • The Hobbit
  • A Christmas Carol
  • British Poetry Selections
  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • HG Wells’ The Invisible Man
  • Sense and Sensibility

It is important to not kill the book when choosing a text to guide average high school students through British Literature. Don’t allow busywork, killer-level analysis, and over-burdensome assignments. Allow an average student to enjoy the story and gather useful take-aways that may be applied to their lives.

7Sisters’ British Literature gives just that: a collection of no-busywork, accessible study guides for 8 different full-length books and a short, understandable British poetry unit.

This 120-page downloadable e-text will provide British Literature for average high school students and give them rich ideas and a chance to actually enjoy the subject.

Use audiobooks and family read-alouds for more challenging books like A Tale of Two Cities or Sense and Sensibility.

Audiobooks and read-alouds really help reluctant readers get into the text. Besides, listening to a good British reader is SO delightful! (There are great readers on audiobooks for The Hobbit, too, you should try it.)

    • You can often get audiobooks at the library or FREE on Librivox.
    • Choose You-Tubes and read-alouds for poetry. There is nothing like a great British speaker or actor reciting British poetry! You-Tubes videos can truly bring poetry to life for average homeschool high schoolers. I’ve got a Pinterest board where many great poems are presented by British readers. (Here’s a link to my Pinterest Poetry board.)

    How do you choose the poetry for your average homeschool high schoolers and not be threatening or overwhelming. 7Sisters British Poetry gives a very simple introduction to the great British poets.

    Use movies or televisions series whenever possible for more challenging books like A Christmas Carol or Sense and Sensibility.

    Many average high schoolers are visual learners. Whenever possible, show your teens a movie version of the book BEFORE you read the book. This is not cheating. It is leveraging your teens’ learning styles. Here are a few favorites that our teens suggest:

    • Sense and Sensibility (1995)
    • The Hobbit (Peter Jackson’s series)
    • A Tale of Two Cities (1958)
    • A Christmas Carol (watch several version- including Muppets’ version)
    • Sherlock Holmes (HOW many different movies and tv series ARE there? Want to have some fun? Watch several and have a compare/contrast discussion.) (This is a delightful BBC series that lasted for 3 seasons. The scripts closely follow the books. Relax and enjoy all 3 seasons! Then read just ONE book. Try Right Ho, Jeeves and do our 7Sisters Literature Study Guide.)
    • All Creatures Great and Small (Another of my family’s favorites television series from BBC. The early seasons are also very close to the books.)
    • Pride and Prejudice (Watch several versions and compare/contrast)
    • Treasure Island (Watch several versions and compare/contrast)
    • The Lord of the Rings (series by Peter Jackson)

    How do you turn all this into a British Literature credit for the homeschool transcript?

    Earning an average-level credit for the homeschool transcript is simple:

    • Read books (either by audio, read-alouds or actual reading the book by the teen). Here’s a post that guides choices on how many books to read based on age, interest and ability. There are also instructions in the 7Sisters Literature Study Guides.
    • Then log hours on study guide work, movies or television series, family discussions, and paper writing. Log as many or few hours as fits your family’s needs and meets any requirements that your supervisory organization advises (if you have one).
    • Don’t overdo it! You don’t need to keep up with the Honors-level students! It right to do what’s right for your teens. After all, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school.

    Studying British Literature will help your teens gain confidence that they understand their cultural roots. It will broaden their perspectives on life. Enjoy!

    7Sisters email subscribers receive periodic practical encouragement, special offers and NO SPAM EVER.

    Click the image above to periodically receive real homeschool value in your inbox.

    Rare Books

    Eighteenth-century Britain made important contributions to the rise of the modern publishing industry. It also saw the birth of writing as a full-time profession and the development of many of the literary genres and types of publications that are familiar today, such as novels and magazines. The LSU Libraries' Rare Book Collection, in addition to supporting research, contains many original examples of eighteenth-century publications that can be used as teaching aids for courses related to this time period.

    Listed here are the most notable or representative items in the collection. Many other works, including variant editions, are available. To learn more or to inquire about materials not listed, please explore the LSU Libraries' catalog or contact the Curator of Books.

    Collection History

    The core of the library's holdings of eighteenth-century British literature was acquired in the 1930s and 1940s, a period of growth for LSU&rsquos English Department. Additions were made between 1979 and 1986, when the North American team of the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue, under the direction of Dr. Henry L. Snyder, was based at LSU. Many works by minor figures and people previously excluded from the literary canon were acquired at that time, with the intention of providing materials for original research as well as context for more well-known figures.

    A current collecting focus are materials that support the teaching of eighteenth-century literary history. Works by women writers are also being acquired. A major addition came in 2005 with the purchase of a collection of the works of essayist John &ldquoEstimate&rdquo Brown from bibliographer Donald D. Eddy of Cornell University. Before Eddy's death in 2009, he also donated to LSU his collection of works by and about Richard Hurd and Archibald Bower.

    Examples of all of the major genres of eighteenth-century fiction are available.

    First editions of Henry Fielding&rsquos Tom Jones (1749), Tobias Smollett&rsquos Peregrine Pickle (1751) and Humphry Clinker (1771), and Richard Graves&rsquo The Spiritual Quixote (1774) are some of the more well-known picaresque novels in the collection.

    Epistolary novels include Samuel Richardson&rsquos The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753) and Fanny Burney&rsquos Evelina (1784). First editions of Burney&rsquos Cecilia (1782) and Camilla (1796) are also held. Henry Mackenzie&rsquos The Man of Feeling (1771), perhaps the most influential sentimental novel of the eighteenth century, is available. In addition to a second edition, the collection contains a rare English-French edition of Oliver Goldsmith&rsquos The Vicar of Wakefield, published in Revolutionary Paris.

    Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1760-67) is one of the most important works in the collection. In addition to its literary innovations, it is also a satire on the excesses of eighteenth-century publishing and authorship.

    Daniel Defoe&rsquos The Consolidator: or, Memoirs of Sundry Transactions from the World in the Moon (1705), Delarivier Manley&rsquos The New Atalantis (1720), and Eliza Haywood&rsquos Memoirs of a Certain Island Adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia (1725) are examples of the use of fantasy as political satire. A later work of fantasy, Charles Johnstone&rsquos Chrysal, or The Adventures of a Guinea (1760), is the most famous eighteenth-century &ldquospeaking object&rdquo novel.

    Samuel Johnson&rsquos Rasselas, The Prince of Abissinia (1759), its sequel Dinarbas (1790) by Ellis Cornelia Knight, and Frances Sheridan&rsquos The History of Nourjahad (1767) are examples of oriental tales.

    The Gothic novel is represented by works such as Thomas Leland&rsquos Longsword, Earl of Salisbury (1762), Clara Reeve&rsquos The Old English Baron (1787), and Ann Radcliffe&rsquos The Romance of the Forest (1794). The collection also includes two rare Gothic novels, Anna Maria Mackenzie&rsquos Slavery: or, The Times (1792) and Sophia Lee&rsquos The Two Emily's (1798).

    John Aikin&rsquos Miscellaneous Pieces, in Prose (1775) contains Sir Bertrand, A Fragment, an important early contribution to the Gothic genre, as well as his sister Anna Laetitia Barbauld&rsquos essay &ldquoOn the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror.&rdquo Of related interest are travel accounts and works on the picturesque and sublime that provided details and inspiration for writers of Gothic fiction, such as Henry Swinburne&rsquos Travels in the Two Sicilies (1783-86) and William Gilpin&rsquos Observations on the River Wye (1782).

    The library&rsquos collection of poetry ranges from canonical works such as Matthew Prior&rsquos Poems on Several Occasions (1709) and Mark Akenside&rsquos The Pleasures of Imagination (1744) to curiosities like William King&rsquos The Art of Cookery (1708) and collections of poetry in English dialects. Various editions are available of the works of most of the leading poets of the era much of the collection, however, consists of works by minor figures.

    Women poets are well represented. Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions (1713) by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, is an important work from early in the century. Among later works are Elizabeth Thomas, The Metamorphoses of the Town (1731) Mary Chandler, The Description of Bath (1736) and Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Miscellaneous Works (1750). Ann Yearsley, author of Poems on Several Occasions (1786), was one of the first working-class women to forge a career as a poet.

    Women&rsquos emergence into the public sphere is also reflected in works such as Anna Letitia Barbauld&rsquos Poems (1774) and Works (1826). Poetry by Anne Steele, Jane Bowdler, and Frances Madan Cowper is chiefly religious in nature. Although not written by a woman, a related item of interest is Edward Moore&rsquos Fables for the Female Sex (1749).

    Among works by the &ldquograveyard&rdquo poets are Thomas Parnell&rsquos Poems on Several Occasions (1726), containing &ldquoA Night-Piece on Death,&rdquo considered the first Gothic poem. Edward Young&rsquos Night Thoughts (1756) and Thomas Gray&rsquos Odes (1757) are other landmarks of the genre. LSU&rsquos copy of Poems by Mr. Gray (1768) belonged to the Irish playwright Alicia Le Fanu and later to her grandson, the Victorian writer of Gothic mystery novels Sheridan Le Fanu. Other poets of this school whose works have been collected include Thomas Percy, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith, and William Mason.

    Two of English literature&rsquos most famous &ldquoforgeries&rdquo are available: James Macpherson&rsquos Works of Ossian (1765) and Thomas Chatterton&rsquos Poems (1778). Other examples of Gothic or pre-Romantic poetry are James Beattie&rsquos The Minstrel (1774), Edward Jerningham&rsquos The Funeral of Arabert, Monk of La Trappe (1771), Sir Eldred of the Bower (1776) by Hannah More, and Charlotte Smith&rsquos Elegiac Sonnets (1800).

    Sir William Jones&rsquos Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages (1777), is a source for the study of the impact of eastern literary traditions on the development of English poetry.

    Political poetry spans the entire century, from Daniel Defoe&rsquos The True-Born Englishman (1701) and Jure Divino (1706) to Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin (1801), an anthology of verse originally published in George Canning&rsquos newspaper The Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner.

    Major Scottish poets represented include Allan Ramsay, James Thomson, William Wilkie, and Robert Burns. Anthologies of ballads and drinking songs compiled by Thomas Warton, Joseph Ritson, and Thomas Evans are a rich source of Scottish as well as English verse. More general poetry anthologies include the 1790 new edition of Samuel Johnson&rsquos The Works of the English Poets (75 vols., 1790) and a later supplement, The Works of the British Poets (13 vols., 1792-95), by Robert Anderson, containing verses by more than 100 additional poets.

    The collection&rsquos most notable Augustan-era play is the 1713 first edition of Joseph Addison&rsquos Cato. Nicholas Rowe, Thomas Southerne, William Wycherley, and Colley Cibber are among other early-eighteenth-century playwrights whose works are available.

    The collection is strongest in plays from the second half of the eighteenth century, with works by David Garrick, Richard Cumberland, John O&rsquoKeeffe, and Elizabeth Inchbald, in addition to dozens of minor figures.

    One bound volume contains plays with an oriental setting, including John Hughes&rsquos The Siege of Damascus (1720), David Mallet&rsquos Mustapha (1739), and James Miller&rsquos Mahomet the Impostor (1745). Similar works are Thomas Whincop&rsquos Scanderbeg (1747) and Sir William Jones&rsquos translation of Sacontalá or, The Fatal Ring (1792), by Kalidasa, &ldquothe Shakespeare of India.&rdquo

    Eighteenth-century editions of the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries form an important part of the collection, reflecting that era&rsquos renewed interest in Elizabethan drama. Several adaptations and imitations of Shakespeare are available, including William Henry Ireland&rsquos famous Shakespeare forgeries, published in 1796 as Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments under the Hand and Seal of William Shakspeare.

    Memoirs of actors and playwrights include classics such as An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber (1740) and David Garrick&rsquos Memoirs (1780). Less well known is A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke (1755), Cibber&rsquos daughter and a noted transvestite. Other works about women of the stage include An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy (1786), Alicia Le Fanu&rsquos Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan (1824), and a Life of Mrs. Siddons (1834).

    Of primary importance in the field of essays is the Donald D. Eddy Collection of John &ldquoEstimate&rdquo Brown and his contemporaries. Best known for his satire Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757-58), Brown wrote philosophical essays on miscellaneous subjects, as well as dialogues, sermons, plays, and poetry. Most notable among the works of his contemporaries are those of bishops William Warburton and Richard Hurd, whose Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762) influenced the early Romantic movement.

    Complete runs of the influential cofffee-shop periodicals The Tatler (1709-11), The Spectator (1711-12), and The Guardian (1713) include essays by Richard Steele, Joseph Addison, and Jonathan Swift. Among other works by Swift are first editions of A Tale of a Tub (1704), A Meditation Upon a Broom-Stick (1710), and Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1711). An early collected edition of Swift&rsquos works (7 vols., 1737) contains his &ldquoA Modest Proposal.&rdquo

    Various satires and &ldquosecret histories&rdquo by Daniel Defoe deal chiefly with politics and royal intrigue.

    Mary Wortley Montagu&rsquos Letters (1763-67) contains her letters from Turkey, which are among the first observations by a European woman about the Muslim world. Other collections of literary correspondence by women are Fanny Burney&rsquos Diary and Letters of Madame D&rsquoArblay (7 vols., 1846-48), collected after Burney&rsquos death, and Hugh Blair&rsquos edition of the Letters of Anna Seward (1811).

    Elizabeth Singer Rowe&rsquos fictional Friendship in Death: In Twenty Letters from the Dead to the Living (1728) was one of the most republished books of the eighteenth century.

    Horace Walpole&rsquos correspondence constitutes one volume of his Works (5 vols., 1798). Another highlight of the collection is Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), a black composer, actor, and &ldquoman of letters&rdquo whom opponents of the slave trade admired as a symbol of the humanity of Africans.


    Long runs of several eighteenth-century periodicals are held.

    The Tatler (1709-11), The Spectator (1711-12), and The Guardian (1713) published political and social news and gossip from London coffeehouses.

    In addition to topical essays, long runs of eighteenth-century periodicals such as the Gentleman&rsquos Magazine (1731-1833), London Magazine (1740-79), and Universal Magazine (1747-57) are sources of poetry, fiction, and biographical sketches of literary figures.

    The Monthly Review (1790-1817), established in 1749, was the first periodical in England to review new works of literature.

    Selections and reviews of Scottish and Irish literature may be found the Scots Magazine (1739-1802) and Hibernian Magazine (1775-1811). The Mirror (1786) and its continuation, The Lounger (1794), contain essays and reviews by Scottish writer Henry Mackenzie.

    Literary Biographies

    In addition to classics such as James Boswell&rsquos Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) and An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber (1740), the Rare Book Collection contains many other literary biographies.

    Samuel Johnson&rsquos Lives of the English Poets (1779-81) comprises short biographies of 52 poets, mostly from the eighteenth century.

    A related work dealing with women writers is George Ballard&rsquos Memoirs of Several Ladies of Great Britain (1752).

    David Rivers&rsquo Literary Memoirs of Living Authors of Great Britain (1798) covers the latter half of the eighteenth century and consists of brief profiles of approximately 500 mostly obscure writers, including translators and journalists.

    Search Tips

    Subject headings denoting literary genres are rarely provided in catalog records, which can make searching for literature in the library&rsquos catalog difficult. We recommend limiting your search to the Rare Book Collection as a location, entering a range of publication dates (e.g., 1750-1790), limiting the language to English, and using the &ldquowildcard&rdquo search feature. By truncating the ending of a search term with the $ sign, you will increase your search results. For example, the keyword or title search &ldquopoerdquo will locate records containing the words poem, poems, poetry, poet, poets, etc.

    You may also try a call number search, but beware that because of irregularities of formatting, some call numbers may file out of order. Also note that the Rare Book Collection has been cataloged using both the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal systems.

    See also the separate rare book guides to English Literature 1550-1700 and Classical Studies.

    The History of British Literature on Film, 1895-2015

    Greg M. Colón Semenza is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, USA. His books include How to Build a Life in the Humanities (2015), The English Renaissance in Popular Culture (2010), Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities (2005 2nd ed. 2010), Milton in Popular Culture (2006), and Sport, Politics, and Literature in the English Renaissance (2004). He has published numerous essays on film and adaptation and is now working on a book about Powell and Pressburger's wartime films.

    Bob Hasenfratz is Professor of English and Department Head at the University of Connecticut, USA. His books include Reading Old English (2005/11), Ancrene Wisse (2001), and Beowulf Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography 1979-1990 (1993). He has written articles on medieval literature and culture and edits the Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures.

    H.G. Wells, one of the world’s earliest and most celebrated science-fiction authors, created a number of unforgettable classics of the genre, including The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, The First Men on the Moon, and many more.

    A lush recording, featuring a full cast of A-list talent, updates Jane Austens masterwork. Emma Thompson, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, brings her empathetic intelligence and droll wit to her narration of Emma. Thompsons gifts shine alongside actors including Joanne Froggatt, Aisling Loftus, and Isabella Inchbald, who deftly voices Emma Woodhouse &hellip

    Watch the video: British Lit with Rosianna. Classics for Beginners. (January 2022).