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Adult fiction: Early writings

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Northanger Abbey

Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: (1817)

Catherine Morland is a young girl with a very active imagination. Her naivety and love of sensational novels lead her to approach the fashionable social scene in Bath and her stay at nearby Northanger Abbey with preconceptions that have embarrassing and entertaining consequences.

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Silas Marner

Author: George Eliot

Publisher: Fabbri Publishing Ltd (1991)

Falsely accused of theft and cast out by the religious community of which he was a member, Silas Marner leaves his home and settles in Raveloe, where he leads a solitary existence as a weaver. Marner's work is in great demand, and the wealth that he accumulates becomes his consolation for all that he has lost; but when Dunstan Cass, one of the squire's sons, steals Marner's money the weaver loses his only remaining reason for living. However, one winter night, a little girl wanders into Marner's cottage out of the snow, and the weaver's life is changed for ever.

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The Iliad

Author: Homer

Publisher: Unknown

Translation by Samuel Butler One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode in the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan Hector kills Achilles' close friend Patroclus, he storms back into battle to take revenge - even though he knows this will ensure his own untimely death. Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, of the domestic world inside Troy's besieged city of Ilium, and of the conflicts between the Gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of mortals This is no easy read. It is long winded at times, especially when listing men dying in battle, or crews of ships, complete with family histories. It only covers a few weeks when the Greeks are laying siege to a town, but it is epic in style. The interaction between the lead characters, the detail and depiction of war in all its brutality, and especially how the Gods intervene, being accepted and paid sacrifice continually makes it fascinating. However, many readers don’t manage to finish on the first attempt.

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