• Charles Dickens: fifteen lessons
    • Cost: $17.50

    Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities as a warning to the British people that the events in France could very well happen in the British Isles. As an admirer of Thomas Carlyle and being a disciple of Carlyle’s transcendentalism, Dickens concentrated his writings on the reformation of British society by attacking its shortcomings, particularly the inequalities of social classes and the use of prisons for debts and politics. Since Dickens wrote this novel as a monthly serial, there is a definite quick pace to it. Every chapter seems to have a cliffhanger that compels the reader to continue reading in order to see what happens next. While the novel can be accused of being melodramatic as times, overall the work is realistic and has the rare quality of appealing to both the mind and the soul. The study guide has many historical notes and a synopsis of the French Revolution and how the revolution even affected the United States seventy years later.

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    • Benjamin Frankin: nine lessons
    • Cost: $14.50

    Benjamin Franklin had an amazingly full life--printer, inventor, community leader, philosopher, and statesman.Franklin's autobiography will give you a small glimpse into the life of this great man. It is truly remarkable to see what one man can accomplish in his lifetime. Franklin's achievements can be credited to his self-discipline and superior work ethic. The reader will learn much about Franklin's practical philosophy. Franklin belonged to the Neo-classicists who valued thinking that was brilliant and paradoxical. Therefore, Franklin comes across with much wit. Regretfully, Franklin only made entries in his diary until 1757. Perhaps this ending of the journal was necessary for more pressing issues and projects.

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    • Mary Shelley: ten lessons
    • Cost: $15.00

    The best of all of the gothic novels. But Shelley's story is not just a horror tale. Frankenstein is the manifesto for Romanticism. The story has its setting in Geneva, Switzerland, Germany, and Scotland. Nature is a healer of wounds and provides a balm for the mind as the tale progresses. But the main lesson from Frankenstein centers on the monster's claim that he was created with a noble soul and that he desired love and appreciation. But Frankenstein abandons his creation. After being first rejected by his creator, and then by human society, when individuals attack and try to kill him, the monster states that he has a right to murder and to wreck havoc upon mankind. Thus, Shelley argues that man is basically good and that society is responsible for creating a criminal class. The anti-Biblical tenets of Romanticism are revealed to the student in the student guide.

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    • Jonathan Swift: four lessons
    • Cost: $12.00

    When Jonathan Swift was accused of being a misanthrope, or in other words, a hater of mankind, he flatly denied the charge by saying, "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand." To the casual observer, mankind and people appear to be the same. However, mankind is an abstract. It is easy to say one loves mankind. The same is true with one's wanting to help the poor, because there is no risk with being concerned about the fate of the "poor"--a faceless abstract that exists only in the mind. On the other hand, people are specific and concrete. Swift was brutal when he criticized specific actions of particular people, and he does it in such a way that the reader laughs about it. In short, Jonathan Swift is perhaps the greatest satirist that ever lived. The student will study "The Battle of the Books," "A Mediation upon a Broomstick," "An Argument against Abolishing Christianity in England," and "A Modest Proposal."

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    • Alexander Pope: five lessons
    • "The Rape of the Lock"
    • "An Essay on Man"
    • Cost: $12.50

    The man that set the literary standard for England in the first half of the eighteenth century was Alexander Pope. In fact, this period of time is called the Age of Pope. His poetry is marked by a precision that truly inspires. Pope does not appeal to the inner feelings of men, but rather to the mind and reason. The reader will be disappointed if he tries to find some hidden meaning in the poetry. Pope’s desire is primarily to instruct, not to inspire. This is not to say that Pope's poetry is not inspiring. It is, and Pope is a master at saying common expressions beautifully, such as "To err is human, to forgive, divine." Pope was careful to consider his audience, whom he called the "common readers." His works appeal to the man on the street, because he writes about ordinary people and their interaction with each other. In short, Pope is a rare example of a truly literary genius. This study looks at two of Pope's masterpieces: "The Rape of the Lock," and "Essay on Man."

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    • Jonathan Edwards: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50
    • Texts included

    Thomas Carlyle stated that debunking past heroes indicates a dying society. Today we see the founding fathers and other great men being criticized, castigated, and judged according to current standards. However, to really judge the character of a man, you should always learn what his contemporaries said about him. Perhaps no one has been more vilified than Jonathan Edwards, whether by Christians, or by non-Christians. Yet Edwards was highly esteemed by the men and women who knew him. Edwards is America's first philosopher because of his work and study of the natural sciences. However, his fame rests upon his role in the revivals that swept the early colonies. "A Faithful Narrative" is about the revival in 1734, which preceded the Great Awakening of 1740. Edwards points out that the need of people is to hear the message, "Repent!" Also included with this study is Edward's famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" preached during the Great Awakening. This sermon is a literary masterpiece for its analogies and similes as well as an example of the indisputable logic based upon the Holy Bible. The sermon also represents the model Puritan sermon with its teaching of the text, its exhorting of doctrine, and its urge towards application.

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    • Oliver Goldsmith: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50

    Samuel Johnson remarked that She Stoops to Conquer produced the great end of comedy-- "making an audience merry." Unlike his novel, The Vicar of Wakefield, which did not enjoy much popularity until the nineteenth century, Goldsmith did achieve an immense popularity with his play during his lifetime. The play is funny and amusing. However, like most drama, the audience has to suspend its disbelief for a spell. In She Stoops to Conquer, the reader may find it difficult to believe that a normal household can be mistaken for a common inn. The entire misunderstanding could have been resolved had Mr. Hardcastle introduced himself to the young man, Mr. Marlow. However, it is this misunderstanding and mistaken perception upon which the play revolves.

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    • Baroness Emma Orczy: fourteen lessons
    • Cost: $17.00

    The setting is during the French Revolution. A league of Englishmen has the French government befuddled because the league has rescued hundreds of aristocrats from certain death. The lovely Marguerite is a renown French actress who marries a very wealthy Englishman. The problem with Sir Percy is that he is a fop, and is typical of the leisure class of England. Percy is pretentious and not very serious about life or love. But Marguerite becomes enthralled with finding the identity of the "Scarlet Pimpernel" who leads the daring band of rescuers. The man that is obsessed with the capture of the Scarlet Pimpernel is Chauvelin, who matches wits with the allusive Englishman. This is a wonderful story of devotion to love and duty. Arguably, this novel has one of the most surprising endings of them all.

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    • Oliver Goldsmith: ten lessons
    • Cost: $15.00

    From Goldsmith’s writings, a reader can see that the focus centers on the simple agrarian life style of the yeoman farmer. This focus would be natural, since Goldsmith was born and raised in the rural culture of Ireland. Goldsmith and other pre-romantics had a cautious distrust for industrialism, while the Romantics had developed later a strong aversion toward the destruction of rural communities throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland. The Vicar of Wakefield discusses the loss of nobility, faith, and innocence. Oddly, The Vicar of Wakefield did not achieve any greatness until the 19th century. In his advertisement about the book, Goldsmith states, "The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth; he is a priest, an husbandman, and the father of a family." The protagonist is the sort of man that we can all admire. Through the character of Dr. Primrose, the reader will watch a man of honor try to combat the decay of his society around him by attempting to stay true to his own principles, even when he seems to fail to impress these principles upon his own family, particularly his wife and daughters.

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    • Robert Louis Stevenson: thirteen lessons
    • Cost: $16.50

    This story is about adventure on the high seas and looking for treasure. But also, this book is an excellent study about good against evil. Jim Hawkins is a brave young man who has more adventure in a few months than most have in a lifetime. A discovered treasure map brings together a most unlikely group of people. The ship's crew consists mostly of pirates. Had Jim not overheard the plot to take over the ship, all may have been lost for the treasure hunters. Jim finds a "Robinson Crusoe" on the island, who helps to defeat the pirates. Many memorable characters are in this tale including Long John Silver and his parrot, Captain Flint.

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