• Nehemiah Adams: ten lessons
    • Cost: $15.00

    While reading this book, the reader will be forced to re-examine all of the officially accepted "facts" about slavery as it was practiced in the United States, and particularly in the South. The past 135 years since the War against Southern Independence have provided the conqueror in that conflict sufficient time to weave his own tales and myths. The intended audience was the radical abolitionists, and Adams hoped to quell the zealots by revealing to them his experience in the South during his convalescence in 1854. Adams's conclusion was that the South was accomplishing more to end slavery without the interference of Northerners and that the South should be left alone to solve the issue of slavery.

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    • Herman Melville: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50

    Billy Budd is about a sailor's life onboard a man-of-war under strict martial laws. The reader may find the code of conduct overly harsh, but discipline onboard a warship is paramount to the readiness and survival of the ship and her crew. What makes Billy Budd a great book is the clear demarcation between good and evil. The Master-at-arms Claggart and the Handsome Sailor Billy are on a collision course because Claggart is everything that is evil and Billy is everything that is good. Another prevailing classical theme is the nature of justice. Like the book of Job in the Bible, this novel shows that life is not always fair. Even the innocent and righteous are made to suffer unjustly.

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    • Charles Dickens: thirty lessons
    • Cost: $25.00

    Philip Pirrip is a young man who befriends a convict, who falls in love with a beautiful--but hateful--girl, and who comes into a very unexpected fortune. Like anything by Dickens, this story is a social comment on the problems of becoming part of the leisure class. While Pip is sensitive to the needs of others, his good fortune almost ruins him. Another underlying theme in this work is the injustice of the legal system in England. The reader will definitely not wish to visit "Little Britain" for whatever reason! This work will affect all of the emotions: pity, fear, joy, and profound sadness. This novel has some of the most memorable characters in any literature.

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    • Jane Austen: thirteen lessons
    • Cost: $16.50

    Mr. Charles Bingley, a handsome bachelor with a good income, moves into a house near the Bennet family estate. The wealthy gentleman soon finds himself falling in love with Jane, the oldest of the five Bennet sisters, but his friend, the aristocratic Mr. Darcy, disappoves of his choice. To Mr. Darcy the Bennet family is socially inferior. At the same time Mr. Darcy finds himself increasingly drawn to Elizabeth Bennet, Jane's younger sister. The romantic clash of these two headstrong young people provides the sustaining theme of this delightful novel, which is one of Austen's best.

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    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50

    Longfellow represents a transition between the classical poetry of Europe and the new poetry of America. Even though he was a classicist in form, Longfellow is considered part of the Romantic school due to his themes that center on common men and ordinary experiences. In addition to this, Longfellow writes with an optimistic view of life and a love for nature which are also tenets found in American Romanticism. His narrative poem, Evangeline, recounts the removal of the French settlers from Acadia (Nova Scotia) in 1755 because the peaceful farmers refused to swear allegiance to the king of England. The other poems in this edition represent some of Longfellow's lesser known poetry, which include in part "The Skeleton in Armor," his six sonnets from Divinia Commedia, and "The Cross of Snow."

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    • William Wordsworth: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50

    Wordsworth is considered an anti-intellectual in that he knew that man was much more than just a reasoning being. According to Wordsworth, man was created to feel emotions and to enjoy life through contemplation about nature. Oddly, Coleridge criticizes the poetry of his friend by stating Wordsworth’s fault is to be excessively matter-of-fact. Indeed, for Wordsworth, there is little, if any, compromise with technology or urban life. To Wordsworth, people are better to trust the thinking of a little child than the scholarly ramblings of erudition. The peace and quiet of the countryside are much preferred than the din and confusion of the city. But most important, Wordsworth refused to be drawn into pretentiousness and materialism with its constant wanting, buying, and selling unimportant trinkets and gadgets. Indeed, as many critics have pointed out before, William Wordsworth believed life to be a fine art to be nurtured by nature with its simplicity. Obviously, there are assumptions about life that Wordsworth held that can be refuted from a biblical philosophy. Nevertheless, Wordsworth is the master of experiencing, living, and writing about the unhurried, simple life, which man undoubtedly was meant to live.

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    • Edgar Allan Poe: ten lessons
    • Cost: $11.00

    Poe excels equally as a poet, as a storyteller, and as a literary critic. Poe's writings, particularly his poems, appeal to those who feel deeply about life--not with the mind or with the heart, but with the soul. The sensitive reader becomes aware that something beautiful is happening in Poe's poetry and stories. The short stories in this offering include the best: "Ligeia," Fall of the House of Usher," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "Masque of the Red Death," "Pit and the Pendulum," "Tell-Tale Heart," "The Gold-Bug," "The Black Cat," and "Cask of Amontillado."

    There are forty-one poems which include "The Raven," "The Bells," "Annabel Lee," "The City in the Sea," and "Israfel."

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    • George Eliot: nine lessons
    • Cost: $14.50

    Silas Marner is an old miser who learns that developing human relationships is more valuable than collecting gold coins. As a young man, Marner is framed by his closest friend who attends the same church with him. After the church excludes him, Marner becomes very bitter and moves away to a country village called Raveloe in order to make a new start as a weaver. Marner becomes fascinated by the brilliance of gold coins and begins to hoard them. The most influential family in Raveloe is the  Cass family, part of the landed gentry. Godfrey Cass has a soul-wrenching secret that frustrates many of his hopes and dreams. This story is a classic example of the consequences of sin and how sin can create confusion and limitations for one's purpose in life. Eliot offers a good look at country life in 18th-century England.

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    • Frederic Bastiat: five lessons
    • Cost: $12.50

    The Law by Frederic Bastiat is the definitive work on the nature and purpose of legislative laws. This book explains concisely and clearly that the great aim of the law is to promote the greatest amount of liberty. If a government and a country truly valued liberty, one would think that every young student would be given this small volume and be required to memorize it. But since this is not the case in the United States today, this indicates that liberty and freedom are not very important values in American politics in spite of the lip service paid to such notions by newspaper editors and politicians. This study guide helps students to question the way things are done today and to have them apply Bastiat's challenge to try liberty instead of socialism.

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    • Henry David Thoreau: thirteen lessons
    • Cost: $16.50

    Walden; or, Life in the Woods is the record of Thoreau's experiment to live as cheaply as possible. Thoreau builds a small cabin by Walden Pond and lives there for two years. No doubt, Thoreau embodies the failure of Transcendentalism. While practicing the tenets of intuition and of love for nature with a healthy distrust for progress, Thoreau was unable to achieve the ideal. However, in Walden, the reader will be sympathetic because Thoreau touches a longing that is in everyone: peace and quiet. The author offers keen insight to common things in nature and finds wonder with discovering anything new. Thoreau never overlooks even the most mundane of nature's bounty. His comments are delightful and interesting. In addition to this, his philosophy of life does challenge readers to reevaluate their systems of values and beliefs.

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    • Emily Bronte: fifteen lessons
    • Cost: $17.50

    Wuthering Heights is the only novel that Emily Brontë ever wrote. Under the male pseudonym of "Ellis Bell," Brontë writes a very powerful story about love, hate, sorrow, and death, the stuff of which life is composed. The tale covers thirty years and is narrated by Mr. Lockwood and later, Ellen Dean, a faithful housekeeper, who is an important character in the story. Brontë is clearly in the Romantic school as her love of nature is very apparent in her work. The reader will also see other tenets of Romanticism in Wuthering Heights, including a gothic setting, supernatural appearances, and a study of the common man. First and foremost, Wuthering Heights is a love story, perhaps one of the strangest love stories of all times. Yet, underlying this story are striking contrasts between social classes and acceptable behavior. As for characters, Heathcliff is difficult to classify. He is not entirely a hero, yet he is not entirely a villain, because he does possess some admirable qualities. At times, Heathcliff is to be pitied, and at other times to be hated. Perhaps, if there is a hero in Wuthering Heights, it has to be Ellen Dean. However, Nelly has her flaws, and in some cases, she helps aggravate the troubles, rather than alleviating them.

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