Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens. These are three of the most widely recognizable names in classic literature. But how much do you really know about the lives of these famed authors? The titles below showcase the lesser-known histories of these classic authors. Learn about Jane Austen in the words of those who actually knew her; discover the men of the Crimes Club, at the heart of which was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and journey through the world of Charles Dickens with a pictorial history that shows the complexities of the legendary author’s own character. Finally, the last title I’ve chosen to share with you today is a guide to to everything you’ll ever want to know about classic literature. All four of these titles are sure to delight and enlighten!
In the middle of the nineteenth century one of the vergers of Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen is buried, was mystified by the number of visitors who requested to be shown her grave. ‘Was there anything particular about this lady?’ he asked. There was no indication on the tablet marking Jane’s grave that she was a famous author, as her importance as a novelist had not been recognized at the time of her death and her grieving family did not consider it worth recording.
Jane Austen, a parson’s daughter who grew up in quiet, rural Hampshire in the eighteenth century, became a famous and much-loved English novelist. Drawing on a little-known family diary, family memoirs and letters, this book tells the story of Jane’s life largely in her own words and those of people who knew her. It also traces her development as a novelist and the growth of her reputation and fame following her untimely death at the age of forty-one.
Buy it here $14.50
Conan Doyle and the Crimes Club
On 17 July 1904, an intimate group of like-minded gentlemen sat down to dinner in London’s Great Central Hotel. They were united by one shared interest: a fascination with crime and the workings of the criminal mind. This meeting, occurring in the golden age of literary dinners and good fellowship, marked the birth of the Crimes Club, a concept that quickly developed into a professional and academic society boasting members of the legal and literary elite, with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes and gregarious bon viveur, at its heart. Until now, the exclusive nature of the club meant that little has been divulged about these aficionados of murder, but Conan Doyle and the Crimes Club gives readers a thrilling insight into the previously veiled lives of these celebrated men of the time. Recounting their detective investigations, spying escapades, and ‘criminous’ journalism that no doubt inspired Doyle’s own literary feats, Stephen Wade explores all manner of criminal activities that were examined and discussed by the club, ranging from wives buried in basements, to bodies cast into the River Thames, to lovers poisoned with arsenic. A lively and compelling read, Conan Doyle and the Crimes Club provides a unique window into the Edwardian clique of criminologists and gentleman sleuths. Welcome to the club.
Buy it here $29.95
Charles Dickens: A Pictorial History of the World’s Greatest Storyteller
Charles Dickens was a phenomenon: a demonically hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, a tireless walker and traveler, a supporter of liberal social causes, but most of all a great novelist – the creator of characters who live immortally in the English imagination: the Artful Dodger, Mr. Pickwick, Pip, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Lady Dedlock, and many more. At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried – against his wishes – in Westminster Abbey. Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children. This pictorial history will shed a new and alternative light on this literary giant.
Buy it here $22.95
Pocket Guide to Classic Books
Everything you need to know about classic literature in one handy guide by lecturer Maureen Hughes. Covering everything from the authors to the plays themselves and their common themes, accessibility is a key selling point, with factboxes highlighting key or curious facts about the subject. Its size makes it the perfect stocking filler for the Christmas market or at anytime of the year for those wanting more information about what they’re reading or studying.
Buy it here $19.95