Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Annotated Table of Contents: Novels 09

Don Quixote of La Mancha. Miguel de Cervantes. If you read Don Quixote for no other reason, read it for the abundance of proverbs uttered by Sancho Panza and by many others. Alonso Quinjano is a gaunt country gentleman whose mind is so crazed by reading romances of chivalry that he believes himself called upon to redress the wrongs of the whole world and sets out on his horse with his page, Sancho Panza, to do so.

The Pickwick Papers. Charles Dickens. Novel. The history of the Nimrod Club, the members of which go out shooting, fishing, etc., and get themselves into difficulty because of their lack of dexterity. In short, a club of klutzes. A mixture of wit and wisdom; the introduction of Sam Weller and his widow-hating father. The sheer joy in using language. Simply hilarious.

The Brothers Karamazov. Fyodor Dostoevski. Novel. Who killed Fyodor Karamazov? Each of his sons feels complicity in the murder.

Utopia. Sir Thomas More. One of the seminal books in the history of literature. “Utopia” is from the Greek, ou, “not,” and topos, “a place,” or “nowhere.” Written in two books in Latin. Book One presents analysis of contemporary social, economic, penal and moral ills in England. Book Two is a narrative describing Utopia, a country run according to the ideals of the English humanists, where poverty, crime injustice and other ills do not exist.

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