Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Click here to Read book online free


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Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

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Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare


The Merchant of Venice: Introduction

Written sometime between 1596 and 1598, The Merchant of Venice is classified as both an early Shakespearean comedy (more specifically, as a "Christian comedy") and as one of the Bard's problem plays; it is a work in which good triumphs over evil, but serious themes are examined and some issues remain unresolved.

In Merchant, Shakespeare wove together two ancient folk tales, one involving a vengeful, greedy creditor trying to exact a pound of flesh, the other involving a marriage suitor's choice among three chests and thereby winning his (or her) mate. Shakespeare's treatment of the first standard plot scheme centers around the villain of Merchant, the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who seeks a literal pound of flesh from his Christian opposite, the generous, faithful Antonio. Shakespeare's version of the chest-choosing device revolves around the play's Christian heroine Portia, who steers her lover Bassanio toward the correct humble casket and then successfully defends his bosom friend Antonio from Shylock's horrid legal suit.

In the modern, post-Holocaust readings of Merchant, the problem of anti-Semitism in the play has loomed large. A close reading of the text must acknowledge that Shylock is a stereotypical caricature of a cruel, money-obsessed medieval Jew, but it also suggests that Shakespeare's intentions in Merchant were not primarily anti-Semitic. Indeed, the dominant thematic complex in The Merchant of Venice is much more universal than specific religious or racial hatred; it spins around the polarity between the surface attractiveness of gold and the Christian qualities of mercy and compassion that lie beneath the flesh.

The Merchant of Venice Summary
Summary of the Play
Bassanio, a Venetian nobleman with financial difficulties, wishes to compete for the hand of Portia, a wealthy heiress of Belmont, in order to restore his fortune. He asks his friend Antonio, a successful merchant of Venice, to loan him the money necessary to undertake such an attempt. Antonio agrees, but, as all of his assets are tied up at sea, he will have to use his credit in order to obtain the money for his friend. They go to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender and enemy of Antonio's. Shylock agrees to lend them 3000 ducats, but only if Antonio will sign a bond offering the usurer a pound of his flesh if the loan is not repaid in three months' time. Despite Bassanio's misgivings, Antonio assents to the arrangement.

Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia laments to her serving woman, Nerissa, the terms of her late father's will. They state that whoever seeks to marry Portia must solve the riddle of the three caskets—one gold, one silver, one lead, each with an inscription—or, failing in the attempt, agree to remain a bachelor for the rest of his days. Various suitors attempt the test and fail, until Bassanio arrives. Portia favors him and is delighted when he succeeds. His man, Gratiano, also proposes to Nerissa. She accepts.


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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Read more books online free

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Click here to read more online books free Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Pride and Prejudice (disambiguation).
Pride and Prejudice  

Author(s) Jane Austen
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Novel of manners, Satire
Publisher T. Egerton, Whitehall
Publication date 28 January 1813
Media type Print (Hardback, 3 volumes)
OCLC Number 38659585 
Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books' such as The Big Read.[1] It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide



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Plot summary

The narrative opens with Mr Bingley, a wealthy, charming and social young bachelor, moving into Netherfield house in the neighbourhood of the Bennet family. Mr Bingley is soon well received, while his friend Mr Darcy makes a less favorable first impression by appearing proud and condescending at a ball that they attend. Mr Bingley singles out Elizabeth's elder sister, Jane, for particular attention, and it soon becomes apparent that they have formed an attachment to each other. By contrast, Darcy slights Elizabeth, who overhears and jokes about it despite feeling a budding resentment.
On paying a visit to Mr Bingley's sister, Jane is caught in a heavy downpour, catches cold, and is forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth arrives to nurse her sister and is thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who begins to perceive his attachment to her.


Illustration by Hugh Thomson representing Mr Collins protesting that he never reads novels.
Mr Collins, a clergyman, pays a visit to the Bennets. Mr Bennet and Elizabeth are much amused by his obsequious veneration of his employer, the noble Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as well as by his self-important and pedantic nature. It soon becomes apparent that Mr Collins has come to Longbourn to choose a wife from among the Bennet sisters and Elizabeth has been singled out. At the same time, Elizabeth forms an acquaintance with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who claims to have been very seriously mistreated by Mr Darcy, despite having been a ward of Mr Darcy's father. This tale, and Elizabeth's attraction to Mr Wickham, adds fuel to her dislike of Mr Darcy.
At a ball given by Mr Bingley at Netherfield, Mr Darcy becomes aware of a general expectation that Mr Bingley and Jane will marry, and the Bennet family, with the exception of Jane and Elizabeth, make a public display of poor manners and decorum. The following morning, Mr Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who refuses him, much to her mother's distress. Mr Collins recovers and promptly becomes engaged to Elizabeth's close friend Charlotte, a homely woman with few prospects. Mr Bingley abruptly quits Netherfield and returns to London, and Elizabeth is convinced that Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley's sister have conspired to separate him from Jane.
In the spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Mr Collins in Kent. Elizabeth and her hosts are frequently invited to Rosings Park, home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy's aunt; coincidentally, Darcy also arrives to visit. Darcy again finds himself attracted to Elizabeth and impetuously proposes to her. Elizabeth, however, has just learned of Darcy's role in separating Mr Bingley from Jane from his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. She angrily rebukes him, and a heated discussion follows; she charges him with destroying her sister's happiness, with treating Mr Wickham disgracefully, and with having conducted himself towards her in an ungentleman-like manner. Mr Darcy, shocked, ultimately responds with a letter giving a good account of (most of) his actions: Wickham had exchanged his legacies for a cash payment, only to return after gambling away the money to reclaim the forfeited inheritance; he then attempted to elope with Darcy's young sister, thereby to capture her fortune. Regarding Mr Bingley and Jane, Darcy claimed he had observed no reciprocal interest in Jane for Bingley. Elizabeth later came to acknowledge the truth of Darcy's assertions.


Elizabeth tells her father that Darcy was responsible for uniting Lydia and Wickham. This is one of the two earliest illustrations of Pride and Prejudice.[3] The clothing styles reflect the time the illustration was engraved (the 1830s), not the time the novel was written or set.
Some months later, Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley, Darcy's estate, believing he will be absent for the day. He returns unexpectedly, and though surprised, he is gracious and welcoming. He treats the Gardiners with great civility; he introduces Elizabeth to his sister, and Elizabeth begins to realise her attraction to him. Their reacquaintance is cut short, however, by news that Lydia, Elizabeth's sister, has run away to elope with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth and the Gardiners return to Longbourn, where Elizabeth grieves that her renewed acquaintance with Mr Darcy will end because of her sister's disgrace.
Lydia and Wickham are soon found, then married by the clergy; they visit Longbourn, where Lydia lets slip that Mr Darcy was responsible for finding the couple and negotiating their marriage—at great expense to himself. Elizabeth is shocked but does not dwell further on the topic due to Mr Bingley's return and subsequent proposal to Jane, who immediately accepts.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh later bursts in on Longbourn; intending to thwart local rumour, she warns Elizabeth against marrying Mr Darcy. Elizabeth refuses her demands. Disgusted, Lady Catherine leaves and drops by to inform her nephew on Elizabeth's abominable behaviour. However, this lends hope to Darcy that Elizabeth's opinion of him may have changed. He travels to Longbourn and proposes again; and now Elizabeth accepts.

A comprehensive web showing the relationships between the main characters in Pride and Prejudice



Title page of a 1907 edition illustrated by C. E. Brock
Austen began writing the novel after staying at Goodnestone Park in Kent with her brother Edward and his wife in 1796.[11] The novel was originally titled First Impressions by Jane Austen, and was written between October 1796 and August 1797.[12] On 1 November 1797 Austen's father sent a letter to London bookseller Thomas Cadell to ask if he had any interest in seeing the manuscript, but the offer was declined by return of post.[13]
Austen made significant revisions to the manuscript for First Impressions between 1811 and 1812.[12] She later renamed the story Pride and Prejudice. In renaming the novel, Austen probably had in mind the "sufferings and oppositions" summarised in the final chapter of Fanny Burney's Cecilia, called "Pride and Prejudice", where the phrase appears three times in block capitals.[6] It is possible that the novel's original title was altered to avoid confusion with other works. In the years between the completion of First Impressions and its revision into Pride and Prejudice, two other works had been published under that name: a novel by Margaret Holford and a comedy by Horace Smith.[13]
Austen sold the copyright for the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110 (Austen had asked for £150).[14] This proved a costly decision. Austen had published Sense and Sensibility on a commission basis, whereby she indemnified the publisher against any losses and received any profits, less costs and the publisher's commission. Unaware that Sense and Sensibility would sell out its edition, making her £140,[13] she passed the copyright to Egerton for a one-off payment, meaning that all the risk (and all the profits) would be his. Jan Fergus has calculated that Egerton subsequently made around £450 from just the first two editions of the book.[15]
Egerton published the first edition of Pride and Prejudice in three hardcover volumes in January 1813, priced at 18s.[12] Favourable reviews saw this edition sold out, with a second edition published in November that year. A third edition was published in 1817.[14]
Foreign language translations first appeared in 1813 in French; subsequent translations were published in German, Danish, and Swedish.[16] Pride and Prejudice was first published in the United States in August 1832 as Elizabeth Bennet or, Pride and Prejudice.[14] The novel was also included in Richard Bentley's Standard Novel series in 1833. R. W. Chapman's scholarly edition of Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1923, has become the standard edition from which many modern publications of the novel are based.[14]
[edit]Reception

The novel was well received, with three favourable reviews in the first months following publication.[15] Anne Isabella Milbanke, later to be the wife of Lord Byron called it "the fashionable novel"[15]. Noted critic and reviewer George Henry Lewes declared that he "would rather have written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels".[17]
Charlotte Brontë, however, in a letter to Lewes, wrote that Pride and Prejudice was a disappointment, "a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but ... no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck."[17]
[edit]Modern popularity
In 2003 the BBC conducted the largest ever poll for the "UK's Best-Loved Book" in which Pride and Prejudice came second, behind The Lord of the Rings.[18]
In a 2008 survey of more than 15,000 Australian readers, Pride and Prejudice came first in a list of the 101 best books ever written.[19]
Adaptations

Film, television, and theatre
See also: Jane Austen in popular culture – Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice has engendered numerous adaptations. Some of the notable film versions include that of 1940 starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier,[20] (based in part on Helen Jerome's 1936 stage adaptation) and that of 2005 starring Keira Knightley (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Matthew Macfadyen.[21] Notable television versions include two by the BBC: the popular 1995 version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and a 1980 version starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. A 1936 stage version was created by Helen Jerome played at the St. James's Theatre in London, starring Celia Johnson and Hugh Williams. First Impressions was a 1959 Broadway musical version starring Polly Bergen, Farley Granger, and Hermione Gingold.[22] In 1995, a musical concept album was written by Bernard J. Taylor, with Peter Karrie in the role of Mr Darcy and Claire Moore in the role of Elizabeth Bennet.[23] A new stage production, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, The New Musical, was presented in concert on 21 October 2008 in Rochester, New York, with Colin Donnell as Darcy.[24]
Bride and Prejudice, a movie by Gurinder Chadha, starring Aishwarya Rai, is a Bollywood adaptation of the novel; while Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003), starring Kam Heskin and Orlando Seale, places the novel at a Mormon university in modern times.[25][26] The Off-Broadway musical I Love You Because reverses the gender of the main roles, set in modern day New York City. The Japanese comic Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio, in which the wealthy, arrogant and proud protagonist, Doumyouji Tsukasa, falls in love with a poor, lower-class girl named Makino Tsukushi, is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. A 2008 Israeli television six-part miniseries set the story in the Galilee with Mr Darcy a well-paid worker in the high-tech industry.[27]
Pride and Prejudice has also crossed into the science fiction and horror genres. In the 1997 episode of science fiction comedy Red Dwarf entitled "Beyond a Joke", the crew of the space ship relax in a virtual reality rendition of "Pride and Prejudice Land" in "Jane Austen World". The central premise of the television miniseries Lost in Austen is a modern woman suddenly swapping lives with that of Elizabeth Bennet. In February 2009, it was announced that Elton John's Rocket Pictures production company was making a film, Pride and Predator, based on the story, but with the added twist of an alien landing in Longbourn.[28] Also in production is the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies based on the book of the same name written by Seth Grahame-Smith, where the village of Longbourn is terrorized by zombies.
Also, in a first of its kind, Pride and Prejudice has been brought into modern times with Hank Green producing a web show based on the novel. Set in the modern day, it follows 'Lizzie Bennet' who is video blogging her life before meeting Bing Lee and Mr Darcy. [29] [30]


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Huckleberry Finn Notes & Analysis Click here to read more online books free

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn‚ Complete by Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn Notes & Analysis

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The free Huckleberry Finn notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 54 pages (16,029 words) and contain the following sections:

Author Information
Plot Summary
Characters
Places & Objects
Chapter Notes & Analysis
These free notes also contain Quotes and Themes & Topics on Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Huckleberry Finn Plot Summary

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is about a young boy, Huck, in search of freedom and adventure. The shores of the Mississippi River provide the backdrop for the entire book.


Huck is kidnapped by Pap, his drunken father. Pap kidnaps Huck because he wants Huck's $6000. Huck was awarded $6000 from the treasure he and Tom Sawyer found in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huck finally escapes from the deserted house in the woods and finds a canoe to shove off down the river. Instead of going back to the widow's house, he decides to run away. He is sick of all of the confinement and civilization that the window enforces upon him. He comes across Jim, Miss Watson's slave, and together, they spend nights and days journeying down the river, both in search of freedom.

While traveling on a raft down the river, Huck and Jim have many adventures and during many long talks, become best of friends. They find a house with a dead man. They end up stealing many things from the house. They find a wrecked ship, and go on it, only to be mixed up with murderers. They get away with money and some other goods. They get separated from each other in the heavy fog, but eventually find each other. A steamboat crashes into their raft and Jim and Huck are separated again. Huck has a run-in with the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, two families at war with each other. He is reunited with Jim shortly after this. Then, they meet the King and the Duke, and get into a good deal of trouble performing plays. The King and the Duke pretend to be Peter Wilks' long lost brothers from England and try to steal all of the money left behind in his will. They escape before they are caught. Huck finally gets rid of them, but is left to search for Jim, who gets sold by the King. He ends up at Tom Sawyer's Aunt Sally's house, where Tom and Huck rescue Jim.

Through all of the adventures down the river, Huck learns a variety of life lessons and improves as a person. He develops a conscience and truly feels for humanity. The complexity of his character is enhanced by his ability to relate so easily with nature and the river.



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