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The Castle of Otranto
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The Castle of Otranto is often referred to as the first Gothic novel. Which is fair enough, so far as it goes; Walpole’s novel did establish many key features of this genre, which has been popular with readers ever since The Castle of Otranto was first published on Christmas Eve, 1764. Like the Gothic novels, plays, stories, and films that followed it, The Castle of Otranto teases us by suggesting that the rules of the everyday world do not always apply, that sometimes only a supernatural explanation can account for everything we see. That idea—which runs against the grain of the assumption that the modern novel is all about realism—runs through books like Anne Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and thousands more works of fiction, be they written as stories or novels, or filmed for cinema or television.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Horace Walpole
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Charlotte Temple
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Charlotte Temple was the most popular work of fiction in the antebellum United States, and, even after it was supplanted by books like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Charlotte Temple continued to be widely read in America throughout the nineteenth century. Remarkably, many contemporary readers believed this to be a true story, rather than a novel. Or, perhaps better, they enjoyed thinking that Rowson’s story might true, or contained within it the essence of some kind of moral truth, even if at some level they recognized that it was unlikely to be a documentary record of actual events. So strong was this desire to believe in the truth of Charlotte’s sad tale that at some point in the middle of the nineteenth century, a grave stone bearing the name “Charlotte Temple” was laid in the graveyard of New York City’s Trinity Church. It became a tourist destination and a kind of pilgrimage site for the novel’s many fans. In 1903, a man wrote in to the New York Post with his childhood memory of the site: “When I was a boy the story of Charlotte Temple was familiar in the household of every New Yorker. The first tears I ever saw in the eyes of a grown person were shed for her. In that churchyard are graves of heroes, philosophers, and martyrs, whose names are familiar to the youngest scholar, and whose memory is dear to the wisest and best. Their graves, tho marked by imposing monuments, win but a glance of curiosity, while the turf over Charlotte Temple is kept fresh by falling tears.”

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Susanna Rowson
Date Added:
07/10/2017
The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
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The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is one of those books that we all know even if we have never read it. With his first work of fiction, Daniel Defoe–a businessman turned poet, journalist, and political propagandist–created a character who very quickly went on to have a life that went well beyond the pages of the book that first appeared, without build-up, fanfare, or even the author’s name on the title page, in April 1719. Robinson Crusoe was an immediate bestseller; the bookseller went through several editions in the first year alone. By August, Defoe had produced a sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a work that he wrote quickly in part to head off the possibility that someone else might beat him to it. Over the last three hundred years, the story of a person isolated on a deserted island or something like it, has been used by dozens, maybe hundreds of writers, who have made it a genre of its own, the “Robinsoniad,” a genre that includes satirical parodies like Gulliver’s Travels, children’s books like The Swiss Family Robinson, Bugs Bunny cartoons, television situation comedies like Gilligan’s Island, and science fiction works like The Martian. Robinson Crusoe, the man and the book in which he first appeared, has become one of the foundational myths of the modern world.The story of one man’s survival has become so well known in all of these instances that it can be difficult to see through the mythology to analyze Defoe’s original book and to imagine what its first readers might have noticed and found so striking. It is important to recognize, for example, that the book is told in the first person, by a narrator who never lets on that this is a work of fiction. Defoe’s name, as noted above, did not appear on the title page of the first edition (although it quickly became clear to those in the know that he was the author), or even in any of the many editions issued in his lifetime. Although the book is famous for the many years that Crusoe spends on the island, it takes a while for him to get there, and his experiences both before and after his time there are worth paying attention to for the way that they frame the central experience. Defoe’s prose is sometimes clunky-he has a tendency to shape sentences and paragraphs that would never pass muster with a modern copyeditor–but it is also capable of great beauty and insight, and rewards careful attention.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Daniel Defoe
Date Added:
07/10/2017
The Federalist 1
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AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the union, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Alexander Hamilton
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Of Civil Government" (The Second Treatise of Government)
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John Locke’s treatise “An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government,” often called simply the Second Treatise of Government is probably the most influential work of political theory in the English language. Locke’s essay was widely read in the English-speaking world of the eighteenth century, and his arguments about government, consent, and property rights (just to name three of its main topics) became fundamental to the way that western people have conceived of these ideas ever since. Locke (1632-1704) provided some of the intellectual underpinning for the American revolution of the 1770s and 80s; many of the writers who supported the revolt against Parliament and the British Crown, such as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, had read Locke, and you can see his emphasis on the need for government to have the consent of the governed reflected in their works.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
John Locke
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Of Plymouth Plantation
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Bradford’s account of the early years of the Plymouth colony remained in manuscript form until the 1890s, when it was finally transcribed and printed for general publication. This edition is taken from the Project Gutenberg transcription of the 1898 edition.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
William Bradford
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave
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When she published Oroonoko in 1688, Aphra Behn created one of the foundational myths of her period and of the century that followed. The story of the noble African prince tricked into slavery resonated powerfully with people in the English-speaking world for generations. This was even the case for those who never read Behn’s book. Behn’s work was adapted into a play entitled Oroonoko: A Tragedy by Thomas Southerne in 1695, and that version of the story–one that differs in key ways from Behn’s original–was one of the mainstays of the theater in Britain into the nineteenth century. Oroonoko was, like Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Jonathan Swift’s Lemuel Gulliver, a character who was introduced in a work of fiction in the decades around 1700 who would go on to have a long life outside the pages of the work in which he originally appeared.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Aphra Behn
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Rasselas
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This short work of fiction has been one of Johnson’s most popular and widely-read since its first, anonymous publication in 1759. It has been reprinted again and again over the last two and a half centuries. It seems a fair guess that over that time more people have read this book than have read any of Johnson’s other works, with the possible exception of the Dictionary of the English Language (1755); even there, very few will have read the Dictionary from cover to cover in the way that readers are invited to enjoy this short and very readable work. Originally called by Johnson “The Choice of Life,” it was first published as The Prince of Abissinia. Today, this book is better known as Rasselas; the evolution of the title is a story of its own, which will be discussed later in this introduction.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Samuel Johnson
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Robinson Crusoe
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The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is one of those books that we all know even if we have never read it. With his first work of fiction, Daniel Defoe–a businessman turned poet, journalist, and political propagandist–created a character who very quickly went on to have a life that went well beyond the pages of the book that first appeared, without build-up, fanfare, or even the author’s name on the title page, in April 1719. Robinson Crusoe was an immediate bestseller; the bookseller went through several editions in the first year alone. By August, Defoe had produced a sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a work that he wrote quickly in part to head off the possibility that someone else might beat him to it. Over the last three hundred years, the story of a person isolated on a deserted island or something like it, has been used by dozens, maybe hundreds of writers, who have made it a genre of its own, the “Robinsoniad,” a genre that includes satirical parodies like Gulliver’s Travels, children’s books like The Swiss Family Robinson, Bugs Bunny cartoons, television situation comedies like Gilligan’s Island, and science fiction works like The Martian. Robinson Crusoe, the man and the book in which he first appeared, has become one of the foundational myths of the modern world.The story of one man’s survival has become so well known in all of these instances that it can be difficult to see through the mythology to analyze Defoe’s original book and to imagine what its first readers might have noticed and found so striking. It is important to recognize, for example, that the book is told in the first person, by a narrator who never lets on that this is a work of fiction. Defoe’s name, as noted above, did not appear on the title page of the first edition (although it quickly became clear to those in the know that he was the author), or even in any of the many editions issued in his lifetime. Although the book is famous for the many years that Crusoe spends on the island, it takes a while for him to get there, and his experiences both before and after his time there are worth paying attention to for the way that they frame the central experience. Defoe’s prose is sometimes clunky-he has a tendency to shape sentences and paragraphs that would never pass muster with a modern copyeditor–but it is also capable of great beauty and insight, and rewards careful attention.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Daniel Defoe
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Samuel Pepys, from The Diary
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The diary that Samuel Pepys (pronounced “peeps,” 1633-1703) kept from 1660 to 1669 is the most famous diary written in the English language. In part this is because Pepys was writing at a fascinating moment, and, living in London and working for the government, he was in a good position to see important historical events take place in real time. Pepys began writing his diary just weeks before the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and he was even on the ship that was sent to bring Charles II back to England. He was an eyewitness to Charles’s coronation, to the Great Fire of London in 1666, to a terrible occurrence of the plague, and to the wars that England fought with the Dutch in that decade, wars that turned out to be crucially important to establishing England as the dominant naval power in the north Atlantic. And as an important figure in the administration of the Royal Navy, he became a participant as well in the machinery of the state.

Subject:
English Language Arts
World History
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Samuel Pepys
Date Added:
07/11/2017
The Silence Dogood Essays
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Benjamin Franklin was sixteen years old and working as an apprentice in the Boston print shop of his older brother James when, in April 1722, he began writing a series of essays to be published in the New-England Courant under the pseudonym of “Silence Dogood.” In his Autobiography, Benjamin remembered slipping these essays, written in disguised handwriting, under the door of the Courant, which James was publishing; he assumed (probably correctly) that James would refuse to print an essay from him if he simply asked or submitted it under his own name. James published the essays, which became very popular among the newspaper’s readers. Benjamin kept his authorship of the series a secret, even from his brother, until after he finished writing them in October 1722, at which point James printed an advertisement asking for “Silence Dogood” to come forth. Benjamin confessed that he was the author, which seems to have annoyed his older brother. It was not too long after that that Benjamin left his brother’s shop–breaking his apprenticeship–and moved to Philadelphia.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Benjamin Franklin
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
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Edwards originally gave this as a sermon in July 1741, and it was printed later that year. This text is derived from from The Selected Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, ed H. Norman Gardiner (New York: Macmillan, 1904) digitized by Project Gutenberg.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Jonathan Edwards
Date Added:
07/10/2017
The Spectator
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The Spectator is the most famous work of journalism of the eighteenth century in English. It set the pattern for a kind of essay writing that persists to the present day. Comparatively short but thorough essays on topics of interest to middle-class readers (politics, fashion, the arts), written in a clear and straightforward style without partisanship or professional jargon: this is a mode that is still standard in print and online journalism. A collaboration between Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator has in our time been credited with being essential to the formation of what the sociologist Jürgen Habermas has influentially dubbed “the bourgeois public sphere.” Habermas describes the bourgeois public sphere as being made up of private individuals coming together to constitute a public, in this case a public that was not affiliated with the government or the church, but an independent body that could discuss important issues on its own. Gathered together in coffee houses, over tea tables, or simply in their studies, readers of The Spectator were among the first to have a print publication that became a common frame of reference for middle-class English-speaking people; it set an agenda and a way of thinking about society and the arts that seemed derived, not from the aristocracy or the church, but from the shared world of the readers themselves.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Joseph Addison
Richard Steele
Date Added:
07/10/2017