Tuesday, October 6, 2009

1868: The Ring and the Book to Little Women

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Robert Browning. British. 1868. Poetry. The Ring and the Book. Based on Italian murder case; dramatic monologues by 12 characters, each from a different point of view. Title: gold ring is shaped by use of an alloy. Story in an old book (gold) is shaped by the poet’s imagination and interpretation.

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1868. Novel. The Idiot. Fate of a saintly prince in the world; he is an “idiot,” who cannot return women’s love and inadvertently destroys lives.

Wilkie Collins. British. 1868.Novel. The Moonstone. First detective in English fiction. Who stole the moonstone that once adorned a Hindu idol?

Bret Harte. American. 1868. Story. “The Luck of Roaring Camp.” Gold-rush miners’ false toughness. Miners adopt child of a prostitute. Flood. Kentuck dies holding the infant in his arms.

Louisa May Alcott. American. 1868/69. Novel. Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Heroine is Jo March, tomboyish, literary, who retires to the attic when “genius burns.” Pretty older sister Meg marries young tutor, John Brooke; gentle, music-loving Beth dies young; fashionable, artistic Amy marries Laurie, high-spirited friend of Jo, who will not marry him. Jo marries a kindly old German professor.

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