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Le Morte d'Arthur is a classic tale of loyalty, love, and death. Malory assembles some French and English Arthurian romances, along with some additions of his own. The outline of the story will be familiar to many, it is the source for many modern Arthurian authors, but modern retellings present only a fraction of the original Malory. First printed in 1485 it is likely it will be as well known and loved in another 500 years.
Written in 1651 during the chaos of the English Civil War. Hobbes formulates the case for a powerful sovereign - or 'Leviathan' - to enforce peace and the law. The work was publicly burnt for sedition and blasphemy when it was first published. Hobbes' view that man's essential nature is competitive and selfish is as challenging today as it was when originally published, the work remains relevant to the modern world and stands as one of the most fascinating works of modern philosophy.
Call of the Wild is London's most read book. The protagonist is a dog, but the themes and action are quite dark as it tells of the misadventures of 'Buck' and the breakdown of his domestication after he is kidnapped and sold as a sled dog.
The Golden Ass relates the ludicrous adventures of Lucius, a virile young man obsessed with magic. In his enthusiasm to see the use of magic he is accidentally transformed into an ass and thus forced to witness and experience the lives of slaves and the destitute. This is the only surviving work of Greco-Roman literature to give a first person perspective of the abhorrent condition of the lower classes. T. E. Lawrence carried a small copy of the book in his saddlebags throughout the Arab Revolt.
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