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Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best selling novel of the nineteenth century. The book is named for the central character and depicts the harsh reality of slavery. The book had such a significant impact that on meeting Stowe, Abraham Lincoln said; "So this is the little lady who made this big war". A product of it's time, the book is interesting also for it's illustration of stereotypes that even abolitionists could not recognise.
Utilitarianism - achieving the greatest good for the greatest number. Well-known Western philosopher John Stuart Mill proposes the concept of utilitarianism as a moral standard by which to judge actions.
In Utopia (1516) Thomas More concocts a place, an island, with what he considers to be desirable religious, social and political practices - a place very unlike where he actually lived. It is a place "like Plato's Republic, only better". Utopia is often discussed for its political ideas and is seen as the seed for communist political thought, it is a great piece of work that continues to generate political discussion. Thought provoking through the ages.
Vanity Fair was the first work that Thackeray published under his own name. Extremely well-received at the time, it is now remembered as a classic of English literature. While the novel satirizes society in early 19th-century England, Thackeray meant the book to be not only entertaining but also instructive.
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