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Contemporary Authors: 1945 to the Present
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Contemporary Authors: 1945 to the PresentContemporary literature encompasses so many genres, literary forms, and themes that it would seem almost impossible to identify a unifying thread between them. Yet in the tradition established by literary heavyweights who came before, modern writers of all stripes and backgrounds have continued to entertain and to confront the social, cultural, and psychological realities of the times—including everything from racial identity to war to technology—with their own flair and insight. The diversity of authors profiled herein—from Toni Morrison to Sylvia Plath to Stephen King to David Foster Wallace—attests to the scope and complexity of modern society.
 
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American Literature from 1600 Through the 1850s
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American Literature from 1600 Through the 1850sFiercely nationalistic, the first prominent American writers exhibited a profound pride in the territory that would come to be known as the United States. Predating even the Declaration of Independence, much early American writing entailed commentary on the newly developing American society. This volume examines the literature of the country in its nascence and writers such as Poe, Hawthorne, and Emerson, who helped cultivate a uniquely American voice.
 
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Classical Authors: 500 BCE to 1100 CE
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Classical Authors: 500 BCE to 1100 CESince ancient times, storytelling has been a valued art form that enables traditions, beliefs, and lessons to be transmitted from one generation to the next. Epics such as Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid and tales such as those contained in the collected The Thousand and One Nights offer modern-day readers a glimpse into various countries and cultures, as well as different eras. The individuals and works profiled in this absorbing volume have withstood the test of time, remaining culturally significant and influencing authors and readers alike for centuries.
 
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Authors of the Medieval and Renaissance Eras: 1100 to 1660
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Authors of the Medieval and Renaissance Eras: 1100 to 1660As Europe’s religious, social, economic, and cultural identity began to take more definite shape in the medieval and Renaissance eras, so too did its literary identity. By capturing in ink the spirit of these transformative periods, such literary giants as Geoffrey Chaucer, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and John Milton laid the foundations for literature, drama, and poetry today. Readers will be introduced to these and other notable figures from around the world whose works have had an equally enduring impact on the global literary canon
 
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Authors of The Enlightenment: 1660 to 1800
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Authors of The Enlightenment: 1660 to 1800Reason, rationality, and reform were perhaps the biggest buzzwords of the Enlightenment era and the themes of much of the writing that appeared at that time. As thinkers increasingly began turning a critical eye towards accepted beliefs and practices, such luminaries as Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine took up their pens to illuminate the social injustices and injuries to personal freedom that pervaded their societies. The fascinating lives of these writers and many others—running the gamut from novelists, dramatists, and poets to satirists, social critics, and more—are profiled within these pages.
 
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Authors of the Early to Mid-20th Century
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Authors of the Early to Mid-20th CenturyStarting at the dawn of the 20th century, writers began experimenting with literary styles as never before. As perhaps the most far-reaching movement, Modernism swept across both the United States and Europe and has been embodied in the works of such writers as Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot. The existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett’s absurdist writings, and the range of literary output from around the world also reflect the spirit of the period. The lives and works of these and other authors from across the globe are surveyed in this absorbing volume.
 
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The Tragedies of William Shakespeare
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The Tragedies of William ShakespeareShakespeare's gift for writing tragedies was powerful indeed. His ability to create epic tragic characters-think Hamlet, Lear, and the star-crossed Romeo and Juliet-and scenarios is virtually unrivalled. Readers examine the Bard's major tragedies and their significance, and touch upon the state of theatre and dramatic performance in Shakespeare's England for good measure.
 
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