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Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1804. This birthdate and set tells us pretty much everything we need to know about Hawthorne: he is an American (born on the fourth of July!) And he's got roots in Salem (of witchcraft fame). Hawthorne became one of the earliest major writers in the United States, and he made his name at least in part by writing about the early colonial period in Massachusetts. This particular novel, The House of the Seven Gables, mixes a lot of......Read More
One chilly and misty evening, a tiny boy meets an escaped offender on the marshes near England's coast. No, it is not the launching of a TV crime drama (though it may be)--it is the beginning of one of Charles Dickens' most renowned novels: Good Expectations. With two chapters Weekly, Great Expectations (along with other serialized novels like it) were as close as Victorian England got to Breaking Bad or Mad Men. People waited patiently each week to the next "incident" to arrive at the......Read More
Welcome to Thebes, Shmoopers. The population of this town is pretty thickly doomed--when they're not sleeping with their own mothers (lookin' at you, Oedipus) or acting all high and mighty and assuming that their legislation is far better than the gods' (cough, Creon, cough cough), they're burying their brother when devoting their brother is forbidden--c'mon, Antigone; we've been over this. Antigone is the third volume in what is maybe the most messed up Greek tragic trilogy of all time:......Read More
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