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The Alexandria Quartet is a tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and commercial success, the first three books present three perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria (Egypt), before and during World War II. The fourth book is set six years later. The four novels are: Justine (1957) Balthazar (1958) Mountolive (1958) Clea (1960). We will be reading the first in the series, Justine.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a novel by novelist Muriel Spark, the best known of her works. It first saw publication in The New Yorker magazine and was published as a book by Macmillan in 1961. In 1930s Edinburgh, six ten-year-old girls, Sandy, Rose, Mary, Jenny, Monica, and Eunice are assigned Miss Jean Brodie, who describes herself as being "in my prime", as teacher. Miss Brodie, determined that they shall receive an education in the original sense of the Latin verb educere, "to lead out", gives her students lessons about her personal love life and travels, promoting art history, classical studies, and fascism. Under her mentorship, these six girls whom Brodie singles out as the elite group among her students—known as the "Brodie set"—begin to stand out from the rest of the school.
A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?"
In her last and best-selling novel, Jean Rhys gives the backstory of Bertha Mason, first wife of Edward Rochester and the "insuperable impediment" to marriage between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. In Ryhs' telling, Bertha is a lively Creole heiress, growing up in the unstable and racially charged environment of the West Indies. Her marriage to an unnamed English man, and her forced move to chilly England heightens her unhappiness. If you have read Jane Eyre, you know how the story ends -- but Rhys' interpretation will transform your understanding of the classic.