Along with the nonfiction titles and resources included above, here are classic pieces of literature which took place during the period in question:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator); Richard Pevear (Translator)
Call Number: PG3366 .V6 2008
Publication Date: 2008-12-02
Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds--peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers--as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving--and human--figures in world literature.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Robin Buss (Introduction by, Notes by, Translator); Alexandre Dumas
Call Number: PQ2226 .A327 2003
Publication Date: 2003-05-27
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed Edmond Dant s spends fourteen bitter years imprisoned in the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsive for his incarceration. No longer the naive sailor who disappeared into the dungeon all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; Lee Fahnestock (Introduction by, Translator); Norman MacAfee (Translator); Chris Bohjalian (Afterword by)
Call Number: PQ2286 .H8 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-01
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean--the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread--Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope--an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray; John Carey (Editor, Introduction by, Notes by)
Call Number: PR5618.A2 C37 2001
Publication Date: 2002-02-26
This is Thackeray's rich and gloriously chaotic sketch of English society during the Napoleonic wars. At the centre of this picture is the scheming and disreputable Becky Sharp, one of Thackeray's greatest creations. The style here is fast-paced and comic, but the character of Dobbin and his unrequited love for Amelia bring depth and pathos to the novel. Dobbin, the unheroic hero, is Thackeray's realistic answer to the hero-worship of high romanticism. The novel stands as a landmark in the development of European Realism.
Part historical fiction, part philosophical treatise, and part romance novel, this genre-transcending epic follows the increasingly intertwined fates of the children of five prominent Russian families over the span of two decades during the Napoleonic Wars. Spirited Natasha, pensive Pierre, logical Andrew, religious Mary, and patriotic Nicholas navigate a Tsarist society that has been irrevocably altered by French invasion and occupation. Will their fierce commitment to their ideals be enough to protect them as they grow up and try to find their place in a world that is changing so rapidly around them?
Betrayed by his closest companions who are jealous of his success and his beautiful fiancée, Edmond Dantès is wrongfully imprisoned in Château d'If in France. The prison is home to the most dangerous political prisoners, but Edmond befriends a wealthy Italian priest, who tells Edmond of his buried treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. After a daring escape, Edmond digs up the treasure, transforms into the rich Count of Monte Cristo, and seeks revenge on his deceitful friends. A tale full of adventure and intrigue, Alexandre Dumas's novel calls into question the merits of vengeance and forgiveness.
Jean Valjean has endured nineteen years in jail for stealing bread. Fantine is an unwed mother who resorted to prostitution in order to support her daughter. Marius is a young revolutionary who falls in love with Fantine's daughter, Cosette. These four characters' lives intersect in an expansive novel that explores issues of class, equality, education, and injustice in nineteenth-century France. French author Victor Hugo spent twenty years researching and writing Les Misérables; the novel reflects Hugo's political concerns and his hopes for reform. Hugo first published his historical novel in 1862.
Shirley was the second published novel by Charlotte Bronte, after Jane Eyre. It is a social novel set against the backdrop of the Luddite uprisings in Yorkshire after the Napoleonic Wars, particularly in the depressed textile industry. The novel's heroine is given a boy's name by her father, who expected a son. The novel's popularity turned the distinctly male name Shirley into a distinctly female one.
Before the Real Housewives, there were Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley. Ruthless and cunning, Becky may have been born in a lower class, but now that she's graduated from school, she's ready to climb up to a better life--and do whatever it takes to get there. Her friend Emmy, however, is the opposite. She may have mastered music, dancing, and embroidery like any young woman of her class, but she utterly lacks a backbone. Together these friends navigate the perils of Regency society as they search for love and happiness. Social battles are waged against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and when the smoke finally clears, there's no telling who will come out victorious.