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Nationality: English

Radcliffe Ann

Although Ann Radcliffe (1764 – 1823) did not invent the Gothic novel, she was a major factor in its development and popularity, and her work was very influential on many later writers, including Jane Austen. Her two best-remembered books are ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ (1794) and ‘The Italian’ (1797).

Darwin Charles

There have been few books written of more significance than ‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882). Although some of the detail has superseded by subsequent scientific progress, the book remains central to current evolutionary theory.

Gibbon Edward

‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ by Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794) is a work that is instantly familiar to most ears, even to those who would never consider reading it. It comprises 71 chapters, approximately 1,500,000 words, and nearly 8,000 footnotes and covers a time span of close to 1,500 years. Still in use as a reliable record of the period, it has been described as ‘the greatest prose epic in the English tongue’.

Malory Sir Thomas

The legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table is one of the most enduring and influential stories in world literature, and the principal players, Arthur, Merlin, Guenever and Launcelot need no introduction. ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ was completed around 1469 -1470, and the most likely author is Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire

Mayhew Henry

Henry Mayhew (1812 – 1857) was a playright and journalist, and co-founder of ‘Punch’ magazine. He was a social reformer, and wrote a series of articles for ‘The Morning Chronicle’ on the plight of the poor on London’s streets. These were later collected into a book, ‘London’s Labour and London’s Poor’, a detailed and extensive account of life as it truly was on the streets of Dickens’ London.

More Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ is a complex, innovative and penetrating contribution to political thought, culminating in the famous ’description’ of the Utopians, who live according to the principles of natural law, but are receptive to Christian teachings, who hold all possessions in common, and view gold as worthless.

Paine Thomas

Born in Norfolk, Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809) emigrated to the British colonies in America in 1774, in time to support and participate in the fight for American independence. Subseqently, he became involved in the French Revolution, and his book ‘The Rights of Man’ earned the respect of liberals throughout the world, international repute and the ire of the British Government. His popularity suffered a complete collapse with the publication of ‘The Age of Reason’, with its attack on Christianity, and religion in general, although, in time, the book could be seen to reflect the underlying trend in American thought in the eighteenth century, and ‘The Rights of Man’ to define many of the principles of both of the revolutions in whuch he participated.

Falkner J. Meade

John Meade Falkner (1858 – 1932) a teacher, tutor and successful industrialist. Notable among the relatively small number of books that he wrote was ‘Moonfleet’, a tale of smugglers that was a much-loved book for young readers for many years.

Haggard H. Rider

Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856 – 1925) was an English writer famous for his adventure stories set in Africa, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and its sequel, ‘Allan Quatermain’.