- Jive One
- Sep 11, 2001
And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks
Sermons in stones and good in every thing
I would not change it
For the classics start with 19th century Russian and French realism. Not too dry and a good introduction to some really great authors.
I'd also recommend this version of Divine Comedy since the translator included some helpful footnotes that can teach you a bit about literary analysis.
Way back in 2009 UnlikelyHero posted a great thread suggesting works of literature organized by time period. I'll copy/paste his OP for those without archives.
Literature is pretty neat. Itís a good way to waste some time responsibly. Instead of reading about orcs and elves and fire and ice and songs about them you can read something good, and learn some stuff about moral issues, cultural differences and historical situations without Dan Simmons messing it up.
THE EARLY TIMES
What I would advise you to read is the Iliad and after that the Odyssey , if you havenít already. The stories are neat and if you start reading later literature youíll be glad you know what the hell the people are referring to. Richard Lattimore's translation is considered the best English translation.
When you mention Homer you have to mention the Mahabharata, not that Homer had anything to do with it, but the Mahabharata deals with Hindy mythology and is in length even more impressive. It, too, deals with war and love. It is even said the Mahabharata is a translation of Homer's tales! (Which probably isn't true at all). It might not be too interesting for beginning readers, but for the crazy-literature-nuts out there, it's definitely something to check out. (Thanks Earwicker and Bel_Canto).
Since we're over in the Far East anyway, let me mention the Ramayana. This collection of verses has been a huge influence to India literary tradition. It teaches moral lessons of Indian philosophers through allegory, as was pretty common during the day. This one may just be for the literature-nuts or people interested in Indian culture and history. (Thanks Earwicker).
For fanatics about mythology I'm going to recommend Ovidís Metamorphoses. Ovid summarises various mythological stories in a series of neat poems. The translation by David Reaburn is incredibly well done and a delightful read.
This is placed in the wrong time, but it is a Northern counterpart to Ovid: Prose Edda, compiled by Snorri Sturluson tells all the stories of Norse mythology you could ever want to know. If you ask me, it's content is even more interesting than that of the Metamorphoses, but that may be since I didn't know that much of Norse mythology. Anyway: Check it out! I can't say later (English) writers referenced to it a lot, but it can stand on its own as an awesome work. (Thanks to DawntoDust.)
Also included, although disputably belonging to the medieval era, is the so-called Exeter Book, or Exeter Codex. It's an anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry. It's an important work, since it's the largest collection of Old English literature that exists today. The book contains some stories and a lot of poetic riddles. This book is a great source of information on Old-English culture and literary tradition, which then was still mostly oral. (Thanks Wizard of Yendor)
And just for shits and giggles (not really, this guy was really, really early with stuff that would follow in Western Europe only more than 400 years later, give and take) let's include Aesop. Aesop is mainly remembered for being a huge furry. And writing one of the world's first fables, stories wherein animals take on human characteristics, mainly to drive a moral point home. Look them up under the highly original name Aesop's Fables. (Thanks to Hello Pity).
Plato should also definitely be read, in particular The Trial and Death of Socrates, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito and Phaedo. If you're only going to read one, please read the dialogues that make up the first one. The guy himself believed that literature had an impact on the ethical outlook of its readers, so you can be sure he tried something good and wholesome. (Thanks Falls Down Stairs).
Also mentioned should be, of course, Virgil. His best work is probably Aeneid. John Dryden has provided us with an excellent and pretty true to the form translation.
The Epic of Giglamesh also deserves a spot in this list. It's one of the first pieces of literary fiction and is based on the mythological hero-king Gilgamesh. It deals with matter of friendship, death and (im)mortality. It's pretty awesome if you'd ask me. (Thanks LtKenFrankenstein) and Falls Down Stairs).
THE TIMES AFTER THE EARLY TIMES
The Bible. Iíve read the Bible in full some time ago and I would recommend the Old Testament. Not as a moral guideline for your life (although thatís cool too), but for the stories. There are some pretty neat ones in there, and (once again), without the background provided in these stories later stories will make little to no sense. Pick up any version you like, I have read the authorized St. James version, with Oldish (not Old) Modern English. Just be sure to skip the New Testament since itís boring as gently caress in its hippie-like glory.
The Old English heroic poem Beowulf is one of the best sources for Old English culture that we have. I won't recommend it to you since itís pretty plain boring for someone not studying it specifically. (In my humble opinion, okay, donít kill me). Iím just mentioning this one for the sake of completeness, really.
Letís move on with the Nibelungenlied. Yeah, itís German, but it deserves to be mentioned here. It tells the story of Siegfried and Kriemhilt and is brutal as only the German can make it. It's full with extraordinary magic stuff and murder. It's an awesome read. (Thanks to IM_DA_DECIDER)
There are plenty of short texts written in these times, most of them unaccredited. I want to point out the Tale of Roland though, which inspired Stephen King to write his goon-hated and goon-beloved Dark Tower series.
THE TIMES AFTER THE EARLIER TIMES ALSO TO BE CALLED THE MEDIEVAL TIMES
Some people may say I screwed up the placing of books in their respective time. I will change it if you point it out to me, but it was all pretty screwy back then.
In Dutch the "Medieval times" are called the ďMiddeleeuwenĒ (translating to: the ďeras in betweenĒ) because itís commonly thought gently caress-all happened then. Letís see if those crazy Dutchies are wrong.
I know a lot of people (rightfully) hate him, but for anyone with an interest in literature Chaucer is a must-read with his Canterbury Tales. Itís filled with sex and fart jokes, proving great works of literature are timeless. If you can read past that layer you will find a highly amusing satirical tale, sketching a critical view of medieval times. There are translations aplenty, and since Iíve read only Early Modern English texts I canít really recommend a certain one, but Iíll be sure to add it if anyone can recommend one.
An Italian source of inspiration to Chaucer is Boccaccio. His The Decameron, a collection of stories, deals with tales of sex and tragedy and is portrayed in pretty much the same way as The Canterbury Tales - a group of travelers tells stories to each other to keep themselves entertained on the way. The Decameron portrays fate and luck as huge influences on people's lives. (Thanks to Fodder Cannon).
The Arabian Nights is a collection of Arabian folk tales and other stories. As what seems to be pretty common those days, they're all stories within a larger narrative. The tales vary wildly, from historical tales to poems to comedies. Real geographical locations and persons are intermingled with aspects of the supernatural. (Thanks to AtraMorS).
I would like to point out something incredibly awesome: The first novel in the world was written by a woman. Of course, you may argue over this. I'm talking about The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese noblewoman. Not only did she write the (arguably) first novel, it was also an incredibly good one! It deals with crazy women, ghosts, love, treachery, unfaithful husbands, hosed up love, betrayal and all the stuff that makes a book worth reading. So it's not only culturally and historically relevant: It's also pretty good. (Thanks z0331).
The Mabinogian is a collection of texts translated from Welsh in the nineteenth century. The dating is pretty unclear but it seems like it would fit here. The Mabinogian is unique in that it's one of the only sources of older Welsish tradition, mostly from oral tales. I'd recommend it only for the interested (although I'll be checking it out.)(Thanks to PeterWeller). I'm going to quote Earwicker here: "The best thing in the Mabinogian is there is some guy who can't be killed unless he is shot with a certain kind of arrow while standing with one foot on the edge of a tub and the other foot on the back of a pig and then someone manages to arrange all this and kill the guy."
And kids, do you remember King Arthur? You know, the guy with the kick-rear end sword and the horribly impracticable round table? Listen up: He has his own place in literary tradition, particularly around the 14th century. A fine example of this is the story Sir Gaiwan and the Green Knight. It's a tale about a knight, Sir Gaiwan in this case, who does all sort of knighty things. It borrows heavily from Celtic and Germanic tradition and imagery and stands on a fine line between the upcoming sophistication of the medieval times and the traditions of the past. Go pick up a translation. (Thanks again, Wizard of Yendor)
When you talk about Arthur you have to mention Le Mort d'Arthur, which is a collection of Arthurian stories. It's the greatest work in the Arthurian-legend literary tradition and is just plain awesome in dealing with knights and all that stuff. It's what you think of when someone say "King Arthur". (Thanks IRQ
If you like the above story of Gaiwan or the Nibelungenlied, you should check out Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. It's an epic poem that focuses on the knight Perzival and his quest for the Holy Grail. This story fits within the Arthurian tradition. Pick it up! (Thanks to DawntoDust.)
In the same line, Tristan from Gottfried von Strassburg tells the story of Tristan (the guy from "Tristan and Isolde") and is one of the prime works in the German medieval literary tradition. (Thanks to DawntoDust.)
Most of the other works (that may or may not be considered literature) are theological in nature. Thomas of Aquina wrote his Summa Theologica but I haven't read it. Once again, I will add info to this piece if anyone can provide some information and stuff.
What is to be part of every literary canon, and Iím afraid this is a very ďlightĒ introductory version of one, is La Divina Commedia by Dante. Iíd recommend everyone to read it, itís highly readable stuff. It deals with the Christian afterlife in an allegorical manner and is quite interesting from both a literary and a moral perspective. And hey, you learn something on the way too, and isnít that whatís it all about? Unfortunately, I canít recommend any specific translation.
Western Europe wasn't the only place good books were written though! Let me take you to China, were Romance of the Three Kingsdom was written by Luo Guanzhong. Although written in the 14th century, it's content is mainly delivered from oral tradition of over thousand years ago!
Journey to the West was a hugely popular book back in the old days in China, and if you read it, you'll see those Chinese guys weren't always crazy. It's an adventure story, but through the means of our old pal allegory it works on a spiritual level through. In the book we follow a group of pilgrims to India where they seek enlightenment. (Thanks PeterWeller).
TIME TO GET REAL: THE RENAISSANCE!
Oh man, stuff is just getting started here. The Renaissance was a scarily productive period as far writing is concerned.
What the hell are we going to read? Oh, thatís right. We are going to read bloody Shakespeare! You are completely welcome to read everything by this guy, and you wonít be disappointed, but letís make a selection here. First up is everyoneís favourite emokid: Hamlet. I consider it to be his best work but there are plenty of people who would furiously disagree with me, but thatís ok. I would recommend you to read it though, since itís brilliant.
[ASIDE: Iíve recently seen Hamlet performed by the Cambridge University European Theatre Group and itís really, really good. Go see them if you get the chance.]
Hamlet is for the Shakespearian drama fans. (These should also check out Romeo and Julia. Sure, you know the story, but you donít know goddamn Shakespeare). For the Shakespearian comedy fans there is Twelfth Night. Itís, besides being incredibly funny, also culturally relevant Ė just look up the title (and then read the play for goodnessí sake).
When you mention Shakespeare you should mention Christopher Marlowe. I would recommend his Dr. Faustus especially. The story of Dr Faustus is many times retold in literary tradition. The other famous rendition of the story is the one by Goethe, who is also a big name. This makes the story definitely one to read. You should also read Passionate Shepherd to his Love but thatís for reasons Iíll explain later.
The Renaissance also offers us Sir Thomas Moreís Utopia. This, besides having an awesome title, is a really good work, and, itís also very educating! In this work Sir Thomas More describes a perfect society, in heavy contrast with his own society. Thereby, he subtly criticizes it Ė to put in horribly bluntly. Just go read the book already; Iím not here to explain literary meanings to you.
An important name is Petrarch, who was a huge influence on later sonnet-writers. His sonnets, together with those from Shakespeare, were in style and form highly important to other writers.
Also written in this time is Don Quixote by Cervantes. Itís funny, and I guess most of you know the story already. You should still read it though.
Letís move on a bit. Mentioned should be Edmund Spenser with his Faerie Queen. Itís an important work, but that doesnít make it a really fun read. If you want to be cultured you should read it, otherwise, just leave it be, alright?
Oh man weíre in the seventeenth century already. Thatís a good thing. You know who lived and wrote in the seventeenth century? Thatís right, John Donne! One of the big names as far poets go. Iím going to recommend The Bait. Itís a short poem, but if you like it, you know youíll like Donne. (He became a bit of a religious wacko in his later years, but his first works mostly deal with love.) The Bait is actually a response to Christopher Marloweís poem Passionate shepherd and his love, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Who also wrote a follow-up to Marloweís poem was Sir Walter Raleigh in his poem The Nymphís reply to the Shepherd. And Iím not namedropping him here for nothing -- (read it!).
Time for a bit of fun again, shall we? With all those lovely poems about lovely love fresh in our lovely minds itís time for a darkish comedy, and by whom other than Ben Jonson? His play Volpone, or The Fox is really funny and witty.
If you are willing to learn a lot about these times long gone, you should read some stuff by Thomas Nashe, he was a journalist and wrote some diaries depicting the time of plague in England. From a purely literary perspective I wonít recommend you to read him.
I will mention a woman here, so I wonít be revealed as the terrible misogynist I am. Margaret Cavendish has written a piece called The Huntress and the Hare, which is not a particularly delightful read, but has more depth than you would give it on your first read. For the sake of completeness, she deserves a honourable mention.
John Milton is a name everyone should know. He was a darn good writer. He has written the famous piece Paradise Lost, and you should read (at least part of) it.
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Weíre making a lot of progress. I canít help to feel sorry for all the poor saps I have skipped.
The eighteenth century was pretty awesome from a literary perspective though. Things are starting to get more readable here, which is a good thing for us lazy fucks. In no particular order, I present to you: Good writers from the 18th century! A brief summary.
The German author Goethe is somebody everyone should read. His book The Sorrows of Young Werther is one of the most famous works in literary tradition. It was so good, it drove people to suicide (wearing blue pants and a yellow shirt). I have read the book in German, and I was incredibly glad when it finally ended. But still, you should read it. Just be sure to pick up the English version. What you should read if you are interested in what became of the poor Dr Faust is, surprise, Faust. Goetheís version is vastly different from Marloweís version, and itís highly interesting to compare the two with each other. (In the same line: the Dutch 16th century story Mariken van Nieumeghen deals with the same issues and is actually pretty good.)
Letís go back to old jolly England, shall we? Famous of course is Jonathan Swift with his story Gulliverís Travels. I bet you have read it as a child, in one of its various depictions, but I bet you never knew it actually deals with serious issues like genocide, pissing, masturbation, more pissing and political conflict. Iím not kidding here, ladies and gentlemen. If you havenít read Gulliverís Travels since your childhood, go and read it. Itís an amazing tale and perhaps the most brilliantly subtle, satirical work ever written.
Mentioned should be Henry Fielding with Tom Jones (not the sex-bomb guy). Personally, I didnít really like it, but I bet opinions may differ vastly. One canít deny itís an important work though. Itís funny (at times) and showcases the incredible planned-out way Fielding writes. It's also really promiscuous.
Alexander Pope deserves a special mention here. That guy wrote a whole loving lot and was one of the first to make a career out of writing. Youíll know why when you read The surprise sex of the Lock, a masterful display of Popeís incredible wit. The surprise sex of the Lock is an almost surreal story, which could maybe be seen as the first Ďshaggy dogí story.
Daniel Defoe is also somebody I have to mention. His work Robinson Crusoe has, by my count, been adapted a trizillion times, and rightfully so. Itís far more subtle than simply one man being castaway on an island: itís a theological allegory and a psychological showcase of a man who suddenly finds himself alone and has to cope with it.
Also writing during this time were Voltaire and Rousseau. They have to be mentioned but I havenít, in all honesty, read a single thing by them. Iím sure that will change sometime soon. Wizard of Yendor recommends reading Candide by Voltaire. For Rousseau The Social Contract is a good pick. The first half is really politically influential, but later on it turns into "The Republic pt. II", as he starts settling on a philosopher-king conclusion. (Thanks to AtraMorS)
Thomas Paine wrote the Common Sense or Rights of Man, advocating the colonial independence of America. He also greatly influenced the French Revolution. If you want to read something historically (and culturally!) relevant, read this book. (Thanks IRQ).
William Wordsworth was one of the guys who kick-started the Romantic period. His most famous work is [The Prelude[/b], an autobiographical poem of his early years. His work mostly deals with nature, as was quite common in the Romantic period. (Thanks IRQ).
Wordsworth kick-start-buddy was Samuel Tailor Coleridge. His best known works are The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, which are both pretty bad-rear end and awesome and worthy of personal interpretation. (Thanks IRQ).
We will also make place for a madman in this fine article: William Blake. Except he wasn't really a madman, but a genius visionary. Or was he a madman? Opinions may differ. Anyone with an interest in him should check out Songs of Innocence, which besides having a name worthy of a hipster-band, provides a look into his warped mind. It's a series of poems written from the perspective of a young boy showcasing his surprise and wonder of the world and its nature. William Blake is closely associated with the uprising Romantic period, when people suddenly decided nature was pretty awesome. (Thanks to Wizard of Yendor)
Another Romantic pioneer was Robert Burns, and this guy wasn't half as crazy as the fellow above us. Except that he wrote mainly in Scottish, and was quite fond of blunt social and political commentary. Unfortunately, I don't know much about him and I'm not about to go just pasting Wikipedia here. Does anyone have anything to add? (Thanks to Wizard of Yendor)
John Keats was one of the principal poets of the Romantic period. His poems are elaborate and sensual in their nature. His odes are his most celebrated work, and his Ode on a Grecian Urn is the most well known. (Thanks IRQ).
Mentioned here should also be the brothers Grimm. (Jacob and Wilhellm, respectively). I'm sure these names will get some recognition but for the uninformed under us: These guys were mainly responsible for all fairy tales. Although by then they were widely accepted folk tales. The brothers Grimm collected them and made them available for publication. A lot of the (original) Disney tales are adapted from these folk tales. (Thanks to Hello Pity).
We are clearly in need of a feminist voice, and Mary Wollstonecraft is here to provide us with that. In her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear only so because of lack of education, which seems entirely reasonable. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Thomas Gray has written Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and the more light-footed Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes. I'd urge you to check both out, but definitely the latter.
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
First off: A warning. Most books in this period (Romanticism) may look like ďchildren-booksĒ, as most of the works mentioned in this piece are adapted into movies or books meant for kids. But donít let this fool you: These are incredibly serious work. People in this period were fascinated with nature, exotic discoveries and above all: new stuff. This is why youíll find the first sci-fi novels here and a lot of stories that are way ďoutta thereĒ --- making them perfect to be adapted for children!
I will start off with a woman: Jane Austen. Personally, I donít like her books. But for everyone sappy for romantic intrigues and family estate-stuff this is a must-read. Can anyone recommend a book by her?
Charles Dickens is next on our lovely list. His books are still being adapted to film today -- and quite deservingly so, I might say. He deals with the shrill contrast between the rich and the poor estates of society and often depicts the life of children. He has written plenty of awesome books, like Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.
Iím not afraid of different cultures! Really! Here, have some Russian: Dostoevsky. Nietzsche really liked his book The Idiot (and I do too) but I think itís commonly accepted that his book Crime and Punishment is just plain better. Dostoevsky often deals with issues of psychology, mainly in combination with social and political problems. His work is quite philosophical, but he also provides us with gems such as: "I've been awfully fond of asses ever since; they have a special attraction for me.Ē (Heís talking about donkeys, you pervert).
One of my favourite books in a collection of plays by Oscar Wilde, proving that flamboyant homosexuals can write some good stuff, and that not all literature has to be serious and dramatic. Everyone should read his play The Importance of being Earnest which is one of the funniest things youíll ever read. Also good is his story The picture of Dorian Gray. But make sure you read the play if you are only going to read one thing
Hans Christian Anderson is famous for giving us most of the modern fairy tales we know today. Where the Grimm broís took the first step, he finished the job. This is the guy who gave us The Little Mermaid! Iím not sure if any of you want to read anything by him, but he deserves a huge mention here; heís responsible for shaping almost any youth.
Lord Byron isnít really a guy I would personally like, but thatís okay. Heís one of the leading figures in the Romanticism period. He has given us Don Juan, which stirred outrage all over the English country. It seems like itís worth a read.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was also one of the major Romantic period poets, and an almost scary optimist to boot. The short poem Ozymandius was his most canonical work, but Prometheus Unbound is really worth a read. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Enough English wankers, itís time to get back to the mainland, specifically The Netherlands. Multatuli has given us a brilliant work about the Dutch Indies dealing with the abuse of colonialism, called Max Havelaar. Itís one the best books ever written dealing with this subject, and gives a personal insight on colonial imperialism and its effects. Make sure you pick up a translation.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a name everyone recognises. And thatís a good thing, since heís the guy responsible for the best detective novels ever written: Sherlock Holmes. Proving once again that literature doesnít have to be high, mighty and dramatic, Doyleís work still inspires countless imitations and adaptions. Hell, the guy has single handily created a stereotype!
To drive the point home, hereís another one: Bram Stoker. He wrote Dracula and thatís still his biggest claim to fame, but boy, itís a good one.
Another one for your pleasure: Robert Louis Stevenson, author of both Treasure Island and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I donít think I have to expand on that, honestly.
Time for what is, I think, my first trip over the Atlantic: Mark Twain. This guy has written the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and carries the unofficial title of being the ďbest American novelistĒ. (Thanks to AtraMorS).
Back to the father of science fiction, back when I would still dare to call science fiction literature: H.G. Wells. He has written a lot of incredibly awesome stories, like The War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man. All of those are excellent reads.
Another pioneer of the sci-fi genre was Jules Verne. Too bad most of his books were made into lovely movies. To name some: Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Iíd say you should pick up both, they are way better than their lovely film-counterparts.
Edgar Allen Poe definitely deserves a mention here too. Although I canít say Iím a particular fan of the horror-genre, this guy was one of the modern pioneers. Even as a not-horror-fan I have to say most of his stories are pretty incredible. Even more important: He was one of the pioneers of the short story. I would recommend, with huge enthusiasm, The Pit and the Pendulum, which is a splendid story in the psychological-horror genre. Also very, very good is The Masque of the Red Death, although a bit more surrealistic. (Thanks AtraMorS).
As to prove that not all nineteenth century literature can be easily made into child-stories, I would like to bring Tolstoy to the scene. Thereís only one book you can recommend when it comes to Tolstoy and thatís War and Peace, of course. Go ahead and try to read it. Itís not the easiest of books but drat if you wonít pick up chicks if you can say you have finished it.
Tess of the d'Urberville by Thomas Hardy is an unique work for this time. It isn't a "Modern" novel but neither doesn't it really fit in with the Victorians. In Hardy's works he shows a lot of sympathy for lower class women, who are often victimised by society's higher classes. His work may be considered important and highly relevant, as he wrote during the (painful!) transition of an agricultural society to an industrial one. His books reflect this transition. In the same vein is his book Jude the Obscure, which is strongly condemning of the higher classes, and portrays the struggles of a lower-class man trying to become a scholar. (Thanks to Tuxedo Catfish). Other forum user PeterWeller seems to absolutely hate the book though, so I'll expand on (or delete) it if we can get some discussion going!
Alfred Tennyson was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. His most famous works are Charge of the Light Brigade and Lady of Shalott. Tennyson is the second most quoted author in the Oxford English Dictionary of Quotations, only second to Shakespeare: definitive proof that he wrote some good stuff. (Thanks IRQ).
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a Romanticist who wrote about the inherit evil of man and the sins of humanity, often with a moral tone and attention to the human psyche. The Scarlet Letter deals with these issues, contrasting Puritan morality with individual passion and individualism. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Herman Melville wrote the incredible book Moby Dick. With its grand imagery and allusions it belongs in this list. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Walt Whitman wrote the controversial work Leaves of Grass. He stood between Transcendentalism and Realism, and his work reflects that. His work breaks the boundaries of traditional poetic forms and generally written in prose, which was quite progressive for this time. I'm going to link to The Wound-Dresser since I think it's bloody brilliant. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Frederick Douglass was a man ahead of the times, mainly on the area of equality. He ran for Vice-President in 1872, running with Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president. He was one of the foremost runners of the Abolitionist movement. I'm going to recommend his autobiography A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, as it was a very important piece for the Abolitionist movement and still remains highly interesting today. (Thanks AtraMorS).
In the same vein, I want to mention Harriet Ann Jacobs, who also wrote narratives about her time as a slave, collected in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. It depicts the struggles of a female slave, especially in conflict with Christian morals. (Thanks AtraMorS).
Jive One fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2014 around 03:30