Anne Elliot, heroine of Austen's last novel, did something we can all relate to: Long ago, she let the love of her life get away. In this case, she had allowed herself to be persuaded by a trusted family friend that the young man she loved wasn't an adequate match, social stationwise, and that Anne could do better. The novel opens some seven years after Anne sent her beau packing, and she's still alone. But then the guy she never stopped loving comes back from the sea. As always, Austen's storytelling is so confident, you can't help but allow yourself to be taken on the enjoyable journey.
Source of legend and lyric, reference and conjecture, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
is, for most children, pure pleasure in prose. While adults try to decipher Lewis Carroll's putative use of complex mathematical codes in the text, or debate his alleged use of opium, young readers simply dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, pursuing "The dream-child moving through a land / Of wonders wild and new". There they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle and the Mad Hatter, together with a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser", seemingly without moral or sense.
For more than 130 years, children have revelled in the delightfully non-moralistic, non-educational virtues of this classic. In fact, at every turn Alice's new companions scoff at her traditional education. The Mock Turtle, for example, remarks that he took the "regular course" in school: Reeling, Writhing and branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision. Carroll believed John Tenniel's illustrations were as important as his text. Naturally, Carroll's instincts were good; the masterful drawings, reproduced here, are inextricably tied to the well-loved story. (All ages)