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eBooks @ Adelaide
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Free books, nicely formatted for the web.
Free books, nicely formatted for the web.

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The Pilgrim's Progress, illustrated with woodcuts from an early edition.


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We now have the complete works (fiction and poetry) of George Meredith: last of the Victorians, first of the Moderns, with a wry sense of humour at Life.
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/meredith/george/

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A new addition to our collection of early science fiction and fantasy.
The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins, written in 1751, concerns a sailor, lost at sea, who ends up in a subterranean world inhabited by flying humanoids. He saves a female, marries her, has five children, goes to the court, fights a war and unifies the rival kingdoms. While owing a lot to Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe, the conception of the flying people is entirely new. This is an important part of the history of the genre.


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New release: The Mummy, a tale of the twenty-second century by Jane Loudon. This one is a cracker: science fiction, horror, adventure, and deliciously funny satire, all rolled into one face-paced action-packed story. What is also extraordinary is that Jane Loudon, then Jane Webb, was only 17 when she wrote it. Published in 1827, it draws on the then-new discovery of Egyptian tombs, as well as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to parody the gothic fiction which was then all the rage, as well as poking fun at the politics and pompous social mores of the time. It's a shame she only wrote one more novel, because she must have been extraordinarily talented.

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New books added in November: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/meta/20151130.html
This list provides an interesting lesson in my selection process: what I might call Creative Curation.
First, there's a bunch of works by Byron, because I'm "filling in the gaps". Byron led me to Lady Caroline Lamb, who most people known had an embarrassing affair and obsession with Byron; but fewer people know she actually wrote a novel based on the experience, Glenarvon. Maybe not a brilliant work, but certainly successful. The led me to add a short bio. of Lady Caroline, which in turn introduced me to Lady Morgan, friend of Caroline and author of The Wild Irish Girl. Then I found a bio of Lady Morgan in Little Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century, by "George Paston" (Emily Morse Symonds). She also wrote Old Coloured Books, which turned out to be an introduction to a series, The Illustrated Pocket Library of Plain and Coloured Books, which were reprints of early Victorian illustrated by the likes of Rowlandson and Cruikshank, so I created a "meta-book" linking to all of those that I could find in the Internet Archive.
So that was November!

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Another in our series of Gothic Fiction. Unlike other works of the time, Zofloya was distinguished for it's female protagonists, who, rather than being the delicate, abused creatures of the usual gothic works, were actually the villains of the work. The critics of the day raved about it:

... there has seldom appeared a romance so void of merit, so destitute of delicacy, displaying such disgusting depravity of morals as [Zofloya].”——Monthly Literary Reactions (July 1806)

... it evidently appears that our fair authoress must have been strongly attacked by the disease when she wrote these volumes and treated by the Devil, English, and common sense so scurvily.”——Literary Journal (June 1806)

There is a voluptuousness of language and allusion which we should have hoped, that the delicacy of the female pen would have refused to trace.”——Annual Review (1806)

Zofloya has no pretension to rank as a moral work. As a work of imagination or entertainment it will be read with some interest from the immediate incidents and the manner in which they are treated. Its merits as a whole or entire composition are very slender.”——Literary Journal Monthly 1 (1806)

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Byron's Women. A set of images of the women in Byron's major works.
From The Byron gallery of highly finished engravings, illustrating Lord Byron's works . . . by Robert B. McGregor. New York: R. Martin, 1849.
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Byron's Women
12 Photos - View album

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New release: "The Corsair", by Byron, king of the Romantics. The publication of this long poem, in 1814, caught Byron and his publisher by surprise, selling 10,000 copies on the day of release. Which makes it the Harry Potter of it's time, in popularity. 
I've added some rather beautiful engravings from another source.
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/byron/george/corsair/
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... or perhaps you'd prefer Egypt? After her walking tour of the Dolomites (previous post), Amelia became an enthusiastic traveller, culminating in a trip to Egypt. She eventually became a authority on ancient Egypt and archaeology. Which is a long way from being a writer of weird short fiction.

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Feeling adventurous? Perhaps a ramble through Italy's Dolomites.
Amelia B. Edwards was one of those unstoppable Victorian women who insisted on doing things that "ladies" were not supposed to do. Like travelling through what was then some fairly wild and primitive country in Italy's northern mountains, accompanied only by her female companion. And a donkey or two.
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