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23 Aug

Historical Novels — a Fascinating Reality of the Past

Today we turn to an engrossing literary genre — the historical novel. This literary composition transports us from the present time to the events of a certain historical period. In these books, historical truth meets imaginative fiction. Readers begin to feel the ambience of that time: from cultural traditions, to social conditions and political views, we are provided an opportunity to plunge into a succession of events of that era.

Let us share with you a selection of great exemplars of this genre.

The first novel in our list is"A Tale of Two Cities." Written by Charles Dickens, this is one of the most popular English novels ever written, with more than two hundred million copies having been printed in English alone. It is a story of passion and exciting adventures during the "era of change" that occurred in London and Paris during the French Revolution. The novel transports us to times when cells in the Bastille and the guillotine were very real; to a time full of love and hate, devotion and self-sacrifice, and heinous betrayal.

Works of Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities. Vol. I: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/works-of-cha...

Works of Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities. Vol. II: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/works-of-cha...


Another novel that we wish to draw your attention to is "The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea," by James Fenimore Cooper. The action takes place in North America in 1759, during the French and Indian War. A sailor called Charles Cap helps his young niece Mabel to reach her father, who is serving at a fortress on the shore of Lake Ontario. Natty Bumppo, a pathfinder of the British army, is the resourceful and doughty hero. He emerges as not just a brave scout, but also a person capable of self-sacrifice for the happiness of a beloved girl.

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/the-pathfinder


Love and bloodshed, insidious twists of fate and court intrigues — the reader will find all of these in the novel "Marguerite de Valois", also known as "Queen Margot" — an immortal creation of French literature by Alexandre Dumas. This book has long become a classic of historical adventure set in France during the sixteenth century — the era of a brutal struggle between Protestants and Catholics, sophisticated court conspiracies and the tragic love of Queen Margot, who unwittingly became a party to political intrigues.

The Works of Alexandre Dumas. Marguerite de Valois: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/the-works-of-alexandre-dumas-marguerite-de-valois

"The Man Who Laughs" is a historical novel about the events that took place in England at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. It is one of the most famous novels of the great French writer Victor Hugo. In the center of the narrative is the fate of Gwynplaine, who was kidnapped as a child by the Comprachicos (a criminal community that disfigured and trafficked in children) who turned a child into a fictional jester, carving a mask of perpetual happiness on its face. The mockery didn't cripple the boy's soul, and he grew up a clever, kind, noble and honest man. This rare collection of the finest human qualities contrasts with the reality that surrounds him. Despite his plight, he was raised to the House of Lords.

The Man Who Laughs - A Romance of English History by Victor Hugo: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/the-man-who-laughs-a-romance-of-english-history

"The Count of Monte Cristo" is another brilliant historical novel by Alexandre Dumas. The plot of the novel was taken from the book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, a French police archivist. Under the master's pen, the real life of Pierre Picaud was turned into a fascinating story about Edmond Dantès, a prisoner who was arrested without trial and put behind bars in the Château d'If, a grim island fortress off Marseille. Having made a miraculous escape, he returned to his native city to take revenge on those who destroyed his life.

The Works of Alexandre Dumas. The Countess of Monte-Cristo. Vol. One: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/the-works-of-alexandre-dumas-in-thirty-volumes-the-countess-of-monte-cristo-vol-one
The Works of Alexandre Dumas. The Countess of Monte-Cristo. Volume Two: http://leopoldclassiclibrary.com/book/the-works-of-alexandre-dumas-in-thirty-volumes-the-countess-of-monte-cristo-volume-two

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