THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking.
SECRET SOCIETIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
This is Thomas Keightley’s history of three secret societies of the Middle Ages: the Assassins, the Templars and the Fehmgerichte.
The Assassins, a shadowy group based in a remote stateless area, practicing a radical variant of Islam, and promising their followers a reward in the hereafter if they died in battle, has obvious modern parallels.
Of interest to contemporary readers will be Keightley’s treatment of the Templars, an organization of crusaders who at their height controlled huge wealth and influence from the British Isles to the Holy Land. Although some Masonic scholars consider the Templars to be the forerunners of Freemasonry, they were a qualitatively different kind of organization. The Templars had an internal class system, based on the medieval social hierarchy. However a member’s role in the organization remained fixed, unlike the progressive grades of Freemasonry. There was little of the symbolism and regalia of Masonry. Initiations served primarily to indoctrinate the new Templar on the harsh realities of membership: a life of obedience, chastity and poverty.
A MIRACLE IN STONE
THIS book is meant to give a succinct comprehensive account of the oldest and greatest existing monument of intellectual man, particularly of the recent discoveries and claims with regard to it.
In addition to pyramidology, Joseph Seiss was a Christian dispensationalist, a 19th century millennialist school of thought. The dispensationalists viewed human history as a series of covenants with God. They were certain that the end of days could be pinpointed using Biblical prophecy. This was the origin of a set of beliefs widely accepted by contemporary evangelical Christians.
Daniel Deronda is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1876. It was the last novel she completed and the only one set in the contemporary Victorian society of her day. Its mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with a sympathetic rendering of jewish proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas, has made it a controversial final statement of one of the greatest of Victorian novelists.
The novel has been adapted for film three times, once as a silent feature and twice for television. It has also been adapted for the stage, most notably in the 1960s by the 69 Theatre Company in Manchester with Vanessa Redgrave cast as the heroine Gwendolen Harleth.