Mardi: And A Voyage Thither

Mardi: And A Voyage Thither – Herman Melville

Mardi is, unlike Melville’s typically autobiographical novels, a work of pure fiction. Like in Typee and Omoo the work narrates the travelings of an American sailor who abandons his whaling vessel to explore the South Pacific. What is new, however, is Mardi’s highly philosophical touch.

Format: Paperback

Mardi: And A Voyage Thither

Mardi: And A Voyage Thither

Mardi: And A Voyage Thither.

ISBN: 9783849671976.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

A short overview of Mardi (from Wikipedia):

Mardi is Melville’s first pure fiction work (while featuring fictional narrators; his previous novels were heavily autobiographical). It details (much like Typee and Omoo) the travelings of an American sailor who abandons his whaling vessel to explore the South Pacific. Unlike the first two, however, Mardi is highly philosophical and said to be the first work to show Melville’s true potential. The tale begins as a simple narrative, but quickly focuses upon discourse between the main characters and their interactions with the different symbolic countries they encounter. While not as cohesive or lengthy as Moby-Dick, it shares a similar writing style as well as many of the same themes.

As a preface to Mardi, Melville wrote somewhat ironically that his first two books were nonfiction but disbelieved; by the same pattern he hoped the fiction book would be accepted as fact.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Melville, Herman | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne

In the spring of 1863 Professor Lidenbrock finds a secret, runic manuscript, that was written by an Icelandic alchemist hundreds of years before. It tells about a journey to the center of the earth which this alchemist claims to have made. Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel and their guide Hans decide to follow this route into a secret subterranean world … An adventure classic for the past hundred and several hundred more years to come!

Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Format: Paperback.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth.

ISBN: 9783849671969.

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Plot summary of Journey to the Center of the Earth (from Wikipedia):

The story begins in May 1863, in the Lidenbrock house in Hamburg, Germany, with Professor Lidenbrock rushing home to peruse his latest purchase, an original runic manuscript of an Icelandic saga written by Snorri Sturluson (Snorre Tarleson in some versions of the story), „Heimskringla“; the chronicle of the Norwegian kings who ruled over Iceland. While looking through the book, Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel find a coded note written in runic script along with the name of a 16th-century Icelandic alchemist, Arne Saknussemm. (This was a first indication of Verne’s love for cryptography. Coded, cryptic, or incomplete messages as a plot device would continue to appear in many of his works and in each case Verne would go a long way to explain not only the code used but also the mechanisms used to retrieve the original text.) Lidenbrock and Axel transliterate the runic characters into Latin letters, revealing a message written in a seemingly bizarre code. Lidenbrock attempts a decipherment, deducing the message to be a kind of transposition cipher; but his results are as meaningless as the original.

Professor Lidenbrock decides to lock everyone in the house and force himself and the others (Axel, and the maid, Martha) to go without food until he cracks the code. Axel discovers the answer when fanning himself with the deciphered text: Lidenbrock’s decipherment was correct, and only needs to be read backwards to reveal sentences written in rough Latin. Axel decides to keep the secret hidden from Professor Lidenbrock, afraid of what the Professor might do with the knowledge, but after two days without food he cannot stand the hunger and reveals the secret to his uncle. Lidenbrock translates the note, which is revealed to be a medieval note written by the (fictional) Icelandic alchemist Arne Saknussemm, who claims to have discovered a passage to the centre of the Earth via Snæfell in Iceland. In what Axel calls bad Latin, the deciphered message reads:

In Snefflls [sic] Iokulis kraterem kem delibat umbra Skartaris Iulii intra kalendas deskende, audas uiator, te [sic] terrestre kentrum attinges. Kod feki. Arne Saknussemm.
In slightly better Latin, with errors amended:

In Sneffels Jokulis craterem, quem delibat umbra Scartaris, Julii intra kalendas descende, audax viator, et terrestre centrum attinges; quod feci. Arne Saknussemm
which, when translated into English, reads:

Descend, bold traveller, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfell, which the shadow of Scartaris touches (lit: tastes) before the Kalends of July, and you will attain the centre of the earth. I did it. Arne Saknussemm

Professor Lidenbrock is a man of astonishing impatience, and departs for Iceland immediately, taking his reluctant nephew with him. Axel, who, in comparison, is anti-adventurous, repeatedly tries to reason with him, explaining his fears of descending into a volcano and putting forward various scientific theories as to why the journey is impossible, but Professor Lidenbrock repeatedly keeps himself blinded against Axel’s point of view. After a rapid journey via Kiel and Copenhagen, they arrive in Reykjavík, where the two procure the services of Hans Bjelke (a Danish-speaking Icelander eiderdown hunter) as their guide, and travel overland to the base of the volcano.

In late June, they reach the volcano, which has three craters. According to Saknussemm’s message, the passage to the center of the Earth is through the one crater that is touched by the shadow of a nearby mountain peak at noon. However, the text also states that this is only true during the last days of June. During the next few days, with July rapidly approaching, the weather is too cloudy for any shadows. Axel silently rejoices, hoping this will force his uncle – who has repeatedly tried to impart courage to him only to succeed in making him even more cowardly still – to give up the project and return home. Alas for Axel, however, on the second to last day, the sun comes out and the mountain peak shows the correct crater to take.

After descending into the crater, the three travellers set off into the bowels of the Earth, encountering many strange phenomena and great dangers, including a chamber filled with firedamp, and steep-sided wells around the „path“. After taking a wrong turn, they run out of water and Axel almost dies, but Hans taps into a neighbouring subterranean river. Lidenbrock and Axel name the resulting stream the „Hansbach“ in his honour and the three are saved. At another point, Axel becomes separated from the others and is lost several miles from them. Luckily, a strange acoustic phenomenon allows him to communicate with them from some miles away, and they are soon reunited.

After descending many miles, following the course of the Hansbach, they reach an unimaginably vast cavern. This underground world is lit by electrically charged gas at the ceiling, and is filled with a very deep subterranean ocean, surrounded by a rocky coastline covered in petrified trees and giant mushrooms. The travelers build a raft out of trees and set sail. The Professor names this sea the „Lidenbrock Sea“ and the port as „Port Gräuben“, after the name of his goddaughter. While on the water, they see several prehistoric creatures such as a giant Ichthyosaurus, which fights with a Plesiosaurus and wins. After the battle between the monsters, the party comes across an island with a huge geyser, which Lidenbrock names „Axel Island“.

A lightning storm again threatens to destroy the raft and its passengers, but instead throws them onto the coastline. This part of the coast, Axel discovers, is alive with prehistoric plant and animal life forms, including giant insects and a herd of mastodons. On a beach covered with bones, Axel discovers an oversized human skull. Axel and Lidenbrock venture some way into the prehistoric forest, where Professor Lidenbrock points out, in a shaky voice, a prehistoric human, more than twelve feet in height, leaning against a tree and watching a herd of mastodons. Axel cannot be sure if he has really seen the man or not, and he and Professor Lidenbrock debate whether or not a proto-human civilization actually exists so far underground. The three wonder if the creature is a man-like ape, or an ape-like man. The sighting of the creature is considered the most alarming part of the story, and the explorers decide that it is better not to alert it to their presence as they fear it may be hostile.

The travellers continue to explore the coastline, and find a passageway marked by Saknussemm as the way ahead. However, it is blocked by what appears to be a recent cave-in and two of the three, Hans and the Professor, despair at being unable to hack their way through the granite wall. The adventurers plan to blast the rock with gun cotton and paddle out to sea to escape the blast. Upon executing the plan, however, they discover that behind the rockfall was a seemingly bottomless pit, not a passage to the center of the Earth. The travellers are swept away as the sea rushes into the large open gap in the ground. After spending hours being swept along at lightning speeds by the water, the raft ends up inside a large volcanic chimney filling with water and magma. Terrified, the three are rushed upwards, through stifling heat, and are ejected onto the surface from a side-vent of a stratovolcano. When they regain consciousness, they discover that they have been ejected from Stromboli, a volcanic island located in southern Italy. They return to Hamburg to great acclaim – Professor Lidenbrock is hailed as one of the great scientists of history, Axel marries his sweetheart Gräuben, and Hans eventually returns to his peaceful life in Iceland. The Professor has some regret that their journey was cut short.

At the very end of the book, Axel and Lidenbrock realize why their compass was behaving strangely after their journey on the raft. They realize that the needle was pointing the wrong way after being struck by an electric fireball which nearly destroyed the wooden raft.

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Verne, Jules | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

The Bride Of Lammermoor

The Bride Of Lammermoor – Sir Walter Scott

Although the period of this tragedy of Lammermoor is placed within the reign of William and Mary, the story (unlike most of the others) has little historical connection. It tells, instead, of the feud of two Scotch families, which—as in „Romeo and Juliet“—brings woe to two lovers who have dared plight their troth despite the ancestral hatred. Scott states that it is based closely upon fact. Edgar of Ravenswood is the last of a noble house which has formerly been rich and powerful; but his father, having been involved in the Jacobite cause, is ousted from the family estates by Sir William Ashton. After the old lord’s death, nothing remains to Edgar save the dilapidated Tower of Wolf’s Crag, and the fidelity of two ancient servants Mysie and Caleb. Shortly after his father’s funeral, the young man rescues Sir William and his daughter Lucy from the charge of an infuriated bull, and thus wins the respect of his ancient enemy and a warmer interest on the part of the maiden …

The Bride Of Lammermoor

The Bride Of Lammermoor

Format: Paperback

The Bride Of Lammermoor.

ISBN: 9783849671952.

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The Novelism of Sir Walter Scott (from Wikipedia):

Although Scott had attained worldwide celebrity through his poetry, he soon tried his hand at documenting his researches into the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders in prose fiction—stories and novels—at the time still considered aesthetically inferior to poetry (above all to such classical genres as the epic or poetic tragedy) as a mimetic vehicle for portraying historical events. In an innovative and astute action, he wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, anonymously in 1814. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Its English protagonist, Edward Waverley, like Don Quixote a great reader of romances, has been brought up by his Tory uncle, who is sympathetic to Jacobitism, although Edward’s own father is a Whig. The youthful Waverley obtains a commission in the Whig army and is posted in Dundee. On leave, he meets his uncle’s friend, the Jacobite Baron Bradwardine and is attracted to the Baron’s daughter Rose. On a visit to the Highlands, Edward overstays his leave and is arrested and charged with desertion but is rescued by the Highland chieftain Fergus MacIvor and his mesmerizing sister Flora, whose devotion to the Stuart cause, „as it exceeded her brother’s in fanaticism, excelled it also in purity“. Through Flora, Waverley meets Bonnie Prince Charlie, and under her influence goes over to the Jacobite side and takes part in the Battle of Prestonpans. He escapes retribution, however, after saving the life of a Whig colonel during the battle. Waverley (whose surname reflects his divided loyalties) eventually decides to lead a peaceful life of establishment respectability under the House of Hanover rather than live as a proscribed rebel. He chooses to marry the beautiful Rose Bradwardine, rather than cast his lot with the sublime Flora MacIvor, who, after the failure of the ’45 rising, retires to a French convent.

There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, publishing the novels under the name „Author of Waverley“ or as „Tales of…“ with no author. Among those familiar with his poetry, his identity became an open secret, but Scott persisted in maintaining the façade, perhaps because he thought his old-fashioned father would disapprove of his engaging in such a trivial pursuit as novel writing. During this time Scott became known by the nickname „The Wizard of the North“. In 1815 he was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet the „Author of Waverley“.

Scott’s 1819 series Tales of my Landlord is sometimes considered a subset of the Waverley novels and was intended to illustrate aspects of Scottish regional life. Among the best known is The Bride of Lammermoor, a fictionalized version of an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family that took place in the Lammermuir Hills in 1669. In the novel, Lucie Ashton and the nobly born but now dispossessed and impoverished Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows. But the Ravenswoods and the wealthy Ashtons, who now own the former Ravenswood lands, are enemies, and Lucie’s mother forces her daughter to break her engagement to Edgar and marry the wealthy Sir Arthur Bucklaw. Lucie falls into a depression and on their wedding night stabs the bridegroom, succumbs to insanity, and dies. In 1821, French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix painted a portrait depicting himself as the melancholy, disinherited Edgar Ravenswood. The prolonged, climactic coloratura mad scene for Lucia in Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor is based on what in the novel were just a few bland sentences.

Tales of my Landlord includes the now highly regarded novel Old Mortality, set in 1679–89 against the backdrop of the ferocious anti-Covenanting campaign of the Tory Graham of Claverhouse, subsequently made Viscount Dundee (called „Bluidy Clavers“ by his opponents but later dubbed „Bonnie Dundee“ by Scott). The Covenanters were presbyterians who had supported the Restoration of Charles II on promises of a Presbyterian settlement, but he had instead reintroduced Episcopalian church government with draconian penalties for Presbyterian worship. This led to the destitution of around 270 ministers who had refused to take an oath of allegiance and submit themselves to bishops, and who continued to conduct worship among a remnant of their flock in caves and other remote country spots. The relentless persecution of these conventicles and attempts to break them up by military force had led to open revolt. The story is told from the point of view of Henry Morton, a moderate Presbyterian, who is unwittingly drawn into the conflict and barely escapes summary execution. In writing Old Mortality Scott drew upon the knowledge he had acquired from his researches into ballads on the subject for The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. Scott’s background as a lawyer also informed his perspective, for at the time of the novel, which takes place before the Act of Union of 1707, English law did not apply in Scotland, and afterwards Scotland has continued to have its own Scots law as a hybrid legal system. A recent critic, who is a legal as well as a literary scholar, argues that Old Mortality not only reflects the dispute between Stuart’s absolute monarchy and the jurisdiction of the courts, but also invokes a foundational moment in British sovereignty, namely, the Habeas Corpus Act (also known as the Great Writ), passed by the English Parliament in 1679. Oblique reference to the origin of Habeas corpus underlies Scott’s next novel, Ivanhoe, set during the era of the creation of the Magna Carta, which political conservatives like Walter Scott and Edmund Burke regarded as rooted in immemorial British custom and precedent.

Ivanhoe (1819), set in 12th-century England, marked a move away from Scott’s focus on the local history of Scotland. Based partly on Hume’s History of England and the ballad cycle of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe was quickly translated into many languages and inspired countless imitations and theatrical adaptations. Ivanhoe depicts the cruel tyranny of the Norman overlords (Norman Yoke) over the impoverished Saxon populace of England, with two of the main characters, Rowena and Locksley (Robin Hood), representing the dispossessed Saxon aristocracy. When the protagonists are captured and imprisoned by a Norman baron, Scott interrupts the story to exclaim:

It is grievous to think that those valiant barons, to whose stand against the crown the liberties of England were indebted for their existence, should themselves have been such dreadful oppressors, and capable of excesses contrary not only to the laws of England, but to those of nature and humanity. But, alas …fiction itself can hardly reach the dark reality of the horrors of the period. (Chapter 24.33)
The institution of the Magna Carta, which happens outside the time frame of the story, is portrayed as a progressive (incremental) reform, but also as a step towards the recovery of a lost golden age of liberty endemic to England and the English system. Scott puts a derisive prophecy in the mouth of the jester Wamba:

Norman saw on English oak.
On English neck a Norman yoke;
Norman spoon to English dish,
And England ruled as Normans wish;
Blithe world in England never will be more,
Till England’s rid of all the four. (Ivanhoe, Ch. xxvii)
Although on the surface an entertaining escapist romance, alert contemporary readers would have quickly recognised the political subtext of Ivanhoe, which appeared immediately after the English Parliament, fearful of French-style revolution in the aftermath of Waterloo, had passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension acts of 1817 and 1818 and other extremely repressive measures, and when traditional English Charter rights versus revolutionary human rights was a topic of discussion.

Ivanhoe was also remarkable in its sympathetic portrayal of Jewish characters: Rebecca, considered by many critics the book’s real heroine, does not in the end get to marry Ivanhoe, whom she loves, but Scott allows her to remain faithful to her own religion, rather than having her convert to Christianity. Likewise, her father, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, is shown as a victim rather than a villain. In Ivanhoe, which is one of Scott’s Waverley novels, religious and sectarian fanatics are the villains, while the eponymous hero is a bystander who must weigh the evidence and decide where to take a stand. Scott’s positive portrayal of Judaism, which reflects his humanity and concern for religious toleration, also coincided with a contemporary movement for the Emancipation of the Jews in England.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Classics of Fiction (English), Scott, Sir Walter | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

The Hymns of the Rigveda

The Hymns of the Rigveda – Ralph T. H. Griffith

This book contains the most important passages selected from the Buddhist Sacred Books. The aim of the present work is to take different ideas and conceptions found in Pâli writings, and present them to the reader in English. Translation has been the means employed as being the most effectual, and the order pursued is in the main that of the Buddhist „Three Jewels“ (in Pâli, Ti-Ratana), to wit, The Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Order. The selections of the first chapter are on The Buddha; next follow those which deal chiefly with the Doctrine; while others concerning the Order and secular life constitute the closing chapter of the book.

The Hymns of the Rigveda

The Hymns of the Rigveda

Format: Paperback.

The Hymns of the Rigveda.

ISBN: 9783849672416.

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The Rigvedic hymns (from wikipedia.com)

The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni, the sacrificial fire; and Soma, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas or Asura gods Mitra–Varuna and Ushas (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr, Vishnu, Rudra, Pushan, Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita (the shining sky, Father Heaven), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya(the sun god), Vayu or Vata (the wind), Apas (the waters), Parjanya (the thunder and rain), Vac (the word), many rivers (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River). The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins, Maruts, Rbhus, and the Vishvadevas („all-gods“) as well as the „thirty-three gods“ are the groups of deities mentioned.

The hymns mention various further minor gods, persons, phenomena and items, and contain fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people (known as Vedic Aryans, a subgroup of the Indo-Aryans) and their enemies, the Dasa or Dasyu and their mythical prototypes, the Paṇi (the Bactrian Parna).

Mandala 1 comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni, and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra, as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods. This Mandala is dated to have been added to Rigveda after Mandala 2 through 9, and includes the philosophical Riddle Hymn 1.164, which inspires chapters in later Upanishads such as the Mundaka.
Mandala 2 comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi gṛtsamada śaunahotra.
Mandala 3 comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism as the Gayatri Mantra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to viśvāmitra gāthinaḥ.
Mandala 4 comprises 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vāmadeva gautama.
Mandala 5 comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvedevas („all the gods‘), the Maruts, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas (the dawn) and to Savitr. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the atri clan.
Mandala 6 comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the bārhaspatya family of Angirasas.
Mandala 7 comprises 104 hymns, to Agni, Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, Mitra-Varuna, the Asvins, Ushas, Indra-Varuna, Varuna, Vayu (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu, and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vasiṣṭha maitravaruṇi.
Mandala 8 comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal vālakhilya. Hymns 1–48 and 60–66 are attributed to the kāṇva clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets.
Mandala 9 comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma Pavamana, the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
Mandala 10 comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to Agni, Indra and various other deities. It contains the Nadistuti sukta which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta which has been important in studies of Vedic sociology. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymn in the west, which deals with creation. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.10–18) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding Grhya rituals.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

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James VI And The Gowrie Mystery

James VI And The Gowrie Mystery – Andrew Lang

An old Scottish lady, many generations ago, used to say, ‚It is a great comfort to think that, at the Day of Judgment, we shall know the whole truth about the Gowrie Conspiracy at last.‘ Since the author, as a child, read ‚The Tales of a Grandfather,‘ and shared King Jamie’s disappointment when there was no pot of gold, but an armed man, in the turret, he had supposed that we do know all about the Gowrie Conspiracy, that it was a plot to capture the King, carry him to Fastcastle, and ’see how the country would take it,‘ as in the case of the Gunpowder Plot. But just as Father Gerard has tried to show that the Gunpowder affair may have been Cecil’s plot, so modern historians doubt whether the Gowrie mystery was not a conspiracy by King James himself.

James VI And The Gowrie Mystery

James VI And The Gowrie Mystery

Format: Paperback.

James VI And The Gowrie Mystery.

ISBN: 9783849672409.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

Short biography of James VI. (from Wikipedia):

James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to eventually accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself „King of Great Britain and Ireland“. He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, James’s reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the „Golden Age“ of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would later be named after him: the Authorised King James Version. Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed „the wisest fool in Christendom“, an epithet associated with his character ever since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James’s reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch. He was strongly committed to a peace policy, and tried to avoid involvement in religious wars, especially the Thirty Years‘ War (1618–1648) that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

Veröffentlicht unter Biographies (English), Classics of Fiction (English), Lang, Andrew | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

In Olde Massachusetts

In Olde Massachusetts – Charles Burr Todd

‘In Olde Massachusetts – Sketches of old times during the early days of the commonwealth’ is a collection of articles taken from papers first printed in 1880-1890 in various journals not generally accessible. The chief historical and literary interests are given of the following cities: Cambridge, Lexington, Concord, Quincy, Plymouth, Salem, Marblehead, Barnstable, Nantucket, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Northhampton, Deerfield, Pittsfield, and Lenox. The book is full of interesting information and anecdotes about old New England landmarks and her distinguished sons.

In Olde Massachusetts

In Olde Massachusetts

Format: Paperback.

In Olde Massachusetts.

ISBN: 9783849672393.

Available at amazon.com and other venues.

 

Some basics on Massachusetts (from Wikipedia):

Massachusetts, officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area. The capital of Massachusetts and the most populous city in New England is Boston. Over 80% of Massachusetts’s population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’s economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

Plymouth was the site of the first colony in New England, founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America’s most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolutioncatalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays‘ Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary Warveterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the „Cradle of Liberty“ for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution.

The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, and transcendentalist movements. In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university,and Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called „the most innovative square mile on the planet“, in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world. Massachusetts‘ public school students place among the top nations in the world in academic performance, and the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the nation for citizens to live.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

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Historic Hadley

Historic Hadley – Alice Morehouse Walker

Love of one’s own town is one of the dominant motives underlying good citizenship. The origin, growth, and development of a typical New England town like Hadley, Ma., covering two centuries and a half, is a theme on which any thoughtful person may profitably dwell. In these busy days, however, few people have the time necessary to read a ponderous volume. For the many rather than the few this little book has been written. But this book is for everybody else also, that they may be imbued with the spirit of those mighty souls, which remains still potent enough to make Americans out of Europeans, even as in 1776 it made patriots and freemen out of the subjects of King George.

Historic Hadley

Historic Hadley

Format: Paperback.

Historic Hadley.

ISBN: 9783849672386.

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Hadley’s early history (from Wikipedia):

Hadley was first settled in 1659 and was officially incorporated in 1661. The former Norwottuck was renamed for Hadleigh, Suffolk. Its settlers were primarily a discontented group of families from the Puritan colonies of Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut, who petitioned to start a new colony up north after some controversy over doctrine in the local church. The settlement was led by John Russell. The first settler inside of Hadley was Nathaniel Dickinson, who surveyed the streets of what is now Hadley, Hatfield, and Amherst. At the time, Hadley encompassed a wide radius of land on both sides of the Connecticut River (but mostly on the eastern shore) including much of what would become known as the Equivalent Lands. In the following century, these were broken off into precincts and eventually the separate towns of Hatfield, Amherst, South Hadley, Granby and Belchertown. The early histories of these towns are, as a result, filed under the history of Hadley.

Edward Whalley and General William Goffe, two Puritan generals hunted for their role in the execution (or „regicide“) of Charles I of England, were hidden in the home of the town’s minister, John Russell. During King Philip’s War, an attack by Native Americans was, by some accounts, thwarted with the aid of General Goffe. This event, compounded by the reluctance of the townsfolk to betray Goffe’s location, developed into the legend of the Angel of Hadley, which came to be included in the historical manuscript History of Hadley by Sylvester Judd.

In 1683, eleven years before the Salem witch trials, Mary Webster, wife to William Webster son of the former governor of Connecticut and a founder of the very town of Hadley (John Webster), was accused and acquitted of witchcraft. She was unsuccessfully hanged by rowdy town folk. A description is given in Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana.

The Civil War general Joseph Hooker was a longtime resident of Hadley. Levi Stockbridge, one of the founders of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts Amherst), was also from Hadley where he was a farmer.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

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In Olde Connecticut

In Olde Connecticut – Charles Burr Todd

The byways of history often have a fascination denied to the highroads. In these interesting pages Mr. Todd discourses pleasantly on various episodes in the past of an old England commonwealth. He takes us to Fairfield, to Lebanon, to New London, and gives us glimpses of matters not often set down. The picturesque side of our history is too often neglected. Even the strenuous resistance of the colonists to political and religious ideals they did not like did not deprive their lives of all salt and savor. There were dinners and dances at Lebanon, the home of Trumbull, when the French officers were there, and “the fair Connecticut girls” were considered attractive by the visitors. Here is an engaging record of the „unconsidered trifles, curious episodes, bits of quaint and curious lore“ which the author had succeeded in rescuing from unworked mines of local tradition and chronicle.

In Olde Connecticut

In Olde Connecticut

Format: Paperback.

In Olde Connecticut.

ISBN: 9783849672379.

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Some basics on Connecticut (from Wikipedia):

Connecticut is the southernmost state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital is Hartford and its most populous city is Bridgeport. It is part of New England, although portions of it are often grouped with New York and New Jersey as the Tri-state area. The state is named for the Connecticut River, a major US river that approximately bisects the state. The word „Connecticut“ is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for „long tidal river“.

Connecticut’s first settlers were Dutchmen who established a small, short-lived settlement called Fort Hoop in Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut Rivers. Half of Connecticut was initially part of the Dutch colony New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers. The first major settlements were established in the 1630s by the English. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This was one of the Thirteen Colonies that rejected British rule in the American Revolution.

Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, and the fourth most densely populated of the 50 states. It is known as the „Constitution State“, the „Nutmeg State“, the „Provisions State“, and the „Land of Steady Habits“. It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States.

The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along the Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

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In Olde New York

In Olde New York – Charles Burr Todd

Father Knickerbocker himself seems to come to life and tells of the people whom he knew and the incidents of which he was a part, with all the interest that comes of actual-personal participation. That is the feeling one gets in reading Mr. Todd’s description of old days and old scenes in the city of New York and the surrounding region. The subjects of which he treats are as fragrant in their mere titles of the interest that dwells in those days as an old cupboard of lavender.

In Olde New York

In Olde New York

Format: Paperback.

In Olde New York.

ISBN: 9783849672362.

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New York Basics (from Wikipedia):

The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2016 population of 8,537,673 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York City exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment, its fast pace defining the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world.

Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a separate county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. The city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States, and as many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York City is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the world’s largest foreign-born population of any city. By 2016 estimates, the New York City metropolitan region remains by a significant margin the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), 20.2 million residents, and the Combined Statistical Area (CSA), 23.7 million residents. In 2013, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of nearly US$1.39 trillion. In 2012, the CSA generated a GMP of over US$1.55 trillion. NYC’s MSA and CSA GDP are higher than the GDPs of all but 11 and 12 countries, respectively.

New York City traces its origin to its 1624 founding in Lower Manhattan as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic and was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country’s largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the Americas by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is a symbol of the United States and its democracy. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, and environmental sustainability.

Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known, and the city received a record of nearly 60 million tourists in 2015, hosting three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world’s „heart“ and its „Crossroads“, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s bridges, tapered skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and the city is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. Manhattan’s Chinatown incorporates the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive metro systems worldwide, with 472 stations in operation. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 35 in the world.

 

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

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Around The World In Eighty Days

Around The World In Eighty Days – Jules Verne

Phileas Fogg, a respectable English gentleman of phlegmatic temperament and methodical habits, maintains, during a discussion at his club in London, that a man can travel around the world in eighty days; and to prove it, he makes a wager of half his fortune that he can do it himself in that time. The bet is accepted, and he starts the same night, taking his French servant Passepartout with him. He wins his wager, after a series of adventures in which nature, man, accident, and the novelist combine to defeat him, but are all baffled by his unfailing resource, iron will, invincible coolness, and Napoleonic readiness to sacrifice everything else to the one essential point;—everything except humanity, in whose behalf he twice risks defeat, first to save from suttee the beautiful young Hindoo widow Aouda, and second to save Passepartout from murder by a Chinese mob. His virtue is rewarded by success and Aouda.

Around The World In Eighty Days

Around The World In Eighty Days

Format: Paperback.

Around The World In Eighty Days.

ISBN: 9783849672355.

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Plot summary of Around the World in Eighty Days (from Wikipedia):

The story starts in London on Tuesday, 1 October 1872.

Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club. Having dismissed his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 °F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires a Frenchman by the name of Jean Passepartout as a replacement.

At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000 (£2,075,400 in 2017) from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. With Monsieur Passepartout accompanying him, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 p.m. on 2 October; if he is to win the wager, then he will have to return to the club by this same time on 21 December, 80 days later.

Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, they are watched by a Scotland Yard detective, Detective Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Since Fogg answers the vague description Scotland Yard was given of the robber, Detective Fix mistakes Fogg for the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix boards the steamer (the Mongolia) conveying the travelers to Bombay. Fix becomes acquainted with Passepartout without revealing his purpose. Fogg promises the steamer engineer a large reward if he gets them to Bombay early. They dock two days ahead of schedule.

After reaching India they take a train from Bombay to Calcutta. Fogg learns that the Daily Telegraph article was wrong – the railroad actually ends at Kholby and starts again, 50 miles further on, near Allahabad, Fogg purchases an elephant, hires a guide, and starts toward Allahabad.

They come across a procession in which a young Indian woman, Aouda, is to undergo sati. Since the young woman is drugged with opium and hemp and is obviously not going voluntarily, the travelers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout takes the place of Aouda’s deceased husband on the funeral pyre on which she is to be burned. During the ceremony he rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away. The twelve hours gained earlier are lost, but Fogg shows no regret.

The travelers hasten to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they board a steamer (the Rangoon) going to Hong Kong. Fix has Fogg and Passepartout arrested. They jump bail and Fix follows them to Hong Kong. He shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to again meet his travelling companion from the earlier voyage.

In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda’s distant relative, in whose care they had been planning to leave her, has moved to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. Passepartout becomes convinced that Fix is a spy from the Reform Club. Fix confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, the Carnatic, Fix gets Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. Passepartout still manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg that the steamer is leaving the evening before its scheduled departure date.

Fogg discovers that he missed his connection. He searches for a vessel that will take him to Yokohama, finding a pilot boat, the Tankadere, that takes him and Aouda to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there on the Carnatic as originally planned. They find him in a circus, trying to earn the fare for his homeward journey. Reunited, the four board a paddle-steamer, the General Grant, taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg’s journey, but instead support him in getting back to Britain so he can arrest Fogg in Britain itself.

In San Francisco they board a transcontinental train to New York, encountering a number of obstacles along the way: a massive herd of bison crossing the tracks, a failing suspension bridge, and the train being attacked by Siouxwarriors. After uncoupling the locomotive from the carriages, Passepartout is kidnapped by the Indians, but Fogg rescues him after American soldiers volunteer to help. They continue by a wind powered sledge to Omaha, where they get a train to New York.

In New York, having missed the sailing of their ship, the China, Fogg starts looking for an alternative to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He finds a steamboat, the Henrietta, destined for Bordeaux, France. The captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, whereupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux for $2,000 (£207,540 in 2017) per passenger. He then bribes the crew to mutiny and make course for Liverpool. Against hurricane winds and going on full steam, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat from the captain and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.

The companions arrive at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, take the train to Dublin and then a ferry to Liverpool, still in time to reach London before the deadline. Once on English soil, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up – the actual robber, an individual named James Strand, had been caught three days earlier in Edinburgh. However, Fogg has missed the train and arrives in London five minutes late, certain he has lost the wager.

The following day Fogg apologises to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot support her. Aouda confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her. As Passepartout notifies a minister, he learns that he is mistaken in the date – it is not 22 December, but instead 21 December. Because the party had travelled eastward, they gained one day upon crossing the International Date Line. Passepartout informs Fogg of his mistake, and Fogg hurries to the Reform Club just in time to meet his deadline and win the wager. Having already spent the bulk of the £20,000 during the journey, he divides the remaining money between Passepartout and Fix and marries Aouda.

This narrative gives a mistaken impression of the ending. For the trip, Fogg took £20,000, in cash, in a suitcase, amounting to half of his fortune at the time. The other half of his fortune, the other £20,000 was to be held in escrow at the bank to pay off his wager if he lost, the men on the other side of the bet, similarly put £20,000 to be held during the wager. Much of what Fogg took with him was spent during the trip, as detailed above. Before the date was discovered, Fogg confessed to Aouda that he was now poor, but she wanted to marry him anyway, as set out above. When the true date was discovered, as above, Fogg collected the £20,000 wagered – and his £20,000 that was held in escrow, restoring him to his original fortune of £40,000, distributing the remaining balance of his „travel money“.

(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

 

Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.

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