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The Cloister and the Hearth, Volume Three of Four by Charles Reade, Fiction, Classics

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Cloister and the Hearth, Volume III: "The Cloister and the Hearth" is Charles Reade's greatest work--and, I believe, the greatest historical novel in the language. . . ." -- from Walter Besant's introduction Cloister and the Hearth, Volume III: "The Cloister and the Hearth" is Charles Reade's greatest work--and, I believe, the greatest historical novel in the language. . . ." -- from Walter Besant's introduction


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Cloister and the Hearth, Volume III: "The Cloister and the Hearth" is Charles Reade's greatest work--and, I believe, the greatest historical novel in the language. . . ." -- from Walter Besant's introduction Cloister and the Hearth, Volume III: "The Cloister and the Hearth" is Charles Reade's greatest work--and, I believe, the greatest historical novel in the language. . . ." -- from Walter Besant's introduction

30 review for The Cloister and the Hearth, Volume Three of Four by Charles Reade, Fiction, Classics

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Bellamy

    Charles Reade is decidedly a back number Victorian novelist now, but in his day his popularity rivaled that of Wilkie Collins and sometimes even Charles Dickens. More than something of a head case, Reade fancied himself a sort of scientific Zolaesque realist, whose sensational fictional exposes of burning social problems (prison abuses, unsafe shipping conditions, private mental asylums, trade union violence, etc.)were based on voluminous, meticulous and matter-of-fact research. They were no suc Charles Reade is decidedly a back number Victorian novelist now, but in his day his popularity rivaled that of Wilkie Collins and sometimes even Charles Dickens. More than something of a head case, Reade fancied himself a sort of scientific Zolaesque realist, whose sensational fictional exposes of burning social problems (prison abuses, unsafe shipping conditions, private mental asylums, trade union violence, etc.)were based on voluminous, meticulous and matter-of-fact research. They were no such thing: Reade did do a lot of research for his feverish fictions--but then he cherry-picked the most sensational, bizarre and quite often, sadistic details to craft his gruesome and hair-raising tales of Victorian woe. George Orwell was talking nonsense on stilts in 1940 when he predicted that several of Reade's books would outlast the novels of (ahem!) George Eliot, but some of them are still very much worth reading, especially "It's Never Too Late to Mend," "Put Yourself In His Place" and "Foul Play." Reade's most truly enduring book, however, was his only historical novel, "The Cloister and the Hearth," a fancifully embroidered and picaresque narrative of the adventures of a renegade priest,who just happened to be the father of Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus. Heavily packed with loving period detail and seething with the considerable fury of Reade's virulent anti-Catholic bigotry and highly personalized antipathy to clerical celibacy (the conditions of Protestant Reade's Oxford fellowship forbade him to marry, so he had problematic recourse to more irregular liaisons) "Cloister and the Hearth" is hands-down the best historical novel ever for the period--the late Middle Ages--it portrays. Like Reade's other books, it has enough plot for an entire flock of novels and the action never lets up throughout its many pulse-pounding pages. Anyone with an taste for sprawling Victorian novels and imaginary perils without end will greedily devour it and fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's kindred historical ventures--"The White Company" and "Sir Nigel" will find it a far superior effort. I first read it some 30 years ago and I find it, like vintage wine, only aged for the better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I gave this book four stars because it is an amazing classic, but I would give it five stars if it weren't such a difficult read. It is also very long and very old which means that the style of writing takes some getting used to. But it is VERY romantic, which I love. I read this as a teenager and throughout the years I still go through and re-read my favorite romantic parts. Some of this book can be a little boring and slow-paced, but alot of classics are that way. I don't like that Gerard and I gave this book four stars because it is an amazing classic, but I would give it five stars if it weren't such a difficult read. It is also very long and very old which means that the style of writing takes some getting used to. But it is VERY romantic, which I love. I read this as a teenager and throughout the years I still go through and re-read my favorite romantic parts. Some of this book can be a little boring and slow-paced, but alot of classics are that way. I don't like that Gerard and Margaret are separated for so long, but I guess it adds to the drama. This book is of great historical interest to me and I really feel like I go back in time while I read it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    This is one of the under the covers with a flashlite books I read in High School. It was my Aunt Patsy's that she had from college. I loved it! Picaresque historical novel by Charles Reade, published in 1861. Critically acclaimed as one of the greatest historical novels in English, The Cloister and the Hearth contains a meticulous recreation of 15th-century European life. Mingled with its cast of vividly drawn characters are various historical personages. The plot concerns Gerard Eliason, a young This is one of the under the covers with a flashlite books I read in High School. It was my Aunt Patsy's that she had from college. I loved it! Picaresque historical novel by Charles Reade, published in 1861. Critically acclaimed as one of the greatest historical novels in English, The Cloister and the Hearth contains a meticulous recreation of 15th-century European life. Mingled with its cast of vividly drawn characters are various historical personages. The plot concerns Gerard Eliason, a young Dutch artist who abandons thought of the priesthood when he falls in love with Margaret Brandt. Gerard's father opposes their engagement and arranges to have his son kidnapped. The young lovers find each other, but Gerard is soon forced to flee. While they are separated, Margaret gives birth to their son, of whose existence Gerard is unaware. Indeed, his enemies inform Gerard that Margaret is dead. Wild with grief, he eventually becomes a monk. Later, the lovers are reunited and Gerard meets his son. Bound by his vows of celibacy, Gerard simply lives near Margaret, and both lead pious, charitable lives. Eventually Margaret dies from the plague and Gerard dies soon after. Their son is revealed to be the illustrious scholar and theologian Erasmus

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tony Whelan

    My favourite author is Charles Dickens, but just. Dicken's high quality out put is only challenged by Charles Reade. He wasn't a prolific author, but his story of two lovers is - in my humble opinion - one of the greatest love stories ever written. The title is unfortunate, as it seems a bit pious and homely which can be off-putting to many people. It is also a fantastic 'boys own adventure' full of adventure and nail biting fight and battle scenes. This is my third reading of it. It would make My favourite author is Charles Dickens, but just. Dicken's high quality out put is only challenged by Charles Reade. He wasn't a prolific author, but his story of two lovers is - in my humble opinion - one of the greatest love stories ever written. The title is unfortunate, as it seems a bit pious and homely which can be off-putting to many people. It is also a fantastic 'boys own adventure' full of adventure and nail biting fight and battle scenes. This is my third reading of it. It would make a great tv mini series, so if any Hollywood execs are out there, have a read. If you are into languages, then the Latin, German, French (Flemish), Italian, Dutch and Koine Greek will be a delight for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    One of my absolute all time favorites!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Great read, it made me cry, few books do. It was exactly where the author asked the reader not to cry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This is by far my favorite book because of the story and Reade's masterful exploration of the struggle between devotion to God and the love of a woman at a time when those were in opposition. This is by far my favorite book because of the story and Reade's masterful exploration of the struggle between devotion to God and the love of a woman at a time when those were in opposition.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fillpail

    This is a wonderful adventure book and one of the greatest historical novels I have read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hollis Fishelson-holstine

    Recommended by jeanine

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Newton

    The ultimate romantic adventure story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Knitlist Janice Sapp

    The book written by Charles Reade, who considered himself a playwright, is full of interesting moments, little vignettes that are little plays. Charming.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    Ponderous and melodramatic, but as always, I enjoy a well researched picture of life in the middle ages.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Zink

    I reread this book. I liked the descriptions of customs from the 1400's and the colloquialisms. It is a worthwhile book. I reread this book. I liked the descriptions of customs from the 1400's and the colloquialisms. It is a worthwhile book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    T.

    I can usually read a book in a day or two, but this one took forever. Not that it's bad... it's just really, really slow and long, but a great back up for when I didn't have anything else to read. I can usually read a book in a day or two, but this one took forever. Not that it's bad... it's just really, really slow and long, but a great back up for when I didn't have anything else to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    Didn't finish. Didn't finish.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    historical fiction:Europe middle ages-----------historical romance

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linore

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lily Sacharow

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  22. 5 out of 5

    April

  23. 4 out of 5

    IrishTM

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather Dailey

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hermann

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Coble

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bernice

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Konny Sinton

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