Classics are books that are as relevant and popular now as in their own era. Have a glance through history when you scroll through our selection of time-tested Classics. You might re-discover a forgotten gem!
No other edition offers extensive textual apparatus such as explanatory notes, plot summaries, particularly vital as stories are complex and interwoven. The Sultan Schahriar's misguided resolution to shelter himself from the possible infidelities on his wives leads to an outbreak of barbarity in his kingdoms and a reign of terror in his court, stopped only by the resourceful Scheherazade. The tales with which Scheherazade nightly postpones the muderous intent of the sultan have entered our language and our lives like no other collection of narratives before or since. Sinbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba: all make their spectacular entrance on to the stage of English literary history in the Arabian Nights Entertainments (1704-17). The stories contained in this `store house of ingenious fiction' initiate a pattern of literary reference and influence which today remains as powerful and intense as it was throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This edition reproduces in its entirety the earliest English translation of the French orientalist Antoine Galland's Mille et une Nuits. This remained for over a century the only English translation of the story cycle, influencing an incalculable number of writers, and no other edition offers the complete text supplemented by full textual apparatus. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is widely regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike. It’s the story of Buck, a great dog, a Yukon sled dog. Buck's father was a huge Saint Bernard, and Buck's mother, a huge Scotch shepherd dog. He is shaggy, big of body, strong of muscle and stout of heart. Stolen from a California ranch and taken to live in the far glacier land of the North, he is put in a team of work dogs and made to carry the Yukon mail. It documents his journey and transformation from domesticity as the call of the wild takes him into her clutches. The Call of the Wild is an absorbing and enchanting tale of wild life, brutality, love and friendship from Buck’s point of view. Although shockingly harsh at times, it has moments of unexpected tenderness and I defy anyone not to fall in love with Buck. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Eileen Chang is one of the great writers of twentieth-century China, where she enjoys a passionate following both on the mainland and in Taiwan. At the heart of Chang's achievement is her short fiction-tales of love, longing, and the shifting and endlessly treacherous shoals of family life. Written when she was still in her twenties, these extraordinary stories combine an unsettled, probing, utterly contemporary sensibility, keenly alert to sexual politics and psychological ambiguity, with an intense lyricism that echoes the classics of Chinese literature. Love in a Fallen City, the first collection in English of this dazzling body of work, introduces readers to the stark and glamorous vision of a modern master.
His haunting, impressionistic study of a man's slow corruption by jealousy, Emile Zola's The Beast Within (La Bete Humaine) is translated from the French with an introduction and notes by Roger Whitehouse in Penguin Classics. Roubaud is consumed by a jealous rage when he discovers a sordid secret about his young wife's past. The only way he can rest is by forcing her to help him murder the man involved, but there is a witness - Jacques Lantier, a fellow railway employee. Jacques, meanwhile, must contend with his own terrible impulses, for every time he sees a woman he feels the overwhelming desire to kill. In the company of Roubaud's wife, Severine, he finds peace briefly, yet his feelings for her soon bring disasterous consequences. A key work in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, The Beast Within is one of Zola's most dark and violent works - a tense thriller of political corruption and a graphic exploration of the criminal mind. Roger Whitehouse's vivid translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Zola's depiction of the railways, politics and the legal system and the influence of the studies of criminology and the Jack the Ripper murders on his novel. This edition also includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading and notes. Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-19th century French life, in a cycle of 20 novels which Zola wrote over a period of 22 years, including Au Bonheur des Dames (1883), The Beast Within (1890), Nana (1880), and The Drinking Den (1877). If you enjoyed The Beast Within, you might like Zola's The Drinking Den, also available in Penguin Classics.
First published in 1956 and recounting a tormented love affair in Paris between the American narrator, David, and Giovanni, an Italian bartender, this is a classic of gay literature. Unable to repress their impulses, they are tortured by their sexual identity and it's just such a raw, heart-breaking read because of it. Beautifully written by Baldwin, the sense of shame and despair eeks out of every page and whilst it's a harrowing read at times, it's an important read and ultimately a hopeful one. Highly recommended. Included in our '35 LGBTQ books to read this Pride Month and every month' Collection.
David Copperfield runs away from home to stay with his Aunt Betsey and turn his life around, which he does, while facing many challenges along the way. In this Compact Edition cuts have been made to overlong passages of description and dialogue and some scenes or incidents with minor characters have been reduced but all the memorable eccentrics have been kept. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…” is probably one of the most famous first lines from a novel and captures the readers interest immediately. What is Manderley? Why is our narrator dreaming about it? The story is relayed to us by the second Mrs de Winter who is not even given a name throughout the novel, as if to emphasise how insignificant she is compared to her predecessor, Rebecca. This book is haunting, chilling and packed full of intrigue. Who was Rebecca, why did people love her so much, was she good or evil? The narrator is constantly searching for answers to questions that no-one seems to want to answer but the truth that has been hidden for years is about to be revealed. A true classic. This collector’s edition has been produced to celebrate the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth.
In Of Mice and Men Steinbeck delivers a wonderfully compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. This absolute classic tells of two drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream. A vivid story of male friendship built around the dream that one day they will have some land of their own. A vital read and a book for everyone’s shelf. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Written as an act of revenge against the 17 year-old who came between her and Jean-Paul Sartre, She Came to Stay is Simone de Beauvoir's first novel - a lacerating study of a young, naive couple in love and the usurping woman who comes between them. 'It is impossible to talk about faithfulness and unfaithfulness where we are concerned. You and I are simply one. Neither of us can be described without the other.' It was unthinkable that Pierre and Francoise should ever tire of each other. And yet, both talented and restless, they constantly feel the need for new sensations, new people. Because of this they bring the young, beautiful and irresponsible Xaviere into their life who, determined to take Pierre for herself, drives a wedge between them, with unforeseeable, disastrous consequences... Published in 1943, 'She Came to Stay' is Simone de Beauvoir's first novel. Written as an act of revenge against the woman who nearly destroyed her now legendary, unorthodox relationship with the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, it fictionalises the events of 1935, when Sartre became infatuated with seventeen-year old Olga Bost, a pupil and devotee of de Beauvoir's. Passionately eloquent, coolly and devastatingly ironic, 'She Came to Stay' is one of the most extraordinary and powerful pieces of fictional autobiography of the twentieth century, in which de Beauvoir's 'tears for her characters freeze as they drop.'
Published posthumously in 1971, this novel remains one of the great queer romances to this day. Forster understood that his homage to same-sex love, if published when he completed it in 1914, would probably end his career. Thus, Maurice languished in a drawer for fifty-seven years, the author requesting it be published only after his death. Set in early 1910s England, the Maurice tells the story of Maurice Hall and his best friend Clive, and the life they attempt to build together in London, which is ultimately destroyed by societal conventions. As Maurice makes his way through a traditional English education, he projects an outer confidence that masks troubling questions about his own identity. Frustrated and unfulfilled, a product of the bourgeoisie he will grow to despise, he has difficulty acknowledging his nascent attraction to men. At Cambridge he meets Clive, who opens his eyes to a less conventional view of the nature of love. Yet when Maurice is confronted by the societal pressures of life beyond university, self-doubt and heartbreak threaten his quest for happiness. A brilliant and beautiful gay classic. Included in our '35 LGBTQ Books to Read this Pride Month and Every Month' collection.
One of Larry Lamb's favourite books. The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is stranded on an uninhabited island far away from any shipping routes. With patience and ingenuity, he transforms his island into a tropical paradise. For twenty-four years he has no human company, until one Friday, he rescues a prisoner from a boat of cannibals.
So incredibly entertaining, this is a novel I can read again and again. Discover adventure, betrayal, revenge and love between the pages of a drama filled belter of a read. Yes, I love this book, and it is one of my favourite classic reads. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.