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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!
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.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY A.S. BYATT When eleven-year-old Henrietta arrives at the Fishers' residence in Paris, little does she know what fascinating secrets the house itself contains. Henrietta finds that her visit coincides with that of Leopold, an intense child who has come to Paris to be introduced to the mother he has never known. In the course of a single day, the mystery surrounding Leopold, his parents, Henrietta's agitated hostess and the dying matriarch in bed upstairs, come to light slowly and tantalisingly.
Chios Classics brings literature's greatest works back to life for new generations. All our books contain a linked table of contents.North and South is the most famous novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell.Set in North England, North and South is a critique of English society during the industrial revolution.
Perhaps his most famous work, Emile Zola's Therese Raquin is a dark and gripping story of lust, violence and guilt, set in the gloomy back streets of Paris. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes and an introduction by Robin Buss. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of a dingy haberdasher's shop on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Therese Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband's earthy friend Laurent, but their animal passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Therese Raquin caused a scandal when it appeared in 1867 and brought its twenty-seven-year-old author a notoriety that followed him throughout his life. Zola's novel is not only an uninhibited portrayal of adultery, madness and ghostly revenge, but also a devastating exploration of the darkest aspects of human existence. Robin Buss's translation superbly conveys Zola's fearlessly honest and matter-of-fact style. In his introduction, he discusses Zola's life and literary career, and the influence of art, literature and science on his writing. This edition also includes the preface to the second edition of 1868, a chronology, further reading and notes.
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.
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
Esther Rudomin was ten years old when, in 1941, she and her family were arrested by the Russians for being 'capitalists' and transported to Siberia. The next five years spent were spent in exile where they went barefoot and hungry until the end of the Second World War. Despite the hardships endured, Esther's story radiates optimism and is a beautiful example of the resilience of the human spirit.
Friendship, hospitality and having fun propel the adventures of these four animals as they go about their lives against the watery landscape in this classic tale. Life on the riverbank with close-friends Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger is mostly peaceful. There is lots of entertaining as well as a great deal of just messing about on the river. Just occasionally the peace is shattered, as when Toad gets behind the wheel of his car and speeds around the countryside letting rip with the horn or, more seriously, by brief attempts to defeat the weasels and stoats in the Wild Wood.
March 2012 Guest Editor Alan Bradley on Evelyn Waugh... Charles Ryder, a lonely student at Oxford, is captivated by the outrageous and exquisitely beautiful Sebastian Flyte. Invited to Brideshead, Sebastian's magnificent family home, Charles welcomes the attentions of its eccentric, aristocratic inhabitants. But he also discovers a world which threatens to destroy his beloved Sebastian. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
May 2014 Guest Editor Daisy Goodwin on Scoop... Anybody who wants to learn how to write dialogue should read this novel. It is a masterpiece of comic precision. I still laugh when I read about William Boot’s expedition kit which includes a collapsible canoe and cleft sticks ‘invaluable for carrying messages’. And it contains my favourite Waugh character Mrs Stitch, who like Lady Glencora, is a pin sharp depiction of femine ruthlessness cloaked in charm and chiffon.
Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach...Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby - young, handsome, fabulously rich - always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.
'People were poorer and had not the comforts, amusements, or knowledge we have today; but they were happier.' Lark Rise to Candleford is Flora Thompson's classic evocation of a vanished world of agricultural customs and rural culture. The trilogy of Lark Rise, Over to Candleford, and Candleford Green tells the story of Flora's childhood and youth during the 1880s in Lark Rise, in reality Juniper Hill, the hamlet in Oxfordshire where she was born. Through the eyes of Laura, the author's fictional counterpart, Flora describes the cottages, characters, and way of life of the agricultural labourers and their families with whom she grew up; seasonal celebrations, schooling, church-going, entertainment and story-telling are described in fond and documentary detail. Later, when Laura leaves school and becomes assistant to the village postmistress, the same loving detail brings vividly to life the rural post office and its staff. This edition of the trilogy reproduces the original wood-engravings by Julie Neild and includes a new introduction by Phillip Mallet which looks at the background to the books and their enduring popularity.