No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Richard Carstone and Ada Clare are wards of the court in the interminable case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, which has gone on for so long that it has become a subject of mirth in legal circles and a source of great profit to those professionally engaged in it. The pair fall in love and marry, but the weak and feckless Richard slowly comes under the spell of the promised riches of the legal dispute. Jarndyce and Jarndyce has also drawn in a diverse array of other characters, from baronets to crossing-sweepers, as well as one of the novel's narrators, the moralistic Esther Summerson. Yet, while the lawsuit drags ever onwards, greater mysteries unfold, including murder, blackmail and love. Dominated by the oppressive force of Chancery, and considered by many to be both Dickens' greatest work and the finest novel of the Victorian age, Bleak House is a dark, complex and intricately plotted mystery that culminates in one of the great chases of the detective genre.
When the peaceful atmosphere of Barchester is destroyed by a scandal concerning the financial affairs of an almshouse, Septimus Harding, the kindly warden who devotes his life to the care of the establishment's twelve elderly residents, finds himself in conflict with his daughter's suitor, the zealous reformer Dr John Bold, who employs the full might of the press against his prospective father-in-law. The first in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series, The Warden is both a humorous satire of the Church of England and a poignant insight into the manner in which public matters impact private lives.
Having lived in the city of Orphalese for twelve years, the revered Prophet is about to board a ship taking him back to the isle of his birth. Before he departs, a group of people gather round and ask him to share his wisdom. Written as a collection of poetic essays, and detailing such diverse and sprawling topics as love, death, pleasure and prayer, The Prophet was an immediate success on its initial publication in 1923, and has since been translated into more than a hundred languages. This edition contains the original illustrations by the author himself.
The shop owner Adolf Verloc, member of an anarchist group and secret agent for a foreign government, is summoned to meet Mr Vladimir, the country's ambassador, and told of a plot that involves him planting a bomb at a famous London landmark. Verloc has misgivings, but Mr Vladimir knows how to make people do what he wants, and when the plan goes wrong, it is Verloc who must deal with the repercussions. A story of espionage, intrigue and corruption based on a real-life attempted terrorist attack in Victorian London, The Secret Agent was one of literature's first political thrillers, and is widely considered to be among Conrad's masterpieces.
Presented as a collection of confessional letters written by the eponymous protagonist, The Sorrows of Young Werther charts the emotional journey of a young man who, during a stay in a picturesque German village, falls in love with Lotte, a local woman engaged to another man. As he realizes that his passion is doomed to failure and constant pain, Werther contemplates taking the most drastic measures. Partly autobiographical, and the prototype for many later Romantic works in its depiction of the sensitive, tortured hero, Goethe's seminal classic is a timeless masterpiece of world literature.
While spending the summer in the resort of Grand Isle with her husband and children, Edna Pontellier begins a process of self-discovery that is accelerated after she meets the charming Robert Lebrun. Yet, when Robert departs for Mexico and the summer vacation ends, Edna's new-found sense of independence and personal freedom mean that she isolates herself from New Orleans society and rejects her former lifestyle. Moving into a home of her own and choosing a lover, Edna soon becomes a protegee of the unconventional pianist Mademoiselle Reisz, through whom she learns that Robert still longs for her. Centring upon the conflict between Edna's increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood and the prevailing social attitudes of the fin de siecle American South, The Awakening is widely seen as a landmark of early feminism and a precursor of American modernism.
Assembling at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, twenty-nine pilgrims begin their journey to Canterbury Cathedral. To entertain themselves on their long road, their host suggests that they regale each other with stories, with the teller of the best tale set to earn a free supper. The pilgrims correspond to all sections of medieval society, from the crusading knight to the drunken cook, and their tales span a range of genres, including the comic ribaldry and deception of `The Miller's Tale' and the story of chivalry and courtly romance told by the Franklin. Unfinished at the time of his death, The Canterbury Tales are here presented in their original Middle-English. This edition contains a wealth of material and over 3,000 notes which will help all students of Chaucer's masterpiece.
Fathers and Children, arguably the first modern novel in the history of Russian literature, shocked readers when it was first published in 1862 - the controversial character of Bazarov, a self-proclaimed nihilist intent on rejecting all existing traditional values and institutions, providing a trenchant critique of the established order. Turgenev's masterpiece investigates the growing nihilist movement of mid-nineteenth-century Russia - a theme which was to influence Dostoevsky and many other European writers - in a universal and often hilarious story of generational conflict and the clash between the old and the new.
Presented through an ingeniously overlapping and intertwining series of letters written by six very different characters, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker is the story of Squire Matthew Bramble and his family's journey across England and Scotland. From the gouty hypochondriac squire eager to take the waters in various spa towns to his malapropistic sister Tabitha, who is keenly looking for a husband, the characters recount their own experiences, desires and particular version of events, and in doing so introduce the reader to the extraordinary exploits of the hostler Humphry Clinker. Full of decadence, drunkenness and debauchery, and littered with double entendres, bawdy puns and scatological references, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, published only a few months before Smollett's death, is a biting and sharply observed satire of the luxury and licentiousness of eighteenth-century society. This edition contains notes and extra material.
When it is discovered that the reigning world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, is on board a cruiser heading for Buenos Aires, a fellow passenger challenges him to a game. Czentovic easily defeats him, but during the rematch a mysterious Austrian, Dr B., intervenes and, to the surprise of everyone, helps the underdog obtain a draw. When, the next day, Dr B. confides in a compatriot travelling on the same ship and decides to reveal the harrowing secret behind his formidable chess knowledge, a chilling tale of imprisonment and psychological torment unfolds.Stefan Zweig's last and most famous story, 'The Game of Chess' was written in exile in Brazil and explores its author's anxieties about the situation in Europe following the rise of the Nazi regime. The tale is presented here in a brand-new translation, along with three of the master storyteller's most acclaimed novellas: 'Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Woman', 'The Invisible Collection' and 'Incident on Lake Geneva'.
When the world-weary dandy Eugene Onegin moves from St Petersburg to take up residence in the country estate he has inherited, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his neighbour, the poet Vladimir Lensky. Coldly rejecting the amorous advances of Tatyana and cynically courting her sister Olga - Lensky's fiancee - Onegin finds himself dragged into a tragedy of his own making. Eugene Onegin - presented here in a sparkling translation by Roger Clarke, along with extensive notes and commentary - was the founding text of modern Russian literature, marking a clean break from the high-flown classical style of its predecessors and introducing the quintessentially Russian hero and heroine, which would remain the archetypes for novelists throughout the nineteenth century.
Born in Newgate Prison to an incarcerated mother, Moll Flanders is compelled from earliest childhood to make her own way in the world and to live off her wit and beauty. Her desire to climb the rungs of society leads her through a tangled web of incest, adultery, prostitution, deception and theft, before she is eventually transported to the New World for her crimes. Presented as Moll's autobiography, and published anonymously, the novel, through its self-made protagonist, highlights the intricacies and double standards of Moll's contemporary society, and offers an irresistible and evocative insight into both the drawing rooms and seedy back alleys of seventeenth-century England. This new edition is here presented with notes and extra material.
In Thomas More's hugely influential Utopia, a traveller recounts his discovery of an island nation in which the inhabitants enjoy unprecedented social cohesion and justice. The book imagines a community in which laws, personal relations and professional ambition are based on reason, in contrast with the tradition-bound superstitions of Europe, which were, in More's eyes, impediments to equality and peaceful coexistence.One of the indicators of the profound cultural and political influence of More's masterpiece is today's common use of the word Utopia - a term he invented. This extraordinary treatise on the values of rationality and reason - here presented in a sparkling new translation by Roger Clarke and accompanied by copious notes and additional texts - questions what a philosopher can do to enact change in society, and how idealized visions can inform political practice.
Jude Fawley, an intelligent and sensitive young Wessex schoolboy, is encouraged in his scholarly pursuits by the local schoolmaster, Mr Phillotson. Jude dreams of studying at the university of Christminster, the author's fictional representation of Oxford. Yet, soon Jude is deceived into marriage and then deserted by the duplicitous Arabella Donn, and he travels to Christminster to work as a stonemason while continuing his studies in the hope of being admitted to the university one day. There, Jude falls for his free-thinking cousin Sue, but with the pair living together out of wedlock, the pressures of poverty and social disapproval soon threaten to ruin their lives. Full of passion, anger, fatalism and tragedy, Jude the Obscure attacks the inequalities and hypocrisies inherent within Victorian society's attitudes towards marriage, social mobility, education and the role of women. The novel, which caused an immediate uproar on its publication, is now widely considered to be one of the great works of the nineteenth century and the apotheosis of Hardy's fiction. This edition is fully annotated and contains extra material.
In this classic Victorian Bildungsroman, David Copperfield makes his way through life, from his happy Suffolk childhood and his subsequent adventures in London, where he is dispatched by his unsympathetic stepfather, through to his first steps as a writer and his search for love and happiness. Along the way he encounters a vast array of characters - among them, some of Dickens's most memorable ones - such as the eccentric aunt Betsey Trotwood, the deluded optimist Wilkins Micawber and the obsequious villain Uriah Heep. Much admired by Freud and Dostoevsky, and cited by Dickens as the favourite among his own novels, this heavily autobiographical work marks the transition from his early picaresque novels to his more profound later works. A frequent subject of adaptations and always ranking highly among readers' favourite classics, David Copperfield is as fresh and entertaining today as it was when it was first published over a hundred and fifty years ago.
The friends Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley leave Miss Pinkerton's school together, ready to forge their paths in the tawdry and cut-throat world of the early nineteenth century. The scheming, brilliant and ruthless orphan Becky is better equipped than any to scale the heights of Regency society. Amelia, however, is sweet, quiet and passive, and longs for nothing more than the love of the self-obsessed and raffish soldier George Osborne. Amidst the machinations and jostling for wealth and status, Captain William Dobbin, with his hidden love for Amelia, stands alone as a steadfast, selfless and dutiful man. Woven into the climactic events of the Napoleonic Wars, and set against a backdrop of gaudy elegance and merciless personal ambition, Vanity Fair is an epic and sweeping satire, and a landmark of English literature.
When Darwin set sail at the end of 1831, it was only with a vague notion that all life forms, both present and extinct, were more strongly related than the Christian version of the world's creation purported them to be. During his five-year voyage of research and discovery on board HMS Beagle, and later from his home in Kent, he painstakingly collected a mass of evidence from across the planet - from Paraguay and the Galapagos Islands to Staffordshire and Scotland - building a compelling case for a theory that would change the world we live in - and the way we look at it - for ever. The foundation of evolutionary biology and natural selection - which prompted as huge a revolution in the fields of science and religion as Copernicus's heliocentric model of the universe and Newton's law of gravity, Darwin's On the Origin of Species is perhaps the most important book of scientific observation ever written.
A commercial and critical success when it was first published in 1931, and now considered by some to be Virginia Woolf's most ambitious novel. This new edition includes pictures and a section on Virginia Woolf's life and works. Through a series of connected monologues, The Waves tells the story of six very different friends - Bernard, Louis, Neville, Jinny, Susan and Rhoda - as they progress from childhood to middle age. Interspersed with evocative descriptions of the seaside at different times of day, the poignant personal histories coalesce into a poetic tapestry of human experience. A commercial and critical success when it was first published in 1931, and now considered by some to be Virginia Woolf's most ambitious novel, showcasing her Modernist narrative techniques at their finest, The Waves casts a visionary and lyrical light on everyday life.
Raised in the idyllic setting of Dorlcote Mill, the wild and wilful Maggie Tulliver adores her elder brother Tom and is forever trying to gain the approbation of her parents. Yet, as she grows older and the family struggle under the weight of severe pecuniary difficulties, she becomes increasingly caught between the divergent expectations of the four men in her life: a doting father, an obdurate and vengeful brother, a good-looking and frivolous suitor and an earnest old playmate who happens to be the son of her father and brother's sworn enemy. Tragic and affecting, and drawing heavily on George Eliot's own rural upbringing and relationship with her brother, The Mill on the Floss is one of literature's finest evocations of childhood and adolescence, and introduces, in Maggie Tulliver, one of the most beloved heroines in the English canon.
With his birth itself a monumental exploit in itself, it is clear that the giant Pantagruel is destined to great things, and the novel that bears his name chronicles his the remarkable life of the exuberant youth: from his voracious reading habits to his escapades with the knave Panurge and his prowess in battle. The second work in this volume deals with the history of his father Gargantua, whose biography is equally if not more outlandish and larger than life. But these bawdy and boisterous tales, with their fixation on food and faeces, are not just entertaining yarns, as Francois Rabelais, one of the foremost humanists of the sixteenth century, parodies medieval learning, lambasts the established church authority and develops his own ideal visions for the ordering of society. Translated by critically-acclaimed translator Andrew Brown, this edition contains a wealth of material which will make this edition ideal for students
The heir to his grandfather's considerable fortune, Anthony Patch is led astray from the path to gainful employment by the temptations and distractions of the 1920s Jazz Age. His descent into dissolution and profligacy is accelerated by his marriage to the attractive but turbulent Gloria, and the couple soon discover the dangerous flip side of a life of glamour and debauchery.
While holidaying at a villa on the French Riviera, Dick and Nicole Diver, a wealthy American couple, meet the young film star Rosemary Hoyt. Her arrival causes a stir in their social circle and exposes the cracks in their fragile marriage. As their relationship unravels, glimpses of their troubled past emerge, and a series of disturbing events unfolds. Peopled by an unforgettable cast of aristocrats and high-fliers, Tender Is the Night is at once a scathing critique of the materialism and hypocrisy of the Roaring Twenties and a poignant and sensitive account of personal tragedy and disillusionment.
Gilbert Markham is fascinated by Helen Graham, the beautiful and enigmatic woman who has recently moved into Wildfell Hall. He is swift to befriend her and steadfastly refutes the local gossip calling her character and behaviour into question, yet he soon has cause to regret his infatuation, and grave doubts and misgivings begin to arise in his mind. It is only when Helen presents Gilbert with her diary and instructs him to read it that the shocking truth about her past life becomes clear. The first edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was so successful that it sold out in weeks, yet the novel was mired in controversy for its fierce defence of women's rights and what many contemporary critics viewed as its shocking and immoral subject matter.
After the Lady Vain is shipwrecked, Edward Prendick is plucked from the waves by a passing ship and deposited on a remote island. Here he is the guest of Dr Moreau, whose notorious scientific methods had caused an uproar that left him with no choice but to flee London. Disquieted and appalled by the pained cries of suffering animals, Edward soon realizes that the Doctor is continuing and developing his depraved experiments, and that he too is in great danger. Shocking and suffused with contemporary fears regarding the morality of the latest advances in science and their possible implications for religion, The Island of Dr Moreau is both a ruthless social satire and an exploration of human nature.
Four women, with very different backgrounds and characters - the artless Lottie Wilkins, the pious Rose Arbuthnot, the cantankerous Mrs Fisher and the haughty Lady Caroline Dester - respond to an advertisement in The Times offering a medieval castle to rent in Italy that April. As their joint holiday begins, tensions fl are up between them, but they soon bond over their past misfortunes and rediscover hope and the pleasures of life in their tranquil surroundings. A huge best-seller when it was published in 1922, The Enchanted April has inspired generations of readers since and established Portofi no and the Italian Riviera as a mainstay of the tourist circuit.
On his thirtieth birthday, the bank clerk Josef K. is suddenly arrested by mysterious agents for an unspecified crime. He is told that he will be set free, but must make regular appearances at a court in the attic of a tenement building while his trial proceeds. Although he never comes to know the particulars of his case, Josef K. finds his life taken over by the opaque bureaucratic procedures and is tormented by the psychological pressures exerted by his legal nightmare. Published the year after the author's death, but written ten years earlier, The Trial is the most acclaimed of Kafka's three novels, and is both a haunting meditation on freedom and the powerlessness of the individual in the face of state power, and an ominous pre-figuration of the totalitarian excesses of the twentieth century.
What could be better during the golden age of boating on the Thames than a relaxing row up the river? So think J., George and Harris - not forgetting Montmorency the dog - but little do they suspect the mishaps, the scrapes and the japes that lie along the way. From becoming impossibly lost in the maze at Hampton Court to battles with tins of pineapple chunks, all the while attempting to limit the destruction wrought by the mischievous Montmorency, Jerome K. Jerome's classic novel of humorous misadventures and comedic authorial digressions is a paean to the banalities of everyday life and has entertained readers for more than a century.
Russia's literary world is shaken to its foundations when a mysterious gentleman - a professor of black magic - arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a bizarre retinue of servants. It soon becomes clear that he is the Devil himself, come to wreak havoc among the cultural elite of a disbelieving capital. But the Devil's mission quickly becomes entangled with the fate of the Master - a man who has turned his back on his former life and taken refuge in a lunatic asylum - and his past lover, Margarita. Both a satirical romp and a daring analysis of the nature of good and evil, innocence and guilt, The Master and Margarita is the crowning achievement of one of the greatest Russian writers of the twentieth century.
Having grown up in London and rural southern England, Margaret Hale moves with her father to the northern industrial city of Milton. She is shocked by the poverty she encounters and dismayed by the unsympathetic attitude of the textile-mill owner John Thornton, whose factory workers are engaged in an acrimonious strike. Against this backdrop of social unrest, the relationship between the two is tumultuous, and it takes further upheaval and tragedy for them to see each other in a different light. First serialized in Dickens's magazine Household Words in the same period as Hard Times, North and South shares its famous counterpart's concern with the inequality and hardship generated by the Industrial Revolution in northern England, while at the same time creating one of the nineteenth century's most memorable and engaging female protagonists in Margaret Hale.
The well-educated daughter of a penniless clergyman, Agnes Grey is treated like a child by her own family and so sets out to prove herself by seeking employment as a governess. Soon, however, her idealistic notions regarding the education and care of her wards are dashed as she battles to control the wild Bloomfi eld children in her fi rst situation, and is then held in low regard by the superior Murray household.
This third edition, newly revised and updated, includes comprehensive and all-new annotations (over 9,000 notes) by Joyce scholar Sam Slote, Trinity College, Dublin, and Marc A. Mamigonian and John Turner. A lively repository of literary allusion and colloquial realism, this dazzlingly innovative, ambitious novel is here presented in its 1939 version, which contains notable textual differences from the standard editions currently in print. Controversial, scandalous, erudite and funny, Ulysses is undisputedly a landmark of twentieth-century Modernism. It charts one day - 16th June 1904 - in the lives of three inhabitants of Dublin, the advertising salesman Leopold Bloom, the artist Stephen Dedalus and Bloom's wife Molly. Their peregrinations, thoughts and encounters form the basis of the narrative, which becomes a celebration of all human experience through the lives of specific individuals in a specific place at a specific time. Ulysses is both an experimental novel and a book intimately concerned with the events of modern life.
We takes place in a distant future, where humans are forced to submit their wills to the requirements of the state, under the rule of the all-powerful Benefactor, and dreams are regarded as a sign of mental illness. In a city of straight lines, protected by green walls and a glass dome, a spaceship is being built in order to spearhead the conquest of new planets. Its chief engineer, a man called D-503, keeps a journal of his life and activities: to his mathematical mind everything seems to make sense and proceed as it should, until a chance encounter with a woman threatens to shatter the very foundations of the world he lives in. Written in a highly charged, direct and concise style, Zamyatin's 1921 seminal novel - here presented in Hugh Aplin's crisp translation - is not only an indictment of the Soviet Russia of his time and a precursor of the works of Orwell and the dystopian genre, but also a prefiguration of much of twentieth-century history and a harbinger of the ominous future that may still lay ahead of us.
The most widely staged dramatist after Shakespeare, Chekhov left a deep mark both on the development of Russian literature and world theatre, with plays that were remarkable not just for their dialogue but their atmosphere and the tensions expressed between the lines. Collected in this volume are Chekhov's four most celebrated plays - The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard - in a brand-new translation by Hugh Aplin. In these personal stories of unfulfilled love, failed ambition and existential ennui, set against a background of unsettling social and economical change, the reader can appreciate the groundbreaking qualities of Chekhov's theatrical genius.
When Mrs Ramsay tells her guests at her summer house on the Isle of Skye that they will be able to visit the nearby lighthouse the following day, little does she know that this trip will only be completed ten years later by her husband, and that a gulf of war, grief and loss will have opened in the meantime. As each character tries to readjust their memories and emotions with the shifts of time and reality, this long-delayed excursion will also prove to be a journey of self-discovery and fulfilment for them. Rich in symbolism, daring in style, elegiac in tone and encapsulating Virginia Woolf's ideas on life, art and human relationships, To the Lighthouse is a landmark of twentieth-century literature and one of the high points of early Modernism.
When the reporter Edward Malone is sent to interview the formidable Professor Challenger about his accounts of strange prehistoric beasts on a remote plateau in South America, he expects to be given short shrift by the researcher, notorious for man handling nosy enquirers. But Challenger, impressed by the young journalist's thirst for adventure, invites Malone along on his next expedition, plunging him into a mysterious and dangerous world populated by dinosaurs and murderous ape men. Having already written seminal works of detective fiction, Arthur Conan Doyle became a pioneer of early science fiction with The Lost World. This classic novel helped establish the genre and has inspired, since its first publication in 1912, countless stories, novels and films.
Against the backdrop of growing discontent in Paris, Doctor Manette is released from the Bastille after eighteen years of unjust imprisonment and begins a new life in England with his devoted daughter Lucie. There, the gifted but dissolute lawyer Sydney Carton and the exiled French nobleman Charles Darnay find their lives increasingly intertwined with those of the Manettes. Yet soon both men are drawn ineluctably from the peaceful English capital to the horror and bloodshed of the Paris Terror and the looming threat of the guillotine. Representing a departure from the social satire of most of his other novels and deemed by Dickens himself to be the best story I have written , A Tale of Two Cities is a powerful historical novel about the repercussions of epochal events on the personal lives of people on both sides of the Channel.
Bathsheba Everdene is a headstrong young woman who attracts the attentions of a succession of ill-matched suitors: a quiet sheep farmer, a handsome soldier and an older, wealthy landowner. As the men vie for her affections, she struggles to retain her independence of spirit in the face of their declarations. Introducing readers to the fictional county of Wessex, Thomas Hardy's fourth work of fiction was one of his greatest triumphs, both commercially and critically. Its tale of passion, jealousy and unrequited love is now regarded as one of the finest novels of the nineteenth century, and one of the greatest love stories of all time.
James Joyce's first published book, which he wrote when he was still in his twenties, Dubliners is far removed from the bold experimentalism of his later work, but is essential for understanding the author's development as a writer, and endures as a masterly example of the short-story form. Although ranging considerably in tone, mood and milieu, the fifteen short stories included in this collection all centre around the city of Dublin and its inhabitants at the beginning of the twentieth-century. From the unsettling adventure of two truant schoolboys to the crafty schemes of two con-men, from a young woman's refusal to abandon Ireland and elope with a sailor to a man's moment of clarity during an annual dance party, these stories offer a moving portrait of an entire world and era which has all but disappeared.
A mysterious stranger named Chichikov arrives in a small provincial Russian town and proceeds to visit a succession of landowners, making each of them an unusual and somewhat macabre proposition. He offers to buy the rights to the dead serfs who are still registered on the landowner's estate, thus reducing their liability for taxes. It is not clear what Chichikov's intentions are with the dead serfs he is purchasing, and despite his attempts to ingratiate himself, his strange behaviour arouses the suspicions of everyone in the town.A biting satire of social pretensions and pomposity, Dead Souls has been revered since its original publication in 1842 as one of the funniest and most brilliant novels of nineteenth-century Russia. Its unflinching and remorseless depiction of venality in Russian society is a lasting tribute to Gogol's comic genius.
When an army of invading Martians lands in England, panic and terror seize the population. As the aliens traverse the country in huge three-legged machines, incinerating all in their path with a heat ray and spreading noxious toxic gases, the people of the Earth must come to terms with the prospect of the end of human civilization and the beginning of Martian rule. Inspiring films, radio dramas, comic-book adaptations, television series and sequels, The War of the Worlds is a prototypical work of science fiction which has influenced every alien story that has come since, and is unsurpassed in its ability to thrill, well over a century since it was first published.
A Victorian scientist and inventor creates a machine for propelling himself through time, and voyages to the year AD 802701, where he discovers a race of humanoids called the Eloi. Their gently indolent way of life, set in a decaying cityscape, leads the scientist to believe that they are the remnants of a once great civilization. He is forced to revise this assessment when he comes across the cave dwellings of threatening ape-like creatures known as Morlocks, whose dark underground world he must explore to discover the terrible secrets of this fractured society, and the means of getting back to his own time. A biting critique of class and social equality as well as an innovative and much imitated piece of science fiction which introduced the idea of time travel into the popular consciousness, The Time Machine is a profound and extraordinarily prescient novel.
In the third and final part of The Divine Comedy, Dante recounts his journey through heaven, after the travails and torments of Hell and the arduous ascent of Mount Purgatory, creating a cosmology of the highest realm of creation which is astonishing in its complexity. In Dante's imagining, Paradise is formed out of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, beginning with the Moon and ending with the Empyrean. Dante must traverse these ethereal regions guided by his beloved Beatrice, as a means of attaining wisdom, revelation and beatitude. Containing some of Dante's finest poetry, Dante's Paradise is an enduring vision of grace and a powerful allegory for the struggle for redemption. This dual-text edition completes J.G. Nichols's masterful verse translation of The Divine Comedy.
The mysterious Griffin arrives at a picturesque English inn during a snowstorm, swaddled in bandages which cover his face and with his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. His odd get-up and irascible behavior intrigue the locals, who believe him to be the victim of an accident. However, the true reason for Griffin's outfit is far stranger: underneath those clothes, he is completely invisible. As the cause of Griffin's state of transparency is revealed, his nefarious and destructive intentions become clear. One of the foundational texts of science fiction, The Invisible Man has inspired numerous film and TV adaptations and remains chilling in its depiction of scientific experimentation gone wrong.
When Richard Hannay finds the corpse of freelance spy Franklin P. Scudder in his London flat, he goes on the run, fearing that his life is in danger. Scudder had previously revealed that he was investigating a ring of German spies, who were conspiring to sabotage Britain's war capability. Hannay becomes both hunter and hunted as he struggles to unravel the tangled threads of this plot while staying one step ahead of his pursuers, who will stop at nothing to keep their nefarious secrets. First published in 1915, John Buchan's definitive spy novel was the first in a long line of espionage thrillers to delve into the underbelly of the British establishment. Over a hundred years later, The Thirty-Nine Steps remains resonant, and the various film, television and theatre adaptations of this classic - most notably Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 version - are a testament to its capacity to thrill.
When the young Ishmael gets on board Captain Ahab's whaling ship, little does he suspect that the mission on which he is about to embark is the fulfilment of his master's obsessive desire for revenge on Moby Dick, a white whale who has already claimed countless human victims and destroyed many fleets. With some sinister crew members in their midst and the hazardous conditions of the sea to contend with, the expedition becomes increasingly dangerous the closer it gets to its quarry. One of the great American novels, if not the greatest, Moby Dick epically combines rip-roaring adventure, a meticulously realistic portrayal of the whaling trade and a profound philosophical disquisition on the nature of good and evil.
While enjoying a six weeks' stay in fashionable Bath, the young and callow Catherine Morland is introduced to the delights of high society. Thanks to a new literary diet of the sensational and the macabre, Catherine travels to Northanger Abbey fully expecting to become embroiled in a Gothic adventure of intrigue and suspense - and, once there, soon begins to form the most gruesome and improbable theories about the exploits of its occupants. An early work, but published posthumously, Northanger Abbey is a parody of the Gothic genre typified by the novels of Ann Radcliffe, as well as a witty comedy of manners in the style of Jane Austen's later novels and, ultimately, an enchanting love story.
The most ambitious narrative of nineteenth-century realism, Middlemarch tells the story of an entire town in the years leading up to the Reform Bill of 1832, a time when modern methods were starting to challenge old orthodoxies. Eliot's sophisticated and acute characterization gives rich expression to every nuance of feeling, and vividly brings to life the town's inhabitants - including the young idealist Dorothea Brooke, the dry scholar Casaubon, the young, passionate reformist doctor Lydgate, the flighty young beauty Rosamond and the old, secretive banker Bulstrode - as they move in counterpoint to each other. Art, religion, politics, society, science, human relationships in all their complexity, nothing is left unexamined under the narrator's microscope. One of the greatest novels written in the English language, Middlemarch is a literary landmark in its groundbreaking approach, as well as a priceless document of its age.
On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity. Causing an uproar in Russia when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov's brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism - accompanied here by the unfinished novel Princess Ligovskaya - remains compelling to this day.
In June 1862, Dostoevsky left Petersburg on his first excursion to Western Europe. Ostensibly making the trip to consult Western specialists about his epilepsy, he also wished to see firsthand the source of the Western ideas he believed were corrupting Russia. Over the course of his journey he visited a number of major cities, including Berlin, Paris, London, Florence, Milan, and Vienna. His impressions on what he saw, Winter Notes on Summer Impressions , were first published in the February 1863 issue of Vremya (Time), the periodical he edited.
Describing Dante's second stage in his arduous journey to redemption, Purgatory features a host of unforgettable scenes and characters, and arguably some of the best poetry to be found in the Divine Comedy. The gloom, torments and evils of Hell have been left behind, but Dante's ascent of Mount Purgatory towards Paradise remains fraught with obstacles, not least the burden of his own mortality and his human passions. Purgatory is presented here in a new verse translation by acclaimed poet and prize-winning translator J.G. Nichols. Also included are the original Italian text, extensive notes and a critical apparatus focusing on Dante's life and works.
Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby's impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy. Regarded as Fitzgerald's masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the Jazz Age , as well as a timeless cautionary critique of the American dream.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a lonely, miserly old man who hates Christmas, which he dismisses as humbug . One Christmas Eve, however, he is visited by a series of ghosts who reveal to him the innocence he has lost, the wretchedness of his future and the poverty of the present, which he has so far ignored. This experience teaches Scrooge the true meaning of the holiday and leaves him a transformed man. With its memorable cast of characters such as Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is the most heart-warming of seasonal tales, a timeless classic that continues to enchant readers around the world and a lesson in charity and hopefulness that is as powerful today as when it was first written in 1843.
A murderer is forced to reveal his crime by the sound of a beating heart, a mysterious figure wreaks havoc among a party of noblemen during the time of the plague, a grieving lover awakens to find himself clutching a box of his beloved blood-stained teeth, a man is obsessed with the fear of being buried alive - these are only some of the memorable characters and stories included in this volume, which exemplify Poe's inventiveness and natural talent as a storyteller. Immensely popular both during and after his lifetime, and a powerful influence on generations of writers and film-makers to this day, Edgar Allan Poe is still counted among the greatest short-story writers of all time and seen as one of the initiators of the detective, horror and science-fiction genres.
Born into a poor family, Fanny Price is raised amid the daunting splendour of Mansfield Park by her rich uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram. Treated as an inferior by most of the family, Fanny forms a close attachment to her cousin Edmund, the only person to show her kindness. With the departure of her uncle to the West Indies and the arrival from London of the fashionable Henry and Mary Crawford, flirtation and romantic intrigue abound. As Fanny becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the conduct of her companions, she finds herself isolated and forced to face the conflict between her sense of integrity and social expectation.
Widely considered one of the greatest American novels, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of Huck Finn and his companion, the slave Jim, as they journey down the Mississippi river after running away from Huck's alcoholic father and Jim's owners. As they travel, they encounter a floating house, feuding families and cunning grifters, but more importantly Huck gets to know Jim and regard him as a friend and equal, overcoming the racial prejudices of the time, in a landmark narrative which poignantly addresses the issues of growing up and finding freedom.
Constantly rebuffed from the social circles he aspires to frequent, the timid clerk Golyadkin is confronted by the sudden appearance of his double, a more brazen, confident and socially successful version of himself, who abuses and victimizes the original. As he is increasingly persecuted, Golyadkin finds his social, romantic and professional life unravelling, in a spiral that leads to a catastrophic denouement. The Double, Dostoevsky's second published work of fiction, which foreshadows in its themes many of his mature novels, is the surreal and hallucinatory tale of an unfortunate anti-hero, at once chilling in its depiction of the dark sides of human nature and exuberantly comical.
Shakespeare's Sonnets are among the most lyrical and moving pieces of poetry in any language, abounding with examples of his genius for wordplay, rhythm and metaphor and dealing with the eternal themes of love, memory, beauty and the ravishes of time. First published in 1609, after Shakespeare had written many of his most famous works, the Sonnets have been the subject of literary curiosity ever since, mainly concerning the identity of the two addressees, `Mr W.H.' and the `Dark Lady', and the light they could shine on Shakespeare's life. This collection constitutes one of English literature's most profound poetic meditations on life and love, and is a vital complement to the plays, offering clues to Shakespeare's own biography. Presented here in an edition that makes them accessible to twentieth-century readers, these poems are worth returning to again and again.
Shipwrecked on an unknown island, Lemuel Gulliver wakes to find himself surrounded by its six-inch-tall natives, the Lilliputians. But this is only the first in a long line of wonderful discoveries, as his adventures take him to other far-off lands such as Brobdingnag, populated by a race of giants, Luggnagg, home to the eternally ageing Struldbrugs, and the country of the Houyhnhnms, a race of benevolent talking horses. Parodying the popular travel accounts of its time, Gulliver's Travels is not only a tour de force of imaginative and comic writing, which has thrilled readers of all ages for almost three centuries, but also a masterly, merciless satire on Western society and human nature.
Having travelled from her native New York to London to meet her relatives, Isabel Archer, a young, independently minded young woman, rejects the marriage proposals of two suitors in her determination to stay in control of her destiny. When she suddenly comes into a large legacy, Isabel believes that this windfall will finally ensure the freedom that she yearns for and embarks on an exhilarating journey through France and Italy, only to find her endeavours thwarted by the sinister plotting of some of her acquaintances. Considered by many to be Henry James's finest novel, The Portrait of a Lady is a subtle examination of Victorian society and power relations, providing a groundbreaking psychological study of its protagonist. This volume is based on the authoritative New York Edition, and includes the author's seminal preface.
Travelling to Italy on their honeymoon, Erszi and Mihaly are ready to take in all the beauties and pleasures of the country. But when they reach Venice, it is clear that Mihaly prefers to roam around the back alleys and the canals on his own, and as they continue their journey through the Bel Paese there is a growing sense of unrest between them, until Mihaly misses the train to Rome they were due to take together. Wandering alone from city to city, with his marriage rapidly falling apart, Mihaly must confront the ghosts of his past and try to find a sense of purpose. Originally written in 1937, and here presented in a brilliant new translation by Peter V. Czipott, Antal Szerb's gently humorous and psychologically subtle exploration into the workings of a budding bourgeois marriage has been hailed as one of the great rediscovered classics of the twentieth century.
She looked so irresistibly beautiful as she said those brave words that no man alive could have steeled his heart against her. In love with the beautiful heiress Laura Fairlie, the impoverished art teacher Walter Hartright finds his romantic desires thwarted by her previous engagement to Sir Percival Glyde. But all is not as it seems with Sir Percival, as becomes clear when he arrives with his eccentric friend Count Fosco. The mystery and intrigue are further deepened by the ghostly appearances of a woman in white, apparently harbouring a secret that concerns Sir Percival's past. A tale of love, madness, deceit and redemption, boasting sublime Gothic settings and pulse-quickening suspense, The Woman in White was the first best-selling Victorian sensation novel, sparking off a huge trend in the fiction of the time with its compulsive, fascinating narrative.
Persuasion narrates the emotional journey of its protagonist Anne Elliot, who chances upon Captain Wentworth, a suitor she was persuaded to reject seven years earlier, and whose reappearance causes her to reflect on her past decisions and contemplate her marital future.Vividly depicting the society holiday towns of Lyme Regis and Bath and infused with its author's trademark wit, Austen's last completed novel, set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, is an entertaining and enduring account of the dilemmas facing young women in the early nineteenth century.
The Good Soldier tells the stories of two outwardly happy couples who meet at a health spa in Germany just before the start of the First World War, and whose loveless, adultery-ridden relationships are strained and gradually disintegrate, with tragic consequences. Drawing inspiration from his personal life, Ford Madox Ford innovatively used non-chronological flashbacks as well as an unreliable narrator to reveal the scandalous affairs, lies and betrayals behind the facade of respectability, and craft a masterly work of fiction and a subtle investigation of the notions of truth and deception.
After an accident, Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of impoverished peasants, decides to call on the aristocratic d'Urbervilles, as she believes that she is also descended from their ancient Norman lineage and that they can rescue her family from indigence. Unfortunately she is taken under the wing of the immoral libertine scion Alec d'Urberville, who seduces and scorns her. While she attempts to rebuild her life, she falls in love with the virtuous farmer Angel Clare and must find a way to defeat the demons of her past. Controversial when it was first published for challenging Victorian morals, Tess of the d'Urbervilles has become Thomas Hardy's most popular novel, catching the imaginations of generations of readers with its high drama, endearing heroine and powerful evocations of the southern English countryside.
In Hard Times, Dickens illustrates the condition of England through the fictional city of Coketown. Among its inhabitants are Thomas Gradgrind, the utilitarian headmaster who attempts to impose his rigid worldview on his family circle, and the uncaring businessman Mr Bounderby. Their materialist philosophies, as opposed to the world of fancy or imagination, are tested throughout the novel, which also explores workers' conditions, trade unions and the spurious use of statistics. Perhaps the most polemical of his novels - in which hard-biting satire, moving drama and exuberant comedy find a very succinct and powerful expression - Hard Times is the ideal introduction to the world of Dickens.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer charts the escapades of a thirteen-year-old boy growing up on the banks of the Mississippi. Testing the patience of his aunt Polly, the bold and sharp-witted Tom Sawyer frequently skips school in search of excitement, and the scrapes he gets into with his friend Huckleberry Finn range from innocent japes to more serious events such as the witnessing of a murder. One of the most popular and influential American novels, Mark Twain's masterpiece is at the same time a highly entertaining romp which celebrates youth and freedom and a more profound investigation of his times, touching on themes such as race, revenge and slavery. This volume includes Tom Sawyer, Detective, a sequel and pastiche of the detective genre, first published in 1896.
Sense and Sensibility is famously characterised as the story of two Dashwood sisters who embody the conflict between the oppressive nature of 'civilised' society and the human desire for romantic passion. However, there is far more to this story of two daughters made homeless by the death of their father. Elinor, 19, and Marianne, 17, initially project the opposing roles with Elinor cautious and unassuming about romantic matters, while Marianne is wild and passionate when she falls hopelessly in love with the libertine Mr Willoughby. But the lessons in love and life see the two characters develop and change with sense and sensibility needing to be compromised as a matter of survival.Written when Austen was just nineteen, this story has been read as a biographical reflection of her relationship with her own sister Cassandra, with the younger Jane being the victim of 'sensibility.' However, the novel is far more than a simple case of passion versus manners, and depicts the romantic complications of two women made highly vulnerable by the loss of their father and estate. With a raw and intense quality Austen creates a romantic masterpiece on the backdrop of a fragile social context.
Having been found guilty of adultery, Hester Prynne is forced to wear an embroidered scarlet letter A as a punishment for her sin. While her vengeful husband embarks on a quest to discover the identity of her lover, she is left to face the consequences of her infidelity and find a place for herself and her illegitimate child in the hostile environment of seventeenth-century Puritan Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne's tense narrative astonished readers with its unparalleled psychological depth when it first appeared, and the novel now stands as one of America's literary landmarks.
When Rachel Verinder's legacy of a priceless Indian diamond is stolen, all the evidence indicates that it is her beloved, Franklin Blake, who is guilty. Around this central axis of crime and thwarted love, Collins constructs an ingenious plot of teasing twists and surprises, and an elaborate multi-voiced narrative that sustains the tension all the way to its stunning ending. Described by T.S. Eliot as the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels, Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone is an important precursor of the modern mystery and suspense genres.
Purporting to be an autobiography of the antihero Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne's novel is a comic masterpiece of digression, egoism and sensationalism, as its hilarious asides, explanations and host of memorable secondary characters - such as Uncle Toby, Dr Slop, Parson Yorick and Widow Wadman - take centre stage, at the expense of the actual life events the book sets out to depict. A humorous compendium of European thought and literature - pastiching the likes of Locke and Bacon and referencing Pope, Swift, Cervantes and Rabelais - emerges amid the convoluted accounts of Tristram's conception, misnaming and accidental circumcision by a sash window, in a shrewd narrative that examines the role and nature of language itself.
In the summer of 1348, the plague ravages Florence, and ten young Florentines take refuge in the countryside, where they entertain themselves with tales of love, death and corruption, featuring a host of colourful characters, from lascivious clergymen and mad kings to devious lovers and false miracle-makers. Named after the Greek for ten days , Boccaccio's book of stories draws on ancient mythology, contemporary events and everyday life, leaving an indelible mark on the works of future writers such as Chaucer and Shakespeare. J.G. Nichols's new translation stays as faithful to the original as possible while being written in a clear and eminently modern English, capturing the timeless humour of one of the great classics of world literature.
Emma is considered by many readers to be Jane Austen's crowning achievement, a timeless comedy of manners that lays bare the limits on women's autonomy in Regency England. The disparity between Emma Woodhouse's self-confidence and self-knowledge, and her determination to arrange marriages for her friends while avoiding one for herself, leads to a painful series of misunderstandings for everyone who suffers from her well-meaning altruism - and with Mr Knightley being the only person of her acquaintance who has the good sense to challenge her, Emma must eventually recognize her match in every sense. Long praised for its rich detail and perfect craftsmanship, Emma is one of those classic masterpieces that readers go back to again and again for its inexhaustible fund of humanity.
On a boat in the Thames estuary, Marlow tells his travelling companions of his reconnaissance expedition for a Belgian trading company to its most remote outpost in central Africa, which brought him on the trail of the elusive Kurtz, a brilliant idealist gone rogue. His account relates not only the perils he encounters on his quest, but also the deterioration of his state of mind as he is confronted with a world that is hostile and alien to him. Renowned for its stylistic boldness and dramatic descriptions, Heart of Darkness is a stark yet subtle examination of the powers of the subconscious and the workings of western imperialism.
As Mrs Dalloway works on the preparations for a dinner party, her thoughts throughout the day wander from memories of the past to interrogations about the present and lead her to assess the choices she has made in life and love. Her monologue interweaves with the account of the distress, on that same day, of the shell-shocked veteran Septimus Warren Smith, whose trauma and hallucinations end in tragedy, as the links between the two characters unfold. One of Virginia Woolf's most famous novels, Mrs Dalloway is a triumph of experimentation, a cornerstone of Modernism and a subtle examination of love, freedom, mental illness and the female condition in society.
Originally published in Italy in 1928, and unavailable in Britain until 1960, when it was the subject of an infamous obscenity trial, Lady Chatterley's Lover is now regarded as one of the pivotal novels of the twentieth century. Lawrence's determination to explore every aspect - sexual, social, psychological - of Lady Chatterley's adulterous liaison with the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors makes for a profound meditation on the human condition, the forces of nature and the social constraints that people struggle to overcome. Containing autobiographical elements and set in the author's native Nottinghamshire, Lawrence's final novel had a profound impact on twentieth-century culture and sexual attitudes, while confirming his standing as one of the most eminent fiction writers that England has produced.
Inspired by Dostoevsky's own gambling addiction and written under pressure in order to pay off his creditors and retain his rights to his literary legacy, The Gambler is set in the casino of the fictional German spa town of Roulettenburg and follows the misfortunes of the young tutor Alexei Ivanovich. As he succumbs to the temptations of the roulette table, he finds himself engaged in a battle of wills with Polina, the woman he unrequitedly loves. With an unforgettable cast of fellow gamblers and figures from European high society, this darkly comic novel of greed and self-destruction reveals Dostoevsky at his satirical and psychological best.
One of Dickens's finest novels, Great Expectations chronicles the fortunes of its young protagonist Pip as he is unexpectedly endowed by a mysterious benefactor with the life of a gentleman, enabling him to escape to London from the prospect of a humble blacksmith's career in rural Kent. In the bustling, unforgiving capital he must learn for himself the pitfalls of love and wealth, and how to sort his friends from his enemies. Through the lives of its unforgettable and iconic characters - such as Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Estella - Great Expectations charts the course of an England undergoing rapid social and economic change, and tells a tale that is among the foremost classics of the English language.
One of Stevenson's most famous and enduringly popular works, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde describes the mysterious relationship between a respectable and affable doctor and his brutal associate. Set in the grimy streets of Victorian London, this tale of murder, split personality and obscure science, with its chilling final revelation, became an instant horror classic when it was first published in 1886, and has enthralled and terrified generations of readers ever since. This volume also contains seven other Gothic stories by Stevenson - such as `The Body Snatchers', `Markheim' and `Olalla' - showcasing the author's mastery of the horror genre and his interest in both the otherworldly and the strange ways the human brain can distort reality.
When an ageing, impoverished nobleman decides to style himself Don Quixote and embarks upon a series of daring endeavours, it is clear that his ability to distinguish between reality and the fantasy world of literary romance has broken down. His exploits turn into comic misadventures, in which everyday objects are transformed into the accoutrements of chivalry, peasant girls become princesses and windmills are mistaken for formidable giants, leading the hero and his squire Sancho Panza into the realms of absurdity and humiliation. Renowned for its comical set pieces, Don Quixote is a profound meditation on the relationship between truth and fiction and the morality of deception, as well as the foundation stone of the modern novel.
Charles Dickens's second novel is the tale of a young orphan who faces the gruelling conditions of a Victorian workhouse before finding himself sucked into the criminal underworld of London. Teeming with unforgettable characters such as the villainous Fagin, the virtuous Nancy and the brutal Bill Sikes, Oliver Twist combines dark humour, elements of melodrama and social polemic. At once a ferocious indictment of the author's era and a timeless story of coming of age, this classic has enthralled readers and inspired countless adaptations and imitations since it was first published in 1838.
The unnamed narrator of the novel, a former government official, has decided to retire from the world and lead a life of inactivity and contemplation. His fiercely bitter, cynical and witty monologue ranges from general observations and philosophical musings to memorable scenes from his own life, including his obsessive plans to exact revenge on an officer who has shown him disrespect and a dramatic encounter with a prostitute. Seen by many as the first existentialist novel and showcasing the best of Dostoevsky's dry humour, Notes from Underground was a pivotal moment in the development of modern literature and has inspired countless novelists, thinkers and film-makers.
Leo Tolstoy's most personal novel, Anna Karenina scrutinizes fundamental ethical and theological questions through the tragic story of its eponymous heroine. Anna is desperately pursuing a good, moral life, standing for honesty and sincerity. Passion drives her to adultery, and this flies in the face of the corrupt Russian bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, the aristocrat Konstantin Levin is struggling to reconcile reason with passion, espousing a Christian anarchism that Tolstoy himself believed in.
The pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable. One of the most cherished love stories in English literature, Jane Austen's 1813 masterpiece has a lasting effect on everyone who reads it.
A novel of high romance and great intensity, Jane Eyre has enjoyed popular success and critical acclaim ever since its publication in 1847. Jane's journey from a troubled childhood to independence - and her turbulent love affair with the enigmatic Mr Rochester - electrified Victorian readers with its narrative power.
Dorian Gray is having his picture painted by Basil Hallward, who is charmed by his looks. But when Sir Henry Wotton visits and seduces Dorian into the worship of youthful beauty with an intoxicating speech, Dorian makes a wish he will live to regret: that all the marks of age will now be reflected in the portrait rather than on Dorian's own face. The stage is now set for a masterful tale about appearance, reality, art, life, truth, fiction and the burden of conscience. Oscar Wilde's only full-length novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a lasting gem of sophisticated wit and playfulness, which brings together all the best elements of his talent in a reinterpretation of the Faustian myth.
When the young salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning transformed into a monstrous insect, his shock and incomprehension are coupled with the panic of being late for work and having to reveal his appearance to family and colleagues. Although over the following weeks he gradually becomes used to this new existence confined within the bounds of the apartment, and his parents and sister adapt to living with a grotesque bug, Gregor notices that their attitudes towards him are changing and he feels increasingly alienated. One of the masterpieces of twentieth-century world literature, `The Metamorphosis' is accompanied in this volume by a selection of other classic tales and sketches by Kafka - such as `The Judgement', `In the Penal Colony' and `A Country Doctor' - all presented in a lively and meticulous new translation by Christopher Moncrieff.
After spending several years in a sanatorium recovering from an illness that caused him to lose his memory and ability to reason, Prince Myshkin arrives in St Petersburg and is at once confronted with the stark realities of life in the Russian capital - from greed, murder and nihilism to passion, vanity and love. Mocked for his childlike naivety yet valued for his openness and understanding, Prince Myshkin finds himself entangled with two women in a position he cannot bring himself to resolve. Dostoevsky, who wrote that in the character of Prince Myshkin he hoped to portray a wholly virtuous man , shows the workings of the human mind and our relationships with others in all their complex and contradictory nature. Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters, from the beautiful, self-destructive Nastasya Filippovna to the dangerously obsessed Rogozhin and the radical student Ippolit, The Idiot is one of Dostoevsky's most personal and intense works of fiction presented here in a new translation.
Written in the 1830s and early 1840s, these comic stories tackle life behind the cold and elegant facade of the Imperial capital from the viewpoints of various characters, such as a collegiate assessor who one day finds that his nose has detached itself from his face and risen the ranks to become a state councillor (`The Nose'), a painter and a lieutenant whose romantic pursuits meet with contrasting degrees of success (`Nevsky Prospect') and a lowly civil servant whose existence desperately unravels when he loses his prized new coat (`The Overcoat'). Also including the `Diary of Madman', these Petersburg Tales paint a critical yet hilarious portrait of a city riddled with pomposity and self-importance, masterfully juxtaposing nineteenth-century realism with madcap surrealism, and combining absurdist farce with biting satire.
Dante's dramatic journey through the circles of hell in search of redemption - and his encounter with devils, monsters and the souls of some of the greatest sinners who ever walked on earth - is one of the cornerstones of Western literature, the summit of medieval thinking and arguably the highest poetic achievement of all time. Inferno, the first part of Dante's Comedy, is presented here in a new verse translation by acclaimed poet and prize-winning translator J.G. Nichols, together with the original text facing, extensive notes, illustrations and a critical apparatus focusing on the author's life and works.
Since it was first published in 1818, Mary Shelley's seminal novel has generated countless print, stage and screen adaptations, but none has ever matched the power and philosophical resonance of the original. Composed as part of a challenge with Byron and Shelley to conjure up the most terrifying ghost story, Frankenstein narrates the chilling tale of a being created by a bright young scientist and the catastrophic consequences that ensue. Considered by many to be the first science-fiction novel, the tragic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the tortured creation he rejects is a classic fable about the pursuit of knowledge, the nature of beauty and the monstrosity inherent to man.
Beautiful Emma Rouault yearns for the life of wealth, passion and romance she has encountered in popular sentimental fiction, and when her doctor, the well-meaning but awkward and unremarkable Charles Bovary, begins to pay her attention, she imagines that she may be granted her wish. However, after their marriage, Emma soon becomes frustrated with the boredom of provincial life and finds herself seeking escape and contemplating adultery. As Emma's efforts to make a reality of her fantasies become more dangerous, both she and those around her must face the shattering consequences of her actions. Causing widespread scandal when it was published in 1857, Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert's masterpiece and one of the landmark works of nineteenth-century realist fiction.
At the end of an industrious political career in conflictriven Italy, the Florentine diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli composed his masterpiece The Prince, a classic study of power and politics, and a manual of ruthlessness for any ambitious ruler. Controversial in his own time, The Prince made Machiavelli's name a byword for manipulative scheming, and had an impact on such major figures as Napoleon and Frederick the Great. It contains principles as true today as when they were first written almost five centuries ago.
The goddess Folly gives a speech, praising herself and explaining how much humanity benefits from her services, from politicians to philosophers, aristocrats, schoolteachers, poets, lawyers, theologians, monarchs and the clergy. At the same time, her discourse provides a satire of Erasmus's world, poking fun at false pedantry and the aberrations of Christianity. Woven throughout her monologue, a thread of irony calls into question the goddess's own words, in which ambiguities, allusions and interpretations collide in a way that makes Praise of Folly enduringly fascinating.
The tale of Heathcliff and Cathy's ungovernable love and suffering, and the havoc that their passion wreaks on the families of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, shocked the book's first readers, with even Emily's sister Charlotte wondering whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff . Replete with unforgettable characters and situations that have seared themselves into our literary consciousness, Emily Bronte's intense masterpiece is one of the most haunting love stories in the canon of English literature.