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The Mortgaged Heart is an important collection of Carson McCullers s work, including stories, essays, articles, poems, and her writing on writing. These pieces, written mostly before McCullers was nineteen, provide invaluable insight into her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collection also contains the the working outline of The Mute, which became her best-selling novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
'Impeccable ... The most impressive of her novels' Atlantic Monthly In this thoughtful and moving novel, four men find themselves inextricably bound together by their past histories. The aged Judge Clane dreams of resurrecting the confederacy, while his grandson, Jester, is involuntarily drawn to Sherman, a volatile black orphan who feels the sharp sting of racial injustice, especially when he finds out the truth about his parentage. Through the eyes of these individuals Carson McCullers explores the roots of racial prejudice and the dual moralities of the town's leading whites.
If you know London primarily through novels like WHITE FANG, these stories will provide a new perspective. Full of intriguing characters and snippets of pidgin, they also highlight London's concern with social issues.
At birth Edmund Gosse was dedicated to 'the Service of the Lord'. His parents were Plymouth Brethren. After his mother's death Gosse was brought up in stifling isolation by his father, a marine biologist whose faith overcame his reason when confronted by Darwin's theory of evolution. Father and Son is also the record of Gosse's struggle to 'fashion his inner life for himself' - a record of whose full and subversive implications the author was unaware, as Peter Abbs notes in his Introduction. First published anonymously in 1907, Father and Son was immediately acclaimed for its courage in flouting the conventions of Victorian autobiography and is still a moving account of self-discovery.
Eminent Victorians marked an epoch in the art of biography; it also helped to crack the old myths of high Victorianism and to usher in a new spirit by which chauvinism, hypocrisy and the stiff upper lip were debunked. In it Strachey cleverly exposes the self-seeking ambitions of Cardinal Manning and the manipulative, neurotic Florence Nightingale; and in his essays on Dr Arnold and General Gordon his quarries are not only his subjects but also the public-school system and the whole structure of nineteenth-century liberal values.
'Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.' Waugh begins his story with heredity, writing of the energetic, literary and sometimes eccentric men and women who, unknown to themselves, contributed to his genius. Save for a few pale shadows, his childhood was warm, bright and serene. The Hampstead and Lancing schooldays which followed were sometimes agreeable, but often not. His life at Oxford - which he evokes in Brideshead Revisited - was essentially a catalogue of friendship. His cool recollection of those hedonistic days is a portrait of the generation of Harold Acton, Cyril Connolly and Anthony Powell. That exclusive world he recalls with elegant wit and precision. He closes with his experiences as a master at a preparatory school in North Wales which inspired Decline and Fall.
'A seminal meditation on race by one of our greatest writers' Barack Obama 'We, the black and the white, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation' James Baldwin's impassioned plea to 'end the racial nightmare' in America was a bestseller when it appeared in 1963, galvanising a nation and giving voice to the emerging civil rights movement. Told in the form of two intensely personal 'letters', The Fire Next Time is at once a powerful evocation of Baldwin's early life in Harlem and an excoriating condemnation of the terrible legacy of racial injustice. 'Sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle ... all presented in searing, brilliant prose' The New York Times Book Review 'Baldwin writes with great passion ... it reeks of truth, as the ghettoes of New York and London, Chicago and Manchester reek of our hypocrisy' Sunday Times 'The great poet-prophet of the civil rights movement ... his seminal work' Guardian
'It's only after our death that we shall really be able to hear' The measured tone of hopeless nihilism that pervades The Counterfeiters quickly shatters any image of Andre Gide as the querulous and impious Buddha to a quarter-century of intellectuals. In sharp and brilliant prose a seedy, cynical and gratuitously alarming narrative is developed, involving a wide range of otherwise harmless and mainly middle-to-upper-class Parisians. But the setting could be anywhere. From puberty through adolescence to death, The Counterfeiters is a rare encyclopedia of human disorder, weakness and despair.
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian. After his father, a paperhanger and upholsterer, died of cholera, five-year-old Gorky was taken to live with his grandfather, a polecat-faced tyrant who would regularly beat him unconscious, and with his grandmother, a tender mountain of a woman and a wonderful storyteller, who would kneel beside their bed (with Gorky inside it pretending to be asleep) and give God her views on the day's happenings, down to the last fascinating details. She was, in fact, Gorky's closest friend and the epic heroine of a book swarming with characters and with the sensations of a curious and often frightened little boy. My Childhood, the first volume of Gorky's autobiographical trilogy, was in part an act of exorcism. It describes a life begun in the raw, remembered with extraordinary charm and poignancy and without bitterness. Of all Gorky's books this is the one that made him 'the father of Russian literature'.
A young and inexperienced sea captain finds that his first command leaves him with a ship stranded in tropical seas and a crew smitten with fever. As he wrestles with his conscience and with the increasing sense of isolation that he experiences, the captain crosses the 'shadow-line' between youth and adulthood. In many ways an autobiographical narrative, Conrad's novella was written at the start of the Great War when his son Borys was at the Western Front, and can be seen as an attempt to open humanity's eyes to the qualities needed to face evil and destruction.
Between 1929 and 1935 Evelyn Waugh travelled widely and wrote four books about his experiences. In this collection he writes, with his customary wit and perception, about a cruise around the Mediterranean; a train trip from Djibouti to Abyssinia to attend Emperor Haile Selassie's coronation in 1930; his travels in Aden, Zanzibar, Kenya and the Congo, coping with unbearable heat and plagued by mosquitoes; a journey to Guyana and Brazil; and his return to Addis Ababa in 1935 to report on the war between Abyssinia and Italy. Waugh's adventures on his travels gave him the ideas for such classic novels as Scoop and Black Mischief.
Isak Dinesen takes up the absorbing story of her life in Kenya begun in the unforgettable Out of Africa, which she published under the name of Karen Blixen. With warmth and humanity these four stories illuminate her love both for the African people, their dignity and traditions, and for the beauty and wildness of the landscape. The first three were written in the 1950s and the last, 'Echoes from the Hills', was written especially for this volume in the summer of 1960 when the author was in her seventies. In all they provide a moving final chapter to her African reminiscences.
The Empress Helena made the historic pilgrimage to Palestine, found pieces of wood from the true Cross, and built churches at Bethlehem and Olivet. Her life coincided with one of the great turning-points of history: the recognition of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. The enormous conflicting forces of the age, and the corruption, treachery, and madness of Imperial Rome combine to give Evelyn Waugh the theme for one of his most arresting and memorable novels.
Lawrence asserted that 'the proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it'. In these highly individual, penetrating essays he has exposed 'the American whole soul' within some of that continent's major works of literature. In seeking to establish the status of writings by such authors as Poe, Melville, Fenimore Cooper and Whitman, Lawrence himself has created a classic work. Studies in Classic American Literature is valuable not only for the light it sheds on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American consciousness, telling 'the truth of the day', but also as a prime example of Lawrence's learning, passion and integrity of judgement.
'He did us all an honour by electing to use, and transform, our language' Anthony Burgess 'Look at the harlequins ... Play! Invent the world! Invent reality'. This is the childhood advice given by an aunt to Russian born writer Vadim Vadimovich, who emigrates to England, then Paris, then Germany and then the US, and, now dying, reconstructs his past. He remembers Iris his first wife, Annette his long-necked typist and Bel his daughter, as well as his own bizarre 'numerical nimbus syndrome'.
'Few, it seems to me, have driven their words with such passion' Guardian How our earliest experiences can shape our destiny is the theme that runs like a thread of revelation through these extraordinary stories. They explore the roots of love, of murder and of racial conflict, from the child in 'The Rockpile' who can never be forgiven by his God-fearing father for his illegitimacy to the loneliness of a young black girl in love with a white man who, she knows, will leave her in 'Come Out of the Wilderness' and the horrifying story of the initiation of a racist as a man remembers his parents taking him to see the mutilation and murder of a black man in 'Going to Meet the Man'. In them Baldwin unlocks the concepts of history and prejudice and probes beneath the skin to the soul.
Baldwin's early essays have been described as 'an unequalled meditation on what it means to be black in America' . This rich and stimulating collection contains 'Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a Letter from Harlem', polemical pieces on the tragedies inflicted by racial segregation and a poignant account of his first journey to 'the Old Country' , the southern states. Yet equally compelling are his 'Notes for a Hypothetical Novel' and personal reflections on being American, on oother major artists - Ingmar Bergman and Andre Gide, Norman Mailer and Richard Wright - and on the first great conferance of Negro - American writers and artists in Paris. In his introduction Baldwin descrides the writer as requiring 'every ounce of stamina he can summon to attempt to look on himself and the world as they are' ; his uncanny ability to do just that is proclaimed on every page of this famous book.
James Greene's acclaimed translations of the poetry of Osip Mandelshtam, now in an extensively revised and augmented edition.
It is only James Joyce's towering genius as a novelist that has led to the comparative neglect of his poetry and sole surviving play. And yet, argues Mays in his stimulating and informative introduction, several of these works not only occupy a pivotal position in Joyce's career; they are also magnificently assured achievements in their own right. Chamber Music is 'an extraordinary debut', fusing the styles of the nineties and the Irish Revival with irony and characteristic verbal exuberance. Pomes Penyeach and Exiles (highly acclaimed in Harold Pinter's 1970 staging) were written when Joyce had published Dubliners and was completing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both confront painfully personal issues of adultery, jealousy and betrayal and so pave the way for the more detached and fully realized treatment in Ulysses. Joyce's occasional verse includes 'Ecce Puer' for his new-born grandson, juvenilia, satires, translations, limericks and a parody of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. All are brought together in this scholarly, fully annotated yet accessible new edition.
Smurov, a fussily self-conscious Russian tutor, shoots himself after a humiliating beating by his mistress' husband. Unsure whether his suicide has been successful or not, Smurov drifts around Berlin, observing his acquaintances, but finds he can discover very little about his own life from the opinions of his distracted, confused fellow-emigres. Nabokov's shortest novel, The Eye is both a satirical detective story and a wonderfully layered exploration of identity, appearance and the loss of self in a world of word-play and confusion.
In 1907 J. M. Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the Western World. The Aran Islands, published in the same year, records his visits to the islands in 1898-1901, when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramas. Yet this book is much more than a stage in the evolution of Synge the dramatist. As Tim Robinson explains in his introduction, If Ireland is intriguing as being an island off the west of Europe, then Aran, as an island off the west of Ireland, is still more so; it is Ireland raised to the power of two. Towards the end of the last century Irish nationalists came to identify the area as the country's uncorrupted heart, the repository of its ancient language, culture and spiritual values. It was for these reasons that Yeats suggested Synge visit the islands to record their way of life. The result is a passionate exploration of a triangle of contradictory relationships - between an island community still embedded in its ancestral ways but solicited by modernism, a physical environment of ascetic loveliness and savagely unpredictable moods, and Synge himself, formed by modern European thought but in love with the primitive.
'It is a mighty force that of mere chance, absolutely irresistible yet manifesting itself often in delicate forms such for instance as the charm, true or illusory, of a human being' In Flora de Barral, the slender, dreamy, morbidly charming daughter of a parvenu financier, Conrad creates his most complex heroine and one of his most unrelenting, but not unhopeful, novels of emotional isolation. Neglected by her bankrupt father and rejected by her governess, drifting into abstraction and despair, Flora takes refuge at sea on Captain Anthony's ship, where tragedy and her transformation begin. When published in 1913, Chance was an immediate success. Arnold Bennett wrote that 'this is a discouraging book for a writer because he damn well knows he can't write as well as this'; while an anonymous reviewer in Punch declared that 'the whole thing is much nearer wizardry than workmanship'.
Tadeusz Borowski's concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau. In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanket or the luxury of a pair of shoes with thick soles; and where the line between normality and abnormality vanishes. Published in Poland after the Second World War, these stories constitute a masterwork of world literature.
Anderson profoundly changed the American short story, transforming it from light, popular entertainment into literature of the highest quality. His art belonged as much to an oral as a written tradition, and, as this collection shows, the best of his stories echo the language and the pace of a man talking to his friends. They explore with penetrating compassion the isolation of the individual and capture the emotional undercurrents hidden beneath ordinary events.
In this wry, funny, bittersweet story, love gets in the way of progress when Raman, a sign painter, meets the thrillingly independent Daisy, who wishes to bring birth control to the city of Malgudi.
This is the story of Nataraj, who earns his living as a printer in the little world of Malgudi, an imaginary town in South India. Nataraj and his close friends, a poet and a journalist, find their congenia l days disturbed when Vasu, a powerful taxidermist, moves in with his stuffed hyenas and pythons, and brings his dancing-women up the printer's private stairs. When Vasu, in search of larger game, threatens the life of a temple elephant that Natara j has befriended, complications ensue that are both laughable and tragic.
This collection brings together all of W. B. Yeats's published prose writings on Irish folklore, legend and myth, with pieces on subjects including ghosts, kidnappers, fairies, ancient tribes, precious stones and Gaelic love songs. Through his researches on Irish folklore, Yeats attempted to create a movement in literature that was enriched by and rooted in a vital native tradition. In this volume Yeats's essays, introductions and sketches are presented chronologically, giving a clear picture of how his analysis developed, increasing in its depth and complexity in his quest to create an Ireland of the imagination.
While the colourful sweetmeats are frying in the kitchen, Jagan immerses himself in his copy of the Bhagavad Gita. A widower of firm Gandhian principles, Jagan nonetheless harbours a warm and embarrassed affection for his wastrel son Mali. Yet even Jagan's patience begins to fray when Mali descends on the sleepy city of Malgudi full of modern notions, with a new half-American wife and a grand plan for selling novel-writing machines. From different generations and different cultures, father and son are forced to confront each other, and are taken by surprise . . .
It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours This new enlarged edition combines two collections previously published in the United States as Kolyma Tales and Graphite.
The inspiration for the new film from Oscar award-winning director Barry Jenkins 'Achingly beautiful' Guardian Harlem, the black soul of New York City, in the era of Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. The narrator of Baldwin's novel is Tish nineteen, and pregnant. Her lover Fonny, father of her child, is in jail accused of rape. Flashbacks from their love affair are woven into the compelling struggle of two families to win justice for Fonny. To this love story James Baldwin brings a spare and impassioned intensity, charging it with universal resonance and power. 'If Beale Street Could Talk affirms not only love between a man and a woman, but love of a type that is dealt with only rarely in contemporary fiction - that between members of a family' Joyce Carol Oates
'This is the work of a born storyteller at the height of his powers' Edmund White, Washington Post When Arthur Montana, world-renowned 'Emperor of Soul', is found dead in a London pub, his grief-stricken brother looks back over thirty years in the lives of their group of friends: from their childhood spent preaching and singing in Harlem churches, to their struggles with war and poverty, and their encounters with wealth, love and fame. Set against a vividly drawn background of the civil rights movement of the sixties, Baldwin's last novel is a monumental saga that ranges from New York to Paris, Korea to Africa to portray how profoundly racial politics can shape life, especially in the private business of love. 'Warm, melancholy . . . Hall Montana's voice is the conduit for Baldwin's most distinctive quality as a writer, his abundant tenderness' The New York Times
His first published collection, these twelve stories were written between 1907 and 1914, during a crucial period of development for Lawrence from which he emerged a leading figure of the modernist movement. Reaching new levels of feeling and experience, these stories range from the tale of a Prussian officer who drives his orderly towards a bloody reckoning, to the strangely exotic elements of 'A Fragment of Stained Glass', and the divisions within society and conflicts of the heart that form the central themes of 'Daughters of a Vicar'. Interweaving individual lives, their happiness, failures and defeats, with the prfound forces of nature, Lawrence has created stories of remarkable power and sensitivity. This Penguin edition reproduces the newly established Cambridge text, which is based on Lawrence's manuscripts, typescripts and corrected proofs.
Evelyn Waugh chose the name Labels for his first travel book because, he said, the places he visited were already fully labelled in people's minds. Yet even the most seasoned traveller could not fail to be inspired by his quintessentially English attitude and by his eloquent and frequently outrageous wit. From Europe to the Middle East and North Africa, from Egyptian porters and Italian priests to Maltese sailors and Moroccan merchants - as he cruises around the Mediterranean his pen cuts through the local colour to give an entertaining portrait of the Englishman abroad.
A landmark in American literature, presented in its complete and unexpurgated version. Dreiser's unsparing story of a country girl's rise to riches as the mistress of a wealthy man marked the beginning of the naturalist movement in America. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's objective, nonmoralizing approach made it highly controversial, and only a heavily edited version could be published in 1900. In this restored version, the truly revolutionary nature of Sister Carrie is made fully evident.
Written during the winter of 1929-30 and his last major work, Apocalypse is Lawrence's radical criticism of the political, religious and social structures that have shaped Western civilization. In his view the perpetual conflict within man, in which emotion, instinct and the senses vie with the intellect and reason, has resulted in society's increasing alienation from the natural world. Yet Lawrence's belief in humanity's power to regain the imaginative and spiritual values which alone can revitalize our world also makes Apocalypse a powerful statement of hope. Presenting his thoughts on psychology, science, politics, art, God and man, and including a fierce protest against Christianity, Apocalypse is Lawrence's last testament, his final attempt to convey his vision of man and of the cosmos.
Pirandello (1867-1936) is the founding architect of twentieth-century drama, brilliantly innovatory in his forms and themes, and in the combined energy, imagination and visual colours of his theatre.This volume of plays, translated from the Italian by Mark Musa, opens with Six Characters in Search of an Author, Pirandello's most popular and controversial work in which six characters invade the stage and demand to be included in the play. The tragedy Henry IV dramatizes the lucid madness of a man who may be King. In So It Is (If You Think So) the townspeople exercise a morbid curiosity attempting to discover 'the truth' about the Ponza family. Each of these plays can lay claim to being Pirandello's masterpiece, and in exploring the nature of human personality each one stretches the resources of drama to their limits.
This classic of economic thought is a scathing critique of American snobbery and wastefulness. Chief among the practices that Veblen so wittily satirizes is conspicuous consumption , a pattern of behaviour that still flourishes among us.
A searing indictment of evil in Hitler's Germany. Hendrik Hofgen is a man obsessed with becoming a famous actor. When the Nazis come to power in Germany, he willingly renounces his Communist past and deserts his wife and mistress in order to keep on performing. His diabolical performance as Mephistopheles in Faust proves to be the stepping-stone he yearned for: attracting the attention of Hermann Goering, it wins Hofgen an appointment as head of the State Theatre. The rewards - the respect of the public, a castle - like villa, a uplace in Berlin's highest circles - are beyond his wildest dreams. But the moral consequences of his betrayals begin to haunt him, turning his dreamworld into a nightmare.
One of the major twentieth-century European poets, Paul Celan wrote poetry of exceptional linguistic brilliance and intensity drawn from his experiences, particularly of the war years and the loss of his parents in the death camps. In his verse he sought to express 'not only what the experience felt like, but also a sense of living, with comprehension, inside the experience'. WINNER OF THE FIRST EUROPEAN TRANSLATION PRIZE
Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) caught the popular imagination with his vast and enterprising comparative study of the beliefs and institutions of mankind, which in its third edition numbered 12 volumes. Reissued here is Frazer's own single-volume abridgement of 1922.
In the 1970s Shiva Naipaul travelled to Africa, visiting Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia for several months. Through his experiences, the places he visited and his various encounters, he aimed to discover what 'liberation', 'revolution' and 'socialism' meant to the ordinary people. His journey of discovery is brilliantly documented in this intimate, comic and controversial portrayal of a continent on the brink of change.
The 18 plays are: The Shadowy Waters; Cathleen in Houlihan; The Hour Glass; On Baile's Strabd; The Green Helmet; Deirdre; At the Hawk's Well; The Dreaming of the Bones; The Cat and the Moon; The Only Jealousy of Emer; Calvary; Sophocles' King Oedipus; The Resurrection; The Words Upon the Windwo-FPane; The King of the Great Clock Tower; The herne's Egg; Purgatory; The Death of Cuchulain.
Written after the First World War when he was living in Sicily, SEA AND SARDINIA records Lawrence's journey to Sardinia and back in January 1921. It reveals his delighted response to a new landscape and people and his uncanny ability to transmute the spirit of place into literary art. Like his other travel writings the book is also a shrewd inquiry into the political and social values of an era which saw the rise of communism and fascism.
This wonderful translation of Dream Story will allow a fresh generation of readers to enjoy this beautiful, heartless and baffling novella. Dream Story tells how through a simple sexual admission a husband and wife ware driven apart into rival worlds of erotic revenge.
NADJA is a Surrealist romance, and has come to be known as a book which defined that movement's attitude towards life. With its blend of intimate confession and sense of the marvellous, NADJA weaves a myterious and compelling tapestry of daily life as seen through a magical perspective. Combining autobiographical fact with memory and imagination, Breton spins one of the most unusual love stories in modern literature.
'Tender and elegant' Guardian 'Unlike anything else in modern English literature' D.J. Taylor, Spectator A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years. Adapted into a film starring Colin Firth, Natasha Richardson and Kenneth Branagh, A Month in the Country traces the slow revival of the primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great War. With an introduction by Penelope Fitzgerald
Evelyn Waugh's acidly funny and formally daring satire, Vile Bodies reveals the darkness and vulnerability that lurks beneath the glittering surface of the high life. In the years following the First World War a new generation emerges, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of twenties' Mayfair, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and sophistication, exercise their inventive minds and vile bodies in every kind of capricious escapade - whether promiscuity, dancing, cocktail parties or sports cars. In a quest for treasure, a favourite party occupation, a vivid assortment of characters, among them the struggling writer Adam Fenwick-Symes and the glamorous, aristocratic Nina Blount, hunt fast and furiously for ever greater sensations and the fulfilment of unconscious desires. If you enjoyed Vile Bodies, you might like Waugh's A Handful of Dust, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The high point of the experimental, original Waugh' Malcolm Bradbury, Sunday Times 'This brilliantly funny, anxious and resonant novel ... the difficult edgy guide to the turn of the decade' Richard Jacobs 'It's Britain's Great Gatsby' Stephen Fry, director of Vile Bodies film adaptation Bright Young Things
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' 'Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since' Paul Auster, author of The New York Trilogy Raymond Chandler was America's preeminent writer of detective fiction, and this edition of The Big Sleep and Other Novels collects three of the best novels to feature his hard-drinking, philosophising PI, Philip Marlowe. Raymond Chandler created the fast talking, trouble seeking Californian private eye Philip Marlowe for his first great novel The Big Sleep in 1939. Often imitated but never bettered, it is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand - and under the influence of Raymond Chandler's addictive prose that every crime author must write. Marlowe's entanglement with the Sternwood family - and an attendant cast of colourful underworld figures - is the background to a story reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the great American Dream. The hard-boiled detective's iconic image burns just as brightly in Farewell My Lovely, on the trail of a missing nightclub crooner. And the inimitable Marlowe is able to prove that trouble really is his business in Raymond Chandler's brilliant epitaph, The Long Goodbye. 'One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards that others still try to attain' Sunday Times 'Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence' Ross Macdonald, author of The Drowning Pool
A powerful post-apocalyptic allegory of persecution and intolerance, the Penguin Modern Classics edition of John Wyndham's science fiction masterpiece The Day of the Triffids contains an introduction by M. John Harrison. Nuclear war has devastated the world, bringing with it a host of genetic mutations. In the bleak, primitive society that has emerged from its ruins, any sign of deviation, no matter how small, is ruthlessly rooted out and destroyed. David lives in fear of discovery, for he is part of a secret group of children who are able to communicate with each other by transferring thought-shapes into each other's minds. As they grow older, they feel increasingly isolated. Then one of them marries a 'norm', with terrifying consequences. John Wyndham (1903-1969) the son of a barrister, tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising before writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. After serving in the Civil Service and the Army during the Second World War, he decided to try writing a modified form of Science Fiction, which he called 'logical fantasy'. Among his most famous books are The Day of the Triffids (1951), The Kraken Wakes (1953), The Chrysalids (1955), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957, filmed twice as Village of the Damned), Trouble with Lichen (1960), and Chocky (1968). If you enjoyed The Chrysalids, you might like Arthur Miller's The Crucible, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of those few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence' Spectator
The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics. Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. Truman Capote (1924-84) was born in New Orleans. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for The New Yorker, which provided his first - and last - regular job. He wrote both fiction and non-fiction - short stories, novels and novellas, travel writing, profiles, reportage, memoirs, plays and films; his other works include In Cold Blood (1965), Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published in Penguin Modern Classics. If you enjoyed In Cold Blood, you might like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs' And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is the American dream turning into the American nightmare ... By juxtaposing and dovetailing the lives and values of the Clutters and those of the killers, Capote produces a stark image of the deep doubleness of American life ... a remarkable book' Spectator
One of the twentieth century's great undisputed masterpieces, Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano includes an introduction by Michael Schmidt in Penguin Modern Classics. It is the fiesta 'Day of the Dead' in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac. In the shadow of the volcano, ragged children beg coins to buy skulls made of chocolate, ugly pariah dogs roam the streets and Geoffrey Firmin - ex-consul, ex-husband, an alcoholic and a ruined man - is living out the last day of his life. Drowning himself in mescal while his former wife and half-brother look on, powerless to help him, the consul has become an enduring tragic figure. As the day wears on, it becomes apparent that Geoffrey must die. It is his only escape from a world he cannot understand. His story, the image of one man's agonised journey towards Calvary, became a prophetic book for a whole generation. Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957) was born and died in England. Between school and studying English at St Catherine's College, Cambridge he spent five months at sea as a deckhand, an experience which gave him the material for his first novel, Ultramarine (1933). After marrying in Paris, he moved to New York where he completed In Ballast to the White (1936). Under The Volcano was begun in Hollywood, coloured by a short stay in the Mexico that it describes, and eventually finished in Dollarton, British Columbia. If you enjoyed Under the Volcano, you might like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A Faustian masterpiece' Anthony Burgess
A formally innovative work of modernist fiction, Virginia Woolf's The Waves is edited with an introduction by Kate Flint in Penguin Modern Classics. More than any of Virginia Woolf's other novels, The Waves conveys the full complexity and richness of human experience. Tracing the lives of a group of friends, The Waves follows their development from childhood to youth and middle age. While social events, individual achievements and disappointments form its narrative, the novel is most remarkable for the rich poetic language that expresses the inner life of its characters: their aspirations, their triumphs and regrets, their awareness of unity and isolation. Separately and together, they query the relationship of past to present, and the meaning of life itself. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers, which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed The Waves, you might like Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A book of great beauty and a prose poem of genius' Stephen Spender 'Full of sensuous touches ... the sounds of her words can be velvet on the page' Maggie Gee, Daily Telegraph
'It is the sum of myself, as far as the written word can go' Kerouac on THE TOWN AND THE CITY Kerouac's debut novel is a great coming of age story which can be read as the essential prelude to his later classics. Inspired by grief over his father's death and gripped by determination to write the Great American Novel, he draws largely on his own New England childhood.
'Lolita is comedy, subversive yet divine ... You read Lolita sprawling limply in your chair, ravished, overcome, nodding scandalized assent' Martin Amis, Observer Poet and pervert, Humbert Humbert becomes obsessed by twelve-year-old Lolita and seeks to possess her, first carnally and then artistically, out of love, 'to fix once for all the perilous magic of nymphets'. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all of these? Humbert Humbert's seduction is one of many dimensions in Nabokov's dizzying masterpiece, which is suffused with a savage humour and rich, elaborate verbal textures. Filmed by Stanley Kubrick in 1962 starring James Mason and Peter Sellers, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne starring Jeremy Irons and Melanie Griffith, Lolita has lost none of its power to shock and awe.
Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate and Other Novels casts a finely gauged net to capture perfectly the foibles and fancies of the English upper class, and includes an introduction by Philip Hensher in Penguin Modern Classics. Nancy Mitford's brilliantly witty, irreverent stories of the upper classes in pre-war London and Paris conjure up a world of glamour, gossip and decadence. In The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing, her extraordinary heroines deal with armies of hilariously eccentric relatives, the excitement of love and passion, and the thrills of the social Season. But beneath the glittering surfaces and perfectly timed comic dialogue, Nancy Mitford's novels are also touching hymns to a lost era and to the brevity of life and love from one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of the language. Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London. A member of one of the aristocracy's more eccentric families, and educated at home with a clutch of siblings, Mitford used childhood experience, lightly fictionalised, in her comic novels, including The Pursuit of Love (1945). She also wrote biographies, translated from the French and edited a celebrated symposium on English Aristocrats. If you enjoyed Love in a Cold Climate and Other Novels, you might like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Very funny ... inimitable and irresistible ... one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of English this century' Philip Hensher
MODERN TIMES brings together an extraordinary collection of Sartrean gems, many of which have never been translated into English before. From writings on food and sex to a mini portrait of his great friend and rival, Albert Camus, the volume contains an amazing sweep of thematically organised writing. Amidst the grander set pieces on communism and the art of biography, are shorter and more revealing pieces on maternal love and masturbation.
Meticulously selected and artfully recreated, the selection of stories in Italian is vast and ranges geographically from Corsica and Sicily to Venice and the Alps. Calvino is himself clearly captivated by the folkloric imagination and communicates this in what is a fascinating and rich addition to folk literature.
This new collection brings together First Love, The Calamative, The End and The Expelled; these four novellas are among the first major works of Beckett's decision to use French as his language of literary composition. Rich in verbal and situational humour, they offer a fascinating insight into many of the issues which preoccupied Beckett all his working life. As the first novella reveals, nobody writes with quite such cruel and unnervingly clever wit as Beckett...
Arthur Miller's classic parable of mass hysteria draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 - 'one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history' - and the American anti-communist purges led by Senator McCarthy in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations. A depiction of innocent men and women destroyed by malicious rumour, The Crucible is also a powerful indictment of McCarthyism and the 'frontier mentality' of Cold War America.
Five decades after it was first published, Jack Kerouac's seminal Beat novel On the Road finally finds its way to the big screen, in a production from award-winning director Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) starring Sam Riley (Control, Brighton Rock), Garret Hedlund (Friday Night Lights), Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen. Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream. A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion. One of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, On the Road is the book that launched the Beat Generation and remains the bible of that literary movement. 'The most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as beat ' The New York Times 'Pop writing at its best. It changed the way I saw the world, making me yearn for fresh experience' Hanif Kureishi, Independent on Sunday 'On the Road sold a trillion Levis and a million espresso machines, and also sent countless kids on the road' William Burroughs
August 2011 Guest Editor Deborah Lawrenson on F Scott Fitzgerald... F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is so full of exquisite prose it’s like being glutted on champagne and diamonds and fluttering silk. And it’s the contrast between the glittering words, and the lost illusions and tawdry underside of the American Dream in the 1920s that makes this such a poignant read. That and the best closing lines of any novel, ever. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles. One of Giles Coren's favourite books. A classic that captures the mood of the 1920's, the time after the great War when life was for living. Gatsby in pursuing the 'American Dream' finds, with devastating consequences, that money may not be the route to happiness. November 2009 Guest Editor Katie Agnew on F. SCOTT FITZGERALD Whenever I'm asked what my favourite book of all time is I never hesitate - 'The Great Gatsby'. For me there's no contest. I first read this novel at school and I've re-read it every couple of years since. I'm obsessed with it - Fitzgerald's flawless writing style, his painfully flawed characters, the deliciously decadent Jazz Age setting and, ah, that tragic ending. The story breaks my heart every time but like a moth to the flame, I can't help myself. I love it! I want to be in it! In fact, whenever I need a pseudonym, I use the name Jordan Buchanan, a character from 'The Great Gatsby'. A survey recently named The Great Gatsby as one of the greatest fictional playboys of all time … click to find out more
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. Orwell's chilling 'fairy story' is a timeless and devastating satire of idealism betrayed by power and corruption.
Flann O'Brien's innovative metafictional work, whose unruly characters strike out their own paths in life to the frustration of their author, At Swim-Two-Birds is a brilliant impressionistic jumble of ideas, mythology and nonsense published in Penguin Modern Classics. Flann O'Brien's first novel tells the story of a young, indolent undergraduate, who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dubin and spends far too much time drinking with his friends. When not drunk or in bed he likes to invent wild stories peoples with hilarious and unlikely characters - but somehow his creations won't do what he wants them to. A dazzling work of farce, satire, folklore and absurdity that gives full rein to its author's dancing intellect and Celtic wit, At Swim-Two-Birds is both a brilliant comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, and a portrayal of Dublin to compare with Joyce's Ulysses. Brian O Nuallain, (1911-1966), better known by his pseudonym Flann O'Brien, was born in Strabane, County Tyrone, and studied at University College Dublin before joining the Irish Civil Service. Ifyou enjoyed At Swim-Two-Birds, you might like Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl' Dylan Thomas 'That's a real writer, with the true comic spirit' James Joyce, author of Ulysses 'A brilliant, beer-soaked miniature masterpiece' Time
'I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language ... a very funny book' William S. Burroughs Fifteen-year-old Alex doesn't just like ultra-violence - he also enjoys rape, drugs and Beethoven's ninth. He and his gang of droogs rampage through a dystopian future, hunting for terrible thrills. But when Alex finds himself at the mercy of the state and subject to the ministrations of Dr Brodsky, and the mind-altering treatment of the Ludovico Technique, he discovers that fun is no longer the order of the day. The basis for Stanley Kubrick's notorious 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange is both a virtuoso performance from an electrifying prose stylist and a serious exploration of the morality of free will. In his introduction, Blake Morrison situates A Clockwork Orange within the context of Anthony Burgess's many other works, explores the author's unhappiness with the Stanley Kubrick film version, analyses the composition of the Nadsat argot spoken by Alex and his droogs, and examines the influences on Burgess's unique, eternally original style. With an Introduction by Blake Morrison
'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it'. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies. A firsthand account of the brutal conditions of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia includes an introduction by Julian Symons in Penguin Modern Classics.
ANAIS NIN - The famous diarist wrote the stories in DELTA OF VENUS, and other collections, specifically to order for a discerning rich collector of erotica and they have since become delicate classics, combining the sheer delicacy of female sexuality and a strong sense of place and nostalgia. A wonderful example of how erotica is ideally suited for the subtlety of the fictional female voice. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of T.E. Lawrence - also known as 'Lawrence of Arabia' - of his service in the Arab Revolt during the First World War, published in Penguin Modern Classics. Although 'continually and bitterly ashamed' that the Arabs had risen in revolt against the Turks as a result of fraudulent British promises of self-rule, Lawrence led them in a triumphant campaign which revolutionized the art of war. Seven Pillars of Wisdom recreates epic events with extraordinary vividness. In the words of E. M. Forster, 'Round this tent-pole of a military chronicle, Lawrence has hung an unexampled fabric of portraits, descriptions, philosophies, emotions, adventures, dreams'. However flawed, T.E. Lawrence is one of the twentieth century's most fascinating figures. This is the greatest monument to his character and achievements, and formed the basis for the Oscar-winning film Lawrence of Arabia, staring Peter O'Toole and Alec Guinness. This edition includes maps, drawings by Eric Kennington, and index of place names and a preface by A.W. Lawrence. Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935) was born in Wales and educated at Jesus and Magdalen Colleges, Oxford. He was commissioned on the outbreak of the First World War and in 1917 was officially attached to the staff of the Hejaz expeditionary force, under General Wingate. After the war, Lawrence was Advisor on Arab Affairs in the Middle Eastern Division of the Colonial Office. In 1927, embarrassed with the 'Lawrence of Arabia' legend, he changed his name by deed poll to Shaw'. In addition to this book, of which Lawrence lost almost the whole manuscript at Reading station in 1919, he wrote Revolt in the Desert (1927) and The Odyssey of Homer (1935), a translation in prose. If you enjoyed Lawrence of Arabia, you might also like Wilfred Thesiger's Desert Sands, available in Penguin Classics. 'I am not much of a hero-worshipper, but I could have followed T.E. Lawrence over the edge of the world' John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps
The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh's novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder's infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.
The summation of the existentialist philosophy threaded throughout all his writing, Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus is translated by Justin O'Brien with an introduction by James Wood in Penguin Classics. In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our 'absurd' task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us. Written during the bleakest days of the Second World War, The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) argues for an acceptance of reality that encompasses revolt, passion and, above all, liberty. This volume contains several other essays, including lyrical evocations of the sunlit cities of Algiers and Oran, the settings of his great novels The Outsider and The Plague. Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international. If you enjoyed The Myth of Sisyphus, you might like Camus' The Outsider, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Camus could never cease to be one of the principal forces in our domain, nor to represent, in his own way, the history of France and of this century' Jean-Paul Sartre
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' 'My favourite book of all time... it stays with you long after you have read it - for your whole life, in fact' Billy Connolly A monument to sloth, rant and contempt, a behemoth of fat, flatulence and furious suspicion of anything modern - this is Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, noble crusader against a world of dunces. The ordinary folk of New Orleans seem to think he is unhinged. Ignatius ignores them, heaving his vast bulk through the city's fleshpots in a noble crusade against vice, modernity and ignorance. But his momma has a nasty surprise in store for him: Ignatius must get a job. Undaunted, he uses his new-found employment to further his mission - and now he has a pirate costume and a hot-dog cart to do it with... Never published during his lifetime, John Kennedy Toole's hilarious satire, A Confederacy of Dunces is a Don Quixote for the modern age, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a foreword by Walker Percy. 'A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities ... it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue' The New York Times
Arthur Miller's extraordinary masterpiece, Death of a Salesman changed the course of modern theatre, and has lost none of its power as an examination of American life. 'A man is not an orange. You can't eat the fruit and throw the peel away' Willy Loman is on his last legs. Failing at his job, dismayed at his the failure of his sons, Biff and Happy, to live up to his expectations, and tortured by his jealousy at the success and happiness of his neighbour Charley and his son Bernard, Willy spirals into a well of regret, reminiscence, and A scathing indictment of the ultimate failure of the American dream, and the empty pursuit of wealth and success, is a harrowing journey. In creating Willy Loman, his destructively insecure anti-hero, Miller defined his aim as being 'to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life'.
'A great work of art, radiant and rapturous, affirming the power of love and imagination' The New York Times Book Review Ada or Ardor is a romance that follows Ada from her first childhood meeting with Van Veen on his uncle's country estate, in a 'dream-bright' America, through eighty years of rapture, as they cross continents, are continually parted and reunited, come to learn the strange truth about their singular relationship and, decades later, put their extraordinary experiences into words. Written in mischievous and magically flowing prose, Nabokov's longest, richest novel is a love story, but also a fairy tale, a historical parody, an erotic satire, an exploration of the passing of time and a supreme work of the imagination.
Let It Come Down, with its title from Macbeth, tells the story of Dyar, a New York bank clerk who throws up his secure, humdrum job to find a reality abroad with which to identify himself, and his macabre experiences in the inferno of Tangiers as he gives in to his darkest impulses. Rich in descriptions of the corruption and decadence of the International Zone in the last days before Moroccan independence, Bowles's second novel is an alternately comic and horrific account of a descent into nihilism.
Whether celebrating Hogarth or savaging Hollywood, mocking modern manners or defending traditional English architecture, inviting readers to 'come inside' the Catholic Church or expressing his contempt for modish Marxism and American-style religion, Evelyn Waugh's journalism is sparkling, sometimes vitriolic and always full of good sense. In this wonderful selection he explores his Oxford youth, his unexpected conversion, his literary enthusiasms (from P. G. Wodehouse to Graham Greene) and the perils of basing fictional characters on real people. Decades after their publication, these pieces still retain their capacity to delight, to surprise and to shock.
Immortalised by Audrey Hepburn's sparkling performance in the 1961 film of the same name, Breakfast at Tiffany's is Truman Capote's timeless portrait of tragicomic cultural icon Holly Golightly, published in Penguin Modern Classics. It's New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany's. And nice girls don't, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while - down. Pursued by to Salvatore 'Sally' Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and 'Rusty' Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly 'top banana in the shock deparment', and one of the shining flowers of American fiction. This edition also contains three stories: 'House of Flowers', 'A Diamond Guitar' and 'A Christmas Memory'. Truman Capote (1924-84) was born in New Orleans. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for The New Yorker, which provided his first - and last - regular job. He wrote both fiction and non-fiction - short stories, novels and novellas, travel writing, profiles, reportage, memoirs, plays and films; his other works include In Cold Blood (1965), Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published in Penguin Modern Classics. If you enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany's, you might like Capote's In Cold Blood, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the twentieth century's most gorgeously romantic fictions' Daily Telegraph 'The most perfect writer of my generation ... I would not have changed two words of Breakfast at Tiffany's' Norman Mailer
Published in order of first publication as far as possible, this selection ranges from initial offerings such as 'Tinker's Wife' and 'Inniskeen Road: July Evening' to his tragic masterpiece 'The Great Hunger' (1942) and his celebratory later verse, 'To Hell with Common Sense' and 'Come Dance with Kitty Stobling', which show his increasing comic verve and detachment. The first comprehensive selection of Kavanagh's poetry to be published, this volume offers a timely reassessment of a poet unfairly neglected outside Ireland.
'To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one's freedom' - Andre Gide. Michel had been a blindfold scholar until, newly married, he contracted tuberculosis. His will to recover brings self-discovery and the growing desire to rebel against his background of culture, decency and morality. But the freedom from constraints that Michel finds on his restless travels is won at great cost. And freedom itself, he finds, can be a burden. Gide's novel examines the inevitable conflicts that arise when a pleasure seeker challenges conventional society and, without moralizing, it raises complex issues involving the extent of personal responsibility.
Upper-class rogues, bohemians, dowagers, socialites, bureaucrats and delinquent evacuees prepare for England to change forever, in this hilarious and deadly serious 1942 satire on the 'phoney war' The hideous, then unfamiliar shriek of the air-raid sirens sang out over London What happened to the characters of Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies when the war broke out? Put Out More Flags shows them adjusting to the changing social pattern of the times. Some of them play a valorous part; others, like the scapegrace Basil Sea, disclose their incorrigible habit of self-preservation in all circumstances. Basil's contribution to the war effort involves the use of his peculiar talents in such spheres of opportunity as the Ministry of Information and an obscure section of Military Security - adventures which incite Evelyn Waugh to another pungent satire upon the coteries of Mayfair.
Both a gripping tale of adventure and a poetic meditation, Antoine de Saint Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars is the lyrical autobiography of an aviation pioneer, from the author of The Little Prince. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated from the French with an introduction by William Rees. In 1926 de Saint-Exupery began flying for the pioneering airline Latecoere - later known as Aeropostale - opening up the first mail routes across the Sahara and the Andes. Wind, Sand and Stars is drawn from this experience. Interweaving encounters with nomadic Arabs and other adventures into a richly textured autobiographical narrative, it has its climax in the extraordinary story of Saint-Exupery's crash in the Libyan Desert in 1936, and his miraculous survival. 'Self-discovery comes when a man measures himself against an obstacle,' writes Saint-Exupery. This book explores the transcendent perceptions that arise when life is tested to its limits. Writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-44), was born in Lyon, France. His first two books, Southern Mail and Night Flight, are distinguished by a poetic evocation of the romance and discipline of flying. Later works, including Wind, Sand and Stars and Flight to Arras, stress his humanistic philosophy. Saint-Exupery's popular children's book The Little Prince is also read by adults for its allegorical meaning. Saint-Exupery's plane disappeared during a mission in World War II. If you enjoyed Wind, Sand and Stars, you might like Woody Guthrie's Bound for Glory, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A Conrad of the air ... Like Conrad, Saint-Exupery is a poet of action' Andre Maurois
The French Writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), was born in Lyon. His first two books, SOUTHERN MAIL and NIGHT FLIGHT, are distinguished by a poetic evocation of the romance and discipline of flying. Later works, including WIND, SAND AND STARS and FLIGHT TO ARRAS, stress his humanistic philosophy. Saint-Exupery's popular children's book THE LITTLE PRINCE is also read by adults for its allegorical meaning. Saint-Exupery's plane disappeared during a mission in World War II.
'A brilliantly and preposterously funny book' Guardian 'A flawless comic novel ... I loved it then, as I do now. It has always made me laugh out loud' Helen Dunmore, The Times Jim Dixon has accidentally fallen into a job at one of Britain's new red brick universities. A moderately successful future in the History Department beckons - as long as Jim can stave off the unwelcome advances of fellow lecturer Margaret, survive a madrigal-singing weekend at Professor Welch's, deliver a lecture on 'Merrie England' and resist Christine, the hopelessly desirable girlfriend of Welch's awful son Bertrand. Inspired by Amis's friend, the poet Philip Larkin, Jim Dixon is a timeless comic character, adrift in a hopelessly gauche and pretentious world, in a witty campus novel that skewers the hypocrisies and vanities of 1950s academic life. With an introduction by David Lodge
W.B. Yeats's Selected Poems is edited with an introduction and notes by Timothy Webb in Penguin Modern Classics. Few have lived their ideas so passionately and nobly as W.B. Yeats in his love affairs, politics and poetry. From his youth in the 1880s, a fertile dreamer rediscovering and remaking the Irish tradition, he grew into a great and innovative poet of the twentieth century. This selection of Yeats's work includes the final book from the unjustly neglected narrative poem The Wanderings of Oisin and a number of lyrics from Yeats's work as poetic dramatist. This edition breaks new ground by allowing the reader to engage with a dozen poems in alternative versions; in many other cases it provides significant variants, so that Yeats's struggle to revise his poetry can be experienced with unusual immediacy. It also includes explanatory and textual notes for each poem. W B Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the great and innovative poets of the twentieth century. Much of his most vigorous verse on love, sex, Irish and international politics, the complexities of the occult and the 'sedentary toil' of poetry was produced in the years between his fiftieth birthday in 1915 and his death in 1939. If you enjoyed Selected Poems, you might like The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A compelling poetic presence ... together with Joyce, Yeats made modern Irish poetry possible' Timothy Webb
'We're not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.' Exiled to a remote and barren corner of Italy for his opposition to Mussolini, Carlo Levi entered a world cut off from history and the state, hedged in by custom and sorrow, without comfort or solace, where, eternally patient, the peasants lived in an age-old stillness and in the presence of death - for Christ did stop at Eboli.
With prose that is every bit as raw, intense and bitingly honest as the world it depicts, Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave contains a new afterword by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life. Barry Hines's acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world. Ken Loach's renowned film adaptation, Kes, has achieved cult status and in his new afterword Barry Hines discusses his work to adapt the novel into a screenplay, and reappraises the legacy of a book that has become a popular classic. Barry Hines (b. 1939) was born in the mining village of Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Leaving Ecclesfield Grammar School without any qualifications, Hines worked as an apprentice mining surveyor for the National Coal Board before entering Loughborough Training College to study Physical Education. Working as a teacher in Hoyland Common, he wrote novels in the school library after work, later turning to writing full-time. If you enjoyed A Kestrel for a Knave, you might like The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories by Jack London, published in Penguin Classics.
The articles collected in George Orwell's Essays illuminate the life and work of one of the most individual writers of this century - a man who elevated political writing to an art. This outstanding collection brings together Orwell's longer, major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes 'My Country Right or Left', 'Decline of the English Murder', 'Shooting an Elephant' and 'A Hanging'. With great originality and wit Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism, from a comic yet profound discussion of naughty seaside postcards to a spirited defence of English cooking. Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose, Orwell's essays created a unique literary manner from the process of thinking aloud and continue to challenge, move and entertain. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Bernard Crick.
'We are Progress and the New Age. Nothing can stand in our way.' When Oxford-educated Emperor Seth succeeds to the throne of the African state of Azania, he has a tough job on his hands. His subjects are ill-informed and unruly, and corruption, double-dealing and bloodshed are rife. However, with the aid if Minister of Modernization Basil Seal, Seth plans to introduce his people to the civilized ways of the west - but will it be as simple as that?
March 2012 Guest Editor Alan Bradley on Louise Penny... As a young child and early reader, I used to pilfer my older sister’s copy of Ulysses. I didn’t understand the book but I loved the words. More than sixty years later, there are parts of Joyce (notably Finnegans Wake) that I still don’t understand, but I still love the words. I keep both books on my night table.
Vladimir Nabokov's early novel is the dazzling story of the coarse, strange yet oddly endearing chess-playing genius Luzhin. Discovering his prodigious gift in boyhood and rising to the rank of International Grandmaster, Luzhin develops a lyrical passion for chess that renders the real world a phantom. As he confronts the fiery, swift-swooping Italian Grandmaster Turati, he brings into play his carefully devised defence. Making masterly play of metaphor and imagery, The Luzhin Defense is the book that, of his early works, Nabokov felt 'contains and diffuses the greatest warmth'.
An ancient bridge collapses over a gorge in Peru, hurling five people into the abyss. It seems a meaningless human tragedy. But one witness, a Franciscan monk, believes the deaths might not be as random as they appear. Convinced that the disaster is a punishment sent from Heaven, the monk sets out to discover all he can about the travellers. The five strangers were connected in some way, he thinks. There must be a purpose behind their deaths. But are their lost lives the result of sin? ... Or of love?
When Lolita was first published in 1955 it created a sensation and established Nabokov as one of the most original prose writers of the twentieth century. This annotated edition, a revised and considerably expanded version of the 1970 edition, does full justice to the textual riches of Lolita, illuminating the elaborate verbal textures and showing how they contribute to the novel's overall meaning. Alfred Appel, Jr. also provides fresh observations on the novel's artifice, games and verbal patternings and a delightful biographical vignette of Nabokov. The annotations themselves were prepared in consultation with Nabokov while newly identified allusions were confirmed by him during the final years of his life.
After his father's early death Jean-Paul Sartre was brought up at his grandfather's home in a world even then eighty years out of date. In Words Sartre recalls growing up within the confines of French provincialism in the period before the First World War, an illusion-ridden childhood made bearable by his lively imagination and passion for reading and writing. A brilliant work of self-analysis, Words provides an essential background to the philosophy of one of the profoundest thinkers of the twentieth century.
From one of the major innovators of New Journalism, Norman Mailer's The Fight is the real-life story of a clash between two of the world's greatest boxers, both in and out of the ring, published in Penguin Modern Classics. Norman Mailer's The Fight focuses on the 1974 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in Kinshasa, Zaire. Muhammad Ali met George Foreman in the ring. Foreman's genius employed silence, serenity and cunning. He had never been defeated. His hands were his instrument, and 'he kept them in his pockets the way a hunter lays his rifle back into its velvet case'. Together the two men made boxing history in an explosive meeting of two great minds, two iron wills and monumental egos. ' If ever a fighter had been able to demonstrate that boxing was a twentieth-century art, it must be Ali , says Norm, and his achievement in this masterly book is of a similar order, demonstrating that writing about sport can also be a twentieth-century art' Geoff Dyer, New Statesman 'Probably no one has written about boxing better than Mailer has' Guardian
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, an intrepid and eccentric adventurer, transferred his passion for flying to the written word by writing several classics of aviation literature, including Southern Mail and Night Flight. Based on Saint-Exupery's trail-blazing flights for the French airmail service over the Sahara and later, the Andes, these two novels evoke the tragic courage and nobility of the airborne pioneers who took enormous risks, flying in open cock-pits in planes that were often fragile and unstable.
'It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I had ever known,' says Anna Morgan, eighteen years old and catapulted to England from the West Indies after the death of her beloved father. Working as a chorus girl, Anna drifts into the demi-monde of Edwardian London. But there, dismayed by the unfamiliar cold and greyness, she is absolutely alone and unconsciously floating from innocence to harsh experience. Her childish dreams have been replaced by harsh reality. Voyage in the Dark was first published in 1934, but it could have been written today. It is the story of an unhappy love affair, a portrait of a hypocritical society, and an exploration of exile and breakdown; all written in Jean Rhys's hauntingly simple and beautiful style. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
A timeless travelogue from the leading light of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac's Lonesome Traveller is a jubilant celebration of human discovery, published in Penguin Modern Classics. As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Kerouac records, in prose of pure poetry, life on the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat nightlife in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacre-Coeur - Kerouac reveals both the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment. 'Piquant writing, the best part of its flavour being ... the hunt for the big experience, a touch of Hemingway and Whitman' Guardian 'Full of startling and beautiful things ... one sees, hears and feels' Sunday Times
Jean Rhys's first novel, a heartbreaking and disturbingly intimate portrayal of an isolated woman in Paris Set in a superficially romantic, between-wars Paris, Quartet is a poignant tale of a lonely woman. Set against a background of winter-wet streets, Pernod in smoky cafes and cheap hotel rooms with mauve- flowered wallpaper, Marya tries to make something substantial of her life in order to withstand the unreality of her surroundings. Alone, her Polish husband in prison, she is taken up by an English couple who slowly overwhelm her with their passions.
This epoch-making book cuts through confused thinking and forces us to re-examine many cherished ideas about knowledge, imagination, consciousness and the intellect. The result is a classic example of philosophy.
A witty, moving philosophical novel, Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums is a journey of self-discovery through the lens of Zen Buddhist thought. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Ann Douglas. Following the explosive energy of On the Road, the book that put the Beat Genration on the literary map - and Jack Kerouac on the bestseller list - comes The Dharma Bums, in which Kerouac charts the spiritual quest of a group of friends in search of Dharma, or Truth. Ray Smith and his friend Japhy, along with Morley the yodeller, head off into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude and experience the Zen way of life. But in wildly Bohemian San Francisco, with its poetry jam sessions, marathon drinking bouts and experiments in 'yabyum', they find the ascetic route distinctly hard to follow. Jack Kerouac (1922-69) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. His first published novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that made Kerouac famous. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Subterraneans, Big Sur, and The Dharma Bums. Kerouac died in Florida at the age of forty-seven. If you enjoyed The Dharma Bums, you might like Kerouac's On the Road, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A vivid evocation of part of our time' New York Post 'A descriptive excitement unmatched since the days of Thomas Wolfe' The New York Times Book Review
A brilliant, yet brutal, portrait of a woman struggling to retrieve both life and love, from the author of Wide Sargasso Sea For six months, Julia has lived alone in a drab Parisian hotel on an allowance from her ex-lover, Mr. Mackenzie. When his cheques stop, Julia decides to leave France and return to London. The tale of her ten day visit contains some of Jean Rhys's most sensitive, poignant writing. Past her prime, exhausted by broken love affairs and addled by drink, Julia is tragically unable to find what she really wants - love.
Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg's classic account explains the central ideas of the quantum revolution, and his celebrated Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg reveals how words and concepts familiar in daily life can lose their meaning in the world of relativity and quantum physics.This in turn has profound philosophical implications for the nature of reality.
These three great plays by one of the founding fathers of the theatre of the absurd, are alive and kicking with tragedy and humour, bleakness and farce. In Rhinoceros we are shown the innate brutality of people as everyone, except for Berenger, turn into clumsy, unthinking rhinoceroses. The Chairs depicts the futile struggle of two old people to convey the meaning of life to the rest of humanity, while The Lesson is a chilling, but anarchically funny drama of verbal domination. In these three 'antiplays' dream, nonsense and fantasy combine to create an unsettling, bizarre view of society.
Finding the theatre of the 1920s lacking in bite and conviction, Thornton Wilder set out to bring back realism and to celebrate the innocent, simple and religious. Yet he also tried to endow individual experience with cosmic significance and Our Town is both an affectionate portrait of American life and 'an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life'. The Skin of our Teeth deals with human survival in a 'comic strip' way, and The Matchmaker is a hilarious farce which urges rebellion against all the constraints that deny a rich, full life.
These three plays, diverse in subject but thematically coherent, illuminate one of Sartre's major philosophical concerns: the struggle to live and act freely in a complex and constricting world. Lucifer and the Lord, Sartre's favourite among his plays, explores this theme in depth, dealing in the process with fundamental questions of faith and disillusionment; in Huis Clos - arguably Sartre's most important play - he contends that 'Hell is other people', and details the afterlife of three souls trapped together in locked room and the torments that they inflict on each other; while The Respectable Prostitute, set in the Deep South of America, is concerned with racism, subjugation and the demands of conscience.
The American poet John Shade is dead; murdered. His last poem, Pale Fire, is put into a book, together with a preface, a lengthy commentary and notes by Shade's editor, Charles Kinbote. Known on campus as the 'Great Beaver', Kinbote is haughty, inquisitive, intolerant, but is he also mad, bad - and even dangerous? As his wildly eccentric annotations slide into the personal and the fantastical, Kinbote reveals perhaps more than he should. Nabokov's darkly witty, richly inventive masterwork is a suspenseful whodunit, a story of one-upmanship and dubious penmanship, and a glorious literary conundrum.
'She has examined the heart of man with an understanding ... that no other writer can hope to surpass' Tennessee Williams Often cited as one of the great novels of twentieth-century American fiction, Carson McCullers' prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty-three. Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature. The owner of the cafe where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry socialist drunkard, a frustrated black doctor: each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways the could never imagine. Moving, sensitive and deeply humane, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love.
Equally tragic, joyful and comical, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a seamless blend of fantasy and reality, translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa in Penguin Modern Classics. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy with comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (b. 1928) was born in Aracataca, Colombia. He is the author of several novels, including Leaf Storm (1955), One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. If you enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude, you might like Love in the Time of Cholera, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'With a single bound Gabriel Garcia Marquez leaps on the stage with Gunter Grass and Vladimir Nabokov ... dazzling' The New York Times
Subtitled An Anglo-American Tragedy, Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One is a witty satirical novel on artistic integrity and the British expat community in Hollywood, published in Penguin Modern Classics. The more startling for the economy of its prose and plot, this novel's story, set among the manicured lawns and euphemisms of Whispering Glades Memorial Park in Hollywood, satirizes the American way of death and offers Waugh's memento mori. Following the death of a friend, poet and pets' mortician Dennis Barlow finds himself entering into the artificial Hollywood paradise of the Whispering Glades Memorial Park. Within its golden gates, death, American-style, is wrapped up and sold like a package holiday. There, Dennis enters the fragile and bizarre world of Aimee, the naive Californian corpse beautician, and Mr Joyboy, the master of the embalmer's art... A dark and savage satire on the Anglo-American cultural divide, The Loved One depicts a world where love, reputation and death cost a very great deal. Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) was born in Hampstead, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. Men at Arms (1952) was the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; the other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. If you enjoyed The Loved One, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The master of black comedy' Sunday Times 'One of the funniest and most significant books of the century' Alice Thomas Ellis, Daily Telegraph
'My literary hero is John Dos Passos' - Adam Curtis (filmmaker) 'A modernist masterpiece, capturing ... the fragmented lives it sketches, in a dazzling kaleidoscope of New York City in the 1920s' Christopher Hudson, Evening Standard 'Dos Passos has invented only one thing, an art of story-telling. But that is enough to create a universe' Jean-Paul Sartre 'The best modern book about New York' D.H. Lawrence A modernist masterwork that has more in common with films than traditional novels, John Dos Passos' Manhattan Transfer includes an introduction by Jay McInerney in Penguin Modern Classics. A colourful, multi-faceted chronicle of New York in the early 1920s, Manhattan Transfer ranks with James Joyce's Ulysses as a powerful and often lyrical meditation on the modern city. Using experimental montage techniques borrowed from the cinema, vivid descriptions and bursts of overheard conversation, and the jumbled case histories of a picaresque cast of characters from dockside crapshooters to high-society flappers, Dos Passos constructs a brilliant impressionistic portrait of New York City as a great futuristic machine filled with motion, drama and human tragedy. John Dos Passos (1896-1970) was born in Chicago, the son of an eminent lawyer. After graduating from Harvard he served in the US Army Medical Corps during the First World War, and dabbled in journalism before embarking on life as a writer. In 1925 he published Manhattan Transfer, his first experimental novel in what was to become his peculiar style - a mixture of fact and fiction. His began a series of panoramic epics of American life with the USA trilogy, using the same technique and tracing, through interwoven biographies, the story of America from the early twentieth century to the onset of the Great Depression in 1929.
Primo Levi's The Periodic Table is a collection of short stories that elegantly interlace the author's experiences in Fascist Italy, and later in Auschwitz, with his passion for scientific knowledge and discovery. This Penguin Modern Classics edition of is translated by Raymond Rosenthal with an essay on Primo Levi by Philip Roth. A chemist by training, Primo Levi became one of the supreme witnesses to twentieth-century atrocity. In these haunting reflections inspired by the elements of the periodic table, he ranges from young love to political savagery; from the inert gas argon - and 'inert' relatives like the uncle who stayed in bed for twenty-two years - to life-giving carbon. 'Iron' honours the mountain-climbing resistance hero who put iron in Levi's student soul, 'Cerium' recalls the improvised cigarette lighters which saved his life in Auschwitz, while 'Vanadium' describes an eerie post-war correspondence with the man who had been his 'boss' there. In his essay, Philip Roth reproduces a conversation with Primo Levi, delving into the process of Levi's authorial technique, his sense of identity and distinctiveness and the relationship between science, writing and survival. Primo Levi (1919-87), an Italian Jew, did not come to the wide attention of the English-reading audience until the last years of his life. A survivor of the Holocaust and imprisonment in Auschwitz, Levi is considered to be one of the century's most compelling voices, and The Periodic Table is his most famous book. Levi is the author of Moments of Reprieve and If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. Philip Roth is the author of Nemesis and The Plot Against America, and winner of the both the Pulitzer prize, and the Man Booker International prize. If you enjoyed The Periodic Table, you might like Levi's If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A book it is necessary to read' Saul Bellow, author of Herzog 'One of the finest writers in post-war Italy' The Times
Jody Tiflin has the urge for rebellion, but he also wants to be loved. In THE RED PONY, Jody begins to learn about adulthood - its pain, its responsibilities and its problems - through his acceptance of his father's gifts. First he is given a red pony, and later he is promised the colt of a bay mare. Yet both of these gifts bring him tragedy as well as joy, and Jody is taught not only the harsh lessons of life and death, but made painfully aware of the fallibilty of adults.
Selected Poems brings together some two hundred poems - the largest collection of Borges' poetry ever assembled in English, including many never previously translated. The brilliance of the Spanish originals is matched with luminous English versions rendered by a remarkable cast of translators, among them W.S. Merwin, John Updike, Robert Fitzgerald, Mark Strand and Alastair Reid.
Primo Levi was among the greatest witnesses to twentieth-century atrocity. In this gripping novel, based on a true story, he reveals the extraordinary lives of the Russian, Polish and Jewish partisans trapped behind enemy lines during the Second World War. Wracked by fear, hunger and fierce rivalries, they link up, fall apart, struggle to stay alive and to sabotage the efforts of the all-powerful German army. A compelling tale of action, resistance and epic adventure, it also reveals Levi's characteristic compassion and deep insight into the moral dilemmas of total war. It ranks alongside THE PERIOD TABLE and IF THIS IS A MAN as one of the rare authentic masterpieces of our times.
Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back - and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California's Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie - struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy - becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes of friendship and shared vision, and giving a voice to America's lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men remains Steinbeck's most popular work, achieving success as a novel, Broadway play and three acclaimed films.
Steinbeck's first major critical and commercial success, TORTILLA FLAT is also his funniest novel. Danny is a paisano, descended from the original Spanish settlers who arrived in Monterey, California, centuries before. He values friendship abovemoney and possessions, so that when he suddently inherits two houses, Danny is quick to offer shelter to his fellow gentlemen of the road. Their love of freedom and scorn for material things draw them into daring and often hilarious adventures. Until Danny, tiring of his new reponsibilities, suddenly disappears...
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' 'Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.' Meet the gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists of Cannery Row in Monterey, California, during the Great Depression. They want to throw a party for their friend Doc, so Mack and the boys set about, in their own inimitable way, recruiting everyone in the neighbourhood to the cause. But along the way they can't help but get involved in a little mischief and misadventure. It wouldn't be Cannery Row if it was otherwise, now would it? Packed with a ramshackle joi de vivre, Cannery Row is Steinback's high-spirited tribute to his native California. 'Uninhibited, bawdy, compassionate, inquisitive, deeply intelligent' Daily Telegraph
The Joad Family have been cleared off their land by the bank and are forced to hit the long and winding road from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to California in search of a new life. And oh what a journey it is. Joined by a lapsed preacher Jim Casy the road is long, hard and does not let up with adversity after adversity after adversity as the family strive to keep their spirit alive. This book is an absolute classic; after initial negativity it was selling 10,000 copies a week by May 1939, became the year’s best-selling novel and won the Pulitzer. It’s a pure and raw celebration of the working man with an indomitable spirit, and the book inspired a generation of writers and readers right across the world. First class. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Borges' stories have a deceptively simple, almost laconic style. In maddeningly ingenious stories that play with the very form of the short story, Borges returns again and again to his themes: dreams, labyrinths, mirrors, infinite libraries, the manipulations of chance, gaucho knife-fighters, transparent tigers and the elusive nature of identity itself.
The most popular anthology of Jorge Luis Borges's short stories, Fictions is a wildly original and influential collection of fantastic tales, translated from the Spanish with an afterword by Andrew Hurley in Penguin Modern Classics. Jorge Luis Borges's Fictions introduced an entirely new voice into world literature. It is here that we find the astonishing accounts of 'Funes the Memorious', the man who can forget nothing; 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote', who recreates Miguel de Cervantes's epic word-for-word; a society run on the basis of an all-encompassing game of chance in 'The Lottery in Babylon'; the mysterious world of 'Tloen, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' which seems to be supplanting our own ; and the 'Library of Babel', which contains every possible book in the whole universe. Here too are the philosophical detective stories and the haunting tales of Irish revolutionaries, gaucho knife fights and dreams within dreams which proved so influential (and yet impossible to imitate). This collection was eventually to bring Borges international fame; over fifty years later, it remains endlessly intriguing. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A poet, critic and short story writer, he received numerous awards for his work including the 1961 International Publisher's Prize (shared with Samuel Beckett). He has a reasonable claim, along with Kafka and Joyce, to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. If you enjoyed Fictions, you might like Italo Calvino's The Complete Cosmicomics, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Hurley's efforts at retranslating Borges are not anything but heroic. His visions are clear, elegant, crystalline' Ilan Savans, The Times Literary Supplement 'One of the most memorable artists of our age' Mario Vargas Llosa
'There is only one book to a man,' Steinbeck wrote of East of Eden, his most ambitious novel. Set in the rich farmland of the Salinas Valley, California, this powerful, often brutal novel, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations hopelessly re-enact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence.
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Lord Shackleton, a preface by World Wildlife Fund founder Julian Huxley, and an afterword by Carson's biographer Linda Lear. Now recognized as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, Rachel Carson succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment which led to changes in government and inspired the ecological movement. It is thanks to this book, and the help of many environmentalists, that harmful pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in the US and countries around the world. Rachel Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, appeared in 1941. Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of the misuse of pesticides, was published in 1962. Carson's articles on natural history appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Holiday. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming. If you enjoyed Silent Spring, you might like John Christopher's The Death of Grass, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Carson's books brought ecology into popular consciousness' Daily Telegraph 'Very few books change the course of history. Those that do include Silent Spring' Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
An autobiographical work that describes firsthand the great tectonic shifts in English society following the First World War, Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That is a matchless evocation of the Great War's haunting legacy, published in Penguin Modern Classics. In 1929 Robert Graves went to live abroad permanently, vowing 'never to make England my home again'. This is his superb account of his life up until that 'bitter leave-taking': from his childhood and desperately unhappy school days at Charterhouse, to his time serving as a young officer in the First World War that was to haunt him throughout his life. It also contains memorable encounters with fellow writers and poets, including Siegfried Sassoon and Thomas Hardy, and covers his increasingly unhappy marriage to Nancy Nicholson. Goodbye to All That, with its vivid, harrowing descriptions of the Western Front, is a classic war document, and also has immense value as one of the most candid self-portraits of an artist ever written. Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel I, Claudius and the critical study of myth and poetry The White Goddess. His autobiography, Goodbye to All That, was published in 1929, quickly establishing itself as a modern classic. Graves also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin Classics. If you enjoyed Goodbye to All That, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'His wonderful autobiography' Jeremy Paxman, Daily Mail
In his work as a physician, Williams had learnt the skill of objective observation which he applied to his poetry, examining, as he said, 'the particular to discover the universal'. Marked by a vernacular American speech and direct observation of the landscape and people of his native New Jersey, his poetry explores the 'raw merging of American pastoral and urban squalor. Emotionally restrained but rich in sensory experience, the poems were written according to the guiding concept: 'no ideas but in things' and those 'things', a red wheelbarrow, a group of trees, a river, convey the local and the particular with a vivid intensity.
He did not ask things to have a meaning or to tell a story. To be was the only story A semi-autobiographical novel from the author of The Green Fool and The Great Hunger A man's mother can be a terrible burden sometimes. For Tarry Flynn - poet, farmer and lover-from-afar of beautiful young virgins - the responsibility of family, farm, poetic inspiration and his own unyielding lust is a heavy one. The only solution is to rise above all - or escape over the nearest horizon. Patrick Kavanagh's Tarry Flynn is an idyllic and beautifully evocative account of life as it was lived in Ireland in the 1930s.
Jorge Luis Borges's Labyrinths is a collection of short stories and essays showcasing one of Latin America's most influential and imaginative writers. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited by Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby, with an introduction by James E. Irby and a preface by Andre Maurois. Jorge Luis Borges was a literary spellbinder whose tales of magic, mystery and murder are shot through with deep philosophical paradoxes. This collection brings together many of his stories, including the celebrated 'Library of Babel', whose infinite shelves contain every book that could ever exist, 'Funes the Memorious' the tale of a man fated never to forget a single detail of his life, and 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote', in which a French poet makes it his life's work to create an identical copy of Don Quixote. In later life, dogged by increasing blindness, Borges used essays and brief tantalising parables to explore the enigma of time, identity and imagination. Playful and disturbing, scholarly and seductive, his is a haunting and utterly distinctive voice. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A poet, critic and short story writer, he received numerous awards for his work including the 1961 International Publisher's Prize (shared with Samuel Beckett). He has a reasonable claim, along with Kafka and Joyce, to be one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. If you enjoyed Labyrinths, you might like Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis and Other Stories, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'His is the literature of eternity' Peter Ackroyd, The Times 'One of the towering figures of literature in Spanish' James Woodall, Guardian 'Probably the greatest twentieth-century author never to win the Nobel Prize' Economist
Intimidated by her father, the rector of Knype Hill, Dorothy performs her submissive roles of dutiful daughter and bullied housekeeper. Her thoughts are taken up with the costumes she is making for the church school play, by the hopelessness of preaching to the poor and by debts she cannot pay in 1930s Depression England. Suddenly her routine shatters and Dorothy finds herself down and out in London. She is wearing silk stockings, has money in her pocket and cannot remember her name. Orwell leads us through a landscape of unemployment, poverty and hunger, where Dorothy's faith is challenged by a social reality that changes her life.
Auden, Day, Lewis, Spender, MacNeice and the other key poets of the Thirties were children of the First World War, obsessed by war and by communalism, by the class-struggle and a passionate belief in poets as people whose actions are as publically important as their poems.For them, the Spanish Civil War epitomized the mood of the times, as their symbolic obsessions were transmuted into tragic reality. But from within their strongly defined unity of ideals, an astonishingly varied body of poetry emerged. Robin Skelton has arranged the poetry to make an illuminating 'critical essay' of the period, and in his introduction he brilliantly probes the moods and mores of an intensely troubled and creative decade.
The art of writing is mysterious; the opinions we hold are ephemeral. In these eleven short stories the quality of his inspiration is unmistakable. With their deceptively simple, almost laconic style, they achieve a magical impression that is unrivalled in modern writing.
Often described as one of the great apocalyptic novels of our time, WOLF SOLENT is the story of a young man returning from London to work near to the school at which his father had been history master. Complex, romantic and humorous, it is a classicwork combining a close understanding of man's everyday experience with a delicate awareness of the spiritual.
'Speak, memory', said Vladimir Nabokov. And immediately there came flooding back to him a host of enchanting recollections - of his comfortable childhood and adolescence, of his rich, liberal-minded father, his beautiful mother, an army of relations and family hangers-on and of grand old houses in St Petersburg and the surrounding countryside in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Young love, butterflies, tutors and a multitude of other themes thread together to weave an autobiography, which is itself a work of art.
A pioneering work of modernist fiction, using her unique stream-of-consciousness technique to explore the inner lives of her characters, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is widely regarded as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the twentieth century. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Stella McNichol, with an introduction and notes by Hermione Lee. To the Lighthouse is at once a vivid impressionistic depiction of a family holiday, and a meditation on marriage, on parenthood and childhood, on grief, tyranny and bitterness. For years now the Ramsays have spent every summer in their holiday home in Scotland, and they expect these summers will go on forever; but as the First World War looms, the integrity of family and society will be fatally challenged. With a psychologically introspective mode, the use of memory, reminiscence and shifting perspectives gives the novel an intimate, poetic essence, and at the time of publication in 1927 it represented an utter rejection of Victorian and Edwardian literary values. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group', an informal collective of artists and writers that exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed To the Lighthouse, you might like James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Bears endless re-reading ... the sea encircles the story in a brilliant ebb and flow' Rachel Billington
Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as 'useful [corrective] to the romantic conception of war', R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End is an unflinching vision of life in the trenches towards the end of the First World War, published in Penguin Classics. Set in the First World War, Journey's End concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed. Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic. R.C. Sherriff (1896-1975) joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, serving as a captain in the East Surrey regiment. After the war, an interest in amateur theatricals led him to try his hand at writing. Following rejection by many theatre managements, Journey's End was given a single performance by the Incorporated Stage Society, in which Lawrence Olivier took the lead role. The play's enormous success enabled Sherriff to become a full-time writer, with plays such as Badger's Green (1930), St Helena (1935), and The Long Sunset (1955); though he is also remembered as a screenplay writer, for films such as The Invisible Man (1933), Goodbye Mr Chips (1933) and The Dam Busters (1955). If you enjoyed Journey's End, you might like Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving' Clive Barnes
Gordon Comstock loathes dull, middle-class respectability and worship of money. He gives up a 'good job' in advertising to work part-time in a bookshop, giving him more time to write. But he slides instead into a self-induced poverty that destroys his creativity and his spirit. Only Rosemary, ever-faithful Rosemary, has the strength to challenge his commitment to his chosen way of life. Through the character of Gordon Comstock, Orwell reveals his own disaffection with the society he once himself renounced. Enlivened with vivid autobiographical detail, George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a tragically witty account of the struggle to escape from a materialistic existence, with an introduction by Peter Davison in Penguin Modern Classics.
School is 'wet and weedy', according to Nigel Molesworth, the 'goriller of 3B', 'curse of St Custard's' and superb chronicler of fifties English life. Nothing escapes his disaffected eye and he has little time for such things as botany walks and cissy poetry with an assortment of swots, snekes and oiks. Instead he is very good at missing lessons, charming masters and putting down little brothers, in fact he is exceptional at most things except spelling. Wildly funny and full of sharp observations on life, the 'Molesworth tetralogy' is magnificently complemented by the illustrations of Ronald Searle
In what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as 'murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes'. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden's poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.
Saki is perhaps the most graceful spokesman for England's 'Golden Afternoon' - the slow and peaceful years before the First World War. Although, like so many of his generation, he died tragically young, in action on the Western Front, his reputation as a writer continued to grow long after his death. The stories are humorous, satiric, supernatural, and macabre, highly individual, full of eccentric wit and unconventional situations. With his great gift as a social satirist of his contemporaryupper-class Edwardian world, Saki is one of the few undisputed English masters of the short story.
The writing of Fernando Pessoa reveals a mind shaken by intense inner suffering. In these poems he adopted four separate personae: Alberto Caeiro, Alvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis and himself, using them to express 'great swarms of thought and feeling'. While each personae has its own poetic identity, together they convey a sense of ambivalence and consolidate a striving for completeness. Dramatic, lyrical, Christian, pagan, old and modern, Pessoa's poets and poetry contribute to the 'mysterious importance of existence'.
Bringing into harsh focus the daily struggle for existence in a Soviet gulag, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is translated by Ralph Parker in Penguin Modern Classics. This brutal, shattering glimpse of the fate of millions of Russians under Stalin shook Russia and shocked the world when it first appeared. Discover the importance of a piece of bread or an extra bowl of soup, the incredible luxury of a book, the ingenious possibilities of a nail, a piece of string or a single match in a world where survival is all. Here safety, warmth and food are the first objectives. Reading it, you enter a world of incarceration, brutality, hard manual labour and freezing cold - and participate in the struggle of men to survive both the terrible rigours of nature and the inhumanity of the system that defines their conditions of life. Though twice-decorated for his service at the front during the Second World War, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was arrested in 1945 for making derogatory remarks about Stalin, and sent to a series of brutal Soviet labour camps in the Arctic Circle, where he remained for eight years. Released after Stalin's death, he worked as a teacher, publishing his novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich with the approval of Nikita Khrushchev in 1962, to huge success. His 1967 novel Cancer Ward, as well as his magnum opus The Gulag Archipelago, were not as well-received by Soviet authorities, and not long after being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970, Solzhenitsyn was deported from the USSR. In 1994, after twenty years in exile, Solzhenitsyn made his long-awaited return to Russia. If you enjoyed One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, you might also like Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, available in Penguin Classics. 'It is a blow struck for human freedom all over the world ... and it is gloriously readable' Sunday Times
In Monterey, on the California Coast, Sweet Thursday is what they call the day after Lousy Wednesday - one of those days that's just bad from the start. But Sweet Thursday is sunny and clear, a day when anything can happen. Returning to the scene of Cannery Row, Steinbeck brilliantly creates its bawdy, high-spirited world of bums, drunks and hookers, telling the story of what happened to everyone after the war. There are colourful characters old and new, all united by love, laughter and tears: Fauna, the latest madam at the Bear Flag brothel, Doc, still there for everyone else but feeling strangely sad himself, and Suzy, the new hustler in town who might just be the girl to save him.
Jean-Paul Sartre's first published novel, Nausea is both an extended essay on existentialist ideals, and a profound fictional exploration of a man struggling to restore a sense of meaning to his life. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated from the French by Robert Baldick with an introduction by James Wood. Nausea is both the story of the troubled life of an introspective historian, Antoine Roquentin, and an exposition of one of the most influential and significant philosophical attitudes of modern times - existentialism. The book chronicles his struggle with the realisation that he is an entirely free agent in a world devoid of meaning; a world in which he must find his own purpose and then take total responsibility for his choices. A seminal work of contemporary literary philosophy, Nausea evokes and examines the dizzying angst that can come from simply trying to live. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was an iconoclastic French philosopher, novelist, playwright and, widely regarded as the central figure in post-war European culture and political thinking. Sartre famously refused the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964 on the grounds that 'a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution'. His most well-known works, all of which are published by Penguin, include The Age of Reason, Nausea and Iron in the Soul. If you enjoyed Nausea, you might like Albert Camus' The Outsider, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the very few successful members of the genre Philosophical Novel ... a young man's tour de force' Iris Murdoch
While fulfilling his dead father's dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father's spirit. His brothers and their families share in Joseph's prosperity andthe farm flourishes - until one brother, scared by Joseph's pagan belief, kills the tree and brings disease and famine on the farm. Set in familiar Steinbeck country, TO A GOD UNKOWN is a mystical tale, exploring one man's attempt to control theforces of nature and to understand the ways of God.
'A work of rapture - jolting, hilarious and incredibly racy' Martin Amis, The Times Self-satisfied, delighting in the many fascinating quirks of his own personality, Hermann Hermann is perhaps not to be taken too seriously. But then a chance meeting with Felix, a man he believes to be his double, reveals a frightening 'split' in Hermann's nature. Convinced that he has found his doppelganger, Hermann uses this discovery to weave a money-making plan that leads to disguise, betrayal and eventually murder. Filled with impudent, startling humour, and dominated by the egotistical and scornful figure of a killer who thinks himself an artist, Despair takes us into a deranged world of doubles and illusions, where nothing is quite as it seems.
This classic collection of short stories serves as the ideal introduction to Steinbeck's work. Set in the idyllic Salinas Valley in California, where simple people farm the land and struggle to find a place for themeselves in the world, these stories reflect many of the concerns key to Steinbeck as a writer; the tensions between town and city, labourers and owners, past and present. Included here are the celebrated tales, THE MURDERER and THE CHRYSANTHEMUMS.
A witty account of Waugh's time in Abyssinia as a war correspondent In 1935 Italy declared war on Abyssinia and Evelyn Waugh was sent to Addis Ababa to cover the conflict. His acerbic account of the intrigue and political machinations leading up to the crisis is coupled with amusing descriptions of the often bizarre and seldom straightforward life of a war correspondent rubbing shoulders with less-than-honest officials, Arab spies, pyjama-wearing radicals and disgruntled journalists. Witty, lucid and penetrating, Evelyn Waugh captures the dilemmas and complexities of a feudal society caught up in twentieth-century politics and confrontation.
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.
A philosophical exploration of the idea of 'rebellion' by one of the leading existentialist thinkers, Albert Camus' The Rebel looks at artistic and political rebels throughout history, from Epicurus to the Marquis de Sade. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated by Anthony Bower with an introduction by Oliver Todd. The Rebel is Camus' 'attempt to understand the time I live in' and a brilliant essay on the nature of human revolt. Published in 1951, it makes a daring critique of communism - how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain and the resulting totalitarian regimes. It questions two events held sacred by the left wing - the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 - that had resulted, he believed, in terrorism as a political instrument. In this towering intellectual document, Camus argues that hope for the future lies in revolt, which unlike revolution is a spontaneous response to injustice and a chance to achieve change without giving up collective and intellectual freedom. Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international. If you enjoyed The Rebel, you might like Camus' The Fall, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the great humanist manifestos' The Times 'A conscience with style' V.S. Pritchett, author of A Cab at the Door
These pieces show the range of Waugh's skills: Mr Loveday's Little Outing; Cruise; Period Piece; On Guard; An Englishman's Home; Excursion in Reality; Bella Fleace Gave a Party; Winner Takes All; Work Suspended; Scott-King's Modern Europe; Basil Seal Rides Again; and Charles Ryder's Schooldays.
Professor Timofey Pnin, late of Tsarist Russia, is now precariously perched at the heart of an American campus. Battling with American life and language, Pnin must face great hazards in this new world: the ruination of his beautiful lumber-room-as-office; the removal of his teeth and the fitting of new ones; the search for a suitable boarding house; and the trials of taking the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he has yet to master. Wry, intelligent and moving, Pnin reveals the absurd and affecting story of one man in exile.
Taking its title from T.S. Eliot's modernist poem The Waste Land, Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust is a chronicle of Britain's decadence and social disintegration between the First and Second World Wars. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Murray Davis. After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars. This breakdown of the Last marriage is a painful, comic re-working of Waugh's own divorce, and a symbol of the disintegration of society. If you enjouyed A Handful of Dust, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the twentieth century's most chilling and bitter novels; and one of its best' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'One of the most distinguished novels of the century' Frank Kermode 'This is a masterpiece of stylish satire, and is funny, too ... a marvellous book' John Banville, Irish Times
Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics. In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful and far-flung rule. A work of superbly detailed research and sustained empathy, Memoirs of Hadrian captures the living spirit of the Emperor and of Ancient Rome. Marguerite de Crayencour (1903-88), who went by the inexact anagrammatic pen name 'Marguarite Yourcenar', was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist, the first woman to be elected to the Academie francaise. Her first novel Alexis was published in 1929; in 1939 she was invited to America by her lover Grace Frick, where she lectured in comparative literature at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. When Memoires d'Hadrien was first published in 1951, it was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim. If you enjoyed Memoirs of Hadrian, you might like Robert Graves's I, Claudius, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A timeless masterpiece ... every page is informed by her profound scholarship' Paul Bailey, author of Gabriel's Lament 'Yourcenar conjures worlds. She can make us share passion - for beauty, bodies, ideas, even power - and consider it closely at the same time. She is that most extraordinary thing: a sensual thinker' Independent on Sunday
A collection of the stories of Damon Runyon who presents the 1950s world of guys and dolls on Broadway.
In 1940 Steinbeck sailed in a sardine boat with his great friend the marine biologist, Ed Ricketts, to collect marine invertebrates from the beaches of the Gulf of California. The expedition was described by the two men in SEA OF CORTEZ, published in 1941. The day-to-day story of the trip is told here in the Log, which combines science, philosophy and high-spirited adventure.
Steinbeck's only work of political satire turns the French Revolution on its head, as amateur astronomer Pippin Heristal is drafted in to rule the unruly French. Enchanting comedy ensues as Steinbeck creates the most hilarious royal court ever around the brief, bold reign of the corduroy-clad Pippin, his social-climbing wife Maria, his star-struck daughter Clotilde and her Californian beau, Todd.
Both a fast-paced story of social unrest and strike, and the tale of one young man's struggle for identity, IN DUBIOUS BATTLE is a novel about the apocalyptic violence that breaks out when the masses become the mob. Set in California apple country, a strike by migrant workers spirals out of control, as principled defiance turns into blind fanaticism. Caught in this upheaval is Jim Nolan, a once aimless man who finds himself briefly becoming the leader of the strike before being crushed in its service. IN DUBIOUS BATTLE explores and dramatises many of the ideas and themes key to Steinbeck's writing.
'A man can't scrap his bloodline, can't snip the thread of immortality.' Such is the strength of Joe Saul's desperate longing for a child, that he feels as if a dark curse is upon him after three unfruitful years of marriage. Yet unbeknown to him, he is sterile. His beautiful, young, devoted wife loves him so much that she secretly conceives the child of another man. But when Joe discovers her deception, his anguish is greater than ever before... A powerful, tragic and deeply moving tale.
Though best known in the English speaking world for his short fictions and poems, Borges is revered in Latin America equally as an immensely prolific and beguiling writer of non-fiction prose. In THE TOTAL LIBRARY, more than 150 of Borges' most brilliant pieces are brought together for the first time in one volume - all in superb new translations. More than a hundred of the pieces have never previously been published in English. THE TOTAL LIBRARY presents Borges at once as a deceptively self-effacing guide to the universe and as the inventor of a universe that is an indispensible guide to Borges
George Orwell's paean to the end of an idyllic era in British history, Coming Up for Air is a poignant account of one man's attempt to recapture childhood innocence as war looms on the horizon. George Bowling, forty-five, mortgaged, married with children, is an insurance salesman with an expanding waistline, a new set of false teeth - and a desperate desire to escape his dreary life. He fears modern times - since, in 1939, the Second World War is imminent - foreseeing food queues, soldiers, secret police and tyranny. So he decides to escape to the world of his childhood, to the village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquillity. But his return journey to Lower Binfield may bring only a more complete disillusionment ... 'Very funny, as well as invigoratingly realistic ... Nineteen Eighty-Four is here in embryo. So is Animal Farm ... not many novels carry the seeds of two classics as well as being richly readable themselves' John Carey, Sunday Times
Antoine de Saint-Exupery first published The Little Prince in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean during a reconnaissance mission. More than a half century later, this fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don't dare disobey, the narrator recalls. Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket. And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.
Amory Blaine, intent on rebelling against his staid, Midwestern upbringing, longs to acquire the patina of Eastern sophistication. In his quest for sexual and intellectual enlightenment, he progresses through a series of relationships, until he is cast out into the real world.
At the centre of Music for Chameleons is Handcarved Coffins, a 'nonfiction novel' based on the brutal crimes of a real-life murderer.Taking place in a small Midwestern town in America, it offers chilling insights into the mind of a killer and the obsession of the man bringing him to justice. Also in this volume are six short stories and seven 'conversational portraits' including a touching one of Marilyn Monroe, the 'beautiful child' and a hilarious one of a dope-smoking cleaning lady doing her rounds in New York.
My part of Ireland had a poet at one time, a poor ragged fellow whom no respectable person whom no respectable person would be seen talking to, but he left doors open as he passed. A delightful autobiographical novel from one of Ireland's best-loved writers Time hardly mattered in the village of Mucker, the birthplace of poet and writer Patrick Kavanagh. Full of wry humour, Kavanagh's unsentimental and evocative account of his Irish rural upbringing describes a patriarchal society surviving on the edge of poverty, sustained by the land and an insatiable love of gossip. There are tales of schoolboy skirmishes, blackberrying and night-time salmon-poaching; of country-weddings and fairs, of political banditry and religious pilgrimages; and of farm-work in the fields and kicking mares. Kavanagh's experiences inspired him to write poetry which immortalized a fast-disappearing way of life and brought him recognition as one of Ireland's great poets.
A delicate boy growing up in Paris, Jerome Palissier spends many summers at his uncle's house in the Normandy countryside, where the whole world seems 'steeped in azure'. There he falls deeply in love with his cousin Alissa and she with him. But gradually Alissa becomes convinced that Jerome's love for her is endangering his soul. In the interests of his salvation, she decides to suppress everything that is beautiful in herself - in both mind and body. A devastating exploration of aestheticism taken to extremes, Strait is the Gate is a novel of haunting beauty that stimulates the mind and the emotions.
A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly rare in a young woman in the 1920s. Simone de Beavoir describes her early life, from her birth in Paris in 1908 to her student days at the Sorbonne, where she met Jean-Paul sartre - 'the dream-companion I had longed for since I was fifteen'.
The first volume in his Roads to Freedom trilogy, Jean-Paul Sartre's The Age of Reason is a philosophical novel exploring existentialist notions of freedom, translated by Eric Sutton with an introduction by David Caute in Penguin Modern Classics. Set in the volatile Paris summer of 1938, The Age of Reason follows two days in the life of Mathieu Delarue, a philosophy teacher, and his circle in the cafes and bars of Montparnasse. Mathieu has so far managed to contain sex and personal freedom in conveniently separate compartments. But now he is in trouble, urgently trying to raise 4,000 francs to procure a safe abortion for his mistress, Marcelle. Beyond all this, filtering an uneasy light on his predicament, rises the distant threat of the coming of the Second World War. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was an iconoclastic French philosopher, novelist, playwright and, widely regarded as the central figure in post-war European culture and political thinking. Sartre famously refused the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964 on the grounds that 'a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution'. His most well-known works, all of which are published by Penguin, include The Age of Reason, Nausea and Iron in the Soul. If you enjoyed The Age of Reason, you might like Sartre's Nausea, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'For my money ... the greatest novel of the post-war period' Philip Kerr, author of the Berlin Noir trilogy
When Bill Masen wakes up blindfolded in hospital there is a bitter irony in his situation. Carefully removing his bandages, he realizes that he is the only person who can see: everyone else, doctors and patients alike, have been blinded by a meteor shower. Now, with civilization in chaos, the triffids - huge, venomous, large-rooted plants able to 'walk', feeding on human flesh - can have their day. The Day of the Triffids, published in 1951, expresses many of the political concerns of its time: the Cold War, the fear of biological experimentation and the man-made apocalypse. However, with its terrifyingly believable insights into the genetic modification of plants, the book is more relevant today than ever before. John Wyndham was born in 1903. After a wide experience of the English preparatory school he was at Bedales from 1918 to 1921. Careers which he tried included farming, law, commercial art, and advertising, and he first started writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. During the war he was in the Civil Service and afterwards in the Army. In 1946 he began writing his major science fiction novels including The Kraken Wakes , The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos .
A man at his desk is interrupted by the appearance of a woodland elf in his room; the piano maestro Bachmann ends his career; a barber shaves the face of a man who once tortured him; a shy dreamer makes a deal with the Devil. In these sixty-five stories of magic and melancholy, Nabokov displays an astonishing range of inventiveness, with dazzling sleight of hand, fantastical fairy tales, intellectual games and enchanting glimpses into lives of ambiguity and loss. The collection displays Nabokov's astonishing range of technical and formal inventiveness: the dazzling sleight of hand, fanciful fairy tales, ingenious puzzles, enchanting vignettes and haunting melancholic narratives full of disturbing ambiguities.
Hailed as the greatest modern lyrical poet of Germany, Rainer Maria Rilke's genius lies in his passion for perfection, artistic integrity and 'willingness to remain a perpetual beginner'. The verse contained in this selection ranges from the objective, naturalistic descriptions of his earliest works to the increasingly effusive outpourings of half-religious ecstasy and anguish that characterize his later poems and culminates in the overwhelmingly personal vision of the famous 'Duino Elegies' and 'The Sonnets to Orpheus', in which his most intense experiences of living and being find their noblest expression.
'Vladimir Nabokov was a literary genius' David Lodge 'Of all my novels this bright brute is the gayest', Nabokov wrote of King, Queen, Knave. Comic, sensual and cerebral, it dramatizes an Oedipal love triangle, a tragi-comedy of husband, wife and lover, through Dreyer the rich businessman, his ripe-lipped ad mercenary wife Martha, and their bespectacled nephew Franz. 'If a resolute Freudian manages to slip in' - Nabokov darts a glance to the reader - 'he or she should be warned that a number of cruel traps have been set here and there...
In 1960, John Steinbeck set out in his pick-up truck with his dog Charley to rediscover and chronicle his native USA, from Maine to California. He felt that he might have lost touch with its sights, sounds and the essence of the American people. Moving through the woods and deserts, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and glorious wildernesses, Steinbeck observed - with remarkable honesty, insight and a humorous eye - the gamut of America and the people who inhabited it. His 10,000-mile journey took him through almost forty states, where he saw things that made him proud, angry, sympathetic and elated. A rugged and passionate adventure of self-identity, Steinbeck's vision of the changing world still speaks to us prophetically through the decades. 'Delightful. This is a book to be read slowly for its savor.' The Atlantic
The Wayward Bus travels through the backroads of the lush California countryside, transporting the lost and the lonely to new destinations. Juan Chicoy is at the wheel, a man of the land, hot-blooded and uninhibited. His passengers include Ernest, a travelling salesman out for fun, seventeen-year-old Kit, also known as Pimples, and Camille the stripper who dances at stag nights and takes the star-struck young Norma under her wing. This powerful and unsentimental novel becomes a story of crisis and passion, love and longing, as the travellers reveal their secrets and journey away from their pasts and towards, possibly, the promise of the future. The Wayward Bus, with its profound insight into human desires and failings, remains one of Steinbeck's most powerful novels.
Malcolm X's The Autobiography of Malcolm X was written in collaboration with Alex Haley, author of Roots, and includes an introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic, in Penguin Modern Classics. From hustling, drug addiction and armed violence in America's black ghettos Malcolm X turned, in a dramatic prison conversion, to the puritanical fervour of the Black Muslims. As their spokesman he became identified in the white press as a terrifying teacher of race hatred; but to his direct audience, the oppressed American blacks, he brought hope and self-respect. This autobiography (written with Alex Haley) reveals his quick-witted integrity, usually obscured by batteries of frenzied headlines, and the fierce idealism which led him to reject both liberal hypocrisies and black racialism. Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure. Malcolm X (1925-65), born Malcolm Little in Omaha, and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, lost both his parents at a young age. Leaving school early, he soon became part of Harlem's underworld, and in 1946 he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. It was in prison that Malcolm X converted to Islam. Paroled in 1952, he became an outspoken defender of Muslim doctrines, formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1963, and had received considerable publicity by the time of his assassination in 1965. If you enjoyed The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you might like Nelson Mandela's No Easy Walk to Freedom, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'This extraordinary autobiography is a brilliant, painful, important book' The New York Times
The Mahabharata is some 3,500 years old and is the longest poem in any language. It is one of the founding epics of Indian culture and, with its mixture of cosmic drama and profound philosophy (one small section forms the BHAGHAVAD GITA) it holds aunique place in world literature. In this drastically shortened prose rendering, Narayan uses all his extraordinary talents to convey to a modern reader why this is such a great story. Filled with vivid characters, obsessed with the rise and fall of gods, empires and heroes, Narayan's MAHABHARATA is an enormously enjoyable experience and the perfect introduction to the otherwise bewildering Indian cosmology.
Each of these delightful interconnected tales is devoted to a family living in a fertile valley on the outskirts of Monterey, California, and the effects that one particular family has on them all. Steinbeck tackles two important literary traditions here; American naturalism, with its focus on the conflict between natural instincts and the demand to conform to society's norms, and the short story cycle. Set in the heart of 'Steinbeck land', the lush Californian valleys.
'The tender and achingly poetic account of a love affair' Lester Bangs, Rolling Stone Leo Percepied, aspiring writer and self-styled freewheeling bum, gravitates to the subterraneans, impoverished intellectuals who haunt the bars of San Francisco. One of them is Mardou Fox, beautiful and a little crazy, whose dark eyes, full of suffering and sweetness, find recognition in Leo. But, afraid of his growing involvement, Leo sets out to destroy their love. Written in three days, The Subterraneans is, like all Kerouac's work, closely related to his own life while encapsulating his great vision of America.
This lush, lyrical fantasy is Steinbeck's sole work of historical fiction. Henry Morgan ruled the Spanish Main in the 1670s, ravaging the coasts of Cuba and America and striking terror wherever he went. His lust and greed knew no bounds, and he was utterly consumed by two passions; to possess the mysterious woman known as La Santa Roja, the Red Saint, and to conquer Panama and wrest 'the cup of gold' from Spanish hands.
October 2010 Guest Editor Juliet Gardiner on Sword of Honour... I laugh out loud so much that I hardly dare read Evelyn Waugh’s wartime trilogy Sword of Honour in public places. Partly based on Waugh’ own war experience the novels follow the unheroic career of the hapless Guy Crouchback of the Royal Corps of Halbadiersin his tangles with military bureaucracy.
'Brilliant ... a panorama of a remarkable talent ... McCullers's finest stories' The New York Times Few writers have expressed loneliness, the need for human understanding and the search for love with such power and poetic sensibility as the American writer Carson McCullers, and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe collects her best-loved novella together with six short stories, published in Penguin Modern Classics. Miss Amelia Evans, tall, strong and nobody's fool, runs a small-town store. Except for a disastrous marriage that lasted just ten days, she has always lived alone. Then Cousin Lymon appears from nowhere, a strutting hunchback who steals Miss Amelia's heart. Together they transform the store into a lively, popular cafe where the locals come to drink and gossip. But when her rejected and dangerous ex-husband Marvin Macy returns, the result is a bizarre love triangle that brings with it violence, hatred and betrayal. Among other fine works, the collection also includes 'Wunderkind', McCullers's first published story written when she was only seventeen, about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist.
Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman ('his slapdash and very misleading book'), the narrator, V, sets out to record Sebastian Knight's life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian's erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever. Nabokov's first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.
'We don't live alone ... We are responsible for each other' A policeman interrupts a rich family's dinner to question them about the suicide of a young working-class girl. As their guilty secrets are gradually revealed over the course of the evening, 'An Inspector Calls', J. B. Priestley's most famous play, shows us the terrible consequences of poverty and inequality. The other powerful plays in this collection - 'Time and the Conways', 'I Have Been Here Before' and 'The Linden Tree' - explore time, fate, free will and the effects of war. 'A vastly talented and exceptionally versatile and wise writer' Iris Murdoch 'Priestley was volcanic, fertile ... and never dull' Anthony Burgess If you enjoyed An Inspector Calls, you might like Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
Chosen by Ginsberg himself from nearly fifty years of experimental, groundbreaking verse, this selection, in his words, 'summarizes what I deem most honest, most penetrant of my writing', and includes lesser known and later works which go beyond his iconic Beat Generation image. Presented chronologically, and ranging from early works such as 'Paterson' (1949) to selections from White Shroud (1980-85) and Cosmopolitan Greetings (1986-92), and including the classic poems Howl (1955-56) and Kaddish (1959-60) as well as songs, recent uncollected poems and notes by the author, this volume brings together the most intensely personal verse of a great American poet - incandescent explorations that expand the consciousness with their breadth of vision and depth of humanity.
'A masterpiece . . . as mature and finished as Henry James's The Turn of the Screw' Time Set on a Southern army base in the 1930s, Reflections in a Golden Eye tells the story of Captain Penderton, a bisexual whose life is upset by the arrival of Major Langdon, a charming womanizer who has an affair with Penderton's tempestuous and flirtatious wife, Leonora. Upon the novel's publication in 1941, reviewers were unsure of what to make of its relatively scandalous subject matter. But a critic for Time magazine wrote, In almost any hands, such material would yield a rank fruitcake of mere arty melodrama. But Carson McCullers tells her tale with simplicity, insight, and a rare gift of phrase. Written during a time when McCullers's own marriage to Reeves was on the brink of collapse
Borges' first collection of stories (1935). In his writing, Borges always combined high seriousness with a wicked sense of fun. Here he reveals his delight in re-creating (or making up) colorful stories from the Orient, the Islamic world, and the Wild West, as well as his horrified fascination with knife fights, political and personal betrayal, and bloodthirsty revenge. Spark-ling with the sheer exuberant pleasure of story-telling, this collection marked the emergence of an utterly distinctive literary voice.
One of the most remarkable artists of our age.' MARIO VARGAS LLOSA THE BOOK OF SAND was the last of Borges' major collections to be published. The stories are, in his words, 'variations on favourite themes... combining a plain and at times almost colloquial style with a fantastic plot'. It includes such marvellous tales as 'The Congress', 'Undr' and 'The Mirror and the Mask'. Also included are the handful of stories written right at the end of Borges' life - 'August 25, 1983', 'Blue Tigers', 'The Rose of Paracelsus' and 'Shakespeare's Memory.
The Gift is the phantasmal autobiography of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdynstev, a writer living in the closed world of Russian intellectuals in Berlin shortly after the First World War. This gorgeous tapestry of literature and butterflies tells the story of Fyodor's pursuits as a writer. Its heroine is not Fyodor's elusive and beloved Zina, however, but Russian prose and poetry themselves.
If you can't prove something, it is literally senseless - so argues Ayer in this irreverent and electrifying book. Statements are either true by definition (as in maths), or can be verified by direct experience. Ayer rejected metaphysical claims about god, the absolute, and objective values as completely nonsensical. Ayer was only 24 when he finished LANGUAGE, TRUTH & LOGIC, yet it shook the foundations of Anglo-American philosophy and made its author notorious. It became a classic text, cleared away the cobwebs in philosophical thinking, and has been enormously influential.
GEORGES BATAILLE - Some would say the French have always had a discerning touch for the sexual as well as the bizarre and Bataille’s THE STORY OF THE EYE, imbued by the excesses of surrealism take sex into another dimension. Not for every palate but adds a fascinating philosophical layer to matters of the flesh. A controversial modern classic.
A fascinating insight into the vibrant culture of Modernism, and the rich artistic world of Paris's Left Bank, Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas includes an introduction by Thomas Fensch in Penguin Modern Classics. For Gertrude Stein and her wife Alice B. Toklas, life in Paris was based upon the rue de Fleurus and the Saturday evenings and 'it was like a kaleidoscope slowly turning'. Picasso was there with 'his high whinnying Spanish giggle', as were Cezanne and Matisse, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. As Toklas put it - 'The geniuses came and talked to Gertrude Stein and the wives sat with me'. A light-hearted entertainment, this is in fact Gertrude Stein's own autobiography and a roll-call of all the extraordinary painters and writers she met between 1903 and 1932. Audacious, sardonic and characteristically self-confident, this is a definitive account by American in Paris. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), a writer of experimental prose, is one of the original American Modernists. Born in Pennsylvania, she lived most of her life in Paris with her partner, Alice B. Toklas. Experimental books like Three Lives (1909), Tender Buttons (1914), and The Making of Americans (1925) established her reputation as an avant-garde stylist, and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas made her an international celebrity. As an experimental writer she has been an inspiration to countless novelists and poets in our century, from Ernest Hemingway and Edith Sitwell in her own time to Jack Kerouac and Robert Duncan in ours. If you enjoyed The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, you might like Virginia Woolf's Orlando, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Buttonholes the reader with its informality, its unhurried rhythms, deadpan humour and acerbic remarks' Frances Spalding, Sunday Times
The state has been recently taken over and is being run by the tyrannical and philistine 'Average Man' party. Under the slogans of equality and happiness for all, it has done away with individualism and freedom of thought. Only John Krug, a brilliant philosopher, stands up to the regime. His antagonist, the leader of the new party, is his old school enemy, Paduk - known as the 'Toad'. Grieving over his wife's recent death, Krug is at first dismissive of Paduk's activities and sees no threat in them. But the sinister machine which Paduk has set in motion may prove stronger than the individual, stronger even than the grotesque 'Toad' himself.
Written in Berlin in 1934, Invitation to a Beheading contains all the surprise, excitement and magical intensity of a work created in two brief weeks of sustained inspiration. It takes us into the fantastic prison-world of Cincinnatus, a man condemned to death and spending his last days in prison not quite knowing when the end will come. Nabokov described the book as 'a violin in a void. The worldling will deem it a trick. Old men will hurriedly turn from it to regional romances and the lives of public figures ... The evil-minded will perceive in little Emmie a sister of little Lolita ... But I know a few readers who will jump up, ruffling their hair'.
'The Adventures of Augie March is the Great American Novel. Search no further' Martin Amis A penniless and parentless Chicago boy growing up in the Great Depression, Augie March drifts through life latching on to a wild succession of occupations, including butler, thief, dog-washer, sailor and salesman. He is a 'born recruit', easily influenced by others who try to mould his destiny. Not until he tangles with the glamorous Thea, a huntress with a trained eagle, can he attempt to break free. A modern day everyman on an odyssey in search of reality and identity, Augie March is the star of star performer in a richly observed human variety show, a modern-day Columbus in search of reality and fulfilment. The Adventures of Augie March includes an introduction by Christopher Hitchens in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Funny, poignant, crowded with carnivalesque types and yet narrated by a voice that is lonely and simple, it is Bellow's fat comic masterpiece' Observer
Saul Bellow's Herzog is part confessional, part exorcism, and a wholly unique achievement in postmodern fiction. Is Moses Herzog losing his mind? His formidable wife Madeleine has left him for his best friend, and Herzog is left alone with his whirling thoughts - yet he still sees himself as a survivor, raging against private disasters and the myriad catastrophes of the modern age. In a crumbling house which he shares with rats, his head buzzing with ideas, he writes frantic, unsent letters to friends and enemies, colleagues and famous people, the living and the dead, revealing the spectacular workings of his labyrinthine mind and the innermost secrets of his troubled heart. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury 'Spectacular ... surely Bellow's greatest novel' Malcolm Bradbury 'A masterpiece ... Herzog's voice, for all its wildness and strangeness and foolishness, is the voice of a civilization, our civilization' The New York Times Book Review
George Orwell's searing account of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time Orwell's graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in his later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain. Includes illustrations, explanatory footnotes, and an introduction by Richard Hoggart
Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In his forties, he still retains a boyish impetuousness that has brought him to the brink of chaos: he is separated from his wife and children, at odds with his vain, successful father, failed in his acting career (a Hollywood agent once placed him as 'the type that loses the girl') and in a financial mess. In the course of one climactic day he reviews his past mistakes and spiritual malaise, until a mysterious, philosophizing con man grants him a glorious, illuminating moment of truth and understanding, and offers him one last hope ...
'Rarely has emotional turbulence been so delicately conveyed' The New York Times With delicacy of perception and memory, humour and pathos, Carson McCullers spreads before us the three phases of a weekend crisis in the life of a motherless twelve-year-old girl. Within the span of a few hours, the irresistible, hoydenish Frankie passionately plays out her fantasies at her elder brother's wedding. Through a perilous skylight we look into the mind of a child torn between her yearning to belong and the urge to run away.
In The House of Bernarda Alba, a tyrannical matriarch rules over her house and five daughters, cruelly crushing their hopes and needs. The other plays here also portray female characters whose desires are tragically and violently frustrated: a woman's longing for a child in Yerma, and a bride's yearning for her lover in Blood Wedding. All appeal for freedom and sexual and social equality, and are also passionate defences of the imagination: in Christopher Maurer's words, 'poetic drama unsurpassed by any writer of our time'.
'Do you know it, do you remember it, the drives, the attitudes, the terrors and, yes, the joys?' Thus Steinbeck introduces his collection of poignant and hard-hitting dispatches for the New York Herald Tribune when the Second World War was at its height. He begins in England, recounting the courage of the bomber crews, the tragic air-raids and the strangeness of the British, before being sent to Africa and joining a special operations unit off the coast of Italy. Eating, drinking talking and fighting alongside the soldiers, Steinbeck's empathy for the common man is always in evidence in these pieces, and he never fails to evoke the human side of an inhuman war. 'If you have forgotten what the war was like, Steinbeck will refresh your memory. Age can never dull this kind of writing.' Chicago Tribune
Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer, Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A RUSSIAN JOURNAL is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpse of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle
The volume collects together, for the first time ever, Orwell's writings on his experience of the Spanish Civil War - the chaos at the Front, the futile young deaths for what became a confused cause, the antique weapons and the disappointment many British Socialists felt on arriving in Spain to help. ORWELL IN SPAIN includes the complete text of HOMAGE TO CATALONIA.
Steinbeck's first posthumously published work, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is a reinterpretation of tales from Malory's Morte d'Arthur. In this highly successful attempt to render Malory into Modern English, Steinbeck recreated the rhythm and tone of the original Middle English.
Ethan Allen Hawley has lost the acquisitive spirit of his wealthy and enterprising forebears, a long line of proud New England sea captains and Pilgrims. Scarred by failure, Ethan works as a grocery clerk in a store his family once owned. But his wife is restless and his teenage children troubled and hungry for the material comforts he cannot provide. Then a series of unusual events reignites Ethan's ambition, and he is pitched on to a bold course, where all scruples are put aside. Steinbeck's searing examination of the evil influences of money, immorality, greed and ambition on America drew acclaim from the Nobel Committee who hailed him as an 'independent expounder of the truth'. 'Returns to the high standards of The Grapes of Wrath and to the social themes that made his early work ... so powerful' Saul Bellow, author of Herzog
Dorothy Parker, more than any of her contemporaries, captured the spirit of the Jazz Age in her poetry and prose, and The Collected Dorothy Parker includes an introduction by Brendan Gill in Penguin Modern Classics. Dorothy Parker was the most talked-about woman of her day, notorious as the hard-drinking bad girl with a talent for stinging repartee and endlessly quotable one-liners. The decadent 1920s and 1930s in New York were a time of great experiment and daring for women. For the rich, life seemed a continual party, but the excesses took their emotional toll. In the bitingly witty poems and stories collected here, along with her articles and reviews, she brilliantly captures the spirit of the decadent Jazz Age in New York, exposing both the dazzle and the darkness. But beneath the sharp perceptions and acidic humour, much of her work poignantly expresses the deep vulnerability of a troubled, self-destructive woman who, in the words of philosopher Irwin Edman, was 'a Sappho who could combine a heartbreak with a wisecrack'. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was born in West End, New Jersey, and grew up in New York. In 1916 she sold some of her poetry to the editor of Vogue, and was subsequently given an editorial position on the magazine. She then became drama critic of Vanity Fair and the central figure of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table, whose members included George S. Kaufman and Harpo Marx. Her collections of poems included Enough Rope (1926) and Not So Deep as a Well (1936), and her collections of stories included Here Lies (1939); in addition, she collaborated on and wrote screenplays including the Oscar-winning A Star is Born (1937), and Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942). If you enjoyed The Collected Dorothy Parker, you might like Truman Capote's The Complete Stories, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'She managed to express her real feelings in stanzas which snap and glitter like a Chanel handbag' Peter Ackroyd, The Times
Guy Crouchback, determined to get into the war, takes a commission in the Royal Corps of Halberdiers. His spirits high, he sees all the trimmings but none of the action. And his first campaign, an abortive affair on the West African coastline, ends with an escapade which seriously blots his Halberdier copybook. Men at Arms is the first book in Waugh's brilliant trilogy, Sword of Honour, which chronicles the fortunes of Guy Crouchback. The second and third volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, are also published in Penguin Modern Classics.
It is September 1938 and during a heatwave Europe tensely awaits the outcome of the Munich conference, where they will learn if there is to be a war. In Paris people are waiting too, among them Mathieu, Jacques and Philippe, each wrestling with their own love affairs, doubts and angsts - and none of them ready to fight. The second volume in Sartre's wartime Roads to Freedom trilogy, The Reprieve cuts between locations and characters to build an impressionistic collage of the hopes, fears and self-deception of an entire continent as it blinkers itself against the imminent threat of war.
Written in Paris in the early 1950s, this book created instant controversy in its analysis of modern society that had allowed itself to be hypnotized by socio-political doctrines, and to accept totalitarian terror on the strength of a hypothetical future.
'This is a very personal book, about being alone and lost'. In 1975 Kapuscinski's employers sent him to Angola to cover the civil war that had broken out after independence. For months he watched as Luanda and then the rest of the country collapsed into a civil war that was in the author's words 'sloppy, dogged and cruel'. In his account, Kapuscinski demonstrates an extraordinary capacity to describe and to explain the individual meaning of grand political abstractions.
An omnibus comprising Raymond Chandler's three Philip Marlowe novels, THE LADY IN THE LAKE, THE HIGH WINDOW and THE LITTLE SISTER.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's last completed novel, Tender is the Night is edited by Arnold Goldman with an introduction and notes by Richard Godden in Penguin Modern Classics. Between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash the French Riviera was the stylish place for wealthy Americans to visit. Among the most fashionable are psychoanalyst Dick Diver and his wife Nicole, who hold court at their villa. Into their circle comes Rosemary Hoyt, a film star, who is instantly attracted to them, but understands little of the dark secrets and hidden corruption that hold them together. As Dick draws closer to Rosemary, he fractures the delicate structure of his marriage and sets both Nicole and himself on to a dangerous path where only the strongest can survive. In this exquisite, lyrical novel, Fitzgerald has poured much of the essence of his own life; he has also depicted the age of materialism, shattered idealism and broken dreams. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) has acquired a mythical status in American literary history, and his masterwork The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be the 'great American novel'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre, dubbed 'the first American Flapper', and their traumatic marriage and Zelda's gradual descent into insanity became the leading influence on his writing. As well as many short stories, Fitzgerald wrote five novels This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and, incomplete at the time of his death, The Last Tycoon. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'in fact and in the literary sense he created a generation '. If you enjoyed Tender is the Night, you might like Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, also available in Penguin Classics. 'One of the most wonderful writers of the twentieth century' Financial Times
An incomparable satirist, Ambrose Bierce became the laughing devil of the San Francisco news media, for he was about as discreet as a runaway locomotive, according to H.L.Mencken, and nowhere are his uninhibited irony and gift for verse parody more in evidence than in this dictionary .
The second volume of Waugh's masterful trilogy, Sword of Honour Guy Crouchback is now attached to a commando unit undergoing training on the Hebridean isle of Mugg, where the whisky flows freely and HM forces have to show respect for the laird. But the comedy of Mugg is followed by the bitterness of Crete.
A poignant coming-of-age novel set in a Welsh mining town, Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley is a paean to a more innocent age, published in Penguin Modern Classics Growing up in a mining community in rural South Wales, Huw Morgan is taught many harsh lessons - at the kitchen table, at Chapel and around the pit-head. Looking back on the hardships of his early life, where difficult days are faced with courage but the valleys swell with the sound of Welsh voices, it becomes clear that there is nowhere so green as the landscape of his own memory. An immediate bestseller on publication in 1939, How Green Was My Valley quickly became one of the best-loved novels of the twentieth century. Poetic and nostalgic, it is an elegy to a lost world. Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd (1906-1983), better known by his pen name Richard Llewellyn, claimed to have been born in St David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales; after his death he was discovered to have been born of Welsh parents in Hendon, Middlesex. His famous first novel How Green Was My Valley (1939) was begun in St David's from a draft he had written in India, and was later adapted into an Oscar-winning film by director John Ford. None But the Lonely Heart, his second novel, was published in 1943, and subsequently made into a film starring Cary Grant and Ethel Barrymore. As well as novels including Green, Green My Valley Now (1975) and I Stand on a Quiet Shore (1982), Llewellyn wrote two highly successful plays, Poison Pen and Noose If you enjoyed How Green Was My Valley, you might like Barry Hines' A Kestrel for a Knave, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Vivid, eloquent, poetical, glowing with an inner flame of emotion' The Times Literary Supplement
Using details of the ancient Scandinavian legends that were the inspiration for Hamlet, John Updike brings to life Gertrude's girlhood as the daughter of King Rorik, her arranged marriage to the man who becomes King Hamlet, and her middle-aged affair with her husband's younger brother. As only he could, Updike recasts a tale of medieval violence and presents the case for its central couple that Shakespeare only hinted at. Gertrude's warmth and lucidity, Claudius's soldierly yet peaceable powers of command are seen afresh against a background of fond intentions and familial dysfunction, on a stage darkened by the ominous shadow of a sullen, disaffected prince.
Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck was a prolific correspondent. Opening with letters written during Steinbeck's early years in California, and closing with an unfinished, 1968 note written in Sag Harbor, New York, this collection of around 850 letters to friends, family, his editor and a diverse circle of well-known and influential public figures gives an insight into the raw creative processes of one of the most naturally-gifted and hard-working writing minds of this century.
A new volume which includes the original screenplay, with its copious director's notes, and the narrative - this has followed on from a previously undiscovered manuscript by Steinbeck being found in the UCLA Research Library - the narrative treatment of the story on which he based his screenplay.
'His first, most perfect novel ... ruthlessly comic' John Mortimer, Guardian Sent down from Oxford in outrageous circumstances, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly unsurprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, rascals and fools, including Prendy (plagued by doubts) and Captain Grimes, who is always in the soup (or just plain drunk). Then Sports Day arrives, and with it the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, floating on a scented breeze. As the farce unfolds and the young run riot, no one is safe, least of all Paul.
This collection of letters forms a fascinating day-by-day account of Steinbeck's writing of EAST OF EDEN, his longest and most ambitious novel. The letters, ranging over many subjects - textual discussion, trial flights of workmanship, family matters - provide an illuminating perspective on Steinbeck, the creative genius, and a private glimpse of Steinbeck, the man.
'One of the most important American novels of the twentieth century' The Times 'It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves' Ralph Ellison's blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible 'simply because people refuse to see me'. Published in 1952 when American society was in the cusp of immense change, the powerfully depicted adventures of Ellison's invisible man - from his expulsion from a Southern college to a terrifying Harlem race riot - go far beyond the story of one individual to give voice to the experience of an entire generation of black Americans. This edition includes Ralph Ellison's introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of Invisible Man, a fascinating account of the novel's seven-year gestation. With an Introduction by John F. Callahan 'Brilliant' Saul Bellow
Empson has long been applauded for the dazzling intelligence and emotional passion of his poems. Praised in his lifetime by the likes of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and John Betjeman, his reputation contines to be high. His poems take a wide range of themes from metaphysics to melancholy, social climbing to political satire, and from love to loss.
'My literary hero is John Dos Passos' - Adam Curtis (filmmaker) 'Wonderful and extraordinary' Robert McCrum, Observer 'No novelist in America has written more sombrely of the dangers to individual integrity in a centrally controlled society' Alfred Kazin The Penguin Modern Classics edition of John Dos Passos' U.S.A. is a groundbreaking work of experimental fiction which, with its unique melange of fact and fiction, creates a compelling, tragic vision of America at the dawn of the twentieth century. In this experimental trilogy, Dos Passos uses 'camera eye' and 'newsreel' sections to create a fragmented atmosphere. Through the testimony of numerous characters, both fictional and historical figures, he builds up a composite picture of American society in the first quarter of the 20th century. Richly detailed and throbbing with vitality, U.S.A. vividly evokes that uncertain period when America, so full of ideas and potential, was slowly and painfully abandoning the great American Dream. John Dos Passos (1896-1970) was born in Chicago, the son of an eminent lawyer. After graduating from Harvard he served in the US Army Medical Corps during the First World War, and dabbled in journalism before embarking on life as a writer. In 1925 he published Manhattan Transfer, his first experimental novel in what was to become his peculiar style - a mixture of fact and fiction. His began a series of panoramic epics of American life with the U.S.A. trilogy, using the same technique and tracing, through interwoven biographies, the story of America from the early twentieth century to the onset of the Great Depression in 1929.
Beautiful, bored and bourgeoise, Sabina leads a double life inspired by her relentless desire for brief encounters with near-strangers. Fired into faithlessness by a desperate longing for sexual fulfilment, she weaves a sensual web of deceit across New York. But when the secrecy of her affairs becomes too much to bear, Sabina makes a late night phone-call to a stranger from a bar, and begins a confession that captivates the unknown man and soon inspires him to seek her out...
Gandhi's non-violent struggles against racism, violence, and colonialism in South Africa and India had brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. He feared the enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding of his quest for truth rooted in devotion to God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices, celibacy, and a life without violence. This is not a straightforward narrative biography, in The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi offers his life story as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps.
The Forsyte Saga is the first part of John Galsworthy's magnificent, well-loved Forsyte Chronicles, which trace the changing fortunes of the wealthy Forsyte dynasty through fifty years of material triumph and emotional disaster. The Forsyte Saga begins as the nineteenth century is drawing to a close, and the upper middle classes, with their property and propriety, are becoming a dying section of society. The Forsytes are blind to this fact, clinging to their conventions and 'brilliant respectability'. As dignified Soames Forsyte struggles to uphold the old moral code in the face of the social revolution resulting from the Great War, his wife Irene's extraordinary beauty causes even more disruption. The bitter feud between them comes to split the Forsyte family for two generations.
In this second part of John Galworthy's trilogy of love, power, money and family feuding, a new generation has arrived to divide the Forsyte clan with society scandals and conflicting passions
If one theme unifies the 11 tales collected here, it is that of longing. Written after her return from Kenya and during the dark days of the Nazi occupation, they derive their themes and locales from Isak Dinesen's childhood in Denmark. Isak Dinesen was the pen-name of Karen Blixen, who was born in Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they went to Kenya to manage a coffee plantation. After their divorce in 1921, she continued to run the plantation until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Denmark in 1931.
In this final volume of The Forsyte Saga Galsworthy writes about the lives and loves of the Cherrell family, cousins of the Forsytes. For centuries, the Cherrell sons have left their home of Condaford Grange to serve the state as soldiers, clergymen and administrators, but the 1930s bring uncertainty in a world of rapidly altering morals and unemployment. Galsworthy's portrayal of the effect of political change on individuals show him as a great social novelist as well as the author of one of the most gripping family sagas ever written.
In 1914 Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya with her husband to run a coffee farm. Instantly drawn to the land, she spent her happiest years there until the plantation failed. Karen Blixen was forced to return to Denmark in 1931 and it was there that she wrote this classic account of her experiences. A poignant farewell to her beloved farm, Out of Africa describes her strong friendships with the people of her area, her affection for the landscape and animals, and great love for the adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton. Written with astonishing clarity and an unsentimental intelligence, Out of Africa portrays a way of life that has disappeared for ever.
James Baldwin's electrifying first novel. 'I had to deal with what hurt me most. I had to deal with my father.' Drawing on James Baldwin's own boyhood in a religious community in 1930s Harlem, his first novel tells the story of young Johnny Grimes. Johnny is destined to become a preacher like his father, Gabriel, at the Temple of the Fire Baptized, where the church swells with song and it is as if 'the Holy Ghost were riding on the air'. But he feels only scalding hatred for Gabriel, whose fear and fanaticism lead him to abuse his family. Johnny vows that, for him, things will be different. This blazing tale is full of passion and guilt, of secret sinners and prayers singing on the wind. 'His prose hit me, almost winding me with its intensity. I'd never read a novel that described loneliness and desire with such burning eloquence' Douglas Field, Guardian 'A beautiful, enduring, spirtual song of a novel' Andrew O'Hagan
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' Baldwin's ground-breaking second novel, which established him as one of the great American writers of his time David, a young American in 1950s Paris, is waiting for his fiancee to return from vacation in Spain. But when he meets Giovanni, a handsome Italian barman, the two men are drawn into an intense affair. After three months David's fiancee returns and, denying his true nature, he rejects Giovanni for a 'safe' future as a married man. His decision eventually brings tragedy. Filled with passion, regret and longing, this story of a fated love triangle has become a landmark of gay writing. James Baldwin caused outrage as a black author writing about white homosexuals, yet for him the issues of race, sexuality and personal freedom were eternally intertwined. 'Exquisite... a feat of fire-breathing, imaginative daring' Guardian 'Excruciating beauty' San Francisco Chronicle 'Audacious... remarkable... elegant and courageous' Caryl Phillips
The brilliant tale of Anais Nin's true love affair with Henry Miller, and her ambiguous, charged relationship with his wife, June. Drawn from the journals of a single momentous year in Paris, Henry and June provides a wildly lyrical account of a woman's sexual awakening and the disillusion of idealized marriage.
P.B. Jones is the amoral, bisexual protagonist of this unfinished novel. He discovers that bed-hopping rather than literary ability is the way to get published. He discovers along the way that prayers that are answered cause more pain than those that remain ignored.
August 2010 Guest Editor Veronica Henry on Zazie in the Metro... As a teenager I went through a horribly pretentious phase of reading existential literature. A lot of it was heavy going but not this, by Dadaist Raymond Queaneau. The story of a little girl who goes to say with her flamboyant uncle in Paris, the wordplay, even in translation, is phenomenal.
Albinus - rich, married middle-aged and respectable - is an art critic and aspiring filmmaker who lusts after the coquettish young cinema usherette Margot. Gradually he seduces her and convinces himself he is irresistible to her, but Margot has other plans. She wants to be a film star, and when Albinus introduces her to the American movie producer Axel Rex, she sees her chance - and plotting, duplicity and tragedy ensue.
An enchanting collection from India's foremost storyteller, rich in wry, warmly observed characters from every walk of Indian life - merchants, beggars, herdsmen, rogues - all of whose lives are microcosms of the human experience Like Nambi in the title story, Narayan has the mesmeric ability to spellbind his audience. This he achieves with a masterful combination of economy and rhythm, creating haunting images and a variety of settings to evoke a unique paradox of reality and folklore.
Chris, Ikem and Beatrice are like-minded friends working under the military regime of His Excellency, the Sandhurst-educated President of Kangan. In the pressurized atmosphere of oppression and intimidation they are simply trying to live and love - and remain friends. But in a world where each day brings a new betrayal, hope is hard to cling on to. Anthills of the Savannah (1987), Achebe's candid vision of contemporary African politics, is a powerful fusion of angry voices. It continues the journey that Achebe began with his earlier novels, tracing the history of modern Africa through colonialism and beyond, and is a work ultimately filled with hope.
As Minister for Culture, the Honourable M. A. Nanga is 'a man of the people', as cynical as he is charming, and a roguish opportunist. At first, the contrast between Nanga and Odili, a former pupil who is visiting the ministry, appears huge. But in the 'eat-and-let-eat' atmosphere, Odili's idealism soon collides with his lusts - and the two men's personal and political tauntings threaten to send their country into chaos. Published, prophetically, just days before Nigeria's first attempted coup in 1966, A Man of the People is an essential part of his body of work dealing with modern African history.
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' A worldwide bestseller and the first part of Achebe's African Trilogy, Things Fall Apart is the compelling story of one man's battle to protect his community against the forces of change Okonkwo is the greatest wrestler and warrior alive, and his fame spreads throughout West Africa like a bush-fire in the harmattan. But when he accidentally kills a clansman, things begin to fall apart. Then Okonkwo returns from exile to find missionaries and colonial governors have arrived in the village. With his world thrown radically off-balance he can only hurtle towards tragedy. First published in 1958, Chinua Achebe's stark, coolly ironic novel reshaped both African and world literature, and has sold over ten million copies in forty-five languages. This arresting parable of a proud but powerless man witnessing the ruin of his people begins Achebe's landmark trilogy of works chronicling the fate of one African community, continued in Arrow of God and No Longer at Ease. 'His courage and generosity are made manifest in the work' Toni Morrison 'The writer in whose company the prison walls fell down' Nelson Mandela 'A great book, that bespeaks a great, brave, kind, human spirit' John Updike With an Introduction by Biyi Bandele
Lucan has been orphaned and Zosine has been deserted, and London is a hostile place for two young girls without a home. Bound together by poverty, grief and their shared years at school, they set out to make a future for themselves in new surroundings. They are adopted by the austere, puritanical Reverend Pennhallow and his wife, and in their large, gloomy house they become immersed in study. But, after a chain of disturbing events, it does not take long before they realize that the cleric and his wife are not all they seem to be ...
Based on his experiences as a policeman in Burma, George Orwell's first novel presents a devastating picture of British colonial rule Burmese Days describes corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, 'after all, natives were natives'. When Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Indian Dr Veraswami, he defies this orthodoxy. The doctor is in danger: U Po Kyin, a corrupt magistrate, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is membership of the all-white Club, and Flory can help. Flory's life is changed further by the arrival of beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen from Paris, who offers an escape from loneliness and the 'lie' of colonial life. George Orwell's first novel, inspired by his experiences in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, Burmese Days includes a new introduction by Emma Larkin in Penguin Modern Classics.
The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus's novels, it gives profound insights into his life and the powerful themes underlying his work. Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. The works that established his international reputation include THE PLAGUE, THE FALL, THE REBEL and THE OUTSIDER. Camus died in a road accident in 1960 and is remembered as one of the greatest philsophical novelists of the twentieth century.
'This century's most compelling theorist of racism and colonialism' Angela Davis Written at the height of the Algerian war for independence from French colonial rule and first published in 1961, Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth has provided inspiration for anti-colonial movements ever since, analysing the role of class, race, national culture and violence in the struggle for freedom. With power and anger, Fanon makes clear the economic and psychological degradation inflicted by imperialism. It was Fanon, himself a psychotherapist, who exposed the connection between colonial war and mental disease, who showed how the fight for freedom must be combined with building a national culture, and who showed the way ahead, through revolutionary violence, to socialism. 'In clear language, in words that can only have been written in the cool heat of rage, he showed us the internal theatre of racism' Deborah Levy
Spain's greatest and most well-loved modern poet, Lorca has long been admired for the emotional intensity and dark brilliance of his work, which drew on music, drama, mythology and the songs of his Andulucian childhood. From the playful Suites and stylized Gypsy Ballads, to his own dark vision of urban life, Poet in New York, and his elegaic meditation on death, Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias; his range was remarkable. This bilingual edition provides versions by distinguished poets and translators, drawing on every book of poems published by Lorca and on his uncollected works.
Stevie Smith was one of the few modern poets to reach a wide general audience. Bizarre, witty, sad, sometimes caustic, her poems impart a zest for life, and reveal her unique eye for the marvels of the ordinary and her deep sensibility to the paradoxical nature of all human emotions.
'There has been no more terribly acute critic of America than this steel-conscious and death-conscious Spaniard, with his curious passion for the modernities of nickel and tinfoil and nitre . . .' So wrote Conrad Aiken of Lorca's violent response to the New York he encountered as a student at Columbia University in 1929 and 1930. Born and brought up in Andalusia, Lorca's reaction to the brutality and loneliness of the vast city was one of amazement and indignation. His poetry moved away from the lyricism of the early Romanceros and became a vehicle for experimental techniques through which he expressed tortured feelings of alienation and dislocation. Based on a new edition of the original text, Greg Simon's and Steven White's new translation brings to life Lorca's arresting imagery. Christopher Maurer, a leading authority on Lorca's work, provides an enlightening introduction placing Poet in New York in context, and there are translations of Lorca's letters as well as a lecture he gave about the work. Illustrated with archive photographs, this comprehensive volume will make Lorca's masterpiece available to a whole new generation of readers.
Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America's booming film industry. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Edmund Wilson. The studio lot looks like 'thirty acres of fairyland' the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr's pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humour and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald's panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) has acquired a mythical status in American literary history, and his masterwork The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be the 'great American novel'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre, dubbed 'the first American Flapper', and their traumatic marriage and Zelda's gradual descent into insanity became the leading influence on his writing. As well as many short stories, Fitzgerald wrote five novels This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and, incomplete at the time of his death, The Last Tycoon. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'in fact and in the literary sense he created a generation '. If you enjoyed The Last Tycoon, you might enjoy Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Wonderful ... a novel about Hollywood, written from the inside' Helen Dunmore, Sunday Times
A masterly story of myth, rebellion, love, friendship and betrayal from one of Africa's great writers, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat includes an introduction by Abdulrazak Gurnah, author of By the Sea, in Penguin Modern Classics. It is 1963 and Kenya is on the verge of Uhuru - Independence Day. The mighty british government has been toppled, and in the lull between the fighting and the new world, colonized and colonizer alike reflect on what they have gained and lost. In the village of Thabai, the men and women who live there have been transformed irrevocably by the uprising. Kihika, legendary rebel leader, was fatally betrayed to the whiteman. Gikonyo's marriage to the beautiful Mumbi was destroyed when he was imprisoned, while her life has been shattered in other ways. And Mugo, brave survivor of the camps and now a village hero, harbours a terrible secret. As events unfold, compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed and loves are tested. Kenyan novelist and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o is the author of Weep Not Child (1964), The River Between (1965), and Petals of Blood (1977). Ngugi was chair of the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi from 1972 to 1977. He left Kenya in 1982 and taught at various universities in the United States before he became professor of comparative literature and performance studies at New York University in 1992. If you enjoyed A Grain of Wheat, you might like Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'With Ngugi history is a living tissue ... this book adds cubits to his already considerable stature' Guardian
THE RIVER BETWEEN explores life on the Makuyu and Kameno ridges of Kenya in the early days of white settlement. Faced with an alluring, new religion and 'magical' customs, the Gikuyu people are torn between those who fear the unknown and those who see beyond it. Some fellow Joshua and his fiery brand of Christianity while others proudly pursue tribal independence. In the midst of this disunity stands Waiyaki, a dedicated visionary born to a line of prophets. He struggles to educate the tribe- a task he sees as the only unifying link between the two factions - but his plans for the future raise issues which will determine both his own and the Gikuyu's survival.
When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945, killing 100,000 men, women and children, a new era in human history opened. Written only a year after the disaster, John Hersey brought the event vividly alive with this heartrending account of six men and women who survived despite all the odds. A further chapter was added when, forty years later, he returned to Hiroshima to discover how the same six people had struggled to cope with catastrophe and with often crippling disease. The result is a devastating picture of the long-term effects of one bomb.
'The only four things that interested me were: reading books, going to the movies, tap-dancing and drawing pictures. Then one day I started writing . . .' Truman Capote began writing at the age of eight, and never looked back. A Capote Reader contains much of the author's published work: his brilliant and prolific oeuvre of fiction, travel sketches, portraits, reportage and essays. It includes all twelve of his celebrated short stories, together with The Grass Harp and Breakfast at Tiffany's. There are vivid sketches of places from Tangiers to Brooklyn, and fascinating insights into the lives of his contemporaries, from Jane Bowles and Cecil Beaton to Marilyn Monroe and Tennessee Williams. Generous space is devoted to reportage including 'The Muses Are Heard', on his trip to Communist Europe in the 1950s with the cast of Porgy and Bess. In all, A Capote Reader demonstrates the chameleon talents of one of America's most versatile and gifted writers.
Anais Nin's Little Birds is published in Penguin Modern Classics. Anais Nin's second volume of erotic short stories after Delta of Venus, Little Birds is broader in scope, encompassing the entire breadth of human sensuality. Each of the 13 stories captures a moment of pure desire, in all its complexity and paradoxical simplicity. Anais Nin (1903-77), born in Paris, was the daughter of a Franco-Danish singer and a Cuban pianist. Her first book - a defence of D. H. Lawrence - was published in the 1930s. Her prose poem, House of Incest (1936) was followed by the collection of three novellas, collected as Winter of Artifice (1939). In the 1940s she began to write erotica for an anonymous client, and these pieces are collected in Delta of Venus and Little Birds (both published posthumously). During her later years Anais Nin lectured frequently at universities throughout the USA, in 1974 and was elected to the United States National Institute of Arts and Letters. If you enjoyed Little Birds, you might like Nin's Delta of Venus, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the most extraordinary and unconventional writers of this century' The New York Times Book Review
Is it possible to die a happy death?This is the central question of Camus's astonishing early novel, published posthumously and greeted as a major literary event. It tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man. In many ways A Happy Death is a fascinating first sketch for The Outsider, but it can also be seen as a candid self-portrait, drawing on Camus's memories of his youth, travels and early relationships. It is infused with lyrical descriptions of the sun-drenched Algiers of his childhood - the place where, eventually, Mersault is able to find peace and die 'without anger, without hatred, without regret'.
Perhaps the funniest travel book ever written, Remote People begins with a vivid account of the coronation of Emperor Ras Tafari - Haile Selassie I, King of Kings - an event covered by Evelyn Waugh in 1930 as special correspondent for The Times. It continues with subsequent travels throughout Africa, where natives rub shoulders with eccentric expatriates, settlers with Arab traders and dignitaries with monks. Interspersed with these colourful tales are three 'nightmares' which describe the vexations of travel, including returning home.
A hugely influential philosophical work of prose poetry, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is an inspirational, allegorical guide to living, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Robin Waterfield. First published in the 1920's, The Prophet is perhaps the most famous work of religious fiction of the twentieth century, and has sold millions of copies in more than twenty languages. Gibran's Prophet speaks of many things central to daily life: love, marriage, death, beauty, passion, eating, work and play. The spiritual message he imparts, of finding divinity through love, blends eastern mysticism, religious faith and philosophy with simple advice. The Prophet became the bible of 1960s culture and was credited with founding the New Age movement, yet it still continues to inspire people around the world today. This edition is illustrated with Gibran's famous visionary paintings. Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) was a poet, philosopher and artist, who stands among the most important Arabic language authors of the early twentieth century. Born in Lebanon, he spent the last twenty years of his life in the United States, where for many years he was the leader of a Lebansese writing circle in New York. He is the author of numerous volumes, including The Garden of the Prophet, The Storm, The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart, The Vision, Reflections on the Way of the Soul, and Spirit Brides. If you enjoyed The Prophet, you might like Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'His work goes on from generation to generation' Daily Mail 'To read it was to transcend ordinary levels of perception, to become aware ... of a more intense level of being' Independent
Collected with a dozen wonderful stories, all set in classic Updike territory, the short novel 'RABBIT REMEMBERED' is a major work in its own right - a riveting return to Updike's most celebrated fictional world. Janice and Nelson Angstrom, plus several other survivors of the irreducible Rabbit, fitfully entertain his memory while pursuing their own happiness over the edge of the millennium, as a number of old strands come together in entirely unexpected ways.
From the moment she walks from court having been charged with attempting to poison her husband, to her banishment, escape to Paris, and final years of solitude and waiting, the life of Therese Desqueyroux is passionate and tortured. The victim of a hostile fate, Therese, as Mauriac said of her 'belongs to that class of human beings ... for whom night can end only when life itself ends. All that is asked of them is that they should not resign themselves to night's darkness.' Therese's moving and powerful story affirms the vitality of the human spirit, making her an unforgettable heroine.
This collection of writings is famous for giving us the phrase 'Freudian slip'. It also builds up a strong social history of Vienna and the middle-class social milieu of Freud and his patients. Through a series of case histories, some no longer than a few lines long, Freud explores how it is that normal people make slips of speech, writing, reading and remembering in their everyday life, and reveals what it is that they betray about the existence of a sub-text or subliminal motive to our conscious actions. As he explains, most of these slips tend of be of a relatively anodyne nature, but some are a little more sinister, particularly those where pride or thwarted love are concerned...
In what remains one of his most seminal papers, Freud considers the incompatibility of civilisation and individual happiness, and the tensions between the claims of society and the individual. We all know that living in civilised groups means sacrificing a degree of personal interest, but couldn't you argue that it in fact creates the conditions for our happiness? Freud explores the arguments and counter-arguments surrounding this proposition, focusing on what he perceives to be one of society's greatest dangers; 'civilised' sexual morality. After all, doesn't repression of sexuality deeply affect people and compromise their chances of happiness?
The Schreber Case is distinctive from the other case histories in that it's based on the memoirs of a conjectural patient. Schreber was a judge and doctor of law who lived according to a strict set of principles. His nervous illness first manifested itself as hypochondria and insomnia - which he put down to his excessive workload - but gradually deteriorated into pathological delusion. Believing himself to be dead and rotting, Schreber attempted suicide, and then went on to experience bizarre delusional epsiodes whereby he belived he was being turned into a woman. The course of this extraordinary illness is analysed by Freud in his search for a root cause - could it have been caused by homesexual impulses that Schreber tried to repress?
'There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.' After twenty-seven years in prison, Nelson Mandela finally walked free in February 1990. This collection of his articles, speeches, letters from underground, and the transcripts from his trials vividly demonstrates the charisma and determination of a towering figure in the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. Now in a new edition, No Easy Walk to Freedom is both a vital historical document and a chronicle of the life and thoughts of one of the greatest campaigners for freedom the world has known.
More weirdly creepy and unnerving tales to unsettle any reader. Lovecraft reinvented the horror genre in the twentieth century, discarding ghosts and witches and instead envisioning mankind as a tiny outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe.
Collecting uniquely uncanny tales from the master of American horror, H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories is edited with an introduction and notes by S.T. Joshi in Penguin Modern Classics. Credited with inventing the modern horror tradition, H.P. Lovecraft remade the genre in the early twentieth century. Discarding ghosts and witches, and instead envisaging mankind at the mercy of a chaotic and malevolent universe, Lovecraft's unique works would prove to be a huge influence on modern horror writers such as Stephen King. This selection of short stories ranges from early tales of nightmares and insanity such as 'The Outsider' and 'The Rats in the Walls' through the grotesquely comic 'Herbert West - Reanimator' and 'The Hound', to the extraterrestrial terror of 'The Call of Cthulhu', which fuses traditional supernaturalism with science fiction. Including the definitive corrected texts, this collection reveals the development of Lovecraft's mesmerising narrative style and establishes him as a hugely influential - and visionary - American writer. Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937), born in Providence, Rhode Island was self-educated and lived in his birthplace all his life, working as a freelance writer, journalist, and ghostwriter. Using many pen names, he contributed his supernatural/horror and science fiction/fantasy stories to various pulp magazines but his reputation as a writer rests mainly on the 60 or so stories he published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales starting in 1923. If you enjoyed The Call of Cthulhu, you might also like Arthur Machen's The White People and Other Weird Stories, available in Penguin Classics. 'The twentieth century horror story's dark and baroque prince' Stephen King
The key literary figure in the pubs of post-war Fitzrovia, Maclaren-Ross pulled together his dispersed energies to write two great books: the posthumously published Memoirs of the Forties and this spectacular novel of the Depression, Of Love and Hunger - harsh, vivid, louche and slangy it deserves a permanent place alongside Coming Up for Air and Hangover Square.
Primo Levi was one of the most astonishing voices to emerge from the twentieth century: a man who survived one of the ugliest times in history, yet who was able to describe his own Auschwitz experience with an unaffected tenderness. Levi was a master storyteller but he did not write fairytales. These stories are an elegy to the human figures who stood out against the tragic background of Auschwitz, 'the ones in whom I had recognized the will and capacity to react, and hence a rudiment of virtue'. Each centres on an individual who - whether it be through a juggling trick, a slice of apple or a letter - discovers one of the 'bizarre, marginal moments of reprieve'.
June 1940 was the summer of defeat for the French soldiers, deserted by their officers, utterly demoralized, awaiting the Armistice. Day by day, hour by hour, Iron in the Soul unfolds what men thought and felt and did as France fell. Men who shrugged, men who ran, men who fought and tragic men like Mathieu, who had dedicated his life to finding personal freedom, now overwhelmed by remorse and bitterness, who must learn to kill. Iron in the Soul, the third volume of Sartre's Roads to Freedom Trilogy, is a harrowing depiction of war and what it means to lose.
Romantics, adventurers, sensualists, melancholics and dreamers inhabit the bizarre and exotic world conjured up in these seven intricately interwoven tales, whose settings range from Tuscany and Elsinore, to a dhow on its way from Lamu to Zanzibar. Proclaimed a masterpiece on its publication in 1934, this collection is shot through with themes of love and desire - from the maiden lady who now believes herself to have been the grand courtesan of her time, to the Count whose wife is so jealous that she cannot bear him to admire her jewels, and Lincoln Forsner, an Englishman whose search for a woman he met in a brothel leads him into many strange adventures.
'Psychoanalytic treatment utilised the patient's capacity to love and desire as a means to an end. The stuff of romance became the stuff of cure. When Freud is writing about technique in psychoanalysis - and these papers [in Wild Analysis] represent his most significant contributions to the subject over three decades of work - it is important to remember that he is talking about what a couple, an analyst and a so-called patient, can do in a room together. For better or worse.' Adam Phillips
The new Penguin Freud, under Adam Phillips' general editorship, offers a fantastic opportunity to see Freud in a fresh light. This endlessly beguiling, suggestive, thought-provoking writer can be appreciated nowhere more vividly than in The Case Histories: 'Little Hans', 'The Rat Man', 'The Wolf Man' and 'Some Character Types Met within Psychoanalytic Work.'
Building on the crucial insight that jokes use many of the same mechanisms he had already discovered in dreams, Freud developed one of the richest and most comprehensive theories of humour that has ever been produced. Jokes, he argues, provide immense pleasure by allowing us to express many of our deepest sexual, aggressive and cynical thoughts and feelings which would otherwise remain repressed. In elaborating this central thesis, he brings together a dazzling set of puns, anecdotes, snappyone-liners, spoonerisms and beloved stories of Jewish beggars and marriage-brokers. Many remain highly amusing, while others throw a vivid light on the lost world of early twentieth-century Vienna.
The Plague is Albert Camus's world-renowned fable of fear and courage The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr Rieux, resist the terror. An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, The Plague is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence. 'A matchless fable of fear, courage and cowardice' Independent 'Magnificent'The Times Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy in Algiers and then worked in Paris as a journalist. He was one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement and, after the War, established his international reputation as a writer. His books include The Plague, The Just and The Fall, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a road accident in 1960.
Graves described poetry as his ruling passion, and for him love was 'the main theme and origin of true poems'. He created a rich mythology where love, fear, fantasy and the supernatural play an essential role. Intimate yet universal, passionate yet precise, their brilliant alchemy of realism and magic made Graves's poems some of the finest of the last century. In this edition the poems appear without critical apparatus or commentary. The volume represents in its purest form the achievement of Graves's seventy productive years.
A silent comedy star whose legendary slapstick routines are recognisable to this day, Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin's My Autobiography is an incomparably vivid account of the life of one of the greatest filmmakers and comedians, with an introduction by David Robinson As a child, Charlie Chaplin was awed and inspired by the sight of glamorous vaudeville stars passing his home, and from then on he never lost his ambition to become an actor. Chaplin's film career as the Little Tramp adored by the whole world is the stuff of legend, but this frank autobiography shows another side. Born into a theatrical family, Chaplin's father died of drink while his mother, unable to bear the poverty, suffered from bouts of insanity. From a childhood of grinding poverty in the south London slums, Chaplin found an escape in his early debut on the music hall stage, followed by his lucky break in America, the founding of United Artists with D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks, the struggle to maintain artistic control over his work, the string of failed marriages, and his eventual exile from Hollywood after personal scandals and persecution for his left-wing politics during the McCarthy Era. Sir Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin (1895-1976) was born in Walworth, London. Best known for his work in silent film, his most famous role was The Little Tramp, a universally recognisable and iconic character who appeared in films such as The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). His other films include Modern Times (1936), a commentary on the Great Depression, and The Great Dictator (1940), a satirical attack on Hitler and the Nazis. If you enjoyed My Autobiography, you might like Andy Warhol's The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Tells so much about this curious, difficult man ... a wonderfully vivid imagination' The New York Times 'The only genius to come out of the movie industry' George Bernard Shaw
From the father of 'gonzo journalism', Hunter S. Thompson's research for Hell's Angels involved more than a year of close association with the outlaws who burned a path through 1960s America, resulting in a masterpiece of underground reportage published in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A phalanx of motorcycles cam roaring over the hill from the west ... the noise was like a landslide, or a wing of bombers passing over. Even knowing the Angels I couldn't quite handle what I was seeing.' Huge bikes, filthy denim and an aura of barely contained violence; the Hell's Angels could paralyse whole towns with fear. But how much of that reputation was myth and how much was brutal reality? Only one man could discover the truth about these latter-day barbarians; Hunter S. Thompson, Dr Gonzo himself, the man who saw the fear and loathing at the heart of the American dream. Determined to discover the truth behind the terrifying reputation of these marauding biker gangs, Thompson spent a year on the road with the Angels, documenting his hair-raising experiences with Charger Charley, Big Frank, Little Jesus and the Gimp. Hell's Angels is the hair-raising result: a free-wheeling, impressionistic counter-culture classic that made Hunter S. Thompson's name as the wild man of American writing. Hunter S. Thompson (1937 - 2005) began writing as a sports columnist in Florida. He has worked on newspapers and magazines, becoming South American correspondent for the National Observer. His novels include: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972 and The Great Shark Hunt. If you enjoyed Hell's Angels, you might like William S. Burroughs' Junky, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Excellent documentary non-fiction' Time Out 'There are only two adjectives writers care about any more - brilliant and outrageous - and Hunter has a freehold on both of them' Tom Wolfe 'The first rock-star writer' Guardian
'Shooting an Elephant' is Orwell's searing and painfully honest account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'solely to avoid looking a fool'. The other masterly essays in this collection include classics such as 'My Country Right or Left', 'How the Poor Die' and 'Such, Such were the Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as well as discussions of Shakespeare, sleeping rough, boys' weeklies and a spirited defence of English cooking. Opinionated, uncompromising, provocative and hugely entertaining, all show Orwell's unique ability to get to the heart of any subject. A collection of witty and incisive non-fiction, George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant includes an introduction by Jeremy Paxman in Penguin Modern Classics.
An extraordinary collection of thematically linked essays, including THE UNCANNY, SCREEN MEMORIES and FAMILY ROMANCES. Leonardo da Vinci fascinated Freud primarily because he was keen to know why his personality was so incomprehensible to his contemporaries. In this probing biographical essay he deconstructs both da Vinci's character and the nature of his genius. As ever, many of his exploratory avenues lead to the subject's sexuality - why did da Vinci depict the naked human body the way hedid? What of his tendency to surround himself with handsome young boys that he took on as his pupils? Intriguing, thought-provoking and often contentious, this volume contains some of Freud's best writing.
A collection of some of Freud's most famous essays, including ON THE INTRODUCTION OF NARCISSISM; REMEMBERING, REPEATING AND WORKING THROUGH; BEYOND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE; THE EGO AND THE ID and INHIBITION, SYMPTOM AND FEAR.
One of fifteen volumes in the new Freud series commissioned for Penguin by series editor Adam Phillips. Part of a plan to generate a new, non-specialist Freud for a wide readership, which goes way beyond the institutional/clinical market and presents material to the reader in a new way. This volume will contain NEW INTRODUCTORY LECTURES IN PSYCHOANALYSIS and AN OUTLINE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS.
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another.Acting on a dinner-party tip from Mrs Algernon Smith, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. One of Waugh's most exuberant comedies, Scoop is a brilliantly irreverentsatire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news.
The seminal work that has redefined our understanding of colonialism and empire, with a preface by the author 'Stimulating, elegant and pugnacious' Observer 'Magisterial' Terry Eagleton In this highly-acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation - a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the 'otherness' of eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West's romantic and exotic picture of the Orient. Drawing on his own experiences as an Arab Palestinian living in the West, Said examines how these ideas can be a reflection of European imperialism and racism. 'Beautifully patterned and passionately argued' New Statesman 'Very exciting ... his case is not merely persuasive, but conclusive' John Leonard, New York Times
One of the greatest, most entertaining reading experiences in any language, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time Vol. 1: The Way by Swann's is published in a new translation from the French by Lydia Davis in Penguin Classics. The Way by Swann's is one of the great novels of childhood, depicting the impressions of a sensitive boy of his family and neighbours, brought dazzlingly back to life by the famous taste of a madeleine. It contains the separate short novel, A Love of Swann's, a study of sexual jealousy that forms a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. This book established Proust as one of the greatest voices of the modern age - satirical, sceptical, confiding and endlessly varied in his responses to the human condition. Since the original pre-war translation Remembrance of Things Past by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, there has been no completely new rendering of Proust's French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is this Penguin Classics edition of In Search of Lost Time that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is generally viewed as the greatest French novelist and perhaps the greatest European novelist of the 20th century. He lived much of his later life as a reclusive semi-invalid in a sound-proofed flat in Paris, giving himself over entirely to writing his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu). If you enjoyed In Search Of Lost Time, you might like James Joyce's Ulysses, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The latest Penguin Proust is a triumph, and will bring this inexhaustible artwork to new audiences throughout the English-speaking world' Sunday Telegraph
Since the original, prewar translation there has been no completely new rendering of the French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME is one of the greatest, most entertaining reading experiences in any language. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is the Penguin Proust that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Each book is translated by a different, superb translator working under the general editorship of Professor Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge.
Since the original prewar translation there has been no completely new rendering of the French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME is one of the greatest,most entertaining reading experiences in any language. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is the Penguin Proust that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Each volume is translated by a different, superb translator working under the general editorship of Professor Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge.
Since the original, prewar translation there has been no completely new rendering of the French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME is one of the greatest, most enjoyable reading experiences in any language. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is the Penguin Proust that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Each book is translated by a different, superb translator working under the general editorship of Professor Christopher Prendergast.
Since the original, prewar translation there has been no completely new rendering of the French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME is one of the greatest, most entertaining reading experiences in any language. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is the Penguin Proust that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Each book is translated by a different, superb translator working under the general editorship of Professor Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge.
Since the original, prewar translation there has been no completely new rendering of the French original into English. This translation brings to the fore a more sharply engaged, comic and lucid Proust. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME is one of the greatest, most entertaining reading experiences in any language. As the great story unfolds from its magical opening scenes to its devastating end, it is the Penguin Proust that makes Proust accessible to a new generation. Each book is translated by a different, superb translator working under the general editorship of Professor Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge.
The story of a man undone by a culture that in part created him, Season of Migration to the North, is a powerful and evocative examination of colonization in two vastly different worlds. When a young man returns to his village in the Sudan after many years studying in Europe, he finds that among the familiar faces there is now a stranger - the enigmatic Mustafa Sa'eed. As the two become friends, Mustafa tells the younger man the disturbing story of his own life in London after the First World War. Lionized by society and desired by women as an exotic novelty, Mustafa was driven to take brutal revenge on the decadent West and was, in turn, destroyed by it. Now the terrible legacy of his actions has come to haunt the small village at the bend of the Nile.
'The Sheltering Sky is a book about people on the edge of an alien space; somewhere where, curiously, they are never alone' Michael Hoffman. Port and Kit Moresbury, a sophisticated American couple, are finding it more than a little difficult to live with each other. Endeavouring to escape this predicament, they set off for North Africa intending to travel through Algeria - uncertain of exactly where they are heading, but determined to leave the modern world behind. The results of this casually taken decision are both tragic and compelling.
L.P. Hartley's moving exploration of a young boy's loss of innocence The Go-Between is edited with an introduction and notes by Douglas Brooks-Davies in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there' When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall. He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation. The haunting story of a young boy's awakening into the secrets of the adult world, The Go-Between is also an unforgettable evocation of the boundaries of Edwardian society. Leslie Poles Hartley (1895-1972) was born in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, and educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. For more than thirty years from 1923 he was an indefatigable fiction reviewer for periodicals including the Spectator and Saturday Review. His first book, Night Fears (1924) was a collection of short stories; but it was not until the publication of Eustace and Hilda (1947), which won the James Tait Black prize, that Hartley gained widespread recognition as an author. His other novels include The Go-Between (1953), which was adapted into an internationally-successful film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, and The Hireling (1957), the film version of which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. If you enjoyed The Go-Between, you might like Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Magical and disturbing' Independent 'On a first reading, it is a beautifully wrought description of a small boy's loss of innocence long ago. But, visited a second time, the knowledge of approaching, unavoidable tragedy makes it far more poignant and painful' Express
RS Thomas was the greatest religious poet writing in English in the 20th century, but the 270 poems he chose for this definitive selection reveal a wide range of themes and concerns. He was a passionate Welsh patriot, but also an outspoken critic of his countrymen. His poems are an expression of his lifelong argument with himself, of his insistent search for God. In them he grapples with ideas of Welshness, with issues of technology, pollution, the decline of culture. He wrote too about love, about landscape, nature and birds. His is an urgent, prophetic and unique voice.
Published in the shadow of the Spanish Civil War, The Revenge for Love is a political thriller attacking the fraudulence and feeble-mindedness of life in the Britain of the 1930s. A brilliant satire on a world that has lost its sense of self and been seduced by the appeal of Communism, it is one of a handful of books (it could be compared to Orwell's Coming Up for Air or Koestler's Darkness at Noon) which defined a particular mood and to today's audience gives an unparalleled sense of how Europe turned toxic on the eve of the Second World War. A major statement by a great artist and writer The Revenge for Love now deserves a new generation of readers and is the perfect introduction to Lewis's work.
Wyndham Lewis can claim to be one of a tiny handful of British artists who had a European reach and ambition. Creator with Ezra Pound of Vorticism, editor, designer and author of the great art manifesto Blast, a great painter and portraitist, novelist, polemicist and hater of the Bloomsbury movement, through a long life Lewis remained controversial, belligerent and very funny. With Joyce, Eliot and Pound (all of whose definitive portraits he painted) he stood for a heroic engagement with art and literature - and his ultimate (and unique) achievement was to be both a spectacular novelist and a spectacular painter. The Wild Body showcases his most original, daring and entertaining short fiction, mainly written around the time of Blast. In amazing contrast with so much feeble British writing of the period, it shows the heady delight of modernism at full tilt.
The tormenting of the body by the troubled mind, hysteria is among the most pervasive of human disorders - yet at the same time it is the most elusive. Freud's recognition that hysteria stemmed from traumas in the patient's past transformed the way we think about sexuality. Studies in Hysteria is one of the founding texts of psychoanalysis, revolutionizing our understanding of love, desire and the human psyche.
When Joel Knox's mother dies, he is sent into the exotic unknown of the Deep South to live with a father he has never seen. But once he gets there, everyone is curiously evasive when Joel asks to see his father. Truman Capote's first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms is a brilliant, searching study of homosexuality set in a shimmering landscape of heat, mystery and decadence.
Presenting the desperate conflict of the First World War through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier, Ernst Junger's Storm of Steel is translated by Michael Hofmann in Penguin Modern Classics. 'As though walking through a deep dream, I saw steel helmets approaching through the craters. They seemed to sprout from the fire-harrowed soil like some iron harvest.' A memoir of astonishing power, savagery and ashen lyricism, Storm of Steel depicts Ernst Junger's experience of combat on the front line - leading raiding parties, defending trenches against murderous British incursions, and simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart. One of the greatest books to emerge from the catastrophe of the First World War, it illuminates like no other book not only the horrors but also the fascination of a war that made men keep fighting for four long years. Ernst Junger (1895-1998) the son of a wealthy chemist, ran away from home to join the Foreign Legion. His father dragged him back, but he returned to military service when he joined the German army on the outbreak of the First World War. Storm of Steel (Stahlgewittern) was Junger's first book, published in 1920. Greatly admired by the Nazis, Junger remained at a distance from the regime, with books such as his allegorical work On the Marble Cliffs (1939) functioning as a covert criticism of Nazi ideology and methods. If you enjoyed Storm of Steel, you might like Edward Blunden's Undertones of War, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'To read this extraordinary book is to gain a unique insight into the compelling nature of organized, industrialized violence' Niall Ferguson, author of War of the World 'Hofmann's interpretation is superb' The Times 'Unique in the literature of this or any other war is its brilliantly vivid conjuration of the immediacy and intensity of battle' Telegraph 'Storm of Steel is what so many books claim to be but are not: a classic account of war' Evening Standard