Deeply shocking in its time, this is a profound and moving tale and a vital work of social commentary. A man vilified by society and condemned to death for his crime wakes every morning knowing that this day might be his last. With the hope for release his only comfort, he spends his hours recounting his life and th…Read More »
When published, J.M. Barrie's The Little Minister was quickly identified, along with Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, as one of the two great literary events of the year. Within the space of two years the book had sold in excess of 35,000 copies. Set in 'Thrums', the fictional name for the author's nati…Read More »
The daughter of well-to-do tradespeople in the fictional mining town of Woodhouse, Alvina Houghton struggles to find excitement in her provincial surroundings and worries that she is condemned to become an old maid. After plans to elope with her lover to Australia and train as a nurse in London lead to nothing, she …Read More »
The Magic Skin (La Peau de chagrin) is set in early 19th-century Paris and tells the story of a young man who finds a magic piece of shagreen that fulfills his every desire. For each wish granted, however, the skin shrinks and consumes a portion of his physical energy. Although the novel uses fantastic elements,…Read More »
Immerse yourself in the mystery and intrigue of medieval Italy in this engrossing novel from W. Somerset Maugham, the author of such timeless classics as Of Human Bondage and The Razor's Edge. Though the action of the narrative recounts the way that Filippo Bandolini came to be recognized as a saint, the ups and…Read More »
Thomas Hardy’s almost supernatural insight into the course of wayward lives, his instinctive feeling for the beauty of the rural landscape, and his power to invest that landscape with moral significance all came together in an utterly fluent way in The Mayor of Casterbridge. A classically shaped story about the rise…Read More »
This novel's unsentimental evocation of childhood in the English countryside stands as an enduring triumph; but equally memorable are its portrayal of a narrow, tradition-bound society, its striking, superbly drawn heroine, Maggie Tulliver, and its dramatic unfolding of tragic human destiny.
Here Upton Sinclair offers us a novel about the Wall Street panic of 1907. He tells of a financial disaster brought on deliberately by powerful capitalists intent upon the ruin of their rivals – fundamentally evil people who live to out-maneuver one another. We are a nation, said Sinclair, fundamentally corrupt – …Read More »
The story takes place in the small, fictional town of Whilomville, New York. An African-American coachman named Henry Johnson, who is employed by the town's physician, Dr. Trescott, becomes horribly disfigured after he saves Trescott's son from a fire. When Henry is branded a monster by the town's residents, Tresc…Read More »
Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is W. Somerset Maugham's ode to the powerful forces behind creative genius. Charles Strickland is a staid banker, a man of wealth and privilege. He is also a man possessed of an unquenchable desire to create art. As Strickland pursues his artistic vision, he l…Read More »
In a London of the future, the drudgery of capitalism and bureaucracy have worn the human spirit down to the point where it can barely stand. When a pint-sized clerk named Auberon Quinn is randomly selected as head of state, he decides to turn London into a medieval carnival for his own amusement. One man, Adam Wayn…Read More »
The Nether World, generally regarded as the finest of Gissing's early novels, is a highly dramatic, sometimes violent tale of man's caustic vision shaped by the bitter personal experience of poverty. This tale of intrigue depicts life among the artisans, factory-girls, and slum-dwellers, documenting an inescapable…Read More »
The Old Curiosity Shop is the story of Little Nell, a beautiful and virtuous young girl who lives with her grandfather in his shop of curiosities. Her only friend is Kit, an honest young lad who works at the shop, and whom she is teaching to write. Unbeknownst to Nell, her grandfather is obsessed with their precario…Read More »
The Overcoat is a short story by author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, thus spawning Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famous quote: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations …Read More »
The rural tranquillity of the lonely, pine-girthed shores of the Maine coast is the setting for this beautiful novel of conflicting aspirations written by one of the most prolific and influential writers in American history. Here is the heartwarming story of a young girl's struggle to belong and fit in, in the face …Read More »
Dickens takes up on an exploration of the perils, travels, and adventures of the Pickwick Club's members: the founding chairman, former businessman and amateur scientist Mr. Pickwick; his trusted companion Sam Weller; the sportsman Winkle; the poet Snodgrass; and the lover Tracy Tupman.
Despite his mysterious antecedents, an unscrupulous financial speculator, Ferdinand Lopez, aspires to marry into respectability and wealth and join the ranks of British society. One of the nineteenth century's most memorable outsiders, Lopez's story is set against that of the ultimate insider, Plantagenet Palliser…Read More »
The hero of Charlotte Bronte's first novel escapes a dreary clerkship in industrial Yorkshire by taking a job as a teacher in Belgium. There, however, his entanglement with the sensuous but manipulative Zoraide Reuter, complicates his affections for a penniless girl who is both teacher and pupil in Reuter's school.
A landmark in the development of psychological realism, Stendhal's masterpiece chronicles a young man's struggles with the dualities of his nature. Julien Sorel, a young dreamer from the provinces whose imagination is afire with Napoleonic ideals, sets off to make his fortune in Parisian society of Restoration Franc…Read More »
Set in and around London, The Reef is a story of complex morality and its intricately woven place in society. This narrative primarily follows George Darrow and Anna Leath, a young gentleman and a widowed lady who plan to marry. Both of them experience doubts about their union, with surprising outcomes. Darrow has…Read More »
One of Zola's most famous realistic novels, Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower classes in nineteenth-century Parisian society. Set in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a dingy haberdasher's shop in the passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, this powerful novel tells …Read More »
This book contains the following stories: The Schoolmaster, Enemies, The Examining Magistrate, Betrothed, From the Diary of a Violent-Tempered Man, In the Dark, A Play, A Mystery, Strong Impressions, Drunk, The Marshal's Widow, A Bad Business, In the Court, Boots, Joy, Ladies, A Peculiar Man, At the Barber's, An Ina…Read More »
Conrad's autobiographical novella of a young man in his first command as a sea captain. A series of crises prove incredibly difficult for his new authority, for the sea is curiously becalmed and the crew is weakened by feverish malaria. When the first mate's fear convinces many that the ship is haunted and cursed by…Read More »
The fifth novel of the Chronicles of Barsetshire series primarily relates the story of Lily Dale, a young woman living in the dower house of the Allington estate with her mother and sister Bell. Although Lily is secretly loved by a junior clerk in a tax office, John Eames, she becomes enamored with Adolphus Crosbi…Read More »
On 15 August 778, Charlemagne’s army was returning from a successful expedition against Saracen Spain when its rearguard was ambushed in a remote Pyrenean pass. Out of this skirmish arose a stirring tale of war, which was recorded in the oldest extant epic poem in French. The Song of Roland, written by an unknown po…Read More »
A Faustian novel and bestseller of its time, focused on Geoffrey, a starving author. The post delivers three letters, the first from a friend who offers to help with an introduction. The second advises him he has inherited money. The third has been written by Lucio, an aristocrat purporting to know the best way to i…Read More »
Visiting an idyllic German village, Werther, a sensitive and romantic young man, meets and falls in love with sweet-natured Lotte. Although he realizes that Lotte is to marry Albert, he is unable to subdue his passion for her, and his infatuation torments him to the point of absolute despair. The first great 'confes…Read More »
Albertine has finally escaped her 'imprisonment' from Marcel's Paris apartment… Not only is Marcel quite unprepared for the effect her flight has on him, but also soon he is devastated by news of an even more irreversible loss.
In this sequel to Dreiser's novel The Financier, the author continues his exploration of the social and economic forces at play in the rise of the new class of super-rich capitalists in early twentieth-century America. Protagonist Frank Cowperwood attempts to lea…Read More »
The Trail of the Hawk, by Sinclair Lewis, is the chronicle of an inveterate Rolling Stone. Carl Ericson, a born rebel against conventions, finds himself from boyhood up at war with the combined forces of family, school and society, all three of which unite in trying to mould him into the average colourless human bei…Read More »