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 »
The Pickwick Papers explores 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 »
A shining example of Conrad's later literary ability, "The Shadow-Line" is his 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 f…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 »
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 »
Hardy distrusted the application of nineteenth-century empiricism to history because he felt it marginalized important human elements. In The Trumpet Major, the tale of a woman courted by three competing suitors during the Napoleonic wars, he explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desire and conflicting l…Read More »
A very English rendering of the classic Spanish novel La burlada Aminta y venganza del honor (Mocked Aminta and honor's vengence). Behn's story has a somewhat different beginning and a completely altered ending. Aminta, in her very early teens, becomes a rich orphan of Segovia. Her uncle, following her fathers w…Read More »
This two part romance chronicles the rise to power of Odo Valsecca during the intellectual and political tumult which preceded the French Revolution. During his childhood and early manhood, Odo comes in close contact with all the major factions the peasantry, the clergy, the liberal freethinkers, and the nobility wh…Read More »
"The Valley of the Moon" traces the odyssey of Billy and Saxon Roberts from the labor strife of Oakland at the turn of the century through Central and Northern California in search of land they can farm independently - a journey that echoes Jack London's own escape from urban poverty. As London lost hope in the pros…Read More »
The Warden centers on Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity who is nevertheless in possession of an income from a charity far in excess of the sum devoted to the purposes of the foundation. On discovering this, young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he regards as an abuse of privi…Read More »
The Watchers is a novel by A. E. W. Mason (author of At the Villa Rose, The Prisoner in the Opal, etc.), first published in 1899 by the Frederick A. Stokes Company.
Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as "one of the summits of human achievement," Butler's autobiographical account of a harsh upbringing and troubled adulthood satirizes Victorian hypocrisy in its chronicle of the life and loves of Ernest Pontifex. Along the way, it offers a powerful indictment of 19th-century England's …Read More »
Focusing on three relationships - one destructively stillborn, one disastrously unfulfilling and one passionately unspoken - Lawrence exploits the language and conventions of the rural tradition to foreground man's alienation from the natural world. His evocation of the vanishing countryside of the English midlands,…Read More »
Of the three late masterpieces that crown the extraordinary literary achievement of Henry James, The Wings of the Dove is at once the most personal and the most elemental. James drew on the memory of a beloved cousin who died young to create one of the three central characters, Milly Theale, an heiress with a short …Read More »
Mirtilla, the Amorous Jilt, who had once been attached to George Marteen, the Younger Brother, married for a convenience the clownish Sir Morgan Blunder. Prince Frederick, who had seen and fallen in love with her during a religious ceremony in a Ghent convent, follows her to England. They meet accidentally and s…Read More »
The final volume of In Search of Lost Time chronicles the years of World War I, when, as M. de Charlus reflects on a moonlit walk, Paris threatens to become another Pompeii. Years later, after the war's end, Proust's narrator returns to Paris, where Mme. Verdurin has become the Princesse de Guermantes. He reflects…Read More »
First published in 1866, Hugo's story unfolds the life of a reclusive fisherman, Gilliat, who lives on the Isle of Guernsey, where Hugo himself was exiled for a large portion of his life. When Gilliat becomes a young man, he falls in love with Déruchette, the beautiful niece of wealthy ship-owner Lethierry. When Let…Read More »
A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr. Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neighboring squire—though he sometimes succumbs to the charms of the local girls. When Tom is banished to make his own fortu…Read More »