Huxley spares no one in his ironic, piercing portrayal of a group gathered in an Italian palace by the socially ambitious and self-professed lover of art, Mrs. Aldwinkle. Here, Mrs. Aldwinkle yearns to recapture the glories of the Italian Renaissance, but her guests ultimately fail to fulfill her naive expectations….Read More »
A collection of short fables and stories written under Bierce's pseudonym, Dod Grile, and although one of his earliest published books, it still displays the wit and cynicism which colors his writing. The book is divided into three sections: Fables of Zambri, the Parsee, an assortment of over 100 fables; _Brief Se…Read More »
This allegorical satire about a man fleeing from his evil dreams was written under the influence of the Spanish Civil War. The croquet player, comfortably sipping a vermouth, listens to the strange and terrible tale of the haunted countryside. Wells' modern ghost story of a remote English Village, Cainsmarsh. Dark e…Read More »
Godolphin is a satirical 19th century British romance novel about the life of an idealistic man, Percy Godolphin, and his eventual lover, Constance Vernon. Written as a frame narrative, Godolphin provides a satirical insight into the day-to-day lives of the early 19th century British elite. The story is told throu…Read More »
A neglected tour de force by the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature, Kingsblood Royal is a stirring & wickedly funny portrait of a man who resigns from the white race. When Neil Kingsblood a typical middle-American banker with a comfortable life makes the shocking discovery that he has African-Ameri…Read More »
Universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be 'invited' to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church–a …Read More »
Rupert of Hentzau is the dark sequel to The Prisoner of Zenda. Full of humor and swashbuckling feats of heroism, the tale is also a satire on the politics of 19th-century Europe. When honour is at stake, the fight is to the death. Rudolf Rassendyll, having heroically saved the kingdom of Ruritania and nobly give…Read More »
Samuel Butler's Erewhon Revisited is a satirical sequel to his highly successful Erewhon. Mr. Higgs meets many unpleasant accidents and surprises in Butler's utopian nation. A new religion has come into existence as a result of distorted and misunderstood sayings, an…Read More »
Setting out to make his fortune in a far-off country, a young traveller discovers the remote and beautiful land of Erewhon and is given a home among its extraordinarily handsome citizens. But their visitor soon discovers that this seemingly ideal community has its faults - here crime is treated indulgently as a mala…Read More »
Dodsworth tells the story of a young American couple who moves to Europe. When the woman becomes involved with another man, her husband must choose between forgiving his wife or abandoning the relationship, and Europe, forever.
A stranger arrives in a Russian backwater community with a bizarre proposition for the local landowners: cash for their 'dead souls,' the serfs who have died in their service. A comic masterpiece. Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nicolai Gogol was a maste…Read More »
Set in late 18th century Europe the adventures and mis-adventures of a minor member of the Irish gentry trying to better himself. Redmond Barry of Bally Barry is a clever young man, who learns the manners of a gentleman. This serves him well, for the next few decades he meanders through Europe, as a soldier, mercena…Read More »
The Way We Live Now — regarded by many as Anthony Trollope's greatest novel — encompasses in its broad scope much of the business, political, social, and literary life of 1870s London. At its centre is the larger-than-life figure of Augustus Melmotte, a financier of uncertain background who rises to great heights …Read More »
The first work written by Sterne might be labelled a roman à clef or a cronique scandaleuse, which were so popular at the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, even these more suitable names do not do justice to the richness and slipperiness of this text. It can certainly be considered a mock-epic allegory t…Read More »
Max Beerbohm's sparklingly wicked satire concerns the unlikely events that occur when a femme fatale briefly enters the supremely privileged, all-male domain of Judas College, Oxford. A conjurer by profession, Zuleika Dobson can only love a man who is impervious to her considerable charms: a circumstance that proves…Read More »
Set in a former abbey whose owner, Christopher Glowry, is host to visitors who enjoy his hospitality and engage in endless debate. Among these guests are figures recognizable to Peacock's contemporaries, including characters based on Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Mr. Glowry's son Scythrop (also modeled on …Read More »
Our Mutual Friend, Dickens' last complete novel, gives one of his most comprehensive and penetrating accounts of Victorian society. Its vision of a culture stifled by materialistic values emerges not just through its central narratives, but through its apparently incidental characters and scenes. The chief of its se…Read More »
At once endlessly facetious and highly serious, Sterne's great comic novel contains some of the best-known and best-loved characters in English literature–including Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Parson Yorick, and Dr. Slop–and boasts one of the most innovative and whimsical narrative styles in all literature.
[_A …Read More »
The Sphinx is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe about a man who decides to visit a relative living near the Hudson River, north of New York City, for two weeks during a cholera epidemic that occurred during the summer of 1832. One day during this visit, the man is reading a book near the window revealing a sc…Read More »
The story follows an unnamed narrator who seeks out the famous war hero John A. B. C. Smith. He becomes suspicious that Smith has some deep secret when others refuse to describe him, instead remarking only on the latest advancements in technology. When he finally meets Smith, the man must first be assembled piece by…Read More »
In this sardonic portrait of the up-and-coming middle class during the prosperous 1920s, Sinclair Lewis perfectly captures the sound, the feel, and the attitudes of the generation that created the cult of consumerism. With a sharp eye for detail and keen powers of observation, Lewis tracks successful realtor George …Read More »
Edith Wharton's satiric anatomy of American society in the first decade of the twentieth century appeared in 1913; it both appalled and fascinated its first reviewers, and established her as a major novelist. The Saturday Review wrote that she had 'assembled as many detestable people as it is possible to pack betwee…Read More »
The story of an apprentice chemist whose uncle’s worthless medicine becomes a spectacular marketing success, Tono-Bungay earned H. G. Wells immediate acclaim when it appeared in 1909. It remains a sparkling chronicle of chicanery and human credulity, and is today regarded by many as Wells’s greatest novel.
In The Voyage Out, one of Woolf's wittiest, socially satirical novels, Rachel Vinrace embarks for South America on her father's ship, and is launched on a course of self-discovery in a modern version of the mythic voyage. Lorna Sage's Introduction and Explanatory Notes offer guidance to the reader new to Woolf, and …Read More »
In this classic, Sinclair Lewis shattered the sentimental American myth of happy small-town life with its satire. Main Street attacks the conformity and dullness of early 20th Century mid western village life in the story of Carol Milford, the city girl who marries the town doctor. Her efforts to bring culture to …Read More »
Long considered Melville's strangest novel, The Confidence-Man is a comic allegory aimed at the optimism and materialism of mid-nineteenth century America. A shape-shifting Confidence-Man approaches passengers on a Mississippi River steamboat and, winning over his not-quite-innocent victims with his charms, urges ea…Read More »
The erratic progress of J. Harris, George and Montmorency the dog won immediate approval of Londoners, while readers all over the world saw Three Men in a Boat as a key to the British character. The project, which began as an attempt to promote pleasure boating, became one of the greatest comedy turns of Victorian…Read More »
Published in 1886 and dedicated to the writer’s ally in idling—his pipe—this collection of entertaining essays established Jerome K. Jerome as an eminent English wit. "What readers ask nowadays in a book is that it should improve, instruct, and elevate. This book wouldn’t elevate a cow. I cannot conscientiously reco…Read More »
The only novel from Hardy that that provides a lighter tale, The Hand of Ethelberta, gives account of the life of a woman who lifts herself to the higher classes of the society.
The victim of a vicious scandal, the impoverished Lady Susan is obliged to take up residence with her brother-in-law and his family. Refusing to resign herself to the role of placid house guest, she conspires to baffle her hosts, seducing her sister-in-law's brother in the process by means of her impeccable gentilit…Read More »