Like George Orwell, Franz Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka's world, it is never completely clear just what the nightmare is. The Trial, where the rules are hidden from even the highest officials, and if there is any help to be had, it will come from unexpected sources, is a chilling, blackly amusing tale that maintains, to the very end, a relentless atmosphere of di..
During a stifling St Petersburg summer, the rich landowner Velchaninov is haunted by the figure of a man he keeps glimpsing in the street. When he receives a surprise visit from him late at night, he realizes he is an old friend, Trusotsky, whose late wife, Natalya, was his secret lover. As the two men renew their acquaintance, Velchaninov becomes aware that Trusotsky’s child is, in fact, his ow..
When the world-weary dandy Eugene Onegin moves from St Petersburg to take up residence in the country estate he has inherited, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his neighbour, the poet Vladimir Lensky. Coldly rejecting the amorous advances of Tatyana and cynically courting her sister Olga - Lensky's fiancee - Onegin finds himself dragged into a tragedy of his own making. Eugene Onegin..
On the contrary, my dear Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see.' Herein lie the problems: a stolen jewel, the inexplicable death of a young woman, the disappearance of one of the most remarkable racehorses in England, a missing butler, the curious symbols of dancing men, a broken bust of Napoleon, a possible kidnapping and the bad business of a coachman s..
Aesop's celebrated collection of fables has always been popular with both adults and children. These simple tales embody truths so powerful, the titles of the individual fables - the fox and the grapes, the dog in the manger, the wolf in sheep's clothing and many others - have entered the languages and idioms of most European tongues. This edition is beautifully illustrated in black and..
Fourteen tales of mystery, terror, imagination, and suspense from Edgar Allan Poe.
Classic tales of mystery, terror, imagination, and suspense from the celebrated master of the macabre.
This volume gathers together fourteen of Edgar Allan Poe's richest and most influential tales, including: “The Pit and the Pendulum,” his reimagining of Inquisition tortures; “The Tell-Tale Heart,” an explo..
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, better known as Fanny Hill, is one of the most notorious texts in English literature. As recently as 1963 an unexpurgated edition was the subject of a trial, yet in the eighteenth century John Cleland's open celebration of sexual enjoyment was a best selling novel. Fanny's story, as she falls into prostitution and then rises to respectability, takes the form of a ..
‘I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die’
Independent and spirited, Bathsheba Everdene owns the hearts of three men. Striving to win her love in different ways, their relationships with Bathsheba complicate her life in bucolic Wessex – and cast shadows over their own. With the morals and expectations of rural..
Professor Persikov, an eccentric zoologist, stumbles upon a new light ray that accelerates growth and reproduction rates in living organisms. In the wake of a plague that has decimated the country’s poultry stocks, Persikov’s discovery is exploited as a means to correct the problem. As foreign agents, the state and the Soviet media all seize upon the red ray, matters get out of hand…
Set in 1..
Fathers and Sons is one of the greatest nineteenth century Russian novels, and has long been acclaimed as Turgenev's finest work. It is a political novel set in a domestic context, with a universal theme, the generational divide between fathers and sons. Set in 1859 at the moment when the Russian autocratic state began to move hesitantly towards social and political reform, the novel explores th..
In a series of nine letters, the narrator tells his friend how he introduced Vera Nikolayevna, a married woman who had been forbidden as a child to read fiction and poetry, to the intellectual pleasures of Goethe’s masterpiece. Opening up in front of Vera’s eyes is not only the realm of imagination, but also a world of unbridled feelings and tempestuous passions, which can only shatter the comf..
Goethe's Faust is a classic of European literature. Based on the fable of the man who traded his soul for superhuman powers and knowledge, it became the life's work of Germany's greatest poet. Beginning with an intriguing wager between God and Satan, it charts the life of a deeply flawed individual, his struggle against the nihilism of his diabolical companion Mephistopheles.
Part One present..
'He felt a sudden deep pity for the finger joint that lay there on the dresser, a few drops of blood gathering around the white bone.'
A deliberately severed finger, a junky's Christmas miracle and a Tangier con-artist, among others, feature in these hallucinogenic sketches and stories from the infamous Beat legend.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the i..
When penniless businessman Mr Bedford retreats to Kent to write a play, he encounters Dr Cavor, an absent-minded scientist who has invented a material that counteracts gravity. This discovery enables the two men to set off on a fantastic journey to the Moon. But they are not prepared for what they find there - a world of freezing nights, boiling days and danger from a sinister alien lifeform, th..
When The Forsyte Saga was shown on television in 1967 it was hugely successful. The nation was gripped by the masterful visual telling of the Forsyte family's troubled story and adapted its activities to suit the next transmission. The Forsyte Saga, comprising The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let is here produced by Wordsworth for the first time in a single volume. Initially, the narrativ..
"Another hour gone. But I'm not afraid. There's only one thing I regret: that I've lived for so many years without knowing where human happiness is to be found" '
In these stories, four writers - all exiles from revolutionary Russia - explore four deaths in a world in which old certainties have dissolved forever.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the icon..
Such were the professor's words—rather let me say such the words of the fate—enounced to destroy me. As he went on I felt as if my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the ..
'It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open…'
Written when Mary Shelley was only nineteen-years old, this chilling tale of a young scientist's desire to create life still resonates today. Victor Frankenstein's monster is ..
'Summer was drawing to a close, and I realized that the book was monstrous.'
Fantastical tales of mazes, puzzles, lost labyrinths and bookish mysteries, from the unique imagination of a literary magician.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, internationa..
M. R. James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre. James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying. Sheets, pictures, carvings, a dolls house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window - ordinary things take on more tha..
Throughout his illustrious writing career, Charles Dickens often turned his hand to fashioning short pieces of ghostly fiction. Even in his first successful work, The Pickwick Papers, you will find five ghost stories, all of which are included in this collection. Dickens began the tradition of 'the ghost story at Christmas', and many of his tales in this genre are presented here, including the bri..
Traumatised by ghost stories in her youth, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) channelled her fear and obsession into creating a series of spine-tingling tales filled with spirits beyond the grave and other supernatural phenomena. While claiming not to believe in ghosts, paradoxically she did confess that she was frightened of them. Wharton imbues this potent irrational and ..
Henry James was arguably the greatest practitioner of what has been called the psychological ghost story. His stories explore the region which lies between the supernatural or straightforwardly marvellous and the darker areas of the human psyche. This edition includes all ten of his ghost stories, and as such is the fullest collection currently available.
The stories range widely in tone and ..
A high-pitched laugh echoes in an empty church. Servants discover their master dead in his bed, the only sign of disturbance an open window. The coffin of a woman hanged as a witch is found to be empty. A bed that hasn’t been slept in is crumpled and distressed come the morning. A skeletal figure creeps closer and closer to the house where an unsuspecting family lie sleeping. In these chilling t..
Henry James's last completed novel, The Golden Bowl, is the story of two flawed marriages. The lives and relationships of Maggie Verver and her widowed American millionaire father, Adam, are changed and challenged by the beautiful and charming Charlotte Stant, who is the former lover of Maggie's husband, the impoverished Italian, Prince Amerigo. The narrative is underpinned by complex symbolism...
Late in the eighteenth century authors began to write 'Gothic' stories as a way of putting literature back in touch with the irrational, the supernatural and the bizarre, which had been neglected in the 'Age of Reason'. This superb new collection brings together stories from the earliest decades of Gothic writing with later 19th and early 20th century tales from the period in which Gothic divers..
Gogol's works constitute one of Russian literature's supreme achievements, yet the nature of their brilliant originality, comic genius, and complex workings is difficult to summarize precisely. The Government Inspector, a perennial favourite on stage and screen, is considered a national institution in Russia, and Gogol's stories present us with one of the most marvellous worlds a writer has ever..
I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.' Shocking and controversial when it was first published, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck's Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out..
Considered one of the all-time great American works of fiction, Fitzgerald’s glorious yet ultimately tragic social satire on the Jazz Age encapsulates the exuberance, energy and decadence of an era.
After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. He buys a mansion across from her house and t..
The Brothers Grimm rediscovered a host of fairy tales, telling of princes and princesses in their castles, witches in their towers and forests, of giants and dwarfs, of fabulous animals and dark deeds. This selection of their folk tales was made and translated by Lucy Crane, and includes firm favourites such as Rapunzel, The Goose Girl, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and Snow White. It is il..
For the past two centuries these delightful stories, gathered together and written down by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, have entertained and frightened children and adults alike. The lives of Tom Thumb, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin and the Frog Prince form part of our common heritage: they stimulate the imagination and the heart, and linger at the back of our minds for a lifetime. They are f..
‘The wolf thought to himself, "What a tender young creature! what a nice plump mouthful – she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act craftily, so as to catch both."’
Collected by the German Grimm brothers, these folk tales have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike since they were first published in 1812. The best-known stories such as The Golden Goose, Hansel a..
'I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.'
Shipwrecked on the high seas, Lemuel Gulliver finds himself washed up on the strange island of Lilliput, a land inhabited by quarrelsome miniature people. On his travels he continues to meet others who force him to reflect on..
'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.’
Considered one of Shakespeare’s most rich and enduring plays, the depiction of its hero Hamlet as he vows to avenge the murder of his father by his brother Claudius is both powerful and complex. As Hamlet tries to find out the truth of the situation, his troubled relationship with his mother comes to the fore, as do the paradoxes in his pers..
In these delightful tales, Oscar Wilde employs all his grace, artistry and wit. The Happy Prince tells of the statue of a once pleasure-loving Prince which, with the help of a selfless Swallow helps people in distress. As well as The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend and The Remarkable Rocket, this collection contains The Selfish Giant, a remarkable story of the redemptive power of lo..
''Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.'
In 'The Happy Prince' a statue - jewelled and opulent - keeps careful watch over the city and its inhabitants. Enlisting the help of a swall..
Set in fictitious Coketown, England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1850s, Dickens wished to expose the enormous gulf between the rich and poor through his writing. In Hard Times, the social and moral purpose of his work is at its most evident. Openly ironic and satirical in its tone, Dickens suggests a mechanization of society, where the wealthy are ruthless and uncharitable towards tho..
Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers and polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However human joy is not excluded thanks to 'Mr Sleary's Horse-Riding' c..
'Have you ever heard of the fascination of terror?'
This is a unique collection of strange stories from the cunning pen of Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone. The star attraction is the novella The Haunted Hotel, a clever combination of detective and ghost story set in Venice, a city of grim waterways, dark shadows and death. The action takes place in an ancient pa..
‘They were removing the stones quietly, one by one, from the centuried wall. And then, as the breach became large enough, they came out into the laboratory in single file; led by a stalking thing with a beautiful head made of wax.’
From the dark, mind-expanding imagination of H P Lovecraft, Wordsworth presents a third volume of tales penned by the greatest horror writer of the 20th Century. H..
Heidi is the heart-warming tale of a small girl's power for good, and it has remained a firm favourite since it was published over 100 years ago. It tells of the orphan Heidi and her idyllic existence with her gruff grandfather in the mountains. When she is sent to live in a city, comic chaos ensues, and eventually it is arranged that Heidi should return to the mountains. Together she and her fr..
Fiul regelui Henry IV, printul Harry e istet si totusi iresponsabil si isi petrece timpul cu tovarasi dubiosi. Dar cand regatul e amenintat printul Harry isi arata adevarata valoare si eroismul si isi incepe calatoria spre transformarea intr-un adevarat lider. Amestecand comedia cu istoria, scenele de taverna cu cele regale, regi si batalii, Shakespeare arata cat de grea e povara puterii regale...
Ultima si cea mai reusita piesa istorica a lui Shakespeare. Printul Harry domneste in Anglia supa moartea tatalui sau, regele Henry IV, unind tara in fata razboiului cu Franta. Shakespeare exploreaza relatiile intr-o lume a barbatilor, dar si ororile si violenta razboiului. Text integral, cu o introducere despre autor, opera si epoca si cu note semnate de S. M. Farrow si R. B. Kennedy, si cu un ..