Mark Twain’s gloriously funny Diary of Adam and Eve, which John Updike described as “a paradigm of the relations between sexes”, is presented here with a number of other Twain pieces on our two oldest ancestors, showing the writer’s interest in this most famous episode of the Bible.
By giving a voice to Adam and Eve, and by hitting all the notes on the literary scale – from the intimate to th..
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is one of the most important and innovative figures of the European Middle Ages. Writing his Comedy (the epithet Divine was added by later admirers) in exile from his native Florence, he aimed to address a world gone astray both morally and politically. At the same time, he sought to push back the restrictive rules which traditionally governed writing in the Italian v..
Mr Dombey is a man obsessed with his firm. His son is groomed from birth to take his place within it, despite his visionary eccentricity and declining health. But Dombey also has a daughter, whose unfailing love for her father goes unreturned. 'Girls' said Mr Dombey, 'have nothing to do with Dombey and Son'.
When Walter Gay, a young clerk in her father's office, rescues her from a bewildering..
Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza. Together they journey through sixteenth-century Spain in search of adventure, taking on spirits, evil enchanters and giants in a quest to perform acts of valour worthy of Dulc..
Cervantes’ tale of the deranged gentleman who turns knight-errant, tilts at windmills and battles with sheep in the service of the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea del Toboso, has fascinated generations of readers, and inspired other creative artists such as Flaubert, Picasso and Richard Strauss. The tall, thin knight and his short, fat squire, Sancho Panza, have found their way into films, cartoons..
Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to conclude some real estate business with Count Dracula. Despite the local's warnings, he arrives at his destination and after a few days realises he is effectively the prisoner of what had first seemed like a highly educated gentleman. As time passes he suspects there is something supernatural about the Count. He attempts his escape, and soon those close..
This revised and expanded second edition brings together the uncollected short fiction of the poet, writer and religious philosopher Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Of the fifty-four stories in the present volume, only thirty-five were published in his lifetime. Most of the rest appear in this collection for the first time.
Crowley was a successful critic, editor and author of fiction from 1908..
Living overseas but writing, always, about his native city, Joyce made Dublin unforgettable. The stories in Dubliners show us truants, seducers, gossips, rally-drivers, generous hostesses, corrupt politicians, failing priests, amateur theologians, struggling musicians, moony adolescents, victims of domestic brutishness, sentimental aunts and poets, patriots earnest or cynical, and people strivin..
Revealing the truths and realities about Irish society in the early 20th century, Joyce's Dubliners challenged the prevailing image of Dublin at the time. A group portrait made up of 15 short stories about the inhabitants of Joyce's native city, he offers a subtle critique of his own town, imbuing the text with an underlying tone of tragedy. Through his various characters he displays the complic..
This creepy, compact anthology includes four of Edgar Allan Poe's most popular tales of terror, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado , and The Black Cat . Also including six haunting poems and a biography on Poe, this miniature volume is the perfect introduction to the Master of the Macabre.
Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel ..
Beautiful, rich, self-assured and witty, Emma Woodhouse delights in match-making those around her, with no apparent care for her own romantic life. Taking young Harriet Smith under her wing, Emma sets her sights on finding a suitable match for her friend. Chided for her mistakes by old friend Mr Knightley, it is only when Harriet starts to pursue her own love interests that Emma realizes the tru..
When Jerry, Jimmy and Cathy discover a tunnel that leads to a castle, they pretend that it is enchanted. But when they discover a Sleeping Princess at the centre of a maze, astonishing things begin to happen. Amongst a horde of jewels they discover a ring that grants wishes.
But wishes granted are not always wishes wanted, so the children find themselves grappling with invisibility, dinosaurs..
'They didn't seem to take much interest in my private parts which to tell the truth were nothing to write home about, I didn't take much interest in them myself.'
From the master of the absurd, these two stories of an unnamed vagrant contending with decay and death combine bleakness with the blackest of humour.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic..
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..
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..
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..
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..