‘Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.’ Lily Bart, an attractive young woman living in New York City, relies on beauty and charm to ensure economic survival. Determined to marry into wealth to support her expensive lifestyle, Lily denies her feelings for Lawrence Stern due to..
First published in 1851, The House of the Seven Gables is one of Hawthorne's defining works, a vivid depiction of American life and values replete with brilliantly etched characters. The tale of a cursed house with a "mysterious and terrible past" and the generations linked to it, Hawthorne's chronicle of the Maule and Pyncheon families over two centuries reveals, in Mary Oliver's words, "lives ..
Oscar Wilde claimed that Humiliated and Insulted is not "at all inferior to the other great masterpieces" and Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have wept over it. Its construction is that of an intricate detective novel, and the reader is plunged into a world of moral degradation, childhood trauma and, above all, unrequited love and irreconcilable relationships. At the centre of the story are a you..
With an Introduction by David Stuart Davies.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was one of the great masters of Victorian of mystery and horror fiction, and can be regarded as the father of the modern ghost story. In a Glass Darkly (1872), one of his most celebrated volumes, purports to be the casebook of Dr Hesselius, a pioneer psychologist.
These five tales represent some of Le Fanu's m..
In the Twilight, the third collection of short stories compiled by Anton Chekhov himself, was his first major success and won him the prestigious Pushkin Prize when it was published in 1888. This volume represents a clear milestone in the writer’s passage from the youthful Antosha Chekhonte, author of slight comic sketches, to the mature master of the short-story genre. This edition presents the ..
‘There is no greater sorrow then to recall our times of joy in wretchedness.’
Considered one of the greatest medieval poems written in the common vernacular of the time, Dante’s Inferno begins on Good Friday in the year 1300. As he wanders through a dark forest, Dante loses his way and stumbles across the ghost of the poet Virgil. Virgil promises to lead him back to the top of the mountain, b..
Published in 1928 when Shaw was seventy-two, this book draws on decades of political activity and remains one of his brilliant exercises in propaganda. It contains a foreword by Polly Toynbee. Ramsay MacDonald, Labour leader, hailed the work as the world's most important book since the Bible. As a Fabian and lifelong socialist, Shaw believed that economic inequality was a poison destroying every..
'If I think about it, and I have the time and inclination and capacity to do so, we dogs are an odd lot.'
How does a dog see the world? How do any of us? In this playful and enigmatic story of a canine philosopher, Kafka explores the limits of knowledge.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a ..
The captivating Irish stories collected in this new edition include both comic tales such as Paddy O'Kelly and the Weasel, and tales of heroes from ancient literature such as How Cormac Mac Art went to Faery. By turns funny, fantastical and mysterious, the stories are matched in liveliness by the original illustrations of John D. Batten. It would be hard to find a better introduction for childre..
Each time I dip a living creature into the bath of burning pain, I say: this time I will burn out all the animal, this time I will make a rational creature of my own!' declares Doctor Moreau to hapless narrator Edward Prendick. Moreau's highly controversial methods and ambitions conflict with the religious, moral and scientific norms of his day and Wells later called The Island of Doctor Moreau ..
An eerily prescient foreshadowing of current affairs' (Guardian). 'Not only Lewis's most important book but one of the most important books ever produced in the United States' (New Yorker).
A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fearmongering demagogue runs for President of the United States - and wins. Sinclair Lewis's chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip, 'Professional Common ..
“The novel that foreshadowed Donald Trump’s authoritarian appeal.”—Salon
It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.
Written during the Great Depression, when the country ..
‘He saw her wounded, and bleeding to death; saw her ashy countenance, and her wasting eyes ... turned piteously on himself, as if imploring him to save her from the fate that was dragging her to the grave...’
Ann Radcliffe, author of The Romance of the Forest and The Mysteries of Udolpho, is the high priestess of the gothic novel. In The Italian, first published in 1797, she creates a chilling, a..
Whether you need to get to know Ulysses in a hurry or are a long-time fan of James Joyce, this pocket-sized tome is the go-to reference, complete with comprehensive plot summaries and character profiles from his timeless works. Accompanied by illustrations throughout, the book also includes specially selected short stories and poems, reprinted in full.
‘From that hour we had no further occasion for the exercise of reason, or judgment, or skill, or contrivance. We were henceforth to be hurled along, the playthings of the fierce elements of the deep.’
In Verne’s science-fiction classic, Professor Lidenbrock chances upon an ancient manuscript and pledges to solve the mysterious coded message that lies within it. Eventually he deciphers the sto..
Introduction and Notes by Norman Vance, Professor of English, University of Sussex.
Jude Fawley is a rural stone mason with intellectual aspirations. Frustrated by poverty and the indifference of the academic institutions at the University of Christminster, his only chance of fulfilment seems to lie in his relationship with his unconventional cousin, Sue Bridehead. But life as social out..
Power, corruption and betrayal are at the heart of Shakespeare’s most well-known historical and political drama. As Julius Caesar moves closer to securing power for himself and is perceived by some as a threat to Roman citizens, his senators plot to bring about his downfall. Caesar’s assassination leads to civil war rather than peace and the play explores the subsequent deaths of the conspirator..
With a beautiful cover and chapter-heading illustrations throughout from queen of colouring Johanna Basford.
The Jungle Book tells the story of the irrepressible Mowgli, who is rescued as a baby from the jaws of the evil tiger, Shere Khan. Raised by wolves and guided by Baloo the bear, Mowgli and his animal friends embark on a series of hair-raising adventures through the jungles of India.
Lose yourself in the world of Mowgli the man cub, the small boy abandoned in the Indian jungle, the tale of the heroic mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and the story of Toomai the young elephant handler along with many more in this rich collection of fables. Kipling's work is full of important moral lessons and his vivid writing brings the sights and sounds of the jungle to life.
'There is no harm in a man's cub.'
Best known for the 'Mowgli' stories, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book expertly interweaves myth, morals, adventure and powerful story-telling. Set in Central India, Mowgli is raised by a pack of wolves. Along the way he encounters memorable characters such as the foreboding tiger Shere Kahn, Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear. Including other stories s..
How did the leopard get its spots? Why do the tides ebb and flow? How did the elephant get its trunk? And how was the alphabet made?
Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of fables answers the great questions of animal- and humankind in a fun, eloquent and magical way – for children and adults alike. Kipling’s beautifully imaginative answers echo the animal fables he heard during his childhood..
Translated by Constance Garnett, with an Introduction by A. D. P. Briggs.
As Fyodor Karamazov awaits an amorous encounter, he is violently done to death. The three sons of the old debauchee are forced to confront their own guilt or complicity. Who will own to parricide? The reckless and passionate Dmitri? The corrosive intellectual Ivan? Surely not the chaste novice monk Alyosha? The sea..
Set in Scotland in 1751, Kidnapped remains one of the most exciting stories ever written. Young David Balfour, orphaned then betrayed by his Uncle Ebenezer, his so-called guardian, falls in with Alan Breck, the unscrupulous but heroic champion of the Jacobite cause. Shipwreck, murder and dramatic escape through the Highlands are just a few of the ingredients of this highly charged tale of intrigue..
The Angel Esmerelda is Don DeLillo's first collection of short stories, written between 1979 and 2011; in it he represents the wide range of human experience in contemporary America - and forces us to confront the uncomfortable shadows lurking in the background.
His characters are plagued by their own deep, often unconscious, longings; they are subjected to shocking violations, exposed t..
‘“I am Kim. I am Kim. And what is Kim?” His soul repeated it again and again.’
Set against the backdrop of Britain and Russia’s political struggle in central Asia, Kim, the son of a drunken Irish soldier grows up as a street-wise orphan in the city of Lahore. Upon befriending an aged Tibetan Lama, the playful and spirited Kim journeys with him across India, experiencing the exotic culture, re..
'I read it and reread it, and wept and laughed and trembled with horror which at all times assails me yet'.
With its strange, imaginative blend of horror, science fiction, romance and lyrical prose, Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow is a classic masterpiece of weird fiction. This series of vaguely connected stories is linked by the presence of a monstrous and suppressed book which brings..
‘Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!’
Epic and tragic in its scope, King Lear explores a king’s demise into madness and insanity when he is betrayed by two of his manipulative and scheming daughters. It is Cordelia, the third and only daughter who refuses to flatter her father to deceive, who is banished from the kingdom, leading to dramatic and tumultuous events.
Out of the dark we came, into the dark we go. Like a storm-driven bird at night we fly out of the Nowhere; for a moment our wings are seen in the light of the fire, and, lo! we are gone again into the Nowhere.'
An amazing adventure set in Africa, against the backdrop of endless deserts and snowy mountains, Kings Solomon's Mines follows Allan Quartermain, in his quest to find his missing broth..
These comic novels will resonate with anyone who has ever felt trapped by circumstance. Their central characters, Artie Kipps and Alfred Polly, are prisoners of their modest social class, limited education, dull work, and sterile relationships. In Wells' hands they break out of the cages that society has constructed for them, learning after bitter experience the truth that 'if the world does not..
On a train journey, Pozdnyshev tells his story to a stranger: how his relationship with his wife gradually deteriorated from one of love and passion to jealousy and resentfulness, culminating in a mad act of desperation while she practised Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata with her violin teacher.
An uncompromising examination of lust, suspicion and infidelity which was once forbidden by censors in..
The flaxen-haired beauty of the childlike Lady Audley would suggest that she has no secrets. But M.E. Braddon's classic novel of sensation uncovers the truth about its heroine in a plot involving bigamy, arson and murder. It challenges assumptions about the nature of femininity and investigates the narrow divide between sanity and insanity, using as its focus one of the most fascinating of all V..
Connie’s unhappy marriage to Clifford Chatterley is one scarred by mutual frustration and alienation. Crippled from wartime action, Clifford is confined to a wheelchair, while Connie’s solitary, sterile existence is contained within the narrow parameters of the Chatterley ancestral home, Wragby. She seizes her chance at happiness and freedom when she embarks on a passionate affair with the estat..
LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER was banned on its publication in 1928, creating a storm of controversy. Lawrence tells the story of Constance Chatterley's marriage to Sir Clifford, an aristocratic and an intellectual who is paralyzed from the waist down after the First World War. Desperate for an heir and embarrassed by his inability to satisfy his wife, Clifford suggests that she have an affair. Consta..
‘The worst parts were the great masses of flesh of the monstrous Worm, in all its red and sickening aspect… The sight was horrible enough, but, with the awful smell added, was simply unbearable. The Worm's hole appeared to breathe forth death in its most repulsive forms.’
Here are two great, neglected horror novels by Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, together in one volume for the first time. ..
‘But it was not only the heart-rending sound that almost paralysed poor Mimi with terror. What she saw was sufficient to fill her with evil dreams for the remainder of her life…’
At the estate of Castra Regis in Derbyshire, mystery lurks in the woods, a place where snakes dwell and murderous deeds take place in the darkness. The behaviour of local residents Arabella March and Edgar Caswall fu..
'The illegible signature of teetering disaster'
Three great stories--The Aurelian, Signs and Symbols and Lance--the last both a derisive attack on science-fiction and an attempt to imagine the real pain and horror that would accompany space travel.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one of..
‘Death and honour are thought to be the same, but today I have learned that sometimes they are not.’
Set in frontier America in the midst of the French-Indian war, as the French are attempting to overthrow an English fort, Cooper’s story follows Alice and Cora Munro, pioneer sisters who are trying to find their way back to their father, an English commander. Guided by an army major and Magua,..
It is 1757. Across north-eastern America the armies of Britain and France struggle for ascendancy. Their conflict, however, overlays older struggles between nations of native Americans for possession of the same lands and between the native peoples and white colonisers. Through these layers of conflict Cooper threads a thrilling narrative, in which Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of a British co..
The legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table is one of the most enduring and influential stories in world literature. Its themes - love, war, religion, treachery and family loyalty - are timeless, as are the reputations of its major characters, Arthur, Merlin, Guenever and Launcelot. Malory's Le Morte Darthur is a story of noble knights, colourful tournaments and fateful love, se..
‘There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land.’.
Featuring ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’, this collection of inspired essays, stories and sketches established Washington Irving’s reputation as one of America’s foremost authors. Irving’s timeless characters, including ..
Les Misérables is a magnificent, sweeping story of revolution, love and the will to survive set amidst the poverty stricken streets of nineteeth-century Paris.
Escaped convict Jean Valjean turns his back on his criminal past to build his fortunes as an honest man. He takes in abandoned orphan Cosette and raises her as his own daughter. But Jean Valjean is unable to free himself from his previ..
With an Introduction and Notes by Roger Clark, University of Kent at Canterbury One of the great Classics of Western Literature, Les Miserables is a magisterial work which is rich in both character portrayal and meticulous historical description. Characters such as the absurdly criminalised Valjean, the street urchin Gavroche, the rascal Thenardier, the implacable detective Javert, and the pitif..