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Love and FriendshipThese inventive and entertaining pieces display the early sparkles of wit and imagination of Jane Austen's mature fiction. Written when she was only in her teens, they are by turns amusing, acerbic and occasionally downright silly.
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Wuthering HeightsThe tale of Heathcliff and Cathy's ungovernable love and suffering, and the havoc that their passion wreaks on the families of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, shocked the book's first readers, with even Emily's sister Charlotte wondering whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff. Replete with unforgettable characters and situations that have seared themselves into our literary consciousness, ...
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Sense and Sensibility"Sense and Sensibility" is famously characterised as the story of two Dashwood sisters who embody the conflict between the oppressive nature of 'civilised' society and the human desire for romantic passion. However, there is far more to this story of two daughters made homeless by the death of their father. Elinor, 19, and Marianne, 17, initially project the opposing roles with Elinor cautious and unassuming ...
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PersuasionPersuasion narrates the emotional journey of its protagonist Anne Elliot, who chances upon Captain Wentworth, a suitor she was persuaded to reject seven years earlier, and whose reappearance causes her to reflect on her past decisions and contemplate her marital future.Vividly depicting the society holiday towns of Lyme Regis and Bath and infused with its author's trademark wit, Austen's last completed novel, ...
Jane EyreA novel of high romance and great intensity, Jane Eyre has enjoyed popular success and critical acclaim ever since its publication in 1847. Jane's journey from a troubled childhood to independence - and her turbulent love affair with the enigmatic Mr Rochester - electrified Victorian readers with its narrative power.
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FrankensteinSince it was first published in 1818, Mary Shelley's seminal novel has generated countless print, stage and screen adaptations, but none has ever matched the power and philosophical resonance of the original. Composed as part of a challenge with Byron and Shelley to conjure up the most terrifying ghost story, Frankenstein narrates the chilling tale of a being created by a bright young scientist and the catastrophic ...
The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesFrom his Baker Street apartment, Sherlock Holmes wields his powers of deduction in pursuit of justice and truth, venturing out into foggy Victorian London accompanied by his faithful sidekick Dr Watson. This classic collection of Holmes tales includes many of the detective’s most-loved exploits: Holmes is confronted by a venomous snake in ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’, mystified by a missing thumb in ...
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After-Supper Ghost StoriesAs they relax after dinner on Christmas Eve, the members of a family and their guests turn to telling ghost stories. These ghoulish accounts range from the melancholy to the macabre, and get increasingly bizarre as the ghosts leap out of the tales and make an appearance in the family's home. Fact and fiction, the real and unreal collide, until the reader is not sure who is haunting whom.
A masterful work of ...
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Supernatural Short StoriesCharles Dickens wrote a number of supernatural and horror stories, some of which were included in his longer works, while others were published in magazines. This collection provides an invaluable insight into the author's storytelling apprenticeship and his steady growth towards excellence. As well as offering a further dimension to the world of his better-known masterpieces, these tales – from 'The Story of ...
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The Dream WomanWhen Francis Raven is roused from his sleep on the eve of his birthday and confronted by the sight of a woman trying to stab him, he is unsure whether she is real or an apparition. Years later, against the wishes of his mother, he marries Alicia, a woman with a strange resemblance to the mysterious visitor, who ends up attacking him on his birthday, before vanishing from his life. Is Francis’s wife a ghost, ...
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Tales of Long AgoAlthough he is best known to the public as the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories and other pioneering works of detective fiction, Arthur Conan Doyle successfully contributed to other genres, such as historical fiction, as demonstrated by this collection he compiled in 1922.
These vivid and enthralling stories – which take the reader to Roman Britain, ancient Carthage, Mecca at the time of the Prophet Muhammad ...
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The Eternal HusbandDuring 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 own daughter. From ...
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The Mudfog PapersThe Mudfog Papers, a collection of sketches by Dickens published in Bentley’s Miscellany between 1837 and 1838, describes the local politics of the fictional town of Mudfog – such as the delusions of grandeur of its mayor Nicholas Tulrumble and his disastrous attempts at putting on a public show – and the meetings of its Society for the Advancement of Everything, during which the town is overrun by illustrious ...
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The Haunted HouseHaving moved into an abandoned haunted house, the narrator, undaunted by the warnings of the locals, invites a party of friends over; on Twelfth Night he and his guests gather together, and relate the supernatural experiences they have had. The resulting ghost stories thrill, shock and amuse by turns.
For this work, commissioned for his periodical All the Year Round, Dickens enlisted some of the era’s most famous ...
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Tales of Twilight and the UnseenA master of many literary genres, Arthur Conan Doyle excelled particularly in the short-story form, and was acclaimed in his day as much for his detective stories as for his thrilling tales of mystery and the supernatural. While the adventures of Sherlock Holmes have become part of our collective imagination, these stories - concerned with ghosts, obscure scientific experiments and other unexplained phenomena ...
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The Lost WorldWhen the reporter Edward Malone is sent to interview the formidable Professor Challenger about his accounts of strange prehistoric beasts on a remote plateau in South America, he expects to be given short shrift by the researcher, notorious for man handling nosy enquirers. But Challenger, impressed by the young journalist's thirst for adventure, invites Malone along on his next expedition, plunging him into ...
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Tales of HorrorA murderer is forced to reveal his crime by the sound of a beating heart, a mysterious figure wreaks havoc among a party of noblemen during the time of the plague, a grieving lover awakens to find himself clutching a box of his beloved blood-stained teeth, a man is obsessed with the fear of being buried alive – these are only some of the memorable characters and stories included in this volume, which exemplify ...
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The PrinceAt the end of an industrious political career in conflictriven Italy, the Florentine diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli composed his masterpiece The Prince, a classic study of power and politics, and a manual of ruthlessness for any ambitious ruler. Controversial in his own time, The Prince made Machiavelli’s name a byword for manipulative scheming, and had an impact on such major figures as Napoleon and Frederick ...
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The Great GatsbyInvited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby's impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events ...
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The Tragedy of the KoroskoAs a group of Western tourists travel down the Nile on the steamer Korosko towards the historical sites near Egypt's southern border, they are kidnapped by a marauding band of dervishes who demand their conversion to Islam. Cut off from the world, deprived of the comforts of civilized society and shaken in their beliefs, they will have to overcome the most arduous obstacles to regain their freedom and safety.
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The Forged CouponIn order to repay a small debt, the young student Mitya is persuaded by a friend to falsify a bank bond and cash it in. Little does he suspect that this small misdemeanour will have a profound impact on the lives of many other people around him – indirectly even leading to the gravest of crimes. This in turn sets off a long journey towards redemption and rehabilitation.
Published only in 1911, after Tolstoy's ...
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The Queen of Spades and Other Storieshis collection of Pushkin’s stories begins with ‘The Queen of Spades’, perhaps the most celebrated short story in Russian literature. The young Hermann, while watching some friends gambling, hears a rumour of how an officer’s grandmother is always able to predict the three winning cards in a game. He becomes obsessed with the woman and her seemingly mystical powers, and seeks to extract the secret from her at ...
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Diaries and Selected LettersThe career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita – now regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century literature – was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diaries were seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his friends ...
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The AdolescentAmong Dostoevsky’s later novels, The Adolescent occupies a very special place: published three years after The Devils and five years before his final masterpiece, The Karamazov Brothers, the novel charts the story of nineteen-year-old Arkady – the illigitimate son of the landowner Versilov and the maid Sofia Andreyevna – as he struggles to find his place in society and “become a Rothschild” against the background ...
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DevilsAs ideological ferment grips Russia, a small group of revolutionaries, led by Pyotr Verkhovensky and inspired by Nikolai Stavrogin, plan to spread destruction and anarchy throughout the country. Morally bankrupt, they are prepared to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goal, including murder and incitement to suicide. But when they are forced to test the limits of their doctrine and kill one of their ...
The Hound of the BaskervillesWhen the corpse of Sir Charles Baskerville is found on the grounds of his Dartmoor estate next to a mysterious animal footprint, thoughts turn to a fabled family curse: that of a hellhound set out to avenge a crime committed by one of Sir Charles's ancestors. As the only surviving heir of the Basker-villes is terrified for his safety, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are called in to investigate. The most famous ...
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Arsène Lupin vs Sherlock HolmesThis volume contains two adventures which pit the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin against Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous detective. In 'The Blonde Lady', Holmes must discover the identity of a mysterious female thief who is linked to Lupin, while in 'The Jewish Lamp' he finds out that the theft of a lamp containing a precious jewel conceals an astonishing secret. While their tone is at times ironic and ...
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Three NovellasOne of Tolstoy's last published works of fiction, The Devil revolves around the young landowner Yevgeny's irrepressible lust for Stepanida, a sensual peasant woman. Even when he gets married to a respectable upper-class lady, he finds himself unable to put an end to his encounters with Stepanida, and becomes increasingly consumed by guilt and helplessness in the face of his urges. In some ways comparable to ...
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The Kreutzer Sonata and Other StoriesOn 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 Russia and banned ...
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Childhood, Boyhood, YouthThis trilogy of short novels, taken as a whole, recounts the young narrator’s early life up to his university days, each episode told through the perceptions, points of view and emotions felt by the protagonist at the time. Based on Tolstoy’s own life and experiences, this fictionalized account of a young man growing into the world combines anecdot... This trilogy of short novels, taken as a whole, recounts ...
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Boris Godunov and Little TragediesA drama of ambition, murder, remorse and retribution, Boris Godunov charts the decline of a Russian statesman, whose dynastic aims were foiled by a guilty past and an audacious upstart. Based on history and inspired by Shakespeare, Alexander Pushkin’s daring masterwork is presented here in its rarely published uncensored version of 1825. Set in Vie... A drama of ambition, murder, remorse and retribution, Boris ...
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On Murder Considered as One of the Fine ArtsIn this dispassionate analysis of the act of murder, De Quincey's innovative, idiosyncratic artistic vision found space for gruesome reportage, satire, aesthetic and literary criticism, in a work strewn with examples ranging from antiquity to his own time, including the urban serial-killer John Williams.
De Quincey's seminal 1827 work was greatly influential on such writers as Poe, Baudelaire and Borges, ...
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RemainderTraumatised by an accident which involves something falling from the skyA" and leaves him eight and a half million pounds rich- er but hopelessly estranged from the world around him, Remainder's hero spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting vaguely remembered scenes and situations from his past: a large building with piano music in the distance, the familiar smells and sounds of liver ...
The DoubleConstantly rebuffed from the social circles he aspires to frequent, the timid clerk Golyadkin is confronted by the sudden appearance of his double, a more brazen, confident and socially successful version of himself, who abuses and victimizes the original. As he is increasingly persecuted, Golyadkin finds his social, romantic and professional life unravelling, in a spiral that leads to a catastrophic denouement. ...
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Love PoemsOne of the many aspects of Alexander Pushkin’s immense contribution to Russian language and literature, and perhaps the one he is most popular for, is his mastery of the love poem, a genre which he perfected like few others before or after him. This volume contains a selection of his most famous and enduring verse explorations of love, such as ‘I Loved You’, ‘Night’ and ‘I Well Recall a Wondrous Meeting’, pieces ...
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Sketches of Young Ladies, Young Gentlemen and Young CouplesWhen the publishers of the Pickwick Papers, Chapman & Hall, brought out the anonymous 'Sketches of Young Ladies' in 1837, their resounding success prompted the twenty-six-year old Dickens to write, the following year, a companion piece, the 'Sketches of Young Gentlemen', followed two years later - to coincide with the engagement of Princess Victoria and Prince Albert - by the 'Sketches of Young Couples'. First ...
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The Woman in the Case and Other StoriesThis collection of lesser-known early short fiction - ranging from absurd humorous sketches to psychological dramas and tragic tales - demonstrates Anton Chekhov's mastery of the genre, with stories about marital infidelity, betrayal, deception and love in its various forms. Although varying m tone and purpose, what these tales have in common is a profound and subtle understanding of the human condition, in ...
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RudinDmitry Rudin, a high-minded gentleman of reduced means, arrives at the estate of Darya Mikhailovna, where his intelligence, eloquence and conviction immediately make a powerful impression. As he stys on longer than intended, Rudin exerts a strong influence on the younger generation, and Darya's daughter, Natalya, falls in love with him. But circumstances soon will show whether Rudin has the courage to act on ...
Winter Notes On Summer ImpressionsIn June 1862, Dostoevsky left Petersburg on his first excursion to Western Europe. Ostensibly making the trip to consult Western specialists about his epilepsy, he also wished to see firsthand the source of the Western ideas he believed were corrupting Russia. Over the course of his journey he visited a number of major cities, including Berlin, Paris, London, Florence, Milan, and Vienna. His impressions on what ...
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Aphorisms And ThoughtsSpurred by a lifelong fascination with the great emperor, French novelist Honore de Balzac set himself the painstaking task of collecting a selection of Napoleon's aphorisms from his public speeches and the gazettes of the time. Arranged into four themes (covering social life, the military arts, the exercise of power and the teachings of experience and misfortune), Napoleon's pithy pills of wisdom - often Machiavellian, ...
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Death of a Civil ServantIn The Death of a Civil Servant, an administrative clerk accidentally sneezes on a hierarchical superior at the opera, which results in great embarrassment and hilarious and futile attempts at atonement. The other short stories included in this volume, A Calculated Marriage, The Culprit, The Exclamation Mark, The Speech-Maker, Who Is to Blame? and A Defenceless Creature are in the same absurdly comical vein.This ...
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The CrocodileThe civil servant Ivan Matveich and his wife Yelena Ivanovna are spectators of an exhibition - in a shopping arcade - of a crocodile owned by a German, when Ivan is suddenly swallowed alive by the animal. Unsuccessful in his attempts to be freed from his prison, due to the German's concern for his crocodile and excessive desire for compensation, the civil servant gradually comes to appreciate his new environment, ...
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The Life of Our LordNever published in its author's lifetime and intended solely for his own children, to whom he read it every Christmas, The Life of Our Lord is an accessible and gently humorous take on the life of Jesus Christ and his teachings.Far removed from the sharp satire and social dimension of his more famous writings, but showcasing his characteristic humanity and genius for storytelling, this is both an essential work ...
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The Benefit of Farting ExplainedWhat is the nature, essence and definition of a fart? What are the consequences and disadvantages of suppressing one? Why is farting considered to be taboo? Swift's The Benefit of Farting argues eloquently, in a forceful a posteriori fashion, that most of the distempers thought to affect the fairer sex are due to flatulences not adequately vented. To complete the excursus into this venerable and age-old human ...
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The Battle of the BooksInspired by Boileau's Lutrin and illustrating the debate within European intellectual circles between the Ancients, who argued that all essential knowledge was to be found in classical texts, and the Moderns, who claimed that contemporary learning superseded the old sources, The Battle of the Books shows Swift at his wittiest and most trenchant. In this early satire, various books in St James's Library take ...
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The Decay of LyingIn the library of a country house in Nottinghamshire, Vivian is writing an article about the importance of lying, when he is interrupted by Cyril, who tries to tempt him away, but instead is drawn into a discussion about art, nature, literature and imagination. The Decay of Lying sees Wilde explore his deepest preoccupations about the relationship between life and art, and examine the work of such writers as ...
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The Wonderful Wonder of WondersA glorious exercise in cheeky punmanship, The Wonderful Wonder of Wonders sees Jonathan Swift in fine scatological form. Flying by the seat of his pants, the great author treats us to a condensed biography of his posterior, enlivened by some inspired wordplay. Most famous for his celebrated masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels, Swift was the foremost satirist of his day. Also including a selection of Swift's other ...
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FaustIn 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 comfort and safety ...
A Young Doctor's NotebookUsing a sharply realistic and humorous style, Bulgakov reveals his doubts about his own competence and the immense burden of responsibility, as he deals with a superstitious and poorly educated people struggling to enter the modern age. This acclaimed collection contains some of Bulgakov's most personal and insightful observations on youth, isolation and progress.
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A Game of Chess and Other StoriesWhen it is discovered that the reigning world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, is on board a cruiser heading for Buenos Aires, a fellow passenger challenges him to a game. Czentovic easily defeats him, but during the rematch a mysterious Austrian, Dr B., intervenes and, to the surprise of everyone, helps the underdog obtain a draw. When, the next day, Dr B. confides in a compatriot travelling on the same ship ...
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Virgin SoilTurgenev's final novel, Virgin Soil traces the destinies of several middle-class revolutionaries who seek to go to the people by working on the land and instilling democratic ideas in the countryside's locals. They include the daydreaming impoverished young tutor Nezhdanov - employed by the liberal councillor Sipyagin and his vain and beautiful wife Valentina - the naive young radical Maryanna and the progressive ...
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The MotherInspired by real events and centring on the figure of Pelageya Vlasova - the mother of the title - and her son Pavel, Gorky's masterpiece describes the brutal life of ordinary Russian factory workers in the years leading to the 1905 Revolution and explores the rise of the proletariat, the role of women in society and the lower classes' struggle for self-affirmation. A book of the utmost importance, in the words ...
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Lassie Come-HomeEveryone in the Yorkshire town of Greenall Bridge knows Lassie, the prize collie of miner Sam Carraclough and his son Joe. But when the family falls on hard times, Sam is forced to sell his dog to the Duke of Rudling, who takes her hundreds of miles away to his estate in Scotland. Undeterred by the distance and driven by instinctive love, Lassie escapes from her new owners and embarks on an epic journey to be ...
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The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to FlyA Cat, A Seagull, An Impossible Task... Caught up in an oil spill, a dying seagull scrambles ashore to lay her final egg and lands on a balcony, where she meets Zorba, a big black cat from the port of Hamburg. The cat promises the seagull to look after the egg, not to eat the chick once it's hatched and - most difficult of all - to teach the baby gull to fly. Will Zorba and his feline friends honour the promise ...
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The Rats in the Walls and Other Tales When the descendant of an ancient aristocratic family moves from Massachusetts to Exham Priory, his ancestral home in the south of England, he is plagued by the constant noise of rats scurrying within its walls. As the sound begins to haunt his dreams, he investigates the house and discovers a horrific secret underneath, which will bring him to the point of madness. Considered one of the most accomplished examples ...
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The Last of the Belles and Other StoriesInspired by Fitzgerald's own courtship of his future wife Zelda, 'The Last of the Belles' centres on the Southern beauty Ailie Calhoun from Tarleton, Georgia, who finds herself the object of attention of all the officers at a nearby army base, including the narrator, Andy. A wistful and melancholy exploration of unfulfilled dreams and lost youth, the story is considered one of Fitzgerald's finest pieces of short ...
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Hadji MuratTolstoy knew as he was writing Hadji Murat, his last work of fiction, that it would not be published in his lifetime, and so gave an uncompromising portrayal of the Russians' faults and the nature of the rebels' struggle. In the process, he shows a mastery of style and an understanding of Chechnya that still carries great resonance today. Hadji Murat, one of the most feared and venerated mountain chiefs in the ...
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Diaboliad and Other StoriesIn Bulgakov's Diaboliad, the modest and unassuming office clerk Korotkov is summarily sacked for a trifling error from his job at the First Central Depot for the Materials for Matches, and tries to seek out his newly assigned superior Kalsoner, responsible for his dismissal. His quest through the labyrinth of Soviet bureaucracy takes on the increasingly surreal dimensions of a nightmare. This early satirical ...
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The Diaries of Adam and EveMark Twain's gloriously funny Diary of Adam and Eve, which John Updike recently 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 biblical story. By giving a voice to Adam and Eve, and by hitting all the notes on the literary scale - from the intimate to the comical, from ...
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A Calendar of WisdomOver the last fifteen years of his life, Tolstoy collected and published the maxims of some of the world's greatest masters of philosophy, religion and literature, adding his own contributions to various questions that preoccupied him in old age, such as faith and existence, as well as matters of everyday life. Banned in Russia under Communism, A Calendar of Wisdom was Tolstoy's last major work, and one of his ...
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The Intimate Strangers and Other StoriesSara, the American wife of a French aristocrat, has had two encounters with her compatriot Cedric Killian, one a youthful idyll in North Carolina and the other during the First World War, when he was a soldier about to go to battle. When, years later and after the death of her husband, Cedric contacts her out of the blue, Sara finds herself eager to see him again - against the wishes of her in-laws - and to ...
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Image on the Heart and Other StoriesWhen Tudy's first husband tragically dies, she takes up the offer of Tom, a family friend, to pay for her to go study in France. As she and her benefactor become close, she agrees to marry him in Provence later that year. But as the wedding approaches, Tom discovers that his fiancee has become involved with Riccard, a dashing French pilot and his near-double. A tale of broken trust and infidelity based on Zelda ...
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Notes from UndergroundThe unnamed narrator of the novel, a former government official, has decided to retire from the world and lead a life of inactivity and contemplation. His fiercely bitter, cynical and witty monologue ranges from general observations and philosophical musings to memorable scenes from his own life, including his obsessive plans to exact revenge on an officer who has shown him disrespect and a dramatic encounter ...
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Eugene OneginWhen 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 - presented here ...
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The GamblerInspired by Dostoevsky's own gambling addiction and written under pressure in order to pay off his creditors and retain his rights to his literary legacy, The Gambler is set in the casino of the fictional German spa town of Roulettenburg and follows the misfortunes of the young tutor Alexei Ivanovich. As he succumbs to the temptations of the roulette table, he finds himself engaged in a battle of wills with ...
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In the TwilightIn 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 1887. 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.
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Pride and PrejudiceThe pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable.
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The Sorrows of Young WertherPresented as a collection of confessional letters written by the eponymous protagonist, The Sorrows of Young Werther charts the emotional journey of a young man who, during a stay in a picturesque German village, falls in love with Lotte, a local woman engaged to another man. As he realizes that his passion is doomed to failure and constant pain, Werther contemplates taking the most drastic measures.
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The Picture of Dorian GrayDorian Gray is having his picture painted by Basil Hallward, who is charmed by his looks. But when Sir Henry Wotton visits, and seduces Dorian into the worship of youthful beauty with an intoxicating speech, Dorian makes a wish he will live to regret: that all the marks of age will now be reflected in the portrait, rather than on Dorian's own face. The stage is now set for a masterful tale about appearance, ...
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LeonardoThis evocative account of the life of the Renaissance's greatest figure traces Leonardo's early development as an artist and court figure to his final years in exile, portraying his loves and sufferings, as well as his intellectual curiosity and tireless loyalty to his ideals. But it is the background to his famous painting La Gioconda and his relationship with the mysterious Florentine woman who modelled for ...
Dog StoriesThroughout his life Rudyard Kipling was fond of dogs, and while they featured prominently in early tales such as 'The Dog Hervey' and 'Garm - a Hostage', he later came up with the innovative idea of writing a story from the perspective of a dog, resulting in the hugely successful 'Thy Servant a Dog', narrated by an Aberdeen terrier named Boots.
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The Pat Hobby StoriesA Hollywood hack who has fallen on hard times since the end of the Silent Era, Pat Hobby spends his time hanging out in the studio lot attempting to devise schemes - such as pressing his secretary for blackmail material against a studio executive - to get more work and earn on-screen credits. Oblivious to his own shortcomings and filled with feelings of self-importance, he embarks on a course towards ever-increasing ...
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Babylon Revisited and Other StoriesSet in the year after the 1929 crash and incorporating many autobiographical elements, 'Babylon Revisited' tells the story of the widower Charlie Wales, a reformed alcoholic and successful businessman returning to Paris to convince his in-laws to give him back the daughter he abandoned. As the old haunts of the city he used to carouse in seem more and more alien to him, he finds himself assailed by feelings ...
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George Silverman's ExplanationAfter a traumatic early childhood spent living in poverty in a Preston cellar, the suddenly orphaned George Silverman grows up convinced that he is at fault for all the misfortunes in his life. Hoodwinked by hypocritical clergymen and exploited by his employer, he finds himself forsaking love and facing professional ruin. One of Dickens's very last writings, 'George Silverman's Explanation' is a dark and psychologically ...
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Black SnowAfter being saved from a suicide attempt by a literary editor, the journalist and failed novelist Sergei Maxudov has a book suddenly accepted for stage adaptation at a prestigious venue and finds himself propelled into Moscow's theatrical world. In a cut-throat environment tainted by Soviet politics, censorship and egomania - epitomized by the arrogant and incompetent director Ivan Vasilyevich - absurdity gradually ...
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Notes on a Cuff and Other StoriesWritten between 1920 and 1921 while Bugakov was working in a hospital in the remote Caucasian outpost of Vladikavkaz, Notes on a Cuff is a series of journalistic sketches which show the young doctor trying to embark on a literary career among the chaos of war, disease, politics and bureaucracy.
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The Fatal EggsProfessor 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.
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Petersburg TalesWritten in the 1830s and early 1840s, these comic stories tackle life behind the cold and elegant facade of the Imperial capital from the viewpoints of various characters, such as a collegiate assessor who one day finds that his nose has detached itself from his face and risen the ranks to become a state councillor ('The Nose'), a painter and a lieutenant whose romantic pursuits meet with contrasting degrees ...
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SmokeNew translation of one of the most celebrated novels by the author of Fathers and Children. On his way back to Russia after some years spent in the West, Grigory Mikhailovich Litvinov, the son of a retired official of merchant stock, stops over in Baden-Baden to meet his fiancee Tatyana. However, a chance encounter with his old flame, the manipulative Irina - now married to a general and a prominent figure in ...
The Last TycoonMonroe Stahr is a film producer at the height of his career, revered by the industry and in control of every aspect of his business empire. In his ruthless rise to the top, the young widower has had little time for sentiment, until he meets the beguiling Kathleen Moore, and the two embark on an intense but ill-fated relationship.
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The Pink HotelA seventeen-year-old London girl flies to Los Angeles for the funeral of her mother Lily, from whom she was separated in her childhood. After stealing a suitcase of letters, clothes and photographs from her mum's bedroom at the top of a hotel on Venice Beach, the girl spends her summer travelling around Los Angeles in a bid to track down the men who knew her mother. As she discovers more about Lily's past and ...
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The Beautiful and DamnedThe heir to his grandfather's considerable fortune, Anthony Patch is led astray from the path to gainful employment by the temptations and distractions of the 1920s Jazz Age. His descent into dissolution and profligacy is accelerated by his marriage to the attractive but turbulent Gloria, and the couple soon discover the dangerous flip side of a life of glamour and debauchery.
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This Side of ParadiseThis Side of Paradise charts the life of Amory Blaine, an ambitious young man loosely based on Fitzgerald himself, as he moves from his well-heeled Midwest home to study at Princeton and then starts frequenting the circles of high society as an aspiring writer. Experiencing failure and frustration in love and in his career, Blaine finds his youthful enthusiasm gradually giving way to disillusionment, cynicism ...
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Tender is the NightWhile holidaying at a villa on the French Riviera, Dick and Nicole Diver, a wealthy American couple, meet the young film star Rosemary Hoyt. Her arrival causes a stir in their social circle and exposes the cracks in their fragile marriage. As their relationship unravels, the glimpses of their troubled past emerge, and a series of disturbing events unfolds.
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All the Sad Young MenPublished a year after The Great Gatsby, this short-story collection showcases many of the celebrated novel's themes, as well as its unique writing style. Two of the most famous tales, the beautifully elegiac 'The Rich Boy' and 'Winter Dreams', deal with wealthy protagonists - the old-money Anson Hunter and the self-made man Dexter Green - as they come to terms with lost love; while 'Absolution', in which a ...
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The VillageIvan Bunin's first published work, The Village is a bleak and uncompromising portrayal of rural life in south-west Russia. Set at the time of the 1905 Revolution and centering on episodes in the lives of two peasant brothers - characters sunk so far below the average of intelligence as to be scarcely human - it reveals the pettiness, violence and ignorance of life on the land.
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Ruslan and LyudmilaIn order to rescue his beloved Lyudmila, who has been abducted by the evil wizard Chernomor, the warrior Ruslan faces an epic and perilous quest, encoutering a multitude of fantastic and terrifying characters along the way. The basis for Glinka's famous opera of the same name, Ruslan and Lyudmila - Pushkin's second longest poetical work - is a dramatic and ingenious retelling of Russian folklore, full of humour and irony.
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The Story of a NobodyA secret terrorist group infiltrates the household of a government official's son, with a view to spying on the father and, ultimately, assassinating him. But the young man entrusted with the task - an ailing, world-weary nobody - seized with the purposelessness of life and a sense of his own impending death, gradually becomes disillusioned with his mission, and decides to embark on a new path which will lead him to tragedy.
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The Diaries of Sofia TolstoyWhen Sofia Behrs married Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of "War and Peace", husband and wife regularly exchanged diaries covering the years from 1862 to 1910. Sofia's life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband, but was tormented by him; even her many children were not an unmitigated blessing. In the background of her life was one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history: the transition from old ...
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