Dickens wrote of David Copperfield: "Of all my books I like this the best". Millions of readers in almost every language on earth have subsequently come to share the author's own enthusiasm for this greatly loved classic, possibly because of its autobiographical form. Following the life of David through many sufferings and great adversity, the reader will also find many light-hearted moments in the company of a host of English fiction's greatest stars including Mr Micawber, Traddles, Uriah Heep, Creakle, Betsy Trotwood, and the Peggoty family.
Few readers, arriving at the end of David Copperfield, ...|
Considered by many to be Dickens' finest novel, Great Expectations traces the growth of the book's narrator, Philip Pirrip (Pip), from a boy of shallow dreams to a man with depth of character. From its famous dramatic opening on the bleak Kentish marshes, the story abounds with some of Dickens' most memorable characters. Among them are the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, the mysterious convict Abel Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Haversham and her beautiful ward Estella, Pip's good-hearted room-mate Herbert Pocket and the pompous Pumblechook. As Pip unravels the truth behind his own 'great expectations' ...|
Set in Hardy's Wessex, Tess is a moving novel of hypocrisy and double standards. Its challenging sub-title, A Pure Woman, infuriated critics when the book was first published in 1891, and it was condemned as immoral and pessimistic.
It tells of Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of a poor and dissipated villager, who learns that she may be descended from the ancient family of d'Urbeville. In her search for respectability her fortunes fluctuate wildly, and the story assumes the proportions of a Greek tragedy. It explores Tess's relationships with two very different men, her struggle against the social mores of ...|
James Joyce's astonishing masterpiece, Ulysses, tells of the diverse events which befall Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin on 16 June 1904, during which Bloom's voluptuous wife, Molly, commits adultery.
Initially deemed obscene in England and the USA, this richly-allusive novel, revolutionary in its Modernistic experimentalism, was hailed as a work of genius by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway. Scandalously frank, wittily erudite, mercurially eloquent, resourcefully comic and generously humane, Ulysses offers the reader a life-changing experience. ...|
Wilde's only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in 'art for art's sake', to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design. Yet Wilde himself underestimated the consequences of his experiment, and its capacity to outrage the Victorian establishment. Its words returned to haunt him in his court appearances in 1895, and he ...|
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 "Cinderella", "Rapunzel", "The Goose Girl", "Sleeping Beauty", "Hansel and Gretel", and "Snow White".
It is illustrated throughout by Walter Crane's charming line drawings. ...|
From its first publication in 1719, "Robinson Crusoe" has been printed in over 700 editions. It has inspired almost every conceivable kind of imitation and variation, and been the subject of plays, opera, cartoons, and computer games. The character of Crusoe has entered the consciousness of each succeeding generation as readers add their own interpretation to the adventures so thrillingly "recorded" by Defoe.
Praised by eminent figures such as Coleridge, Rousseau and Wordsworth, this perennially popular book was cited by Karl Marx in Das Kapital to illustrate economic theory. However it is readers of ...|
Pride and Prejudice, which opens with one of the most famous sentences in English Literature, is an ironic novel of manners. In it the garrulous and empty-headed Mrs Bennet has only one aim - that of finding a good match for each of her five daughters. In this she is mocked by her cynical and indolent husband.
With its wit, its social precision and, above all, its irresistible heroine, Pride and Prejudice has proved one of the most enduringly popular novels in the English language. ...|
Walt Whitman's verse gave the poetry of America a distinctive national voice. It reflects the unique vitality of the new nation, the vastness of the land and the emergence of a sometimes troubled consciousness, communicated in language and idiom regarded by many at the time as shocking.
Whitman's poems are organic and free flowing, fit into no previously defined genre and skilfully combine autobiographical, sociological and religious themes with lyrical sensuality. His verse is a fitting celebration of a new breed of American and includes "Song of Myself", "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", the ...|
Shelley's short, prolific life produced some of the most memorable and well-known lyrics of the Romantic period. But he was also the most radical writer in the English literary tradition of his day, a fiery political visionary committed to social change and progress.
The generous selection in this volume represents the wide range of his writing, both poetry and prose. Arranged chronologically, the accompanying introductory essays set Shelley's works in their historical, social and political context.
They provide a vivid insight into the life and times of this volcanic spirit whose inspiring voice called on ...|