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By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The Soul of Man by Oscar Wilde The Soul of Man

“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane by Oscar Wilde A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane

Two short fragments: an unfinished and a lost play. A Florentine Tragedy, left in a taxi (not a handbag), is Wilde’s most successful attempt at tragedy – intense and domestic, with surprising depth of characterisation. It was adapted into an opera by the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky in 1917. La Sainte Courtisane, or The Woman Covered in Jewels explores one of Wilde’s great idées fixes: the paradox of religious hedonism, pagan piety. Both plays, Wildean to their core, revel in the profound sadness that is the fruit of the conflict between fidelity and forbidden love...

By: Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

The Anti-Federalist Papers by Patrick Henry The Anti-Federalist Papers

During the period of debate over the ratification of the Constitution, numerous independent local speeches and articles were published all across the country. Initially, many of the articles in opposition were written under pseudonyms, such as “Brutus”, “Centinel”, and “Federal Farmer”. Eventually, famous revolutionary figures such as Patrick Henry came out publicly against the Constitution. They argued that the strong national government proposed by the Federalists was a threat to the rights of individuals and that the President would become a king...

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

This speech was given March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having singlehandedly convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. In attendance were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Reportedly, the crowd, upon hearing the speech, jumped up and shouted, “To Arms! To Arms!”

By: Plato (424/423 BC - 348/347 BC)

Book cover Apology

The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he unsuccessfully defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" (24b). "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions (from the Ancient Greek ἀπολογία).

By: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

The Sadhana: Realisation of Life by Rabindranath Tagore The Sadhana: Realisation of Life

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose work reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. Sadhana is a collection of essays, most of which he gave before the Harvard University, describing Indian beliefs, philosophy and culture from different viewpoints, often making comparison with Western thought and culture.

By: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Essays, First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, First Series

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass beads or frost-work but the solidest thing we know....” is how Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the ties of friendship in one of his essays titled Friendship, more than a hundred years ago. This and other interesting essays are included in Essays First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished American philosopher and writer. Apart from writing, he was also a very gifted and popular public speaker who toured the length and breadth of the country sharing his ideas with the larger public...

Essays, Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, Second Series

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid-1800s.

Book cover Nature (version 2)

First published anonymously in 1836, Nature marks the beginning both of Emerson’s literary career and the Transcendentalist movement. Asking why his generation “should not also enjoy an original relation to the universe,” Emerson argues that “Man is a god in ruins” who might yet be redeemed by the renewal of harmony with nature. Encompassing themes that would preoccupy him for years to come, including the repressive force of social routine, the divinity of nature, and the creative potential of the individual, Nature reflected recent developments in European philosophy and literature even as it pushed American artists to break new ground...

By: Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll by Robert Green Ingersoll Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll

Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll’s speeches.

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

The Amateur Emigrant by Robert Louis Stevenson The Amateur Emigrant

In July 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson left Scotland to meet his future wife in her native California. Leaving by ship from Glasgow, Scotland, he determined to travel in steerage class to see how the working classes fared. At the last minute he was convinced by friends to purchase a ticket one grade above the lowest price, for which he was later thankful after seeing the conditions in steerage, but he still lived among the ‘lower’ classes. His comments on the experience make interesting reading. His father however was so shocked at the thought of his son associating with people ‘beneath him’ that the work was not published for a number of years,

Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson

“Extreme busyness…is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.” What comforting words for the idle among us! Like many of the best essayists, Stevenson is very much the genial fireside companion: opinionated, but never malicious; a marvellous practitioner of the inclusive monologue. In this collection of nine pieces he discusses the art of appreciating unattractive scenery, traces the complex social life of dogs, and meditates in several essays upon the experience of reading literature and writing it...

By: Robert Millikan (1868-1953)

On the Elementary Electrical Charge by Robert Millikan On the Elementary Electrical Charge

The experiments herewith reported were undertaken with the view of introducing certain improvements into the oil-drop method of determining e and N and thus obtaining a higher accuracy than had before been possible in the evaluation of these most fundamental constants. From the Physical Review, Vol. II, No. 2

By: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling American Notes

In American Notes, Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the Jungle Book, visits the USA. As the travel-diary of an Anglo-Indian Imperialist visiting the USA, these American Notes offer an interesting view of America in the 1880s. Kipling affects a wide-eyed innocence, and expresses astonishment at features of American life that differ from his own, not least the freedom (and attraction) of American women. However, he scorns the political machines that made a mockery of American democracy, and while exhibiting the racist attitudes that made him controversial in the 20th century concludes “It is not good to be a negro in the land of the free and the home of the brave...

By: S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

Book cover Curiosities of Olden Times

This book is a collection of 17 gems of random knowledge, such as what women are made of and the philosopher's stone, written in Baring-Gould's own style.

By: Saint Patrick (d. 461 or 493)

Collected Works of Saint Patrick by Saint Patrick Collected Works of Saint Patrick

St. Patrick’s Breastplate – This prayer is attributed to St. Patrick and his diciples. It is written with some celtic pagan elements, but is definitely a Christian prayer asking God for protection through daily life. A Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus – Patrick writes this letter to excommunicate the soldiers of Coroticus’ army who pillaged villages in Ireland and forced many Christian converts into slavery. Confession – A short autobiography by St. Patrick who tells of being abducted...

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Book cover The Toys of Peace

This is the fifth collection of short stories by Saki (H.H. Munro), and was published posthumously in 1923. Even so, many of the stories are quite up to the standard of those collected earlier.

By: Sewell Peaslee Wright (1897-1970)

Astounding Stories 03, March 1930 by Sewell Peaslee Wright Astounding Stories 03, March 1930

This is the third issue of the classic science fiction Astounding Magazine. It contains the opening chapters of a 4 part serialized novel by Ray Cummings, and stories by the prolific Capt. S. P. Meek, Will Smith and R. J. Robbins, Sewell Peaslee Wright and A. T. Locke.

Astounding Stories 13, January 1931 by Sewell Peaslee Wright Astounding Stories 13, January 1931

This issue contains "The Dark Side of Antri" by Sewell Peaslea Wright, "The Sunken Empire" by H. Thompson Rich, "The Gate to Xoran" by Hal K. Wells, "The Eye of Allah" by C. D. Willard, "The Fifth-Dimension Catapult" by Murray Leinster, and "The Pirate Planet[' by Charles W. Diffin.

Book cover Astounding Stories 07, July 1930

Issue seven of this seminal science-fiction magazine

By: Stamp Act Congress of 1765

Declaration of Rights by Stamp Act Congress of 1765 Declaration of Rights

On June 8, 1765 James Otis, supported by the Massachusetts Assembly sent a letter to each colony calling for a general meeting of delegates. The meeting was to be held in New York City in October. Representatives from nine colonies met in New York. Though New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia did not send delegates, the Assemblies of those missing colonies nonetheless agreed to support the works of the Congress. The meetings were held in Federal Hall in New York, and the delegates assembled on October 2...

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Book cover My Discovery of England

"In the course of time a very considerable public feeling was aroused in the United States and Canada over this state of affairs. The lack of reciprocity in it seemed unfair. It was felt (or at least I felt) that the time had come when some one ought to go over and take some impressions off England. The choice of such a person (my choice) fell upon myself. By an arrangement with the Geographical Society of America, acting in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society of England (to both of whom I communicated my proposal), I went at my own expense."And from thence follow the impressions of Canadian political economist and humourist, Stephen Leacock, after a lecturing visit to England.

Book cover Essays and Literary Studies

A collection of wry looks at literature, education, and other social phenomena by Canadian humourist and economics professor, Stephen Leacock.

By: Stuart Johnson Reid (1848-1927)

Book cover Selected Essays of Samuel Johnson

This is a volume of selected essays by "the great master of reason" Samuel Johnson. The most famous exerpts from The Rambler, The Adventurer and The Idler are included, covering a vast range of topics.

By: Thomas Browne

Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia by Thomas Browne Religio Medici and Hydriotaphia

Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) sets out Sir Thomas Browne's spiritual testament as well as being an early psychological self-portrait. In its day, the book was a European best-seller. It was published in 1643 by the newly-qualified physician, and its unorthodox views placed it swiftly upon the Papal Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1645. Although predominantly concerned with Christian faith, the Religio also meanders into digressions upon alchemy, hermetic philosophy, astrology, and physiognomy...

Book cover Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia and Letter to a Friend

Selections from the varied writings of a 17th century English doctor with a well-stocked mind, an interest in the new science of his age and a deep religious faith. His prose is famous for its Baroque complexity and its frequent eloquence. Sir Thomas endowed English with numerous quotations and was a notable coiner of words, many of which are still in common use.

By: Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859)

Miscellaneous Essays by Thomas de Quincey Miscellaneous Essays

The Hunter Thompson of the 19th Century, de Quincey is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium Eater (an activity shared with his hero, Samuel Coleridge, much to Wordsworth’s dismay). However, de Quincey’s literary genius is best captured in his essays, and, according to Wikipedia: His immediate influence extended to Edgar Allan Poe, Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Charles Baudelaire, but even major 20th century writers such as Jorge Luis Borges admired and claimed to be partly influenced by his work.

By: Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

Has a Frog a Soul? by Thomas Henry Huxley Has a Frog a Soul?

Thomas Huxley, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his championing and development of Darwinism, was perhaps the most important Victorian biologist after Darwin himself. This speech to the Metaphysical Society in 1870 is one of Huxley’s best known texts outside the sphere of his specialism, and remains read today by students of philosophy. In it, Huxley argues from the results of vivisection to metaphysics.

By: Thomas Newbigging (1833-1914)

Book cover Lancashire Characters and Places

An eclectic collection of essays on late 19th-century Lancashire culture and life, including essays on the poets John Critchley Prince and Edwin Waugh. Thomas Newbigging was born in Glasgow and died in Knutsford, Chesshire, living in between in Rossendale, Pernambuco, and Manchester. A gas manager by profession and writer-historian by inclination, his two major works were the Handbook for Gas Engineers and Managers (1889) and the History of the Forest of Rossendale (1893).

By: Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Common Sense by Thomas Paine Common Sense

First published anonymously due to its seditious content in 1776, the pamphlet argues for the need of American colonists to pursue complete independence from Great Britain, and not be driven simply by the urge to free themselves from unfair taxation. Paine provides argumentation for his revolutionary ideas, suggesting the unification of colonial forces to achieve this goal. Furthermore, Paine strengthens his case by clearly asserting the advantages that would come out as a result of independence, and further fortifies his argumentation with religious references...

By: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Worldwide Effects of Nuclear War: Some Perspectives by United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Worldwide Effects of Nuclear War: Some Perspectives

This is a concise yet thorough explanation of what might happen to our world in the aftermath of a nuclear war. The myriad of potential effects will be global and wide-spread, and the potentials are glazed over in this short work.

By: Unknown

1912: Short Works Collection by Unknown 1912: Short Works Collection

This is a collection of public domain works either published in 1912, or written in 1912 and published before 1923. The accent is on non-fiction but a few short stories are included.


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