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By: George MacDonald (1824-1905)

Book cover The Cruel Painter

This is the story of a daring college student's quest to win the icy heart of a beautiful girl. Unfortunately, the girl is the daughter of a cunning and sadistic master artist, who takes the student as an apprentice with the express intent of torturing the youth with his own hopeless love. The story is set in late 16 century Prague, amid mysterious happenings and the terrifying rumors of a vampire on the loose.

Book cover At the Back of the North Wind for Children
Book cover Sir Gibbie
Book cover Alec Forbes of Howglen
Book cover Donal Grant

By: Voltaire (1694-1778)

Candide by Voltaire Candide

A picaresque novel written by French satirical polemicist and philosopher Voltaire, Candide blatantly attacks the ideology of philosopher Leibniz. Candide follows the series of unfortunate events encountered by the young, yet blindly optimistic Candide. Shifting from one adventure to the next, Voltaire’s signature piece does not cease to grip its audience with its humorous criticism of power, wealth, love, religion, philosophy and especially optimism. The novel begins with the introduction of the protagonist Candide, who lives in the castle of an influential German Baron, along with the Baron’s daughter Cunégonde, and tutor Dr...

Zadig, or the Book of Fate by Voltaire Zadig, or the Book of Fate

Zadig, ou La Destinée, (”Zadig, or The Book of Fate”) (1747) is a famous novel written by the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. It tells the story of Zadig, a philosopher in ancient Babylonia. The author does not attempt any historical accuracy, and some of the problems Zadig faces are thinly disguised references to social and political problems of Voltaire’s own day. The book is philosophical in nature, and presents human life as in the hands of a destiny beyond human control. It is a story of religious and metaphysical orthodoxy, both of which Voltaire challenges with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself...

By: Carlo Collodi (1826-1890)

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi The Adventures of Pinocchio

An old carpenter carves a little wooden puppet from a mysterious piece of wood that seems to have the ability to talk! He begins to love the little creature like his own son and names him Pinocchio. But the mischievous fellow runs away from his loving father as soon as he learns to walk. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi follows the misadventures and naughty exploits of this delightfully “human” puppet who in his heart of hearts longs only to become a real boy. Carlo Collodi was the pen name of a gifted writer of children's books, Carlo Lorenzini who lived in Florence, Italy, during the late 19th century...

Book cover Pinocchio

This is the wonderful story of Pinocchio, the puppet who must learn many lessons before he can become a real boy. Carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he dreamed of becoming a real boy but strays from the path of goodness many times and is very willing to listen to temptation. He has also been used as a character who is prone to telling lies and fabricating stories for various reasons. The story has appeared in many adaptations in other mediums. Pinocchio has been called an icon of modern culture, and one of most reimagined characters in the pantheon of children's literature...

By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness

First published in Blackwood’s magazine as a three part serial in 1899 and published in 1902, Heart of Darkness centers on the experiences of protagonist Charles Marlow as he is assigned the duty to transport ivory down the Congo River. Conrad cleverly uses foreshadowing as a technique to convey the novella’s themes of hypocritical imperialism, the contradictory views on civilized as opposed to barbaric societies, racism, and the conflict between reality and darkness. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, the story begins with the introduction of protagonist Charles Marlow, who is on board a boat harbored in the River Thames...

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad The Secret Agent

In this world of modern day spying, Joseph Conrad's spy story, The Secret Agent, is very pertinent. It deals with the over reaching influence of politics in everyday life, the sordid underbelly that lies beneath our civilization's sophisticated veneer, the strange persuasive power of anarchy, unbridled capitalism and its tragic consequences and the scourge of terrorism, exploitation and espionage. In an uncannily prophetic plot, The Secret Agent portrays a sinister scheme to bomb the famous Greenwich Observatory in London...

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad Lord Jim

This story opens on a ship crowded with pilgrims traveling from Singapore to Mecca for the hajj. A young Englishman is the vessel's first mate. This is his first job and it is something that he has longed for all his life—to be on board a ship that sails the seven seas. One night as the ship sails through the calm waters of the Arabian Sea, it mysteriously begins to shudder. The crew, including the young first mate, believe that it is about to sink. They decide to strike out for themselves in a life-boat, abandoning the passengers...

Typhoon by Joseph Conrad Typhoon

First published in 1902 as a serial in Pall Mall Magazine, the adventure novel follows the disrupting events onboard a steamboat after it takes a perilous course at sea, which triggers a state of mayhem onboard the steamer. Furthermore, the incident prompts the crew to gradually reveal their true nature which is brought to light in the time of crisis. Interestingly, the tale is believed to possess some autobiographical elements taken from Conrad’s own experiences at sea, which provide the novel with a strong foundation, as he effectively uses personification, imagery, and descriptive language to accurately illustrate the danger and chaos instigated by a powerful storm at sea...

Youth, a Narrative by Joseph Conrad Youth, a Narrative

An autobiographical short story written in 1898 and included as the first story in the 1902 volume Youth, a Narrative, and Two Other Stories. This volume also includes Heart of Darkness and The End of the Tether, which are concerned with maturity and old age, respectively. “Youth” is narrated by Charles Marlow who is also the narrator of Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Chance. Youth depicts his first journey to the East.”

Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad Amy Foster

Classic shortish story by Conrad that relates his self-thought alienation from British society, as a young foreign man survives a shipwreck off the coast of Kent, England only to be shunned by most of the townsfolk. The one exception is the loving, if dull-witted, Miss Foster.

The Point of Honor by Joseph Conrad The Point of Honor

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, “The Point of Honor” (English title: “The Duel”) features two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud. Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out struggle over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. At the beginning, Feraud is the one who jealously guards his honor and repeatedly demands satisfaction anew when a duelling encounter ends inconclusively; he aggressively pursues every opportunity to locate and duel his foe...

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad Nostromo

Señor Gould is a native Costaguanan of English descent who owns the silver-mining concession in Sulaco. He is tired of the political instability in Costaguana and its concomitant corruption, and puts his weight behind the Ribierist project, which he believes will finally bring stability to the country after years of misrule and tyranny by self-serving dictators. Instead, the silver mine and the wealth it has generated become a magnet for local warlords to fight over, plunging Costaguana into a new round of chaos...

Tales of Unrest by Joseph Conrad Tales of Unrest

Tales of Unrest (1898) is the first collection of short stories by Joseph Conrad published in his lifetime.Joseph Conrad (1857–1924), a Polish-born English novelist, was a master in the formats of long short story and novella, a form of story longer than conventional short story but shorter than a novel. Some of Conrad's most acclaimed works have been written in these formats, most notably Heart of Darkness (1899).Tales of Unrest contains five stories; Karain: A Memory (written 1897; read by Jhiu), The Idiots (1896; read by Ann Boulais), An Outpost of Progress (1896; read by Kristine Bekere), The Return (1897; read by Raerity) and The Lagoon (1896; read by David Lazarus)...

The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad The Nigger of the Narcissus

This is the story of a voyage of a merchant sailing ship from Bombay to England, set in the very late 19th century. “It was a bad winter off the Cape that year.” From Wikepedia: “The novel is seen as an allegory about isolation and solidarity, the ship’s company serving as a microcosm of a social group.” As to the title, one can only ask, “What WERE you thinking?” (Introduction by Tom Crawford) Note from the reader: The preface (all but the first three minutes of Section 0) have nothing to do with the sea, the Narcissus, or seamen. Most listeners will want to begin with Chapter 1, and listen to the preface last, if at all.

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad The Secret Sharer

A young untested ship captain finds a man named Leggatt clinging to the side of his ship. The Captain makes the unusual decision to hide Leggatt in his quarters. What is he thinking? Conrad will tell us. - The Secret Sharer was first published in the August and September 1910 issues of Harper’s Magazine

Victory: An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad Victory: An Island Tale

Recollections of the life of Axel Heyst, one-time manager of the liquidated Tropical Belt Coal Company in a fictitious island in the Pacific. After retreating from society in response to his professional failures, the misanthrope is drawn back by a romantic affair. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

Chance by Joseph Conrad Chance

Apparently a two part story about a Damsel and a Knight, perhaps a damsel who depends upon the kindness of strangers. It was originally entitled "Dynamite" and first published by installments in the New York Herald. The book itself was the biggest commercial success for Conrad up until that time, 1913. It allowed Conrad for the first time to settle his financial affairs. The author's disdain for people who live on the land is apparent. A new understanding of the word "enthusiastic" is promulgated. And it is a love story. Let us see how the tale goes.

An Outcast Of The Islands by Joseph Conrad An Outcast Of The Islands

An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1896, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features Conrad's recurring character Tom Lingard, who also appears in Almayer's Folly (1895) and The Rescue (1920), in addition to sharing other characters with those novels...

Book cover Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes (1911) is a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment, Conrad being reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever...

Book cover Shadow-Line

Dedicated to the author's son who was wounded in World War 1, The Shadow-Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial and in book form in 1917. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development. The novella is notable for its dual narrative structure. The full, subtitled title of the novel is The Shadow-Line, A Confession, which immediately alerts the reader to the retrospective nature of the novella...

Book cover The Arrow of Gold A Story Between Two Notes
Book cover Almayer's Folly

A European businessman and his Malayan wife have a daughter, Nina. A Malayan prince comes to do trade with the businessman and falls in love with the daughter. Conflict arises when other influences cause distrust in the business partnership and the daughter runs off to be with the prince.

Book cover The Rescue A Romance of the Shallows
Book cover The End of the Tether
Book cover 'Twixt Land and Sea
Book cover To-morrow

By: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most controversial novels of the last century, with it’s sentimental portrayal of the anti-slavery movement in the USA. Written in 1852, the novel instantly rose to fame and split Americans up and down the country. Stowe was a passionate abolitionist and was inspired to write Uncle Tom when she spent time in Cincinnati in the early part of the 18th century. She met many slaves who had escaped from Kentucky and was touched by the friendships she built. It was with this sentiment that the novel was born and the deep empathy Stowe had for slaves is evident throughout...

Book cover Uncle Tom's Cabin, Young Folks' Edition
Book cover Betty's Bright Idea; Deacon Pitkin's Farm; and the First Christmas of New England
Book cover Oldtown Fireside Stories

A sequel to Oldtown Folks, featuring some of the same characters, these are 15 charming short stories told by ole' Sam Lawson to entertain Horace and Bill, two impressionable, curious and clever young boys of Oldtown (a fictional 1850's New England village), during evenings gathered around the hearth, or roaming with Sam around the countryside. Stowe faithfully and masterfully captures many of the colloquial expressions, superstitions, beliefs, customs and habits of the period that have almost completely faded from modern American culture, as well as conveying many truths about the human condition that haven't changed a bit. ~

By: Jacob Abbott

Queen Elizabeth by Jacob Abbott Queen Elizabeth

The history of a woman who rose above and beyond tragedy, grief and personal loss to become one of the most powerful figures in sixteenth century Europe is wonderfully told in this biography Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott. Beginning with the tragic circumstances of Elizabeth's mother, the lovely and doomed Anne Boleyn's execution and Henry VIII's dissolution of the English Catholic Church, the story of Elizabeth's rise to power is reflective of the England's domination of world politics as well...

William the Conqueror by Jacob Abbott William the Conqueror

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

Margaret of Anjou by Jacob Abbott Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou, wife of England’s Henry VI, played a key role in launching the storied War of the Roses – the 30-year civil conflict fuelled by the Lancasters and the Yorks, each vying for the British throne in the 15th century. (Summary by Cathy Barratt.)

Book cover Georgie
Book cover Caleb in the Country
Book cover Rollo at Work
Book cover Forests of Maine Marco Paul's Adventures in Pursuit of Knowledge
Book cover Rollo in Paris
Book cover Rollo on the Atlantic
Book cover Rollo on the Rhine
Book cover Rollo in the Woods
Book cover Rollo in Geneva
Book cover Rollo in Naples
Book cover Rollo in Holland
Book cover Rollo in Switzerland
Book cover Rollo in Rome
Book cover Rollo in Scotland
Book cover Rollo's Museum
Book cover Rollo in London
Book cover Stuyvesant A Franconia Story

By: Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen Andersen's Fairy Tales

The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, The Real Princess and a host of other wonderful tales which form so much a part of childhood are part of Andersen's Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen. This volume contains eighteen selected stories. Some of them are old familiar friends, while others maybe new to some readers, but all of them equally enchanting and enthralling. Today, these stories are known almost everywhere in the world and have been translated into hundreds of languages...

Hans Christian Andersen: Fairytales and Short Stories Volume 1, 1835 to 1842 by Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen: Fairytales and Short Stories Volume 1, 1835 to 1842

A collection of some of Hans Christian Andersen's works. He is a Danish author and poet most famous for his fairy tales.

By: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise

A romantic and witty novel that has weathered time to remain one of America’s classic pieces. In the shadows of the great Gatsby is another brilliant novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book is evidence to Fitzgerald’s literal genius because it was written by the author in his twenties to mirror his experiences at the time. It paints a picture of what it was like to be a young man or woman in the 20th century and in the wake of the First World War. The book is set on a foundation of socialist principles...

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A life lived backwards, with events happening in reverse order forms the strange and unexpected framework of one of F Scott Fitzgerald's rare short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was published in Collier's in 1927 and the idea came to Fitzgerald apparently from a quote of Mark Twain's in which he regretted that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end. Fitzgerald's concept of using this notion and turning the normal sequence of life on its head resulted in this delightful, thought provoking fantasy tale...

Selected Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald Selected Short Stories

A shy and dowdy country girl, Berenice feels socially inept beside her vivacious and sophisticated cousin, Marjorie. But Marjorie decides to groom her and when Berenice turns out better than she expected, Marjorie is delighted, till Berenice catches the eye of one of Marjorie's own faithful admirers. Will Berenice remain the timid and diffident country girl, or will her newfound success give her courage? Lois, a young girl engaged to be married, suddenly becomes unsure about the relationship with her fiancé Howard...

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned

An idle, extravagant young man is the heir presumptive of his wealthy grandfather, an industrial tycoon. His wife, divinely beautiful and utterly selfish, believes that nothing is more powerful than her own beauty. Together, this couple represents what Fitzgerald famously portrayed as the lost generation of the Jazz Age in several of his novels. In The Beautiful and The Damned, F Scott Fitzgerald explores the trivial and shallow lives of the well-heeled inheritors of the American Dream the second or third generation that can afford to live on the fortunes that their forbears worked so hard to accumulate...

The Offshore Pirate by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Offshore Pirate

This is a long short story in 6 parts from Fitzgerald’s 1920 short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers. It predates the screwball movie comedies of the 1930’s in that it features a determined young heiress trying to get what she wants out of life.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give! (Introduction by BellonaTimes)

By: Emma Orczy (1865-1947)

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel narrates the story of a rich English baronet who rescues French aristocrats facing the guillotine. He also taunted his enemies after each rescue by leaving behind a card that has a small flower on it – the scarlet pimpernel. It is a brilliant adventure story set at the time of the French Revolution. The plot is fantastic and rarely lets the readers pause for breath as it oscillates between London society and the dark night in Coastal France. The story follows a beautiful Countess who escapes from Paris as a committee there was making arrangements to send her to the guillotine...

By: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)

El Dorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy El Dorado

If you've read and loved the exciting classic The Scarlet Pimpernel then you'd probably be delighted to follow the further adventures of the dashing Sir Percy Blakeney. El Dorado by Baronness “Emmuska” Orczy depicts the intrepid swordsman and escape artist in the role of savior of the French royal family. Published in 1913, El Dorado was the fourth in the Pimpernel series of eleven books, numerous short stories and other related writings about her famous British adventurer. However, Orczy did not always follow a strict chronological sequence while publishing the novels and hence, there is plenty of overlap between the time frames of the stories...

The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy The Elusive Pimpernel

First Published in 1908, The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is the 4th book in the classic adventure series about the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Castles in the Air by Baroness Emmuska Orczy Castles in the Air

Baroness Emma Orczy (full name: Emma (”Emmuska”) Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Orczy de Orczi) (September 23, 1865 – November 12, 1947) was a British novelist, playwright and artist of Hungarian noble origin. She was most notable for her series of novels featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel. Castles in the Air, a short novel or perhaps more like a collection of short stories with memories of a French rogue in the early 19th century Paris, was published in 1921 and about it I quote from the foreword: In very truth my good friend Ratichon is an unblushing liar, thief, a forger–anything you will; his vanity is past belief, his scruples are non-existent...

By: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Walking by Henry David Thoreau Walking

This was originally a lecture given by Thoreau in 1851 at the Concord lyceum titled “The Wild” . He revised it before his death and it was included as part of the June 1862 edition of Atlantic Monthly. This essay appears, on the surface, to be simply expounding the qualities of Nature and man’s place therein. Through this medium he not only touches those subjects, but with the implications of such a respect for nature, or lack thereof.

By: Anna Sewell

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Black Beauty

This unique tale is narrated by a lovely, gentle horse named Black Beauty and has remained a children's classic since it was first published in 1877. It earned eternal name and fame for its author Anna Sewell, an invalid who died within a few months of publication. According to current estimates, it has sold more than fifty million copies world wide, been translated into many languages and delighted generations of children. The original title page reads: Black Beauty: Translated from the original Equine by Anna Sewell and this gives the reader an instant glimpse into what the book will be about...

BLACK BEAUTY - Young Folks Edition by Anna Sewell BLACK BEAUTY - Young Folks Edition

The same beloved story of the adventures and misadventures and of a young horse that we all know and love, but rewritten by the author for young people with much shorter chapters. All of the pathos, tenderness and fun are still there, just written for a younger audience. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect.

By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Frankenstein

A precursor to gothic literature and science fiction genres, Frankenstein is a novel fuming with imagination as it depicts a well known horror story. Shelly’s gothic fiction is written in epistolary form as a means of correspondence between the failed writer Robert Walton and his sister, while he is away on a dangerous expedition in search of fame. Some major themes explored in the gothic classic are the fallibility of ambition and knowledge, revenge, prejudice, isolation, and the imperfections of society...

The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley The Last Man

The Last Man is an early post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book tells of a future world that has been ravaged by a plague. The plague gradually kills off all people. Lionel Verney, central character, son of a nobleman who gambled himself into poverty, finds himself immune after being attacked by an infected “negro,” and copes with a civilization that is gradually dying out around him.

Mathilda by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mathilda

The finished draft of a short novel by Mary Shelley. Its adult theme, concerning a father’s incestuous love for his daughter and its consequences, meant that the manuscript was suppressed by Shelley’s own father, and not published until 1959, more than a hundred years after her death. Summary by Cori Samuel

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James The Turn of the Screw

Christmas Eve. Guests round a fireside begin telling each other ghost stories. One of them relates a true incident involving the governess of his little nephew and niece. Strange events begin to take place, involving the housekeeper, a stranger who prowls round the grounds, a mysterious woman dressed in black and an unknown misdemeanor committed by the little nephew. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James was published in 1893 and it remains one of the best-known and admired works of this great American writer...

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James The Portrait of a Lady

Regarded as one of James’ finest works, The Portrait of a Lady revolves around the life and the development of Isabel Archer as she embarks on a scrupulous journey of self-discovery, forced to choose between her individual freedom and the preset conventions of society. Moreover, the novel explores themes of existentialism, objectification of women, wealth, suffering, and the conflict between individual longing and social conformity. Set in the second half of the 19th century, the novel opens with the introduction of Isabel Archer, a naive young woman from Albany, New York...

Washington Square by Henry James Washington Square

First appearing as a serial in Cornhill Magazine in 1880, Washington Square focuses on the strained relationship between father and daughter, which is instigated as a result of opposing personalities, viewpoints, and lack of affection. At the same time, James presents an insidious father, who would rather sacrifice his daughter’s happiness and condemn her to a lifetime of misery, simply to prove the accuracy of his prediction. Essentially a tragicomedy, the novel focuses on themes including family, deception, cruelty, manipulation, and opposed principles...

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts

Daisy Miller is an 1878 novella by Henry James. It portrays the confused courtship of the eponymous American girl by Winterbourne, a compatriot of hers with much more sophistication. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates they meet in Switzerland and Italy. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

An International Episode by Henry James An International Episode

Two men visting the US from London meet a pair of charming women who return the visit the following year in London. Romantic intrigues, miscommunication and cultural faux pas abound in this short but delightful novel.

The Europeans by Henry James The Europeans

The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the ‘new’ world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly for July-October, 1878. James made numerous minor revisions for the first book publication.

The American by Henry James The American

One of James’s early novels, The American plunges right in to one of the writer’s most enduring subjects, that of the innocent, or at least inexperienced, American abroad, seeking to come to terms with the social customs and conventions of an old European aristocracy (think of Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove and others). The aptly named Christopher Newman, having made a small fortune from business in California, has come to the Old World for the first time, determined to enlarge his experience by learning all he can of it...

The Ambassadors by Henry James The Ambassadors

Henry James considered The Ambassadors his best, or perhaps his best-wrought, novel. It plays on the great Jamesian theme of Americans abroad, who finds themselves in an older, and some would say richer and more sophisticated, culture that that of the United States. The protagonist is Lambert Strether, a man in his fifties, editor of a small literary magazine in the manufacturing town of Woollett, Massachusetts, who arrives in Europe on a mission undertaken at the urging of his patron, Mrs. Newsome, to bring home her son Chadwick...

The Golden Bowl by Henry James The Golden Bowl

The Golden Bowl is a 1904 novel by Henry James. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the “major phase” of James’ career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight.

The Altar of the Dead by Henry James The Altar of the Dead

A fable of literally life and death significance, the story explores how the protagonist tries to keep the remembrance of his dead friends, to save them from being forgotten entirely in the rush of everyday events. He meets a woman who shares his ideals, only to find that the past places what seems to be an impassable barrier between them. Although James was not religious in any conventional sense, the story shows a deep spirituality in its treatment of mortality and the transcendent power of unselfish love.

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James The Wings of the Dove

The Wings of the Dove, published in 1902, represents to my memory a very old–if I shouldn’t perhaps rather say a very young–motive; I can scarce remember the time when the situation on which this long-drawn fiction mainly rests was not vividly present to me. The idea, reduced to its essence, is that of a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to “put in” before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the sense of having lived.

The Aspern Papers by Henry James The Aspern Papers

One of James’s favorite short novels, the Aspern Papers tells of the efforts of the nameless narrator to procure the papers of a famous, but now dead, American poet. His attempts to secure them from the poet’s former lover and her niece, now recluses in Venice, are stymied both by them, and by his own mistakes in his quest.

The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James The Beast in the Jungle

'The Beast in the Jungle' is a 1903 novella by Henry James, first published as part of the collection, The Better Sort. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.

The Jolly Corner by Henry James The Jolly Corner

“The Jolly Corner,” published in 1908, is considered by many to be a ghost story ranking second only to “The Turn of the Screw.” James’s protagonist, Spencer Brydon, is an American of 56, returned to New York after 33 years in Europe, where he has apparently accomplished little while living off his New York rentals. His friendship with Alice Staverton, and his engagement in the development of a property awaken him to the possibilities that might have been his, had he chosen a different course of life...

What Maisie Knew by Henry James What Maisie Knew

When Beale and Ida Farange are divorced, the court decrees that their only child, the very young Maisie, will shuttle back and forth between them, spending six months of the year with each. The parents are immoral and frivolous, and they use Maisie to intensify their hatred of each other.

The Pupil by Henry James The Pupil

Pemberton, a young American with an Oxford education and out of money, takes a job tutoring Morgan Moreen, the 12-year old son of an American couple living in Europe in a style not quite matched by their income. Morgan, who is highly intelligent, is also precocious and perceptive enough to understand his parents' pretentious aimlessness. Nor, as it happens, do his parents pay Pemberton the salary to which they'd agreed -- shouldn't he be satisfied, after all, by his life with them, and by the joy of tutoring young Morgan? Alternately charmed and put off by the Moreen family, Pemberton is left to choose between his attachment to his young pupil and his need to get on in life.

In the Cage by Henry James In the Cage

In the Cage is a novella by Henry James, first published as a book in 1898. This long story centers on an unnamed London telegraphist. She deciphers clues to her clients' personal lives from the often cryptic telegrams they submit to her as she sits in the "cage" at the post office. Sensitive and intelligent, the telegraphist eventually finds out more than she may want to know.

The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James The Figure in the Carpet

The story ostensibly concerns a young literary critic who greatly admires the writer Hugh Vereker. A meeting with Vereker, however, shows him that he — and all other critics — have in fact missed the great point of Vereker’s work, and the critic (and his editor) thereupon devote themselves to trying to unravel the mystery. James’s story, however, almost certainly has an autobiographical side to it, perhaps itself criticizing those critics who couldn’t see, or wouldn’t see, the figures lost in the carpet of his own writing.

The Real Thing by Henry James The Real Thing

The Real Thing is, on one level, a somewhat ironic tale of an artist and two rather particular models. Yet it also raises questions about the relationship between the notion of reality in our humdrum world, and the means that an artist must use in trying to achieve, or reflect, that reality. Though the protagonist is an artist and illustrator of books, not a writer, it's not hard to imagine that James has himself, and other writers, in mind.

The Death of the Lion by Henry James The Death of the Lion

This short novel is a black comedy about fame, manipulation, pretension, and surviving it all. The narrator, a reprehensible and seedy journalist, sets out to interview a minor author, and in his own quest for glory, turns the author into the celebrity of the day. The sudden and untimely death of the author, with his latest work unfinished, presents a troubling dilemma for the narrator, which he resolves with no more conscience than he had when he began his quest. (Introduction by Christine Dufour)

The Spoils of Poynton by Henry James The Spoils of Poynton

The recently widowed Adela Gereth, a lover of beauty and passionate collector of fine objects, strikes up a friendship with the young Fleda Vetch, when both of them find themselves guests in the tasteless house of the Brigstock family. Mrs. Gereth fears that her son Owen, an honorable but somewhat unimaginative young man, may take up with one of the Brigstock girls, and indeed he presently announces his engagement to Mona, the eldest daughter. That means that Mrs. Gereth will have to leave Poynton, the beautiful house that she and her husband filled with the furniture, china, tapestries, and other objects that they lovingly collected over the years...

The Sacred Fount by Henry James The Sacred Fount

Published in 1901, The Sacred Fount delves into the interior observations and obsessions of one Englishman during a weekend gathering in the country. Regarding himself as a master of human psychology, the narrator watches the goings-on of the other guests and weaves theories about the interpersonal implications of what he witnesses, leaving the not infrequently perplexed reader the task of sorting out whether his conclusions are facts or fancies. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

Sir Dominick Ferrand by Henry James Sir Dominick Ferrand

“Levity” is not a word often applied to Henry James, but this story has about it an attractively lighthearted quality. It tells of Peter Baron, a poor, young struggling writer of adequate, if not transcendent, talent, who lives in a dreary London boarding house inhabited also by a mysteriously clairvoyant and beautiful young widow, with her small boy. When Baron buys himself a second-hand writing desk to stimulate the creative juices, he finds carefully hidden within it a cache of letters that appear to compromise a recently deceased statesman...

The Bostonians (Vol. 1 & 2) by Henry James The Bostonians (Vol. 1 & 2)

This bittersweet tragicomedy centers on an odd triangle of characters: Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's in the feminist movement. The storyline concerns the struggle between Ransom and Olive for Verena's allegiance and affection, though the novel also includes a wide panorama of political activists, newspaper people, and quirky eccentrics.

The Coxon Fund by Henry James The Coxon Fund

This novella explores the relationship between Frank Saltram, a charismatic speaker who is also a freeloader; Ruth Anvoy, a young American who visits her widowed aunt, Lady Coxon, an American who married a Brit; and George Gravener, a British intellectual with a future in politics who becomes engaged to Ms. Anvoy. The story revolves around the dispersal of The Coxon Fund, a sum of money left by Ms. Anvoy’s father with the stipulation that is be given to a great man to publish and pursue moral truth.

Roderick Hudson by Henry James Roderick Hudson

Published as a serial in 1875, Roderick Hudson is James's first important novel. The theme of Americans in Europe, so important in much of James's work, is already central to the story. Hudson is a young law student in Northampton, Massachusetts, who shows such surprising ability as a sculptor that the rich Rowland Mallett, visiting a cousin in Northampton, decides to stake him to several years of study in Rome, then a center of expatriate American society. The story has to do not only with Roderick's growth as an artist and the problems it brings, but also as a man susceptible to his new environment, and indeed his occasional rivalries with his American friend and patron...

Book cover Some Short Stories [by Henry James]

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