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By: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

Basil by Wilkie Collins Basil

Basil, son of a father who values the family pedigree and who would not let him marry below his station, falls in love at first sight with a girl he sees on a bus. He stalks her and discovers she is Margaret Sherwin, only daughter of a linen draper. He stalks her and persuades her father to let him marry her secretly. He agrees on the condition, that, as his daughter is only seventeen, they live apart for the first year. At first the secret works, but then the mysterious Mannion, whose emotions cannot be read in his face, returns from abroad. On the last night of the year Basil follows Margaret and Mannion and discovers them in flagrante delicto. (Wikipedia)

Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins Poor Miss Finch

"Poor Miss Finch." That is what everyone calls the courageous protagonist of this book. In other words, "poor thing, she's blind, isn't it awful?" Ha! Lucilla Finch is the wisest of all the characters, in spite of, and perhaps because of, her blindness. This story is about her trials, tribulations and triumphs. She reminds me of myself. Not the falling recklessly in love and being pulled this way and that by foolish young men and mad old doctors. I mean that, like her, I'm blind and proud of it! (Introduction by Sandra G)

Jezebel's Daughter by Wilkie Collins Jezebel's Daughter

A brilliant chemist and a shrewd businessman — die on the same day. The widow of the chemist, Mrs. Fontaine, is left with the poisons he was researching , while Mrs. Wagner is left with her husband's mental health institution reforms and his plans for hiring women along with men in his firm's offices. Mrs. Wagner believes in treating madmen gently, and requests for the funny little man Jack Straw to be released from the madhouse. At the same time, her nephew David Glenney is sent to the Frankfurt office, where he works with Mr Engelmann and Mr Keller...

The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins The Guilty River

After his father’s death Gerard Roylake returns from Germany to take up his inheritance at Trimley Deen. On one evening he meets his childhood friend, Cristel Toller. They fall in love, but there is a crux. A deaf man, called The Lodger is obsessed with Cristel. He invites Gerard to tea with evil intentions… and Gerard accepts the invitation.The book is written in the first person and tells the story from Gerard's point of view.

Book cover Hide and Seek

The artist Valentine Blyth has a very generous heart. He lovingly cares for his invalid wife, rescues a deaf orphan girl from maltreatment in a traveling circus and adopts her, and mentors a young man who gets in trouble with his tyrannical father. The girl, who received the nickname ‚Madonna’, falls in love with the young man, Zack. Because one of Valentine’s biggest fears is that Madonna’s blood relations will one day trace her and take her away from his home, he keeps the little that he knows of her origins a strict secret...

Book cover Queen of Hearts

The elderly Brothers Owen, Morgan and Griffith live a quiet, retired life in the countryside, which is turned upside-down by Griffith's ward, the young Jessie Yelverton. Originally, her visit to them was to last only six weeks, but for a very certain reason, the gentlemen must find a way to prolong her visit and get Jessie to stay for ten more days. To make her stay, they promise to tell her an entertaining and exciting story each night...

Book cover Man and Wife

This 1870 novel by Wilkie Collins centers around a peculiarity of Scottish law of that time, according to which any man and woman 'who were legally entitled to marry and who asserted that they were married before witnesses, or in writing, were regarded in Scotland as being married in law.' This strange law causes the characters Arnold and Geoffrey both possibly accidentally marrying Anne, though one is engaged to another woman and the other is searching for a more wealthy wife to accomodate his lifestyle. In these circumstances, Anne needs to catch an actual husband in order to save her reputation...

Book cover Evil Genius

The Evil Genius, one of Wilkie Collins' last works, is subtitled "A Domestic Scene". It is the intriguing tale of family Linley, including the "evil genius", and their governess Sydney Westerfield. In colorful pictures, Collins presents the story of this family, which becomes entangled in the often hyprocritical Victorian perceptions of morality and decency.

Book cover Miss or Mrs.?

Natalie Graybrooke is in love with her cousin Launcelot Linzie, but engaged to Mr. Turlington, an older man who covets her fortune and whom she detests. Turlington is the executor of Natalie's father's estate. When Natalie secretly marries her cousin, Turlington arranges to have Natalie's father murdered, to gain control of his fortune.

Book cover Rogue's Life

"[T]he story offers the faithful reflection of a very happy time in my past life. It was written at Paris, when I had Charles Dickens for a near neighbor and a daily companion, and when my leisure hours were joyously passed with many other friends, all associated with literature and art, of whom the admirable comedian, Regnier, is now the only survivor. The revising of these pages has been to me a melancholy task. I can only hope that they may cheer the sad moments of others. The Rogue may surely claim two merits, at least, in the eyes of the new generation—he is never serious for two moments together; and he "doesn't take long to read." W. C."

Book cover Two Destinies

Mary Dermody is destined to be together with George Germaine one day, or so at least her grandmother prophesizes. Destiny at first doesn't seem to adhere to this plan, and the pair is separated and lose sight of each other. But when George saves a young woman from drowning, a strong connection seems to develop between them, which seems to be almost supernatural..

By: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage is a fiction that tells the story of a soldier named Henry Fleming during the American Civil War. The novel gained widespread praise from critics and was also a commercial success shortly after its release and made Stephen Crane an instant celebrity at the young age of 24. In the novel, Henry was one of the enlisted soldiers in the 304th New York Regiment. He flees from battle in one of the skirmishes they had against the Confederates and to hide his cowardice, he attempted to inflict a wound to himself which is referred to as the “red badge of courage...

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

Stephen Crane’s first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has been called “the first dark flower of American Naturalism” for its distinctive elements of naturalistic fiction. The chief character, Maggie, descends into prostitution after being led astray by her lover. Rather than focusing on those that make up the very rich or middle class, the novel highlights the deplorable living conditions of the working class during the so-called Gilded Age in New York’s Bowery.

Selected Short Stories by Stephen Crane Selected Short Stories

At the time of his death at the age of 28, Stephen Crane had become an important figure in American literature. He was nearly forgotten, however, until two decades later when critics revived interest in his life and work. Stylistically, Crane's writing is characterized by vivid intensity, distinctive dialects, and irony. Common themes involve fear, spiritual crises and social isolation. Although recognized primarily for The Red Badge of Courage, which has become an American classic, Crane is also known for short stories such as "The Open Boat", "The Blue Hotel", "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", and The Monster...

By: Plato (428/427 BC - 348/347 BC)

Phaedo by Plato Phaedo

Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city...

By: Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)

Last Days of Pompeii by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton Last Days of Pompeii

The Last Days of Pompeii, a novel by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton tells the love story of the Greeks Glaucus and Ione who were living in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the city. But aside from telling their romance, the book is also full of insights about the decadent lifestyle of the Romans during the later part of their empire’s history. The different characters in the story represent the different civilizations which they come from. Glaucus, the main protagonist in the novel was portrayed as a handsome Greek nobleman...

By: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper The Last Of The Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans is an epic novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in January 1826. It was one of the most popular English-language novels of its time, and helped establish Cooper as one of the first world-famous American writers.The story takes place in 1757 during the French and Indian War, when France and Great Britain battled for control of the American and Canadian colonies. During this war, the French often allied themselves with Native American tribes in order to gain an advantage over the British, with unpredictable and often tragic results.

The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper The Spy

Between 1865-73 the tumultuous American Revolution rages on in different battlefields. The air is thick with hatred and suspicion as the Continental and British armies clash in bloody warfare. In Westchester County, New York, an area is considered a neutral ground for both forces, Harvey Birch plies his dangerous mission. An innocuous peddler by day, he is in fact an American spy, though he does nothing to correct anyone who assumes he is a British spy. In a magnificent country mansion, The Locusts, live the wealthy Whartons...

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper The Pathfinder

Natty Bumppo goes by many names: La Longue Carabine, Hawk Eye, Leatherstocking, and in this tale, The Pathfinder. Guide, scout, hunter, and when put to it, soldier, he also fills a lot of roles in pre-Revolution upstate New York. An old friend, Sergeant Dunham of the 55th Regiment of Foot, asks him to guide his daughter through the wilderness to the fort at Oswego where Dunham serves. With the French engaging native Indian allies against the British and the Yankee colonists, such a journey is far from safe...

The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper The Deerslayer

The Deerslayer, or The First Warpath (1841) was the last of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales to be written. Its 1740-1745 time period makes it the first installment chronologically and in the lifetime of the hero of the Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo.

The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper The Pioneers

The Pioneers: The Sources of the Susquehanna; a Descriptive Tale is one of the Leatherstocking Tales, a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper. The Pioneers was first of these books to be published (1823), but the period of time covered by the book (principally 1793) makes it the fourth chronologically. (The others are The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, and The Prairie.)The story takes place on the rapidly advancing frontier of New York State and features...

Book cover Prairie - A Tale

The story opens with Ishmael, his family, Ellen and Abiram slowly making their way across the virgin prairies of the Midwest looking for a homestead, just two years after the Louisiana Purchase, and during the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They meet the trapper (Natty Bumppo), who has left his home in New York state to find a place where he cannot hear the sound of people cutting down the forests. In the years between his other adventures and this novel, he tells us only that he has walked all the way to the Pacific Ocean and seen all the land between the coasts (a heroic feat, considering Lewis and Clark hadn’t yet completed the same trek).

By: Kate Chopin (1851-1904)

The Awakening by Kate Chopin The Awakening

This book opens with a young wife and mother, vacationing at a resort in the Gulf of Mexico with her husband and children. The resort is run by an elderly Frenchwoman, who manages the place along with her two sons. The young wife and one of the sons develop a deep and passionate attachment to each other, with devastating effects on both families and their circle of friends. When Kate Chopin's 1899 novel The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first released, it evoked a storm of controversy...

By: James Baldwin (1841-1925)

Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin Fifty Famous Stories Retold

King Alfred and the Cakes. Damon and Pythias. The Sword of Damocles. Bruce and the Spider. These are stories that many people who grew up in the last century would be familiar with. They were included in our text books or to be found in anthologies in our school libraries. However, for a new generation growing up, some of these may be new and unknown. Hence, Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin would indeed be a great addition to your children's bookshelf. James Baldwin, who shares his name with another famous American author was an editor, author and gifted teacher...

Old Greek Stories by James Baldwin Old Greek Stories

A retelling of old Greek stories involving mythological heroes and their adventures. Tales include those of Prometheus, Io, Perseus and Theseus. (Introduction by Iris McLeod)

By: O. Henry (1862-1910)

The Four Million by O. Henry The Four Million

An impoverished but loving young couple sacrifices their most precious possessions to buy Christmas gifts for each other. A tramp who is desperate to be sent to prison so he can escape the winter cold. Two depressed laborers get their palms read by a Coney Island mountebank. A yellow dog who relates the story of a fat lady and her hen pecked husband. These and other unforgettable characters form part of absolutely delightful and unforgettable short story collection, The Four Million by O Henry. As the master of the “twist in the tail/tale” and the completely unexpected endings, O...

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi is an O. Henry short story in which a young couple are very much in love with each other but can barely afford their one-room apartment. For Christmas, they each make a sacrifice to purchase a gift for the other, with ironic results. The moral of the story is that physical possessions, however valuable they may be, are of little value in the grand scheme of things. The true unselfish love that the characters, Jim and Della, share is greater than their possessions. O. Henry ends the story by clarifying the metaphor between the characters in the story, Della and James (or Jim), and the Biblical Magi...

Book cover Cabbages and Kings

This work is O. Henry's first published volume and is considered to be his only novel. The plot is composed of several short stories, which were inspired by the author's six-month stay in Honduras in the late 1890s. "The incidents embracing as they do, a variety of subjects, hang loosely together, so loosely in fact, that at times one finds no apparent connection between them at all, and yet in the end one sees how each is intimately related to the other. ...Written by a less able hand than O. Henry's the book might have been a sad jumble, perhaps comprehensible to none but the Walrus--but as it is, one finds a joy in its every obscurity...

Book cover Whirligigs

A collection of short stories.

Book cover Gentle Grafter

If Jefferson "Parleyvoo" Pickens had appeared in print just a few years later, he might have been the "Gentle Grifter" instead of the "Gentle Grafter", the name O. Henry picked for him. His situation as an ethical graft artist gives Jeff an extra impediment in pursuing his craft, but he never wanted it to be too easy. The result is fourteen delightful tales for us and a number of new partners for him. With those partners (he always has at least one) he works his way through a number of confidence games...

Book cover Heart of the West

A collection of short stories by the legendary O. Henry.

Book cover Options

O. Henry needs no introduction of course; the man who made the short story with the surprise ending famous. These 16 stories are all wonderful examples of his word sculpting art. They include: "The Rose of Dixie"; The Third Ingredient; The Hiding of Black Bill; Schools and Schools; Thimble, Thimble; Supply and Demand; Buried Treasure; To Him Who Waits; He Also Serves; The Moment of Victory; The Head-Hunter; No Story; The Higher Pragmatism; Best-Seller; Rus in Urbe; A Poor Rule


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