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By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Alcestis

Alcestis is the earliest surviving play by Euripides. Alcestis, the devoted wife of King Admetus, has agreed to die in his place, and at the beginning of the play she is close to death. In the first scene, Apollo argues with Thanatos (Death), asking to prolong Alcestis' life, but Thanatos refuses. Apollo leaves, but suggests that a man will come to Pherae who will save Alcestis. Euripides' play is perhaps the most unusual Greek drama ever written: a tragedy that is not a tragedy.

By: Plato (Πλάτων) (c. 428 BC - c. 347 BC)

Book cover Lesser Hippias

This work may not be by Plato, or his entirely, but Jowett has offered his sublime translation, and seems to lean towards including it in the canon. Socrates tempted by irony to deflate the pretentious know-it-all Hippias, an arrogant polymath, appears to follow humour more than honour in this short dialogue.

By: Unknown (427? BC - 347? BC)

Book cover Eryxias

Eryxias (ΕΡΥΞΙΑΣ) may not have been written by Plato (ΠΛΑΤΩΝ). The dialogue discusses whether wealth has value and what the aim of philosophy should be.

By: Raphael Kühner (1802-1878)

Book cover Elementary Greek Grammar

We have followed the Grammars of Kühner, known as his "Large" and "School" Grammars. [...] Omitting the learned dissertations and numerous details of the original, we have endeavored to furnish to the student, in a concise and simple form, whatever is of general application." (From the Foreword by Charles O'Leary)

By: Cuey-na-Gael (1858-1937)

Book cover Irishman's difficulties with the Dutch language

Jack O'Neill, an Irishman, has just returned from a month's holiday in The Netherlands. Before he left, he had boasted to his friends that he would learn the Dutch language within a fortnight. On his return, he has to admit that it wasn't quite that easy... He tells his friends stories about his clumsy attempts to speak Dutch, leading to many funny scenes.This audiobook contains both "An Irishman's difficulties with the Dutch language" and its sequel "Jack O'Neill's further adventures in Holland"...

By: Percival Leigh (1813-1889)

Book cover Comic English Grammar

This is a basic grammar, treating of the parts of speech, syntax, versification, pronunciation and punctuation. The listener is warned that there is quite a dated feel about this little grammar as the author, in keeping with the times (1840), is a frightful snob about social classes, scathing about 'vulgar speech' and also sometimes quite rude about American turns of phrase. The author is not remotely as comical as he thinks he is, but it has its moments.

By: Anonymous

Book cover How to Write a Novel

I address myself to the man or woman of talent—those people who have writing ability, but who need instruction in the manipulation of characters, the formation of plots, and a host of other points with which I shall deal hereafter. Although no school could turn out novelists to order there is yet enough common material in all art-work to be mapped out in a course of lessons. I shall show that the two great requisites of novel-writing are (1) a good story to tell, and (2) ability to tell it effectively...

By: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

Book cover Literature in the Making, by Some of its Makers

This is a collection of 23 essays based on interviews conducted by Joyce Kilmer with some of the most famous authors of the time . Kilmer's idea, as outlined in the Introduction, was that there is a deep divide between those who write literature, and those who write about literature. He thus bridges the gap and asks authors, the 'makers' as mentioned in the title of the work, about their opinion about various topics. - Summary by Carolin

By: Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)

Book cover Technique of the Mystery Story

For one, I have never been one of those who apologize for my frank and never-ending delight in mystery stories. Their mazes have led me unwearied through miles of printed pages, and if only the problem has been worth while, and its pursuit has led along surprising ways, past shuddery thickets and over fearsome bridges, my soul has returned to sober affairs refreshed and content. In a word, here is a remarkable volume which shows us how the wheels go round, not by dogmatic statement, but by an amazing breadth and variety of citation and quotation, showing not only what great mystery writers have thought of their art, but illustrating by apposite examples how they secured their effects...

By: Caleb Bingham (1757-1817)

Book cover Columbian Orator

The Columbian Orator, a collection of political essays, poems, and dialogues first published in 1797, was widely used in American schoolrooms in the first quarter of the 19th century to teach reading and speaking. Typical of many readers of that period, the anthology included many speeches celebrating "republican virtues" and promoting patriotism. The Columbian Orator is an example of progymnasmata, containing examples for students to copy and imitate. In his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, former slave and abolitionist writer Douglass describes how he "got hold" of a copy of the Columbian Orator at the age of twelve, with far-reaching consequences for his life...

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain's Speeches, Part 2

This collection of the 195 known, publicly-printed speeches of Mark Twain was compiled by Paul Fatout and published by the University of Iowa Press. The speeches are in the Public Domain, and our thanks go to the University of Iowa for making them available for this Public Domain audio recording. They were compiled in the University of Iowa Press book entitled "Mark Twain Speaking" and are arranged, chronologically, from Twain's first authenticated public speech in 1864, to his last speech, exactly 7 months before he died. Extensive analysis , notes, appendix and index are included in the printed work. - Summary by John Greenman

By: E. Walter Walters

Book cover Confessions of a Book-Lover

"I am of the company of book men who read simply for the love of it," confesses E. Walter Walters, in this gently written tome. Walters documents his habit of "book fishing--" seeking and finding quality volumes in the discount binds at his booksellers, and as a connoisseur of wine might match varieties with courses, he matches his books with the contexts in which he reads them--in the garden, in the bedroom, with friends. He also provides a list of his favorite authors and favorite books, as well as favorite characters from the books he has read, not in a way to impose his choices on other readers, but to share his own personal experiences.

By: Pedro Carolino (1788-1866)

Book cover English as She is Spoke

English as She is Spoke is a 19th century Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that has become a classic of absurdist humor, owing chiefly to the apparent fact that its writer had absolutely no knowledge of English. It is thought that for utterly obscure reasons its unknown author, Pedro Carolino, used a dictionary to translate Portuguese words to French, then a second dictionary to convert French to English, producing an incoherent but hilarious result. Mark Twain said of this book, "Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect." - Summary by J A Carter

By: Frances Jermain

Book cover In the Path of the Alphabet

Language: we all use it and few of us think about the form it takes on the page. But how did the transmittal of ideas in written form evolve from Egyptian hieroglyphics to the ABCs in use in most countries around the world today? This work, written by a librarian and scholar, draws on previously published works and also direct correspondence with archaeologists still uncovering secrets in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Her death left this work unfinished, but others were able to polish it for publication. - Summary by Lynne Thompson

By: H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Book cover American Language

"It was part of my daily work, for a good many years, to read the principal English newspapers and reviews; it has been part of my work, all the time, to read the more important English novels, essays, poetry and criticism. An American born and bred, I early noted, as everyone else in like case must note, certain salient differences between the English of England and the English of America as practically spoken and written—differences in vocabulary, in syntax, in the shades and habits of idiom, and even, coming to the common speech, in grammar...

By: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Book cover Raven and The Philosophy Of Composition

Poe’s famous narrative poem and the author’s reflections on its composition.

By: George Lillie Craik (1798-1866)

Book cover Compendious History of English Literature and of the English Language, Volume I

The History of English Literature and Language may be recommended to the student as a guide always sure, and as satisfactory as its limits will admit, to the gathered harvest of a thousand years -- from ALFRED the Great to VICTORIA -- now existing in a language radically identical for the whole of that period, the common property of all who are born to its use, a personal endowment not to be limited by local accidents, but the rightful possession of those who "claim SHAKESPEARE's language for their mother tongue...

By: Mary Elizabeth Brown (1842-1918)

Book cover Dedications

Dedications is an anthology of the forms used from the earliest days of book-making to the present time. My purpose in the following anthology of dedications has been to make a representative, rather than an exhaustive collection. My first idea was to take only beautiful dedications, and above all those which showed thought and originality. I next sought those which were quaint and curious, grave and gay, and then wandering through the wide field of English literature, tried to have each section of it represented...

By: Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946)

Book cover English Language

A description and history of the development of the English Language and reflections on the influences that changed the language. - Summary by barbara2

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Europe and Elsewhere

This collection of articles came from Mark Twain's travels and experiences abroad. While many had been previously published, there also were many that had never before seen the light of day...which one reviewer said had never been Twain's intent for them, having consigned them to obscurity. With introductory essays by Brander Matthews and Albert Bigelow Paine, the book paints a clear picture of the complexity and wide variety of Samuel L. Clemens' thinking, where it originated and how it developed.

By: Van Wyck Brooks (1886-1963)

Book cover The Ordeal of Mark Twain (Version 2)

The Ordeal of Mark Twain analyzes the literary progression of Samuel L. Clemens and attributes shortcomings to Clemens' mother and wife. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, Brooks' work "was a psychological study attempting to show that Twain had crippled himself emotionally and curtailed his genius by repressing his natural artistic bent for the sake of his Calvinist upbringing." Also, Brooks says, his literary spirit was sidelined as "...Mark Twain was inducted into the Gilded Age, launched, in defiance of that instinct which only for a few years was to allow him inner peace, upon the vast welter of a society blind like himself, like him committed to the pursuit of worldly success...

By: Francis Lister Hawks Pott (1864-1947)

Book cover Lessons in the Shanghai Dialect

A rare textbook on Shanghai dialect by Reverend F. L. H. Pott, an American missionary and educator who lived in China for more than 50 years. - Summary by Xiaoyan Arrowsmith


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