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By: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

Austen’s timeless romantic classic, follows the lives of the five Bennett sisters, who live in a time where an advantageous marriage and social status are considered a fundamental for any woman to stand a fair chance at life. Set at the turn of the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice catches a perfect glimpse not only of a time when women were socially and economically dependent solely on their marital status, but also as an age of enlightenment and witness of the French Revolution. This romantic novel with its hint of comic references begins with the famous quote "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...

Emma by Jane Austen Emma

A comedy of manners, Emma portrays the spoilt, snobbish, yet charming Emma Woodhouse as she delightfully interferes in the relationships of others without taking much notice of her own heart. Although quick to make prejudgments and decisions, Emma is eventually able to notice her mistakes, and it is this revelation that makes her an endearing heroine and an inspiration to women throughout. Austen has not only created, but also brought to life the world inhabited by her characters through her vivid depictions and clever use of wit...

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility

Two sisters, one practical and full of commonsense, the other a passionate and emotional creature, an uncaring brother and his avaricious wife, a handsome rake and a faithful gentleman – these are some of the unforgettable characters who make Jane Austen's first published novel, Sense and Sensibility such a delightful, witty and timeless classic. The novel was published under the pseudonym “A Lady” by its shy and retiring nineteen-year-old author, Jane Austen, in 1811. She was the daughter of a country rector and lived all her life in the circle of her large and loving family in a little village in Hampshire, England...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Mansfield Park

One of the most controversial novels written by Austen, Mansfield Park follows the life of the young heroine Fanny Price as she searches for her place in society. Set in early 19th century England, the classic novel depicts the social issues of the time including marriage, social mobility and morality. The classic centers on the life of the poor young girl Fanny Price, who is the oldest daughter of nine siblings. Her father is a former naval officer and a heavy drinker, while her mother has married beneath her and is undeniably the black sheep in the family when compared to her two sisters, Mrs...

Persuasion by Jane Austen Persuasion

Persuasion is the last completed novel by Jane Austen and it was published posthumously in 1818. Readers have often connected Persuasion with Northanger Abbey as the setting of both stories is in Bath, a highly fashionable health resort with which the author was well acquainted. Another interesting point to note is that the title of ‘Persuasion’ was probably not envisioned by Jane but by her brother or sister. Another theory is that her two siblings had a great role in choosing the title of the story...

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a book about the life of Catherine Morland and her romantic relationships. The novel is divided into two parts; the first part begins with Catherine’s visit to Bath and her relationship with Henry Tilney and the other people she met there, and the second part starts with the arrival of Frederick Tilney and her visit to Northanger Abbey. This book alongside Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility is considered one of the major works of Jane Austen. The novel had undergone many revisions before its publication and it was even originally titled “Catherine...

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen Love and Friendship

Begun when she was just eleven years old, Love and Friendship is one of Jane Austen's stories that very few readers may have encountered before. Austen experts feel that this story was written, like many others, only for the pleasure of her family and friends. It is scribbled across three notebooks, in childish handwriting, and the complete work is thought to have been written over a period of six or seven years. It is dedicated to one of her cousins, whom she was very close to, Eliza de Feuillide...

Lady Susan by Jane Austen Lady Susan

An epistolary novel, Lady Susan is an early work by Austen that was posthumously published in 1871. The short novel focuses on the self-serving eponymous anti-heroine, as she cunningly maneuvers her way through society in search of a wealthy husband for both her daughter and herself. Disregarding anything but her own selfish goals, Susan employs her charms to lure men and draw them into her web of deceit, no matter their age or status. Exploring issues including morals, manners, self-indulgence, malevolence, and social machinations, the relatively short novel is sure to fascinate with its atypical form...

By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace chronicles the lives of five Russian aristocratic families during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Many considered this book to be the best Russian work of literature of all time and it is massive in scale. The book is divided in four volumes and the chapters don't just contain the narrative of the plot to the novel but philosophical discussions as well. This may be intimidating to average book readers but they shouldn't be discouraged to try reading War and Peace. After all, this book was written for all and not just for intellectuals...

Childhood (English trans.) by Leo Tolstoy Childhood (English trans.)

Childhood, published in 1852, is the first novel in Leo Tolstoy’s autobiographical trilogy, which also includes Boyhood, and Youth. Published when Tolstoy was twenty-three, the book gained immediate notice among Russian writers including Ivan Turgenev, and heralded the young Tolstoy as a major figure in Russian letters. Childhood is an expressionist exploration of the internal life of a young boy, Nikolenka, and was a new form in Russian writing, mixing fact, fiction and emotions to render the moods and reactions of the narrator. Childhood is Tolstoy’s first published work. Translated into English by C. J. Hogarth.

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy Resurrection

Book 1. Resurrection is the last of Tolstoy's major fiction works published in his lifetime. Tolstoy intended the novel as an exposition of injustice of man-made laws and the hypocrisy of institutionalized church. It was first published serially in the magazine Niva as an effort to raise funds for the resettlement of the Dukhobors. The story concerns a nobleman named Nekhlyudov, who seeks redemption for a sin committed years earlier. His brief affair with a maid resulted in her being fired and ending up in prostitution. The book treats his attempts to help her out of her current misery, but also focuses on his personal mental and moral struggle.

Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy Boyhood

Boyhood is the second in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Youth, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy Master and Man

A land owner, Vasili Andreevich, takes along one of his peasants, Nikita, for a short journey to another town. He wishes to get to the town quickly ‘for business’. They find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, but the master in his avarice wishes to press on. They eventually get lost off the road and they try to camp. The master’s peasant soon finds himself about to die from hypothermia. The master leaves him on the horse to stubbornly try to find the road. When he returns, he attains a spiritual/moral revelation, and Tolstoy once again repeats one of his famous themes: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. (Wikipedia)

The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy The Cossacks

The Cossacks (1863) is an unfinished novel which describes the Cossack life and people through a story of Dmitri Olenin, a Russian aristocrat in love with a Cossack girl. This text was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language.

Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy Ivan the Fool

Written after Tolstoy suffered a spiritual crisis, Ivan the Fool is a fairy tale that offers children instruction in how to live rightly, simply, and generously. The story emphasizes the destructive aspects of materialism and militarism while idealizing manual labor and the peasant life. (Introduction by Dorlene Kaplan)

Book cover Tolstoy on Shakespeare

This book contains a critical essay on Shakespeare by Leo Tolstoy. It is followed by another essay named "Shakespeare's attitude to the working classes" by Ernest Crosby and extracts of a letter by George Bernard Shaw.

Youth by Leo Tolstoy Youth

Youth is the third in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Boyhood, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy Father Sergius

Prince Stepan Kasatsky experiences a disappointment with his fiancé and decides to become a monk! There is a story line, but beneath it, Father Sergius struggles to find peace and, if not happiness, then at least contentment. But he is always disillusioned and ultimately unsatisfied. Only in the end does he find his way by letting go of what he struggled to attain all his life, i.e. to be better than everyone else in whatever he did, and settle for the mundane.

Book cover The Forged Coupon

By: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

An acclaimed children’s classic depicting the odd, but riveting journeys of the curious Alice as she explores the surreal world of Wonderland. Written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson or better known under his pseudonym Lewis Caroll, this episodic novel is assembled in twelve chapters each containing a prominent adventure. The departure from logic and its embracement of pure imagination is what makes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a model for fantasy novels and a timeless classic. The novel begins when the self-aware young Alice, who grows bored of sitting by the river with her sister, and spots a peculiar looking rabbit, dressed in a waistcoat...

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass

If you've read and loved Alice in Wonderland, you wouldn't want to miss reading about her further adventures, the strange and fantastical creatures she meets and the delightful style and word-play that made the first book so appealing. Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll is thematically much more structured and cleverly constructed as compared to the earlier Alice book but still retains its childhood elements of wonder, curiosity and imagination. Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a gifted mathematics professor at Oxford during the late 19th century...

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll describing the adventures of ten weirdly assorted characters as they pursue an elusive creature known as a snark.

A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll A Tangled Tale

Lewis Carroll (1832-1896) is famous for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is less widely known that he worked as a lecturer for mathematics at Christ Church college, Oxford for 27 years. A tangled tale merges his two talents as storyteller and mathematician. It consists of ten short humorous stories which present one or more mathematical problems. The ten knots as they are called, were first published in The Monthly Packet magazine between April 1880 and March 1885, where readers were invited to solve the problems, and the solution was discussed in a later issue.

Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll Sylvie and Bruno

The novel has two main plots; one set in the real world at the time the book was published (the Victorian era), the other in the fantasy world of Fairyland. While the latter plot is a fairytale with many nonsense elements and poems, similar to Carroll’s Alice books, the story set in Victorian Britain is a social novel, with its characters discussing various concepts and aspects of religion, society, philosophy and morality. This book is the first of two volumes and the two intertwining stories are brought to a close in the second volume, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.

Alice's Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures Underground

This is the handwritten book that Carroll wrote for private use before being urged to develop it later into Alice in Wonderland. It was generously illustrated by Carroll and meant to entertain his family and friends. When a sick child in a hospital enjoyed it so much, the mother wrote him saying it had distracted her for a bit from her pain and led eventually to Carroll expanding the story. The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed in a boat, on 4 July 1862,[12]...

Book cover The Game of Logic
Book cover Phantasmagoria and Other Poems
Book cover The Hunting of the Snark an Agony, in Eight Fits

By: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Regarded as the pride and joy of American literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a picturesque novel depicting Huck’s epic journey from boyhood to manhood and the struggles he must face living in a corrupt society. The novel serves as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, another famous work by Mark Twain. The plot unfolds in several locations sometime before the Civil War. The book opens with a description of Huck’s new life as he undergoes a process of “civilization” while living with the Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson...

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

If ever there was a story written based unabashedly on adventure and trouble, this is it. There are treasure hunts and murderers on the run in this book that will keep you spellbound. Tom and his half-brother, Sid, lived with their aunt, Polly. Tom was a boisterous young fellow who constantly found himself in rather awkward situations that landed him into trouble. These situations were however exceedingly hilarious. On one occasion, Tom dirtied his clothes in a fight and his punishment was to whitewash the fence the following day...

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain The Prince and the Pauper

A poor young boy from the slums of London watches a royal procession pass, with the youthful Prince of Wales riding at its head. He ventures too close and is caught and beaten by the Prince's guards. However, the young royal stops them and invites the vagrant to the palace. Here the two boys sup alone and are stunned to discover that they bear a startling resemblance to each other. The Prince is Edward, long awaited heir of the monarch, Henry VIII, while the vagrant is Tom Canty, the son of a thief and a beggar...

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi

A river memoir documenting Twain’s early days as an apprentice steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. Reminiscing about his happy experiences as a young man under the instruction of an experienced mentor, the autobiographical tale depicts one of the most vivid illustrations of river life. Furthermore, the book captures the author’s nostalgic emotions through his resonant depiction of one of the most notable periods of his life. Twain begins his memoir with a rich historical account of the Mississippi River including its exploration by early explorers, its evolution, and its vastness...

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

An atypical piece of writing by Mark Twain, the short bawdy skit documents a conversion between Queen Elizabeth and several notable writers of the time, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. Despite first being published in 1880, the piece remained anonymous for a period of time, until it was later acknowledged by Twain in 1901 as his own. Comprised of humor, descriptive imagery, ribald connotations, and vulgar language, the faux conversation is simultaneously humorous and repulsing, but nonetheless a wonder for its satirical precision...

Chapters from my Autobiography by Mark Twain Chapters from my Autobiography

“...if I should talk to a stenographer two hours a day for a hundred years, I should still never be able to set down a tenth part of the things which have interested me in my lifetime.” The words of Mark Twain in his introduction to Chapters from my Autobiography provide a tantalizing glimpse of what is in store for the reader! Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens was still working on his reminiscences when he died in 1910. This book is really only a portion of the complete work...

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain The Innocents Abroad

When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt...

Roughing It by Mark Twain Roughing It

The semiautobiographical travel memoir records Twain’s, more or less, personal journey across the Wild West in search of adventure while exploring variable locations. Accompanying his brother on what becomes a trip of a lifetime, the young Samuel Clemens finds himself in many different vocational roles as he explores and observes the magnificence of the American West. Not refraining from the usual social commentary, Twain directs criticism on various social and moral issues which he approaches through his sly and witty style...

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

When Hank Morgan, a practical, no-nonsense Yankee who works in an ammunition factory as a head superintendent gets into a fight with an aggressive employee, little does he know what's in store for him. The bully lays Morgan low with a skull-crushing blow delivered with a crowbar and knocks him out. When Morgan regains consciousness, he finds himself transported back in time, to the sixth century. From here on, the story describes the travails of a hard-boiled, true blue American with strong democratic values who has to deal with medieval feudalism and ancient customs! A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was published in 1889...

A Dog's Tale by Mark Twain A Dog's Tale

A sentimental short story praised for its moving plot and condemnation of scientific experimentation on animals, Mark Twain efficiently delivers a truly captivating piece. First appearing in Harper’s Magazine in 1903, A Dog's Tale was later published as a pamphlet for the National Anti-Vivisection Society. The tale focuses on the life of Aileen, a misunderstood dog who experiences the ups and downs of life, while cruelly subjected to suffering because of the shallow belief of her inferiority amidst humans...

Extracts from Adam's Diary by Mark Twain Extracts from Adam's Diary

Get the true story of Adam and Eve, straight from the source. This humorous text is a day-to-day account of Adam’s life from happiness in the “GARDEN-OF-EDEN” to their fall from grace and the events thereafter. Learn how Eve caught the infant Cain, and Adam takes some time to learn exactly what it is.

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain A Tramp Abroad

A Tramp Abroad is a work of non-fiction travel literature by American author Mark Twain, published in 1880. The book details a journey by the author, with his friend Harris (a character created for the book, and based on his closest friend, Joseph Twichell), through central and southern Europe. While the stated goal of the journey is to walk most of the way, the men find themselves using other forms of transport as they traverse the continent. The book is often thought to be an unofficial sequel to an earlier Twain travel book,The Innocents Abroad...

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

It was published in 1893–1894 by Century Magazine in seven installments, and is a detective story with some racial themes. The plot of this novel is a detective story, in which a series of identities — the judge’s murderer, Tom, Chambers — must be sorted out. This structure highlights the problem of identity and one’s ability to determine one’s own identity. Broader issues of identity are the central ideas of this novel. One of Twain’s major goals in this book was to exploit the true nature of Racism at that period...

Eve's Diary by Mark Twain Eve's Diary

Eve's Diary is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers publishing house. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the Judeao-Christian creation myth, Eve, and is claimed to be "translated from the original MS." The "plot" of this novel is the first-person account of Eve from her creation up to her burial by, her mate, Adam, including meeting and getting to know Adam, and exploring the world around her, Eden...

The Awful German Language by Mark Twain The Awful German Language

This long essay is a work of mock philology, one of several appendices to Twain’s travel novel, A Tramp Abroad. In it, Twain explains, complains about, and shows how one might improve upon various aspects of the (awful) German language. His examples of precisely how the German language is awful include the famed “separable verb” – which allows one to put the first part of a given verb at the beginning – and its second part at the end – of a given clause or sentence (which may, indeed, be very long)...

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories by Mark Twain The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories

“The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” is a piece of short fiction by Mark Twain. It first appeared in Harper’s Monthly in December 1899, and was subsequently published by Harper Collins in the collection The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Sketches (1900). This recording contains all the stories and sketches from the 1900 Harper Collins publication.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Volumes 1 & 2 by Mark Twain Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Volumes 1 & 2

Mark Twain’s work on Joan of Arc is titled in full “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte.” De Conte is identified as Joan’s page and secretary. For those who’ve always wanted to “get behind” the Joan of Arc story and to better understand just what happened, Twain’s narrative makes the story personal and very accessible. The work is fictionally presented as a translation from the manuscript by Jean Francois Alden, or, in the words of the published book, “Freely Translated out of the Ancient French into Modern English from the Original Unpublished Manuscript in the National Archives of France...

The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain The Mysterious Stranger

The Mysterious Stranger-A Romance- is the final novel attempted by Mark Twain. It was worked on periodically from roughly 1890 up until 1910. The body of work is a serious social commentary by Twain addressing his ideas of the Moral Sense and the "damned human race". The Harper & Brothers publication of the book is illustrated by N.C. Wyeth.

Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain Tom Sawyer Abroad

Tom Sawyer Abroad is a novel by Mark Twain published in 1894. It features Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in a parody of Jules Verne-esque adventure stories. In the story, Tom, Huck, and Jim set sail to Africa in a futuristic hot air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas to see some of the world’s greatest wonders, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Detective, the story is told using the first-person narrative voice of Huck Finn.

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

The town of Hadleyburg had the reputation of being the most honest town in a wide area, indeed an incorruptible community. The elders took this reputation so to heart that they brought up their children shielded from all temptation and trained thoroughly in total honesty. However, a stranger passing through the community was seriously offended by the actions of residents of this Utopia, and he vowed to gain revenge. After several years he came up with the perfect plan to embarrass the town and expose its hypocrisy. (Introduction by Leonard Wilson)

A Double Barreled Detective Story by Mark Twain A Double Barreled Detective Story

A Double Barrelled Detective Story is a novel by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), in which Sherlock Holmes finds himself in the American west.At a mining camp in California, Fetlock Jones, a nephew of Sherlock Holmes, kills his master, a silver-miner, by blowing up his cabin. Since this occurs when Holmes happens to be visiting, he brings his skills to bear upon the case and arrives at logically worked conclusions that are proved to be abysmally wrong by an amateur detective with an extremely keen sense of smell, which he employs in solving the case. This could be seen as yet another piece where Twain tries to prove that life does not quite follow logic.

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven by Mark Twain Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

This was the last story published by Twain, a few months before he died. The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his extremely long cosmic journey to heaven. It deals with the obsession of souls with the "celebrities" of heaven, like Adam and Moses, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in heaven as living celebrities are on Earth. Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of heaven is ludicrous and points out the incongruities of such beliefs.A lot of the description of Heaven is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of heaven...

The Stolen White Elephant by Mark Twain The Stolen White Elephant

"The Stolen White Elephant" was written by Mark Twain and published in 1882. In it, an Indian elephant, en route from India to Britain as a gift to the Queen, disappears in New Jersey. The local police department goes into high gear to solve the mystery but it all comes to a tragic end. Twain's satirical look at the police and newspaper worlds of the 1880's illustrates some of the more outrageous proclivities of each.

Tom Sawyer, Detective by Mark Twain Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer, Detective is an 1896 novel by Mark Twain. It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894). Tom Sawyer attempts to solve a mysterious murder in this burlesque of the immensely popular detective novels of the time. Tom and Huck find themselves with Uncle Silas and his family again (see “Huck Finn”), and much of the drama ends up focusing on Uncle Silas. Like the two preceding novels, the story is told using the first-person narrative voice of Huck Finn.

Alonso Fitz and Other Stories by Mark Twain Alonso Fitz and Other Stories

A collection of Twain short stories including:The Loves Of Alonzo Fitz Clarence And Rosannah EtheltonOn The Decay Of The Art Of LyingAbout Magnanimous-Incident Literature     The Grateful Poodle     The Benevolent Author     The Grateful HusbandPunch, Brothers, PunchThe Great Revolution In PitcairnThe Canvasser's TaleAn Encounter With An InterviewerParis NotesLegend Of Sagenfeld, In GermanySpeech On The BabiesSpeech On The WeatherConcerning The American LanguageRogers

Book cover Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance

Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance, a short volume, published by Sheldon & Co., NY in 1871, is Mark Twain's third book. It consists of two stories - First Romance, which had originally appeared in The Express in 1870, and A Burlesque Autobiography (bearing no relationship to Twain's actual life), which first appeared in Twain's Memoranda contributions to the Galaxy. Rather, the content consists of a few short stories of fictional characters who are supposedly part of Twain's lineage...

The Gilded Age, A Tale of Today by Mark Twain The Gilded Age, A Tale of Today

The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today is an 1873 novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner that satirizes greed and political corruption in post-Civil War America. The term gilded age, commonly given to the era, comes from the title of this book. Twain and Warner got the name from Shakespeare's King John (1595): "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess." Gilding a lily, which is already beautiful and not in need of further adornment, is excessive and wasteful, characteristics of the age Twain and Warner wrote about in their novel...

Sketches New and Old by Mark Twain Sketches New and Old

This collection of 63 writings by Mark Twain was published in 1875. Among other sketches, it contains “The Jumping Frog” in the original English, followed by a French translation (read here by Caroline Sophie) which Twain re-translated into English, showing how the French translation of his work was “badly flawed.” In many of these sketches, Twain shows his talent for outrageous and hilarious inventiveness, often in reaction to current events.

Book cover Those Extraordinary Twins

"Those Extraordinary Twins" was published as a short story, separate and distinct from its origins inside Twain's "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson". As Twain explains, he extricated "Twins" from "Pudd'nhead" when he found, as he was writing, that he'd created a farce inside a tragedy. This is the excised farce, a story about Italian Siamese twins who completely take over a small Missouri town, splitting it down the middle with half supporting one head and the other, the other. (Introduction by John Greenman)

A Horse's Tale by Mark Twain A Horse's Tale

A Horse’s Tale is a novel by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), written partially in the voice of Soldier Boy, who is Buffalo Bill’s favorite horse, at a fictional frontier outpost with the U.S. 7th Cavalry. With a fanciful mix of points of view, we hear the story of Cathy and her relationship with Soldier Boy and the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry. A surprisingly graphic depiction of a Spanish bullfight leaves no doubt where Mark Twain’s sympathies lie. (Introduction by John Greenman & Wikipedia)

What is Man? and Other Essays by Mark Twain What is Man? and Other Essays

"What Is Man?", published by Mark Twain in 1906, is a dialogue between a young man and an older man jaded to the world. It involves ideas of destiny and free will, as well as of psychological egoism. The Old Man asserted that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more. The Young Man objects, and asks him to go into particulars and furnish his reasons for his position. This collection of short stories covers a wide range of Twain's interests: the serious, the political and the ironically humorous.

Book cover Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences

This is Mark Twain's vicious and amusing review of Fenimore Cooper's literary art. It is still read widely in academic circles. Twain's essay, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (often spelled "Offences") (1895), particularly criticized The Deerslayer and The Pathfinder. Twain wrote at the beginning of the essay: 'In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.' Twain listed 19 rules 'governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction', 18 of which Cooper violates in The Deerslayer. (Introduction by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

Book cover The Curious Republic of Gondour and Other Whimsical Sketches

As the title reveals, these stories are a collection of some of Mark Twain's more fanciful and eccentric works. They run the gamut from political commentary to our species' need to "be remembered" somehow. Taken as a whole the stories are "whimsical". Taken individually, they speak the truth in different ways. (Introduction by John Greenman)

Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again by Mark Twain Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again

This satire on the U.S.A.'s myth of being the "Home of the Oppressed, where all men are free and equal", is unrelenting in its pursuit of justice through exposure. It draws a scathingly shameful portrait of how Chinese immigrants were treated in 19th century San Francisco. (Introduction by John Greenman)

Book cover In Defense of Harriet Shelley

Mark Twain pulls no punches while exposing the "real" Percy Shelley in this scathing condemnation of Edward Dowden's "Life of Shelley". Even though, as Twain writes, "Shelley's life has the one indelible blot upon it, but is otherwise worshipfully noble and beautiful", Twain shows how Shelley's extra-marital conduct might easily be seen to have been the cause of his wife Harriet's suicide. (Introduction by John Greenman)

The American Claimant by Mark Twain The American Claimant

The American Claimant is an 1892 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The story focuses on the class differences and expectations of monarchic, hierarchical Britain and the upstart, "all men are created equal" America. Twain wrote the novel with the help of phonographic dictation, the first author (according to Twain himself) to do so. This was also (according to Twain) an attempt to write a book without mention of the weather, the first of its kind in fictitious literature. Indeed, all the weather is contained in an appendix, at the back of the book, which the reader is encouraged to turn to from time to time.

Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion by Mark Twain Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion

Written for the Atlantic magazine in 1877, this is a collection of stories about a trip Mark Twain made with some friends to Bermuda. It contains fascinating descriptions of Bermuda the island, and some of its people as well as an explanation of why Bermuda's houses are "so white".

Book cover How to Tell a Story, and Other Essays

In his inimitable way, Mark Twain gives sound advice about how to tell a story, then lets us in on some curious incidents he experienced, and finishes with a trip that proves life-changing.

Book cover Works of Mark Twain
Essays on Paul Bourget by Mark Twain Essays on Paul Bourget

Collection of short essays concerning French novelist and critic Paul Bourget. Included: "What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us" and "A Little Note to M. Paul Bourget".

Book cover Mark Twain's Speeches

Spanning the time between 1872 and the year before he died, this collection of after-dinner speeches, random thoughts to "the press", etc. clearly documents, once again, the truly eclectic mind of Samuel Clemens. It also demonstrates how he dealt with adulation, compliments and notoriety...head on! This collection is a treasure-trove of Twain sayings, witticisms and pronouncements on a huge galaxy of issues and concerns in his life.

Book cover On the Decay of the Art of Lying
Book cover Letters of Mark Twain, Complete

These letters were arranged in two volumes by Albert Bigelow Paine, Samuel L. Clemens's literary executor, as a supplement to Mark Twain, A Biography, which Paine wrote. They are, for the most part, every letter written by Clemens known to exist at the time of their publication in 1917. They begin with a fragment of a letter from teenaged Sam Clemens to his sister, Pamela, and conclude with a letter to his attorney two weeks before his death. These letters give us some degree of insight into the evolution of Twain's style of speech and prose over the period of his lifetime; they are a small window into the psyche that created the various characters of his stories...

Book cover Is Shakespeare Dead? From my autobiography
Book cover Quotes and Images From The Works of Mark Twain
Book cover Mark Twain's Letters
Book cover Editorial Wild Oats
Book cover The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut
Book cover Quotations from the Collected Works of Mark Twain

By: Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)

Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne's House of Dreams

Anne’s House of Dreams is the fifth book in the Anne of Green Gables series, which features the culmination of an epic love story. The installment chronicles the lives of Anne and Gilbert as they experience life as a newlywed couple and build the foundation of their future together. A tale uniting the much-loved characters also brings a farewell to Anne Shirley and officially welcomes Anne Blythe. The novel begins with the preparations for the wedding between Anne and her one true love Gilbert Blythe, who is finally a qualified doctor...

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery Rainbow Valley

If you've read and loved Anne of Green Gables, you'd definitely like to add Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery to your collection. Published in 1919, it is the seventh book in the series and follows the further life and adventures of Anne Shirley. At Ingleside, Anne is now happily married to her childhood friend the devoted Gilbert Blythe and have now been together blissfully for fifteen years. They have six children. The book opens with the return of Anne and Gilbert (who is now a brilliant doctor) from a sojourn in London, where they had gone to attend a big medical congress...

Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901 by Lucy Maud Montgomery Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901

Stories from 1896 to 1901. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born at Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, Canada, on November 30, 1874. She achieved international fame in her lifetime, putting Prince Edward Island and Canada on the world literary map. Best known for her "Anne of Green Gables" books, she was also a prolific writer of short stories and poetry. She published some 500 short stories and poems and twenty novels before her death in 1942.

Further Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery Further Chronicles of Avonlea

Further Chronicles of Avonlea is a collection of short stories by L.M. Montgomery and is a sequel to Chronicles of Avonlea. Published in 1920, it includes a number of stories relating to the inhabitants of the fictional Canadian village of Avonlea and its region, located on Prince Edward Island. The book was published without the permission of L.M. Montgomery, and was formed from stories she had decided not to publish in the earlier Chronicles of Avonlea. Montgomery sued her publishers, L.C. Page & Co, and won $18,000 in damages after a legal battle lasting nearly nine years.

Kilmeny of the Orchard by Lucy Maud Montgomery Kilmeny of the Orchard

Eric Marshall is all that a well brought-up young man should be. Handsome, steadfast, and full of ambition, he is expected to expand the Marshall & Company empire — and to marry a woman suitable to replace his mother in Nova Scotia’s finest circles. When a sick friend asks for a favour, becoming a substitute schoolmaster in the Prince Edward Island countryside seems the perfect post-graduation lark. But when Eric wanders into an old orchard at twilight, his life will be changed forever…

By: Unknown

The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction by The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction

Variously known as the Greatest Story Ever Told, The Book of Books and many other names, the Bible is reputed to be the biggest bestseller of all time. Translated into thousands of world languages and studied, worshiped and revered in the four corners of the earth, the Bible remains Christianity's canonical text and is considered the Word of God. The King James Version (KJV) is a translation commissioned by the Church of England in 1604 and the work continued till 1611. However, it wasn't the first translation into English from the original Hebrew, and some portions in Aramaic...

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare’s most well-known play is more than most people realize. While it is the story of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, it is also the story of two families in the middle of a bitter feud. Many people avoid the story because they believe it will be too difficult to read, but this is not true at all. Within a few paragraphs, the play captures your imagination and attention. Juliet is 13 years old and is love with the son of her father’s enemy. Her father has promised that she will marry another boy when it is time, but she refuses to accept the suit...

King Lear by William Shakespeare King Lear

Considered to be one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, the tragedy King Lear portrays some of the darkest aspects of human nature that can be found in literature. The helplessness of the human condition, as we fall prey to our destinies, the injustice and random cruelties practiced by people, suffering and humiliation, the lust for power and the greed for wealth are all depicted in this magnificent play. And through it all, runs the golden thread of love and sacrifice, daughterly affection and the true nature of our relationship with our parents...

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream

Summer nights, romance, music, comedy, pairs of lovers who have yet to confess their feelings to each other, comedy and more than a touch of magic are all woven into one of Shakespeare's most delightful and ethereal creations – A Midsummer Night's Dream. The plot is as light and enchanting as the settings themselves. The Duke of Athens is busy with preparations for his forthcoming wedding to Hippolyta the Amazonian Queen. In the midst of this, Egeus, an Athenian aristocrat marches in, flanked by his lovely daughter Hermia and her two suitors, Lysander and Demetrius...

The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare The Tragedy of Macbeth

Right from its famous opening scene which begins, “Thunder and lightning. Enter Three Witches” The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare holds the reader fast in a stirring, monumental experience that plumbs the depths of the human soul and reveals its most morbid secrets. The play is set in medieval Scotland. It is based partly on historical facts and recounts the tale of Macbeth, who was a king in Scotland, according to The Holinshead Chronicles, a book published in 1577. This book was extensively used by contemporary playwrights like Shakespeare and Marlowe as inspiration for their themes, characters and events...

As You Like It by William Shakespeare As You Like It

In a tiny French dukedom, a younger brother usurps his elder brother's throne. Duke Senior is banished to the Forest of Arden along with his faithful retainers, leaving his lovely daughter Rosalind behind to serve as a companion for the usurper's daughter, Celia. However, the outspoken Rosalind soon earns her uncle's wrath and is also condemned to exile. The two cousins decide to flee together and join Duke Senior in the forest. Meanwhile, a young nobleman, Orlando is thrown out of his home by his cruel older brother Oliver...

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare Julius Caesar

Though it's titled The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, the man himself appears only in five scenes in the entire play! However, such is his impact on the events that surrounded him that he still remains the central figure in this psychological drama that combines politics, honor, assassination, betrayal, the lust for power, patriotism and friendship. Set in 44 BC in ancient Rome, it is one of William Shakespeare's early Tragedies. First thought to have been performed in September 1599, William Shakespeare's original text or script have long vanished...

Othello by William Shakespeare Othello

In seventeenth century Venice, a wealthy and debauched man discovers that the woman he is infatuated with is secretly married to a Moorish general in the Venetian army. He shares his grief and rage with a lowly ensign in the army who also has reason to hate the general for promoting a younger man above him. The villainous ensign now plots to destroy the noble general in a diabolical scheme of jealousy, paranoia and murder, set against the backdrop of the bloody Turkish-Venetian wars. This timeless tale, Othello The Moor of Venice was one of the ten famous tragedies that William Shakespeare wrote...

The Tragedy of Hamlet by William Shakespeare The Tragedy of Hamlet

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius's brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and taking as his wife Gertrude, the old king's widow and Prince Hamlet's mother. The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness – from overwhelming grief to seething rage – and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.

King Henry IV by William Shakespeare King Henry IV

King Henry IV, Part 1 is the second of Shakespeare’s eight Wars of the Roses history plays, with events following those of King Richard II. As the play opens, King Henry IV (formerly Henry Bolingbroke) and Henry Percy (Hotspur) argue over the disposition of prisoners from the Battle of Holmedon. The King’s attitude toward Mortimer and the Percy family prompts them to plot rebellion. In the meantime, his son Prince Hal is living the low life in the company of Sir John Falstaff. As the time of battle nears, Prince Hal joins his father and is given a high command...

Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, comprise a collection of 154 poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality. The poems were probably written over a period of several years.

The Passionate Pilgrim by William Shakespeare The Passionate Pilgrim

The Passionate Pilgrim was published by William Jaggard, later the publisher of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The first edition survives only in a single fragmentary copy; its date cannot be fixed with certainty since its title page is missing, though many scholars judge it likely to be from 1599, the year the second edition appeared with the attribution to Shakespeare. This version of The Passionate Pilgrim, contains 15 romantic sonnets and short poems. The works contained, while disputed as to authorship are in this writer’s most humble opinion, among the best of the age.

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was probably written between 1596 and 1598, and was printed with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623. Bassanio, an impoverished gentleman, uses the credit of his friend, the merchant Antonio, to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Antonio pledges to pay Shylock a pound of flesh if he defaults on the loan, which Bassanio will use to woo a rich heiress, Portia. A subplot concerns the elopement of Shylock's daughter Jessica with a Christian, Bassanio's friend Lorenzo...

The Tempest by William Shakespeare The Tempest

Banished from his own lands by a usurping brother, Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been living on a deserted island for years, until fate brings the brother within the range of Prospero's powers. Will he seek revenge, or reconcilement?

King Richard II by William Shakespeare King Richard II

The Tragedy of King Richard II, by William Shakespeare, is the first of the history series that continues with Parts 1 and 2 of King Henry IV and with The Life of King Henry V. At the beginning of the play, Richard II banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke from England. Bolingbroke later returns with an army and the support of some of the nobility, and he deposes Richard. Richard is separated from his beloved Queen, imprisoned, and later murdered. By the end of the play, Bolingbroke has been crowned King Henry IV...

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing

Written around the middle of his career, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's great festive comedies. The men are back from the war, and everyone is ready for romance. The dashing young Claudio falls for Hero, the daughter of Leonato, governor of Messina, and his friend Don Pedro helps him secure her affection. These youthful lovers are contrasted with the more experienced (and more cynical) Benedick and Beatrice, who have to be tricked into falling in love. Don Pedro's bastard brother, Don John, provides the intrigue, and the dimwitted constable Dogberry provides the laughs.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies, and was inspired by classical Roman comedy and the Italian commedia dell'arte. Baptista Minola, a rich gentleman of Padua, has two daughters: Katherina, renowned for her sharp tongue, and Bianca, who is sought after by multiple suitors. Baptista decides that Bianca cannot marry until her elder sister finds a husband. Enter Petruchio, who has come to "wive it wealthily in Padua," and who is convinced by Bianca's suitors to woo Katherina. The play ultimately poses the question of who is the bigger shrew: Kate or Petruchio. The subplot involves the subterfuge employed by Lucentio to woo the lovely Bianca.

Richard III by William Shakespeare Richard III

Richard III is an early history play probably written and performed around 1592-93. It is the culmination of Shakespeare's earlier three plays about Henry VI, and chronicles the bloody career of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. As the play opens, the Wars of the Roses are over, King Edward IV (Richard's brother) is on the throne, and all is ostensibly well. The problem? Richard wants to be king - and he'll stop at nothing to realize his ambition.


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