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By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde An Ideal Husband

This story opens at a fashionable dinner party in Sir Robert Chiltern's home in the heart of London's stylish Grosvenor Square. One of Lady Chiltern's old school-friends, Mrs. Cheveley, a woman with a dubious past, accosts Sir Robert and threatens to expose a financial crime that he had once participated in, unless he agrees to finance a fraudulent construction project that she's promoting. Lady Chiltern is astounded when her husband who had been the severest critic of this project suddenly begins to speak in its favor...

The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde The Happy Prince and Other Tales

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (also sometimes called The Happy Prince and Other Stories) is an 1888 collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde. It is most famous for The Happy Prince, the short tale of a metal statue who befriends a migratory bird. Together, they bring happiness to others, in life as well as in death. The stories included in this collection are:The Happy PrinceThe Nightingale and the RoseThe Selfish GiantThe Devoted FriendThe Remarkable RocketThe stories convey an appreciation for the exotic, the sensual and for masculine beauty.

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde De Profundis

This is a letter written from prison in 1897 by Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, in which he recounts how he came to be in prison and charts his spiritual development.

Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde Lady Windermere's Fan

Lady Windermere’s Fan: A Play About a Good Woman is a four act comedy by Oscar Wilde, published in 1893. As in some of his other comedies, Wilde satirizes the morals of Victorian society, and attitudes between the sexes. The action centres around a fan given to Lady Windermere as a present by her husband, and the ball held that evening to celebrate her 21st birthday.

The Fisherman and His Soul by Oscar Wilde The Fisherman and His Soul

”The Fisherman and his Soul” is a fairy tale first published in November of 1891 in Wilde’s “A House of Pomegranates”. It tells of a fisherman who nets and falls in love with a mermaid. But to be with her he must shed his soul, which goes off to have adventures of its own. Will forbidden love endure?

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde The Ballad of Reading Gaol

In 1895, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor for acts of ‘gross indecency’. During his time at Reading Gaol, he witnessed a rare hanging, and in the three years between his release and his untimely death in 1900, was inspired to write the following poem, a meditation on the death penalty and the importance of forgiveness, even for (and especially for) something as heinous as murdering one’s spouse; for even the murderer, Wilde argues, is human and suffers more so for being the cause of his own pain, for ‘having killed the thing he loved’; for everyone is the cause of someone else’s suffering and suffers at the hands of another...

The Soul of Man by Oscar Wilde The Soul of Man

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

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

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

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play premièred on 19 April 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. It is a testimony of Wilde's wit and his brand of dark comedy. It looks in particular at English upper class society and has been reproduced on stages in Europe and North America since his death in 1900.

The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde The Duchess of Padua

Guido Ferranti, a young man, travels to Padua with his friend Ascanio after receiving a mysterious letter from a stranger, claiming to know the true secret of Guido's birth. His plan of revenge goes awry, however, when he falls in love with his enemy's beautiful wife, the Duchess of Padua.

Book cover Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories is a collection of short semi-comic mystery stories. This collection exemplifies Wilde's sharp wit and dark humour. Stories in this collection include Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, The Canterville Ghost, The Sphinx Without a Secret, The Model Millionaire, and The Portrait Of Mr W H.

Book cover Vera; or the Nihilists

Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a melodramatic tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the story of Vera Zasulich. It was the first play that Wilde wrote. It was produced in the United Kingdom in 1880, and in New York in 1882, but it was not a success and folded in both cities. It is nowadays rarely revived.

By: Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Moby Dick by Herman Melville Moby Dick

“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. With these words, opens one of the strangest and most gripping stories ever written about the sea and sea-faring. Moby Dick by Herman Melville is today considered one of the greatest novels written in America but paradoxically, it was a miserable failure when it first made its debut in 1851. Entitled Moby Dick or The Whale the book finally got its due after the author's death and is now regarded as a classic portrayal of mania and fatal obsession...

Typee by Herman Melville Typee

A whaling ship stops at a remote Polynesian island. The crew aboard is exhausted after a grueling six-month voyage in which they suffered ill-treatment and drudgery. Two men decide to abandon ship and hide on the island, living off the fruit of the land, until they can get on board a more conducive ship. However, to their consternation they discover that part of the island paradise is peopled by a savage and cannibalistic tribe called the Typees. As destiny would have it, they fall into the hands of the very people they dread...

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville Bartleby, the Scrivener

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a novella by the American novelist Herman Melville (1819–1891). It first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856.

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade was the last major novel by Herman Melville, the American writer and author of Moby-Dick. Published on April 1, 1857 (presumably the exact day of the novel's setting), The Confidence-Man was Melville's tenth major work in eleven years. The novel portrays a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism...

White Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War by Herman Melville White Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War

This is a tale based on Melville's experiences aboard the USS United States from 1843 to 1844. It comments on the harsh and brutal realities of service in the US Navy at that time, but beyond this the narrator has created for the reader graphic symbols for class distinction, segregation and slavery aboard this microcosm of the world, the USS Neversink. (Introduction by James K. White)

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The Man Who was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton The Man Who was Thursday

Two poets in a London park at sunset, debating on the attributes of poetry and whether it's really a metaphor for anarchy. A group that meets in secret, planning to overthrow the world order. Disguises and deceptions, ideals and ideology. A medley of themes and genres makes this a great read for anyone who's a fan of Chesterton and his iconic Father Brown. The Man Who Was Thursday includes Chesterton's favorite theme of Christianity with touches of delightful humor to enliven the twists and turns that abound throughout the book...

The Man Who Knew Too Much by G. K. Chesterton The Man Who Knew Too Much

Robbery, murder and treason. Strange happenings in quiet English villages. A book critic who happens to find a corpse with its head crushed, an Irish freedom fighter framed for a crime, the disappearance of a valuable coin, a strange dispute over a property claim and a host of other intriguing situations make up the contents of G K Chesterton's collection of short stories The Man Who Knew Too Much. For fans of Chesterton's immortal clerical sleuth, Father Brown, these stories are equally delightful and intricately wrought...

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton The Innocence of Father Brown

A Chief of Police hosts a dinner party for an American millionaire wishing to will his entire fortune to the Church of France. Jewels that have been stolen and recovered so many times that they're known colloquially by thieves as The Flying Stars. A murder committed by an invisible man. These and many others are the mysteries that are presented to the lovable, bumbling, stumpy Man of God, Father Brown. The Innocence of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton is a collection of eleven stories which marks the debut of this most unusual detective...

The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton The Wisdom of Father Brown

The Wisdom of Father Brown explores many characters and fascinating themes such as the following. An eminent criminologist is persuaded by the mild yet persistent Father Brown to sort out a family matter. Also, a Tuscan poet fancies himself as the King of Thieves. A famous French philosopher and atheist holds the key to a new invention called “Noiseless Powder.” A corpse is discovered in a dark passage backstage at London's Adelphi Theater. Finally there is Psychometric testing of criminals in Chicago...

Heretics by G. K. Chesterton Heretics

The Author Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on the 29th of May, 1874. Though he considered himself a mere “rollicking journalist,” he was actually a prolific and gifted writer in virtually every area of literature. A man of strong opinions and enormously talented at defending them, his exuberant personality nevertheless allowed him to maintain warm friendships with people–such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells–with whom he vehemently disagreed. Chesterton had no difficulty standing up for what he believed...

The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton The Club of Queer Trades

A collection of six wonderfully quirky detective stories, featuring the ‘mystic’ former judge Basil Grant. Each story reveals a practitioner of an entirely new profession, and member of the Club of Queer Trades.

Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton Eugenics and Other Evils

Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them “The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females”; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles. Say to them “Murder your mother,” and they sit up quite suddenly. Yet the two sentences, in cold logic, are exactly the same.”

The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton The Ballad of the White Horse

An English epic poem that follows the exploits of Alfred the Great in his defense of Christian civilization in England from the heathen nihilism of the North. Following a string of defeats at the hands of the invading Danes, a vision from heaven in the river island of Athelney fills Alfred with joy and hope. Though it gives no promise of victory in the coming struggle, it inspires him to rally his chieftains for a last stand against the invading hordes. His adventures lead throughout the country...

Alarms and Discursions by G. K. Chesterton Alarms and Discursions

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox.” He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and “Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton The Napoleon of Notting Hill

While the novel is humorous (one instance has the King sitting on top of an omnibus and speaking to it as to a horse: “Forward, my beauty, my Arab,” he said, patting the omnibus encouragingly, “fleetest of all thy bounding tribe”), it is also an adventure story: Chesterton is not afraid to let blood be drawn in his battles, fought with sword and halberd in the London streets, and Wayne thinks up a few ingenious strategies; and, finally, the novel is philosophical, considering the value of one man’s actions and the virtue of respect for one’s enemies.

The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesterton The Ball and the Cross

The Ball and the Cross is G. K. Chesterton's third novel. In the introduction Martin Gardner notes that it is a "mixture of fantasy, farce and theology." Gardner continues: "Evan MacIan is a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed Scottish Highlander and a devout Roman Catholic.... James Turnbull is a short, red-haired, gray-eyed Scottish Lowlander and a devout but naive atheist.... The two meet when MacIan smashes the window of the street office where Turnbull publishes an atheist journal. This act of rage occurs when MacIan sees posted on the shop's window a sheet that blasphemes the Virgin Mary, presumably implying she was an adulteress who gave birth to an illegitimate Jesus...

George Bernard Shaw by G. K. Chesterton George Bernard Shaw

Chesterton and Shaw were famous friends and enjoyed their arguments and discussions. Although rarely in agreement, they both maintained good-will towards and respect for each other. However, in his writing, Chesterton expressed himself very plainly on where they differed and why. In Heretics he writes of Shaw: “After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all...

Manalive by G. K. Chesterton Manalive

The flying blast struck London just where it scales the northern heights, terrace above terrace, as precipitous as Edinburgh. It was round about this place that some poet, probably drunk, looked up astonished at all those streets gone skywards, and (thinking vaguely of glaciers and roped mountaineers) gave it the name of Swiss Cottage, which it has never been able to shake off. At some stage of those heights a terrace of tall gray houses, mostly empty and almost as desolate as the Grampians, curved...

Tremendous Trifles by G. K. Chesterton Tremendous Trifles

“None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests. But don’t let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some such thing in what follows; but anyone else may do it better, if anyone else will only try. ” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens

“These papers were originally published as prefaces to the separate books of Dickens in one of the most extensive of those cheap libraries of the classics which are one of the real improvements of recent times. Thus they were harmless, being diluted by, or rather drowned in Dickens. My scrap of theory was a mere dry biscuit to be taken with the grand tawny port of great English comedy; and by most people it was not taken at all–like the biscuit. Nevertheless the essays were not in intention so aimless as they appear in fact...


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