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By: Robert W. Chambers (1865-1933)

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers The King in Yellow

Robert W. Chambers (1865-1933) studied art in Paris in the late 80’s and early 90’s, where his work was displayed at the Salon. However, shortly after returning to America, he decided to spend his time in writing. He became popular as the writer of a number of romantic novels, but is now best known as the author of “The King In Yellow”. This is a collection of the first half of this work of short stories which have an eerie, other-worldly feel to it; but the stories in the second half are essentially love stories, strongly coloured by the author’s life as an artist in France...

The Flaming Jewel by Robert W. Chambers The Flaming Jewel

During the last two years, Fate, Chance, and Destiny had been too busy to attend to Mike Clinch. But now his turn was coming in the Eternal Sequence of things. The stars in their courses indicated the beginning of the undoing of Mike Clinch. In the North Woods, mayhem ensues as three parties vie for possession of the Flaming Jewel. Become immersed in the chasing and slinking to determine who will possess this famed jewel. Better than typical adventure writing magnificently describe the 19th Century Northeastern US in this great novel.

By: Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)

Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac Letters of Two Brides

An epistolary novel written by renowned French novelist Balzac, who is regarded as one of the founders of realism and a significant influence to later novelists, the novel focuses on two young women who preserve their friendship through regular correspondence. Originally published in the French newspaper La Presse in 1841 as a serial, the piece later became a part of Balzac’s distinguished novel sequence La Comédie Humaine, or The Human Comedy. Furthermore, Letters of Two Brides surrounds intriguing topics including love, romance, confusion, duty, and the complexity of relationships...

By: Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen A Doll's House

Nineteenth century attitudes towards marriage, the role of women, morality and the search for identity are brilliantly explored in Henrik Ibsen's three act play, A Doll's House. It was highly controversial and received with a sense of outrage among opinion leaders in Europe. Many thinkers like August Strindberg lashed out at Ibsen for portraying the sacred institution of marriage in such a derogatory way. A Doll's House, written in the original Danish, was first performed at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen in 1879...

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In it, Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic General, has just returned from her honeymoon with George Tesman, an aspiring young academic, reliable but not brilliant, who has combined research with their honeymoon. The reappearance of Tesman’s academic rival, Eilert Lovborg, throws their lives into disarray.

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen The Master Builder

Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, first published in 1892, is about architect Halvard Solness, who despite personal tragedy (including the death of his two sons) has risen to the top of his profession. He has succeeded partly through ruthless competition and exploitation and partly through a seeming ability to force his will on others. His unhappy wife Aline mourns for their lost life, and resents his interest in various young women, including his bookkeeper Kaia Fosli. Solness disregards the ambitions of other architects, including Knut Brovik and his son Ragnar, and seeks solace in the advice of family physician and friend Dr...

Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ghosts

Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was first published in 1881 and staged in 1882, and like his earlier play A Doll's House, profoundly shocked his contemporaries. Dubbed "a dirty deed done in public" by one of its critics, the play focuses on (among other things) venereal disease, euthanasia, and incest. The original title literally means "the ones who return," and the play is about how we can deal with the awful legacy of the past.

The Lady From the Sea by Henrik Ibsen The Lady From the Sea

The title character in Ibsen's drama, Ellida Wangel, is married to a prosperous doctor, but feels stifled by her roles as wife and stepmother to her husband's two daughters by a previous marriage, Hilde and Bolette. Ten years earlier she had promised to marry another man - and on a sultry summer day, he comes back to her. Ellida must decide whether to choose the safety of her life with Wangel, or to yield to the siren song of the sea.

Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen Little Eyolf

Henrik Ibsen's 1894 play Little Eyolf tells the story of the Allmers family: the father, Alfred, his wife Rita, their crippled nine-year-old son Eyolf, and Alfred's sister Asta. As the play begins, Alfred has just gotten back from a trip to the mountains, and resolves to spend more time with his son, rather than on intellectual pursuits. Asta is romantically pursued by Borgheim, an engineer, while the cracks in Alfred and Rita's marriage gradually reveal themselves. The family receives a visit from the Rat-Wife, and are never the same again.

Book cover Enemy of the People

A small coastal town in Norway is experiencing an economic boom from its newly found hot springs. When Dr. Thomas Stockmann finds that the waters are contaminated and dangerous, the people refuse to accept his statement, and Dr. Stockmann's friends turn against him.

Book cover When We Dead Awaken

When We Dead Awaken (1899) is the last play by Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Dreamlike and highly symbolic, the play charts the dissolution of sculptor Arnold Rubek's marriage to Maia, her flirtation with Ulfheim, and his involvement with the mysterious Irene, his former model. The tensions rise between the characters as they climb higher and higher into the Norwegian mountains.

Book cover Pillars of Society

Pillars of Society was Ibsen's first successful realist drama, first performed in 1877. Karsten Bernick is the dominant businessman in a small coastal town in Norway, with interests in shipping and shipbuilding in a long-established family firm. Now he is planning his most ambitious project yet, backing a railway which will connect the town to the main line and open a fertile valley which he has been secretly buying up. Suddenly his past explodes on him with the arrival of Lona Hessel, the woman he once jilted, and Johan Tonnesen, who left town in disgrace fifteen years earlier.

Book cover John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman is the penultimate play of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, written in 1896. The Borkman family fortunes have been brought low by the imprisonment of John Gabriel who used his position as a bank manager to illegally speculate with his investors' money. The action of the play takes place eight years after Borkman's release when John Gabriel Borkman, Mrs. Borkman, and her twin sister Ella Rentheim battle over the future of young Erhart Borkman. Though John Gabriel Borkman...

By: Baroness Orczy (1865-1947)

The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy The Old Man in the Corner

Created by Baroness Orczy, author of the famous Scarlet Pimpernel series, The Old Man in the Corner was one of the earliest armchair detectives, popping up with so many others in the wake of the huge popularity of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The Old Man relies mostly upon sensationalistic “penny dreadful” newspaper accounts, with the occasional courtroom visit for extra laughs. He narrates all this information (while tying complicated knots in a piece of string) to a Lady Journalist who frequents the same tea-shop.

By: Emma Orczy (1865-1947)

Book cover The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel

Written by Baroness Orczy and first published in 1919, The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel is a sequel book to the classic adventure tale, The Scarlet Pimpernel. The book consists of eleven short stories about Sir Percy Blakeney’s exploits in rescuing various aristos and French citizens from the clutches of the guillotine. The stories which are listed below, are set in 1793 but appear in no particular order. They occasionally refer to events in other books in the series.

By: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley Crome Yellow

A shy, introverted young poet. A weekend in a magnificent English country house. A beautiful young lady whom the poet is secretly in love with. An assorted group of guests with varied interests, motives, ambitions and aspirations, and the complex web of history and events that connect all of them. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley was his first book, published in 1921, when he was just 27 years old. It is typical of many books written during this period by writers like Thomas Love Peacock and Somerset Maugham, centered round a country mansion and the quaint, British tradition of being invited to spend a weekend with a group of people whom one may or may not know...

Book cover Defeat of Youth and Other Poems

Though later known for his essays and novels, Aldous Huxley started his writing career as a poet. Published in 1918, The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems is his third compilation of poetry. The volume begins with "The Defeat of Youth", a sequence of twenty-two sonnets that explores irreconcilability of the ideal and the disappointing reality. Jerome Meckier called it “the century’s most successful sonnet sequence, better than Auden’s or Edna St. Vincent Millay’s.” In the rest of the volume, Huxley continues to explore themes started in The Burning Wheel, his first volume of poetry, including vision, blindness, and other contrasts...

By: Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)

Book cover Blue Flower

"Sometimes short stories are brought together like parcels in a basket. Sometimes they grow together like blossoms on a bush. Then, of course, they really belong to one another, because they have the same life in them. ...There is such a thought in this book. It is the idea of the search for inward happiness, which all men who are really alive are following, along what various paths, and with what different fortunes! Glimpses of this idea, traces of this search, I thought that I could see in certain tales that were in my mind,—tales of times old and new, of lands near and far away...

By: Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC - 19 AD)

The Aeneid by Publius Vergilius Maro The Aeneid

The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half treats the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The poem was commissioned from Vergil by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome...

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

The Duel by Anton Chekhov The Duel

The plot centres around Laevsky, who is living in a small seaside town in the Caucasus after running away with another man's wife, Nadyezhda Fyodorovna, amid dreams of starting a new life.The dreams have come to nothing as Laevsky idles away his life drinking and playing cards, and Nadyezhda begins to have other affairs.Laevsky's scheme to run away again, this time without his mistress, brings him into conflict with the rationalist Von Koren, who believes in Darwinian principles of natural selection and extinction of the weak and useless.Matters come to a head when an outburst from Laevsky leads to a duel. Von Koren is determined to teach Laevksy a lesson.(Introduction by Phil)

By: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

Maria: or, the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft Maria: or, the Wrongs of Woman

Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman is Mary Wollstonecraft's unfinished novelistic sequel to her revolutionary political treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was published posthumously in 1798 by her husband, William Godwin. Maria revolves around the story of a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband, and focuses on the societal rather than the individual "wrongs of woman". Publicised at the same time as Wollstonecraft's memoirs, both were considered scandalous. Not until the 20th century was the novel considered an important historical and feminist work.

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark

Published in 1796, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is a personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft's career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime. Wollstonecraft undertook her tour of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in order to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for her lover, Gilbert Imlay...

Book cover Mary: A Fiction

Eliza, Mary's mother, is obsessed with novels, rarely considers anyone but herself, and favours Mary's brother. She neglects her daughter, who educates herself using only books and the natural world. Ignored by her family, Mary devotes much of her time to charity. When her brother suddenly dies, leaving Mary heir to the family's fortune, her mother finally takes an interest in her; she is taught "accomplishments", such as dancing, that will attract suitors. However, Mary's mother soon sickens and requests on her deathbed that Mary wed Charles, a wealthy man she has never met. Stunned and unable to refuse, Mary agrees. Immediately after the ceremony, Charles departs for the Continent.

By: Robert Smythe Hichens

The Return of the Soul by Robert Smythe Hichens The Return of the Soul

Can the soul of the dead come back to haunt the one who was responsible for its death? What would happen if the responsible one did not believe it could be so, and yet was in love with the returned soul? The Return of the Soul is a horror story of a man who is visited by the returning soul of a deceased, and who has some very perplexing issues to deal with upon that return. (Introduction by Roger Melin)

Book cover Green Carnation

The Green Carnation, first published anonymously in 1894, was a scandalous novel by Robert Hichens whose lead characters are closely based on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas - also known as 'Bosie', whom the author personally knew. It was an instant succès de scandale on both sides of the Atlantic. The book features the characters of 'Esmé Amarinth' (Wilde), and 'Lord Reginald (Reggie) Hastings' (Douglas). The words put in the mouths of the hero and his young friend in the story are mostly gathered from the sayings of their originals...

Book cover Tongues of Conscience

Tongues of Conscience (1898) is a collection of five thought-provoking stories where an innocent, but selfish, action leads to horrific consequences. Robert Hichens writes some wonderfully evocative descriptions of nature: from a raw and exposed violent seascape, to the serene and idyllic countryside “…the violets seemed to sing in odours…” , to a train pushing through the white-out of a blizzard. In Sea Change an artist with a dark secret (“…I painted for him in words, the varying colors of waves in different seas… I drowned little Jack in the sea...

By: Charlton Miner Lewis

Gawayne and the Green Knight by Charlton Miner Lewis Gawayne and the Green Knight

Published in 1903, Gawayne and the Green Knight is a modern-language retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th-century verse romance following a young knight of the Round Table. During Christmas celebrations, a mysterious, entirely green knight presents a challenge to King Arthur’s court: that any may strike the stranger a single blow with his green axe, provided he assent to receiving the same a year later. Gawayne accepts the challenge, and its unexpected outcome leads to a great test of his courage and knighthood. A significant addition to this version is the Lady Elfinhart, whose back-story and romance with Gawayne are tightly interwoven with the plot.

By: Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley Love Conquers All

Sixty-three essays on a variety of topics as wide apart as Family Life in America, Opera Synopses, Bigamy, International Finance and many more, Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley strangely enough does not touch upon romance at all! However, these delightful notes provide hours of browsing pleasure for young and old readers alike. Robert Benchley was a well-known humorist and newspaper columnist, radio and television presenter, actor, scriptwriter and broadcaster. He is also credited with creating the first ever television entertainment show and one of his iconic short films, How to Sleep won an Academy Award in 1936...

By: Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett Country of the Pointed Firs

The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) is considered Jewett’s finest work, described by Henry James as her “beautiful little quantum of achievement.” Despite James’s diminutives, the novel remains a classic. Because it is loosely structured, many critics view the book not as a novel, but a series of sketches; however, its structure is unified through both setting and theme. Jewett herself felt that her strengths as a writer lay not in plot development or dramatic tension, but in character development...

Deephaven by Sarah Orne Jewett Deephaven

Sarah Orne Jewett is best known for her clean and clear descriptive powers that at once elevate common-place daily events to something remarkable, and lend dignity and grace to the most humble and homely human character. In Deephaven, go with her on vacation to an unforgettable seaside village where time runs slower and small pleasures are intensified. Much space is given to outdoor rambles and sights and events of daily living that draw you into another era. Jewett’s loving and gentle descriptions of the people and life of Deephaven will make you sorry when the book is over, and long to be able to find that village for yourself.

By: John Habberton

Helen's Babies by John Habberton Helen's Babies

Harry Burton, salesman of white-goods, bachelor of twenty-eight leads a charmed existence. A letter from his sister, Helen changes his life forever. She and her husband have been invited for a holiday but they can't find anyone to baby-sit their two toddlers, five-year-old Budge and three-year-old Toddie. Ever the gallant helpful, Harry steps in, foreseeing nothing but a relaxed vacation with lots of books to read and thinks baby-sitting's a breeze. But destiny has other plans. Harry has long adored a lovely lady from afar and hopes to convince her that he is marriage material by displaying his nurturing side...

By: George Alfred Henty (1832-1902)

Among Malay Pirates and Other Tales of Peril and Adventure by George Alfred Henty Among Malay Pirates and Other Tales of Peril and Adventure

G. A . Henty was a prolific writer of historical fiction for young adults. In this collection of shorter stories we visit Malay pirates, have a couple of tales of India, a shipwreck off the Channel Islands and a bursting dam in California, and finish off escaping from captivity in China


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