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By: Frederika Richardson Macdonald

Book cover Secret of Charlotte Brontë

Twenty years ago, now, I attempted (but was not especially successful in the task) to establish upon the personal knowledge that my own residence as a pupil in the historical Pensionnat in the Rue d'Isabelle, at Bruxelles gave me of the facts of Charlotte Brontë's relationships to Monsieur and Madame Heger, right impressions about the experiences and emotions she underwent between 1842 and 1846, and that supply the key and clue to the right interpretation of her genius. Every opinion I then ventured...

By: Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

Book cover Metamorphosis (version 3)

The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung, also sometimes translated as The Transformation) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the Western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature. The cause of Samsa's transformation is never revealed, and Kafka never did give an explanation...

By: Giovanni Verga (1840-1922)

Book cover Under the Shadow of Etna: Sicilian Stories

The short stories of Giovanni Verga, one of the leading authors of Italian verismo, or realism, tell mostly of working-class characters in rural, 19th-century Sicily. One of these stories, "Rustic Chivalry," or "Cavalleria rusticana," was the basis for the opera of the same name by Mascagni.

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Quintessence of Ibsenism

George Bernard Shaw, a playwright with a few bones to pick of his own, undertakes a surgical analysis of the social philosophies underlying the work of Henrik Ibsen. Focusing his analysis on Ibsen's challenge to the conventional "ideals" which both Ibsen and Shaw consider the greatest evils in human society, Shaw summarizes and exposits sixteen of Ibsen's plays, seizing the opportunity to elucidate some of the principles dearest to himself. Some of the most striking passages reveal Shaw's radical feminist perspectives, some of which resonate as if a half-century ahead of their time...

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Book cover Anonymous Story

In "An Anonymous Story," Chekhov continues to explore his favorite themes of superfluous men, ironic rakes, exploited women, and the dangers of social conventions to human happiness. The Anonymous Narrator is a feckless, would-be revolutionary who gets himself hired on as a flunkey in the household of the young useless aristocrat Orlov, hoping to spy out some useful information for the Cause. Orlov seduces the beautiful Zinaida Fyodorovna away from her husband but quickly tires of her. The Narrator, another in the long line of Russian literary superfluous men, allows Orlov to use him to deceive Zinaida Fyodorovna, hating himself for it all the while...

Book cover My Life: The Story of a Provincial

A provincial youth of wealth and noble status refuses to employ himself in the typical occupations of the higher classes, thus acquiring a reputation as a lazy good-for-nothing. In reality, he is intensely sensitive to the injustices perpetrated by his social class upon the working classes of town and country, and resolves to become a common laborer, taking employment as a house painter and ikon gilder. All classes of society around him respond to this revolutionary action with bewilderment and ridicule, even the lowest workmen feeling threatened by this insolent shaking of the cosmic structure...

By: Mary Elizabeth Hawker (1848-1908)

Book cover Mademoiselle Ixe

This is a story by the English writer Mary Elizabeth Hawker (1848-1908) entitled Mademoiselle Ixe, by[pseudonym] Lanoe Falconer. The manuscript had been previously rejected by many publishers. The heroine is a governess in an English country house. The mystery is cleverly handled, and the artistic treatment showed a delicacy and refinement which were uncommon in English writers of short stories. The Saturday Review declared it to be 'one of the finest short stories in England.' Success was great and immediate...

By: John Wesley (1703-1791)

Book cover Sermons on Several Occasions, Third-Fifth Series

John Wesley, along with his brother Charles, are credited with founding the Methodist denomination. "The following Sermons contain the substance of what I have been preaching for between eight and nine years last past. Every serious man who peruses these, will therefore see, in the clearest manner, what these doctrines are which I embrace and teach as the essentials of true religion." The third through fifth series contain sermons on a wide variety of topics, from sermons preached at funerals, to natural disasters, to the roles of elders and deacons.

By: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Book cover Journal of Julius Rodman

The Journal of Julius Rodman, Being an Account of the First Passage across the Rocky Mountains of North America Ever Achieved by Civilized Man is an unfinished serial novel by American author Edgar Allan Poe published in 1840. Six installments of the novel were published in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine's January through June issues in 1840. At the time, Poe was a contributing editor of the journal. He was fired from the job in June 1840 by William Burton and refused to continue the novel.

By: May Sinclair (1863-1946)

Book cover Tasker Jevons: The Real Story

In this May Sinclair wartime masterpiece, dashing newsman Walter Furnival is an absurdly good catch: handsome, successful, athletic, intelligent, an upstanding epitome of manhood and rectitude. Tasker Jevons is a puny, preposterous, impossible-looking, bombastic sports writer, without one single redeeming social grace. Imagine the jealous mortification of Furny when his enchanting young typist and love interest Viola Thesiger chooses the clownish Jevons as a lover, seeing in him a remarkable inner beauty not evident to anyone but her and (as he grudgingly but magnanimously admits) the long-suffering and devoted Furnival...

By: John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Book cover Sesame and Lilies

Sesame and Lilies proposes and answers the questions, how, what and why to read in the context of how and why to live. About earlier and later editions of the book containing the first two lectures alone, Ruskin wrote: "...chiefly written for young people belonging to the upper or undistressed, middle classes; who may be supposed to have choice of the objects and command of the industries of their life... if read in connection with “Unto This Last” it contains the chief truths I have endeavored through all of my past life to display… and am chiefly thankful to have learned and taught...

By: Various

Book cover Curiosities of Street Literature

This is a collection of broadsides from London. Broadsides are short, popular publications, a precursor to today's tabloid journalism. The collection contains sensationalist and sometimes comical stories about criminal conduct, love, the Royal Family, politics, as well as gallows' literature. Gallow's literature were often sold at the execution. As a collection these broadsides are a reminder of how important the printer was at this time -- it is surely no coincidence that the printers are printed at the end of every broadside, while the authors remain anonymous. - Summary by kathrinee

By: Covington Clarke

Book cover Aces Up

A crack American flying troop has been sent to France, where they await further instructions. They are concerned that their extensive talents will not be put to good use in the war. Major Cowan introduces Lt. McGee as the British instructor for the crew. It turns out the Brit is actually an American, born in the U.S., even though his parents were British. McGee and Larkin are flying partners. Out on a mission, McGee spots a small enemy plane in a searchlight, probably intent on dropping flares to mark targets for bombers...

By: Various

Book cover Camden's Compliment to Walt Whitman

On the occasion of Walt Whitman's 70th Birthday a "Committee of Citizens" in Camden, NJ held a special commemoration in his honor. This slim collection includes a autobiographical note by Whitman and his response to those present as well as a full record of the the speeches and appreciations offered, along with the letters and telegrams that poured in from all over the world. Contributors include: Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Ernest Rhys, Horace Traubel, Hallam Tennyson, William Rossetti, Gabriel Sarazin, William Morris, Rudolf Schmidt, William Sloane Kennedy, John G Whittier, John Addington Symonds, and many more. - Summary by Ed Humpal

By: William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942)

Book cover Egyptian Tales, translated from the Papyri, Series Two : XVIIIth to XIXth Dynasty

Egyptian stories translated from ancient, often incomplete, documents. - Summary by Timothy Ferguson

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Book cover Oliver Twist (version 5 Dramatic Reading)

When orphaned Oliver Twist asks for more food, the workhouse board are horrified and immediately pack him off to work for an undertaker, who treats him badly. Oliver runs away and finds himself in the streets of London, where he meets the Artful Dodger and is lured into a gang of young pickpockets, led by the evil Fagin. Even amidst his horrible surroundings, Oliver escapes and finds his way into a loving home. But Fagin's gang are determined to steal him back to their life of crime, coming closer and closer...

By: Sōseki Natsume (1867-1916)

Book cover I Am A Cat (excerpt)

These are the first two chapters of Natsume Sōseki's masterpiece, "I Am A Cat" . It is recognized as a landmark of modern Japanese literature, with its humorous but insightful depiction of society as seen through the eyes of a cat. The full work was published in serial form, in ten installments, in 1905-1906. Soon after, Kan-ichi Ando published an English translation of the first two chapters. Sadly, there is no translation of the full work in the public domain, but because of its episodic structure, this excerpt can easily stand on its own. - Summary by Peter Eastman

By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

Book cover Forty-Five Guardsmen

The sequel to "Chicot the Jester" and final book of the "Valois Romances." This story begins six years after the famed "Duel of the Mignons" between the favorites of the courts of King Henry III and Henry the Duke of Guise . Dumas concludes his historical fiction on the War of the Three Henries while detailing the formation of the Forty-Five Guardsmen , following Chicot the Jester as he stays loyal to the failing regency of King Henry III, and continuing the story of Diana . - Summary by jvanstan

By: Samuel Gordon (1871-1927)

Book cover Sons of the Covenant: A Tale of London Jewry

Born in London's poverty-stricken and heavily Jewish East End, the Lipcott boys create their own successes in life and love. The brothers' commitment to improving the lives of working class people leads them to concoct The Scheme to help both the residents of their former neighbourhood and the Jewish people as a whole. The author stresses the responsibility of middle class Jews toward the Jewish poor. Consequently, this 1900 story has its preachy moments as well as some essentialised speculations about Jewish history and character...

By: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

Book cover Lost Illusions: Two Poets

Two Poets is the first book in Balzac’s Lost Illusions trilogy, which is part of his sweeping set of novels collectively titled La Comédie Humaine. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France, when the new bourgeoisie was jostling for position alongside the old aristocracy. We meet Lucien Chardon, a young provincial who romantically aspires to be a poet, and his friend David Séchard, who struggles to manage his father’s printing shop and falls in love with Lucien’s sister Ève. The picture of provincial life that emerges is laced with greed, ambition, and duplicity...

By: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Book cover Shandygaff

A number of most agreeable Inquirendoes upon Life & Letters, interspersed with Short Stories & Skits, the whole most Diverting to the Reader. SHANDYGAFF: a very refreshing drink, being a mixture of bitter ale or beer and ginger-beer, commonly drunk by the lower classes in England, and by strolling tinkers, low church parsons, newspaper men, journalists, and prizefighters. Said to have been invented by Henry VIII as a solace for his matrimonial difficulties. It is believed that a continual bibbing of shandygaff saps the will, the nerves, the resolution, and the finer faculties, but there are those who will abide no other tipple...

By: Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

Book cover Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Original 1848 Edition)

When Helen Graham moves into old Wildfell Hall with her little son Arthur, the rustic neighborhood comes alive with gossip and speculation, particularly when saturnine Mr. Lawrence begins to visit her clandestinely. Local gentleman farmer Gilbert Markham falls in love with her almost against his will, despite rumors that she supports herself by the work of her hands and can give no account of her origins. Only when her diary comes into Markham’s hands do we find out why she has so exiled herself...

By: Gertrude Christian Fosdick (1861-1961)

Book cover Out of Bohemia: A Story of Paris Student-Life

Beryl Carrington is a naïve young American artist following her ideals to Paris, where she meets three young men, all also artists and all in love with her. Georges is French-American and a bit wild, with a French mistress on the side. Clayton is a true-hearted human being as well as a single-minded painter, with room for little in his life besides Art. Harold is more of a bourgeois Bohemian, coming from upper-class New York society but also a gifted and devoted painter with dreams of greatness...

By: Anonymous

Jokes For All Occasions by Anonymous Jokes For All Occasions

JOKES FOR ALL OCCASIONSPREFACEThe ways of telling a story are as many as the tellers themselves. It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which any one may perfect himself in the art, but it is possible to offer suggestions by which to guide practise in narration toward a gratifying success. Broadly distinguished, there are two methods of telling a story. One uses the extreme of brevity, and makes its chief reliance on the point. The other devotes itself in great part to preliminary elaboration in the narrative, making this as amusing as possible, so that the point itself serves to cap a climax...

By: Robert L. Taylor

Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales by Robert L. Taylor Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales

Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales.PREFACE.This volume presents the first publication of the famous lectures of Governor Robert L. Taylor. His great popularity as an orator and entertainer, and his wide reputation as a humorist, have caused repeated inquiries from all sections of the country for his lectures in book form; and this has given rise to an earlier publication than was expected. The lectures are given without the slightest abridgment, just as delivered from the platform throughout the country. The consecutive chain of each is left undisturbed; and the idea of paragraphing, and giving headlines to the various subjects treated, was conceived merely for the convenience of the reader...

By: William Joseph Long

English Literature by William Joseph Long English Literature

ENGLISH LITERATUREBY WILLIAM J. LONG, PH.D.PREFACEThis book, which presents the whole splendid history of English literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the close of the Victorian Era, has three specific aims. The first is to create or to encourage in every student the desire to read the best books, and to know literature itself rather than what has been written about literature. The second is to interpret literature both personally and historically, that is, to show how a great book generally reflects not only the author's life and thought but also the spirit of the age and the ideals of the nation's history...

By: BS Murthy

Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help by BS Murthy Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help

The spiritual ethos and the philosophical outlook that the Bhagvad - Gita postulates paves the way for the liberation of man, who, as Rousseau said, ‘being born free, is everywhere in chains’. But equally it is a mirror of human psychology, which enables man to discern his debilities for appropriate redressal. All the same, the boon of an oral tradition that kept it alive for over two millennia became its bane with the proliferation of interpolations therein. Besides muddying its pristine philosophy, these insertions affect the sequential conformity and structural economy of the grand discourse...

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Quintessence of Ibsenism (Version 2)

InThis is an essay providing an extended analysis of the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and of Ibsen's critical reception in England. Shaw uses this "exposition of Ibsenism" to illustrate the imperfections of British society, using the idea of an imaginary "community of a thousand persons," divided into three categories: Philistines, Idealists, and the lone Realist. The main discussion revolves around Ibsen's recurring topic of the strong character holding out against social hypocrisy, while stating in his essay's final sentence that the quintessence of Ibsenism is that "there is no formula." ( Michele Eaton)

By: Clement Shorter (1857-1926)

Book cover Victorian Literature

Victorian Literature by Clement Shorter is a brief work that gives a good introduction to many of the important writers, historians, and critics of the Victorian era. Presented as a "gathering up (of) a few impressions of pleasant reading hours", this little book is sure to delight any one with an interest in this most fascinating of literary periods.

By: William Blake (1757-1827)

Book cover Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical foment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good...

By: John Wesley (1703-1791)

Book cover Sermons on Several Occasions, First Series

John Wesley, along with his brother Charles, are credited with founding the Methodist denomination. "The following Sermons contain the substance of what I have been preaching for between eight and nine years last past. Every serious man who peruses these, will therefore see, in the clearest manner, what these doctrines are which I embrace and teach as the essentials of true religion." This first series contains sermons concerning the way to heaven.

By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Book cover Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (Edition 1831)

A mentally unstable genius, Victor Frankenstein, inspired by the dreams of ancient alchemists and empowered by modern science, creates a humanoid but fails to nurture and educate it after it comes to life. It wanders alone into a hostile world, where fear of its size and ugliness subjects it to violence and ostracism, which in time it learns to blame upon its maker. As compensation for its suffering, it demands that he create a companion with whom to share its outcast life. Moved by the creature's account of its sufferings, the scientist agrees, but a long period of procrastination awakens doubts that ultimately cause him to break his promise...


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