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By: Various

Book cover Coo-ee Reciter

Recitation was a vital part of the curriculum in education in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It not only enabled students to gain practice in addressing groups in public, but also provided models for the study of accent and elocution – vital skills in the days before public address systems were universally available. Accordingly, a number of “reciters,” or collections of texts suitable for recitation, were published in this period. The Coo-ee Reciter, published in 1904, was one of the most popular of these collections in Australia...

By: Joseph Hocking (1860-1937)

Book cover Prodigal Daughters

A frank look at the revolt of the younger generation following World War I, the book follows the Trelawney family. The father looks eagerly forward to his return home after serving an important but harrowing stint in the army. What he finds at home is not what he expects, as his two daughters test the boundaries of new morals, ethics, and dress. Many of the generational and class issues central to the theme continue to resonate in families and society. The book was made into a silent movie starring Gloria Swanson in 1923. Summary by Kate Follis

By: Anonymous

Book cover Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (Markham translation)

A whimsical collection of stories about a wandering street urchin, Lazarillo de Tormes is a classic of the Spanish Golden Age, even paid homage in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Rendered homeless by the arrest of his father and poverty of his mother, the boy Lazarillo has no choice but to go out and find masters to serve. Unfortunately, each of his masters is worse than the one before, and in each case Lazarillo is cast upon his own wits in order to survive. Clever, hungry, and desperate, he always has a sharp eye for lessons on how to outwit the greedy and unscrupulous people who surround him...

By: Hamilton Fyfe (1869-1951)

Book cover Arthur Wing Pinero, Playwright - A Study

A discussion about the life and works of the playwright Arthur Wing Pinero. The perfect accompaniment to the plays by Pinero available here at. - Summary by ToddHW

By: Charles Harold Herford (1853-1931)

Book cover Six lectures on literature

C. H. Herford was Professor of English Literature at the Victoria University of Manchester in era when public lectures were published in pamphlet form. The six lectures in this collection span Herford's career at the University during the turbulent first two decades of the twentieth century. Taking a historical view, Herford covers a wide range of eras and writers in an exploration of the roots of English literature. - Summary by Phil Benson

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

Book cover American Language

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

By: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Book cover Raven and The Philosophy Of Composition

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

By: Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899)

Book cover Mark the Match Boy or Richard Hunter's Ward

In this third installment from the “Ragged Dick” series by Horatio Algers, Jr., the reader is reacquainted with some old friends and meets young Mark Manton. Mark is a match boy plagued by bad luck and an even worse guardian. But, with new friends, hard work, and smart choices, Mark may just find his luck taking a turn for the better. summary by tfaulder

By: Francis Bickford Hornbrooke (1849-1903)

Book cover Ring and the Book - An Interpretation

Francis Bickford Hornbrooke was an American Unitarian minister who in later years was recognized as an expert commentator on literature, in particular the works of Robert Browning. Of all Browning's output, it was his monumental epic, the Ring and the Book, which most attracted Hornbrooke's attention, and he said that " I have read the poem throughout at least thirty times, and every time with increased pleasure. The more I read it, the more I love it, and the less I find in it to censure." His interpretation...

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

Book cover Prejudices, First Series

Mencken sharpens his pen and in a collection of short essays delivers acerbic opinions on issues and persons of the time. Among his targets in this volume are critics, H.G. Wells Thorstein Veblen, Arnold Bennett, William Dean Howells, Irvin S. Cobb. Mencken's critiques are delivered against a background of his own well known ethnic, racial, religious, and sectional prejudices. Not for the faint of heart, Mencken's prickly, yet unapologetic, prose reveals a window into American attitudes at the time they were written and their influences on the larger American culture. - Summary by DrPGould

By: Émile Zola (1840-1902)

Book cover Germinal (English)

This epic about French coal miners and the burgeoning labor movement is considered one of Zola's finest novels. - Summary by Matt Pierard

By: James K. Polk (1795-1849)

Book cover State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents (1845 - 1848)

The State of the Union address is a speech presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, typically delivered annually. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his legislative agenda and national priorities. This album contains recordings of addresses from James Polk.

By: E. M. Forster (1879-1970)

Book cover Howards End (version 3)

Considered Forster's masterpiece and one of the best books of the 20th century, Howards End tackles social conventions of the Edwardian era. The story focuses on three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings , whose cultural pursuits have much in common with the Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, an impoverished young couple from a lower-class background. The idealistic, intelligent Schlegel sisters seek to help the struggling Basts and to rid the Wilcoxes of some of their deep-seated social and economic prejudices. - Summary by Lynne Thompson

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Book cover Every Man In His Humour

Knowell, an old man - rumor says Shakespeare originally played this part - tries to spy upon the doings of his potentially wayward son. Meanwhile, Kitely, a merchant, worries so much about being cuckolded by his wife that perhaps it has to happen. All this while a swarm of other interesting characters surround them. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: KNOWELL, an old Gentleman: ToddHW EDWARD KNOWELL, his Son: Rob Marland BRAINWORM, the Father's Man: Zames Curran GEORGE DOWNRIGHT, a plain Squire: Algy...

By: Mary Webb (1881-1927)

Book cover Precious Bane

Published in 1924, Precious Bane is a novel by Mary Webb which touches on ambition, prejudice and hatred but also on the power of love. Prue Sarn is a farm girl in rural Shropshire during the period of the Napoleonic Wars and is viewed with suspicion by the local community because of having been born with a harelip. Her ambitious and domineering brother betrays her and her superstitious neighbours accuse her of witchcraft. An itinerant weaver Kester Woodseaves, makes his living by weaving for the local people in their homes. Like Prue, he loves the natural world and comes to recognises Prue's inner strength and beauty.

By: Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825-1900)

Book cover Cradock Nowell Vol. 3

Cradock Nowell: a Tale of the New Forest is a three-volume novel by R. D. Blackmore published in 1866. Set in the New Forest and in London, it follows the fortunes of Cradock Nowell who, at the end of Volume 1, is thrown out of his family home and disowned by his father following the suspicious death of Cradock's twin brother Clayton, their father's favorite. In Volume 2, the story picks up with those left behind at Nowelhurst and the question of who is now heir apparent to the Nowell fortune. Meanwhile, Cradock discovers life independent of the Nowell name and fortune is not easy...

By: May Sinclair (1863-1946)

Book cover Combined Maze

Ranny Ransome is an idealistic young man, devoted to exuberant gymnastic exercises and to fighting “flabbiness” in his own life, body and soul. He loves the girlish and athletic Winny Dymond, and particularly loves participating with her in the Combined Maze, a choreographed, intricate, exhilarating group gymnastic ritual in which the young men and women of the Polytechnic Gymnasium demonstrate their skills. Unfortunately, Ranny falls under the spell of the seductive Violet, a sexual free spirit who wants nothing more than to live an untrammelled life on her own terms...

By: Dorothy Richardson (1873-1957)

Book cover Backwater (Pilgrimage, Vol. 2)

"Backwater" is the second volume of "Pilgrimage," a series of thirteen autobiographical novels by Dorothy Richardson considered to have pioneered the "stream of consciousness" technique of writing. In a review of the first volume in the series, "Pointed Roofs" (The Egoist April 1918), May Sinclair first applied the term "stream of consciousness" in her discussion of Richardson's stylistic innovations. Richardson, however, preferred the term "interior monologue." Miriam Henderson, the central character in Pilgrimage, is based on the author's own life between 1891 and 1915...

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Papers

Today the world is awash with “celebrities” whose only accomplishment is being celebrated by the media in all its various forms. Henry James, of course, long pre-dates the multiplicity of media in today’s world, when the press was the main source of adulation, and he was famously averse to giving newspaper interviews himself. For those interested in the sources of celebrity worship, however, his story, “The Papers,” showing how two aspiring London journalists worked with those who were famous simply for being famous, helps to give some idea of how such worship was practiced a century ago. (Nicholas Clifford)

By: Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Book cover Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia

Arcadia is a prose work by Sir Philip Sidney, a classic of the Renaissance pastoral and a work of high romance, a fleeting vision of a lost world of gallantry and adventure, representing an escape from the realities of politics in the Elizabethan court. It contributes to the ongoing legend of Sidney as the perfect Renaissance man, "soldier, scholar, horseman he/And all he did done perfectly".

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Book cover Christmas Stories From 'Household Words' And 'All The Year Round'

Twenty stories originally published in the Christmas editions of the magazines “Household Words” and “All The Year Round”. Some of the stories have little holiday sentiment and exhibit much of the indignation Dickens felt at the social and economic injustices of his day. Some of the stories were written in collaboration with other authors. The editor of this volume chose to omit those other chapters and include only Dickens' work. The result is that some of the stories are a bit choppy, not to say confusing.

Book cover Christmas Books

From 1843 to 1848, Charles Dickens wrote a series of five novellas to be published at Christmas. Most people are familiar with the first, "A Christmas Carol." The others are "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain."

By: Catherine Grace Frances Gore (1798-1861)

Book cover Mrs. Armytage, or Female Domination

Mrs Armytage is a widowed landowner, spirited, independent and very much used to having her own way and exercising total dominance over her family. She is acutely aware of social distinctions, proud of her power and prestige, and stands on her dignity to the point of becoming cold, judgemental and aloof. Her character flaws bring her into conflict with her children when her son Arthur announces his choice of a wife who is very much below their rank, and much will happen before Mrs Armytage learns to repent her behaviour...

By: Violet Hunt (1862-1942)

Book cover Last Ditch

An amusing but deeply poignant story, “The Last Ditch” describes the wartime experiences of a British aristocratic family who gradually realize that their old feudal perquisites are passing away in the trenches of the Great War and that unprecedented new forces are pushing out the comfortable old ways. Lady Arles is the matriarch determined to resist to her last breath. Her bohemian young daughter Venice is set on a career as a poet and even dallies with a Socialist lover, but in some ways is the family member who seems the most helpless without her old aristocratic privileges...

By: Murasaki Shikibu (978 - c 1025)

Book cover Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji)

The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari) is a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian Period. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first romance novel, or the first novel to still be considered a classic... The Genji was written for the women of the aristocracy (the yokibito) and has many elements found in a modern novel: a central character and a very...

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Book cover Essays and Literary Studies

A collection of wry looks at literature, education, and other social phenomena by Canadian humourist and economics professor, Stephen Leacock.

By: Various

Book cover 1891 Collection

A look at the year 1891 through literature and non-fiction essays first published that year, including works by Mary E Wilkins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sara Orne Jewett, and Oscar Wilde.

By: Thomas More (1478-1535)

Book cover Utopia (Robinson translation)

Originally entitled A frutefull pleasaunt, and wittie worke of the beste state of publique weale, & of the newe yle, called Utopia: written in Latine, by ... Syr Thomas More knyght, and translated into Englishe by Raphe Robynson ...The first book tells of the traveller Raphael Hythloday, to whom More is introduced in Antwerp. The second book consists of Hythloday's description of the island and people of Utopia, their customs, laws, religions, economy, language and relations with other nations. Hythloday...

By: Cicely Hamilton (1872-1952)

Book cover William, An Englishman

William – an Englishman is a 1919 novel by Cicely Hamilton. The novel explores the effect of the First World War on a married couple during the rise of Socialism and the Suffragette movement. It was originally published by Skeffington & Son before being reprinted by Persephone Books in 1999. Described as 'a passionate assertion of the futility of war' by The Spectator, William - an Englishman won the first Prix Femina-Vie Heureuse Anglais prize in 1920.

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Book cover House of the Dead

The House of the Dead is a novel published in 1861 by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which portrays the life of convicts in a Siberian prison camp. Dostoyevsky himself spent four years in exile in such a camp following his conviction for involvement in the Petrashevsky Circle. This experience allowed him to describe with great authenticity the conditions of prison life and the characters of the convicts. The narrator, Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov, has been sentenced to penalty deportation to Siberia and ten years of hard labour...

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Collaboration

It is Paris sometime after the Franco-Prussian War (1870--Germany won--the French Second Republic collapsed--France embittered). A French poet and a German composer come to admire one another's work and decide to collaborate on an opera. There are costs to pay. ( david wales)

By: José de Alencar (1829-1877)

Book cover Iracema, the Honey-Lips: a Legend of Brazil

Iracema (translated as Iracema, the Honey Lips: a legend of Brazil) is considered one of the most important books of Brazilian romanticism, but also of Brazilian literature as a whole. It's been called a poem in prose, a poetic novel, a fictional-historical novel, an indianist novel, an epic-lyric narrative, a mythic poem. The obvious difficulty in defining this work shows its many facets: legendary, narrative, poetic, lyric, mythic. The story revolves around the unexpected appearance of a Portuguese warrior in the lands of the Tabajara indians, on the shores of Ceará, Brazil, in the early years of the 16th century...

By: Nikolai Leskov (1831-1895)

Book cover Steel Flea

An 1881 comic story by Nikolai Leskov, presented in the form of a traditional skaz or folk-tale, but entirely of Leskov's invention. It tells the story of a left-handed Russian artisan required to impress Tsar Nikolas I with his craftsmanship by outdoing some famous Englishmen who have created a tiny mechanical flea. The Russian smith barricades himself with two skilled colleagues in his workshop until finally forced to come out and reveal the brilliant result of his labor. Far more famous in Russia than in the West, the story of The Steel Flea reveals much about nineteenth-century Russian attitudes toward the West and toward their own country, but is difficult to categorize...

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: 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...

By: B. J. Farjeon (1838-1903)

Book cover House of the White Shadows

Is a defense attorney bound to defend his client, or with his conscience, when he knows that the man he is defending is guilty of the charges against him after the trial has already commenced? And if friends hold a belief that he may have been aware of it before the trial commenced, yet they are endeared to the man and his family as upstanding and of the highest grade? Might it not become cause for blackmail, and therefore potential retribution? "The House of White Shadows" brings these issues to the forefront, while the reader learns of the background of the advocate, his family history, and the house in question...

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Quatrains of Omar Khayyám in English Prose

Justin Huntly McCarthy (1859 - 1936) was an Irish scholar, author and nationalist politician. In 1889 his prose translations of 466 quatrains of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám was published by David Nutt. An abbreviated edition, containing a shorter introduction and translations of 373 quatrains, was published by David Nutt in 1898, and this has been used for the present recording.

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Lady Barbarina

Rich and beautiful American girls heading to England to find themselves noble titles through marriage, and using their New World wealth to prop up the waning strength of the aristocracy, was almost a staple of late Victorian literature. "The Buccaneers," Edith Wharton called them, and their day is not over yet (think of Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress countess). In Lady Barbarina, however, Henry James explores the obverse of this old tale: what if the wealth is in the hands...

By: James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

Book cover Collected Prose

Best remembered for his poetry, James Elroy Flecker was also a playwright, novelist and prose writer. This collection of his idiosyncratic prose writings includes The Last Generation (a short science fiction story), short sketches, a dialogue, and several critical studies.

By: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Book cover Maude

Maude is a novella by Christina Rossetti, written in 1850 but published posthumously in 1897. Considered by scholars to be semi-autobiographical, the protagonist is 15-year-old Maude Foster, a quiet and serious girl who writes poetry that explores the tensions between religious devotion and worldly desires. The text includes several of Rossetti's early verses, which were later published as part of her collections of poetry.

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Love Among the Artists

Love Among the Artists was published in the United States in 1900 and in England in 1914, but it was written in 1881. In the ambience of chit-chat and frivolity among members of Victorian polite society a youthful Shaw describes his views on the arts, romantic love and the practicalities of matrimony. Dilettantes, he thinks, can love and settle down to marriage, but artists with real genius are too consumed by their work to fit that pattern. The dominant figure in the novel is Owen Jack, a musical genius, somewhat mad and quite bereft of social graces...

By: John Wesley (1703-1791)

Book cover Sermons on Several Occasions, Second 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 second series contains sermons concerning important Christian doctrines and practices.

By: Florence Roma Muir Wilson (1891-1930)

Book cover Death of Society: A Novel of Tomorrow

A weary survivor of the Great War, Major Rane Smith wanders in a great ennui amidst the mystical beauties of the fjords of Norway after the War, seeking a spiritual renewal. Deep in the forest he stumbles fatefully upon the strange, almost elvish home of Karl Ingman, an iconoclastic old Ibsen scholar. There Major Smith meets Ingman's two beautiful young daughters and his eldritch wife Rosa, entering into long days of profound dialogue with each member of the family. A rare and exquisite gem of...

Book cover If All These Young Men

Another remarkable World War I novel by Romer Wilson, "If All These Young Men" is a character study of a group of young 20-something friends in England dealing with the looming, grey presence of the War in their lives. The story begins on Good Friday 1918, and centers on Josephine Miller, a restless, strong-minded young woman who cannot tolerate trivialities or frivolities so long as the War goes on, and who agonizes over how to go on living in its shadow. The characters of Josephine and her friends...

Book cover Martin Schüler

Romer Wilson's first novel is a study in the life of Genius, a theme that would preoccupy her throughout her life. The eponymous Martin Schüler is a young German composer of genius in the years leading up to the Great War. His great passion is to create one magnificent work that will live forever. With his passions so consumed in his art, he makes sacrifices in his human relationships, going through a series of wrenching, unequal love affairs. The novel is of interest not only for Schüler's lifelong struggle to reconcile his fleshly desires with his lust for fame, but also for the Continental setting as Europe falls toward catastrophe.

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Lord Beaupre

What is a young man to do, when because of his pleasant disposition, and (of course) his considerable wealth, he finds himself besieged by bevies of eligible young women, some beautiful, some less so (some, even, his own cousins)? How on earth is he to protect himself from their onslaught and that of their mothers?

By: Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828-1889)

Book cover Vital Question, or, What is to be Done?

Despised by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, What Is To Be Done? is a fascinating, sympathetic story of idealistic revolutionaries in mid-nineteenth century tsarist Russia; translator Nathan Haskell Dole affirms in his preface his conviction that it is a thriller that no one can put down once s/he begins it. Its variegated cast of characters includes Vera Pavlovna, a boldly independent woman in a time of great oppression, and the inspirational radical Rakhmetov. The author wrote the novel from the depths of the infamous Peter & Paul Fortress of St...

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Princess Casamassima

Princess Casamassima can be read on several levels: first, as a political and social novel, exploring the anarchistic and revolutionary underground of London in the 1880s; secondly as a psychological study of such a movement on a young man (the protagonist, Hyacinth Robinson) who may or may not be descended from the aristocracy, but whose artistic nature shines out in the midst of the London slums; and thirdly, as an examination of the conundrum whether the world of art and culture is necessarily built on the abject poverty of others...

By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

Book cover Wolf-Leader

Part local legend of a dark and dangerous Wolf-Leader, part childhood memories of his home near Villers-Cotterets, in Aisne, Dumas here penned a chilling supernaturlal encounter between man and the devil. Our hero, Thibault the shoemaker, is beaten on the orders of the Lord of Vez for hunting in the lord's forest. With Thibault's resentment at his treatment by the world at its height, the devil sees his chance and, in the guise of a wolf, proposes a deal which Thibault accepts; the ever available trade of one's soul for evil power...

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Book cover Steppe

Little Yegorushka goes off to school for the first time, setting out on the journey in the company of his Uncle Ivan, the local priest Father Christopher, and the fun-loving servant Deniska. Along the way they meet an extraordinarily colorful array of characters, named and nameless: the innkeeper Moisey Moisevitch, the beautiful Countess Dranitsky, the mysterious Varlamov, Emelyan the voiceless singer, Tit the steppe waif, and many more. But the most colorful and extraordinary character of all is the Steppe itself in every mood and weather, painted stroke-by-masterly-stroke by Chekhov in all its wild, musical, redolent, flowering, chirruping, infuriating exuberance. (Expatriate)

Book cover Three Years

Laptev, the rich but unattractive scion of a merchant, renounces his independent-minded, intelligent, devoted, but equally unattractive mistress Polina in order to marry the beautiful young gold-digger Yulia. Their life together quickly deteriorates into a loveless agony, Laptev seeking some sort of meaning in his life while Yulia whiles away her youth with the sparkling young Moscow social scene. The compelling question of the story is whether or not Laptev and Yulia can redeem something of lasting value from what seems to be a hopelessly empty relationship...

By: D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Book cover Sons and Lovers (Version 2)

Lawrence summarised the plot of Sons and Lovers in a letter to Edward Garnett in 1912: “It follows this idea: a woman of character and refinement goes into the lower class, and has no satisfaction in her own life. She has had a passion for her husband, so her children are born of passion, and have heaps of vitality. But as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers — first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother — urged on and on...

By: Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Book cover Brittains Ida or Venus and Anchises

While hunting, the boy Anchises stumbles upon Venus's forest retreat and is so kindly entertained by the goddess that he becomes the proud father of Aeneas, the hero of Vergil's Aeneid. The poem is an epyllion like Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," a short erotic poem with a mythological subject. The style is Spenserian, the stanzas rhyming ababbccc. When Brittain's Ida was published in 1628, the publisher ascribed it to Edmund Spenser. However, in 1926 Ethel Seaton discovered and published Fletcher's original manuscript, whose opening stanzas make clear that this is the work of Fletcher, who entitled it "Venus and Anchises."

By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

Book cover Indian Summer (version 2)

Set in Florence's Anglo-American colony in the late 19th century, this is a romantic story of a middle-aged man, returning to the scene of his first but disappointed love twenty years earlier. The doings of Americans abroad were staples of the fictions of Henry James and Edith Wharton, but Howells’s view is rather different. As John Updike has said of it, “the felicity of the writing makes us pause in admiration….A midlife crisis has rarely been sketched in fiction with better humor, with gentler comedy and more gracious acceptance of life’s irrevocability.” ( Nicholas Clifford)

By: May Sinclair (1863-1946)

Book cover Two Sides of a Question

Here are two gemlike novellas in one volume, written in May Sinclair’s clearest and cleverest prose and exploring the many ways in which a woman can be held captive, held back from the “intoxication of freedom.” In “The Cosmopolitan,” Frida Tancred is a wealthy heiress trapped by family obligation in a dismal provincial estate, hopelessly longing to see all the glories of the world and with no way of escape but the conventional one of marriage. In “Superseded,” spinsterish Miss Juliana Quincey has been teaching arithmetic in a London girls’ school for twenty-five years when she suddenly falls in love with a much younger man and begins to question the assumptions of her life...

By: Henry Murger (1832-1861)

Book cover Bohemians of the Latin Quarter

As much as any other work of literature, Henri Murger’s 1851 collection of witty sketches Scènes de la vie de bohème shaped the later romanticized image of the bohemian artist: independent, insouciant, exuberantly lustful, devoted to Art for Art’s sake no matter how cold and hungry the artist might be. Four young Parisian artists, Schaunard the composer, Marcel the painter, Rodolphe the poet, and Colline the philosopher, form an informal Bohemian alliance dedicated to Art and the joy of Life...

By: (William) Winwood Reade (1838-1875)

Book cover Outcast

For many nineteenth-century Christians, the new biological and geological discoveries of that era brought on severe crises of faith. Winwood Reade’s small epistolary novel “The Outcast” tells the story of a young man who sacrifices love and family and property for the sake of his conscience, which tells him that his lifelong beliefs cannot stand up to the heady revelations of the new science. Interestingly, the most crushing discovery for the anonymous letter-writer of this story is not simply that the Bible is not what he thought it was...

By: Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891)

Book cover Common Story

Alexander Fedoritch Adouev is the naïve, pampered son of Anna Pavlovna, a provincial landowner. He decides to go off to Saint Petersburg, not only to make his mark upon society but also to fulfill his two rosy romantic dreams of becoming a great writer and finding a great love. He is taken under the reluctant wing of his uncle, Piotr Ivanitch Adouev, a pragmatic, hard-headed businessman who scorns everything romantic and tries to cure Alexander Fedoritch of his sentimental, youthful illusions. The...

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Book cover David Copperfield - Condensed by the Author for his Dramatic Readings in America

"This short collection of 6 selected scenes from "David Copperfield" were abridged and performed by Dickens himself during his American Tour of 1867 and 1868."

By: Sir Harry Johnston (1858-1927)

Book cover Mrs. Warren's Daughter

Mrs. Warren's Daughter is a continuation, in novel form, of George Bernard Shaw's controversial play, Mrs. Warren's Profession. In the play, Vivie Warren, an emancipated young woman recently graduated from University, disavows her mother Kitty when she learns that Kitty's fortune comes from an ownership share in an international string of brothels, and that Kitty herself was once a prostitute. This novel, written by a world renowned botanist, explorer, and colonial administrator, follows Vivie's personal and political adventures through her involvement in the Suffragist movement and the years leading up to and during World War I.

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: Various

Book cover Blue Review, Number 3

The Blue Review was a short lived monthly journal published in London between May and July 1913. The successor to Rhythm, The Blue Review was edited by John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield, but survived only three issues. In addition to poetry and short literary pieces, the review included reviews of theatre, music and the arts and of books recently published in English and French. The third and final issue of the journal included Poetry by Rupert Brooke, short stories by Katherine Mansfield and Gilbert Cannan and a review of Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' by D. H. Lawrence. - Summary by Phil Benson

By: Hugh Walpole (1884-1941)

Book cover Harmer John; An Unworldly Story

Hjalmar Johanson is a boyish unworldly Swedish body builder come to Walpole’s fictional cathedral town of Polchester. His name is “simplified” by the townsfolk to Harmer John. He is attracted to Polchester by the cathedral. He has a vision of transforming the town and its populace to a healthier and more beautiful state. He establishes a business, essentially a gymnasium, to help people become healthier. He envisions tearing down the slums along the river and rebuilding the area with more attractive and publicly healthier buildings...

By: Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Book cover Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises was Hemingway's first novel to be published, though there is his novella The Torrents of Spring which was published earlier in the same year. The novel describes, expressed through the voice of Jake Barnes, a short period of social life that ranges from Paris to locations in Spain. One might say that the action occurs in Pamplona, Spain with the annual festival of San Fermin and its running of bulls and subsequent days of bullfights, but one can easily argue that the real interest of the novel is in its portrayal of the group to which Barnes is a part and how he details their anxieties, frailties, hopes, and frustrations.

By: Louis Couperus (1863-1923)

Book cover Small Souls

Constance van der Welcke returns to the Hague and the bosom of her family after a twenty year exile caused by a marital indiscretion and divorce from the Dutch ambassador to Rome. Wanting only to be accepted into the family circle again, Constance and her husband Henri find they are the target of gossip that pulls the family apart. As the facade of the family circle begins to crack, the psychological foibles of the brothers and sisters begin to reveal themselves. Small Souls is the first of four novels that make up the quartet known as 'The Books of the Small Souls', the master work of the foremost author of modern Dutch literature, Louis Couperus...

By: E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822)

Book cover Weird Tales, Volume 2

Paradoxically, it is variety that unites the tales you are about to read. They take place in widely separated countries and historical periods, and their outcomes—fortunate or tragic—cannot always be predicted with accuracy. The characters too speak with varied voices; even the narrative voice is not uniform, for the author often frames story within a story, using a character in one tale to narrate another. The reader will sometimes feel as though the author is extending an invitation to enter his workshop to observe him at his trade and admire his craftsmanship...

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Book cover Landlady

Everything changed when Ordynov, a secluded young thinker, stepped out of his old lodgings in search of another corner. The ailing landlord watched from a distance, while the beautiful landlady came close... A tale of love, murder, and sorcery, The Landlady is one of a kind among Fyodor Dostoevsky's works. Written at the age of 26 before he was sent to Siberia, preceded only by The Double and Poor Folk, this novella draws inspiration from Russian folklore as well as stories by Pushkin and Gogol. It anticipates some of the writer's most important ideas to be developed in his later writings.

By: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Book cover Limbo

This is Aldous Huxley's first collection of short stories, which consists of 6 stories and a play. Characters in the play, "Happy Families", read by the following volunteers: Aston: ToddHW Aston's Dummy: James R. Hedrick Topsy: czandra Topsy's Dummy: czandra Sir Jasper: Marvin Larson Belle: Dawn Sutton Henrika: Rachel Costello Cain: Krista Zaleski Stage Direction: Krista Zaleski

By: Warwick Deeping (1877-1950)

Book cover Uther and Igraine

This beautifully written book imagines the lives of Igraine and Uther Pendragon before the legend of Arthur began.

By: Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894)

Book cover Kopal-Kundala

A story of love and innocence, by one of India's most loved novelist/ poets of the 20th century, the mentor of Rabindrath Tagore.

By: Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)

Book cover Clarence Darrow, Selected Works: 1893-1917

This is a collection of 8 works by Clarence Darrow written between 1893 and 1917. Clarence Darrow was most noted in his time as an enormously successful defense attorney. Consider that he was the defense attorney at the Scopes Monkey Trial and at the "trial of the century", the Bobby Franks murder trial. He, like Robert G. Ingersoll, William Cowper Brann , William Jennings Bryan , Daniel Webster, etc. was also known as a world-class orator. These collected 8 works include speeches, essays, and public debates. The man had a silver tongue... sharpened to a rapier's edge!

By: Frederick Philip Grove (1879-1948)

Book cover Settlers of the Marsh

The novel “Settlers of the Marsh” is a foundational work of realism in Canadian fiction. Its author, Frederick Philip Grove, a German immigrant, settled in Manitoba and wrote vividly about the struggles of settlers in the early multi-ethnic communities of western Canada. The protagonist of “Settlers of the Marsh” is a Swedish immigrant who wrestles in stoic solitude with the hardships of pioneer life, only to discover that he has been catastrophically naïve about relations with women. Some early reviewers objected that the novel’s treatment of sexuality was “indecent,” but the book is today seen as a cornerstone of Canadian literature. - Summary by Bruce Pirie

By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Book cover Dozen Short Stories from H. G. Wells

Twelve of H. G. Wells' early short stories originally printed in various magazines and papers. His earlier works delve into the human condition, looked at through a humorous lens. Love, romance, infidelity, parenthood and more are the subjects of the various stories, often told with a wry twist of humor.


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