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By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

The Life Of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell The Life Of Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë was a British author, the eldest of the three famous Brontë sisters who have become standards of English literature. She is best known for her novel Jane Eyre, one of the greatest classics of all time. Just two years after Charlotte’s death, her friend Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her biography. Want to know more about Charlotte Brontë? If you do, please read this biography.

Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Gaskell Cousin Phillis

Cousin Phillis (1864) is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about Paul Manning, a youth of seventeen who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his second cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence. Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling.

Book cover My Lady Ludlow

This novella by the acclaimed Elizabeth Gaskell follows the reminiscences and life of aristocratic Lady Ludlow, told through the eyes of one of her charges, the young Margaret Dawson. Lady Ludlow epitomizes the unwillingness of the old English gentry to accept the progression of social reform and technology, such as education for the poor and religious leniency. She reminisces about her friends in the French revolution and tries to protect and guide the numerous young ladies she has taken under her care.

Book cover Dark Night's Work

Love, murder and class commentary in Mrs Gaskell's usual brilliant style! This novel was originally serialised and published by Charles Dickens, with whom Mrs Gaskell had several disagreements. She chose to avoid melodrama and concentrate on psychological realism to produce a moving story of people meeting and parting across class divides.

Book cover Moorland Cottage

"Maggie Brown is torn between her mother who constantly tells her to live for her selfish brother (to whom she gives all her love) to her wish to marry Frank and live for herself. Maggie's plight for independence shows the change in women's role, which started to take place during that time. But it also keeps to the tradition of an almost Cinderella story: the pure woman does the best for everyone but herself and is rewarded for that. In addition, this is a very interesting story, written in Gaskell's remarkable style. When you read it, you are transported to another time, and place".

By: Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux The Mystery of the Yellow Room

One of the first locked room mysteries, The Mystery of the Yellow Room focuses on a supposedly impossible crime which has been committed within a locked room. The novel was initially published in the French periodical L’illustration, and was later published as a book in 1908. It is the first of a series of novels featuring the famous fictional reporter Joseph Rouletabille. The mystery begins when Joseph Rouletabille, a reporter and amateur sleuth is sent to investigate a crime scene at the Château du Glandier, home to renowned chemist Joseph Stangerson...

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux The Phantom of the Opera

A masterly mix of romance, drama, mystery, suspense, love and jealousy, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux will haunt you long after you've turned the last page. Today the world knows it by Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long running musical on stage and its 2004 film adaptation, and earlier from Lon Chaney's screen portrayal of the dark intruder who roams the Paris Opera House. However, Gaston Leroux's novel was first released as a serial in the French magazine, La Gaulois over four months in 1909-10...

The Secret of the Night by Gaston Leroux The Secret of the Night

Gaston Leroux, perhaps best known as the author of The Phantom of the Opera in its novel form, was also the author of a popular series of mystery novels featuring a young journalist cum detective named Joseph Rouletabille. It is most likely that Leroux styled his hero after himself. Rouletabille was in the tradition of other great detectives who solved their cases by pure deductive reasoning. Much as Sherlock Holmes, who eliminated the impossible and concluded that whatever remained, however improbable must be the truth, Rouletabille included the known facts about the case and eliminated everything that was not a known fact, no matter how much it appeared to relate to the case...

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence

If you've watched and loved Winona Ryder playing the innocent May Welland in the 1993 film adaptation of Edith Wharton's sweeping novel about class-consciousness in nineteenth century America, you will certainly enjoy reading the original. Though Martin Scorcese's brilliant work was certainly true to the spirit of the original novel, no film can reproduce the charm of language and turn of phrase employed by one of America's greatest writers. The Age of Innocence was Edith Wharton's 12th novel and is located in familiar Wharton territory...

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome is a novel published in 1911 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Edith Wharton. It is set in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, New England, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. (

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton The House of Mirth

Wharton's classic story of an aging (by Victorian-era standards) spinster socialite who would rather marry for money than for true love.

Summer by Edith Wharton Summer

Wharton's 1917 novella Summer, like her more famous work Ethan Frome, is set in a very small rural New England town. Charity Royall longs to escape the claustrophobic confines of North Dormer and the inappropriate advances of her guardian Mr. Royall, who adopted her as a child from the nearby Mountain community. Hope arrives in the form of city boy Lucius Harney, who has come to research the architecture of the region; but will his presence in Charity's life mean her salvation - or her undoing? (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton Custom of the Country

Edith Wharton was a novelist of manners of late 19th Century New York “Society”, who spent much of her life in France. In this novel she tells the story of Undine Sprague, the thrice- (or more) married, upwardly mobile beauty from “Apex City”, transplanted to New York, and finally to France, leaving the dead and wounded in the wake of her “experiments in happiness”.

The Reef by Edith Wharton The Reef

George Darrow, Anna Leath’s first love, is finally coming from London to propose to her. However, he drifts to an affair with Sophy Viner, Anna’s daughter’s naïve and young governess. Sophy’s relationship with Darrow and Anna’s family can threaten his success. In this novel, as in many of Wharton’s other well known novels, we see the eternal love triangle. With her sly and lovely writing style, Wharton delivers to us in this wonderful novel a cast of unforgettable characters and many unforgettable scenes which we can vividly imagine. What would Darrow choose: success or love? Would Anna marry him despite his affair with Sophy? (Summary by Stav Nisser.)

Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton Bunner Sisters

“Bunner Sisters,” like “The Age of Innocence” is set in 1870s New York, however the lives of Ann Eliza and Evelina Bunner reflect impoverished New York. The sisters run a “very small shop, in a shabby basement, in a sidestreet already doomed to decline.” Shabby as it is, the sisters are happy in their small orderly community of supportive women. The story tells of the destruction of this life, and how the once content sisters are thrown into the realistic world outside of their little shop.

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton The Glimpses of the Moon

"The Glimpses of the Moon" (1922) is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an "open" relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.

The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton The Fruit of the Tree

When published in 1907, this novel about the lives of a wealthy mill owner, her socially progressive husband and friends caused a stir due to its treatment of drug abuse, mercy killing, divorce and second marriages.

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton The Touchstone

Stephen Glennard's career is falling apart and he desperately needs money so that he may marry his beautiful fiancee. He happens upon an advertisement in a London magazine promising the prospect of financial gain. Glennard was once pursued by Margaret Aubyn, a famous and recently deceased author, and he still has her passionate love letters to him. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and building a marriage based on the betrayal of another.

Sanctuary by Edith Wharton Sanctuary

Kate Orme, shocked by the discovery of her fiance's complicity in a tragedy, and by society's willingness to overlook such transgressions, nevertheless marries him. Years later, her son faces a moral crisis similar to the one that showed her his father's moral weakness. (Introduction by Christine Dufour)

The Greater Inclination by Edith Wharton The Greater Inclination

This is Edith Wharton's earliest published collection of short stories (1899). Like much of her later work, they touch on themes of marriage, male/female relationships, New York society, and the nature and purpose of art. One of the stories, "The Twilight of the God," is written as a short play. The role of Warland is read by mb, and the role of Oberville by Bruce Pirie.

Crucial Instances by Edith Wharton Crucial Instances

This is Edith Wharton's second published collection of short stories (1901). One of these seven stories, "Copy: A Dialogue," is written as a short play. The role of Hilda is read by Arielle Lipshaw, and the role of Ventnor by Mark F. Smith.

Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton Madame de Treymes

Edith Wharton's 1907 novella explores the milieu of Americans living abroad in Paris. New Yorker John Durham travels to Paris to woo an old flame, Fanny Frisbee, now the Marquis de Malrive. Fanny is separated from her husband and wants to marry John and return to America, but she doubts whether her Catholic husband will grant her a divorce. When John meets Fanny's sister-in-law, the enigmatic Madame de Treymes, he hopes she may be able to help them in their quest for happiness. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

Book cover Tales of Men and Ghosts

Tales of Men and Ghosts was published as a collection in 1910, though the first eight of the stories had earlier appeared in Scribner's and the last two in the Century Magazine. Despite the title, the men outnumber the ghosts, since only "The Eyes" and "Afterward" actually call on the supernatural. In only two of the stories are women the central characters, though elsewhere they play important roles. Wharton enjoys subjecting her subjects -- all of them American gentlemen and gentlewomen, in the conventional senses of the word -- to various moral tests and sometimes ironic tests...

By: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue

This story opens with a mother and daughter found brutally murdered inside a locked room in an upstairs apartment on a street in Paris. The police are baffled by both the ferocity of the crime and the lack of clues. Neighbors give conflicting evidence. Two friends are intrigued by the entire situation as reported in the newspapers. They decide to do a little investigating on their own. What they come up with is one of the most shocking and strangest of conclusions. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the first modern detective tale, though similar stories by Voltaire and ETA Hoffman did appear a few decades earlier...

Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

Published in 1838, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is Poe’s only complete novel and concentrates on several sea adventures gone awry. The novel follows Arthur Gordon Pym, who finds himself in the center of gloomy occurrences on board numerous vessels, as his anticipated sea adventure takes a drastic shift in the wind. Shipwreck, starvation, mutiny, near death experiences and cannibalism are just some of the issues endured in the gripping, and at times gruesome novel. The adventure...

Two Poe Tales by Edgar Allan Poe Two Poe Tales

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his famous short horror stories; however, horror is not the only genre in which he wrote. How To Write a Blackwood Article and its companion piece A Predicament are satirical works exploring the pieces of the formula generally seen in short horror stories (”articles”) found in the Scottish periodical “Blackwood’s Magazine” and the successful misapplication of said formula by – horrors! – a woman author! – respectively.

By: James Joyce (1882-1941)

Ulysses by James Joyce Ulysses

Banned in the United States and United Kingdom throughout the 1920s, Ulysses turned conventional ideas of the novel inside out with its bold new form, style and theme. Deeply rooted in the Greek myth of the hero of the Trojan War, Joyce bases his novel on Ulysses or Odysseus, who is doomed to voyage for ten years before returning home to Ithaca. Joyce had been deeply influenced by the Iliad and the Odyssey, which he had read from Charles Lamb's adaptations as a child. In fact, he considered him the epitome of the heroic ideal and constantly thought of giving the myth a new dimension in modern literature...

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

His family name is derived from a Greek craftsman who created the Labyrinth and designed wings for himself and his son to fly away from the island they were imprisoned in. But Stephen Dedalus, the young hero of James Joyce's first novel, is a young man who rises above his baser instincts and seeks a life devoted to the arts. This quintessential coming of age novel describes the early life of Stephen Dedalus. It is set in Ireland during the nineteenth century which was a time of emerging Irish nationalism and conservative Catholicism...

Dubliners by James Joyce Dubliners

A young boy falls in love with his friend's much older sister and is desperate to get her the perfect gift from the Araby Fair. After a party, a man discovers something he had never known about his wife, which has a devastating impact on their marriage. An ambitious mother schemes to get her daughter a role in a series of concerts. A drunken legal clerk takes out his frustrations on his helpless young son. These and other brilliant stories are contained in the collection entitled Dubliners...

Chamber Music by James Joyce Chamber Music

Chamber Music is a collection of poems by James Joyce, first published in May of 1907. The collection originally comprised thirty-four love poems, but two further poems were added before publication (”All day I hear the noise of waters” and “I hear an army charging upon the land”). Although the poems did not sell well, they received some critical acclaim. Ezra Pound admired the “delicate temperament” of these early poems, while Yeats described “I hear an army charging upon the land” as “a technical and emotional masterpiece”...

By: Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a collection of novellas or short novels written during the 14th century. There are 100 tales contained in the book which is presented together. The book’s title The Decameron combines the two Greek words “deka” meaning ten and “hemera” meaning day. The title can be literally translated as “ten day,” which is also the time frame in which the stories are told by the 7 young women and 3 young men. In the book, each of the ten persons took their turns to tell stories for a day...

By: H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925)

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon’s Mines is the story of the leader Allan Quatermain and his adventurous group of followers on their mission to find the lost brother of an aristocrat, Sir Henry Curtis. Considered similar to Robert Louise Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, Haggard’s book proved to be another must-read adventure novel in the international literary world. The African desert hides underneath its sands myths and legends that lasted for centuries in the minds of the locals. Quatermain has a mysterious map that could lead to the ancient mines of the wise King Solomon...

Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard Allan Quatermain

“An Adventurer – He that goes out to meet whatever may come!” This is the credo of Allan Quatermain, the quintessential, swashbuckling protagonist of Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard. Quatermain first makes his appearance as a character in Haggard's most famous bestselling adventure tale, King Solomon's Mines. Published in 1885, this Victorian action novel depicts a group led by Allan Quatermain who travel to a remote region in Africa in search of the missing brother of one of them. It is considered the very first English adventure tale set in what was perhaps disparagingly then called the “Dark Continent...

She by H. Rider Haggard She

A timeless classic of fantasy literature, She is recognized as the groundwork for the lost world literary sub- genre. First published serially in The Graphic magazine from 1886 to 1887, the novel has reached critical acclaim with approximately 100 million copies sold and is regarded as one of the best-selling books of all time. Exploring themes of imperialism, lost civilization, female authority and psyche, the novel also serves as a mirror to reflect Victorian issues such as gender and race. ...

Allan's Wife by H. Rider Haggard Allan's Wife

The story of Allan Quatermain's wife and further adventures of Allan Quatermain.

Book cover Allan and the Holy Flower

Further adventures of Allan Quatermain

The Tale of Three Lions by H. Rider Haggard The Tale of Three Lions

Taking place in the heart of Africa, “The Tale of Three Lions” is one more thrilling adventure from the eventful life of old hunter Quartermain, the famous hero of “King Solomons Mines”. This time, though there are no bloodthirsty people for the old hunter to deal with, the dangers are no less. He has to face the mighty and fierce King of Animals – the Lion.

The Ivory Child by H. Rider Haggard The Ivory Child

Allan Quatermain's first adventure with Lord Ragnall. (Introduction by laineyben)

Book cover The Wizard

Described by the author, best known for his King Solomon's Mines, as "a tale of victorious faith," this story begins on a Sunday afternoon in an English church. Most of the book, though, is set in Africa, and the adventure story is as engaging as any of Haggard's African tales. What makes this one different is the religious question: What has happened to miracles in the church? Is there any power left in Jesus' promise, "Whoso that believeth in me, the works that I do he shall do also, and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do"?

Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard Black Heart and White Heart

Black Heart and White Heart, is a story of the courtship, trials and final union of a pair of Zulu lovers in the time of King Cetywayo. (Introduction by H. Rider Haggard)

Book cover Eric Brighteyes

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes is the title of an epic viking novel by H. Rider Haggard, and concerns the adventures of its eponymous principal character in 10th century Iceland. Eric Thorgrimursson (nicknamed 'Brighteyes' for his most notable trait), strives to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair. Her father Asmund, a priest of the old Norse gods, opposes the match, thinking Eric a man without prospects. But deadlier by far are the intrigues of Swanhild, Gudruda's half-sister and a sorceress who desires Eric for herself. She persuades the chieftain Ospakar Blacktooth to woo Gudrida, making the two men enemies. Battles, intrigues, and treachery follow.

By: Stephen Leacock

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Known as the Canadian Mark Twain, Stephen Leacock was a humorist whose gentle parodies and spoofs still evoke a smile and a chuckle more than a hundred years after they were first published. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town was published in 1912. Set in the fictional town of Mariposa in Canada, which is peopled by a delightful assortment of characters, the book has proved to be an enduring classic in the humor genre. Readers around the world continue to enjoy these little stories about the inhabitants of Mariposa because Leacock portrays people whom we have all met at some time or the other in our own lives...

Frenzied Fiction by Stephen Leacock Frenzied Fiction

From the cave man to Santa Claus; spies, know-it-alls, and journalists: all are fair game for Leacock’s special brand of humor. He touches on the changes time has brought about in the city, education, and work habits. Among the other topics in this work are nature, fishing, gardening, success, and spirits–both of the departed and of the variety Prohibition prohibited. Each chapter of this book is a standalone story and if you love a good laugh, these stories are for you. In me, Leacock’s wit produced the full range of laughter: smiles, chuckles, guffaws, and some uncontrollable giggles. Also, occasionally, I found myself shedding a tear or two. (Review by Debra Lynn)

Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

“Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich” is a work of humorous fiction by Stephen Leacock first published in 1914. It is the follow-up to his 1912 classic “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.” Like that work, it is a sequence of interlocking stories set in one town, but instead of focusing on a small Canadian town in the countryside, it is set in a major American metropolis and its characters are the upper crust of society. Although currently not as well-known as the earlier book, “Arcadian Adventures” was extremely popular in North America at the time of its publication and for a while was considered the greater success...

Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels

Eight silly stories by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

Soaked In Seaweed and 7 other Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock Soaked In Seaweed and 7 other Nonsense Novels

8 great spoofs of 'types' of fiction by the premier Canadian humorist Leacock, taken from his book Nonsense Novels. The title of each parody gives away it's genre. Soaked in Seaweed or, Upset in the Ocean; Maddened by Mystery: or, The Defective Detective; "Q." A Psychic Pstory of the Psupernatural; Guido the Gimlet of Ghent: A Romance of Chivalry; The Man in Asbestos: an Allegory of the Future; Sorrows of a Super Soul: or, The Memoirs of Marie Mushenough; A Hero in Homespun: or, The Life Struggle of Hezekiah Hayloft and Caroline's Christmas: or, The Inexplicable Infant...

Further Foolishness by Stephen Leacock Further Foolishness

Seventeen goofy stories and essays by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock. "Professor Leacock has made more people laugh with the written word than any other living author. One may say he is one of the greatest jesters, the greatest humorist of the age." – A. P. Herbert (Introduction by TriciaG & Wikipedia)

Literary Lapses by Stephen Leacock Literary Lapses

Short sketches relating the humourous side of life in 1910. "Professor Leacock has made more people laugh with the written word than any other living author. One may say he is one of the greatest jesters, the greatest humorist of the age." – A. P. Herbert

The Hohenzollerns in America by Stephen Leacock The Hohenzollerns in America

More stories by Canadian Stephen Leacock. Some of these stories carry over characters introduced in Further Foolishness. Some stories are humourous; some are more thoughtful. It helps to be familiar with WWI-era European politics to catch much of the humour. Full title: The Hohenzollerns in America With the Bolsheviks in Berlin and Other Impossibilities

Behind the Beyond by Stephen Leacock Behind the Beyond

A collection containing a parody on Problem Plays, as well as humorous anecdotes from Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy by Stephen Leacock Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy

Humorous, ironic, and sometimes cynical observations of life in 1915 from Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

By: George MacDonald (1824-1905)

The Light Princess by George MacDonald The Light Princess

A king and queen are in despair. After years of marriage, they are yet to be blessed with a child. Finally a lovely daughter is born to them. They plan a grand christening ceremony for the baby, but as destiny would have it, they forget to invite the nastiest lady in the kingdom, who also happens to be the king's sister, the evil Princess Makemnoit. Now if all that seems distinctly familiar to you, it was meant to! Using the Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose fairytale as a starting point, Scottish writer George MacDonald creates a story that's even more enchanting and gives it a nice little twist...

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald At the Back of the North Wind

Written by the man who mentored Lewis Carroll and encouraged him to submit Alice for publication, At the Back of the North Wind is today a forgotten classic of Victorian children's literature. The story tells of a young boy named Diamond, the son of a coachman in an English country mansion. Diamond sleeps in the hayloft above the stables and at night he finds he's disturbed by the wind blowing through the holes in the wall. He tries to plug them but one night, he hears an imperious voice scolding him for doing this! It is the magnificent North Wind that speaks to him and tells him that he's closed up her windows...

Lilith by George MacDonald Lilith

A fantasy novel first published in 1895, Lilith follows a young man on his inter-dimensional journey of spiritual discovery, as he acquaints himself with his family’s past and unearths a life-changing secret. Moreover, it deals with the introspection of its protagonist, as he is hurled into a mysterious setting where he encounters bizarre creatures that challenge the validity of his temporal values. Examining issues including the essence of life, wisdom, death, redemption, and salvation, the novel presents a masterfully woven plot that marks the piece as one of MacDonald’s darkest and most intense contributions to the fantasy genre...

Phantastes by George MacDonald Phantastes

A young man named Anodos experiences dream-like adventures in Fairy Land, where he meets tree-spirits, endures the presence of the overwhelming shadow, journeys to the palace of the fairy queen, and searches for the spirit of the earth. The story conveys a profound sadness and a poignant longing for death. (Brad Powers)

David Elginbrod by George MacDonald David Elginbrod

David Elginbrod was George Macdonald’s first real success, a novel of Scottish country life. Published in 1862, it was dedicated to the memory of Lady Noel Byron.

Book cover The Lost Princess (or A Double Story, or The Wise Woman)

Also known as "A Double Story" or "The Wise Woman."The story of two very spoiled girls, a princess and a peasant, who are kidnapped by a strange woman for a lesson in life. They may not emerge the same... but will their parents be changed for the better too?

Robert Falconer by George MacDonald Robert Falconer

A Victorian novel devoted to beloved character first introduced to readers in MacDonald's David Elginbrod.

Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald Diary of an Old Soul

George MacDonald, a Scottish pastor, wrote these short poems, one for each day of the year, to help him with the severer misfortune he was experiencing. The poems are filled with hope and promises of Christ, yet, he also writes about his doubts. These poems are wonderful to listen to for people of any religion.

By: Voltaire (1694-1778)

Candide by Voltaire Candide

A picaresque novel written by French satirical polemicist and philosopher Voltaire, Candide blatantly attacks the ideology of philosopher Leibniz. Candide follows the series of unfortunate events encountered by the young, yet blindly optimistic Candide. Shifting from one adventure to the next, Voltaire’s signature piece does not cease to grip its audience with its humorous criticism of power, wealth, love, religion, philosophy and especially optimism. The novel begins with the introduction of the protagonist Candide, who lives in the castle of an influential German Baron, along with the Baron’s daughter Cunégonde, and tutor Dr...

Zadig, or the Book of Fate by Voltaire Zadig, or the Book of Fate

Zadig, ou La Destinée, (”Zadig, or The Book of Fate”) (1747) is a famous novel written by the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. It tells the story of Zadig, a philosopher in ancient Babylonia. The author does not attempt any historical accuracy, and some of the problems Zadig faces are thinly disguised references to social and political problems of Voltaire’s own day. The book is philosophical in nature, and presents human life as in the hands of a destiny beyond human control. It is a story of religious and metaphysical orthodoxy, both of which Voltaire challenges with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself...

By: Carlo Collodi (1826-1890)

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi The Adventures of Pinocchio

An old carpenter carves a little wooden puppet from a mysterious piece of wood that seems to have the ability to talk! He begins to love the little creature like his own son and names him Pinocchio. But the mischievous fellow runs away from his loving father as soon as he learns to walk. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi follows the misadventures and naughty exploits of this delightfully “human” puppet who in his heart of hearts longs only to become a real boy. Carlo Collodi was the pen name of a gifted writer of children's books, Carlo Lorenzini who lived in Florence, Italy, during the late 19th century...

Book cover Pinocchio

This is the wonderful story of Pinocchio, the puppet who must learn many lessons before he can become a real boy. Carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he dreamed of becoming a real boy but strays from the path of goodness many times and is very willing to listen to temptation. He has also been used as a character who is prone to telling lies and fabricating stories for various reasons. The story has appeared in many adaptations in other mediums. Pinocchio has been called an icon of modern culture, and one of most reimagined characters in the pantheon of children's literature...

By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness

First published in Blackwood’s magazine as a three part serial in 1899 and published in 1902, Heart of Darkness centers on the experiences of protagonist Charles Marlow as he is assigned the duty to transport ivory down the Congo River. Conrad cleverly uses foreshadowing as a technique to convey the novella’s themes of hypocritical imperialism, the contradictory views on civilized as opposed to barbaric societies, racism, and the conflict between reality and darkness. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, the story begins with the introduction of protagonist Charles Marlow, who is on board a boat harbored in the River Thames...

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad The Secret Agent

In this world of modern day spying, Joseph Conrad's spy story, The Secret Agent, is very pertinent. It deals with the over reaching influence of politics in everyday life, the sordid underbelly that lies beneath our civilization's sophisticated veneer, the strange persuasive power of anarchy, unbridled capitalism and its tragic consequences and the scourge of terrorism, exploitation and espionage. In an uncannily prophetic plot, The Secret Agent portrays a sinister scheme to bomb the famous Greenwich Observatory in London...

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad Lord Jim

This story opens on a ship crowded with pilgrims traveling from Singapore to Mecca for the hajj. A young Englishman is the vessel's first mate. This is his first job and it is something that he has longed for all his life—to be on board a ship that sails the seven seas. One night as the ship sails through the calm waters of the Arabian Sea, it mysteriously begins to shudder. The crew, including the young first mate, believe that it is about to sink. They decide to strike out for themselves in a life-boat, abandoning the passengers...

Typhoon by Joseph Conrad Typhoon

First published in 1902 as a serial in Pall Mall Magazine, the adventure novel follows the disrupting events onboard a steamboat after it takes a perilous course at sea, which triggers a state of mayhem onboard the steamer. Furthermore, the incident prompts the crew to gradually reveal their true nature which is brought to light in the time of crisis. Interestingly, the tale is believed to possess some autobiographical elements taken from Conrad’s own experiences at sea, which provide the novel with a strong foundation, as he effectively uses personification, imagery, and descriptive language to accurately illustrate the danger and chaos instigated by a powerful storm at sea...

The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad The Mirror of the Sea

The Mirror of the Sea is a collection of autobiographical essays first published in various magazines 1904-6. Conrad early in his life earned his bread as a Master Mariner in sailing ships. In his Author’s Note to this work, Conrad states,”Beyond the line of the sea horizon the world for me did not exist….Within these pages I make a full confession not of my sins but of my emotions. It is the best tribute my piety can offer to the ultimate shapers of my character, convictions, and, in a sense, destiny—to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more, and to the simple men who have had their day.”

Youth, a Narrative by Joseph Conrad Youth, a Narrative

An autobiographical short story written in 1898 and included as the first story in the 1902 volume Youth, a Narrative, and Two Other Stories. This volume also includes Heart of Darkness and The End of the Tether, which are concerned with maturity and old age, respectively. “Youth” is narrated by Charles Marlow who is also the narrator of Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Chance. Youth depicts his first journey to the East.”

Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad Amy Foster

Classic shortish story by Conrad that relates his self-thought alienation from British society, as a young foreign man survives a shipwreck off the coast of Kent, England only to be shunned by most of the townsfolk. The one exception is the loving, if dull-witted, Miss Foster.

The Point of Honor by Joseph Conrad The Point of Honor

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, “The Point of Honor” (English title: “The Duel”) features two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud. Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out struggle over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. At the beginning, Feraud is the one who jealously guards his honor and repeatedly demands satisfaction anew when a duelling encounter ends inconclusively; he aggressively pursues every opportunity to locate and duel his foe...

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad Nostromo

Señor Gould is a native Costaguanan of English descent who owns the silver-mining concession in Sulaco. He is tired of the political instability in Costaguana and its concomitant corruption, and puts his weight behind the Ribierist project, which he believes will finally bring stability to the country after years of misrule and tyranny by self-serving dictators. Instead, the silver mine and the wealth it has generated become a magnet for local warlords to fight over, plunging Costaguana into a new round of chaos...

Tales of Unrest by Joseph Conrad Tales of Unrest

Tales of Unrest (1898) is the first collection of short stories by Joseph Conrad published in his lifetime.Joseph Conrad (1857–1924), a Polish-born English novelist, was a master in the formats of long short story and novella, a form of story longer than conventional short story but shorter than a novel. Some of Conrad's most acclaimed works have been written in these formats, most notably Heart of Darkness (1899).Tales of Unrest contains five stories; Karain: A Memory (written 1897; read by Jhiu), The Idiots (1896; read by Ann Boulais), An Outpost of Progress (1896; read by Kristine Bekere), The Return (1897; read by Raerity) and The Lagoon (1896; read by David Lazarus)...

The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad The Nigger of the Narcissus

This is the story of a voyage of a merchant sailing ship from Bombay to England, set in the very late 19th century. “It was a bad winter off the Cape that year.” From Wikepedia: “The novel is seen as an allegory about isolation and solidarity, the ship’s company serving as a microcosm of a social group.” As to the title, one can only ask, “What WERE you thinking?” (Introduction by Tom Crawford) Note from the reader: The preface (all but the first three minutes of Section 0) have nothing to do with the sea, the Narcissus, or seamen. Most listeners will want to begin with Chapter 1, and listen to the preface last, if at all.

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad The Secret Sharer

A young untested ship captain finds a man named Leggatt clinging to the side of his ship. The Captain makes the unusual decision to hide Leggatt in his quarters. What is he thinking? Conrad will tell us. - The Secret Sharer was first published in the August and September 1910 issues of Harper’s Magazine

Victory: An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad Victory: An Island Tale

Recollections of the life of Axel Heyst, one-time manager of the liquidated Tropical Belt Coal Company in a fictitious island in the Pacific. After retreating from society in response to his professional failures, the misanthrope is drawn back by a romantic affair. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

One Day More by Joseph Conrad One Day More

A one-act play. Eccentric Captain Hagberd has been waiting for years for his son to come home from the sea. He has scrimped and saved, outfitting a house for Harry to inherit upon his return, which will be in only "one day more." He has also planned that Harry will marry Bessie, the repressed maiden next door. Note: The recording was done outside, so there will be some ambient noise (airplanes, lawn mowers, birds, children... etc).

Chance by Joseph Conrad Chance

Apparently a two part story about a Damsel and a Knight, perhaps a damsel who depends upon the kindness of strangers. It was originally entitled "Dynamite" and first published by installments in the New York Herald. The book itself was the biggest commercial success for Conrad up until that time, 1913. It allowed Conrad for the first time to settle his financial affairs. The author's disdain for people who live on the land is apparent. A new understanding of the word "enthusiastic" is promulgated. And it is a love story. Let us see how the tale goes.

An Outcast Of The Islands by Joseph Conrad An Outcast Of The Islands

An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1896, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features Conrad's recurring character Tom Lingard, who also appears in Almayer's Folly (1895) and The Rescue (1920), in addition to sharing other characters with those novels...

Book cover Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes (1911) is a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment, Conrad being reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever...

Book cover Shadow-Line

Dedicated to the author's son who was wounded in World War 1, The Shadow-Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial and in book form in 1917. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development. The novella is notable for its dual narrative structure. The full, subtitled title of the novel is The Shadow-Line, A Confession, which immediately alerts the reader to the retrospective nature of the novella...

Book cover Almayer's Folly

A European businessman and his Malayan wife have a daughter, Nina. A Malayan prince comes to do trade with the businessman and falls in love with the daughter. Conflict arises when other influences cause distrust in the business partnership and the daughter runs off to be with the prince.

By: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most controversial novels of the last century, with it’s sentimental portrayal of the anti-slavery movement in the USA. Written in 1852, the novel instantly rose to fame and split Americans up and down the country. Stowe was a passionate abolitionist and was inspired to write Uncle Tom when she spent time in Cincinnati in the early part of the 18th century. She met many slaves who had escaped from Kentucky and was touched by the friendships she built. It was with this sentiment that the novel was born and the deep empathy Stowe had for slaves is evident throughout...

Book cover Oldtown Fireside Stories

A sequel to Oldtown Folks, featuring some of the same characters, these are 15 charming short stories told by ole' Sam Lawson to entertain Horace and Bill, two impressionable, curious and clever young boys of Oldtown (a fictional 1850's New England village), during evenings gathered around the hearth, or roaming with Sam around the countryside. Stowe faithfully and masterfully captures many of the colloquial expressions, superstitions, beliefs, customs and habits of the period that have almost completely faded from modern American culture, as well as conveying many truths about the human condition that haven't changed a bit. ~

By: Jacob Abbott (1803-1879)

Alexander the Great by Jacob Abbott Alexander the Great

Tutored by Aristotle, compelled to ascend the throne at the age of 20 when his illustrious father was assassinated, driven by a passion for expanding the borders of his tiny kingdom, Alexander of Macedon was one of the most towering figures of ancient history. He is brought to vivid life in this gripping volume by the American children's writer Jacob Abbott. In his short but eventful life, the young Macedonian king went on to rule over one of the most powerful and largest empires in the ancient world, breaking the hegemony of the powerful Persian dynasty of Darius...

Hannibal by Jacob Abbott Hannibal

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer's aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

By: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise

A romantic and witty novel that has weathered time to remain one of America’s classic pieces. In the shadows of the great Gatsby is another brilliant novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book is evidence to Fitzgerald’s literal genius because it was written by the author in his twenties to mirror his experiences at the time. It paints a picture of what it was like to be a young man or woman in the 20th century and in the wake of the First World War. The book is set on a foundation of socialist principles...

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A life lived backwards, with events happening in reverse order forms the strange and unexpected framework of one of F Scott Fitzgerald's rare short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was published in Collier's in 1927 and the idea came to Fitzgerald apparently from a quote of Mark Twain's in which he regretted that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end. Fitzgerald's concept of using this notion and turning the normal sequence of life on its head resulted in this delightful, thought provoking fantasy tale...

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned

An idle, extravagant young man is the heir presumptive of his wealthy grandfather, an industrial tycoon. His wife, divinely beautiful and utterly selfish, believes that nothing is more powerful than her own beauty. Together, this couple represents what Fitzgerald famously portrayed as the lost generation of the Jazz Age in several of his novels. In The Beautiful and The Damned, F Scott Fitzgerald explores the trivial and shallow lives of the well-heeled inheritors of the American Dream the second or third generation that can afford to live on the fortunes that their forbears worked so hard to accumulate...

Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give! (Introduction by BellonaTimes)

By: Emma Orczy (1865-1947)

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel narrates the story of a rich English baronet who rescues French aristocrats facing the guillotine. He also taunted his enemies after each rescue by leaving behind a card that has a small flower on it – the scarlet pimpernel. It is a brilliant adventure story set at the time of the French Revolution. The plot is fantastic and rarely lets the readers pause for breath as it oscillates between London society and the dark night in Coastal France. The story follows a beautiful Countess who escapes from Paris as a committee there was making arrangements to send her to the guillotine...

By: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)

El Dorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy El Dorado

If you've read and loved the exciting classic The Scarlet Pimpernel then you'd probably be delighted to follow the further adventures of the dashing Sir Percy Blakeney. El Dorado by Baronness “Emmuska” Orczy depicts the intrepid swordsman and escape artist in the role of savior of the French royal family. Published in 1913, El Dorado was the fourth in the Pimpernel series of eleven books, numerous short stories and other related writings about her famous British adventurer. However, Orczy did not always follow a strict chronological sequence while publishing the novels and hence, there is plenty of overlap between the time frames of the stories...

The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy The Elusive Pimpernel

First Published in 1908, The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is the 4th book in the classic adventure series about the Scarlet Pimpernel.

By: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden

Two years, two months and two days! This is what forms the time line of one man's quest for the simple life and a unique social experiment in complete self reliance and independence. Henry David Thoreau published Walden in 1884. Originally drafted as a series of essays describing a most significant episode in his life, it was finally released in book form with each essay taking on the form of a separate chapter. Thoreau's parents were in financial straights, but rich intellectually and culturally...

Walking by Henry David Thoreau Walking

This was originally a lecture given by Thoreau in 1851 at the Concord lyceum titled “The Wild” . He revised it before his death and it was included as part of the June 1862 edition of Atlantic Monthly. This essay appears, on the surface, to be simply expounding the qualities of Nature and man’s place therein. Through this medium he not only touches those subjects, but with the implications of such a respect for nature, or lack thereof.

By: Anna Sewell

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Black Beauty

This unique tale is narrated by a lovely, gentle horse named Black Beauty and has remained a children's classic since it was first published in 1877. It earned eternal name and fame for its author Anna Sewell, an invalid who died within a few months of publication. According to current estimates, it has sold more than fifty million copies world wide, been translated into many languages and delighted generations of children. The original title page reads: Black Beauty: Translated from the original Equine by Anna Sewell and this gives the reader an instant glimpse into what the book will be about...

By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Frankenstein

A precursor to gothic literature and science fiction genres, Frankenstein is a novel fuming with imagination as it depicts a well known horror story. Shelly’s gothic fiction is written in epistolary form as a means of correspondence between the failed writer Robert Walton and his sister, while he is away on a dangerous expedition in search of fame. Some major themes explored in the gothic classic are the fallibility of ambition and knowledge, revenge, prejudice, isolation, and the imperfections of society...

The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley The Last Man

The Last Man is an early post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book tells of a future world that has been ravaged by a plague. The plague gradually kills off all people. Lionel Verney, central character, son of a nobleman who gambled himself into poverty, finds himself immune after being attacked by an infected “negro,” and copes with a civilization that is gradually dying out around him.

Mathilda by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mathilda

The finished draft of a short novel by Mary Shelley. Its adult theme, concerning a father’s incestuous love for his daughter and its consequences, meant that the manuscript was suppressed by Shelley’s own father, and not published until 1959, more than a hundred years after her death. Summary by Cori Samuel

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James The Turn of the Screw

Christmas Eve. Guests round a fireside begin telling each other ghost stories. One of them relates a true incident involving the governess of his little nephew and niece. Strange events begin to take place, involving the housekeeper, a stranger who prowls round the grounds, a mysterious woman dressed in black and an unknown misdemeanor committed by the little nephew. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James was published in 1893 and it remains one of the best-known and admired works of this great American writer...


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