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By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Caesar and Cleopatra
Book cover Misalliance

Misalliance, a 1910 play by George Bernard Shaw, is an ironic examination of the romantic entanglements of a varied group of people gathered at a wealthy man's country home on a summer weekend. Most of the romantic interest centers on the host's daughter, Hypatia Tarleton, a typical Shaw heroine who exemplifies his lifelong theory that in courtship, women are the relentless pursuers and men the apprehensively pursued. Hypatia is the daughter of newly-wealthy John Tarleton who made his fortune in the unglamorous but lucrative underwear business...

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...

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)

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: George Borrow (1803-1881)

Book cover Welsh And Their Literature

Originally an article in the US Edition of the London Quarterly Review, George Borrow offers a sweeping history of Welsh literature, beginning with the legendary origin of the Welsh people, then their major bards and poets, and then their works of prose. Many examples are offered.

By: George Crabbe (1754-1832)

Book cover Borough

English village life and villagers in the east of England in the late 1700’s and early 1800s—is the subject of The Borough. George Crabbe was an English poet, surgeon, and clergyman. He is best known for his early use of the realistic narrative form and his descriptions of middle and working-class life and people. Lord Byron, an avowed admirer of Crabbe's poetry, described him as "nature's sternest painter, yet the best." Crabbe's poetry was predominantly in the form of heroic couplets, and has been described as unsentimental in its depiction of provincial life and society...

By: George Eliot (1819-1880)

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot Daniel Deronda

A lovely young woman gambling at a casino in Leubronn, Germany. A young man watches, fascinated from afar. She begins to lose heavily and leaves the casino. Thus opens the last and probably the most controversial of George Eliot's novels. Published in 1876, Daniel Deronda is also the only one in which the great Victorian novelist portrays contemporary society of her own time. There were only a few murmurs when it first came out, but later, they became a full fledged outpouring of resentment against what many readers felt was an extremely controversial stand on Jewish, proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas...

Silas Marner by George Eliot Silas Marner

One of the most memorable scenes in this novel occurs in Chapter Twelve, when the dejected and desolate Silas Marner steps outside his lonely cottage on New Year's Eve. He suffers from one of his bizarre fits of catalepsy and stands frozen for a few seconds. When he regains consciousness, he returns to his fireside. There in front of the warm blaze he imagines he sees a heap of gold! The very gold that had been robbed from his house many years ago. He stretches out his hand to touch it. Instead of hard metal, he encounters a soft head of golden hair...

Adam Bede by George Eliot Adam Bede

A young carpenter falls in love with the village beauty. She, however, has set her sights on a dashing army captain who's the son of the wealthy local squire. Meanwhile, a beautiful and virtuous young woman preacher arrives in the village. What happens to these people and the strange twists and turns that their lives take are described in the rest of the book. Adam Bede was George Eliot's first published novel. Published in 1859, the book has remained a firm favorite with readers and academicians alike and is still taught in many English literature courses all over the world...

Middlemarch by George Eliot Middlemarch

George Eliot's seventh and perhaps most famous novel almost didn't get written! It took birth as a short novella titled Miss Brooke but she was unhappy with its progress and finally in despair, she decided to put it aside for a couple of years. Meanwhile, personal problems intervened and when she took up the project again, it was with a renewed sense of creativity. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life first appeared as an eight-part serial novel in 1871-72. In 1874, it was finally compiled into a full length novel and attained instant fame and success...

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot The Mill on the Floss

The novel details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, a brother and sister growing up on the river Floss near the village of St. Oggs, evidently in the 1820’s, after the Napoleonic Wars but prior to the first Reform Bill (1832). The novel spans a period of 10-15 years, from Tom and Maggie’s childhood up until their deaths in a flood on the Floss. The book is fictional autobiography in part, reflecting the disgrace that George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) herself had while in a lengthy relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes...

Romola by George Eliot Romola

George Eliot's own favorite among her novels, this novel tells the story of Romola, the intelligent daughter of a blind scoller, who is falling in love with a man who is going to change her life and the politics of Florence in a way she doesn't like. Set in 15th century Florence, it is "a deep study of life in the city of Florence from an intellectual, artistic, religious, and social point of view".

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot The Lifted Veil

George Eliot’s 1859 novella, The Lifted Veil, departs radically from the grounded realism of her longer and better known works, such as Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Its tone calls to mind the works of middlebrow Sensationists, like Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone), and of some of the better known authors of Victorian era horror writings, such as Bram Stoker (Dracula) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein.Eliot here explores mystical themes, considering the world of phenomena which are felt but not seen...

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot Scenes of Clerical Life

Scenes of Clerical Life, which appeared in book form in 1858 (after serial publication in the previous year), was the first published fiction by George Eliot, the pen name for Mary Anne Evans. It consists of three novellas based on the lives of country clergymen and their communities. These characters interest Eliot not for their theology — she had abandoned conventional Christian belief — but for their humanity. In these stories, we find the earliest signs of the narrative voice, the humanism, and the realism that would make George Eliot one of the greatest novelists of the 1800s. (Introduction by Bruce Pirie)

Book cover Brother Jacob

Brother Jacob is a short story by George Eliot, in which she explores the relationship between the selfish, self-centered and ambitious David Faux and his idiot brother, Jacob.

By: George Gissing

New Grub Street by George Gissing New Grub Street

The story deals with the literary world that Gissing himself had experienced. Its title refers to the London street, Grub Street, which in the 18th century became synomynous with hack literature; as an institution, Grub Street itself no longer existed in Gissing’s time. Its two central characters are a sharply contrasted pair of writers:Edwin Reardon, a novelist of some talent but limited commercial prospects, and a shy, cerebral man; and Jasper Milvain, a young journalist, hard-working and capable of generosity, but cynical and unscrupulous about writing and its purpose in the modern (i.e. late Victorian) world.

In the Year of Jubilee by George Gissing In the Year of Jubilee

The Jubilee marks the fiftieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria. Dickensian in its sweeping scope of London life, Jubilee depicts the harsh and disreputable conditions of lower-middle class life at the end of the 19th century. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

The Odd Women by George Gissing The Odd Women

George Gissing's 1893 novel takes on the 19th century "Woman Question" by looking at themes of feminism, marriage, and love. The novel raises these issues through the lives of several contrasting women: Mary Barfoot, a feminist philanthropist who helps train women for careers; her close friend Rhoda Nunn, who believes marriage is a disastrous choice for women; and Monica Madden, who starts out as one of their protegees but chooses to marry a seemingly kind older man. As Monica experiences the challenges of married life, Rhoda finds herself drawn to Mary's cousin, the charming but apparently profligate Everard.

The Paying Guest by George Gissing The Paying Guest

Clarence and Emmeline Mumford are in for a real treat when they take in the young, outspoken Miss Louise Derrick as their guest. Shedding a light on class struggles in the Victorian era, The Paying Guest offers a look at just what "proper society" expects.

Book cover Nether World

This sad social novel revolves around the problematic issue of money. Michael returns from Australia to London a rich man. However, he hides this fact from everybody and spends money only on the things he really needs. He contemplates leaving his money to his granddaughter Jane, under the condition that she donate at least most of it to charity. However, Jane is not sure she can do it. This novel tells much about working class life in 19th century London.

Book cover Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft

This novel consists of selections from the diary of an author, starting soon after his retirement and continuing until just before his death. There is very little in the way of plot, but a great deal of quiet musing about art, nature, society, and the things that make life worth living. Although this is a work of fiction, there are clear parallels between the narrator's life and Gissing's own life. This leads many commenters to view it as semi-autobiographical.

Book cover Unclassed

The Unclassed tells the story of two friends who are aspiring authors living in London in the late 19th century. Both of them fall in love. Both believe in social change but do not know how to bring it about. Both are sceptical about the values of their times. Both want respectability more then they would admit. This book, unlike many others of it's time, tells about working women, and includes honest descriptions of the slums of London.

Book cover Demos: A Story of English Socialism

"Richard Mutimer is delighted to inherit a large fortune. As a socialist, he means to use it well: he will open a factory in which workers would be treated well, he will advance his party's causes through his own wealth... At least, so he thinks. But reality may be far different. This novel raises more questions than answers. How much should money play in the marriage market, or can love have a prominent place? Can a man who gained power remain a socialist? This book is not only about political unrest...

Book cover Life's Morning

This is the story of a poor young lady Emily Hood who while working as a governess falls in love with Wilfrid Athel the son of her employer. They become engaged, however things do not run smoothly after a visit home to her parents and Emily has to make a heartbreaking choice.

By: George Griffith (1857-1906)

Book cover Honeymoon in Space

By: George Grossmith (1847-1912)

The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith The Diary of a Nobody

Grossmith’s comic novel unveils the daily chronicles of the pompous and clumsy middle-aged clerk Charles Pooter, who has just moved to the London suburb of Holloway with his wife Carrie. Nonetheless, the family’s fresh start is not quite what they had in mind. Set in the late Victorian era, the diary accurately documents the manners, customs, trends and experiences of the time. First appearing in Punch magazine through the years 1888-89, The Diary of a Nobody was first published in book form in 1892 and has entertained readers ever since...

By: George Horace Lorimer (1869-1937)

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son by George Horace Lorimer Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly known on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to his Son, Pierrepont, facetiously known to his intimates as "Piggy." George Horace Lorimer was an American journalist and author. He is best known as the editor of The Saturday Evening Post.

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)


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