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By: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)

Book cover Nina Balatka

A romance set in Prague between a Catholic and a Jew. In this short novel, Trollope moves away from his usual milieu to explore a theme which has universal resonance.

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

The Duel by Anton Chekhov The Duel

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

Book cover Ward No. 6

The line between sanity and insanity is blurred in this classic novella by Anton Chekhov. The disillusioned idealist Dr. Rabin is in charge of a provincial lunatic asylum, overseeing with weary, dubious policies a motley group of patients, a group that mirrors in microcosm all of human and especially Russian society. Seeking answers to profound questions, Dr. Rabin enters into dialogues with both staff members and patients, trying to make sense out of what has become of his life, until it becomes less and less clear who is the doctor and who is the patient...

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...

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: Aphra Behn (1640-1689)

Book cover Rover (Part One)

By: Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Poetics by Aristotle Poetics

Aristotle’s Poetics from the 4th century B.C. aims to give a short study of storytelling. It discusses things like unity of plot, reversal of situation, and character in the context of Greek tragedy, comedy and epic poetry. But it still applies today. It is especially popular with screenwriters as seen in many script gurus’ how-to books.

By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The Card by Arnold Bennett The Card

The ‘Card’ in question is Edward Henry Machin – his mother called him ‘Denry.’This light-hearted story is of his rise from humble beginnings as the son of a washerwoman and sempstress in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, in the pottery towns (which Arnold Bennett christened ‘The Five Towns’) of the English Midlands; how, by his own wits, enterprise and ‘nerve’ he rose to wealth, married bliss and public recognition as the youngest-ever mayor of his home town. “’And yet,’ demanded Councillor Barlow, ‘what’s he done? What great cause is he identified with?’‘He’s identified,’ said the speaker, ‘with the great cause of cheering us all up’.”

The Price of Love by Arnold Bennett The Price of Love

Rachel Louise Fleckring works for the elderly Mrs Maldon, and although with the woman for only a short time, she is taken into the heart of the family. She falls in love with one of Mrs Maldon’s descendents, but along the way, she has to come to terms with the fact that he isn’t, perhaps, the perfectly honest man she thought he was.

The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett The Grand Babylon Hotel

Theodore Racksole, a rich American multi-millionaire, buys the Grand Babylon Hotel, a luxurious hotel in London, as a whim – and then finds out there are strange things going on – a German prince is supposed to arrive but never turns up, someone is found murdered in the hotel, but then the body disappears. With the help of his independent daughter Nella and another German prince, Racksole sets out to solve the mystery.Bennett wrote this as a 15-part serial, for a lark, in 15 days, and sold it for 100 pounds. It first appeared in The Golden Penny in 1902, which described it as “the most original, amusing, and thrilling serial written in a decade”.

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett The Old Wives' Tale

The Old Wives’ Tale is a novel by Arnold Bennett, first published in 1908. It deals with the lives of two very different sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, following their stories from their youth, working in their mother’s draper’s shop, into old age. It is generally regarded as one of Bennett’s finest works. It covers a period of about 70 years from roughly 1840 to 1905, and is set in Burslem and Paris.

Literary Taste: How to Form It by Arnold Bennett Literary Taste: How to Form It

Arnold Bennett describes a method for enjoying literature, and suggests the contents of a comprehensive library. Chapters 1-10 and 14 describe his method for learning to enjoy literature. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 contain detailed lists of the 337 volumes required to complete a comprehensive library of English works. This reading is from the 1913 version at Project Gutenberg, and so does not contain the revisions made by Swinnerton for the 1939 edition, which included authors of the early Twentieth Century. Swinnerton’s revisions are available from Wikipedia.

Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett Anna of the Five Towns

The plot centers on Anna Tellwright, daughter of a wealthy but miserly and dictatorial father, living in the Potteries area of Staffordshire, England. Her activities are strictly controlled by the Methodist church. Having escaped her father by marrying the respectable and attractive Henry, she attempts in vain to help Willy, son of a drunken and bankrupt business associate of her father's.

The Regent by Arnold Bennett The Regent

'The Regent' is, if not a sequel to 'The Card', then a 'Further Adventures of' the eponymous hero of that novel.Denry Machin is now forty-three and begins to feel that he is getting old, that making money and a happy home life are not enough and that he has lost his touch as the entrepreneur and entertainer of the 'Five Towns'.In fact, as he says to himself 'What I want is change - and a lot of it too!'. A chance meeting at the local theatre leads to his going to London and then...

Book cover Clayhanger

This first of a trilogy of novels is a coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, following Edwin Clayhanger as he leaves school, takes over the family business, and falls in love.The books are set in Bennett's usual setting of "the 5 Towns", a thinly-disguised version of the six towns of "the Potteries" which amalgamated (at the time of which Bennett was writing) into the borough (and later city) of Stoke-on-Trent.In one of the earlier chapters in the book, Bennett writes that...

Book cover Clayhanger

This first of a trilogy of novels is a coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, following Edwin Clayhanger as he leaves school, takes over the family business, and falls in love.The books are set in Bennett's usual setting of "the 5 Towns", a thinly-disguised version of the six towns of "the Potteries" which amalgamated (at the time of which Bennett was writing) into the borough (and later city) of Stoke-on-Trent.In one of the earlier chapters in the book, Bennett writes that...

Book cover Ghost: A Modern Fantasy

The novel opens with Carl Foster, a recently qualified doctor, coming to London to try and make his fortune. He meets a famous tenor, Signor Alresca, who suffers a dreadful injury backstage and Foster tends to him. He thus meets the lead soprano, Rosetta Rosa, and falls hopelessly in love with her.Alresca takes Foster under his wing and they travel to Alresca's home in Bruges. It is clear to Foster that Alresca has some strange obsession. Foster also notices a stranger who seems to be dogging his footsteps.Things take an even more sinister turn when Alresca inexplicably dies. . .

By: Arthur B. Reeve

The Film Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve The Film Mystery

The Film Mystery is one of eighteen detective novels by Arthur B. Reeve starring his best known character Professor Craig Kennedy and his trusty sidekick Walter Jameson, a newspaper reporter. The pair bears an unmistakable resemblance to the more famous British master sleuth and his doctor friend. The setting of this mystery is the early days of movie making, and the murder victim is Stella Lamar, “the beautiful idol of the screen, beloved of millions”, who collapses and dies during the filming of a scene for her latest movie.

The Exploits Of Elaine by Arthur B. Reeve The Exploits Of Elaine

The Exploits of Elaine It tells the story of a young woman named Elaine who, with the help of a detective, tries to find the man, known only as “The Clutching Hand”, who murdered her father. (Wikipedia)

The Silent Bullet by Arthur B. Reeve The Silent Bullet

The many adventures of Professor Craig Kennedy were chronicled by Arthur B. Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936). Reeve was an American mystery writer who created 82 Craig Kennedy mystery stories. The stories have a very Sherlock Holmes type feel, In fact Kennedy has been referred to as the "American Shelock Holmes". Along with his reporter friend, Walter Jameson, Kennedy solves many crimes and unveils mysteries using science. Each story features a facinating look at life in the early 20th century, and even includes some action along the way.

Book cover Poisoned Pen

The many adventures of Professor Craig Kennedy were chronicled by Arthur B. Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936). Reeve was an American mystery writer who created 82 Craig Kennedy mystery stories. The stories have a very Sherlock Holmes type feel, In fact Kennedy has been referred to as the "American Sherlock Holmes". Along with his reporter friend, Walter Jameson, Kennedy solves many crimes and unveils mysteries using science. This book contains twelve of Professor Kennedy's adventures. The interesting thing about these stories is Kennedy uses newly discovered science from his time period, which we take for granted today...

By: Arthur Griffiths (1838-1908)

The Rome Express by Arthur Griffiths The Rome Express

The passengers in the sleeping car of the Rome Express were just woken and informed that they will reach Paris soon, and a general bustle fills the train. Only one passenger cannot be awoken by the porter, no matter how loudly he knocks on the compartment door. At last, when the door is forced open, the occupant of the compartment is found dead - stabbed to the heart! The murderer must be found among the passengers...

Book cover Passenger from Calais

An army officer, and a mysterious lady with a maid and baby in tow, are the only passengers on the Engadine express from Calais. The lady is afraid that someone is following her. Who is she? And what is her strange package? One suspicious conversation and two private detectives later Colonel Basil Annesley is determined to find out!

By: Arthur J. Rees (1872-1942)

The Shrieking Pit by Arthur J. Rees The Shrieking Pit

The Shrieking Pit is one of Arthur Rees's earlier works, and is a good old fashioned murder mystery story. Grant Colwyn, a private detective, is holidaying in East Anglia when he notices a young man at a nearby table behaving peculiarly. The young man later leaves the hotel without paying his bill, and turns up in a nearby hamlet in the Norfolk marshes where he takes lodgings at the village inn. The next day, another guest at the inn is found dead, and the young man is missing. Can Colwyn sort out the mystery and prove the young man's innocence one way or the the other?

By: Arthur Machen (1863-1947)

Book cover The Great God Pan

"The Great God Pan" is a novella written by Arthur Machen. A version of the story was published in the magazine Whirlwind in 1890, and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication (together with another story, "The Inmost Light") in 1894. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen’s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism...

Book cover The Angels of Mons

The Angels of Mons is a popular legend about a group of angels who supposedly protected members of the British army in the Battle of Mons at the outset of World War I. The story is fictitious, developed through a combination of a patriotic short story by Arthur Machen, rumours, mass hysteria and urban legend, claimed visions after the battle and also possibly deliberately seeded propaganda.

By: Asa Don Dickinson (1876-1960)

The Children's Book of Christmas Stories by Asa Don Dickinson The Children's Book of Christmas Stories

Many librarians have felt the need and expressed the desire for a select collection of children's Christmas stories in one volume. This book claims to be just that and nothing more. Each of the stories has already won the approval of thousands of children, and each is fraught with the true Christmas spirit. It is hoped that the collection will prove equally acceptable to parents, teachers, and librarians.

By: August Strindberg (1849-1912)

Countess Julie by August Strindberg Countess Julie

August Strindberg’s naturalistic one-act drama has only three characters: Julie, a passionate young noblewoman; Jean, her father’s ambitious valet; and Kristin, the cook, who is also Jean’s fiancee. The play is set on Midsummer Eve, when everyone is reveling, and Julie and Jean get a bit too intimate – with tragic results.

Book cover Creditors

Creditors is an 1889 tragicomedy by August Strindberg that plumbs the depths of the twisted triangular relationship between Tekla, her husband Adolph, and her ex-husband Gustav.

By: August von Kotzebue (1761-1819)

Lover's Vows by August von Kotzebue Lover's Vows

Lovers' Vows (1798), a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for having been featured in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park (1814), is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebue's Das Kind der Liebe (1780; literally "Child of Love," or "Natural Son," as it is often translated), all of which were published between 1798 and 1800. Inchbald's version is the only one to have been performed. Dealing as it does with sex outside marriage and illegitimate birth, Inchbald in the Preface to the published version declares herself to have been highly sensitive to the task of adapting the original German text for "an English audience...


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