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By: Aeschylus (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)

Book cover Prometheus Bound (Buckley Translation)

"Prometheus Bound" is the only complete tragedy of the Prometheia trilogy, traditionally assumed to be the work of Aeschylus. Jupiter has turned against Prometheus for protecting mankind and has ordered him to be chained to a rock. But Prometheus is comforted by his knowledge of a way to bring about the downfall of Jupiter.

By: Allan Monkhouse (1858-1936)

Book cover Mary Broome

Before Downton Abbey, there was Mary Broome. In Allan Monkhouse's 1911 satire, when the son of a middle-class household gets their housemaid pregnant, the two families must try to combine their very different values.

By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

Book cover Frogs

Athens is in a sorry state of affairs. The great tragedian, Euripides, is dead, and Dionysus, the god of the theater, has to listen to third-rate poetry. So, he determines to pack his belongings onto his trusty slave, Xanthias, and journey to the underworld to bring back Euripides! Hi-jinks ensue.

By: Edmond Rostand (1868-1918)

Book cover Cyrano de Bergerac

One of the most beloved French plays of all time, Cyrano de Bergerac is a clever and tragic tale of truth concealed and love denied. Its titular character is a proud, daring swordsman and genius poet who has one terrible flaw: an abnormally large nose. Too afraid of rejection to confess his love for the beautiful Roxane, Cyrano helps her brainless but handsome suitor Christian to woo her, providing him with love letters while resolutely keeping his own passion a secret.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Orestes

In accordance with the advice of the god Apollo, Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon at her hands. Despite Apollo’s earlier prophecy, Orestes finds himself tormented by Erinyes or Furies to the blood guilt stemming from his matricide. The only person capable of calming Orestes down from his madness is his sister Electra. To complicate matters further, a leading political faction of Argos wants to put Orestes to death for the murder. Orestes’ only hope to save his life lies in his uncle Menelaus, who has returned with Helen after spending ten years in Troy and several more years amassing wealth in Egypt...

By: George Calderon (1868-1915)

Book cover Cinderella

If you are expecting glass slippers and pumpkin coaches, look elsewhere... This is "a pantomime as Ibsen would have written it, if only it had occurred to him to write one." Set on a "bleak and cheerless heath overlooking the fjord" we meet Ibsenesque heroine Mrs. Inquest, her step-daughter Hilda, and her daughter Hedda, who is engaged to be married to the unfortunate Tesman. Thus begins Calderon's hilarious Ibsenesque version of Cinderella. NOTE from the editor of the volume, published in 1922 after Calderon's death: This play is hardly more than a rough draft, written when the idea was fresh and put aside to be worked on when the right moment should come...

By: John Ford (1586-1639)

Book cover 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

One of the most shocking plays produced in England during the reign of Charles I, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore chronicles the disastrous results of an incestuous affair between fatalistic Italian siblings, Giovanni and Annabella. As suitors vie for Annabella's hand, various webs of deception and revenge intertwine, culminating in a bloody finale. CAST LISTBonaventura, a Friar/ Bergetto, Nephew to Donado: alanmapstoneA Cardinal, Nuncio to the Pope AND Banditti: Algy PugSoranzo, a Nobleman: tovarischFlorio,...

By: Molière (1622-1673)

Book cover Miser

The Miser is a comedy of manners about a rich moneylender named Harpagon. His feisty children long to escape from his penny-pinching household and marry their respective lovers. Although the 17th-century French upper classes presumably objected to the play's message, it is less savage and somewhat less realistic than Molière's earlier play, Tartuffe, which attracted a storm of criticism on its first performance.

By: Various

Book cover Benjamin Britten: Source Stories of Twelve Operas

Britten's operas are firmly established in the international repertoire: according to Operabase, they are performed worldwide more than those of any other composer born in the 20th century, and only Puccini and Richard Strauss come ahead of him if the list is extended to all operas composed after 1900. Britten went to various sources for his stories from the Bible to Japanese noh plays. This is a collection of twelve of the source stories. All but one are the original texts; the one exception is A Midsummer Night’s Dream which the reader took from Charles Lamb’s telling of the story. Some operas are omitted because no public domain texts could be found for their sources.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 005

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by James M. Barrie, Hereward Carrington, Marjorie Benton Cooke, Alice Gerstenberg, Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook, St. John Hankin, George Middleton, David Pinski, Frederik Pohl, and an unknown Japanese author. The plays were coordinated by Arielle Lipshaw, Availle, Chuck Williamson, Todd, Peter Yearsley, Caprisha Page, Charlotte Duckett, and Amanda Friday.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 005

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by James M. Barrie, Hereward Carrington, Marjorie Benton Cooke, Alice Gerstenberg, Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook, St. John Hankin, George Middleton, David Pinski, Frederik Pohl, and an unknown Japanese author. The plays were coordinated by Arielle Lipshaw, Availle, Chuck Williamson, Todd, Peter Yearsley, Caprisha Page, Charlotte Duckett, and Amanda Friday.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 006

This collection includes ten one-act plays by David Belasco, Arnold Bennett, Hereward Carrington, Lewis Carroll, Lord Dunsany, John Galsworthy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Maurice Maeterlinck, Anna Bird Stewart, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The Book Coordinators for this collection were Charlotte Duckett, Michele Eaton, Elizabeth Klett, Loveday, Piotr Nater, Algy Pug, Eden Rea-Hedrick, Todd, and Chuck Williamson.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 007

One-Act Play Collection 007 includes one-act plays in the public domain read by a variety of LibriVox members.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 008

One-Act Play Collection 008 includes one-act plays in the public domain read by a variety of LibriVox members.Project BC: Michele Eaton

By: Aeschylus (525/524 BC - c. 455/456 BC)

The Oresteia by Aeschylus The Oresteia

The Oresteia is a trilogy by Aeschylus, one of the foremost playwrights of ancient Greece. It encompasses three plays: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies. It tells the tragic tale of the House of Atreus, whose inhabitants have been cursed and are doomed to play out their bloody, vengeful destinies. At the beginning of the first part, the Trojan War has ended and the Greek general, Agamemnon, is returning victorious to his wife Clytemnestra. Yet she finds it difficult to forgive his sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, who was killed to ensure the Greek fleet fair winds in their voyage to Troy...

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes

In this, the only extant tragedy from Aeschylus' trilogy about the House of Oedipus, Thebes is under siege from Polynices, a former prince of Thebes. After King Oedipus left his city and cursed the princes, Polynices and his brother, Eteocles, decided to rule alternately, switching at the end of every year. However, at the end of his year as king, Eteocles refused to turn power over to his brother and exiled him, fulfilling his father's curse that the two brothers could not rule peacefully. In the action of the play, Polynices and a group of Argive soldiers are attacking Thebes so that he can take his place as ruler...

By: Alfred Sutro (1863-1933)

Book cover Five Little Plays

British dramatist Alfred Sutro's collection contains five one act plays: "The Man in the Stalls," "A Marriage Has Been Arranged…", "The Man on the Kerb," "The Open Door," and "The Bracelet." The plays are performed by Amanda Friday, Libby Gohn, Elizabeth Klett, mb, Bob Neufeld, Caprisha Page, Bruce Pirie, and Algy Pug.

By: Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

An epistolary novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall follows the courageous journey of the protagonist, Helen Graham, as she struggles to escape her socially imposed role as dutiful wife, while also acting on her moral responsibilities as a mother and self-respect as a woman. Published in 1848, under the pseudonym Acton Bell, the novel provoked much criticism at the time of its release due to its shocking content and atypical portrayal of an English wife, who not only defies the strict conventions of society, but also consciously violates the law that legally represses the rights of women...

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey is the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era, as a governess to the children of the wealthy. In working with two different families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, she comes to learn about the troubles that face a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. After her father's death, Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself.

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

The Proposal by Anton Chekhov The Proposal

The Proposal is a one act comic farce by Anton Chekhov. In Chekhov’s Russia, marriage was a means of economic stability for most people. They married to gain wealth and possessions. In this play, the concept of marriage is being satirized to show the real purpose of marriage – materialistic gain rather than true love.

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov The Seagull

The Seagull (Russian: Чайка, Chayka) is the first of what are generally considered to be the four major plays by the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. The play was written in 1895 and first produced in 1896. It dramatises the romantic and artistic conflicts between four characters: the ingenue Nina, the fading leading lady Irina Arkadina, her son the experimental playwright Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer Trigorin.

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it does contain some elements of farce; however, Stanislavski insisted on directing the play as a tragedy. Since this initial production, directors have had to contend with the dual nature of this play. The play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to the family's estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage...

Book cover Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya (subtitled “Scenes From Country Life”) is a tragicomedy by Anton Chekhov. It is set on the failing country estate of a retired professor, Serebrakoff, who returns after a long absence with his beautiful young wife, and throws the household into confusion. Rivalry, unrequited love, illicit romance, and attempted suicide are the result, punctuated throughout by Chekhov’s sad, wistful humor.

Swan Song by Anton Chekhov Swan Song

In 'The Swan Song' an aging actor reminisces about his life and the parts he's played. The piece takes a tragic look at ambition and the sacrifices that must be made in order to succeed. Chekhov’s ability to capture and explore human nature and experience is showcased here.

Book cover Ivanov

Nicolai (anglicised Nicholas in this translation) Ivanov, a middle-aged public servant, is unhappy. His wife Anna, disinherited by her family after converting from Judaism, is dying of tuberculosis. He is deeply in debt. And his best friend’s daughter is infatuated with him. Comedy and tragedy ensue in truly Chekhovian fashion. An example of the young Chekhov’s maturing style, Ivanov is an early harbinger of themes that would recur throughout his work.

By: Aphra Behn (1640-1689)

Book cover Rover (Part One)

By: Aristophanes (446BC - 385BC)

Lysistrata by Aristophanes Lysistrata

Lysistrata read by the Classics Drama Company at DePaul. The Classics Drama Company at DePaul is a new gathering of Thespians and Classicists dedicated to performing and understanding ancient literature. If you live in Chicago and attend DePaul University, we welcome new additions to our group. Contact Dr. Kirk Shellko (kshellko@depaul.edu), if interested.First performed in classical Athens c. 411 B.C.E., Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is the original battle of the sexes. One woman, Lysistrata, brings together the women of all Greece, exhorting them to withhold sexual contact from all men in order that they negotiate a treaty...

By: Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)

The Amazons: A Farcical Romance by Arthur Wing Pinero The Amazons: A Farcical Romance

This 1895 farce inspired by the outlandish idea of women wearing pants, centers around the predicament of the three daughters of the eccentric Marchioness of Castlejordan, who determined to have sons, raised them like boys. She encouraged them to dress and act like boys at home, yet dress like ladies when out. As the girls come of age, they are conflicted. They want to please mother by acting as her sons, but, suddenly smitten with three gentlemen, they are compelled to grow up and be ladies. When their suitors secretly come to woo, they aren’t sure what to do……and what will mother do if she finds out?

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.

The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg The Ghost Sonata

The Ghost Sonata (Spoksonaten) is a play in three acts by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Written in 1907, it was first produced at Strindberg's Intimate Theatre in Stockholm on 21 January 1908... The Ghost Sonata is a key text in the development of modernist drama and a vivid example of a chamber play. In it, Strindberg creates a world in which ghosts walk in bright daylight, a beautiful woman is transformed into a mummy and lives in the closet, and the household cook sucks all the nourishment out of the food before she serves it to her masters...

Book cover Dance of Death

The Dance of Death is a play in two parts by the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, written in 1900. It depicts the dissolution of a marriage between Edgar, an artillery captain, and Alice, a former actress. Increasingly isolated in their fort-like house, they manipulate and bait each other, until the unexpected arrival of Curt, Alice's cousin. His presence creates a tense triangular relationship that escalates throughout Part One, and is complicated with the introduction of two of the trio's children, Allan and Judith, in Part Two.

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...

By: Augusta Stevenson (1869-1976)

Book cover Children's Classics in Dramatic Form

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson The Alchemist

An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced credulity...

Book cover Volpone, or, The Fox

Volpone is a comedy by Ben Jonson first produced in 1606, drawing on elements of city comedy and beast fable. A merciless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson's most-performed play, and it is among the finest Jacobean Era comedies. Volpone is a Venetian gentleman who pretends to be on his deathbed, after a long illness, in order to dupe Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino, three men who aspire to inherit his fortune. In their turns, each man arrives to Volpone’s house bearing a luxurious gift, intent upon having his name inscribed to the will of Volpone, as his heir...

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

The Strange Gentleman by Charles Dickens The Strange Gentleman

Before he became a novelist, Dickens wrote several successful plays. This one from 1836, his first, he called, "A Comic Burletta in Two Acts". Characters arrive at a village inn called "The St. James Arms" and much confusion ensues.

By: Charles Lamb

Book cover Mr. H

Mr H is a farce that was first performed at Drury Lane in 1806. The plot is slender and revolves around a single rather feeble joke, but the characters are skilfully drawn and the sharp observations of contemporary fashion do much to divert the listener from the weakness of the central theme. More a comedy of manners rather than a true farce, this short play is best enjoyed as a gentle romp through the eccentricities of the Regency period.

By: Charles Macklin (1699-1797)

Book cover Will and No Will or a Bone for the Lawyers

This "Afterpiece" - a short play to follow a main production - was first produced in 1746. It was based on Regnard's five-act comedy le Legetaire Universel (1707), which is itself a composite of Italian comedy with echoes of Molière, moving from scene to scene with little effort at logical consistency or structure but treating each scene autonomously for its own comic value. The rather long Prologue to A WILL AND NO WILL (11 pages of manuscript) makes fun of the convention of the eighteenth century prologues by the familiar dodge of having actors chatting as though they were in the Pit waiting for the actors in the preceding main play to dress for the afterpiece.

By: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, normally known simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.

The Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe The Jew of Malta

Christopher “Kit” Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet, and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian before William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own untimely death. The Jew of Malta (1589) is an original story of religious conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set against a backdrop of the struggle for supremacy between Spain and the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean...

Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe Tamburlaine the Great

Tamburlaine the Great is the name of a play in two parts by Christopher Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur 'the lame'. Written in 1587 or 1588, the play is a milestone in Elizabethan public drama; it marks a turning away from the clumsy language and loose plotting of the earlier Tudor dramatists, and a new interest in fresh and vivid language, memorable action, and intellectual complexity. Along with Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, it may be considered the first popular success of London's public stage...

Book cover Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1616 version)

The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition...

Book cover Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1616 version)

The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition...

Book cover Edward II

Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan tragedy focuses on the downfall of King Edward II, whose love for his favorite courtier, Piers Gaveston, leads to rebellion.

By: David Belasco (1853-1931)

Book cover Return of Peter Grimm

By: Edmund John Eyre (1767-1816)

Book cover Lady of the Lake

At the request of Mr. Siddons, Manager and Patentee of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, the following Performance was composed. I am very sensible that Mr. Scott’s Poem of “The Lady of the Lake” afforded material for a much superior Drama than the one here presented to the public; but as Mr. Siddons, in all his correspondence with me on the subject, urged expedition, I was more attentive to the interest of a Friend than to the fame of an Author; and the whole piece was arranged, written, and copied in the short space of ten days...

By: Edward Sheldon (1886-1946)

Book cover Boss

The Boss centers on the relationship between Michael Regan, an Irish-American businessman, and Emily Griswold, an outspoken American girl bent on saving her father's business. Set during a time when unions fought for wages and bosses fought for more stake in their company, the play's relevance strikes at the heart of economic issues and hardships in modern day America.

By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

A Drama of Exile by Elizabeth Barrett Browning A Drama of Exile

In writing her ‘Drama of Exile’, Barrett’s subject was ‘the new and strange experience of the fallen humanity, as it went forth from Paradise into the wilderness’. The bizarre, lyrical scenes that follow powerfully describe the grief and guilt of Eve, the sorrowful pride of Lucifer, and the redeeming power of love.

By: Elizabeth Cary (1585-1639)

Book cover Tragedy of Mariam

The Tragedy of Mariam (1613) is the first original drama written in English by a woman. Elizabeth Cary drew on Jewish histories by Josephus to create a closet drama (written to be read, rather than performed live) about Mariam, the second wife of Herod the Great. At the beginning of the play, Mariam believes that Herod has been killed by Octavius, and struggles with how to respond. On the one hand, she is relieved, as she is angry with Herod for killing her brother and grandfather. On the other, she knows that he loved her, and she feels caught by her sense of duty as his wife. When Herod unexpectedly returns, Mariam must decide what to do.

By: Eugene O'Neill

Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill Anna Christie

Eugene O'Neill's drama Anna Christie was first produced on Broadway in 1921 and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1922. It focuses on three main characters: Chris Christopherson, a Swedish captain of a coal barge and longtime seaman, his daughter Anna, who has grown up separated from her father on a Minnesota farm, and Mat Burke, an Irish stoker who works on steamships. At the beginning of the play Chris and Anna are reunited after fifteen years apart. Anna comes to live on her father's coal barge, but hides the secret of her past from him. When she meets Mat after an accident in the fog, they almost immediately fall in love - but Anna finds that forging a new future will not be easy.

Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O'Neill Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon is a 1920 play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It was O'Neill's first full-length work, and the winner of the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play focuses on the portrait of a family, and particularly two brothers Andrew and Robert. In the first act of the play, Robert is about to go off to sea with their uncle Dick, a sea captain while Andrew looks forward to marrying his sweetheart Ruth and working on the family farm as he starts a family.

By: Euripides (480-406 BC)

The Bacchae by Euripides The Bacchae

This tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him.

The Trojan Women by Euripides The Trojan Women

Euripides' play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned Ajax the Lesser for dragging Cassandra away from Athena's temple. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women.

Book cover Medea

Euripides' tragedy focuses on the disintegration of the relationship between Jason, the hero who captured the Golden Fleece, and Medea, the sorceress who returned with him to Corinth and had two sons with him. As the play opens, Jason plans to marry the daughter of King Creon, and the lovesick Medea plots how to take her revenge.

Book cover Hippolytus

Eurpides' tragedy tells of Theseus' chaste son Hippolytus, who refuses to worship Aphrodite in favor of Artemis. Aphrodite gets revenge by causing Hippolytus' stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him, unleashing a chain of tragic events.

By: Florence Holbrook (1860-1932)

Book cover Dramatic Reader for Lower Grades

Despite the title's bland sounding name, this book is a charming collection of 16 plays for children. These little plays—well-known stories done into dialogue—were written for children who like to imagine themselves living with their favorite characters in forest, in palace, or in fairyland. Included are Cinderella, Robin Hood, William Tell, Hansel and Gretel and many more.

By: Frances Browne (1816-1879)

Granny's Wonderful Chair by Frances Browne Granny's Wonderful Chair

Her most famous work, Granny's Wonderful Chair, was published in 1856 and it is still in print to this day. It is a richly imaginative book of fairy stories and has been translated into many languages. This work, read as a child by Frances Hodgson Burnett, inspired the writings of Little Saint Elizabeth and Other Stories

By: Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)

The Maid's Tragedy by Francis Beaumont The Maid's Tragedy

Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy (first published 1619) is a sensational Jacobean sex tragedy. When gentleman soldier Melantius returns to Rhodes, he finds his dear friend Amintor is recently married - but not to his troth-plight love Aspatia (the maid of the title). Instead, the King has arranged a match between Amintor and Melantius' sister, the beautiful Evadne. On his wedding night, Amintor finds that his new wife has married him under false pretenses - and this unleashes a torrent of dire consequences, sexual, emotional, and ultimately political.

By: Frank Wedekind

Book cover The Awakening of Spring

The Awakening of Spring is the German dramatist Frank Wedekind's first major play and a seminal work in the modern history of theatre. It is the source material for the contemporary rock musical Spring Awakening. The play criticises the sexually-oppressive culture of fin de siècle Germany and offers a vivid dramatisation of the erotic fantasies that it breeds. Due to the nature of its content, the play has often been banned.

Book cover Pandora's Box
Book cover Earth Spirit

Earth Spirit (1895) (Erdgeist) is a play by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind. It forms the first part of his pairing of 'Lulu' plays (the second is Pandora's Box [1904]), both of which depict a society "riven by the demands of lust and greed". Together with Pandora's Box, Wedekind's play formed the basis for the silent film Pandora's Box (1929) starring Louise Brooks and the opera Lulu by Alban Berg in 1935 (premiered posthumously in 1937). The eponymous "earth spirit" of this play is Lulu, who Wedekind described as a woman "created to stir up great disaster...

By: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)

Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller Mary Stuart

Schiller's tragedy depicts the final days of Mary, Queen of Scots, who has been imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, because of her potential claim on the English throne. The action of the play revolves around an attempt to rescue Mary from prison and Elizabeth's indecision over whether or not to have her executed. The 1801 translation is by Joseph Mellish, a friend of Schiller's.

Book cover Love and Intrigue

Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke's court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The President instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke's mistress, but Ferdinand rebels against his father's plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him.

Book cover Love and Intrigue

Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke's court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The President instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke's mistress, but Ferdinand rebels against his father's plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him.

Book cover Camp of Wallenstein

This is the first play of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein Trilogy. Set in a Bohemian camp during the Thirty Years War, it introduces the major characters of the rest of the trilogy, like Albrecht von Wallenstein and Max Piccolomini, from their subordinates' point of view.

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Book cover Magic: A Fantastic Comedy

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion

If you've watched and loved the delightful musical My Fair Lady, then you'd love to read the wonderful play on which it is based. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is equally engrossing and as full of charm, wit and underlying pathos. First performed on stage in 1912, Pygmalion takes its title from the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. In the ancient story, a brilliant sculptor, Pygmalion falls in love with one of his own creations, a ravishingly beautiful sculpture whom he names Galatea. He propitiates Aphrodite, who grants his wish that his statue would come to life and that he could marry her...

Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw that takes place in 1885, during the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Raina Petkoff is engaged to the gallant Sergius Saranoff, hero of the recent Bulgarian victory over the Serbs. But she is distracted by the abrupt arrival of Captain Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary who fought for the Serbian army. He takes refuge in her bedroom after the battle and although he is initially threatening, reveals that he carries chocolates instead of bullets. Will Raina marry the posturing Sergius or the chocolate cream soldier? Extra intrigue is provided by saucy servant girl Louka, her dour fiance Nicola, and Raina's hand-wringing parents.

Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw Mrs. Warren's Profession

The story centers on the relationship between Mrs Kitty Warren, a rich woman, described by the author as "on the whole, a genial and fairly presentable old blackguard of a woman" and her daughter, Vivie. Mrs Warren is a middle-aged woman whose Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, is horrified to discover the morally questionable way her mother acquired her fortune.

Book cover The Doctor's Dilemma

The Doctor's Dilemma is about Dr. Colenso Ridgeon, who has recently been knighted because of a miraculous new treatment he developed for tuberculosis. As his friends arrive to congratulate him on his success, he is visited by two figures who present him with a difficult decision. He has room for one more patient in his clinic; should he give it to Louis Dubedat, a brilliant but absolutely immoral artist, or Dr. Blenkinsop, a poor and rather ordinary physician who is a truly good person? Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is heightened when he falls for Jennifer Dubedat, the artist's wife, who is innocent of her husband's profligacy.

Candida by George Bernard Shaw Candida

Candida, a comedy by playwright George Bernard Shaw, was first published in 1898, as part of his Plays Pleasant. The central characters are clergyman James Morell, his wife Candida and a youthful poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who tries to win Candida's affections. The play questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really desires from her husband. The cleric is a Fabian Socialist, allowing Shaw—himself a Fabian—to weave political issues, current at the time, into the story.

Book cover Major Barbara

George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army...

Book cover Don Juan in Hell

Don Juan in Hell is an excerpt (Act 3, Scene 2) from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman. It is often performed as a stand-alone play. In it, three characters from Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Don Juan, Dona Ana, and the statue of the Commendatore, Dona Ana’s father) meet in Hell and, joined by the Devil, have a philosophical debate on a variety of subjects, including Heaven and Hell, men, women and marriage. In the end, they all decide where they will spend eternity.

Book cover Heartbreak House

On the eve of World War I, Ellie Dunn, her father, and her fiancé are invited to one of Hesione Hushabye’s infamous dinner parties. Unfortunately, her fiancé is a scoundrel, her father’s a bumbling prig, and she’s actually in love with Hector, Hesione’s husband. This bold mix of farce and tragedy lampoons British society as it blithely sinks towards disaster.

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 Widowers' Houses

This is one of three plays Shaw published as Plays Unpleasant in 1898; they were termed "unpleasant" because they were intended, not to entertain their audiences—as traditional Victorian theatre was expected to—but to raise awareness of social problems and to censure exploitation of the laboring class by the unproductive rich. In this play, Dr. Harry Trench becomes disillusioned when he discovers how his fiancee's father, Mr. Sartorius, makes his money. However, it is soon revealed that Trench's own income is far from untainted.

By: George Farquhar (1677-1707)

Book cover Recruiting Officer

By: George Gissing (1857-1903)

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.

By: George MacDonald

The Hope of the Gospel by George MacDonald The Hope of the Gospel

Perhaps most well-known for his fairytales and fantasy stories such as The Golden Key and Phantastes, or for his poetry, George MacDonald was a great spiritual master of the nineteenth century. He spent several years as a minister in his native Scotland; however he was forced to resign his position due to ill health. He had a profound influence on such later writers as G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis – the latter of whom considered MacDonald to be his spiritual father, and edited an anthology of his works...

By: Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

Book cover Geography and Plays

Geography and Plays is a 1922 collection of Gertrude Stein's "word portraits," or stream-of-consciousness writings. These stream-of-consciousness experiments, rhythmical essays or "portraits", were designed to evoke "the excitingness of pure being" and can be seen as literature's answer to Cubism, plasticity, and collage. Although the book has been described as "a marvellous and painstaking achievement in setting down approximately 80,000 words which mean nothing at all," it is considered to be one of Stein's seminal works.

By: Gilbert Parker (1862-1932)

Book cover Seats of The Mighty

By: Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948)

Gruach by Gordon Bottomley Gruach

Gordon Bottomley's verse drama in two scenes is a prequel to Shakespeare's Macbeth. He provides Lady Macbeth with a name - Gruach - and imagines her family life and how she meets Macbeth.

By: Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen A Doll's House

Nineteenth century attitudes towards marriage, the role of women, morality and the search for identity are brilliantly explored in Henrik Ibsen's three act play, A Doll's House. It was highly controversial and received with a sense of outrage among opinion leaders in Europe. Many thinkers like August Strindberg lashed out at Ibsen for portraying the sacred institution of marriage in such a derogatory way. A Doll's House, written in the original Danish, was first performed at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen in 1879...

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In it, Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic General, has just returned from her honeymoon with George Tesman, an aspiring young academic, reliable but not brilliant, who has combined research with their honeymoon. The reappearance of Tesman’s academic rival, Eilert Lovborg, throws their lives into disarray.

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen The Master Builder

Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, first published in 1892, is about architect Halvard Solness, who despite personal tragedy (including the death of his two sons) has risen to the top of his profession. He has succeeded partly through ruthless competition and exploitation and partly through a seeming ability to force his will on others. His unhappy wife Aline mourns for their lost life, and resents his interest in various young women, including his bookkeeper Kaia Fosli. Solness disregards the ambitions of other architects, including Knut Brovik and his son Ragnar, and seeks solace in the advice of family physician and friend Dr...

Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ghosts

Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was first published in 1881 and staged in 1882, and like his earlier play A Doll's House, profoundly shocked his contemporaries. Dubbed "a dirty deed done in public" by one of its critics, the play focuses on (among other things) venereal disease, euthanasia, and incest. The original title literally means "the ones who return," and the play is about how we can deal with the awful legacy of the past.

The Lady From the Sea by Henrik Ibsen The Lady From the Sea

The title character in Ibsen's drama, Ellida Wangel, is married to a prosperous doctor, but feels stifled by her roles as wife and stepmother to her husband's two daughters by a previous marriage, Hilde and Bolette. Ten years earlier she had promised to marry another man - and on a sultry summer day, he comes back to her. Ellida must decide whether to choose the safety of her life with Wangel, or to yield to the siren song of the sea.

Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen Little Eyolf

Henrik Ibsen's 1894 play Little Eyolf tells the story of the Allmers family: the father, Alfred, his wife Rita, their crippled nine-year-old son Eyolf, and Alfred's sister Asta. As the play begins, Alfred has just gotten back from a trip to the mountains, and resolves to spend more time with his son, rather than on intellectual pursuits. Asta is romantically pursued by Borgheim, an engineer, while the cracks in Alfred and Rita's marriage gradually reveal themselves. The family receives a visit from the Rat-Wife, and are never the same again.

The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen The Wild Duck

The Wild Duck (1884) (original Norwegian title: Vildanden) is by many considered Ibsen's finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play, the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals' apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the "Summons of the Ideal". Among these truths: Gregers' father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child...

Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen Rosmersholm

Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen’s masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884. As expressed by the protagonist, Rosmer, the theme of the play is social and political change, in which the traditional ruling classes relinquish their right to impose their ideals on the rest of society, but the action is entirely personal, resting on the conduct of the immoral, or amoral, “free thinking” heroine, Rebecca, who sets herself to undermine Rosmer’s religious and political beliefs because of his influential position in the community...

Book cover Enemy of the People

A small coastal town in Norway is experiencing an economic boom from its newly found hot springs. When Dr. Thomas Stockmann finds that the waters are contaminated and dangerous, the people refuse to accept his statement, and Dr. Stockmann's friends turn against him.

Book cover Pillars of Society

Pillars of Society was Ibsen's first successful realist drama, first performed in 1877. Karsten Bernick is the dominant businessman in a small coastal town in Norway, with interests in shipping and shipbuilding in a long-established family firm. Now he is planning his most ambitious project yet, backing a railway which will connect the town to the main line and open a fertile valley which he has been secretly buying up. Suddenly his past explodes on him with the arrival of Lona Hessel, the woman he once jilted, and Johan Tonnesen, who left town in disgrace fifteen years earlier.

Book cover John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman is the penultimate play of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, written in 1896. The Borkman family fortunes have been brought low by the imprisonment of John Gabriel who used his position as a bank manager to illegally speculate with his investors' money. The action of the play takes place eight years after Borkman's release when John Gabriel Borkman, Mrs. Borkman, and her twin sister Ella Rentheim battle over the future of young Erhart Borkman. Though John Gabriel Borkman...

Book cover Peer Gynt

Peer is a dreamer, liar, excellent storyteller and an irresponsible person who avoids all problems. He uses and discards women and looks towards the grandiose, the unattainable. Despite of this, one can't help but like and feel sorry for Peer, as it is easy to recognize something of yourself in him. Peer Gynt is the most well known Norwegian play throughout history and is based loosely on the folklore about Per Gynt. It is a dramatic poem in five acts, and has been aptly described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance. The play is said to be a confrontation with the flock mentality Ibsen meant to recognize the typical Norwegian.

By: Henry Fielding

The Old Debauchees by Henry Fielding The Old Debauchees

Young Laroon plans to marry Isabel, but Father Martin manipulates Isabel's father, Jourdain, in order to seduce Isabel. However, other characters, including both of the Laroons, try to manipulate Jourdain for their own ends; they accomplish it through disguising themselves as priests and using his guilt to convince him of what they say. As Father Martin pursues Isabel, she is clever enough to realize what is happening and plans her own trap. After catching him and exposing his lust, Father Martin is set to be punished.

By: J. M. Barrie (1860-1937)

The Admirable Crichton by J. M. Barrie The Admirable Crichton

From the author of Peter Pan:Lord Loam, a British peer, considers class divisions to be artificial. He promotes his views during tea-parties where servants mingle with his aristocratic guests, to the embarrassment of all. Crichton, his butler, particularly disapproves of this.Loam, his family, a maid, and Crichton are shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island. The resourceful Crichton is the only one of the party with any practical knowledge. Eventually, social roles are reversed, and Crichton becomes the governor.

Book cover Dear Brutus

At a house in the country 8 guests are invited to enter a magical wood to see what might have happened had they made a different choice in life. Even though they are warned away from the wood, they take a chance and enter. The title comes from Shakespeare: "The fault lies in our selves, dear Brutus, not in our stars...," and summarizes the theme of this play: given a second chance, will people still make the same mistakes?

By: James Joyce (1882-1941)

Book cover Exiles

Exiles is a play by James Joyce, who is principally remembered for his novels. It was rejected by W. B. Yeats for production by the Abbey Theatre. Its first major London performance was in 1970, when Harold Pinter directed it at the Mermaid Theatre. The basic premise of Exiles involves a love triangle between Richard Rowan (a Dublin writer recently returned from exile in Rome), Bertha (his common law wife) and his old friend Robert Hand (a journalist). (There are obvious parallels to be drawn with...


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