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

Book cover Prometheus Bound (Browning Translation)

Whether or not it was actually written by Aeschylus, as is much disputed, "Prometheus Bound" is a powerful statement on behalf of free humanity in the face of what often seem like the impersonal, implacable Forces that rule the Universe. As one of the most compelling rebel manifestos ever composed, it has appealed not only to the expected host of scholars of Greek drama, but also to a fascinatingly free-spirited array of translators, especially since the early 19th century; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, and activist-poet Augusta Webster are among those who have tried their poetic and linguistic powers at rendering it into English...

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...

Book cover Iphigenia in Tauris (Murray Translation)

The apparent sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis by her own father Agamemnon was forestalled by the godness Artemis, who by an adroit sleight of hand that fooled all participants, substituted a deer for the daughter. Wafted magically away to the “Friendless Shores” of savage Tauris and installed as chief priestess presiding over the human sacrifice of all luckless foreigners, Iphigenia broods over her “murder” by her parents and longs for some Greeks to be shipwrecked on her shores so she can wreak a vicarious vengeance on them...

Book cover Alcestis

Alcestis is the earliest surviving play by Euripides. Alcestis, the devoted wife of King Admetus, has agreed to die in his place, and at the beginning of the play she is close to death. In the first scene, Apollo argues with Thanatos (Death), asking to prolong Alcestis' life, but Thanatos refuses. Apollo leaves, but suggests that a man will come to Pherae who will save Alcestis. Euripides' play is perhaps the most unusual Greek drama ever written: a tragedy that is not a tragedy.

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: Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823)

A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe A Sicilian Romance

A Sicilian Romance is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe. It was her second published work, and was first published anonymously in 1790. The plot concerns the turbulent history of the fallen aristocrats of the house of Mazzini, on the northern shore of Sicily, as related by a tourist who becomes intrigued by the stories of a monk he meets in the ruins of their doomed castle. The introduction to the 'Worlds Classics' edition notes that in this novel "Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics"...

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

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: August Strindberg (1849-1912)

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: BS Murthy

Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life  by BS Murthy Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life

This fascinating saga of life exemplifies the material raise and moral fall of Gautam and Sneha and also the poignant end of the latter and the spiritual rise of the former that is after the fall. Besides, this piquant story depicts the tragic life of their son Suresh Prabhu and his eventual redemption through love for and of Vidya. Book One, Artha and Kama, is about conflict and resolution arising out of ambition and achievement, intrigue and betrayal, compulsion and compromise, sleaze and scandal, trial and sentence and regret and remorse spread over eighteen chapters...

Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel by BS Murthy Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel

Who could have poisoned Ranjit the realtor, Shakeel the Inspector, Pravar the criminal and Natya his accomplice? Well the needle of suspicion tilted towards Pravar that was till he perished with his mate, but then who was the one? Could it be Radha under the scanner for her role in the death of her husband Madhu and his mistress Mala, Pravar's sister? Or was it Ranjit's spouse Kavya, who owing to Stockholm Syndrome, takes to Pravar her kidnapper. As these deaths by poisoning puzzle Dhruva, Radha, who worms her way into his life, avers that Kavya had the motive and the means to kill her spouse, her paramour and his wife besides the cop...

By: Charles Morris (1833-1922)

The San Francisco Calamity by Earthquake and Fire by Charles Morris The San Francisco Calamity by Earthquake and Fire

The first half of this book describes the devastating earthquake that hit San Francisco in 1906, and the subsequent destruction caused by fire. Various eyewitnesses and victims give their account on the tragedy. In the second half, a number of different other earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are retold, like the eruption of the Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeij or the explosion of the Krakatoa, together with scientific explanations for the causes of earthquakes and the eruption of volcanos.

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 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: Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology

Two hundred and twelve residents of a small town tell their stories without fear of recrimination or ridicule. The only difference is that they're all dead! The two hundred and forty-four poems that form the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters is really a series of epitaphs about the citizens of a fictional town called Spoon River and deals with the “plain and simple annals” of small town America. Edgar Lee Masters grew up in a small town in Illinois. His father's financial problems forced the young Masters to abandon ideas of college and take up a job instead...

By: Émile Zola (1840-1902)

L'Assommoir by Émile Zola L'Assommoir

Émile François Zola (French pronunciation: [emil zɔˈla]) (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism. More than half of Zola’s novels were part of a set of twenty novels about a family under the Second Empire collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. L’Assommoir (1877) is the seventh novel in the series. Usually considered one of Zola’s masterpieces, the novel—a harsh and uncompromising study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris—was a huge commercial success and established Zola’s fame and reputation throughout France and the world.

By: Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte’s first and only novel, Wuthering Heights, portrays the obsessive and vengeful love story between Heathcliff and Catherine. Images of cruelty and passion with an incorporation of gothic supernatural elements set the dark and misty atmosphere present throughout the novel. Moving between two neighboring houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, the wild love story turned destructive obsession is narrated by Mr. Lockwood through his diary entries. Bronte sets the novel into motion with the arrival of Mr...

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: Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939)

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford The Good Soldier

The Good Soldier (1915) "... is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedies of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique pioneered by Ford. It also makes use of the device of the unreliable narrator, as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads you to believe. The novel was loosely based on two incidents of adultery and on Ford's messy personal life.”Music in sections 1-5 "Minuet in G flat major and Valse Bluette" by Beethoven

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: Francis Brett Young (1884-1954)

The Tragic Bride by Francis Brett Young The Tragic Bride

The story centers on Gabrielle Hewish, only and lonely child of Sir Jocelyn Hewish, a loveable lush and owner of the peaceful Roscarna estate nestled in the Irish countryside. In due course, young Gabrielle falls in love with a Navy man whose untimely demise sends her into a depression, and the consequences of which alter her future, culminating in a fascinating and quite unpredictable relationship with Mrs. Payne and her troubled son Arthur. A story of understanding in it’s finest sense and aptly titled, The Tragic Bride is both interesting as a story and telling as a character study.

By: Frank Norris (1870-1902)

The Octopus by Frank Norris The Octopus

Frank Norris based his 1901 novel The Octopus (A Story of California) on the Mussel Slough Tragedy of 1880, a bloody conflict between ranchers and agents of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The central issue was over the ownership of the ranches, which the farmers had leased from the railroad nearly ten years earlier with intentions of eventually purchasing the land. Although originally priced at $2.50 to $5 per acre, the railroad eventually opened the land for sale at prices adjusted for land improvements; the railroad’s attempts to take possession of the land led the ranchers to defend themselves as depicted in the book.

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.

By: Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)

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...


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