By: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
In American Notes, Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the Jungle Book, visits the USA. As the travel-diary of an Anglo-Indian Imperialist visiting the USA, these American Notes offer an interesting view of America in the 1880s. Kipling affects a wide-eyed innocence, and expresses astonishment at features of American life that differ from his own, not least the freedom (and attraction) of American women. However, he scorns the political machines that made a mockery of American democracy, and while exhibiting the racist attitudes that made him controversial in the 20th century concludes “It is not good to be a negro in the land of the free and the home of the brave...
Stalky and Co.
Rudyard Kipling published Stalky & Co. in 1899. Set at an English boarding school in a seaside town on the North Devon coast. (The town, Westward Ho!, is not only unusual in having an exclamation mark, but also in being itself named after a novel, by Charles Kingsley.) The book is a collection of linked short stories, with some information about the eponymous Stalky’s later life. Beetle, one of the main trio, is said to be based on Kipling himself, while Stalky may be based on Lionel Dunsterville...
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook’s Hill is a children’s book by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1906, containing a series of short stories set in different periods of history. The stories are all told to two children living near Pevensey by people magically plucked out of history by Puck.
Plain Tales from the Hills
Named a "prophet of British imperialism" by the young George Orwell, and born in Bombay, India, Rudyard Kipling had perhaps the clearest contemporary eye of any who described the British Raj. According to critic Douglas Kerr: "He is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with." This force shines in THE PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. (Introduction by Mike Harris)
The Light that Failed
This novel, first published in 1890, follows the life of Dick Heldar, a painter. Most of the novel is set in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan or India. It was made into a 1916 film with Jose Collins and a 1939 film by Paramount starring Ronald Colman.
The Brushwood Boy
The experiences in public school, Sandhurst and military life in India of Major George Cottar together with his adventures in the dream world he discovers and frequents.
By: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)
This is volume 1 of 2. One of the most quirky, eccentric and endearing heroes to ever be depicted in fiction, the chivalrous Don Quixote is sure to capture hearts while bringing tears of laughter to your eyes. If you've never encountered the Knight from La Mancha before, get set for a delightful sojourn through the Spanish countryside, across the fertile countryside of Central Spain. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was an immediate success when it was first published in 1605 and won huge financial and literary success for its creator, an impoverished writer and poet...
The Exemplary Novels of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Originally compiled by Cervantes himself in 1613 as a collection of "exemplary" stories, this translated version from 1881 brings these stories to the English reader. Included in the collection are twelve stories selected by Cervantes, including "A Deceitful Marriage," which famously transitions seamlessly and humorously into the "Dialogue Between Scipio and Berganze".
By: Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)
The Golden Age
If you've loved and cherished The Wind in The Willows, you'll be delighted to read The Golden Age. In this book of reminiscences by Kenneth Grahame, the much loved creator of Winnie The Pooh, readers are granted an insight into the writer's childhood. The opening lines of the Prologue provide a poignant reminder of Grahame's childhood. When he was just five, his mother died in childbirth and his father who had a long standing problem with alcoholism consigned his four children, including the newborn baby, to the care of their grandmother in Berkshire...
The Reluctant Dragon
Regarded as one of Grahame’s most distinguished short stories, the children’s classic was first published in 1898 and featured in Dream Days, a reminiscent short story collection for children, and has also been adapted into a feature film from Walt Disney Productions. The story centers on the events following the discovery of a dragon living inside a cave near a small town, which its residents perceive as dangerous and a threat to their safety, whereas as a young boy goes out of his way to prove the dragon’s harmless nature...
Dream Days is a collection of children’s fiction and reminiscences of childhood written by Kenneth Grahame. A sequel to Grahame’s 1895 collection The Golden Age (some of its selections feature the same family of five children), Dream Days was first published in 1898 under the imprint John Lane: The Bodley Head. (The first six selections in the book had been previously published in periodicals of the day—in the Yellow Book, the New Review, and in Scribner’s Magazine in the United States.) The book is best known for its inclusion of Grahame’s classic story The Reluctant Dragon...
By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
The Count of Monte Cristo
Written by French author Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo follows the life of Edmond Dantes as he embarks on a journey of revenge after being wrongly imprisoned and set up by none other than his so-called friends. Set during the years after the fall of Napoleon’s empire, the story unwinds in several locations including Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo and Constantinople. A handsome young sailor and soon to be ship captain Edmond Dantes seems to have it all in life, as he returns to Marseilles to wed the love of his life and fiancée, the beautiful Mercedes...
The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers follows the adventures of the young Gascon nobleman, D’Artagnan and his three trusted friends who served as musketeers in the king’s regiment – Athos, Porthos & Aramis. Written by Alexandre Dumas, the book was a bestseller during the time of its publication and it remains so even today. It follows the timeless theme of friendship and bravery. The main protagonist of the story is D’Artagnan who travels to Paris to realize his dreams of becoming one of the musketeers for the king...
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas is part of the novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years After, published in serial form between 1857-50. It is also the last of the D'Artagnan stories written by Dumas and the three musketeers are the real heroes of the story, though the title is given to the man in the iron mask. The story opens with Aramis (one of the musketeers who is now a priest) taking the last confession of a prisoner who is condemned to be executed soon. His confession comes as a thunderbolt to the former musketeer...
Twenty Years After
First serialized from January to August, 1845, Twenty Years After is the second book in The D’Artagnan Romances, and follows the gallant adventures of the musketeers, as they are once again summoned to alleviate the various threats that lurk in the political scene of France, as the country is threatened by a possible uprising. Enriched with exciting and well-developed characters, the novel adds more detail to its familiar characters, as the musketeers have matured and are portrayed in a more introspective light...
Dumas's 'Celebrated Crimes' was not written for children. The novelist has spared no language -- has minced no words -- to describe the violent scenes of a violent time.In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader, for whom the books are intended, will recognize, and allow for, this fact.The first volume comprises the annals of the Borgias and the Cenci. The name of the noted and notorious Florentine family has become a synonym for intrigue and violence, and yet the Borgias have not been without stanch defenders in history...
The Vicomte De Bragelonne
After The Three Muskateers and Twenty Years After the adventurous story of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan continues!The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (French: Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard) is the last of the Musketeer novels. It is usually divided into four volumes and this first volume contains chapters 1-75.
The Black Tulip
The Black Tulip, written by Alexandre Dumas père and published in 1850, is a historical novel placed in the time of Tulipmania in the Netherlands. The novel begins with the 1672 politically motivated mob lynching of the de Witt brothers and then follows the story of Cornelius van Baerle, godson of Cornelius de Wit. Cornelius Van Baerle has joined the race to breed a truly black tulip – and to win the prize of 100,000 guilders, as well as fame and honour. As he nears his goal he is jailed and then of course rescued – by the beautiful Rosa, daughter of the jailer.
Marguerite de Valois
A historical fiction novel set in Paris (1572) during Charles IX's reign and the French Wars of Religion. Marguerite de Valois, daughter of deceased Henry II, is the novel's protagonist set against the infamous schemes of the Catholic power player, Catherine de Medici.
By: Daniel Defoe (1659/1661-1731)
Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children
First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe is a book that marks the beginning of realistic fiction writing in English. Its simple, linear narrative style and the semblance of being a true account and autobiographical in nature led to its great popularity when it first came out. Its original title The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York: Mariner, Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years all alone in an Uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great...
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders
A woman in prison awaiting a death sentence is given a reprieve because she is pregnant. She migrates to America abandoning the baby to the care of a foster mother. The child, a girl, grows up and begins working as a servant in a wealthy household. Here she is pursued by the two sons of the house and ultimately marries the younger one. When he dies, leaving her with two young children to look after, she begins a life of deception and confidence trickery which ends in great tragedy and disgrace. In her old age, events take a less tragic turn and her redemption comes from sources she least expects...
The History of the Plague in London
The History of the Plague in London is a historical novel offering an account of the dismal events caused by the Great Plague, which mercilessly struck the city of London in 1665. First published in 1722, the novel illustrates the social disorder triggered by the outbreak, while focusing on human suffering and the mere devastation occupying London at the time. Defoe opens his book with the introduction of his fictional character H.F., a middle-class man who decides to wait out the destruction of the plague instead of fleeing to safety, and is presented only by his initials throughout the novel...
The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
“THE FARTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE; Being the Second and Last Part OF HIS LIFE, And of the Strange Surprizing Accounts of his Travels Round three Parts of the Globe.” After the death of his wife, Robinson Crusoe is overcome by the old wanderlust, and sets out with his faithful companion Friday to see his island once again. Thus begins a journey which will last ten years and nine months, in which Crusoe travels over the world, along the way facing dangers and discoveries in Madagascar, China, and Siberia.
The Life, Adventures & Piracies of Captain Singleton
The Life, Adventures & Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton is a "bipartite adventure story whose first half covers a traversal of Africa, and whose second half taps into the contemporary fascination with piracy. It has been commended for its depiction of the homosexual relationship between the eponymous hero and his religious mentor, the Quaker, William Walters.".
By: Johann David Wyss (1743-1818)
The Swiss Family Robinson
A beautiful story about survival, the Robinson family shows that one does not have to have the usual comforts of life in order to be comfortable and happy. It is also a story about family relations. The book showcases a family of six that has to start all over without the basic amenities that make life easier in the eyes of society. The idea of being in an island with no human neighbors is daunting to say the least. The family was shipwrecked and everyone else on the ship perished when they deserted the ship...
By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that I think it proof against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would have preferred to forget. As a matter of fact, I believe this volume will prove of unusual interest; some of the reviews are curiously prophetic; some are, of course, biassed by prejudice hostile or friendly; others are conceived in the author’s wittiest and happiest vein; only a few are colourless. And if, according to Lord Beaconsfield, the verdict of a continental nation may be regarded as that of posterity, Wilde is a much greater force in our literature than even friendly contemporaries ever supposed he would become...
The Canterville Ghost
An American diplomat's family moves into an ancient stately mansion. They're warned by the owner that it is haunted by a most horrifying and gruesome spirit who had once cruelly murdered his own wife. The story progresses with creaking floor boards, mysterious passages, dark attics, clanking chains, and weird howling. Yet, the reader is totally unprepared for Oscar Wilde's brand of tongue in cheek humor as he takes all the ingredients of a traditional ghost story and turns it on its head, and creates a hilarious parody instead of a morbid saga! The Canterville Ghost was the first of Oscar Wilde's short stories to be published...
The Happy Prince and Other Tales
The Happy Prince and Other Tales (also sometimes called The Happy Prince and Other Stories) is an 1888 collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde. It is most famous for The Happy Prince, the short tale of a metal statue who befriends a migratory bird. Together, they bring happiness to others, in life as well as in death. The stories included in this collection are:The Happy PrinceThe Nightingale and the RoseThe Selfish GiantThe Devoted FriendThe Remarkable RocketThe stories convey an appreciation for the exotic, the sensual and for masculine beauty.
The Fisherman and His Soul
”The Fisherman and his Soul” is a fairy tale first published in November of 1891 in Wilde’s “A House of Pomegranates”. It tells of a fisherman who nets and falls in love with a mermaid. But to be with her he must shed his soul, which goes off to have adventures of its own. Will forbidden love endure?
The Soul of Man
“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...
By: Herman Melville (1819-1891)
“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. With these words, opens one of the strangest and most gripping stories ever written about the sea and sea-faring. Moby Dick by Herman Melville is today considered one of the greatest novels written in America but paradoxically, it was a miserable failure when it first made its debut in 1851. Entitled Moby Dick or The Whale the book finally got its due after the author's death and is now regarded as a classic portrayal of mania and fatal obsession...
A whaling ship stops at a remote Polynesian island. The crew aboard is exhausted after a grueling six-month voyage in which they suffered ill-treatment and drudgery. Two men decide to abandon ship and hide on the island, living off the fruit of the land, until they can get on board a more conducive ship. However, to their consternation they discover that part of the island paradise is peopled by a savage and cannibalistic tribe called the Typees. As destiny would have it, they fall into the hands of the very people they dread...