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By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Henry V by William Shakespeare Henry V

After the turmoil and uncertainty of Henry IV a new era appears to dawn for England with the accession of the eponymous Henry V. In this sunny pageant, the Chorus guides us along Henry's glittering carpet ride of success as the new king completes his transformation from rebellious wastrel to a truly regal potentate. Of course, there is an underlying feeling that the good times won't last, and this is all the more reason to enjoy the Indian summer before the protracted and bitter fall of the house of Lancaster.

The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare The Winter's Tale

Mad with jealousy, King Leontes of Sicilia orders his best friend Polixenes killed, his child abandoned, and his wife put on trial for adultery. Sixteen years later, Perdita, raised as a shepherd's daughter, falls in love with Polixenes's royal son and returns to her father's kingdom.

Measure For Measure by William Shakespeare Measure For Measure

Generally considered one of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for Measure examines the ideas of sin and justice. Duke Vincentio turns Vienna's rule over to the corrupt Angelo, who sentences Claudio to death for having impregnated a woman before marriage. His sister Isabella, a novice nun, pleads for her brother's life, only to be told that he will be spared if she agrees to relinquish her virginity to Angelo.

Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Lost is an early comedy by William Shakespeare. Ferdinand, the King of Navarre, and his three friends take a vow of study and seclusion for three years, during which they are forbidden to see or speak to women. Their vows are immediately tested by the arrival of the Pricess of France and her three ladies to the King's court.

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare's earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written in the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare's bloodiest work. It lost popularity during the Victorian era because of its gore, and it has only recently seen its fortunes revive.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterized by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome.

Henry VI by William Shakespeare Henry VI

Henry VI, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 2 Henry VI deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy.

Cymbeline by William Shakespeare Cymbeline

Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's late romances, which (like The Tempest and The Winter's Tale) combines comedy and tragedy. Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline of Britain, angers her father when she marries Posthumus, a worthy but penniless gentleman. The King banishes Posthumus, who goes to Rome, where he falls prey to the machinations of Iachimo, who tries to convince him that Imogen will be unfaithful. Meanwhile, the Queen (Imogen's stepmother) plots against her stepdaughter by trying to plan a match between Imogen and her worthless son Cloten.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is the earliest comedy written by Shakespeare (and possibly his first play), probably written around 1590-91. It focuses on two friends, Valentine and Proteus, whose friendship is disrupted by their mutual passion for the lovely Silvia. Proteus jilts Julia in order to pursue Silvia; she responds by enlisting the help of her maid Lucetta to dress as a boy and go after Proteus. The play also includes some wonderfully comic supporting characters, particularly Launce and his scene-stealing dog Crab.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida is Shakespeare's "problem" play about the Trojan War. As the opening Chorus tells us, the play "begins in the middle" of the epic conflict, and counterpoints the drama of battle with the romance of the title characters. Just as Agamemnon and his Greek forces (particularly the smooth-tongued Ulysses) attempt to woo the invincible Achilles to resume fighting on their side, the Trojan go-between Pandarus tries to bring together Troilus, a son of King Priam, with his niece, the lovely Cressida.

Henry VIII by William Shakespeare Henry VIII

This is Shakespeare's dutiful tribute to one of the most imposing and terrifying rulers in European history. The kingdom trembles as the giant monarch storms through his midlife crisis, disposing of the faithful Katharine of Aragon and starting a new life and, the king hopes, a line of succession with the captivating young Anne Bullen. Unlike his predecessors, Henry has no doubt about the security of his tenure on the throne, and dominates the royal court with absolute authority. The extent of the King's power is graphically illustrated by the fate of the Duke of Buckingham, who goes calmly to execution while deploring, not the unjust despotism of the king...

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare Coriolanus

Shakespeare was passionately interested in the history of Rome, as is evident from plays like Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra. His tragedy Coriolanus was probably written around 1605-07, and dramatizes the rise and fall of a great Roman general, Caius Martius (later surnamed Coriolanus because of his military victory at Corioli). This play is unusual in that it provides a strong voice for the ordinary citizens of Rome, who begin the play rioting about the high price of food, and who continually clash with Coriolanus because of his contempt for plebians.

King John by William Shakespeare King John

The Life and Death of King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England (ruled 1199–1216), son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623. John (24 December 1166 – 19 October 1216), also known as John Lackland or Softsword, was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. His reign...

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though believed to have been written prior to 1597. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary Elizabethan era English middle class life.

Book cover The Rape of Lucrece

The Rape of Lucrece (1594) is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare about the legendary Lucretia. Lucrece draws on the story described in both Ovid's Fasti and Livy's history of Rome. In 509 BC, Sextus Tarquinius, son of Tarquin, the king of Rome, raped Lucretia (Lucrece), wife of Collatinus, one of the king's aristocratic retainers. As a result, Lucrece committed suicide. Her body was paraded in the Roman Forum by the king's nephew. This incited a full-scale revolt against the Tarquins led by Lucius Junius Brutus, the banishment of the royal family, and the founding of the Roman republic.

Book cover Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis is Shakespeare's narrative poem about the love of the goddess Venus for the mortal youth Adonis, dedicated partly to his patron, the Earl of Southampton (thought by some to be the beautiful youth to which many of the Sonnets are addressed). The poem recounts Venus' attempts to woo Adonis, their passionate coupling, and Adonis' rejection of the goddess, to which she responds with jealousy, with tragic results. This recording features three different readers performing the narration, Venus, and Adonis.

Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare Timon of Athens

The Life of Timon of Athens is a play by William Shakespeare about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon (and probably influenced by the philosopher of the same name, as well), generally regarded as one of his most obscure and difficult works. Originally grouped with the tragedies, it is generally considered such, but some scholars group it with the problem plays. The play has caused considerable debate among scholars. It is oddly constructed, with several lacunae (gaps) and for this reason is often described as unfinished, multi-authored, and/or experimental...

Book cover Two Noble Kinsmen

The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, first published in 1634. Set in ancient Greece during a war between Athens and Thebes, the narrative follows the title characters, Palamon and Arcite, noble youths whose friendship is destroyed by their mutual love for the beautiful Emilia. The subplot deals with the love and eventual madness of the Gaoler's Daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with Palamon. The play is based on "The Knight's Tale" by Chaucer, but also has echoes of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as two of the major characters are Theseus and Hippolyta, who also appear in the earlier play.

Book cover Reign of King Edward the Third
Book cover Reign of King Edward the Third

By: William Vaughn Moody (1869-1910)

Book cover Harmonics

William Vaughn Moody was an American dramatist and poet. Author of The Great Divide, first presented under the title of The Sabine Woman at the Garrick Theatre in Chicago on April 12, 1906. Moody's poetic dramas included The Masque of Judgment (1900), The Fire Bringer (1904), and The Death of Eve (left undone at his death). He taught English at Harvard and Radcliffe until 1895, when he went to Chicago where he was an instructor at the University of Chicago, and from 1901 to 1907 assistant professor of English and rhetoric.

By: William Wells Brown (1814-1884)

Clotel, or, The President's Daughter by William Wells Brown Clotel, or, The President's Daughter

Clotel; or, The President's Daughter is a novel by William Wells Brown (1815-84), a fugitive from slavery and abolitionist and was published in London, England in December 1853. It is often considered the first African-American novel. This novel focuses on the difficult lives of mulattoes in America and the "degraded and immoral condition of the relation of master and slave in the USA" (Brown). It is about the tragic lives of Currer, Althesea, and Clotel. In the novel, Currer is the former mulatto mistress of President Thomas Jefferson who together have two daughters, Althesea and Clotel...

By: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Book cover The River Duddon: A Series of Sonnets

Located in a part of Cumbria that was once part of Lancashire, the River Duddon rises in the high fells of the Lake District and flows for 25 miles through varied scenery before disappearing into the sands between Millom and Barrow-in-Furness. Wordsworth’s series of sonnets, inspired by his walks along the river, were written over a period of years, but are arranged so as to follow its downward course from the fells to the sea. Part One of this reading consists of the 33 sonnets and postscript that were first published as a series in 1820...

By: Zane Grey (1872-1939)

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey Riders of the Purple Sage

Dubbed the “most popular Western of all times” Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage was the benchmark by which every other novel in the “Western” genre came to be judged. It portrays the archetypal lone gun slinger, out to wreak revenge for past wrongs who falls foul of the rich and powerful and finally rides away into the sunset, having rid the town of poisonous villains! Riders of the Purple Sage is set in 1871, in a remote part of Utah. It opens with the young and lovely Jane Withersteen being victimized and harassed by her Mormon Church elders for associating with Gentiles or Non-Mormons...

The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey The Lone Star Ranger

Post-Civil War Texas, the Lone Star state. Buck Duane is a man who was almost born holding a gun in his hand. His father was an infamous outlaw and the young child grew up witnessing scenes of violence and betrayal. When he himself inadvertently kills a man, he is forced to go into hiding and must live with the very men he despises. However, the love of a beautiful young woman is his redemption. He joins the Texas Rangers and helps to rid the state of notorious criminals, hoping to exchange this for his good name and freedom...

The Last of the Plainsmen by Zane Grey The Last of the Plainsmen

Travel along as Mike Vendetti aka miketheauctioneer narrates an outstanding true account of a trip made in 1909 by Zane Grey and a plainsman, Buffalo Jones, through the Grand Canyon to lasso a cougar. That’s right lasso. Throw a rope around. That’s equivalent to catching one by the tail. As I narrated this book, I found fact to be as exciting as fiction. This part of the west was relatively wild and untamed at this time. Wolves, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife were quite prevalent, and the Indians were not that friendly...

The Spirit of the Border by Zane Grey The Spirit of the Border

This is an early novel by the phenomenally successful author of frontier, western and sports stories. It deals with historical characters and incidents in the Ohio Valley in the late 18th century, especially with the foundation of Gnaddenhutten, a missionary village intended to bring Christianity to the Indians of Ohio, despite the violent opposition of both Indians and white renegades. This turbulent adventure romance features the heroics of a semi-legendary frontiersman, Lewis Wetzel, who attempts to protect the settlers from hostile Native Americans and the vicious white outlaws the Girty brothers. (Introduction by Leonard Wilson)

Book cover To The Last Man

The story follows an ancient feud between two frontier families that is inflamed when one of the families takes up cattle rustling. The ranchers are led by Jean Isbel and, on the other side, Lee Jorth and his band of cattle rustlers. In the grip of a relentless code of loyalty to their own people, they fight the war of the Tonto Basin, desperately, doggedly, to the last man, neither side seeing the futility of it until it is too late. And in this volatile environment, young Jean finds himself hopelessly in love with a girl from whom he is separated by an impassable barrier.

Book cover The Heritage Of The Desert

Jack Hare is a young cowboy who was rescued from sure death by an old settler by the name of August Naab. Hare learns that Naab's ranch is a dangerous place and is challenged by cattle thieves and a corrupt rancher who is after Naab's water rights. The greatest danger Hare faces though, is over Mescal, a half-Navajo shepherdess who is already promised in marriage to Naab's first-born son. Hare must stop the marriage, but can't kill the son of his benefactor, August Naab...until a gun battle with rustlers brings the two face-to-face over drawn pistols.

Book cover Call Of The Canyon

Glenn Kilbourne returns from the war and travels to Arizona to regain his health. There he is nursed back to health by an Arizona girl, Flo Hutter Kilbourne's fiancée, Carley Burch arrives in Arizona but soon becomes disillusioned with life in the West and returns to New York. Carley soon learns that life in the Big City is not what she really wants. Should she return to Arizaona? Will Glen still love Her? Not only a great love story, Grey, as usual, describes the environment in all its glory.

Book cover Rainbow Trail

The Rainbow Trail is a sequel to The Riders of the Purple Sage. Both novels are notable for their protagonists' mild opposition to Mormon polygamy, but in The Rainbow Trail this theme is treated more explicitly. The plots of both books revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture: events in Riders of the Purple Sage are centered on the struggle of a Mormon woman who sacrifices her wealth and social status to avoid becoming a junior wife of the head of a local church, while The Rainbow Trail contrasts the older Mormons with the rising generation of Mormon women who will not tolerate polygamy and Mormon men who do not seek it.

By: Zoe Anderson Norris

The Way of the Wind by Zoe Anderson Norris The Way of the Wind

From the comfort of the hills of Kentucky traveled Celia and her husband Seth to the desolate prairies of Kansas, where cyclones, tornadoes, and endless wind were to greet them. Always, there was the wind cutting across the plains as the young couple builds their home while working the soil, while Seth awaits the wise men of the east to begin building the magic city where he has staked his territory on the plains. But sometimes life plays cruel tricks upon us. Sometimes our hopes are dashed by happenstance...

By: Zona Gale

Christmas, A Story by Zona Gale Christmas, A Story

This is a gentle Christmas story, whose message is that if we didn't already have Christmas, we'd find a way to invent it. It's hard times in Old Trail Town as the Season of Giving approaches. The factory that employs most of the town is closed and not likely to re-open, and town merchants fear that people will try to shop on credit. Unwilling to carry the debt, the merchants work out a scheme to get everybody in town to agree not to have Christmas that year. What happens next proves that Christmas can't be banned from the hearts of those who truly believe in it.


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