«Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears, That are so fortified against our story What we have two nights seen...» The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602.
Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is called to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius, by the ghost of Hamlet's father, King Hamlet. Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, also marrying his deceased brother's widow.
Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, and is among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others". The play likely was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime, and still ranks among his most performed.
«Doubtful it stood ;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together ;
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald - Worthy to be a rebel, for to that ;
The multiplying villanies of nature ;
Do swarm upon him - from the western isles...» Macbeth (full title The Tragedy of Macbeth) is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Set mainly in Scotland, the play dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. The play is believed to have been written between 1599 and 1606. The earliest account of a performance of what was probably Shakespeare's play is April 1611, when Simon Forman recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre. It was first published in the Folio of 1623, possibly from a prompt book. It was most likely written during the reign of James I, who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the English throne in 1603. James was a patron of Shakespeare's acting company, and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote during James's reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright's relationship with the sovereign.
«Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one...» Persuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel, published posthumously. She began it soon after she had finished Emma and completed it in August 1816.
As the Napoleonic Wars come to an end in 1814, Admirals and Captains of the Royal Navy are put ashore, their work done. Anne Elliot meets Captain Frederick Wentworth after seven years, by the chance of his sister and brother-in-law renting her father's estate, while she stays for a few months with her married sister, living nearby.
They fell in love the first time, but she broke off the engagement.
Besides the theme of persuasion, the novel evokes other topics, with which Austen was familiar: the Royal Navy, in which two of Jane Austen's brothers rose to the rank of admiral; and the superficial social life of Bath. It is portrayed extensively and serves as a setting for the second half of Persuasion.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
«Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,» he told me,«just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.» The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan.
Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
«The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn...» The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical novel by the writer Oscar Wilde, first published complete in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine.
Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty; he believes that Dorian's beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter.
Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat's hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences; all the while his portrait ages and records every soul-corrupting sin.
«It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife...» Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, Mr. Bennet, living in Longbourn.
Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books". It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.
«During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher...» Tales of Mystery & Imagination (often rendered as Tales of Mystery and Imagination) is a popular title for posthumous compilations of writings by American author, essayist and poet Edgar Allan Poe and was the first complete collection of his works specifically restricting itself to his suspenseful and related tales.
The precursor to Tales of Mystery and Imagination was a collection of Poe's works entitled Tales of Mystery, Imagination and Humor. The title "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" was first used by "The World's Classics", London, and printed by Grant Richard.
«I have just returned from a visit to my landlord-the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society...» Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. Written between October 1845 and June 1846. Although is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature; it was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty was unusually stark, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals of the day.
In 1801, Lockwood, a wealthy man from the South of England who is seeking peace and recuperation, rents Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire. He visits his landlord, Heathcliff, who lives in a remote moorland farmhouse, Wuthering Heights. There Lockwood finds an odd assemblage: Heathcliff seems to be a gentleman, but his manners are uncouth; the reserved mistress of the house is in her mid-teens; and a young man seems to be a member of the family, yet dresses and speaks as if he is a servant.
«On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York...» The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's twelfth novel, initially serialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine in 1920, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s, during the so-called Gilded Age.
The Age of Innocence centers on an upper-class couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of the bride's cousin, plagued by scandal, whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of 1870s New York society, it never develops into an outright condemnation of the institution.
The title is an ironic comment on the polished outward manners of New York society when compared to its inward machinations.
«The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them...» The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. It is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived.
Mark Twain created two of the most enduring and beloved fictional characters when he introduced the energetic young whippersnapper Tom Sawyer and his best friend Huckleberry Finn. First published in 1876, the novel tells the story of Tom Sawyer, a young boy who lived in the fictional town of St. Petersburg along the Mississippi River which is based on the real town where Mark Twain grew up; Hannibal, Missouri.
It is a classic tale of adventure seen through the eyes of the young protagonist. This is one of the literary greats that everyone should experience to enjoy the adventures and misadventures of Twain's young protagonist.
«The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance...» Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, and was her first published work when it appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym "A Lady". A work of romantic fiction, better known as a comedy of manners, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England, London and Kent between 1792 and 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meagre cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak.
Jane Austen wrote the first draft of the novel in the form of a novel-in-letters (epistolary form) sometime around 1795 when she was about 19 years old, and gave it the title Elinor and Marianne. She later changed the form to a narrative and the title to Sense and Sensibility.
«The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually...» The Waves, first published in 1931, is Virginia Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak in his own voice. The soliloquies that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset.
As the six characters or "voices" speak Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness.
«There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly...» Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.
The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences.
They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences a life-changing selfunderstanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity.
«Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted,...» Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". It was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island, or the mutiny of the Hispaniola, credited to the pseudonym "Captain George North". It was first published as a book on 1883 by Cassell & Co.
Is traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action. It is also noted as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality-as seen in Long John Silver-unusual for children's literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, parrots on their shoulders...
«The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide...» Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness.
Central to Conrad's work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilised people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises important questions about imperialism and racism.
«You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly...» Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (or, in more recent editions, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885.
Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels. It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
«Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles...» The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum. Originally published on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the popular 1902 Broadway musical and the well-known 1939 film adaptation.
The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone. The novel is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the 1902 Broadway musical which Baum adapted from his original story, led to Baum's writing thirteen additional Oz books.
Baum dedicated the book "to my good friend & comrade, My Wife", Maud Gage Baum.
«Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and ominous, in the fading light...» White Fang is a novel by American author Jack London (1876-1916) - and the name of the book's eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang's journey to domestication.
It is a companion novel (and a thematic mirror) to London's best-known work, The Call of the Wild, which is about a kidnapped, domesticated dog embracing his wild ancestry to survive and thrive in the wild.
Much of White Fang is written from the viewpoint of the titular canine character, enabling London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang examines the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans.
«Mr Verloc, going out in the morning, left his shop nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. It could be done, because there was very little business at any time, and practically none at all before the evening. Mr Verloc cared but little about his ostensible business. And, moreover, his wife was in charge of his brother-in-law...» The Secret Agent is a novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1907. The story is set in London in 1886 and deals with Mr. Verloc and his work as a spy for an unnamed country (presumably Russia). The Secret Agent is notable for being one of Conrad's later political novels in which he moved away from his former tales of seafaring.
The novel deals broadly with anarchism, espionage and terrorism. It also deals with exploitation of the vulnerable, particularly in Verloc's relationship with his brother-in-law Stevie, who has an intellectual disability.
The novel begins in Verloc's home, as he and his wife discuss the trivialities of everyday life, which introduces the reader to Verloc's family. Soon after, Verloc leaves to meet Mr. Vladimir, the new First Secretary in the embassy of a foreign country.
«It was the evening on which MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. Suddenly the dressingroom of La Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, was invaded by half-a-dozen young ladies of the ballet, who had come up from the stage after «dancing» Polyeucte...» The Phantom of the Opera is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialisation in Le Gaulois from September 23, 1909, to January 8, 1910. It was published in volume form in late March 1910 by Pierre Lafitte. The novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century.
Opera singer Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers' retirement. Her old childhood friend, Raoul, hears her sing and recalls his love for Christine. At this time, there are rumors of a phantom living at the Opera and he makes himself known to the managers through letters and malevolent acts.
«The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten...» Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870.
During the year 1866, ships of several nations spot a mysterious sea monster, which some suggest to be a giant narwhal. The United States government assembles an expedition in New York City to find and destroy the monster. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time, receives a last-minute invitation to join the expedition which he accepts. Canadian whaler and master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax's faithful servant Conseil are also brought aboard.
The rest of the story follows the adventures of the protagonists aboard the creature-the submarine, the Nautilus-which was built in secrecy and now roams the seas free from any land-based government.
«In the spring of 1829, the author of this work, whom curiosity had brought into Spain, made a rambling expedition from Seville to Granada in company with a friend, a member of the Russian Embassy at Madrid.
Accident had thrown us together from distant regions of the globe, and a similarity of taste led us to wander together among the romantic mountains of Andalusia...» Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving. Shortly after completing a biography of Christopher Columbus in 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen." Irving was preparing a book called A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, a history of the years 1478-1492, and was continuing his research on the topic. He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status.
«1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected...» he Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu , the text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly thought of as a definitive work on military strategy and tactics. It was placed at the head of China's Seven Military Classics upon the collection's creation in 1080 by Emperor Shenzong of Song, and has long been the most influential strategy text in East Asia.It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.
The book was first translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot and a partial translation into English was attempted by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905.
«My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons. He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me...» Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, commonly known as Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a prose satire by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.
The book became popular as soon as it was published. The book begins with a short preamble in which Lemuel Gulliver, in the style of books of the time, gives a brief outline of his life and history before his voyages. He enjoys travelling, although it is that love of travel that is his downfall.
Gulliver's Travels has been the recipient of several designations: from Menippean satire to a children's story, from proto-Science Fiction to a forerunner of the modern novel.