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Franz Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka's world, it is never completely clear just what the nightmare is. Kafka deals in dark and quirkily humorous terms with the insoluble dilemmas of a world which offers no reassurance, and no reliable guidance to resolving our existential and emotional uncertainties and anxieties.
Widely regarded as one of the classics of comic writing in English. In the century and a half since its first appearance, the characters of Mr Pickwick, Sam Weller and the whole of the Pickwickian crew have entered the consciousness of those who love English literature in general, and the works of the author in particular.
With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Nicola Bradbury, University of Reading.This simple and haunting story captures the transcience of life and its surrounding emotions.To the Lighthouse is the most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf's novels. It is based on her own early experiences, and while it touches on childhood and children's perceptions and desires, it is at its most trenchant when exploring adult relationships, marriage and the changing class-structure in the period spanning the Great War.
Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the "e;roaring twenties"e;, and a devastating expose of the "e;Jazz Age"e;. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.
A young mother of an illegitimate child confronts her Puritan judges. This book describes the cruelties of slowly exposed guilt as her lover is revealed.
With an Introduction and Notes by Merry M. Pawlowski, Professor and Chair, Department of English, California State University,Bakersfield.Virginia Woolf's singular technique in Mrs Dalloway heralds a break with the traditional novel form and reflects a genuine humanity and a concern with the experiences that both enrich and stultify existence.Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party. Her thoughts and sensations on that one day, and the interior monologues of others whose lives are interwoven with hers gradually reveal the characters of the central protagonists. Clarissa's life is touched by tragedy as the events in her day run parallel to those of Septimus Warren Smith, whose madness escalates as his life draws toward inevitable suicide.
With an Introduction and Notes by David Herd, Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury and co-editor of 'Poetry Review'.Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab's quest to avenge the whale that 'reaped' his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic.But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab's appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each.Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel's narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader. Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education:in the practice of whaling, in the art of writing. Expanding to equal his 'mighty theme' - not only the whale but all things sublime - Melville breathes in the world's great literature. Moby Dick is the greatest novel ever written by an American.
War and Peace is a vast epic centred on Napoleon's war with Russia. While it expresses Tolstoy's view that history is an inexorable process which man cannot influence, he peoples his great novel with a cast of over five hundred characters. Three of these, the artless and delightful Natasha Rostov, the world-weary Prince Andrew Bolkonsky and the idealistic Pierre Bezukhov illustrate Tolstoy's philosophy in this novel of unquestioned mastery. This translation is one which received Tolstoy's approval.
Frankenstein is the classic gothic horror novel which has thrilled and engrossed readers for two centuries. Written by Mary Shelley, it is a story which she intended would 'curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart.' The tale is a superb blend of science fiction, mystery and thriller. Victor Frankenstein driven by the mad dream of creating his own creature, experiments with alchemy and science to build a monster stitched together from dead remains. Once the creature becomes a living breathing articulate entity, it turns on its maker and the novel darkens into tragedy. The reader is very quickly swept along by the force of the elegant prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multi-layered themes in the novel. Although first published in 1818, Shelley's masterpiece still maintains a strong grip on the imagination and has been the inspiration for numerous horror movies, television and stage adaptations.
Introduction and Notes by Dr David Rogers, Kingston University.'There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.'Thus Bram Stoker, one of the greatest exponents of the supernatural narrative, describes the demonic subject of his chilling masterpiece Dracula, a truly iconic and unsettling tale of vampirism.
With an Introduction and Notes by John M.L. Drew, University of Buckingham.Wilde's only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in 'art for art's sake', to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design.Yet Wilde himself underestimated the consequences of his experiment, and its capacity to outrage the Victorian establishment. Its words returned to haunt him in his court appearances in 1895, and he later recalled the 'note of doom' which runs like 'a purple thread' through its carefully crafted prose.
The narrator of The War of the Worlds is quick to discover that what appeared to be a falling star was, in fact, a metallic cylinder landing from Mars.In The War in the Air, naive but resourceful Bert Smallways is thrilled by speed and fascinated by the new flying machines.
Brought together for the first time in this new Wordsworth edition, The Invisible Man and The Food of the Gods are two of Wells's most entertaining and thought-provoking works.
This volume unites four of Wells' liveliest and most engaging tales of the strange evolution and behaviour of animals - including human beings. The Island of Doctor Moreau is followed by three fantastic yet chillingly plausible short stories of human-animal encounters.
Contains: The Time Machine; When The Sleeper Awakes; The Chronic Argonauts. In these 'scientific romances' H. G. Wells sees the present reflected in the future and the future in the present; his aim is to provoke rather than predict.
This Side of Paradise was Fitzgerald's first novel, and its instant success made him famous. The Beautiful and Damned was Fitzgerald's second novel, and describes the beginning of what became known as 'The Jazz Age'.
A group of men escape imprisonment during the American Civil War by stealing a balloon. Blown across the world, they are air-wrecked on a remote desert island. In a manner reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe, the men apply their scientific knowledge and technical skill to exploit the island's bountiful resources.
The heroine of this novel is Lily Bart, whose goal is to secure a rich husband who can sustain her lifestyle. She operates in a world where social position is important, but money can buy it. Lily is redeemed by her clear view of the corrupt society which is her gilded cage.
Bringing together Sherlock Holmes, the master of science detection, and John H Watson, the great detective's faithful chronicler, this novel not only establishes the magic of the Holmes myth but also provides the reader with a dramatic adventure yarn which ranges from the foggy, gas-lit streets of London to the burning plains of Utah.
Antony and Cleopatra is one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies: a spectacular, widely-ranging drama of love and war, passion and politics
Presents an apocalyptic fantasy of the end of human civilisation. Set in the late twenty-first century, this novel unfolds a sombre and pessimistic vision of mankind confronting inevitable destruction. Interwoven with a futuristic theme, it incorporates portraits of Shelley and Byron, yet rejects Romanticism, and its faith in art and nature.
A sometimes violent and brutal tale of love and betrayal, separation and reconciliation, set in the familiar Bronte landscape of bleak houses in moorland settings.
John Harmon returns to England as his father's heir. He is believed drowned under suspicious circumstances - a situation convenient to his wish for anonymity until he can evaluate Bella Wilfer whom he must marry to secure his inheritance.
Presenting a tale of imprisonment, both literal and metaphorical, this novel highlights its concern with personal responsibility in private and public life.
Mr Dombey is a man obsessed with his firm. His son is groomed from birth to take his place within it, despite his visionary eccentricity and declining health. But Dombey also has a daughter, whose unfailing love for her father goes unreturned.
Each of these short stories was written specifically for Christmas. They combine concern for social ills with the myths and memories of childhood and traditional Christmas spirit-lore. The stories include "A Christmas Carol", "The Chimes", "The Battle of Life" and "The Cricket on the Hearth".
Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth's England, awaits a visit from the Queen. Now, an ambassador in Costantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman.
Set in the reign of Richard I, Coeur de Lion, this title is packed with incidents - sieges, ambushes and combats - and characters: Cedric of Rotherwood, the die-hard Saxon; his ward Rowena; the fierce Templar knight, Sir Brian de Bois-Gilbert; the Jew, Isaac of York, and his daughter Rebecca; Wamba and Gurth, jester and swineherd respectively.
Follows the story of the heroine's movement from the tranquil but moribund ways of southern England to the north. This book uses a love story to show how personal and public lives were woven together in a industrial society. It traces the origins of problems and possibilities which are still challenging a hundred and fifty years later.
This perennially popular book was cited by Karl Marx in Das Kapital to illustrate economic theory, but it is readers of all ages over the last 280 years who have given "Robinson Crusoe" its abiding position as a classic tale of adventure.