Narrator

Frederick Davidson

Frederick Davidson
  • Originally published in 1948, at the height of post-World War II optimism and confidence in collective security, Ideas Have Consequences uses “words hard as cannonballs” to present an unsparing diagnosis of the ills of the modern age. Widely read and debated at the time of its first publication, the book is now seen as one of the foundational texts of the modern conservative movement.

    In its pages, Richard M. Weaver argues that the decline of Western civilization resulted from the rising acceptance of relativism over absolute reality. In spite of increased knowledge, this retreat from the realist intellectual tradition has weakened the Western capacity to reason, with catastrophic consequences for social order and individual rights. But Weaver also offers a realistic remedy. These difficulties are the product not of necessity, but of intelligent choice. And, today, as decades ago, the remedy lies in the renewed acceptance of absolute reality and the recognition that ideas—like actions—have consequences.

    This expanded edition of the classic work contains a foreword by New Criterion editor Roger Kimball that offers insight into the rich intellectual and historical contexts of Weaver and his work, and an afterword by Ted J. Smith III that relates the remarkable story of the book’s writing and publication.

  • He was a gossip columnist’s dream. Piccadilly Jim’s life was a collage of broken promises and drunken brawls.

    And Jim’s straight-laced Victorian aunt was not amused. So, she decided to reform him. Unfortunately, her reform project started at a time when Jim had fallen in love and had already decided to reform himself. Thus, life became complicated.

    Jim pretends to be himself—a beautiful display of Wodehousean logic; hilarious indeed!

  • Three young truants from a church meeting on Sunday make their way to a seashore hideaway, where they observe a huge black man muttering incantations and performing weird rites. When the man discovers the children, he chases them with a knife. In defense, Davy Crawfurd flings a rock at him, and they narrowly escape.

    Years later, young David Crawfurd goes to South Africa to make his fortune and is caught in the very heart of a great native uprising. Under strange circumstances, he comes face-to-face with its leader, only to recognize the strange blazing eyes of the black man he had encountered as a child on the beach. How David makes his fortune more quickly and more perilously than he had expected is told in this thrilling tale of adventure.

  • Hudson Taylor is one of the most remarkable of Christianity's heroes. A gawky, determined Yorkshire boy of commonplace origins, mediocre education, and uncertain health, Hudson Taylor lived in the assurance that under God's direction he would someday evangelize China's 400,000,000 souls. Today he is remembered both as the founder of the world-famous China Inland Mission and one of history's great men of faith.

    Hudson Taylor left England on September 19, 1853, and did not reach China until the spring of 1894. The long and arduous voyage, persecution, poverty and the barriers of language and culture did not deter him from his mission. throughout a life filled with trials of all sorts, Taylor remained confident in his knowledge of God's will and of his care, even in the shadow of death.

  • William Wordsworth (1770–1850) is one of the most popular and enduring of the English poets. His poetry is beloved for its deep feeling, its use of ordinary speech, and its celebration of nature and of the beauty and poetry in the commonplace. Together with his friend, the poet and political activist Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth helped launch the romantic age in English literature. These poems demonstrate the astonishing range and beauty of Wordsworth’s work and his sustained, coherent vision.

  • Although the poet John Donne lived so long ago, some phrases from his writing still linger with us today, such as "no man is an island," "death be not proud," and "for whom the bell tolls," which provided the title for one of Ernest Hemingway's novels.

    John Donne used poems as a means of metaphysical inquiry and meditation as well as for very sensual expression. His daringly original use of imagery and conceits to lead the mind to profound understandings marked a new, intellectual approach to poetry. Like Shakespeare, Donne was a genius at making common words yield up rich, poetic meaning. His thought is complex, but his poems unfold in a logical way.

    This collection includes songs, satires, elegies, selections from The Anniversaries, and divine poems.

    Contents are:

    I. Divine Poems
    "Resurrection, Imperfect"
    "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward"
    "From the Lamentations of Jeremy"
    "Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness"
    "A Hymn to Christ, at the Author's Last Going into Germany"
    "A Hymn to God the Father"

    II. From The Anniversaries
    "An Anatomy of the World"
    "Of the Progress of the Soul"

    III. Songs, Satires, Elegies
    "The Expiration"
    "The Computer"
    "The Bait"
    "Song"
    "Love's Deity"
    "Woman's Contancy"
    "The Indifferent"
    "Community"
    "The Curse"
    "The Flea"
    "The Message"
    "The Apparition"
    "The Broken Heart"
    "Break of Day"
    "Confined Love"
    "From Sappho to Philaenis"
    "To His Mistress Going to Bed (Elegy 19)" "The Good Morrow"
    "The Sun Rising"
    "Jealousy (Elegy 1)"
    "Love's Exchange"
    "The Will"
    "Satire 2"
    "Satire 3"
    "From Metempsychosis"
    "The Storm"
    "The Calm"
    "To Sir Henry Wotton"
    "His Picture (Elegy 5"
    "On His Mistress (Elegy 16)"
    "The Dream"
    "The Prohibition"
    "The Canonization"
    "Air and Angels"
    "The Ecstasy"
    "A Fever"
    "Lover's Infiniteness"
    "The Anniversary"
    "A Valediciton: of Weeping"
    "Song"
    "A Valediciton: Forbidding Mouring"
    "The Undertaking"
    "The Funeral"
    "The Relic"
    "Twicknam Garden"
    "A Lecture upon the Shadow"
    "A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day"
    "The Autumnal (Elegy 9)"

  • Graham, an 1890s radical pamphleteer, was a young man when he finally resorted to medication for his insomnia and fell into a deep sleep. He wakes two hundred years later, still youthful, to an age of great marvels and scientific achievement—and a world whose strange underlying economy is that it is all his private property. By inheritance and the compounding of interest, Graham the Sleeper has become the sole, final owner of everything and is revered as a leader, with a council that dictates to the world in his name. 

    This science fiction classic was called by Wells himself “one of the most ambitious of my books.” A stirringly prophetic novel, it envisioned flying, advertising, television, banking, labor organization, and totalitarianism, all within the framework of an exciting personal adventure story.

  • Annette had been busy at her piano when the knocking coming from the room above finally wrenched her mind from composing her music. Aha! The unseen brute obviously disliked her playing and intimated his views with his boot heel. Insulted, she struck the piano's loud pedal. His reply: Bang! Bang! Bang!

    This little incident from "The Man Upstairs" is just one of the many capers that P. G. Wodehouse humorously portrays in this collection, which includes nineteen of Wodehouse's delightful pre–World War II short stories. Though these tales are decades old, such was Wodehouse's amiable genius that they have not aged a bit. Like ancient crusted port, they have matured with the years, and perhaps only now can their timeless humor be savored with its full bouquet.

    Among the other stories in this collection are"The Man Who Disliked Cats," "The Good Angel," "Pots o' Money," and "Out of School."

  • There’s a corpse in the bathtub, wearing nothing but a pair of pince-nez spectacles. Enter Lord Peter Wimsey, the original gentleman sleuth. Urged to investigate by his mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, Lord Peter quickly ascertains that the sudden disappearance of a well-known financier is in some way connected to the body in the bathroom. But discovering exactly which way they’re related leads the amateur detective on a merry chase.

    Written by a master of the detective story, this atmospheric tale abounds in the cozy delights of an English murder mystery. Dorothy L. Sayers ranks with Agatha Christie as a defining author of the genre. A novelist, essayist, and medieval scholar, Sayers was among the first women to receive an Oxford degree, and her translations of Dante remain in wide circulation. This novel marks the debut of her most popular creation, Lord Peter Wimsey, whose continuing adventures unfold amid the lively world of upper-crust British society in the 1920s.

  • From the pen of this famous Spanish author comes a magnificent and searching study of human beings in time of war.

    Julio Desnoyers, a wealthy young Spanish American, tries to escape the dirt, blood, and horror of World War I. Why should he fight on foreign soil for a country that is his father's land and not his own? But everywhere he turns, war and its ravages follow Julio, changing everything. His lover Marguerite no longer desires their old life of abandoned intimacy, and his father has no use for his cowardly, profligate son.

    When Julio finally decides to fight, the world and his family know him for a different man.

  • When Orwell went to the north of England in the thirties to find out how industrial workers lived, he not only observed but shared in their experience. He stayed in cramped, dreary lodgings and subsisted on the scant, cheerless diet of the poor. He went down into the coal mines and walked crouching, as the miners did, through a one- to three-mile passage too low to stand up in. He watched the back-breaking, dangerous labor of men whose net pay then averaged $575 a year. And he knew the unemployed, those who had been out of work for so long they had sunk beyond despair into an inhuman apathy.

    In his searing yet beautiful account of life on the bottom rung, Orwell asks himself why socialism—which alone, he felt, could conserve human values from the ravages of industrialism—had so little appeal. His answer was a harsh critique of the socialism and socialists of his time.

  • Subtitle: or the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight, of Burrough, in the County of Devon in the Reign of Her Most Glorious Majesty Queen Elizabeth

    From the coral reefs of the Barbados to the jungles and fabled cities of the Orinoco and on to the great sea battle with the Spanish Armada, this vibrant novel captures the daring spirit of the Elizabethan adventurers who sailed with Sir Francis Drake. Full of the drama of that age of exploration, discovery, and conquest, Kingsley has truly brought this colorful era to life.

  • When noted English writer W. Somerset Maugham set off for the South Seas to regain his health, his experiences would become the bedrock for the stories represented here. These are among Maugham’s best work, as well as some of the best stories ever written about the exotic South Seas.

    “Mackintosh” is a taut psychological study of two officials on a remote tropic island. “The Fall of Edward Barnard” is a story about what is important in life, a precursor to Maugham’s well-known novel, The Razor’s Edge. Love is always a subject of the tropics, and Maugham’s deft, ironic handling of the theme in “Red” and “Honolulu” is masterful. “The Pool” tells a poignant and tragic tale about the pitfalls for love across cultures. Maugham’s most famous story, “Rain,” about the ironic consequences of obsession, was adapted for both theater and film.

  • Archibald Gracie was probably among the last to leave the sinking Titanic on that cold April night in 1912, one of the most traumatic events in maritime history. In this unique account, he describes his personal experiences and remarkable escape from death in the icy waters of the Atlantic, painting a vivid picture of what it was like on board the Titanic in its final hours.

    Tracking down other survivors for their stories and attending court hearings to obtain the official record, Colonel Gracie filled in the details of his account, struggling to complete it in spite of illness. Largely due to the effects of his ordeal and exposure in the frigid Atlantic, he finally succumbed on December 4, 1912. His book was published in 1913 to universal acclaim and remains one of the most vivid and first-hand accounts of the disaster.

  • Follow along on this fantastic voyage as Professor Arronax, Ned, and Beth set out to capture a terrifying sea monster—before it captures them.

    "The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten…For some time past, vessels had been met by 'an enormous thing,' a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale."—from the book

    When Professor Aronnax agrees to investigate a series of attacks by a mysterious sea monster, he begins an incredible underwater journey that leads him from Atlantis to the South Pole. Through unforeseen dangers, surprise encounters, and exotic settings, this epic adventure is a tour de force of imagination and narrative grandeur.

    Jules Verne was remarkably successful in foretelling the wonders science held for the future. This, his most famous novel, earned him the title of "Father of Science Fiction."

  • Wilhelmina “Billie” Bennett, red-haired daughter of American millionaire Rufus, loves golf, dogs and Tennyson—and is to marry Eustace Hignett, the weak, poetry-writing son of Mrs. Horace Hignett, the famous English writer on theosophy. Enter Sam Marlowe, Eustace's cousin, who plays tournament golf, and Jane Hubbard, Billie's big-game-hunting friend, and another romp in the inimitable Wodehouse style unfolds.

  • John Galsworthy’s epic Forsyte Saga follows the fortunes of the venerable Forsyte family, a moneyed clan whose passions are ever at war with its values. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932 “for his distinguished art of narration, which takes its highest form in the Forsyte Saga.”

    The Man of Property, the first novel in the trilogy, introduces us to Soames Forsyte, a solicitor and prominent figure in his family. Accustomed to getting whatever he wants, he sets his sights with absolute determination on the beautiful Irene, in spite of her pennilessness and her indifference to him. Irene, a lover of art and beauty, eventually accepts his marriage proposal over a life of degraded poverty, but she swears to Soames that she will never be his property. When all his money fails to make up for the absence of love and Irene falls for a young architect, Soames resolves to force the obedience he could not buy.

  • John Galsworthy’s epic Forsyte Saga follows the fortunes of the venerable Forsyte family, a moneyed clan whose values are ever at war with its passions. In Chancery, the second novel in the trilogy, follows the events of A Man of Property.

    After suffering the death of her lover and abuse from her husband, Soames, Irene Forsyte finally leaves her marriage for good. Though socially disgraced by her affair, she forms a bond with Old Jolyon, a father of the Forsyte clan who had grown distant from the family after reconciling with one of his outcast sons. The young Jolyon had been disinherited after divorcing his wife to marry a penniless foreign governess.

    Now, with the death of both his beloved wife and his father, the younger Jolyon finds himself drawn in sympathy to Irene, so dear to Old Jolyon in his final days. Their shared troubles blossom into a romance, to the horror of Soames Forsyte.

  • To Let concludes John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga, the first trilogy of his epic nine-volume Forsyte Chronicles, which follows the fortunes of the venerable Forsyte family, a moneyed clan whose values are ever at war with its passions.

    In To Let, Irene’s son, Jon, and Soames’ daughter, Fleur, now both nineteen years old, fall in love. But when Jon learns of the past feud between their families, he decides that he cannot marry Fleur. To drive her from his mind, he travels to America with his mother, Irene. In despair, Fleur throws herself at her long-standing admirer, Michael Mont, a fashionable baronet’s son, and the two are married.

    Meanwhile, Soames Forsyte learns that his second wife, Annette, has been unfaithful to him, and is left desolately contemplating the sale of Robin Hill. When Timothy Forsyte, the last of the old generation, dies at the age of one hundred, the Forsyte family begins to disintegrate.


  • Maid in Waiting is the first novel in the third and final trilogy of John Galsworthy's Forsyte Chronicles. In this seventh installment, the story continues the lives and times, loves and losses, and fortunes and deaths of the fictional but entirely representative family of propertied Victorians, the Forsytes. The trilogy here begun is called End of the Chapter and concerns the cousins of the younger Forsytes, the Cherrells.

    The Forsyte Chronicles has become established as one of the most popular and enduring works of twentieth-century literature, described by the New York Times as "a social satire of epic proportions and one that does not suffer by comparison with Thackeray's Vanity Fair…[A] comedy of manners, convincing both in its fidelity to life and as a work of art."


  • Written in 1912 as a light-hearted reaction against the solemnity of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Trent’s Last Case, with its ingeniously twisting plot and cheerfully self-mocking hero, is the first classic of the golden age of English detective fiction.

    When a powerful and ruthless American millionaire is found murdered in his English country garden, Philip Trent—English painter, poetry lover, and amateur detective—delves into the crime. He successively uncovers three different, plausible solutions to the murder, and in the process, comes face to face with his own fallibility, in detection and in romance.

  • This brilliant satirical novel traces the life and loves of Ernest Pontifex, a young man who survives the baleful influence of a hateful, hypocritical father, a doting mother, and a debauched wife to emerge as a decent, happy human being. A fascinating character study, it is also a stinging satire of the Victorian gentry's pomposity, sentimentality, pseudo-respectability, and refined cruelty—one still capable of delivering deathblows to the same traits in our present world. Since its original publication in 1903, The Way of All Flesh has enjoyed continuous popularity. Every new generation finds in this novel a reaffirmation of youth's admirable will for freedom of personal expression and its rightful struggle against the tyranny of harsh parents.

  • Balzac's universally loved novel explores the great theme of money and its effect on the human character. Old Goriot is a lodger at Madame Vanquer's Parisian boardinghouse. At first, his wealth inspires respect, but as his circumstances are reduced, he is gradually shunned by the others. He moves into smaller and less desirable rooms in the house, and soon his only remaining visitors are two beautiful young women. The mystery as to who they are and what is happening to Goriot's fortune involves several other boarders, including Eugene Rastignac, an ambitious youth who hopes to rise in society.

    With its complicities and alliances, mysteries and betrayals, passions and ambitions, the house becomes a microcosm of the grasping Parisian society of the 1820s—a perfect setting for Balzac's masterful portrayal of la com├®die humaine, the whole comedic parade of human life.

  • Fifty-year-old William Whittlestaff becomes guardian to Mary Lawrie, the orphaned and penniless daughter of an old friend, and gradually finds himself falling in love with her. But Mary has already given her heart to the young John Gordon, who has gone to seek his fortune in the Kimberley diamond fields of South Africa. Gordon’s sudden return after a three years’ absence, on the very day of Whittlestaff’s proposal, precipitates the crisis at the center of the story.

    An Old Man’s Love is Trollope’s last completed novel, finished just seven months before his death.

  • It is 1793 in France—the year of the guillotine. Already, Louis XVI has been sentenced to the scaffold, and terror reigns. Ideals topple in the face of political necessity, alliances founder, and intrigue is a way of life.

    The architects of the Revolution—Marat, Danton, and Robespierre—have set up an embryo parliament called the Convention, designed to stem social chaos. As Republican troops engage in bloody battle with counter-revolutionaries, a peasant woman strives simply to protect her three children.

    The characters of Ninety-Three define the French Revolution, and history hangs on their actions. As they battle for their own future, the future of a large part of the world can be seen to sway in the balance. Hugo’s epic masterpiece captures brilliantly the moment that shaped the destiny not only of France but of all European monarchy.

  • William Crimsworth is a young Englishman just out of school and ready to begin a career. With his sense of self-pride and strong moral views, however, he finds the options available to him are far from pleasant. Unwilling to follow the dictates of the moneyed members of his family, he resolves to earn his living as a factory worker. Caught up in a humiliating clerkship in a Yorkshire mill, he escapes—by a strange twist of events—and gets a chance at an unexpected career in Belgium. There, he has a close view of the Flemish character, especially of certain of the women, including the cleverly intelligent Zoraïde Reuter, directoress of a school for girls. By a strict analysis of his own peculiarities and inclinations and by supporting his ethical standards through hard work and diligence, he avoids disaster and achieves for himself love, romance, and a happy and prosperous life.

    Told from the point of view of the only male narrator that Charlotte Brontë used, The Professor formulated a new aesthetic that questioned many of the presuppositions of Victorian society. Based on the author’s experiences in Belgium in 1842, it endures today as a harbinger of Brontë’s later novels and a compelling story in its own right.

  • Written nearly a century ago and translated into over fifty languages, this masterpiece of historical fiction is one of the best-selling novels in history and the inspiration for the MGM motion picture of 1951. An epic of love and courage in Nero's time, it illustrates the conflict of moral ideas within the Roman Empire at the dawn of Christianity.

    Marcus, a Roman officer in Nero's army, risks his career, his family, and even his life when he falls in love with a Christian woman named Callina. In order to win Callina's love, Marcus must come to understand the true meaning of her religion, even as Rome sinks under the excesses of Nero and Christians are thrown to the lions. Quo Vadis brims with the passion and life as it explores one of the turning points in history.

  • When Bingo falls in love at a Camberwell subscription dance and Bertie Wooster drops into the mulligatawny, there's work for a wet nurse. Who better than Jeeves?

    This is the first Jeeves and Wooster story the author ever wrote. Wodehouse weaves his wit through a wide collection of terrifying aunts, miserly uncles, love-sick friends, and unwanted fiancees.

    Bertie Wooster gets into a bit of trouble when one of his pals, Bingo Little, starts to fall in love with every second girl he lays his eyes on. But the soup gets really thick when Bingo decides to marry one of them and enlists Bertie's help. Luckily, he has the inimitable Jeeves to pull him out of it.

  • Pretty, impecunious Sally Nicholas never dreamed a fortune could prove a disadvantage, until she becomes an heiress and watches in bewilderment as her orderly existence goes haywire. Coping first with her brother’s wild theatrical ambitions, then with the defection of her fiancé and his immediate replacement by a much more appropriate but strangely unattractive suitor, Sally finds that life in New York is becoming altogether too complicated and a trip to England only makes the whole situation worse. But just as Sally was concluding that she has disastrously misplaced her bets, it looks as if a piece of speculation on an outsider might just give her adventures a happy ending.

    P.G. Wodehouse is in sparkling form, in a story set on both sides of the Atlantic in the Roaring Twenties.

  • In this third novel following the espionage exploits of war hero Richard Hannay, the successful brigadier general is recalled from active service on the Western Front for another round in the spy game. His mission: infiltrating an antiwar league to bring down a network of German spies. Reluctantly posing as a pacifist, Hannay takes up his old identity as a mining engineer from South Africa to roam the country incognito in search of the deadly agents. His opponent is Morton Ivery, the bland master of disguise, who seeks to outwit Hannay as he and his agents are pursued through England, Scotland, France, and Switzerland. Once again, Hannay takes readers along with him for the twists and turns of espionage during the turbulent years of World War I.

  • This passionate novel of ethics and morality, religion and philosophy was Dostoevsky’s final and best work.

    After spending four years in a Siberian penal settlement, during which time he underwent a religious conversion, Dostoevsky developed a keen ability for deep character analysis. In The Brothers Karamazov, he explores human nature at its most loathsome and cruel but never flinches at what he finds.

    The Brothers Karamazov tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov: shy, silent, and cruel. The four unite in the murder of one of literature’s most despicable characters—their father. While on the surface a story about patricide, this novel is, on a deeper level, a spiritual tale of the struggle between faith, doubt, reason, and free will.

  • Robert Browning was a deeply religious man who wrestled to obtain and keep his Christian faith. His conviction was that life in this world is so riddled with evil and sorrow that only a future life can make sense out of it. He viewed life as a training ground which God provided in His divine love and sovereign will.

    Given Browning’s intensely romantic love affair with Elizabeth Barrett, it is characteristic that he should view love as life’s animating force and the key to its meaning. To Browning, the most dreaded fate would be to live a “ghastly smooth life, dead at heart.” This view of life is projected throughout his poetry.

    Included in this collection are “Johannes Agricola in Meditation”, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”, “Youth and Art”, “Beatrice Signorini”, “Spring Song”, and many others.

  • Penguin Island is Anatole France’s most searching and satirical novel. A humorous critique of customs and laws, rituals and rites, its subject is human nature, but its characters are penguins in the mythical land of Penguinia. The story of the strutting penguins and their virtues and vices is not merely a burlesque allegory of French history, but a satire of the history of mankind. With gentle yet biting irony, France challenges the Spencerian belief in the ultimate perfectibility of man, though his irony reveals his sympathy for man’s weaknesses and his need for social institutions.

    First published in 1908, Penguin Island is widely regarded as Anatole France’s masterpiece.

  • In 1348, the year of the Black Death, seven ladies and three gentlemen escape the dying, corrupt city of Florence to pass ten days in the hills of Fiesole telling each other stories. Reveling in their enchanted dreamworld of beauty and luxury, they take turns playing king or queen for the day, with the designated ruler naming the stipulations for that day's story. In contrast to their idyllic, gentile environment, the stories they tell are marked by an intense, cynical realism and feature ordinary people of less privileged classes. Boccaccio brings these stories alive with the authentic language of the different social classes and a frank, realistic handling of character. His satire often bites deep, yet he embraces evil and holiness alike with sympathy and tolerance, leaving guilty characters to condemn themselves.

    Like Dante's Divine Comedy, The Decameron is a monumental work of medieval pre-Renaissance literature.

  • The Gin Palace is the seventh novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle, which follows two branches of a French family through several generations. It is also the work that made his reputation, introducing one of the most sympathetic heroines in nineteenth-century literature.

    Abandoned by her lover and left to bring up their two children alone, Gervaise Macquart has to fight to earn an honest living. When she accepts the marriage proposal of Monsieur Coupeau, it seems as though she is on the path to a decent, respectable life at last. But with her husband's drinking and the unexpected appearance of a figure from her past, Gervaise's plans begin to unravel tragically.

  • Master storyteller Andrew Lang draws on his classical learning to recount Homeric legends of the wars between the Greeks and the Trojans. Paris, the lovely Helen of Troy, Achilles, Hector, Ulysses, the Amazons, and the Trojan Horse all figure in this magical introduction to one of the greatest legends ever told. Also included in this book are the adventures of Theseus and his dramatic battle with the Minotaur, as well as Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece and the adventures of Perseus.

  • Although it is little known in this country, The Belly of Paris is considered one of Émile Zola’s best novels. Set in the newly built food markets of Paris, it is a story of wealth and poverty set against a sumptuous banquet of food and commerce.

    Having just escaped from prison after being wrongfully accused, young Florent arrives at Paris’ food market, Les Halles, half starved, surrounded by all he can’t have, and indignant at his world, which he now knows to be unjust. He finds that the city’s working classes have been displaced to make way for bigger streets and bourgeois living quarters, so he settles in with his brother’s family. Gradually, he takes up with the local socialists, who are more at home in bars than on the revolutionary streets. Slowly, the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor drags the city to the breaking point.

  • A body on the London Underground; the strange disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax; a parcel containing some coarse salt and two freshly severed human ears. This collection of eight world-famous cases from Doctor Watson’s portfolio illustrates the singular mental faculties of Sherlock Holmes. In the course of his investigations, Holmes himself is struck down by a virulent Eastern disease, and we are reintroduced to his remarkable brother Mycroft: “all other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.” Finally, with the approach of the German War, Holmes emerges from retirement among his books and bees on the South Downs to lay his unique intellect at the disposal of the British Government, with the historic results disclosed in “His Last Bow.”

  • Two American travelers have been killed—one with poison, the other with a knife through the heart—and the only clues at the scene are a woman's wedding ring and the German word for "vengeance" written in blood. The military surgeon Dr. John Watson is brought in to investigate, along with his clever, arrogant new roommate, Sherlock Holmes. Thus begins one of the most famous crime-solving partnerships of all time and the debut of one of literature's most remarkable detectives.

    Doyle borrowed his major elements—the detective of superhuman intellect; cases as fantastical as they are criminal; the final, dramatic resolution—from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, adding his own distinctive touches: a strong feeling for the atmosphere of late Victorian London, an interest in the methods of science, and a chivalric concern for justice and the oppressed.

  • The Trespasser, D. H. Lawrence's second novel, foreshadowed the passion of Lady Chatterley's Lover.

    Helena Verden, a young woman in her late twenties, and Siegmund MacNair, her violin teacher, are in love. But there is more than one obstacle on their road to happiness. Siegmund is a married man with children, and Helena is full of inhibitions. They spend a week together on the Isle of Wight, their passion remaining unrequited. When they return to London, Siegmund faces a deadlock. Tormented by his family's bitter reproaches, he is nonetheless unable to desert them for Helena. His solution to his dilemma turns a woman's longing for love into tragedy.

    Lawrence based his novel on the true-life experiences of his friend Helen Corke, as revealed in her diaries.

  • Who but P. G. Wodehouse could have extracted high comedy from the most noble and ancient game of golf? And who else could have combined this comedy with a real appreciation of the game, drawn from personal experience? Wodehouse's brilliant but human brand of humor is perfectly suited to these stories of love, rivalry, revenge, and fulfillment on the links.

    While the Oldest Member sits in the clubhouse quoting Marcus Aurelius on patience and wisdom, outside on the green the fiercest human passions burn. All kinds of human life are here, from the cocky professional Sandy McHoots to the shy Ramsden Waters, whose only consolation is golf. And then, of course, there is the young, handsome Cuthbert Banks, who—plus four on the Wood Hills links—cannot seem to win the affections of the girl who has won his heart. Even golf haters will not be able to resist these ten stories that so perfectly blend physical farce with verbal wit and a gallery of unforgettable characters.

  • In this sequel to the highland adventure Kidnapped, young David Balfour must defend himself and his friend, Alan Breck Stewart, against false murder charges, becoming further entangled in a political conspiracy between feuding Scottish clans. His new adventure will include shipwreck, murder, intrigue, and a Scottish lass named Catriona, with whom he falls in love at first sight. Stevenson considered this novel to be his best work.

  • Set in England during Richard I's reign, Sir Walter Scott's fanciful, vivid reinterpretation of medieval life is a successful blend of fact, myth, and romance.

    Upon returning from the Crusades, where he served with King Richard I, Wilfred of Ivanhoe is met with his father's disapproval, having fallen in love with Rowena, his father's ward. When his father disinherits him, Ivanhoe gets caught up in the power struggle between the king and his brother, Prince John, who is attempting to usurp the throne. Against the backdrop of a tournament of the Knights Templar, a series of adventures takes place. Ivanhoe catches the eye of Rebecca, a beautiful and courageous Jewess; he is taken prisoner, along with his father and hers, and Rowena as well; then they must rely upon one Locksley (Robin Hood) and his band of outlaws to set them free. When Rebecca is subsequently charged with witchcraft, she asks Ivanhoe to champion her in a trial by combat—but have his affections shifted, or does he still love Rowena?

  • In 1904, Great Britain was at the height of its prosperity; but G. K. Chesterton saw the drudgery of capitalism and bureaucracy eating away at the eccentricity and spontaneity of the human spirit. In The Napoleon of Notting Hill, his first novel, Chesterton creates a witty satire of staid government, set in a London of the future.

    Auberon Quin, a common clerk who looks like a cross between a baby and an owl and is often seen standing on his head, is one day told that he has been randomly selected to be His Majesty the King. He decides to turn London into a medieval carnival for his own amusement—with delightful results.

  • G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown is perhaps the most lovable amateur detective ever created. This short, shabby priest with his cherubic, round face attracts situations that baffle everyone—except Father Brown and his rather naïve wisdom.

    The twelve enthralling stories in this book take Father Brown from London to Cornwall, from Italy to France, as he gets involved with bandits, treason, murder, curses, and an American crime-detection machine. And every problem he comes up against he solves with a simplicity of argument that leaves the other characters wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

    Stories include: “The Absence of Mr. Glass,” “The Paradise of Thieves,” “The Duel of Dr. Hirsch,” “The Man in the Passage,” “The Mistake of the Machine,” “The Head of Caesar,” “The Purple Wig,” “The Perishing of the Pendragons,” “The God of the Gongs,” “The Salad of Colonel Cray,” “The Strange Crime of John Boulnois,” and “The Fairy Tale of Father Brown.”

  • Colonial politics in 1930 Kyauktada, India, come to a head when the European Club, previously for whites only, is ordered to elect one token native member. The deeply racist members do their best to manipulate the situation, resulting in the loss not only of reputations, but of lives.

    Amidst this cynical setting, timber merchant James Flory stands as a bridge between the warring factions, a Brit with a genuine appreciation for the native people and culture. But he has trouble acting on his feelings, and the significance of his vote, both social and political, weighs on him. When Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives, blonde, eligible, and anti-intellectual, Flory finds himself the hapless suitor.

    Orwell alternates between grand-scale political intrigue and nuanced social interaction, mining his own Colonial Indian heritage to create a monument of historical fiction.

  • E. M. Forster’s celebrated social comedy explores romantic intrigue and prim propriety among a colorful cast of Edwardian characters. Lucy Honeychurch, a young English woman traveling in Italy with her stuffy chaperone aunt, finds herself constrained by the claustrophobic influence of her British guardians and attracted to the free-spirited George Emerson, whose family’s radical politics make him entirely unsuitable. Sharing a spontaneous moment of passion with him in the Italian countryside, Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires. Back in England, she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor and soon realizes she must make a final choice between convention and passion.

  • Compelling, exotic, and suspenseful, Heart of Darkness is far more than just an adventure story. The novel explores deep into the dark regions of the hearts and souls of its characters and into the conflicts prevalent in more "primitive" cultures. It is also a striking picture of the moral deterioration that can result from prolonged isolation.

    Marlow, the story's narrator, tells his friends of an experience in the Congo where he once ran a river steamer for a trading company. He tells of the ivory traders' cruel exploitation of the natives there. Chief among these is a greedy and treacherous European named Kurtz, who has used savagery to obtain semidivine power over the natives. While Marlow tries to get Kurtz back down the river, Kurtz tries to justify his actions, asserting that he has seen into the very heart of things.

  • E. M. Forster's first novel explores the comic and tragic effects of culture clash between insular, provincial British personalities and sensual Italian culture and atmosphere.

    Lilia Herriton, an impulsive thirty-three-year-old widow from London, travels to Tuscany, where she falls in love with both Italy and the handsome, carefree Gino Carella, a dentist's son twelve years her junior. When news reaches the snobbish Herriton family that Lilia intends to marry again, this time to an unsuitable Italian, the domineering Mrs. Herriton sends her son, Philip, to prevent the catastrophe—but he arrives too late.

    When tragedy strikes, the Herriton family decides to bring Lilia's infant son to England to be brought up properly—but not everyone is satisfied with the situation.

  • Swept off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife, and their four young sons are shipwrecked on a strange, uncharted tropical island. This timeless, classic story of survival and adventure has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812, and it reads just as fresh as if it were written today. The natural wonders of the lush, exotic land make for an unforgettable setting, and the family itself will find a place in the listeners’ heart.

    As they struggle to survive in the wilderness, the Robinsons discover their own amazing ingenuity and courage, each of the sons utilizing his own unique nature as their adventures lead to difficult challenges and fantastic discoveries. Although they have lost almost everything in the shipwreck, they are so resourceful that, when rescue finally comes, they decline to leave the happy life they have constructed for themselves in their exotic haven.

  • With flawless construction and impeccable detail, Germinal chronicles the conflicts, lusts, and deprivation of life in the coal fields of nineteenth-century France.

    A father and three of seven children work brutal hours, facing such hazards as landslides, fire, and poisoned air, to scrape together enough money for food. When their lodger, Étienne, shares ideas of a workers' revolt, the family gradually embraces his plans. Soon the settlement is aflame with resolve to strike for better wages and working conditions. Savage and horrifying events ensue as miners clash with management and with each other. Where people once merely struggled for food they are now dying of starvation. The hungry wage war against the sated, against the resignation of their peers, and ultimately against hunger itself.

    Published in 1885, Germinal helped establish Émile Zola as the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. This masterpiece has been called one of the ten best novels in the French language.

  • Set amid the riot, intrigue, and pageantry of medieval Paris, Victor Hugo’s masterful tale of heroism and adventure has been a perennial favorite since its first publication in 1831. It is the story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, who falls in love with the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, who shows him kindness when no one else will. However, Esmeralda’s heart lies with someone else.

    When she is condemned as a witch by Claude Frollo, the tormented archdeacon who lusts after her, Quasimodo attempts to save her—but his intentions are misunderstood. Written with a profound sense of tragic irony, Hugo’s powerful historical romance remains one of the most thrilling stories of all time. It is a stunning example of the author’s brilliant imagination.

  • His last and most controversial novel, Jude the Obscure provoked such widespread and bitter attacks that Hardy claimed it caused him to stop writing novels. The primary causes of the uproar involved Hardy’s frank treatment of sexual themes and his unconventional portrayal of the pillars of Victorian society: the British university system, marriage, and religion. Today, many consider this to be Hardy’s finest work.

    The story involves the tragic relationship between Jude Fawley, a village stonemason who is thwarted in his aspirations to the ministry, and Sue Bridehead, a freethinking cousin who is shunned by society for her social and sexual rebellion. Concerned with the annihilation of innocence, Jude the Obscure is powerful in its portrayal of suffering, rich in its evocation of nature, and tragic in its vision of life.

  • Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once a historical war epic, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit.

    Noted for its mastery of realistic detail and psychological analysis, War and Peace follows the metamorphosis of five aristocratic families against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Individual stories interweave as each of Tolstoy’s memorable characters seek fulfillment, fall in love, make mistakes, and become scarred by war in different ways.

    Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual’s place in the historical process.

    Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers: “To be played upon by the animal keenness of this eye, the sheer power of this creative attack, the entirely clear and true greatness…of this epic, is to find one’s way home…to everything within us that is fundamental and sane.”

  • Like her sisters Emily and Charlotte, Anne Brontë published under a male pseudonym, yet still this novel was scorned by many for its exposure of the abusive male chauvinism that was concealed, like all things sexual, during the Victorian Era.

    Just as Anne had to use a male pseudonym in order to publish, Helen Graham, the novel’s protagonist and a battered wife, must assume an alias in order to gain freedom from her suffering. With her young child, Helen takes up residence at Wildfell Hall, shrouding her past in secrecy yet earning the attentions of a young unmarried country gentleman. Anne Brontë employs the atmosphere of the bleak Yorkshire moors and the cold, rugged gloom of the fictional mansion to set the stage for a tragedy that reveals the secret violence in a society considered well-mannered.

    With a powerful plot that reveals the troubles of the times, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is now lauded as a classic of Victorian literature.

  • In 1898, a struggling author wrote this novel about a fabulous Atlantic liner, far larger than any that had ever been built, that sinks after it collides with an iceberg. The details of the book bear a chilling resemblance to the Titanic disaster fourteen years later.

    Moran Robertson’s tale, however, doesn’t end with the passengers’ watery demise; rather, it chronicles the survival of John Roland, a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant, who saves the young daughter of a former lover from the sinking ship, and the detective work instigated by members of Lloyd’s of London when word comes in that the heavily insured ship has sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

    Robertson draws upon his own experience as a seaman on the Atlantic to weave a narrative interspersed with colloquial dialogue, bringing to life the conflicts between rich merchants and the men who sail the ships upon which they rely.

    Also included here is Morgan Robertson the Man, Robertson’s autobiography and several essays about his life and work written by his friends, colleagues, and admirers.

  • This rollicking semi-autobiographical novel weaves a tale of Wodehouse’s early days as a writer, romance gone awry, and the colorful characters he encountered.

    James Orlebar Cloyster, in order to marry his true love, embarks on a scheme of such clever deception that he very nearly manages to ruin both his romance and his career.

    Told from multiple viewpoints—that of James, his fiancée, and friends—Not George Washington lampoons London society, literary pretension, the West End stage, playwrights, playgoers, bohemian life, and the newspapers of the day.


  • Originally published in 1845 as a sequel to The Three MusketeersTwenty Years After is a supreme creation of suspense and heroic adventure.

    Two decades have passed since the three musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and stratagems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

  • From an early age, Jonathan Hullah developed "a high degree of cunning" in concealing what his true nature might be. He kept himself on the outside, watching and noticing, most often in the company of those who bore watching.

    As the Cunning Man takes us through his own long and ardent life, chronicling his varied adventures in the worlds of theatre, art, and music, in the Canadian Army during World War II, and in the doctor's consulting room, his preoccupation is not with sorrow but with the comedic canvas of life.

    Just as Dr. Hullah practices a type of psychosomatic medicine "by which I attempt to bring about changes in the disease syndromes through language," so does Robertson Davies intertwine language and story, as perhaps never before, to offer us profound truths about being human.

  • “Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?”

    Generally considered to be Thackeray’s masterpiece, Vanity Fair is a resplendent social satire that exposes the greed and corruption raging in England during the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. Subtitled A Novel without a Hero, it traces the changing fortunes of two unforgettable women: the scheming opportunist Becky Sharp—one of literature’s most resourceful, engaging, and amoral heroines—and her foil, the faithful but naïve Amelia Sedley. Amid the swirl of London’s posh ballrooms and affairs of love and war, their fortunes rise and fall. Thackeray’s subversive, comic attack on the hypocrisy and “dismal roguery” of an avaricious world still resonates, more than 150 years later, with implications for our own times.

  • Byron's exuberant masterpiece narrates the exploits of Don Juan, a handsome and charming young man naturally gifted with the ladies. After his first illicit love affair at the age of sixteen in his native Spain, Don Juan is exiled to Italy and catapulted into a string of adventures that send him into dire peril and luxurious boudoirs around the world. Following a dramatic shipwreck and an affair with a pirate's daughter on a Greek island, he is sold into slavery and finds himself in a Sultan's harem, then in battle in Turkey, and finally in Russia, where he becomes the lover of Catherine the Great.

    Written in ottava rima stanza form, Byron'sDon Juanblends high drama with outrageous farce. Sprinkled with digressions on wealth, power, society, chastity, poets, and England,Don Juanis a poetical novel of satirical fervor and wit.

  • “I think the Cosmopolis is a bally rotten hotel!”

    Having made a bitter enemy of Daniel Brewster, owner of New York’s Hotel Cosmopolis, Archie Moffam (fresh from England) checks out and heads south, where he woos and weds one Lucille Brewster … little thinking. Back at the Hotel Cosmopolis, Archie once again finds himself confronted by Mr. Brewster, who resembles nothing so much as a “man-eating fish.”

    Then the fun begins.

  • This is a good example of early Wodehouse. It is here that Jeeves makes his first appearance with these unremarkable words: “Mrs. Gregson to see you, sir.” Years later, when Jeeves became a household name, Wodehouse said he blushed to think of the offhand way he had treated the man at their first encounter.

    In the story “Extricating Young Gussie,” we find Bertie Wooster’s redoubtable Aunt Agatha “who had an eye like a man-eating fish and had got amoral suasion down to a fine point.”

    The other stories are also fine vintage Wodehouse: the romance between a lovely girl and a would-be playwright, the rivalry between the ugly policeman and Alf the Romeo milkman, the plight of Henry in the title piece, The Man With Two Left Feet, who fell in love with a dance hostess, and more.

    Included in this collection are:

    1. “Bill the Bloodhound”
    2. “Extricating Young Gussie”
    3. “Wilton’s Holiday”
    4. “The Mixer I: He Meets a Shy Gentleman”
    5. “The Mixer II: He Moves in Society”
    6. “Crowned Heads”
    7. “At Geinsenheimer’s”
    8. “The Making of Mac’s”
    9. “One Touch of Nature”
    10. “Black for Luck”
    11. “The Romance of an Ugly Policeman”
    12. “A Sea of Troubles”
    13. “The Man with Two Left Feet”

  • When the Little Nugget, alias of thirteen-year-old Ogden Ford, bulgy, rude, chain-smoking son of an American millionaire, arrives at Sanstead House School, the fun has just begun. Mr. Peter Burns, a none-too-dedicated schoolmaster engaged by snobbish Mr. Abney to educate his handpicked pupils, soon finds himself and his enraptured class at the mercy of an American gunman—and at the beginning of a series of truly mind-boggling adventures—in a delicious Wodehouse tale of suspense, excitement, and romance.

  • The nearest Wodehouse ever came to a serious story, The Coming of Bill is a fascinating blend of social commentary and light comedy.

    Kirk, an impecunious artist of perfect physique, and Ruth, a spoiled heiress, were blissfully happy through their early days of marriage and the birth of their first son. But when Kirk returns from a trip to Colombia to find Ruth under the thumb of her aunt Lora, an advocate of eugenics, parenting philosophies divide them. It takes a series of comic mishaps, featuring a galaxy of vintage Wodehouse characters, to retrieve the family’s happiness from the overbearing aunt.

  • This monumental work made the Arthurian cycle available for the first time in English. Malory took a body of legends from Celtic folklore that had been adapted into French literature, gave them an English perspective, and produced a work which ever since has had tremendous influence upon literature.

    The story begins with King Uther Pendragon’s use of enchantment to lay with Igraine, Duchess of Cornwall. Arthur is conceived and taken away in secret, returning as a young man to claim the throne by pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. In retelling the story of Arthur’s rule of Britain, Malory intertwines the romances of Guinevere and Lancelot, Tristan and Isolde, and Lancelot and Elaine. Sir Galahad’s appearance at Camelot begins the quest for the Holy Grail. Finally, Camelot is brought down by the conflict between King Arthur and his natural son, Mordred.

  • This monumental work made the Arthurian cycle available for the first time in English. Malory took a body of legends from Celtic folklore that had been adapted into French literature, gave them an English perspective, and produced a work which ever since has had tremendous influence upon literature.

    The story begins with King Uther Pendragon’s use of enchantment to lay with Igraine, Duchess of Cornwall. Arthur is conceived and taken away in secret, returning as a young man to claim the throne by pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. In retelling the story of Arthur’s rule of Britain, Malory intertwines the romances of Guinevere and Launcelot, Tristram and Isolde, and Launcelot and Elaine. Sir Galahad’s appearance at Camelot begins the quest for the Holy Grail. Finally, Camelot is brought down by the conflict between King Arthur and his natural son, Mordred.

  • Paul Dombey is a wealthy shipping merchant and formidable patriarch who runs his family with the same cold calculation he applies to his business.

    Evaluating his children's worth by what he thinks they can add to his bottom line, he dotes on the son he hopes to make his heir, while neglecting his affectionate elder daughter. But through his pride and selfishness, Dombey is sowing the seeds of his own destruction. Once his heart is broken, can it finally be redeemed?

    A sensitive family drama infused with social and moral commentary, Dombey and Son combines grim psychological realism with Dickens' faith in the redemptive power of love.

  • One rainy morning in the winter of 1909, a man with an altogether average look about him quit his job at the London Morning Leader, kissed his wife and children goodbye, and took a train to Swansea in Wales, where he talked his way aboard a freighter bound for the upper reaches of the Amazon. Three years later, Tomlinson published a book about his adventures. This book made him famous.

    The Sea and the Jungle,” wrote David McCord, “is an invitation to a new experience. It is more than that: an invitation to a new attitude toward life. Sadness perhaps, but no harshness; concern, but no diminution of spirit; doubt, but no hauling down the ensign. ‘The right good book,’ says Mr. Tomlinson, ‘is always a book of travel: it is about a life’s journey.’”

  • Hector Monro, writing under the pseudonym of Saki, is justly renowned for his urbane and witty short stories. His eccentric characters, humorous dialogue, and engaging domestic situations all reveal a penetrating and sometimes disturbing insight into human nature. As a quixotic tour guide, Saki leads the reader from garden party to pig sty to political convention with the ease of one who is intimately familiar with the cares and foibles of the human condition, showing us this vista of life through the well-tempered lens of his gentle, British irony.

    In this definitive collection of seventy short stories, we can browse and sightsee at our leisure, cross borders of fresh insight, admire and enjoy each whimsical tale as we journey through the imaginative landscape of a truly artful writer.

  • Welcome to Blandings Castle, a place that is never itself without an imposter.

    Wodehouse himself once noted that "Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice." On this particular occasion there are two, both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth's secretary, the Efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot—despite the distractions caused by the Honorable Freddie Threepwood's hapless affair of the heart.

    Freddie is engaged to marry the daughter of a wealthy American who is a passionate collector of ancient Egyptian scarabs. When one goes missing, a thousand-pound reward is offered for its return and Blandings becomes a madhouse as friends turn rivals in the scramble to retrieve the object.

  • Having entered the British Navy at the age of twelve, Horatio Lord Nelson achieved the rank of captain at the age of twenty. As captain, he was quickly recognized as a magnetic and controversial figure. He triumphed at Cape St. Vincent and the Nile but failed at Tenefife and Boulogne. With the glories of Copenhagen and Trafalgar yet ahead of him, his ardent passion for Emma Hamilton, the wife of a British Ambassador, cast a heavy shadow over his career.

    Audacious in battle (he once ignored a superior's order to cease action at Copenhagen by putting his telescope to his blind eye and saying he could not see the signal) and winner of some of Britain's greatest victories, Nelson possessed an extraordinary amount of dash and courage, thus rendering him one of history's great romantic figures.

    This extensive biography of one of England's most famous navy heroes—a great commander able to inspire and bring out the best in his men—is a great reference work for anyone interested in British naval history.

  • Set in the Parisian underworld of the early nineteenth century, Les Misérables follows the adventures of Jean Valjean, once an honest peasant, who spent nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving family.

    A hardened and bitter criminal upon his release, Valjean is transformed when an act of compassion by a priest, whom he robbed, saves him from returning to prison. Changing his identity and his ways, Valjean becomes a successful industrialist and eventually the town mayor.

    Taking compassion on the poor, he raises the orphaned daughter of a prostitute as his own, never telling her of his shady past. Yet he is haunted by it, still pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert, who does not believe in moral redemption.

    When Valjean’s daughter, Cosette, falls in love with a young revolutionary, Javert concocts a plot to catch both the lawless peasants and the elusive Valjean once and for all.

    Full of suspense, romance, and powerful social commentary, this sweeping epic became the gospel of the oppressed and is widely considered one of the greatest French novels of its age.

  • Rob Roy MacGregor is the romantic outlaw who comes alive in Sir Walter Scott's classic epic of the passions and struggles of the Scottish border lands.

    In rich, vivid prose, Rob Roy follows the adventures of Frank Osbaldistone, who falls out of favor with his father after failing to measure up to his expectations in the world of business. Sent to stay in Scotland, Frank, an innocent, Protestant Englishman,is intrigued by the wild and noble land. He finds himself drawn to the powerful, enigmatic figure of Rob Roy who, with his passionate and fierce wife Helen, fights for justice and dignity for the Scottish people.

    Twists of plot, Rob Roy's cunning escapes, uprisings against English oppressors, and Frank's forbidden love for a Catholic girl combine with superb period detail to make this an incomparable portrait of the highlands, a great hero, and a glorious Scottish past.

  • Wealthy and old, Martin Chuzzlewit Sr. is surrounded by greedy relatives hoping to obtain a portion of his estate upon his death. His two descendants, Martin Jr. and Jonas, have been born and bred in the same heritage of selfishness, the Chuzzlewit tradition.

    Set partly in America, of which Dickens offers a searing satire, this novel follows and contrasts the opposing fates of Martin and Jonas. While one achieves worldly success and, eventually, moral redemption, the other sinks deeper into the darkness—and pays the ultimate price.

    This powerful black comedy is a tale of hypocrisy, greed, and blackmail, and it introduces the most famous of Dickens' grotesques: Mrs. Gamp.

  • Dr. Johnson may have been correct in saying that "Rousseau was a very bad man," but none can argue that his ideas are among the most influential in all of world history. It was Rousseau, the father of the romantic movement, who was responsible for introducing at least two modern day thoughts that pervade academia: (1) free expression of the creative spirit is more important than strict adhesion to formal rules and traditional procedures, and (2) man is innately good but is corrupted by society and civilization.

    The Confessionsis Rousseau's landmark autobiography. Both brilliant and flawed, it is nonetheless beautifully written and remains one of the most moving human documents in all of literature. In this work, Rousseau "frankly and sincerely" settles accounts with himself in an effort to project his "true" image to the world. In so doing he reveals the details of a man who paid little regard to accepted morality and social conventions.

  • Viewed as too libelous to print in England until 1968, the title essay in this collection reveals the abuse Orwell experienced as a child at an expensive and snobbish boarding school and offers insights into his lifelong concern for the oppressed.

    "Why I Write" describes Orwell's sense of political purpose, and the classic essay "Politics and the English Language" insists on clarity and precision in communication in order to avoid the Newspeak later described in 1984.

    Other essays focus on Gandhi (he "disinfected the political air"), Dickens ("no novelist has shown the same power of entering into the child's point of view"), Kipling ("a jingo imperialist"), Henry Miller (who told Orwell that involvement in the Spanish war was an act of an idiot), and England ("a family with the wrong members in control").

  • In this largely autobiographical coming-of-age story, James Joyce describes the awakening young mind of a middle-class Irish Catholic boy named Stephen Dedalus. The story follows Stephen's development from his early troubled boyhood through an adolescent crisis of faith—partially inspired by the famous "hellfire sermon" preached by Father Arnall and partly by the guilt of his own precocious sexual adventures—to his discovery of his ultimate destiny as a poet.

    Written in a unique voice that reflects the age and emotional state of its protagonist, the novel explores questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. With richly symbolic language and a boldly original style, this most personal of Joyce's works confirms his place as one of the world's greatest writers.

  • This is the story of an artist who was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of art. Charles Strickland, a stock broker in London, seems like a good, honest man. But one day, at the age of forty, heleaves his business, his wife, and his children and goes to Paris. He has neither money nor prospects, and he knows practically nothing about art, but he is seized with a passion to paint, and for the rest of his life, nothing else matters to him. He gives up everything to which he had been accustomed for extreme poverty, social ostracism, and the freedom to paint. When he finally dies of leprosy in Tahiti, where he had gone native, the few paintings which turn up for sale bring only six to ten francs apiece. But Charles Strickland had achieved his desire to create beauty, and with the years, the world fully recognizes his blazing genius.

    Based partially on the life of Paul Gauguin, this is a carefully wrought study of a private life by one of the most vivid and penetrating of contemporary literary masters.

  • Set in the Parisian underworld of the early nineteenth century, Les Misérables follows the adventures of Jean Valjean, once an honest peasant, who was imprisoned for nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving family. A hardened and bitter criminal upon his release, Valjean is transformed when an act of compassion by a priest he robbed saves him from returning to prison. Changing his identity and his ways, Valjean becomes a successful industrialist and eventually the town mayor. Taking compassion on the poor, he raises the orphaned daughter of a prostitute as his own, never telling her of his shady past. Yet he is haunted by it, still pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert, who does not believe in moral redemption. When Valjean's daughter, Cosette, falls in love with a young revolutionary, Javert concocts a plot to catch both the lawless peasants and the elusive Valjean once and for all. Full of suspense, romance, and powerful social commentary, this sweeping epic became the gospel of the oppressed and is widely considered one of the greatest French novels of its age.

  • When Jimmy Pitt bets an actor friend that any fool could burgle a house, offering to demonstrate the feat that very night, he puts his reputation on the line.

    Jimmy hires the services of a professional burglar, but his difficulties are increased when he has the misfortune to select police captain McEachern’s house for the burglary. And imagine Jimmy’s consternation when he learns that Captain McEachern’s daughter is none other than the beautiful Molly, whom he has worshipped from afar for quite some time.

    The story moves from New York to Dreever Castle in Shropshire, England, where Jimmy’s bird comes home to roost—with a vengeance.

    Filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of rural England, A Gentleman of Leisure contains all the wit and humor we have come to expect from the inimitable P. G. Wodehouse.

  • Perhaps more than any other book The Thirty-Nine Steps has set the pattern for the story of the chase for a wanted man. And, of the many writers who have attempted this kind of thing since Buchan, only a very few, like Graham Greene, have managed to sustain the tension in the same way. The story's extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock's movie of the same name.

    The Thirty-Nine Steps, Buchan's best-known thriller, introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay—who, despite claiming to be an "ordinary fellow," is caught up in a dangerous race against a plot to devastate the British war effort.

    It begins calmly enough with a rather boring trip to London. Returning to his flat, Richard is shocked to find his neighbor dead on the floor with a knife in his back. Near the deceased is a small black notebook containing cryptic notes about the "thirty-nine steps" and a black stone. As the situation escalates, Hannay is mistaken for a secret agent by the police. Now he must run for his life across the Scottish highlands, thinking his way through narrow escapes while trying to decode the thirty-nine steps.

    With wit and flair, this old-fashioned roller coaster ride offers soaring suspense with a comic touch.

  • Originally written for Dickens’ weekly magazine, Household Words, this short novel follows the fate of Sissy Jupe, a warm-hearted circus child, and the family that adopts her. Deserted by her ailing father, Sissy is taken into the cold household of the Gradgrind family, which operates a school. The “eminently practical” Thomas Gradgrind believes only in facts and figures and has raised his children accordingly, thoroughly suppressing the imaginative sides of their nature. They grow up in ignorance of love and affection, of beauty and culture, or of empathy for others, and the consequences are devastating. Only after numerous crises does Thomas realize that his principles have corrupted their lives.

    Dickens’ satirical exposé of the Industrial Revolution condemns the utilitarianism that exploited the bodies, minds, and souls of the vulnerable labor class.

  • Admired by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis and considered by W. H. Auden to be “the only English children’s book in the same class as the Alice books,” The Princess and the Goblin is a classic example of nineteenth-century children’s literary fairy tales. This is an ageless tale of courage and loyalty, beauty and mystery, and above all, good and evil.

    The discovery of a secret stairway running to the top of the castle where she lives leads Princess Irene to a revelation even more weighty than the fiendish plans of the goblin community that Curdie, a miner boy, has discovered. Will the Princess and Curdie understand the significance of what they have found, or will Harelip and the goblins successfully execute their evil plan? 

  • Perhaps Stevenson’s best-known work, this adventure novel set in the eighteenth century is inspired by the actual exploits of pirate Captain Kidd and the search for his buried treasure. For pure imaginative delight, Treasure Island is unsurpassed. From the moment young Jim Hawkins meets the blind pirate Pew at the Admiral Benbow inn, to the spirited battle for hidden treasure on a tropical island, the novel spawns unforgettable scenes and characters that have thrilled young and old for more than a century.

    Stevenson’s romance is noted for its swift, clearly-depicted action, its memorable character types—especially of Long John Silver—and its sustained atmosphere of menace. A story of a classic battle between good and evil, it illustrates one young boy’s rite of passage into the dangerous world of mature responsibilities.

  • In this spirited and romantic saga of high adventure, a young heir named David Balfour meets his miserly uncle Ebenezer, who has illegally taken control of the Balfour estate. Ebenezer kidnaps David and plots to have him seized and sold into slavery on a ship to the Carolinas.

    A couple of days into the voyage, a shipwreck throws David together with Alan Breck, a roguish Scotsman returning from political exile in France, and the two of them journey together. When they are witnesses to a murder, suspicion falls on them. What follows is a thrilling escape to freedom across the wild Scottish highlands.

  • The eccentric Phileas Fogg, a distinguished but sedentary member of London’s Reform Club, takes up a wager that he can circle the globe in just eighty days—an amazing feat in the 1870s. What follows is a lively narrative recounting the journey by Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, as they overcome obstacle after obstacle to win the wager with Fogg’s fellow club members. The pair undertakes a fantastic world tour crossing three continents and two oceans and utilizing every means of transportation available in the 1870s: trains, steamers, an elephant, and a sail-sledge. All the while, they are pursued by a private detective named Fix, who believes Fogg to be a bank robber. Assorted companions join the party, including a damsel in distress named Aouda, whom Fogg rescues in India.

    After traveling through Paris, Egypt, India, Japan, America, Ireland, and more, Phileas Fogg finally arrives back in London—having just by the remotest chance met the deadline, convinced Fix of his innocence, and collected the payment. And money isn’t the only prize he’s won.

    This is a marvelous travelogue mixed with dazzling suspense, delightful fantasy, and lively comedy where frustrating delays and death-defying exploits abound.

  • This is a novel about a man's lifelong efforts to atone for an act of instinctive cowardice. Young Jim, chief mate of the Patna, dreams of being a hero. He has taken to the seas with the hopes of adventure and the chance to prove his mettle. When the Patna threatens to sink and the cowardly officers decide to save their own skins and escape in the few lifeboats, Jim despises them. But at the last moment, dazed by horror and confusion, he joins them, deserting the eight hundred Muslim passengers to apparent death.

    Tormented by this act of cowardice and desertion, Jim flees west after being stripped of his rank. Living among the natives in Patusan, a remote trading post in the jungle, he is able to cease sacrificing himself on the altar of conscience. When he defends Patusan against the evil "Gentleman Brown," his efforts create order and well-being, thereby winning the respect and affection of the people for whom he becomes Tuan, or Lord Jim.

    With its rich descriptions of an unknown, exotic world and beautifully constructed prose, Lord Jim is considered one of Conrad's greatest works.

  • Orwell's own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a penniless man living in Paris in the early 1930s. The narrator's poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only.

    A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.

  • One of the most distinctive periods in poetry occurred in England early in the 1800s. This is now referred to as the age of romanticism, a movement which rebelled against the neoclassical forms and celebrated the imagination as a spiritual force. John Keats was a prominent shaper of this new movement, and as such, he was not without his critics.

    "I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death," he soberly prophesied. Indeed, Keats suffered an early tragic death of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-five but today is recognized as the archetypal romantic genius who explored the limits of the imagination and celebrated the pleasures of the senses.

    Unlike Shelley, Keats was not a political poet; his prime passion was for art. His muse was the goddess of beauty and truth, and his worship of her found its finest expression in his immortal odes, which stand unique in literature, unexcelled in perfection.

    The poems collected here are:
    1. "Oh Chatterton! How Very Sad Thy Fate"
    2. "O Solitude! If I Must with Thee Dwell"
    3. "To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent"
    4. "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"
    5. "To My Brothers"
    6. "Great Spirits Now on Earth Are Sojourning"
    7. "On the Grasshopper and Cricket"
    8. "After Dark Vapours Have Oppressed Our Plains"
    9. "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles"
    10. "On the Sea"
    11. A Selection from "Endymion"
    12. "To Mrs. Reynolds' Cat"
    13. "On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again"
    14. "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be"
    15. "Lines on the Mermaid Tavern"
    16. "O Thou Whose Face Hath Felt the Winter's Wind"
    17. "For There's Bishop's Teign"
    18. "On Visiting the Tomb of Burns"
    19. "Old Meg She Was a Gipsey"
    20. "This Mortal Body of a Thousand Days"
    21. "There Is a Joy in Footing Slow across a Silent Plain"
    22. "The Eve of St. Mark"
    23. "Why Did I Laugh Tonight? No Voice Will Tell"
    24. "Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast as Thou Art"
    25. "Hyperion: A Fragment" (Book I), II, and III)
    26. "Hyperion: A Fragment" (Book I, continued; Book II, Book III)
    27. "La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad"
    28. "Sonnet to Sleep"
    29. "Ode to Psyche"
    30. "Ode to a Nightingale"
    31. "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
    32. "Ode on Melancholy"
    33. "Ode on Indolence"
    34. "Lamia" (Part I)
    35. "Lamia" (Part I, continued; Part II)
    36. "To Autumn"
    37. "The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream"
    38. "This Living Hand, Now Warm and Capable"

  • P.G. Wodehouse is at his whimsical best as the characters of Belpher Castle muddle through impending catastrophes and ill-considered love affairs in this comedy of errors.

    George Bevan, an American composer of musicals, is in England to attend the performance of one. But when the Lady Patricia Maud Marsh slips into his taxi, he is drawn into the frivolous intrigues of Belpher Castle. Maud has mistaken George for another American she once fell in love with. She is attempting to escape her aunt, Lady Carolyn Byrd, who is trying to marry Maud off to her step-son, Reginald. Meanwhile, her father, Lord John Marshmoreton, has fallen in love with an actress. As the Castle servants make bets on their Lords' and Ladies' capricious attachments, Wodehouse weaves a jaunty satire that will leave readers breathless with its twists and antics.

  • “Dr. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered, “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.”

    The “luminous, ghostly, and spectral” hound of family legend has been seen roaming the moors at night. Sir Charles Baskerville has recently died, and it appears that the new baronet, Sir Henry, has inherited not only the vast wealth and property of his family but also a terrible destiny. To this Holmes ominously observes, “It’s an ugly business, Watson, an ugly dangerous business and the more I see of it the less I like it.”

  • Detective fans of all races and creeds, of all tastes and fancies will delight in the exploits of this wise and whimsical padre. Father Brown’s powers of detection allow him to sit beside the immortal Holmes, but he is also “in all senses a most pleasantly fascinating human being,” according to American crime novelist Rufus King. You will be enchanted by the scandalously innocent man of the cloth, with his handy umbrella, who exhibits such uncanny insight into ingeniously tricky human problems.

    This collection of twelve mysteries solved by Father Brown includes: “The Blue Cross,” “The Secret Garden,” “The Queer Feet,” “The Flying Stars,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Honour of Israel Gow,” “The Wrong Shape,” “The Sins of Prince Saradine,” “The Hammer of God,” “The Eye of Apollo,” “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” and “The Three Tools of Death.”

  • James Joyce paints vivid portraits of the poorer classes of Dublin in a collection of stories whose larger purpose, he said, was to depict a "moral history of Ireland." From the first story, in which a young boy encounters death to the haunting final story involving the middle-aged Gabriel, the book gives an unflinchingly realistic portrayal of the author's own "dear, dirty Dublin" in the early twentieth century.

    Joyce's first published work in prose, this brilliant study is by turns bawdy, witty, and tragic. Said Joyce of the work: "I am trying...to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own…Do you see that man who has just skipped out of the way of the tram? Consider, if he had been run over, how significant every act of his would at once become."

  • “To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
    And Eternity in an hour.” —from “Auguries of Innocence”

    At the end of his life, William Blake gave up hope of being widely understood, but the twentieth century brought his work a new and intense interest and acclaim. A poet, artist, and mystic, Blake declared that “I must Create a System or be enslav’d by another Man’s.” And create he did.

    Included in this collection are well-known poems such as “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright” and “A Poison Tree,” longer poems such as “The Everlasting Gospel,” an assortment of epigrams and short satire, and Blake’s principal prose work, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.”

  • Says Charles Pooter, “I fail to see—because I do not happen to be a ‘somebody’—why my diary should not be interesting.” Surprisingly, Mr. Pooter’s life is fascinating. The fascination is two-fold: firstly, his astounding arrogance that we should care about his domestic trivia and narcissistic scribblings. Secondly, we can all sympathize with (and wince at!) this ridiculous slave to convention.

    Above all, Mr. Pooter’s life is funny. His constant battles with tradesmen, his pathetic pride and banal wit, his clashes with his carefree son, his absurd social crises and petty dilemmas: all are part of Mr. Pooter’s life as a worried, proud, and anxious Nobody! Listeners are certain to learn why Hilaire Belloc asserted that Pooter was “an immortal achievement.”

  • This enduring masterpiece tells of the epic quest of Aenas, who flees the ashes of Troy to found a new civilization: Rome. A unique hero, Aenas struggles and fights not for personal gain but for a civilization that will exist in the far future. Caught between passion and fate, his vision would change the course of the Western world.

    Virgil, Rome's greatest poet, turned a mythical legend into a national epic that would survive Rome's collapse to become the most influential book Rome contributes to Western culture.

  • Aristotle’s influence on modern culture has become more and more important in recent years. His contribution to the sum of all wisdom dominates all our philosophy and even provides direction for much of our science. And all effective debaters, whether they know it or not, employ Aristotle’s three basic principles of effective argument, which form the spine of rhetoric: “ethos,” the impact of the speaker’s character upon the audience; “pathos,” the arousing of the emotions; and “logos,” the advancement of pertinent arguments. In his discussion, Aristotle observes several aspects of epic poetry, lyric poetry, and comedy. He maintains that poetry has greater philosophical value because it deals with universals, while history states particular facts.

  • In 1936, George Orwell went to Spain to report on the civil war and instead joined the POUM militia to fight against the Fascists.

    In this now justly famous account of his experience, he describes both the bleak and the comic aspects of trench warfare on the Aragon front, the Barcelona uprising in May 1937, his nearly fatal wounding just two weeks later, and his escape from Barcelona into France after the Party of Maxist Unification (POUM) was suppressed.

    As important as the story of the war itself is Orwell’s analysis of why the Communist Party sabotaged the workers’ revolution and branded the POUM as Trotskyist, which provides an essential key to understanding the outcome of the war and an ironic sidelight on international Communism.

    It was during this period in Spain that Orwell learned for himself the nature of totalitarianism in practice, an education that laid the groundwork for his great books Animal Farm and 1984.

  • If you’ve never read anything by Jerome K. Jerome, you’d be well advised to heed this warning by the Glasgow Herald: “It would be dangerous to [listen to] this book in any place––say a full railway compartment––where the reader was not at perfect liberty to laugh as loudly and as long as he chose.” The passage of time has not altered that verdict. Here is a perfect picture of those lazy summer days “messing about in boats.”

    After his final trip up the river Thames with his three companions––Harris, George, and Montmorency the dog––Jerome K. Jerome sat down to write his proposed book, The Story of the Thames. But before he could tackle the work in the serious manner intended, his humor took over and gave birth to a masterpiece of unquenchable comedy. This is a classic of English humor, justifiably loved around the world.

  • “A ‘Bummel,’” I explained, “I should describe as a journey, long or short, without end.” However wonderful this may sound, it is often necessary to arrive back at the starting point. And, for the three fearless friends whose earlier adventures were told in Three Men in a Boat, this poses a troublesome problem.

    George, Harris, and J. decide to take a cycling trip through the Black Forest—to be accomplished on a tandem plus one. Whether it is Harris’ harrowing experience with a Hanoverian road-waterer or George’s valiant attempt to buy a cushion for his aunt, their experiences are hilarious––and they may even offer some important lessons to all who may be contemplating a cycling trip in the US.