When the young Ishmael gets on board Captain Ahab''s whaling ship, little does he suspect that the mission on which he is about to embark is the fulfilment of his master''s obsessive desire for revenge on Moby Dick, a white whale who has already claimed countless human victims and destroyed many fleets. With some sinister crew members in their midst and the hazardous conditions of the sea to contend with, the expedition becomes increasingly dangerous the closer it gets to its quarry.
One of the great American novels, if not the greatest, Moby Dick epically combines rip-roaring adventure, a meticulously realistic portrayal of the whaling trade and a profound philosophical disquisition on the nature of good and evil.>
Beautiful Emma Rouault yearns for the life of wealth, passion and romance she has encountered in popular sentimental fiction, and when her doctor, the well-meaning but awkward and unremarkable Charles Bovary, begins to pay her attention, she imagines that she may be granted her wish. However, after their marriage, Emma soon becomes frustrated with the boredom of provincial life and finds herself seeking escape and contemplating adultery. As Emma''s efforts to make a reality of her fantasies become more dangerous, both she and those around her must face the shattering consequences of her actions. Causing widespread scandal when it was published in 1857, Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert''s masterpiece and one of the landmark works of nineteenth-century realist fiction.>
As Mrs Dalloway works on the preparations for a dinner party, her thoughts throughout the day wander from memories of the past to interrogations about the present and lead her to assess the choices she has made in life and love. Her monologue interweaves with the account of the distress, on that same day, of the shell-shocked veteran Septimus Warren Smith, whose trauma and hallucinations end in tragedy, as the links between the two characters unfold.
One of Virginia Woolf''s most famous novels, Mrs Dalloway is a triumph of experimentation, a cornerstone of Modernism and a subtle examination of love, freedom, mental illness and the female condition in society.>
A novel of high romance and great intensity, Jane Eyre has enjoyed popular success and critical acclaim ever since its first publication in 1847. Jane''s journey from a troubled childhood to independence - and her turbulent love affair with the enigmatic Mr Rochester - electrified Victorian readers with its narrative power.
With characters that are as unforgettable as the story they enact, and a striking use of language that amazed the readers of the day, Jane Eyre ranks among the most influential English novels ever written.>
Emma is considered by many readers to be Jane Austen''s crowning achievement, a timeless comedy of manners that lays bare the limits on women''s autonomy in Regency England. The disparity between Emma Woodhouse''s self-confidence and self-knowledge, and her determination to arrange marriages for her friends while avoiding one for herself, leads to a painful series of misunderstandings for everyone who suffers from her well-meaning altruism - and with Mr Knightley being the only person of her acquaintance who has the good sense to challenge her, Emma must eventually recognize her match in every sense.
Long praised for its rich detail and perfect craftsmanship, Emma is one of those classic masterpieces that readers go back to again and again for its inexhaustible fund of humanity.>
Shakespeare''s Sonnets are among the most lyrical and moving pieces of poetry in any language, abounding with examples of his genius for wordplay, rhythm and metaphor and dealing with the eternal themes of love, memory, beauty and the ravishes of time. First published in 1609, after Shakespeare had written many of his most famous works, the Sonnets have been the subject of literary curiosity ever since, mainly concerning the identity of the two addressees, ''Mr W.H.'' and the ''Dark Lady'', and the light they could shine on Shakespeare''s life.
This collection constitutes one of English literature''s most profound poetic meditations on life and love, and is a vital complement to the plays, offering clues to Shakespeare''s own biography. Presented here in an edition that makes them accessible to twentieth-century readers, these poems are worth returning to again and again.>
As he was finishing Finnegans Wake, Joyce proclaimed, "I have discovered I can do anything with language I want." Indeed, with his last book, which took him seventeen years to write, Joyce takes literary modernism to new territories by harvesting from as many as eighty different languages to create a wordscape that is both precise and impressionistic, a work that is intellectual, avant-garde, but also sad, funny, earthy and brimming with humanity.
This edition includes an introduction by Dr Sam Slote of Trinity College Dublin.>
Born in Newgate Prison to an incarcerated mother, Moll Flanders is compelled from earliest childhood to make her own way in the world and to live off her wit and beauty. Her desire to climb the rungs of society leads her through a tangled web of incest, adultery, prostitution, deception and theft, before she is eventually transported to the New World for her crimes.
Presented as Moll''s autobiography, and published anonymously, the novel, through its self-made protagonist, highlights the intricacies and double standards of Moll''s contemporary society, and offers an irresistible and evocative insight into both the drawing rooms and seedy back alleys of seventeenth-century England.>
The tale of Heathcliff and Cathy''s ungovernable love and suffering, and the havoc that their passion wreaks on the families of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, shocked the book''s first readers, with even Emily''s sister Charlotte wondering whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff . Replete with unforgettable characters and situations that have seared themselves into our literary consciousness, Emily Bronte''s intense masterpiece is one of the most haunting love stories in the canon of English literature.>
The intelligent and charming Newland Archer - a member of one of New York''s most prominent families - is living the life that has always been expected of him: he is engaged to the beautiful and well-connected May Welland and understands the rarefied world of Fifth Avenue society inside out. However, with the arrival of May''s cousin, the free-spirited and unconventional Countess Ellen Olenska, Newland begins to doubt all that once seemed so natural to him.An extraordinarily well-observed dissection of New York high society in the 1870s - the world in which Edith Wharton grew up - The Age of Innocence shines a critical light on the social mores and values of the old order.>
Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby''s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.
Regarded as Fitzgerald''s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the "Jazz Age", as well as a timeless cautionary critique of the American dream.>
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, Treasure Island''s timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps, mutiny and derring-do has appealed to generations of readers ever since Robert Louis Stevenson penned it in 1881 with the claim: If this don''t fetch the kids, why, they have gone rotten since my day.
But more than just a children''s classic, the novel is considered to be one of the greatest feats of storytelling in the English language, with characters such as the unforgettable Long John Silver becoming part of the cultural consciousness. Treasure Island is a coming-of-age story that will captivate both adults and children for as long as stories are told.>
Written in 1957, but only recently rediscovered in manuscript form in a New Jersey warehouse, Beat Generation bears the hallmarks of vintage Kerouac: flowing, stream-of-consciousness language, orchestrated with a jazz-like sense of adventure and rhythm.
Peopled by an unforgettable cast of aristocrats and high-fliers, Tender is the Night is at once a scathing critique of the materialism and hypocrisy of the Roaring Twenties and a poignant and sensitive account of personal tragedy and disillusionment.
When an army of invading Martians lands in England, panic and terror seize the population. As the aliens traverse the country in huge three-legged machines, incinerating all in their path with a heat ray and spreading noxious toxic gases, the people of the Earth must come to terms with the prospect of the end of human civilization and the beginning of Martian rule.
Inspiring films, radio dramas, comic-book adaptations, television series and sequels, The War of the Worlds is a prototypical work of science fiction which has influenced every alien story that has come since, and is unsurpassed in its ability to thrill, well over a century since it was first published.>
Since it was first published in 1818, Mary Shelley''s seminal novel has generated countless print, stage and screen adaptations, but none has ever matched the power and philosophical resonance of the original. Composed as part of a challenge with Byron and Shelley to conjure up the most terrifying ghost story, Frankenstein narrates the chilling tale of a being created by a bright young scientist and the catastrophic consequences that ensue.
Considered by many to be the first science-fiction novel, the tragic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the tortured creation he rejects is a classic fable about the pursuit of knowledge, the nature of beauty and the monstrosity inherent to man.>
When Rachel Verinder''s legacy of a priceless Indian diamond is stolen, all the evidence indicates that it is her beloved, Franklin Blake, who is guilty. Around this central axis of crime and thwarted love, Collins constructs an ingenious plot of teasing twists and surprises, and an elaborate multi-voiced narrative that sustains the tension all the way to its stunning ending.
Described by T.S. Eliot as the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels, Wilkie Collins''s The Moonstone is an important precursor of the modern mystery and suspense genres.>
First published in 1932, Journey to the End of the Night was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece and a turning point in French literature. This edition contains a foreword by John Banville.
Judicially condemned in 1857 as offensive to public morality, The Flowers of Evil is now regarded as the most influential volume of poetry published in the nineteenth century. Torn between intense sensuality and profound spiritual yearning, racked by debt and disease, Baudelaire transformed his own experience of Parisian life into a work of universal significance. With his unflinching examination of the dark aspects and unconventional manifestations of sexuality, his pioneering portrayal of life in a great metropolis and his daring combination of the lyrical and the prosaic, Baudelaire inaugurated a new epoch in poetry and created a founding text of modernism.
Anthony Mortimer, already praised for his virtuoso translations of Petrarch, Dante and Villon, has produced a new version that not only respects the sense and the form of the original French, but also makes powerful English poetry in its own right.>
When young Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a cyclone, their Kansas farmhouse is carried off to the magical Land of Oz. Upon being told that the only way back is to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, home to the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy embarks on an extraordinary but perilous quest, in which the Wicked Witch of the West is constantly lurking around the corner.
With its unforgettable cast of now iconic characters such as the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was an instant hit when it was published over a century ago, inspiring numerous adaptations and sequels.>