The life of William Shakespeare, arguably the most significant figure in the Western literary canon, is relatively unknown. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1565, possibly on the 23rd April, St. George’s Day, and baptised there on 26th April. Little is known of his education and the first firm facts to his life relate to his marriage, aged 18, to Anne Hathaway, who was 26 and from the nearby village of Shottery. Anne gave birth to their first son six months later. Shakespeare’s first play, The Comedy of Errors began a procession of real heavyweights that were to emanate from his pen in a career of just over twenty years in which 37 plays were written and his reputation forever established. This early skill was recognised by many and by 1594 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were performing his works. With the advantage of Shakespeare’s progressive writing they rapidly became London’s leading company of players, affording him more exposure and, following the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, a royal patent by the new king, James I, at which point they changed their name to the King’s Men. By 1598, and despite efforts to pirate his work, Shakespeare’s name was well known and had become a selling point in its own right on title pages. No plays are attributed to Shakespeare after 1613, and the last few plays he wrote before this time were in collaboration with other writers, one of whom is likely to be John Fletcher who succeeded him as the house playwright for the King’s Men. William Shakespeare died two months later on April 23rd, 1616, survived by his wife, two daughters and a legacy of writing that none have since yet eclipsed.
The Monkey's Paw is a classic horror short story written by author W. W. Jacobs, published in England in 1902. In the story, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price.
O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), an American writer of outstanding short stories, known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings. "Roads of Destiny" is an intriguing story about a young would-be poet, David, who is running away from home after a quarrel with his beloved. He reaches a crossroads - but which road will he take? O. Henry treats us to a journey with him down each of the possible routes - and with each he encounters a gripping adventure. Only once we have heard the third part of the tale do we finally understand what David's destiny really is.
Set in an African village, this follow-up to the Man Booker Prize–winning novel is “sometimes whimsical, sometimes bawdy . . . Fraught with wild visions” (The Times). “All is not well in the African village where Azaro lives. The child narrator of poet and novelist Okri’s The Famished Road, who had outwitted death in the previous book, again relates the oppressive events that continue to plague his village and his family. While political factionalization shatters the community's cohesiveness, the prodigious bar owner Madame Koto, chief exponent of the ‘Party of the Rich,’ alternately exudes portentous metaphysical malaise and miraculous erotic force. Little Azaro, himself touched and distracted by a series of animuses, follows the heels of ‘dad,’ who is a resounding vessel, by turns, of cantankerous egotism and abased self-sacrifice. This Nigerian epic reveals a violent provincial world, opaque with magical spirits which place horrendous ethical demands on fragile and fickle humanity, as if to test each individual for a thread of virtuous constancy at the core. Events drench the essentially linear narrative with all the ruthless sensuousness of a tropical storm, and Okri’s prose is lucid and deft.” —Publishers Weekly “Okri conjures up the fabulous with the same ease as he affectingly details the ways of the human spirit in a lovingly evoked African setting teeming with life—both real and mythic . . . Stunning.” —Kirkus Reviews “Once again we’re bedazzled and bedeviled by Okri’s phantasmagoric prose and the strange and wondrous sensibility of Azaro, a spirit-child living in a poor African village.” —Booklist “Both a love story and an account of the political turmoil between the parties of Rich and Poor.” —The Independent “Passages of extraordinary beauty . . . Okri paints a convincing surrealist picture.” —The Sunday Times
"I've had a most amazing time..."So begins the Time Traveler's astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era-and the story that launched H. G. Wells's successful career and earned him the reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine's lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races-the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks-who not only symbolize the duality of human nature but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.First published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells's expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.
Barry Eric Odell Pain (1864-1928) was an English journalist, poet, and writer. The Green Light is an iconic horror story describing graphically the rapid decline into psychosis of a man who has murdered his wife.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842 – circa 1914) was an American author, journalist, short story writer and satirist who disappeared in 1913 under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again."The Stranger" is a ghost story set in the old Wild West. A group of travellers are sitting around the campfire in a remote part of the desert in Arizona, when a stranger comes among them and recounts a very strange story. But as he gets up to depart, it becomes apparent that it more than just an odd tale... it is something much more terrible....
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