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.
Crime and Punishment is set in the claustrophobic slums of St Petersburg in the heat of the summer. The novel's setting mirrors the inner life of the main characters as they struggle with their problems of grinding poverty. Central to the plot are the thoughts and actions of Rodion Raskolnikoff, an embittered yet idealistic student who is disastrously influenced by new ideas on morality. He is finally redeemed through the love of Sonia, a prostitute who is also a devout Christian, and the cool wisdom of Porphyrius, a magistrate.
Once banned in several countries, this classic novel about a torrid love affair touches on themes of class, romance, and industrialization. Lyric and sensual, D. H. Lawrence’s last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty that explore the emotions of a lonely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband's estate. The most controversial of Lawrence’s books, Lady Chatterley’s Lover joyously affirms the author’s vision of individual regeneration through sexual love. The book’s power, complexity, and psychological intricacy make this a completely original work-a triumph of passion, an erotic celebration of life. “Nobody concerned with the novel in our century can afford not to read it.”—Lawrence Durrell, author of the Alexandria Quartet “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.”—E.M. Forster, author of Howards End
Three wise, witty novels in the saga following the residents of a rural English town in the Victorian era. In the nineteenth century, Anthony Trollope created the fictional world of Barsetshire, the setting for a series of classic novels that addressed love, murder, religion, politics, and the ordinary lives of locals both rich and poor.Framley Parsonage: A young vicar’s ambition drives him into a costly bargain in this comedic love story that brilliantly examines the intersection of romance and social class.The Small House at Allington: This witty novel follows the amorous misadventures of a pair of sisters.The Last Chronicle of Barset: A clergyman’s daughter falls in love with a member of high society, while her father stands accused of a terrible crime.
Sarah Grand (1854-1943) was a well-known Victorian writer and suffragette.'The Man in the Scented Coat' is a story about an adventurous lady, Josepha, who gets lost in a pea-soup fog in London one evening. As she cannot see anything, she follows a scent of flowers, which turns out to emanate from a distinguished gentleman in disguise who is on a secret mission. First they are caught up with a gang of ruffians, one of whom recognises the gentleman as being a member of the royal family (most likely the character is modelled on the then Prince of Wales).Josepha follows the mystery gentleman and his companion to a secret apartment hidden in an upstairs flat behind a revolving bookcase, where she discovers the Prince's shameful secret. Josepha, a thoroughly modern woman, stops to dine, talk and smoke with the Prince...and then, with the threat of imminent discovery, the party must take an unusual escape route.
Written a thousand years ago, this long poem is the very first surviving piece of English literature. Join Beowulf, a young warrior, as he achieves glory by fighting and killing three fantastic monsters. This new translation, by the Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney, offers modern readers an accessible, intensely dramatic text. It amply demonstrates why this epic has spread its influence over more than a millennium of literature.
Jim Cleve has been deemed "a good guy" all of his life, and it agitates him to no end. Even his girlfriend, Joan Randle, has scorned him for this "weakness," telling Jim, "You haven't it in you even to be bad!" Dejected and hurt, Jim abandons the life he has known for the gold mining camps along Alder Gulch in southern Montana. It is here, among the thieves and murderers, that he must make a new name for himself. Meanwhile, Joan realizes the danger that she has put Jim in and rushes off to save him. However, when she stumbles across the ruthless desperado gang leader Jack Kells, it is soon Joan who is in need of rescue. When Kells tries to rape her, Joan grabs his gun and shoots him. But something keeps Joan from leaving him to die. In the face of Joan's loving spirit, Kells experiences his own change of heart. But it is too late; Kells's outlaw gang arrives and takes Joan hostage. So begins the border legion adventures of roving bandits, lust, and greed. With Jim's search for a new identity, Jack's moral dilemma, and the fight for Joan's freedom, this thrilling story portrays the epic theme of man's continual struggle between good and evil.
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