War and Peace is a vast epic centred on Napoleon's war with Russia. While it expresses Tolstoy's view that history is an inexorable process which man cannot influence, he peoples his great novel with a cast of over five hundred characters. Three of these, the artless and delightful Natasha Rostov, the world-weary Prince Andrew Bolkonsky and the idealistic Pierre Bezukhov illustrate Tolstoy's philosophy in this novel of unquestioned mastery. This translation is one which received Tolstoy's approval.
Like George Orwell, Franz Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka's world, it is never completely clear just what the nightmare is. The Trial, where the rules are hidden from even the highest officials, and if there is any help to be had, it will come from unexpected sources, is a chilling, blackly amusing tale that maintains, to the very end, a relentless atmosphere of disorientation. Superficially about bureaucracy, it is in the last resort a description of the absurdity of 'normal' human nature. Still more enigmatic is The Castle. Is it an allegory of a quasi-feudal system giving way to a new freedom for the subject? The search by a central European Jew for acceptance into a dominant culture? A spiritual quest for grace or salvation? An individual's struggle between his sense of independence and his need for approval? Is it all of these things? And K? Is he opportunist, victim, or an outsider battling against elusive authority? Finally, in his fables, Kafka deals in dark and quirkily humorous terms with the insoluble dilemmas of a world which offers no reassurance, and no reliable guidance to resolving our existential and emotional uncertainties and anxieties.
Anna Karenina is one of the most loved and memorable heroines of literature. Her overwhelming charm dominates a novel of unparalleled richness and density. Tolstoy considered this book to be his first real attempt at a novel form, and it addresses the very nature of society at all levels,- of destiny, death, human relationships and the irreconcilable contradictions of existence. It ends tragically, and there is much that evokes despair, yet set beside this is an abounding joy in life's many ephemeral pleasures, and a profusion of comic relief.
Translated by Constance Garnett, with an Introduction by A. D. P. Briggs. As Fyodor Karamazov awaits an amorous encounter, he is violently done to death. The three sons of the old debauchee are forced to confront their own guilt or complicity. Who will own to parricide? The reckless and passionate Dmitri? The corrosive intellectual Ivan? Surely not the chaste novice monk Alyosha? The search reveals the divisions which rack the brothers, yet paradoxically unite them. Around the writhings of this one dysfunctional family Dostoevsky weaves a dense network of social, psychological and philosophical relationships. At the same time he shows - from the opening 'scandal' scene in the monastery to a personal appearance by an eccentric Devil - that his dramatic skills have lost nothing of their edge. The Karamazov Brothers, completed a few months before Dostoevsky's death in 1881, remains for many the high point of his genius as novelist and chronicler of the modern malaise. It cast a long shadow over D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus, and other giants of twentieth-century European literature.
The Robinson family, consisting of William and Elizabeth and their four children, Fritz, Ernest, Jack and Francis, along with two dogs, Turk and Juno, find themselves shipwrecked on a tropical island in the East Indies. They are fortunate enough to have salvaged some of the wrecked ship's cargo of livestock Including chickens and geese, as well as guns and carpentry tools. With the help of his family, the father, William, sets about establishing a home and a self-sufficient base in their new and strange environment. The novel then details the exploits, trials and tribulations the Robinsons experience in the next ten years on the island. Initially they construct a treehouse, but as time passes they settle in a more permanent dwelling in part of a cave. They discover food such as coconuts, sugarcane, honey and potatoes, and secure themselves against danger. Adventure follows adventure as they explore the territory, encounter wild birds and terrifying animals, plant crops, and settle in for a long stay.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old skinflint. He hates everyone, especially children. But at Christmas three ghosts come to visit him, scare him into mending his ways, and he finds, as he celebrates with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and their family, that geniality brings its own reward. This finest of all Christmas stories is beautifully illustrated with Arthur Rackham's superb line drawings.
'In the great mirror opposite I saw myself, and right behind, another wicked fearful self, so like me my soul seemed to quiver within me, as though not knowing to which similitude of body it belonged'. Elizabeth Gaskell is better known today for her pioneering social novels such as Mary Barton (1848) but she also wrote some fascinating tales of the supernatural and the macabre, which are collected here in this volume. The real charm of this dark anthology is its variety. Unlike so many writers of this kind of material, Gaskell allows the story to fit the style rather than the other way around and as result there is a charming freshness to each tale. This remarkable author uses different voices, tones and topics to engage her readers and as you turn from one story to the next you cannot be quite sure what to expect.
In Symposium, a group of Athenian aristocrats attend a party and talk about love, until the drunken Alcibiades bursts in and decides to discuss Socrates instead. Symposium gives an unsurpassed picture of the sparkling society that was Athens at the height of her empire. The setting of the other dialogues is more sombre. Socrates is put on trial for impiety, and sentenced to death. Euthyphro discusses the nature of piety, Apology is Socrates' speech in his own defence, Crito explains his refusal to escape punishment, and Phaedo gives an account of Socrates' last day.
Inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron, and framed as a storytelling competition between a group of pilgrims, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is one of the greatest works of English literature, translated from the Middle English. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Rich and diverse, The Canterbury Tales offers us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of Medieval England.
Sigmund Freud's controversial ideas have penetrated Western culture more deeply than those of any other psychologist. The 'Freudian slip', the `Oedipus complex', 'childhood sexuality', 'libido', 'narcissism' 'penis envy', the 'castration complex', the 'id', the 'ego' and the 'superego', 'denial', 'repression', 'identification', 'projection', 'acting out', the 'pleasure principle', the 'reality principle', 'defence-mechanism' - are all taken for granted in our everyday vocabulary. Psychoanalysis was never just a method of treatment, rather a vision of the human condition which has continued to fascinate and provoke long after the death of its originator. Its central hypothesis, that we live in conflict with ourselves and seek to resolve matters by turning away from reality, did not emerge from experimental science but from self-examination and the unique opportunities for observation presented by the psychoanalytic technique - in particular, from the confessions produced by `free-association' in Freud's consulting room. Written during the turmoil of the First World War, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis was distilled from a series of lectures given at Vienna University, but had to wait for the war to end before being made available to the English speaking world.
Darwin's theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been specifically created; all are locked into a pitiless struggle for existence, with extinction looming for those not fitted for the task. Yet The Origin of Species (1859) is also a humane and inspirational vision of ecological interrelatedness, revealing the complex mutual interdependencies between animal and plant life, climate and physical environment, and - by implication - within the human world. Written for the general reader, in a style which combines the rigour of science with the subtlety of literature, The Origin of Species remains one of the founding documents of the modern age.
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.
Nana opens in 1867, the year of the World Fair, when Paris, thronged by a cosmopolitan elite, was la Ville Lumiere, a perfect victim for Zola's scathing denunciation of hypocrisy and fin-de-siecle moral corruption. The fate of Nana, the Helen of Troy of the Second Empire, and daughter of the laundress in L'Assommoir, reduced Flaubert to almost inarticulate gasps of admiration. Boulevard society is presented with painstaking attention to detail, and Zola's documentation of the contemporary theatrical scene comes directly from his own experience - it was his own failure as a playwright which sent him back to novel-writing and Nana itself
TARKA THE OTTER is the classic story of an otter living in the Devonshire countryside which captures the feel of life in the wild as seen through the otter's own eyes. The story's atmosphere and detail make it easy to see why Tarka has become one of the best-loved creatures in world literature.
Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower orders in nineteenth-century Paris. Zola's dispassionate dissection of the motivations of his characters, mere `human beasts' who kill in order to satisfy their lust, is much more than an atmospheric Second Empire period-piece. Many readers were scandalized by an approach to character-drawing which seemed to undermine not only the moral values of a deeply conservative society, but also the whole code of psychological description on which the realist novel was based.
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband's home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.
Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of a society overrun by nihilistic violence and governed by a menacing totalitarian state, A Clockwork Orange includes an introduction by Blake Morrison in Penguin Modern Classics. Fifteen-year-old Alex doesn't just like ultra-violence - he also enjoys rape, drugs and Beethoven's ninth. He and his gang of droogs rampage through a dystopian future, hunting for terrible thrills. But when Alex finds himself at the mercy of the state and subject to the ministrations of Dr Brodsky, and the mind-altering treatment of the Ludovico Technique, he discovers that fun is no longer the order of the day. The basis for Stanley Kubrick's notorious 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange is both a virtuoso performance from an electrifying prose stylist and a serious exploration of the morality of free will. In his introduction, Blake Morrison situates A Clockwork Orange within the context of Anthony Burgess's many other works, explores the author's unhappiness with the Stanley Kubrick film version, analyses the composition of the Nadsat argot spoken by Alex and his droogs, and examines the influences on Burgess's unique, eternally original style.
'All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others' When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
Renowned urban artist Shepard Fairey's new look for Orwell's classic dystopian tale 1984 is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. . .
Equally tragic, joyful and comical, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a seamless blend of fantasy and reality, translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa in Penguin Modern Classics. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy with comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century
Set in Paris and attracting comparisons with Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe, The Pigeon is Patrick Suskind's tense, disturbing follow-up to the bestselling Perfume. The novella tells the story of a day in the meticulously ordered life of bank security guard Jonathan Noel, who has been hiding from life since his wife left him for her Tunisian lover. When Jonathan opens his front door on a day he believes will be just like any other, he encounters not the desired empty hallway but an unwelcome, diabolical intruder . . .
World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life. Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit - and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted ...
Ignatius J. Reilly: fat, flatulent, eloquent and almost unemployable. By the standards of ordinary folk he is pretty much unhinged, too. But is he bothered by this? No. For this misanthropic crusader against an America fallen into vice and ignorance has a mission: to rescue a naked female philosopher in distress. And he has a pirate costume and hot-dog cart to do it with . . .
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