This story is both a whimsical fantasy and a social satire chock-full of brilliant Twainisms. Hank Morgan, a 19th century American-a Connecticut Yankee-by a stroke of fate is sent back into time to 6th century England and ends up in Camelot and King Arthur’s Court. Although of average intelligence, he finds himself with knowledge beyond any of those in the 6th century and uses it to become the king’s right hand man, and to challenge Merlin as the court magician. Astounded at the way of life in Camelot, Hank does the only thing he can think of to do: change them. In his attempt to civilize medieval Camelot he experiences many challenges and misadventures.
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos. Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver’s Travels is one of literature’s most durable masterpieces.
Mark Twain - Puddingfejű Wilson
A Mississippi partján fekvő városka tekintélyes bírája, Percy Northumberiand Driscoll házában két fiúgyermek születik egyazon napon: az egyik saját nejétől, a másik egy Roxana nevű rabszolgaleánytól. Mrs. Percy Driscoll egy héten belül meghal, így a két gyermek Roxy gondjaira marad. A rafinált rabszolga pedig titokban elcseréli a csecsemőket, a sajátját az uraság családjába "ajánlja", míg a gazdag csemetét vérbeli hamiskártyásnak neveli. Nem sokkal ezután a városba egy különc figura érkezik, aki furcsa elméleteivel, bolondos szokásaival hamar kiérdemli a Puddingfejű gúnynevet. "Semmi sem szorul olyan alapos javításra, mint a többi ember viselkedése" - körmöli naptárába, és alapos "javításnak" veti alá szomszédait. Miután a tragikus halálesetek, tűzvész és párbaj kikezdi a város jó hírnevét, és felkavarja az addig erős idegzetű polgárok mindennapjait, az önjelölt detektív nyomozásba kezd, meglepő eredményekkel... A Missouri állambeli Floridában született író és humorista 1800-as évek végén írt műveiből még ma is úton-útfélen idézünk. Gúnyos, humoros, vagy éppen mélységesen bölcs mondásai szállóigévé lettek. Akár a Koldus és királyfi, a Tom Sawyer vagy a Huckleberry Finn jut eszünkbe Mark Twain neve hallatán, tudjuk, hogy talán csak Woody Allenhez fogható humorú, és köznyelvi fordulatokban bővelkedő, de költői nyelven írt műveket tartunk a kezünkben. És hogy jellemes ember volt-e Twain? Erről a regény főhőse így vélekedne: "Nincs az a jellem, amely tönkre ne menne, ha a gúny céltáblája lesz - bármennyire nagyszerű és fennkölt is az a jellem, bármennyire hitvány és ostoba is az a gúny."
E. T. A. Hoffmann - Murr kandúr életszemlélete
Hoffmann, a német romantika e mindmáig népszerű és nagy hatású elbeszélője, ez a különös és sokoldalú alkotó (kiváló zenész, festő is volt) fantasztikus novelláin kívül mindössze két regényt írt. Ezek egyikét, "Az ördög bájitalá"-t, ezt a félelmes, borzongató "hasonmás"-történetet már régóta ismerik a magyar olvasók, Válogatott novellái is több kiadást értek meg nálunk, a "Brambilla hercegnő", a "Diótörő", a "Kis Zaches" és számos más írása ma is méltán közkedvelt. Életművét betetőző, halála előtt írt nagy regénye, a "Murr kandúr" azonban most jelenik meg először magyarul. Kreisler karmester és Murr párhuzamos életrajza: sziporkázóan szellemes, mulatságos, ragyogó ötletekben gazdag szatíra. Hoffmann groteszk humora talán ebben a művében a legelragadóbb, mert mélységesen emberi és modern: még a saját korábbi romantikus stílusát is fölényes öniróniával parodizálja. A kora sivár kispolgári társadalmában helyét nem lelő, zseniális és szertelen Kreisler - maga Hoffmann, ő viaskodik a kis fejedelmi udvarok korlátoltságával, intrikáival, Kreisler vallomásaiban ő maga fordul szembe éles kritikával a korabeli német szellem szürkeségével, józan középszerűségével. Murr Kandúr, a világirodalomnak ez az egyik legkedvesebb állatalakja, a maga költői " pályafutásával", életfilozófiájával szinte a kor viszonyainak csúfondáros torzképét villantja fel. Hoffmann-nak ez a műve a német romantika legérettebb, leghumorosabb, ma is friss és élvezetes alkotása.
Mark Twain - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
With an Introduction and Notes by Stuart Hutchinson, University of Kent at Canterbury. Tom Sawyer, a shrewd and adventurous boy, is as much at home in the respectable world of his Aunt Polly as in the self-reliant and parentless world of his friend Huck Finn. The two enjoy a series of adventures, accidentally witnessing a murder, establishing the innocence of the man wrongly accused, as well as being hunted by Injun Joe, the true murderer, eventually escaping and finding the treasure that Joe had buried. Huckleberry Finn recounts the further adventures of Huck, who runs away from a drunken and brutal father, and meets up with the escaped slave Jim. They float down the Mississippi on a raft, participating in the lives of the characters they meet, witnessing corruption, moral decay and intellectual impoverishment. Sharing so much in background and character, these two stories, the best of Twain, indisputably belong together in one volume. Though originally written as adventure stories for young people, the vivid writing provides a profound commentary on provincial American life in the mid-nineteenth century and the institution of slavery.
Don DeLillo - Libra
An unparalleled work of historical conjecture, ranging imaginatively over huge tracts of the American popular consciousness, Don DeLillo's Libra contains an introduction by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. In this powerful, eerily convincing fictional speculation on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of JFK will galvanize the nation against Communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped.
Philippa Gregory - The Queen's Fool
Into the treacherous Tudor court cornes Hannah. Becoming entangled in the schemes ofhandsome traitor Robert Dudley, she is sent as a Holy Fool to spy on Princess Mary. She finds a woman driven by a fatal desire to turn her people back to the true faith - while her sister Eliz.abpth waits to take advantage of any mistake she makes. Caught in the savage rivalry between the daughters ofHenry VIII, tom by her infatuation with Dudley and duty to her family, thrilled by her own strange gifts but scared ofthe unknown, Hannah must find a safe way through tumultuous times - when the wrong religion is a death sentence, science and rnagic are one, and true love can destroy you...
Mark Twain - The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain
For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain. This sparkling anthology covers the entire span of Twain’s inimitable yarn-spinning, from his early broad comedy to the biting satire of his later years. Every one of his sixty stories is here: ranging from the frontier humor of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” to the bitter vision of humankind in “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” to the delightful hilarity of “Is He Living or Is He Dead?” Surging with Twain’s ebullient wit and penetrating insight into the follies of human nature, this volume is a vibrant summation of the career of–in the words of H. L. Mencken–“the father of our national literature.”
Mary Hooper - Fallen Grace
Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby that died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Unwin and James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. This is a stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions of the deprivation that the truly poor suffered, to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich, all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot as Grace races to unravel the fraud that is about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist (angol)
One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, "Please, sir, I want some more." After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thievesOliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time—the terrifying Bill Sikes. Rife with Dickens’s disturbing descriptions of street life, the novel is buoyed by the purity of the orphan Oliver. Though he is treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, his pious innocence leads him at last to salvation—and the shocking discovery of his true identity.
William Ritter - Jackaby
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s original, engrossing, and tremendously fun debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent female assistant. It is 1892, and young Abigail Rook arrives in New Fiddleham, New England, with nothing but a suitcase and a handful of coins in her pocket. In a tavern, she meets the compelling and confounding R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary – including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail’s gift for noticing ordinary but important details makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. Hardly has she been hired when she finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: a serial killer is on the loose in New Fiddleham. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of a nonhuman creature. Only handsome young detective Charlie Cane is willing to help Jackaby and Abigail, though his motives for taking such a risk are unclear. Set amidst the excitement, innovation, and mysticism of the late 19th century, Jackaby blends a classic detective story with cheeky humor and a fun touch of the macabre.
Mark Twain - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
An idyllic snapshot of a boy's childhood along the banks of the Mississippi River, Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the author's work that comes closest to his boyhood experiences of growing up in Hannibal in the 1840s. Mischievous and full of energy, Tom enjoys childish pranks and pastimes with his friends, Huck Finn, the town outcast and Joe Harper, his best friend. However, at the town graveyard, Huck and Tom witness a murder, carried out by local vagabond Injun Joe. They vow never to tell a soul about what they have seen and so begins their journey into adulthood as Tom wrestles with his own morality, guilt and anxiety. A 'coming of age' tale, it is through Tom's adventures and relationships with others that he becomes more responsible and more aware of his own inner conflict. Through the central characters of Tom and Huck, Twain satirises the moral rigidity of society and adult hypocrisy, whilst at the same time giving a nostalgic portrayal of a young boy's journey into adulthood.
Mark Twain - A lóvátett város
Hadleyburg kicsiny amerikai város, és csak az különböztette meg mindeddig a többi kicsiny amerikai várostól, hogy neve egyértelmű volt a tisztességgel. Egészen addig, amíg a város, eltelve önnön becsületének és tisztességének sérthetetlen tudatával, meg nem bántott egy arra vetődő idegent. Az tovább utazott ugyan, de szívében bosszút forralt. És bosszúját egy szép napon, azaz inkább éjszakán, be is teljesítette... Tizenkilenc vezető polgára volt a városnak és mind a tizenkilenc "áldozatául" esett ennek a furfangos bosszúnak - mind a tizenkilencről (és természetesen az egész Tisztességes Városról) kiderült, hogy a becsülete talmi, a megvesztegethetetlensége kirakati dekoráció. Mark Twain szatíráinak egyik örökbecsű darabja "A lóvátett város" - minden idők felfuvalkodott polgári áltisztességének hű tükre.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - The Palace of Illusions
Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to the time of the Indian epic The Mahabharat—a time that is half-history, half-myth, and wholly magical. Through her narrator Panchaali, the wife of the legendary five Pandavas brothers, Divakaruni gives us a rare feminist interpretation of an epic story. The novel traces Panchaali’s life, beginning with her magical birth in fire as the daughter of a king before following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at the brothers’ sides through years of exile and a terrible civil war. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her stratagems to take over control of her household from her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husband’s most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female voice in a world of warriors, gods, and ever-manipulating hands of fate.
Jaroslav Hašek - The Good Soldier Švejk
The Good Soldier Svejk is the classic novel of the 'little man' fighting officialdom and bureaucracy with the only weapons available to him--passive resistance, subterfuge, native wit and dumb insolence. Here, with all its blasphemy and bawdiness restored, is the immortal tale of the good-hearted, garrulous progress of the only loyal Czech in the Austrian army of 1914. Enmeshed in red tape, chivvied by police, doctors, clergy and officers, and ever-obliging, the good soldier (once discharged as an idiot) ploughs his irresistible furrow towards the crowning moment when he is captured by his own troops.
Mark Twain - Taming the Bicycle
American life comes under the scrutiny of Mark Twain's wit in this delightful collection of short stories. Here, he comments on politics, education, the media, religion, and literature. The true subject of Twain's satire and burlesque is that strangest of all animals, the human being. In his novels, travel narratives, stories, essays, and sketches, Twain exposes such a variety of human foibles that one is left either laughing at the folly of human enterprise, blushing with shame at human behavior, or cursing the gods that would create such a silly animal. Twain does all three, often at the same time.
Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions
Kurt Vonnegut is a master of contemporary American literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America's attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as "a true artist" with Cat's Cradle in 1963. He is, as Graham Greene has declared, "one of the best living American writers." Breakfast Of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer tells the story of a precocious 9-year old boy, Oskar Schell. Oskar is very intelligent and independent, writes letters to Stephen Hawking, designs jewelry, and wanders about New York City wearing only white while playing the tambourine. On 9/11, he discovers the family's answering machine contains 5 messages from his father trapped in the north tower before he dies, and he hides the messages from his mother. Oskar struggles to deal with this inconsolable loss, distancing himself from his mom who eventually finds another man, and dreaming of fanciful inventions that can protect people from harm. When he finds a key in his father's closet with the word "Black" on the envelope holding it. Oskar seaches the city for every family named Black in hopes they can tell him the secret of the key, in hopes of understanding his father better. Oskar's grandmother lives across the street from him, and she struggles with the loss of her son while remembering her own survival during the bombing of Dresden and the damage it did to her family. Jonathan Safran Foer explores the psychological fallout from 9/11 through an unlikely boy whose pain and ideas ring all too true. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has received high praise with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a complex, hilarious, tear-jerking and terribly intimate story."
Charles Dickens - David Copperfield (angol)
'Please, Mr Murdstone! Don't beat me! I've tried to team my lessons, really I have, sir!' sobs David. Although he is only eight years old, Mr Murdstone does beat him, and David is so frightened that he bites his cruel stepfather's hand. For that, he is kept locked in his room for five days and nights, and nobody is allowed to speak to him. As David grows up, he learns that life is full of trouble and misery and cruelty. But he also finds laughter and kindness, trust and friendship... and love.