Ulysses has been labelled dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book – although he found it not quite obscene enough to disallow its importation into the United States – and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce’s ‘cloacal obsession’. None of these descriptions, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in its own way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of he final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you’re willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce’s astonishing command of the English language.
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends start an evening's mayhem by hitting an old man, tearing up his books and stripping him of money and clothes. Or rather Alex and his three droogs tolchock an old veck, razrez his books, pull off his outer platties and take a malenky bit of cutter. For Alex's confessions are written in 'nadsat' - a teenage argot of a not-too-distant future. Because of his delinquent excesses, Alex is jailed and made subject to 'Ludovico's Technique', a chilling experiment in Reclamation Treatment... Horror farce? Social Prophecy? Penetrating study of human choice between good and evil? A Clockwork Orange is all three, dazzling proof of Anthony Burgess's vast talents.
James Joyce - Dubliners
'There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin.' From a child coming to terms with the death of a priest to a young woman torn between leading an uneventful life in Dublin and fleeing Ireland with her lover, these fifteen stories bring to life the day-to-day existence of ordinary Dubliners in the early years of the twentieth century. With brutal realism, Joyce lays bare the struggles and desires of the Irish middle classes in a compelling and unique exploration of human experience.
James Joyce - Ulysses
Az Ulysses, mint maga a szerző mondja: minden. Tragédia, regény, szatíra, komédia, eposz, filozófia. Szintézis. Az egész világ a maga rendezett rendszertelenségében, vagy rendszertelen rendezettségében, felbontva, összefoltozva, ahogy egy hétköznapi ember agyán átcsurog; felidéz átélt, olvasott, hallott gondolatokat és képzeteket, aztán eltűnik, de nem nyomtalanul, mert újra feltűnik, mint szín vagy részlet, vagy ha szín és részlet volt, mint mozgató erő vagy központi probléma. (Hamvas Béla, 1930) Joyce-nak az egész világon igen nagy tekintélye volt, mint sok mindenkinek, akit senki sem ért meg, de senki sem meri bevallani. Ha valaki intellektuális körökben megkockáztatta kifogásait, lenéző mosolyok fogadták. Most már meghalt; halottakról vagy jót, vagy semmit. Most már talán sohasem szabad bevallani, hogy blöff volt az egész. (Szerb Antal, 1941) Noha Joyce megszállottja a reklám-közhelyekből, handlékból és szirupos érzelgésből összeragadt Dublin városának, érdeklődése mégis egyetemes: az egész világ, az egész és örök ember érdekli, nem egyetlen osztály, vagy egyetlen korszak. Teljesen különbözik a századforduló naturalizmusától abban is, hogy műve tele van forma-játékkal: minden fejezet más és más kompozíciós ötlettel dolgozik: van dráma és van egy szuszra leírt belső monológ, van viktoriánus-érzelmes stílus-paródia, és van egy óriás katekizmus – műve realitás-tartalma így sokkal, de sokkal inkább érvényesül, mintha egyenletes regényformába öntötte volna. (Szentkuthy Miklós, 1947) Joyce művében az európai kultúra abban a pillanatban látható, amikor irtózatos robajjal hullik, omlik szerteszét, s csak a törmelékek, a romok utalnak arra, hogy mindez valaha, ha egyáltalán, egységes egészként működött. Thomas Mann a zárt forma, James Joyce a nyitott forma apostola. Thomas Mann a hit mitikusa, s ezért olyan komoly, James Joyce a hitetlenség mitikusa, s ezért olyan derűs. (Nádas Péter, 1978/2000) Ő akkor semmihez se kapcsolódva hirtelen azt mondta: „Tudod, mit szerzek, András fiam?” A magas ember fölvonta magát. „No?” „Egy hatalmas James Joyce-képet. – És aztán úgy, ahogy Marci úr a bajuszt mutatja: – Vumm! Az egész szobafalra!" (Esterházy Péter, 1979) Az új magyar kiadás szövegében is új: Szentkuthy Miklós fordítását a Magyar James Joyce Műhely tagjai, Gula Marianna, Kappanyos András, Kiss Gábor Zoltán, és Szolláth Dávid dolgozták át. Az utószót Kappanyos András írta.
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five
In its publication year, Slaughterhouse-Five was nominated for a best-novel Nebula Award and for a best-novel Hugo Award, 1970. It lost both to The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you! Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy–and humor.
Kazuo Ishiguro - A Pale View of Hills
Etsuko, a middle-aged Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwells on the recent suicide of her elder daughter, Keiko. Despite the efforts of her surviving daughter to distract her thoughts, Etsuko finds herself recalling a particular summer in Nagasaki after the bomb fell.
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, the Sea
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
Kazuo Ishiguro - The Unconsoled
Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give. But then as he traverses a landscape by turns eerie and comical - and always strangely malleable, as a dream might be - he comes steadily to realise he is facing the most crucial performance of his life. Ishiguro's extraordinary study of a man whose life has accelerated beyond his control was met on publication by consternation, vilification - and the highest praise.
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
The death and burial of Addie Bundren is told by members of her family, as they cart the coffin to Jefferson, Mississippi to bury her among her people. And as the intense desires, fears and rivalries of the family are revealed in the vernacular of the Deep South, Faulkner presents a portrait of extraordinary power - as epic as the Old Testament, as American as Huckleberry Finn.
Gabriel García Márquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.
Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
On the Caribbean coast at the dawn of the twentieth century hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza falls passionately for beautiful Fermina Daza - but tragically his love is rejected. Instead Fermina marries distinguished Dr. Juvenal, while Florentino can only forget her in the arms of other women. Yet fifty-one years, nine month and four days later, Florentino has an another chance to profess his enduring love for Fermina when her husband anexpectedly dies in a bizarre axcident. Can a love over half a century old remain unrequited?
Virginia Woolf - To the Lighthouse
This novel is an extraordinarily poignant evocation of a lost happiness that lives on in the memory. For years now the Ramsays have spent every summer in their holiday home in Scotland, and they expect these summers will go on forever. In this, her most autobiographical novel, Virginia Woolf captures the intensity of childhood longing and delight, and the shifting complexity of adult relationships. From an acute awareness of transcience, she creates an enduring work of art.
Cecelia Ahern - If You Could See Me Now
"There's more than a touch of fairytale about Cecelia Ahern's novels... thanks to a liberal sprinkling of magic." _Glamour_ What if love was right there in front of you - you just couldn't see it? Elizabeth Egan is too busy for friends. As a reluctant mother to her sister Saoirse's young son Luke and with her own business to run, every precious moment is made to count. But with Saoirse crashing in and out of their lives, leaving both her sister and her son reeling, Luke and Elizabeth are desperately in need of some magic. Enter Ivan. Wild, spontaneous and always looking for adventure, in no time at all Ivan has changed Elizabeth in ways she could never have imagined. But is Ivan too good to be true? Has Elizabeth opened her heart only to risk it being broken again? As for Ivan, he thought he was there to help Luke not Elizabeth - or himself.... "Enchanting and unexpected" You "A gem" Heat Reviews PRAISE FOR Cecelia Ahern: "There's more than a touch of fairytale about Cecelia Ahern's novels... thanks to a liberal sprinkling of magic... A must for die-hard romantics." _Glamour_
Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of the The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out of work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin their journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitch Hiker's Guide "A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have" and a galaxy-full of fellow travellers: Zaphod Beeblebrox - the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out to lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ball-point pens he has bought over the years.
Herman Melville - Moby Dick (angol)
Moby-Dick, written in 1851, recounts the adventures of the narrator Ishmael as he sails on the whaling ship Pequod under the command of Captain Ahab. Ishmael believes he has signed onto a routine commission aboard a normal whaling vessel, but he soon learns that Captain Ahab is not guiding the Pequod in the simple pursuit of commerce but is seeking one specific whale, Moby-Dick, a great while whale infamous for his giant proportions and his ability to destroy the whalers that seek him. Captain Ahab's wooden leg is the result of his first encounter with the whale, when he lost both leg and ship. But Captain Ahab is bent on revenge and he intends to get Moby-Dick. Ahab demonstrates erratic behavior from the very beginning and his eccentricities magnify as the voyage progresses. As the novel draws to a conclusion, the Pequod encounters the whaling ship Rachel. The Rachel's captain asks Ahab to help him in a search and rescue effort for his whaling-crew that went missing the day before - and the captain's son is among the missing. But when Ahab learns that the crew disappeared while tangling with Moby-Dick he refuses the call to aid in the rescue so that he may hunt Moby-Dick instead. The encounter with Moby-Dick brings a tragic end to the affair. Ishmael alone survives, using his friend Queequeg's coffin as a flotation device until he is ironically rescued by the Rachel, which has continued to search for its missing crew. The novel is not only a great American classic, but is also heralded as one of greatest novels in the English language.
Cecelia Ahern - A Place Called Here
Since Sandy Shortt’s childhood classmate disappeared twenty years ago, Sandy has been obsessed with missing things. Finding becomes her goal- whether it’s the sock that vanished in the washing machine, the car keys she misplaced or the graver issue of finding the people who vanish from their lives. Sandy dedicates her life to finding these missing people, offering devastated families a flicker of hope. Jack Ruttle is one of those desperate people. It’s been a year since his brother Donal vanished into thin air. Thinking Sandy Shortt could well be the answer to his prayers, he embarks on a quest to find her. But when Sandy goes missing too, she stumbles upon the place - and people - she’s been looking for all her life. A world away from her loved ones and the home she ran from for so long, Sandy soon resorts to her old habit again, searching. Though this time, she is desperately trying to find her way home…
Kurt Vonnegut - Hocus Pocus
Ingram. A small, exclusive college in upstate New York is nestled along the frozen shores of Lake Mohiga . . . and directly across from a maximum-security prison. The two institutions manage to coexist peacefully, until 10,000 prisoners break out and head directly for the college.
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
There can be many varying reasons for selling one's soul to the devil. Fame, power, love; a distraction of this world can rapidly consume the entirety of one's concentration until the distraction becomes that person's very "reality". It is fascinating to observe how the good in this world can be overlooked or neglected due to the singularity of one's concentration on what is, ultimately, the "bad". The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story that captures such a concept and places it in the context of late nineteenth century London. Basil Hallward is a painter, one of amateur talents, but a painter that receives an inspiration that some like to call divine. A particularly new acquaintance of his, a Mr. Dorian Gray, seems to put all art into perspective for the aspiring artist. The result is a perfectly splendid picture of the beautiful Dorian Gray, who sits for Hallward in the epitome of innocence. There is a friend of Hallward's, who goes by the name of Lord Henry Wotton. Harry, as his friends call him, is something of an enigma to the familial circles of English aristocracy; Dorian most aptly entitles him "Prince Paradox" much later in the novel. Gray is immediately captivated by the charisma of Lord Wotton, whom he met while Hallward is painting his portrait. Following the completion of the painting, Dorian becomes melancholic, having just learned the wonders of his youth and beauty from Prince Paradox; indeed, upon gazing into his own picture, Dorian Gray is already missing his youthful splendour. In his newfound narcissism, Dorian makes a foolhardy wish: that the painting grows old and ugly while he should retain his exceptional beauty. There is a liberal utilization of symbolization in this controversial book, and most particularly so in Henry Wotton and his meeting with Dorian Gray. Harry, who becomes Dorian's closest friend, represents a kind of hedonism that is vastly different from the sociality of their familiars, and yet also apart from the vulgar tastes of the uneducated. In the words of Dorian Gray: "Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life, and to save it from the harsh, uncomely Puritanism that was making its own curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly; yet, it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. His aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the sense, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment." Before Dorian Gray met Lord Henry Wotton, he recognized things as they were. Following that momentous exchange, Dorian Gray recognized only shadows. Art, to the corrupted youth, was not just a reflection of life and love, but reality itself. Passion is the first and final goal of his new worldview, and it ultimately destroys the child within. Basil Hallward symbolizes the simplicity, the good, and the rare in modern London: his friend Henry calls him "dull", as all great artists are. Hallward, in a clever instance of foreboding, did not want Lord Henry to even meet Dorian: "Dorian Gray has a simple and beautiful nature… Don't spoil him." The good in life seems to become less relevant, less necessary as life goes on, as the individual experiences more, until the good doesn't seem to exist… at all. A key idea in the Picture of Dorian Gray is, I think, the fall of innocence to the pleasures of this novel Hedonism that plays the antagonism of this story. Though Dorian may indeed retain his outer beauty, startling the perceptions of everyone near him, the soul within becomes unrecognizable to a simple eye, to any eye removed of darkness. In the writing of this, his only novel, Oscar Wilde manages to take hold of several key ideas and succeeds in putting them on a magnificent, provocative display. The central themes, art, love and novelty, are the fine threads that boldly form the grandeur of the patterned Idea. As this is the ultimate goal in every work of art, I would claim that The Picture of Dorian Gray is an accomplished story on every level.
Douglas Adams - Galaxis Útikalauz stopposoknak - A világ leghosszabb trilógiája öt részben
Ez a történet a szörnyen ostoba csütörtökről és rendkívüli következményeiről szól, és arról, hogy miért sokkal biztonságosabb a világegyetem, ha van nálunk egy törülköző. Ez a történet emellett egy könyvről is szól, melynek címe: _GALAXIS Útikalauz stopposoknak_. Ez nem földi könyv, sosem adták ki a Földön, és a szörnyű katasztrófát megelőzően egyetlen földlakó se látta vagy hallott róla. A könyv mindazonáltal szerfelett figyelemreméltó. Valószínűleg ez a legfigyelemreméltóbb könyv, ami csak napvilágot látott a Kisgöncöl óriási kiadóhivatalainak gondozásában – bár a földlakók ezekről se hallottak. Ez a könyv nem csupán hallatlanul figyelemreméltó, hanem elképesztően sikeres is. Népszerűbb, mint a _Mennyei házi mindentudó_, jobban fogy, mint a _Hatvanhárom további figura súlytalanság esetére_ című illusztrált kiadvány, és ellentmondásosabb, mint Oolon Coluphid filozófiai bombaként robbanó trilógiája: a _Hol tévedett Isten_, a _Még néhány Isten legsúlyosabb tévedéseiből_ és a _Végül is kicsoda ez az Isten egyáltalán?_ A Galaxis Külső Keleti Peremének néhány liberálisabb civilizációja számára a _GALAXIS Útikalauz_ már kiszorította a hatalmas _Encyclopaedia Galacticá_t, s egyedül tölti be az összes tudás és bölcsesség tárházának szerepét, mert noha sok benne a hézag, és tele van kétes, de legalábbis üvöltően pontatlan adattal, két fontos vonatkozásban felülmúlja kevésbé szárnyaló elődjét. Egyrészt némileg olcsóbb. Másrészt borítóján a következő szavak láthatók, szép nagy betűkkel szedve: NE ESS PÁNIKBA!
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.