Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family’s fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d’Urbervilles. But Alec d’Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice. Hardy’s indictment of society’s double standards, and his depiction of Tess as ‘a pure woman’, caused controversy in his day and has held the imagination of readers ever since. Hardy thought it his finest novel, and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created. This unique critical text is taken from the authoritative Clarendon edition, which is based on the manuscript collated with all Hardy’s subsequent revisions.
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George Orwell - 1984 (angol)
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.
Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility
"I could hardly keep my seat." Spirited and impulsive, Marianne Dashwood is the complete opposite to her controlled and sensible sister, Elinor. When it comes to matters of the heart, Marianne is passionate and romantic and soon falls for the charming, but unreliable Mr Willoughby. Elinor, in contrast, copes stoically with the news that her love, Edward Ferrars is promised to another. It is through their shared experiences of love that both sisters come to learn that the key to a successful match comes from finding the perfect mixture of rationality and feeling.
Charles Dickens - Great Expectations
Great Expectations charts the progress of Pip from childhood through often painful experiences to adulthood, as he moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. Pip must discover his true self, and his own set of values and priorities. Whether such values allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dickens's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels.
Jane Austen - Emma (angol)
Jane Austen teased readers with the idea of a 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like', but Emma is irresistible. 'Handsome, clever, and rich', Emma is also an 'imaginist', 'on fire with speculation and foresight'. She sees the signs of romance all around her, but thinks she will never be married. Her matchmaking maps out relationships that Jane Austen ironically tweaks into a clearer perspective. Judgement and imagination are matched in games the reader too can enjoy, and the end is a triumph of understanding.
Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden
The magical story of a secret garden which has been locked away for ten years. After the death of her parents, Mary is brought back from India as a forlorn and unwanted child to live in her uncle's great lonely house on the moors. She is miserable and disagreeable, until the wonderful day she discovers a hidden door to a mysterious secret garden.
Elizabeth Gaskell - Mary Barton
Mary Barton, subtitled 'A Tale of Manchester Life', is the first novel by Mrs Gaskel. The entirely working-class cast of characters in this novel was then an innovation. The background story is Manchester in the 'hungry forties' and the acute poverty of the unemployed mill-hands. Mary Batson, daughter of an embittered worker, wins the attention of Henry Carson, son of one of the employers. But a group of workmen plot his murder as a warning to his class, and it falls upon Mary's father to perform the deed. Suspicion lies with Mary's working class admirer, Jem, who is tried for his life. Finally, John Barton is driven by guilt to confess.
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Synopsis The story that never grows old... Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse,Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic. And now readers can own it in a beautifully designed hardcover edition worthy of its stature. This Christmas' meaningful gift, the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Lord of the Flies is the volume that every fan of this classic book will have to own.
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.
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.
Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights
In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere... As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge - and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death. And how desire can kill.
Elizabeth Gaskell - Cranford (angol)
As for Cranford in general, it was going on much as usual. First published in serial format, Gaskell's Cranford is a delightfully light-hearted series of stories about early Victorian life in a country village. Following the lives of two spinster sisters, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah as they gossip about the inconsequential goings-on of the community, Gaskell's best-loved work affectionately comments on the role of women in society at that time and documents the changing face of a bygone Victorian provincial idyll.
J. D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man's funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.
Christopher Isherwood - A Single Man
A novel in which a middle aged professor living in California, is alienated from his students by differences in age and nationality, and from the rest of society by his homosexuality. It explores the depths of the human soul and its ability to triumph over loneliness, alienation and loss.
Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Angel
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still. When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Agatha Christie - Evil Under the Sun
A quiet holiday at a secluded hotel in Devon is all that Hercule Poirot wants, but amongst his fellow guests is a beautiful and vain woman who, seemingly oblivious to her own husband’s feelings, revels in the attention of another woman’s husband. The scene is set for murder, but can the field of suspects really be as narrow as it first appears?
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.
Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl
Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she is a girl of just fourteen. But her joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in her family's plots. When the capricious king's interest warnes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary must resign herself to being the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls... (Harper, 2011)
Agatha Christie - Murder is Easy
Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton's wild allegation. She claimed that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood and speculated that the local doctor was next in line. But within hours, Miss Pinkerton is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby!
Agatha Christie - Ordeal By Innocence
According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment. But when Dr Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko's innocence, it is too late - Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor's revelations re-open old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer could strike again... "Family tensions and suspicions are adroitly handled, and the solution is characteristically surprising." - _New York Times_