Set in the rich farmland of the Salinas Valley, California, this powerful, often brutal novel, follows the interwined destinies of two families – the Trasks and the Hamiltons – whose generations hopelessly re-enact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of indentity; the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.
Jack Kerouac - On the Road
_On the Road_ chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance. Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
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.
John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him.
Edward Albee - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
George, a disillusioned academic, and Martha, his caustic wife, have just come home from a faculty party. When a handsome young professor and his mousy wife stop by for a nightcap, an innocent night of fun and games quickly turns dark and dangerous. Long-buried resentment and rage are unleashed as George and Martha turn their rapier-sharp wits against each other, using their guests as pawns in their verbal sparring. By night's end, the secrets of both couples are uncovered and the lies they cling to are exposed. Considered by many to be Albee's masterpiece,Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?is a "brilliantly original work of art -- an excoriating theatrical experience, surging with shocks of recognition and dramatic fire" (Newsweek).
John Steinbeck - Egerek és emberek
A kaliforniai Soledad közelében furcsa párt tesz le az autóbusz: George alacsony és fürge észjárású, társa, Lennie lomha, nehézfejű óriás. Egy közeli tanyára tartanak, munkát keresnek. Bár a tanya lakói és munkásai korántsem barátságosak, nincs más választásuk: itt kell maradniuk, ha meg akarják valósítani közös álmukat, hogy vegyenek egy saját tanyát, ahol majd önállóan gazdálkodhatnak. Lennie-t ártatlan együgyűsége folyton bajba sodorja, és George-nak igencsak észnél kell lennie, ha mindkettőjüket meg akarja óvni a következményektől. Barátságuk ritka kincs az őket körülvevő sivár, brutális világban, amely könyörtelenül megsemmisülésre ítél mindent, ami emberi. A szikár, minden sallangtól mentes, sodró erejű kisregény a nagy gazdasági világválság idején két vándormunkás tragikusan felemelő történetén keresztül mutatja be a modern társadalom elidegenedésének, az emberi kapcsolatok kiüresedésének pusztító hatását. Mondanivalója a mai napig sem veszítette el érvényét.
Paul Auster - Winter Journal
From the bestselling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude, a moving and highly personal meditation on the body, time, and language itself "That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well. Facing his sixty-third winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations—both pleasurable and painful. Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his mother's life and death. Winter Journal is a highly personal meditation on the body, time, and memory, by one of our most intellectually elegant writers.
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.
Paul Auster - The New York Trilogy
In three brilliant variations on the classic detective story, Paul Auster makes the well-traversed terrain of New York City his own, as it becomes a strange, compelling landscape in which identities merge or fade and questions serve only to further obscure the truth. What emerges in an investigation into the art of storytelling, notions of identity and the very essence of language.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Yellow Wallpaper
Best known for the 1892 title story of this collection, a harrowing tale of a woman's descent into madness, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote more than 200 other short stories. Seven of her finest are reprinted here. Written from a feminist perspective, often focusing on the inferior status accorded to women by society, the tales include "turned," an ironic story with a startling twist, in which a husband seduces and impregnates a naïve servant; "Cottagette," concerning the romance of a young artist and a man who's apparently too good to be true; "Mr. Peebles' Heart," a liberating tale of a fiftyish shopkeeper whose sister-in-law, a doctor, persuades him to take a solo trip to Europe, with revivifying results; "The Yellow Wallpaper"; and three other outstanding stories. These charming tales are not only highly readable and full of humor and invention, but also offer ample food for thought about the social, economic, and personal relationship of men and women — and how they might be improved.
Edgar Allan Poe - Meghökkentő történetek / Unexpected Stories
Edgar Allan Poe a XIX. század elején megerősödő amerikai irodalom első klasszikus alakja. Novellái - ő a modern amerikai novella megteremtője - bármennyire kalandos is legyen a cselekményük, rövid, zárt történetek. Szerkezetük racionális, céltudatos. Lényegük a csattanó, a meghökkentés. Az érdekfeszítő cselekmény minden fordulata mérnöki pontossággal e felé halad, minden elem e legvégső hatásnak van alávetve. Az író a tudatosság esztétikáját vallja, csapongó, meghökkentő novelláiban is fokozott jelentőséget nyer az ész munkája. Poe hosszú ideje ismert és népszerű hazánkban, műveit már a múlt század utolsó harmadában sokan fordították, de igazi prózaírói sikerét Babits Mihály és Pásztor Árpád klasszikussá vált fordításkötetei hozták meg. Az író művészetében a fantasztikum és a ráció különös keveréke vonzotta őket. A kétnyelvű kötetben elsősorban a prózában is költői Poe-val találkozunk, a vizionárius, romantikus művésszel, kísérteties tájak és helyzetek lázas álmodójával. Személyes lidércnyomások elevenednek meg az elbeszélésekben: az elevenen eltemetett tetszhalott (Az elsietett temetés), az alkoholmámorban elkövetett esztelen-oktalan gyilkosság (A perverzió démona), a végzet elől való menekülés képtelensége (Az Usher-ház vége), de megjelenik a komikus-fantasztikum (Az elveszett lélegzet) és a szorongásos álom talán legmeghökkentőbb példája: A vörös halál álarca. Az elbeszélések maradandó hatásának titka, hogy Poe nem elsősorban a hátborzongató elemek mesteri elrendezésével és fokozásával keresi a hatást, hanem a költői eszközökkel megteremtett atmoszférával.
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.
Edgar Allan Poe - Rejtelmes történetek / Mystery stories
A sötét éjszaka mesterében, Poe-ban minden együtt van: ő a kánon, a kinyilatkoztatás, ő a törvény, s ami azon felül van benne, az az ördögtől való. A fantasztikus elbeszélés és a bizarr rémtörténet legnagyobb képviselője mellesleg megteremtette a logikára alapított detektívtörténetek később oly divatossá vált műfaját. Bár a krimiszerzők névsora lassan körbeéri az egyenlítőt, a mesterség alapjait mindenki Poe-tól tanulta. A detektívregény minden lényeges eleme együtt van a történeteiben: a titokzatos bűntény, a több gyanúsított, a remek logikával és emberismerettel rendelkező amatőr detektív, akinek a hivatalos nyomozás képviselőivel is meg kell küzdenie. Az általa megteremtett leltár azóta sem igen bővült. Poe a detektívregényt az általa művelt rémmese örökségével keresztelte meg. Ő nem a világban megjelenő gonosztett külső valóságát ragadja meg, hanem a lélek mélységében gyökerező bűntett belső valóságát. "A detektívregényt - mondja Van Doren Stern - éppúgy, mint a könyvnyomtatást, csupán technikailag tökéletesítették. Mint művészi alkotást sem Gutenberg bibliáját, sem Poe A Morgue utcai kettős gyilkosság című művét nem múlták felül soha."
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
The first and only novel by Sylvia Plath, originally published in 1963. When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. Instead she finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.
David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Kurt Vonnegut - A hamvaskék sárkány
A többi világhírű amerikai íróhoz, Scott Fitzgeraldhoz, William Faulknerhez, John Steinbeckhez és társaikhoz hasonlóan Kurt Vonnegut is novellákkal kezdte hosszú pályafutását. A híres folyóiratok, amelyekben ezek az írások annak idején megjelentek, mára már sajnos elvesztek. Peter Reed professzor, Vonnegut egyik rajongója, kritikusa és írásművészetének szenvedélyes kutatója azonban bosszú évek szorgos gyűjtőmunkájával a teljes termést kötetbe rendezte. Vonnuegut abszurd humora, hangja és stílusa már a kezdetek kezdetén is összetéveszthetetlenül eredeti. Korunk egyik nagy gondolkodójának és szórakoztatójának legelső próbálkozásai ma is dokumentumértékű gyöngyszemek. (A javító kommentárja: Üdítően naiv szösszenetek, betekintést enged, mit is ettek irodalom címén Amerikában az ötvenes években. Felfoghatatlan, hogy ugyanez az író írta az Ötös számú vágóhidat, a Macskabölcsőt, vagy a Titán szirénjeit)
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.
John Steinbeck - The Winter of our Discontent
Steinbeck's last great novel focuses on the theme of success and what motivates men towards it. Reflecting back on his New England family's past fortune, and his father's loss of the family wealth, the hero, Ethan Allen Hawley, characterizes success in every era and in all its forms as robbery, murder, even a kind of combat, operating under 'the laws of controlled savagery'.
Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon
Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper, and the gentle butt of everyone's jokes, until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius. But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental tranformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.
Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita (angol)
In 1954 Vladimir Nabokov asked one American publisher to consider "a firebomb that I have just finished putting together." The explosive device: Lolita, his morality play about a middle-aged European's obsession with a 12-year-old American girl. Two years later, the New York Times called it "great art." Other reviewers staked a higher moral ground (the editor of the London Sunday Express declaring it "the filthiest book I've ever read"). Since then, the sinuous novel has never ceased to astound. Even Nabokov was astonished by its place in the popular imagination. One biographer writes that "he was quite shocked when a little girl of eight or nine came to his door for candy on Halloween, dressed up by her parents as Lolita." And when it came time to casting the film, Nabokov declared, "Let them find a dwarfess!" The character Lolita's power now exists almost separately from the endlessly inventive novel. If only it were read as often as it is alluded to. Alfred Appel Jr., editor of the annotated edition, has appended some 900 notes, an exhaustive, good-humored introduction, and a recent preface in which he admits that the "reader familiar with Lolita can approach the apparatus as a separate unit, but the perspicacious student who keeps turning back and forth from text to Notes risks vertigo." No matter. The notes range from translations to the anatomical to the complex textual. Appel is also happy to point out the Great Punster's supposedly unintended word play: he defends the phrase "Beaver Eaters" as "a portmanteau of 'Beefeaters' (the yeoman of the British royal guard) and their beaver hats."
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.