"The Death of Ivan Ilyich", first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high court judge in 19th century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin bangs his side while putting up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family's superior status in society.
"The Moon and Sixpence" is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, first published in 1919. It is told in episodic form by a first-person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. The story is based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin. A stunning classic by a master.
"All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new. The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or they are, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain."
Zuleika Dobson is a satire of undergraduate life at Oxford. It was Beerbohm’s only novel, but was nonetheless very successful. This satire includes the famous line "Death cancels all engagements" and presents a corrosive view of Edwardian Oxford. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Zuleika Dobson 59th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century!
"The Card" is a comic novel by Arnold Bennett, published in 1911. Like much of Bennett's best work, it is set in the Potteries District of Staffordshire. It chronicles the rise of Edward Henry ("Denry") Machin from washerwoman's son to Mayor of Bursley (a fictitious town based on Burslem). This is accomplished through luck, initiative and a fair bit of guts!
"The Prisoner of Zenda" is an adventure novel in which the King of Ruritania is drugged on the eve of his coronation, and thus is unable to attend the ceremony. Political forces within the realm are such, that, in order for the king to retain the crown, his coronation must proceed. Fortuitously, an English gentleman on holiday in Ruritania, who resembles the monarch, is persuaded to act as his political decoy, in effort to save the unstable political situation of the interregnum... Of course, complications along the way, plots and counter-plots will follow.
So, really, in the end, there is only God. And God is Jesus Christ. There is no other God. So, let no one scare you. Your salvation has already been predestined. You are already redeemed because you have already been predestined. Predestined glory, and glory is nothing more than the magnifying - "making self many." So, each becomes the face of God, everyone knowing that he is God, and everyone knowing that the other - his brother - is God. And there is nothing but God!
The story takes place in a fictional country somewhere in Germanic Middle Europe, the kingdom of Ruritania. There is Rudolf Elphberg, the dissolute absolute monarch of Ruritania; Rudolf Rassendyll, the English gentleman who had acted as his political decoy, being his distant cousin and look alike; Flavia, the princess, now queen; Rupert of Hentzau, the dashing well-born villain; Fritz von Tarlenheim, the loyal courtier. Queen Flavia, dutifully but unhappily married to her cousin Rudolf V, writes to her true love Rudolf Rassendyll.
I'd Die for You is a collection of the last remaining unpublished and uncollected short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Anne Margaret Daniel. Fitzgerald did not design the stories in I'd Die for You as a collection. Most were submitted individually to major magazines during the 1930s and accepted for publication during Fitzgerald's lifetime, but were never printed.
This classic is a French Romantic/Gothic novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831. The story centers on the famous cathedral. Esmeralda captures the hearts of men, including those of Captain Phoebus and Pierre Gringoire, but also Quasimodo and his adoptive father, Archdeacon Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his obsessive lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but the hunchback is captured by Phoebus and his guards, who save Esmeralda.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a leader in the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He is best known for his political philosophy and ideological thoughts on the moral worth of the individual and his work greatly influenced many of the great thinkers of his time, including Henry David Thoreau.
Fyodor Dostoevsky masterfully blends realism and romanticism in this heartfelt tale of unrequited love and the human journey. Set in 19th-century St. Petersburg, "White Nights" is the story of a young man's inner conflict and how his feelings of discontent and loneliness draw him to a young woman who has been jilted by her lover. The lonely hearts come together in a sweet and tender bubble of sharing and romance, but will it last?
Note: This is a summary and analysis of The Rebel and not the original work. The Rebel is a 1951 book-length essay by Albert Camus, which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe. Camus relates writers and artists as diverse as Epicurus and Lucretius, Marquis de Sade, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and others in an integrated, historical portrait of man in revolt.
A complicated, angry son, Calumet Marston, returns to his boyhood homestead to find his hated father dead and a stranger, a woman named Betty, in charge. Her family had aided his father, and now she is "the boss". His father's will stipulates certain conditions before Calumet can take over, including repairs to the ranch and to the relationship he had with his dad. Several letters Betty has lead Calumet to a new understanding of his father and their stormy history. Murder, gun fights, ambush, ancient treasure - it's all here.
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?
The little known first novella of Charlotte Bronte, The Green Dwarf is a story of adventure, subterfuge, romance, and danger. Lady Emily Charlesworth is awaiting the return of her lover, Leslie, who is a down-on-his luck artist. However, the dastardly, coldhearted Colonel Percy is also vying for her heart and will stop at nothing to make Emily his own.
The lights dim at the Paris Opera House. The exquisite Christine Daae enraptures the audience with her mellifluous voice. Immediately, Raoul de Chagny falls deeply in love. But the legend of the disfigured opera ghost haunts the performance, and as Raoul begins his pursuit of Christine, he is pulled into the depths of the opera house, and into the depths of human emotions.
Framed as a first-person narrative from the eponymous horse, this much-loved family classic follows Black Beauty's journey from a well-born colt to a painfully overworked cab horse. Brimming with vivid detail and relatable characters, each chapter of Black Beauty's long and varied life communicates an important message about kindness, sympathy and understanding.
An afternoon of readings and lively discussion with contemporary authors, including Blue Balliett (Chasing Vermeer), Chris Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library), Wendy Mass (The Candymakers), and Alexander London (The Wild Ones), who have been inspired by E. L. Konigsburg's Newbery Award-winning classic about a sister and brother who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and find themselves caught up in a mysterious adventure.
Considered to be the first autobiography of its kind, The Confessions is two distinct books published seven years apart and covers the first 53 years of the author's life. The autobiographies of the time delved primarily into the individual's religious life, but Jean-Jacques Rousseau wanted to do something different. Instead of focusing on faith, he wrote about his thoughts and misadventures.