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Have you ever enquired why the elephant has such an enormously elongated nose? Are you confused by a cat's contrary nature? Have you ruminated on the wrinkles of a rhinocerous? Or speculated on a leopard's spots? Rudyard Kipling wondered about all these things too, and in this marvellous collection of stories he imagines how the animals became 'just so'.
Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out why Just So Stories is one of Philip Pullman’s favourite books and discover wacky facts about wild animals!
Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
'Beat me, and lock you up in your bedroom,' Dick answered, without hesitation. 'Have you got the cartridges?'
'Yes; they're in my pocket, but they are joggling horribly. Do pin-fire cartridges go off of their own accord?'
'Don't know. Take the revolver, if you are afraid, and let me carry them.'
'I'm not afraid.' Maisie strode forward swiftly, a hand in her pocket and her chin in the air. Dick followed with a small pin-fire revolver.
The children had discovered that their lives would be unendurable without pistol-practice. After much forethought and self-denial, Dick had saved seven shillings and sixpence, the price of a badly constructed Belgian revolver. Maisie could only contribute half a crown to the syndicate for the purchase of a hundred cartridges. 'You can save better than I can, Dick,' she explained; 'I like nice things to eat, and it doesn't matter to you. Besides, boys ought to do these things.'
Rewards and Fairies was originally published by Macmillan in 1910. The collection includes If, the nation's favourite poem and features original illustrations by Charles E. Brock.
Before deciding whether to marry Chandrapore's local magistrate, Adela Quested wants to discover the "real India" for herself. Newly arrived from England, she agrees to see the Marabar Caves with the charming Dr Aziz.Through this one harmless event Forster exposes the absurdity, hysteria and depth of cultural ignorance that existed in British India in the twenties. E.M. Forster's classic novel is here adapted in this highly theatrical, humorous and faithful version for the stage by the author of BENT, Martin Sherman.Published to tie in with a major new production of A PASSAGE TO INDIA produced by Shared Experience Theatre company.
‘The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.’
At the peak of European Imperialism, steamboat captain Charles Marlow travels deep into the African Congo on his way to relieve the elusive Mr Kurtz, an ivory trader renowned for his fearsome reputation. On his journey into the unknown Marlow takes a terrifying trip into his own subconscious, overwhelmed by his menacing, perilous and horrifying surroundings.
The landscape and the people he meets force him to reflect on human nature and society, and in turn Conrad writes revealingly about the dangers of imperialism.
Puck of Pook's Hill was first published by Macmillan in 1906 and features the original illustrations by H. R. Millar. This delightful collection of stories and poetry is a classic to treasure.
With anintroduction and annotations by Andrew Lycett
To attempt this with a fictional hero would normally be pointless. But Kim is different. For much of this Great Game classic was inspired by actual people and places, thus blurring the line between the real and the imaginary. Less a travel book than a literary detective story, this is the intriguing story of Peter Hopkirk's quest for Kim and a host of other shadowy figures.
‘Who could tell what forms, what visions, what faces, what forgiveness he could see in the glow of the west!’
Jim is a well-bred young romantic who takes to the seas with hopes of adventure and the aspiration to prove his mettle. When the boat he sails in threatens to sink, Jim abandons ship in fear in order to save himself, leaving the other passengers to their fate. However, the ship does not sink and guilt-ridden Jim admits to the maritime court of inquiry that he deserted the boat and is consequently stripped of his sailing papers. Blighted by his own cowardice, Jim’s subsequent self-exile to a remote Malaysian trading post gives Conrad the opportunity to explore the question of moral identity and through his hero, he embodies the values and deterioration of the declining empire of late Victorian Britain. With its rich descriptions of an unknown, exotic world and beautifully constructed prose, Lord Jim is considered one of Conrad’s greatest works.
Winner of the Booker of Bookers
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
BONUS: The edition includes an excerpt from The Selected Letters of Willa Cather.
Neither Edith Wharton nor E. M. Forster admired it, but Louis Auchincloss calls The Wings of the Dove 'perhaps the greatest of Henry James's novels.' Published in 1902, the novel represented something of a comeback for James, whose only 'bestseller,' Daisy Miller, had appeared more than two decades earlier. Set amid the splendor of fashionable London drawing rooms and gilded Venetian palazzos, the story concerns a pair of lovers who conspire to obtain the fortune of a doomed American heiress. But the naïve young woman becomes both their victim and their redeemer in James's meticulously designed drama of treachery and self-betrayal. 'It seems to me that I know the characters even more intimately than I know the characters in the earlier novels of his Balzac period,' said Louis Auchincloss. 'The Wings of the Dove represents the pinnacle of James's prose.' This version is the definitive New York Edition, which appeared in 1907, together with the author's Preface.
As this masterpiece of atmospheric realism and psychological depth unfolds, readers will savor the ironic narrative technique for which Conrad is justly famed, as well as the compelling characterizations that breathe life into his cast: Adolph Verloc, proprietor of an obscure Soho shop, whose double life encompasses a quiet family circle, friendship with a band of anarchists, and allegiance to a foreign government; Verloc's wife, Winnie, whose desperation to maintain a home for her simple-minded brother overrules her suspicions about her husband's activities; and Stevie, the man-child whose innocence proves the means of his undoing.
One of the first and greatest espionage thrillers, The Secret Agent remains as engrossing and effective as when it was first published in 1907.
It is the early twentieth century, and the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun and Ursula, live in a coal-mining town in the Midlands of England.
Ursula, a teacher, and Gudrun, an artist, are on a quest for happiness and intellectual fulfillment when they meet Rupert and Gerald. Rupert is decidedly attractive, and Ursula gravitates toward him immediately; Gerald is good looking and wealthy, and his friendship with Gudrun soon becomes something more. The four bond deeply through life’s tragedies and joys, and periods of alternating intense passion and strife. They move in and out of one another’s minds, lives, and beds in unexpected ways.
Suffused with a sense of deep and compelling humanity, Women in Love is widely considered to be Lawrence’s greatest achievement—an exploration of love and sexuality in all its varied, beautiful, and devastating forms.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
At the Pearl Harbor army base in 1941, Robert E. Lee Prewitt is Uncle Sam’s finest bugler. A career soldier with no patience for army politics, Prewitt becomes incensed when a commander’s favorite wins the title of First Bugler. His indignation results in a transfer to an infantry unit whose commander is less interested in preparing for war than he is in boxing. But when Prewitt refuses to join the company team, the commander and his sergeant decide to make the bugler’s life hell.
An American classic now available with scenes and dialogue considered unfit for publication in the 1950s, From Here to Eternity is a stirring picture of army life in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of James Jones including rare photos from the author’s estate.
In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous–and endless–struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man’s quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.
From the Hardcover edition.
By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy. Brother Juniper seeks to prove that it was divine intervention rather than chance that led to the deaths of those who perished in the tragedy. His study leads to his own death -- and to the author's timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition featuring a new foreword by Russell Banks. Tappan Wilder has written an engaging and thought-provoking afterword, which includes unpublished notes for the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, illuminating photographs, and other remarkable documentary material. Granville Hicks's insightful comment about Wilder suggests an inveterate truth: "As a craftsman he is second to none, and there are few who have looked deeper into the human heart."
THE EARLY MARRIED LIFE OF THE MORELS
THE BIRTH OF PAUL, AND ANOTHER BATTLE
THE CASTING OFF OF MOREL—THE TAKING ON OF WILLIAM
THE YOUNG LIFE OF PAUL
PAUL LAUNCHES INTO LIFE
DEATH IN THE FAMILY
STRIFE IN LOVE
DEFEAT OF MIRIAM
THE TEST ON MIRIAM
Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows a platoon of Marines who are stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948 with the wisdom of a man twice Mailer's age and the raw courage of the young man he was, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing.
The Broadview edition features the text of the first edition of the novel published by John Lane and The Bodley Head in 1915. It also includes: other writings by Ford Madox Ford (“On Heaven,” excerpts from Henry James: A Critical Study, “On Impressionism,” and “Techniques”); contemporary reviews; and Ezra Pound’s obituary of Ford Madox Ford.
"It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham," wrote Gore Vidal. "He was always so entirely there."
Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom.
"Here is a novel of the utmost importance," wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. "It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. . . . One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones."
With an Introduction by Gore Vidal
Commentary by Theodore Dreiser and Graham Greene
One of the great novels of small-town American life, Appointment in Samarra is John O’Hara’s crowning achievement. In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.
Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, O’Hara’s iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream—and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence if a major American writer.
In this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Said traces the origins of "orientalism" to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined "the orient" simply as "other than" the occident. This entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding. Essential, and still eye-opening, Orientalism remains one of the most important books written about our divided world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of the National Book Award and a modern classic, Sophie’s Choice centers on three characters: Stingo, a sexually frustrated aspiring novelist; Nathan, his charismatic but violent Jewish neighbor; and Sophie, an Auschwitz survivor who is Nathan’s lover. Their entanglement in one another’s lives will build to a stirring revelation of agonizing secrets that will change them forever.
Poetic in its execution, and epic in its emotional sweep, Sophie’s Choice explores the good and evil of humanity through Stingo’s burgeoning worldliness, Nathan’s volatile personality, and Sophie’s tragic past. Mixing elements from Styron’s own experience with themes of the Holocaust and the history of slavery in the American South, the novel is a profound and haunting human drama, representing Styron at the pinnacle of his literary brilliance.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of William Styron, including original letters, rare photos, and never-before-seen documents from the Styron family and the Duke University Archives.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
On the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is a lost soul. A stockbroker and member of an established New Orleans family, Binx’s one escape is the movie theater that transports him from the falseness of his life. With Mardi Gras in full swing, Binx, along with his cousin Kate, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him. Buoyant yet powerful, The Moviegoer is a poignant indictment of modern values, and an unforgettable story of a week that will change two lives forever.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Walker Percy including rare photos from the author’s estate.
But An American Tragedy is more than simply a powerful murder story. Dreiser pours his own dark yearnings into his character, Clyde Griffiths, as he details the young man’s course through his ambitions of wealth, power, and satisfaction.
The Indiana-born Dreiser (1871-1945) has never cut a dashing or romantic swath through American literature. He has no Pulitzer or Nobel Prize to signify his importance. Yet he remains for myriad reasons: his novels are often larger than life, rugged, and defy the norms of conventional morality and organized religion. They are unapologetic in their sexual candor--in fact, outrightly frank--and challenge even modern readers. The brooding force of Dreiser’s writing casts a dark shadow across American letters.
Here in An American Tragedy, Dreiser shows us the flip side of The American Dream in a gathering storm that echoes with all of the power and force of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Inspired by the writings of Balzac and the ideas of Spenser and Freud, Dreiser went on to become one of America’s best naturalist writers. An American Tragedy is testimony to the strength of Dreiser’s work: it retains all of its original intensity and force.