When Lafcadio Wluiki, a street-smart nineteen-year-old in 1890s Paris, learns that he’s heir to an ailing French nobleman’s fortune, he’s seized by wanderlust. Traveling through Rome in expensive new threads, he becomes entangled in a Church extortion scandal involving an imprisoned Pope, a skittish purveyor of graveyard statuary, an atheist-turned-believer on the edge of insolvency, and all manner of wastrels, swindlers, aristocrats, adventurers, and pickpockets. With characteristic irony, Gide contrives a hilarious detective farce whereby the wrong man is apprehended, while the charmingly perverse Lafcadio—one of the most original creations in all modern fiction—goes free.
Gide led a life of uncompromising self-scrutiny, and his literary works resembled moments of that life. With If It Die, Gide determined to relay without sentiment or embellishment the circumstances of his childhood and the birth of his philosophic wanderings, and in doing so to bring it all to light. Gide’s unapologetic account of his awakening homosexual desire and his portrait of Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas as they indulged in debauchery in North Africa are thrilling in their frankness and alone make If It Die an essential companion to the work of a twentieth-century literary master.
At the time of his death in 1951, having won the Nobel Prize in Literature only four years prior, André Gide was considered one of the most important literary minds of the twentieth century. In Corydon, initially released anonymously in installments between 1911 and 1920, Gide speaks his most subversive and provocative truth.
Citing myriad examples that span thousands of years, Gide’s Socratic dialogues argue that homosexuality is natural—in fact, far more so than the social construct of exclusive heterosexuality, the act of systematically banning or ostracizing same-sex relationships.
Corydon, named for the pederast character in Virgil’s Eclogues, caused its author “all kinds of trouble,” according to his friends, but he regarded it as his most important work. The courage, intelligence, and prescience of Gide’s argument make it all the more impressive today.
Bel Ami, written at the height of Guy de Maupassant’s powers, is a classic novel of seduction, intrigue, and ruthless social climbing in belle époque Paris.
Georges Duroy is a down-and-out journalist from a humble background who engineers a stunning rise to the top of Parisian society through his relationships with influential and wealthy women. Making the most of his charm and good looks (his admirers nickname him “Bel Ami”), Duroy exploits the weaknesses of others to his own advantage—in the process betraying the woman who has most selflessly supported him. Published in 1885, Bel Ami is not only a vivid portrait of a glamorously corrupt and long-vanished Paris, but also a strikingly modern exposé of the destructiveness of unconstrained ambition, sex, and power.
Translated from the French by Ernest Boyd
This book is published by Booklassic which brings young readers closer to classic literature globally.
Père Goriot — one of the outstanding novels in The Human Comedy, Balzac's panoramic study of Parisian life — features richly detailed settings, a skillfully related plot, and a vibrant cast of characters. Young Rastignac's acquaintance with the elderly widower Goriot, a formerly wealthy merchant impoverished by the demands of his fashionable daughters, lies at the heart of this story of love and greed. Acclaimed by critic Leslie Stephen as "the modern King Lear," Père Goriot offers a timeless view of the tragedies behind the prosaic details of everyday life.
Bruno and Michel are half-brothers abandoned by their mother, an unabashed devotee of the drugged-out free-love world of the sixties. Bruno, the older, has become a raucously promiscuous hedonist himself, while Michel is an emotionally dead molecular biologist wholly immersed in the solitude of his work. Each is ultimately offered a final chance at genuine love, and what unfolds is a brilliantly caustic and unpredictable tale.
Translated from the French by Frank Wynne.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Critically lauded upon its initial publication in 1982 for its pioneering depiction of homosexuality, A Boy’s Own Story is a moving tale about coming-of-age in midcentury America.
With searing clarity and unabashed wit, Edmund White’s unnamed protagonist yearns for what he knows to be shameful. He navigates an uneasy relationship with his father, confounds first loves, and faces disdain from his peers at school. In the embrace of another, he discovers the sincere and clumsy pleasures of adolescent sexuality. But for boys in the 1950s, these desires were unthinkable. Looking back on his experiences, the narrator notes, “I see now that what I wanted was to be loved by men and to love them back but not to be a homosexual.”
This trailblazing autobiographical story of one boy’s youth is a moving, tender, and heartbreaking portrait of what it means to grow up.
Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras's childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. In spare yet luminous prose, Duras evokes life on the margins of Saigon in the waning days of France's colonial empire, and its representation in the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts.
Long unavailable in hardcover, this edition of The Lover includes a new introduction by Maxine Hong Kingston that looks back at Duras's world from an intriguing new perspective--that of a visitor to Vietnam today.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Charterhouse of Parma chronicles the exploits of Fabrizio del Dongo, an ardent young aristocrat who joins Napoleon's army just before the Battle of Waterloo. Yet perhaps the novel's most unforgettable characters are the hero's beautiful aunt, the alluring Duchess of Sanseverina, and her lover, Count Mosca, who plot to further Fabrizio's political career at the treacherous court of Parma in a sweeping story that illuminates an entire epoch of European history.
"Stendhal has written The Prince up to date, the novel that Machiavelli would write if he were living banished from Italy in the nineteenth century," noted Balzac in his famous review of The Charterhouse of Parma. "Never before have the hearts of princes, ministers, courtiers, and women been depicted like this. . . . One sees perfection in every detail. . . . [It] has the magnitude of a canvas fifty feet by thirty, and at the same time the manner, the execution, is Dutch in its minuteness. . . . The Charterhouse of Parma often contains a whole book in a single page. . . . It is a masterpiece."
This edition includes original illustrations by Robert Andrew Parker and Notes and a Translator's Afterword by Richard Howard.
The Thief’s Journal is perhaps Jean Genet’s most authentically biographical novel, personifying his quest for spiritual glory through the pursuit of evil. Writing in the intensely lyrical prose style that is his trademark, the man Jean Cocteau dubbed France’s “Black Prince of Letters” here reconstructs his early adult years—time he spent as a petty criminal and vagabond, traveling through Spain and Antwerp, occasionally border hopping across the rest of Europe, always one step ahead of the authorities
Helena wasn’t born a slave. She wants nothing more than to return home, yet her stoic master fascinates her...he’s as bold as the wild northlands.
But war is brewing —a kingdom’s in the balance and Hakan must take up his sword. Can the Viking warrior defend his homeland and keep the woman he loves?
“A story rich in historical detail and peopled with well-formed characters...Excellent read!”--Author Cheryl Howe
"A master at piquing the reader's interest, Gina Conkle has crafted a mesmerizing story that evokes strong emotions in readers."--4.5 star review, RomanceHistoricalLovers.com
"With intelligence, candor, humor--and anger--White explores the most insidious aspects of oppression.... An impressive novel."--Washington Post book World
When Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man first appeared, it shocked many with its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in maturity. Isherwood's favorite of his own novels, it now stands as a classic lyric meditation on life as an outsider.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Nietzsche's notebooks, kept by him during his most productive years, offer a fascinating glimpse into the workshop and mind of a great thinker, and compare favorably with the notebooks of Gide and Kafka, Camus and Wittgenstein. The Will to Power, compiled from the notebooks, is one of the most famous boooks of the philosophy. Here is the first critical edition in any language.
Down through the Nazi period The Will to Power was often mistakenly considered to be Nietzche's crowning systematic labor; since World War II it has frequently been denigrated. In fact, it represents a stunning selection from Nietzsche's notebooks, in a a topical arrangement that enables the reader to find what Nietzsche's wrote on a variety of subjects.
Walter Kaufmann, in collaboration with R. J. Holilngdale, brings to this volume his unsurpassed skills as a Nietzsche translator and scholar. Professor Kaufmann has included an approximate date of each note. His running footnote commentary offers information needed to follow Nietzsche's train of thought, and indicates, among other things, which notes were eventually superseded by later formulations. The comprehensive index serves to guide the reader to the extraordinary riches of this book.
The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s solitaire is the family behind the diamond empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and mavens, the Saybrooks are the epitome of high society. Anyone would kill to be one of them. But be careful what you wish for, because if you were a Saybrook, you’d be haunted by secrets and plagued by a dark streak of luck.
Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again on a beautiful morning in May when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most remarkable Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her office. Everyone is shocked that someone so perfect would end her own life—until her cousins receive an ominous warning: One heiress down, four to go.
Was it suicide . . . or murder? And who will be next: Aster, the beautiful but reckless girl who’s never worked a day in her life—and who’s covering up her father’s darkest secret? Her older sister, Corrine, whose meticulously planned future is about to come crashing down around her? Perhaps it will be Natasha, the black sheep of the family who suddenly disinherited herself five years ago. Or maybe the perpetually single Rowan, who had the most to gain from her cousin’s death.
A gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about heiresses who must uncover a dark truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.
"Raymond Mackenzie's elegant new translation of Émile Zola's Germinal captures the diction of the novel's colorful characters and the restrained voice of a naturalist narrator. David Baguley's introduction analyzes Zola’s personal background, his literary and scientific influences, and the historical circumstances of French workers in the 1860s as well as a spectrum of political acts and deeds in the 1880s when the novel was written. These features plus Zola’s notes on the town of Anzin that he studied prior to writing the novel, make this the edition of choice for course adoptions in history and literature." --Stephen Kern, Humanities Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Ohio State University
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"The First Man is perhaps the most honest book Camus ever wrote, and the most sensual...Camus is...writing at the depth of his powers...It is a work of genius."--The New Yorker
"Fascinating...The First Man helps put all of Camus's work into a clearer perspective and brings into relief what separates him from the more militant literary personalities of his day...Camus's voice has never been more personal."--New York Times Book Review
'I always wanted to be historical,' Gertrude Stein once quipped. In 1932, Stein began writing the 'autobiography' of her longtime friend and companion, Alice B. Toklas. The book, an immediate bestseller, guaranteed them both a place in history. An account of their life together in Paris before, during, and after World War I, it is full of the atmosphere of the changing life of the city and of idiosyncratic glimpses of such figures as Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Cocteau, Apollinaire, Pound, Eliot, Hemingway, and other luminaries and aspirants who were their close friends. But at the center of the narrative there is always the titanic figure of Gertrude Stein, the self-proclaimed 'first-class genius' who some dismissed as the 'Mother Goose of Montparnasse,' presiding over her celebrated residence-salon-art gallery at 27, rue de Fleurus. William Troy remarked about her: 'It is not flippant to say that if she had not come to exist . . . it would be necessary to invent Miss Gertrude Stein.'
Enthralling as faction, suffused with de Beauvoir’s remarkable insights into women, The Woman Destroyed gives us a legendary writer at her best.
The final volume of a new, definitive text of A la recherche du temps perdu was published by the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade in 1989. For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation to take into account the new French editions.
Winner of the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award | Winner of the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award
A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.
Praise for Rubyfruit Jungle
“Groundbreaking.”—The New York Times
“Powerful . . . a truly incredible book . . . I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later.”—The Boston Globe
“You can’t fully know—or enjoy—how much the world has changed without reading this truly wonderful book.”—Andrew Tobias, author of The Best Little Boy in the World
“A crass and hilarious slice of growing up ‘different,’ as fun to read today as it was in 1973.”—The Rumpus
“Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant—genuine female descendant—of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter.”—Donna E. Shalala
“A trailblazing literary coup at publication . . . It was the right book at the right time.”—Lee Lynch, author of Beggar of Love
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Buddenbrooks, first published in Germany in 1900, when Mann was only twenty-five, has become a classic of modem literature -- the story of four generations of a wealthy bourgeois family in northern Germany. With consummate skill, Mann draws a rounded picture of middle-class life: births and christenings; marriages, divorces, and deaths; successes and failures. These commonplace occurrences, intrinsically the same, vary slightly as they recur in each succeeding generation. Yet as the Buddenbrooks family eventually succumbs to the seductions of modernity -- seductions that are at variance with its own traditions -- its downfall becomes certain.
In immensity of scope, richness of detail, and fullness of humanity, Buddenbrooks surpasses all other modem family chronicles; it has, indeed, proved a model for most of them. Judged as the greatest of Mann's novels by some critics, it is ranked as among the greatest by all. Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1929.
From the Hardcover edition.
When John Rechy’s explosive first novel appeared in 1963, it marked a radical departure in fiction, and gave voice to a subculture that had never before been revealed with such acuity. It earned comparisons to Genet and Kerouac, even as Rechy was personally attacked by scandalized reviewers. Nevertheless, the book became an international bestseller, and fifty years later, it has become a classic. Bold and inventive in style, Rechy is unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “youngman” and his search for self-knowledge within the neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and the denizens of their world, as he moves from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter. Now including never-seen original marked galley pages and an interview with the author, Rechy’s portrait of the edges of America has lost none of its power to move and exhilarate.