Books

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Robin Waterfield (and others)

The classic underwater adventure available in Puffin Classics.
A mission to rid the seas of a monstrous creature becomes a terrifying nightmare when Professor Aronnax, Conseil and Ned Land are thrown overboard. The huge marine animal which has haunted the water is no living beast, but a spectacular man-made vessel, and the three men find themselves the helpless prisoners of Captain Nemo. Resigned to their fate, they begin a miraculous journey on the submarine ship which can travel through waters never before explored. For the Professor, at least, this voyage is one he would not have missed for the world.

Conversations of Socrates

Xenophon (and others)

After the execution of Socrates in 399 BC, a number of his followers wrote dialogues featuring him as the protagonist and, in so doing, transformed the great philosopher into a legendary figure. Xenophon's portrait is the only one other than Plato's to survive, and while it offers a very personal interpretation of Socratic thought, it also reveals much about the man and his philosophical views. In 'Socrates' Defence' Xenophon defends his mentor against charges of arrogance made at his trial, while the 'Memoirs of Socrates' also starts with an impassioned plea for the rehabilitation of a wronged reputation. Along with 'The Estate-Manager', a practical economic treatise, and 'The Dinner-Party', a sparkling exploration of love, Xenophon's dialogues offer fascinating insights into the Socratic world and into the intellectual atmosphere and daily life of ancient Greece.

The Prophet

Khalil Gibran (and others)

A hugely influential philosophical work of prose poetry, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is an inspirational, allegorical guide to living, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Robin Waterfield.

First published in the 1920's, The Prophet is perhaps the most famous work of religious fiction of the twentieth century, and has sold millions of copies in more than twenty languages. Gibran's Prophet speaks of many things central to daily life: love, marriage, death, beauty, passion, eating, work and play. The spiritual message he imparts, of finding divinity through love, blends eastern mysticism, religious faith and philosophy with simple advice. The Prophet became the bible of 1960s culture and was credited with founding the New Age movement, yet it still continues to inspire people around the world today. This edition is illustrated with Gibran's famous visionary paintings.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) was a poet, philosopher and artist, who stands among the most important Arabic language authors of the early twentieth century. Born in Lebanon, he spent the last twenty years of his life in the United States, where for many years he was the leader of a Lebansese writing circle in New York. He is the author of numerous volumes, including The Garden of the Prophet, The Storm, The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart, The Vision, Reflections on the Way of the Soul, and Spirit Brides.

If you enjoyed The Prophet, you might like Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'His work goes on from generation to generation'
Daily Mail

'To read it was to transcend ordinary levels of perception, to become aware ... of a more intense level of being'
Independent

Robinson Crusoe

Robin Waterfield (and others)

After surviving a terrible shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe discovers he is the only human on an island far from any shipping routes or rescue. At first he is devastated, but slowly, with patience and imagination, he transforms his island into a tropical paradise. For twenty-four years he lives with no human companionship - until one fateful day, when he discovers he is not alone...

Puffin Classics edition has been specially abridged.

Theaetetus

Plato (and others)

Set immediately prior to the trial and execution of Socrates in 399 BC, Theaetetus shows the great philosopher considering the nature of knowledge itself, in a debate with the geometrician Theodorus and his young follower Theaetetus. Their dialogue covers many questions, such as: is knowledge purely subjective, composed of the ever-changing flow of impressions we receive from the outside world? Is it better thought of as 'true belief'? Or is it, as many modern philosophers argue, 'justified true belief', in which the belief is supported by argument or evidence? With skill and eloquence, Socrates guides the debate, drawing out the implications of these theories and subjecting them to merciless and mesmerising criticism. One of the founding works of epistemology, this profound discussion of the problem of knowledge continues to intrigue and inspire.

Biography

Robin Waterfield