Spotlight on a classic: The Marvellous (but authentic) Adventures of Captain Corcoran

The Marvellous (But Authentic) Adventures of Captain Corcoran

Alfred Assollant (and others)

Introducing the Marvellous Captain Corcoran – he is charming to ladies, courteous to true gentlemen, death to pirates and merciless to the English. He speaks several languages, can bend an iron bar with his bare hands, and has adventured his way across the seven seas with his faithful friend Louison by his side. Loyal only to her master, Louison can be a little boisterous, and there’s devil to pay when she misses a meal (she is a tiger, after all).

Corcoran is on the hunt for a lost sacred Hindu text. Once in India, he is soon distracted from his quest by the claims of Prince Holkar, his lotus-eyed daughter, and their daring stand against the English occupying forces.

Beloved by many French schoolchildren (including the young Jean-Paul Sartre) at the turn of the century, the marvellous Corcoran has been too long forgotten. Sam Miller (author of Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes) has loving translated these wild, funny, unabashedly romantic adventures from the French for the first time so that the Captain and his charming Louison can be embraced by a new generation of readers, young and old.

Beautiful books

Chilling tales

New and forthcoming

The Grand Babylon Hotel

Arnold Bennett

Nella, daughter of millionaire Theodore Racksole, orders a dinner of steak and beer at the exclusive Grand Babylon Hotel in London. Her order is refused, so Theodore promptly buys the chef, the kitchen and the whole hotel. But when hotel staff begin to vanish and a German prince goes missing, Nella discovers that murder, blackmail and kidnapping are also on the menu. A rollicking murder mystery from one of the finest writers of the last century.

And Quiet Flows the Don

Mikhail Sholokhov (and others)

The epic novel of love, war and revolution from Mikhail Sholokhov, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

An extraordinary Russian masterpiece, And Quiet Flows the Don follows the turbulent fortunes of the Cossack people through peace, war and revolution - among them the proud and rebellious Gregor Melekhov, who struggles to be with the woman he loves as his country is torn apart. Borne of Mikhail Sholokhov's own early life in the lands of the Cossacks by the river Don, it is a searing portrait of a nation swept up in conflict, with all the tragic choices it brings.

Anna of the Five Towns

Arnold Bennett

Miserly and mysterious, the richest man in the Five Towns lives simply, ruling his household with an iron fist and a cruel temper. His daughter, Anna, is used to the life of strict, thrifty order imposed by her father. But when she comes of age, Anna inherits a small fortune and attracts the attentions of the town's most eligible bachelor. A new world seems to be opening to Anna, but her heart, given a taste of freedom, leads her in unexpected directions.

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott (and others)

A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the evergreen classic novel by Louisa May Alcott.

With their father away fighting in the American Civil War, the four March girls are facing a lean Christmas with their mother. But the sisters’ close bond and determination to make the best of things enables them to find happiness despite their poverty.

As the years go by we follow their fortunes as they journey into womanhood. Meg the beauty, Jo the tomboy, shy Beth and precocious Amy will encounter adventure, hardship, joys and disappointments, and learn to meet the challenges of life as they become independent and make their way in the world. While marriage and motherhood may beckon for the sisters, their most enduring love is always for each other.

First published in 1868 and never out of print since, this iconic coming-of-age tale is a perennial favourite that has touched the hearts of generations of readers. This moving BBC Radio 4 dramatisation stars Natasha J Barnes, Julianna Jennings, Bryony Hannah and Samantha Dakin as Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, with Tara Ward as Mrs March and Alex Lanipekun as Laurie.

Duration: 2 hours 20 mins approx.

The Burrow

Franz Kafka (and others)

A superb new translation by Michael Hofmann of some of Kafka's most frightening and visionary short fiction

Strange beasts, night terrors, absurd bureaucrats and sinister places abound in this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. Some are less than a page long, others more substantial; all were unpublished in his lifetime. These matchless short works range from the gleeful miniature horror 'Little Fable' to the off-kilter humour of 'Investigations of a Dog', and from the elaborate waking nightmare of 'Building the Great Wall of China' to the creeping unease of 'The Burrow', where a nameless creature's labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.

It Can't Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis

It's 1935 and discontent is rife in America. From the political margins appears Buzz Windrip, charismatic presidential candidate and 'inspired guesser at what political doctrines the people would like'. Sweeping to power amid mass elation, he promises wealth for all and the dawn of a glorious new era. Small-town newspaper editor Doremus Jessop is worried, especially when the new regime becomes increasingly authoritarian. But what can one individual do to fight an all-powerful state? Sinclair Lewis's terrifying cautionary tale pits liberal complacency against popular fascism and shows: yes, it really can happen here.

Agnes Grey

Anne Brontë

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SAMANTHA ELLIS

When Agnes’s father loses the family savings, young Agnes determines to make her own living – as a governess. Working for the Bloomfields, her enthusiasm is soon dampened by isolation and the cruelty of the children in her charge. Agnes hopes for better in her second job, but when the scheming elder daughter Rosalie makes designs on Agnes’s new friend, the kind curate Mr Weston, she feels herself silenced and sidelined. Becoming a governess is one thing, becoming invisible is quite another.

War and Peace (Vintage Classic Russians Series)

Leo Tolstoy

THE ACCLAIMED TRANSLATION BY RICHARD PEVEAR AND LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY

'If you've never read it, now is the moment. This translation will show that you don't read War and Peace, you live it' The Times

From sophisticated Moscow soirees to breathless troika rides through the snow, from the bloody front line at Austerlitz to a wife’s death in childbirth, Tolstoy conjures a broad panorama of rich, messy, beautiful and debased human life. We follow the fates of open-hearted, impulsive Pierre Bezukhov, his melancholy friend Prince Andrei and the enchanting Natasha Rostov, as history and fiction are combined in one of the wisest and most enthralling novels ever written.

‘A joy to read… The sense of actually being in the skin of these people is phenomenally, brilliantly rendered by this translation’ Simon Schama


The Vintage Classic Russians Series: Published for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, these are must-have, beautifully designed editions of six epic masterpieces that have survived controversy, censorship and suppression to influence decades of thought and artistic expression.

Anna Karenina (Vintage Classic Russians Series)

Leo Tolstoy

TRANSLATED BY LOUISE AND AYLMER MAUDE

Anna is a beautiful, intelligent woman whose passionate affair with the dashing Count Vronsky leads her to ruin. But her story is also about a search for meaning, and by twinning it with that of Levin, an awkward idealist whose happy marriage and domestic trials form the backdrop for a similar quest, Tolstoy creates a rich and complex masterpiece that has captured the imagination of readers for decades.

The Vintage Classic Russians Series: Published for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, these are must-have, beautifully designed editions of six epic masterpieces that have survived controversy, censorship and suppression to influence decades of thought and artistic expression.

Crime And Punishment (Vintage Classic Russians Series)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

TRANSLATED BY RICHARD PEVEAR AND LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY
Consumed by the idea of his own special destiny, immured in poverty and deprivation, Rashkolnikov is drawn to commit a terrible crime. In the aftermath, Rashkolnikov is dogged by madness, guilt and a calculating detective, and a feverish cat-and-mouse game unfolds. The only hope for redemption, if Rashkolnikov can but recognise it, lies in the virtuous and faithful Sonya.

The Vintage Classic Russians Series: Published for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, these are must-have, beautifully designed editions of six epic masterpieces that have survived controversy, censorship and suppression to influence decades of thought and artistic expression.