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Burmese Days

George Orwell (Author) , Emma Larkin (Introducer)

Based on his experiences as a policeman in Burma, George Orwell's first novel presents a devastating picture of British colonial rule. It describes corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, 'after all, natives were natives - interesting, no doubt, but finally ... an inferior people'. When Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Indian Dr Veraswami, he defies this orthodoxy. The doctor is in danger: U Po Kyin, a corrupt magistrate, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is membership of the all-white Club, and Flory can help. Flory's life is changed further by the arrival of beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen from Paris, who offers an escape from loneliness and the 'lie' of colonial life.

George Orwell's first novel, inspired by his experiences in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, Burmese Days includes a new introduction by Emma Larkin in Penguin Modern Classics.

Animal Farm

George Orwell (Author)

'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which...'

Halas & Bachelor studio's classic and controversial 1954 animation of Animal Farm, George Orwell's chilling fable of idealism betrayed, was the first ever British animated feature film. This landmark illustrated edition of Orwell's novel was first published alongside it, and features the original line drawings by the film's animators, Joy Batchelor and John Halas.

Orwell and Politics

George Orwell (Author) , Peter Davison (Edited by)

Orwell's classic satire ANIMAL FARM continues to be an international best seller. For the first time ever, ORWELL AND POLITICS brings this major work together with the author's other works exploring the nature of politics and the Second World War.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell (Author)

This is the essential edition of the essential book of modern times, 1984, now annotated for students with an introduction by D. J. Taylor.

Ever since its publication in 1949, George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian regime where Big Brother controls its citizens like 'a boot stamping on a human face' has become a touchstone for human freedom, and one of the most widely-read books in the world. In this new annotated edition Orwell's biographer D. J. Taylor elucidates the full meaning of this timeless satire, explaining contemporary references in the novel, placing it in the context of Orwell's life, elaborating on his extraordinary use of language and explaining the terms such as Newspeak, Doublethink and Room 101 that have become familiar phrases today.

The Complete Novels of George Orwell

George Orwell (Author)

George Orwell's best-known novels, Animal Farm, describing a revolution that goes horribly wrong, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, portraying a world where human freedom has been crushed, are two of the most famous, well-quoted and influential political satires ever written. The other novels in this volume also tell stories of people at odds with repressive institutions: the corrupt imperialism of Burmese Days, disaffection with materialistic society in Keep the Aspidistra Flying, the perils of modern suburban living in Coming Up for Air and surviving on the streets in A Clergyman's Daughter.

All the novels brought together here display Orwell's humour, his understanding of human nature and his great compassion.

Coming Up for Air

George Orwell (Author)

George Orwell's paean to the end of an idyllic era in British history, Coming Up for Air is a poignant account of one man's attempt to recapture childhood innocence as war looms on the horizon.

George Bowling, forty-five, mortgaged, married with children, is an insurance salesman with an expanding waistline, a new set of false teeth - and a desperate desire to escape his dreary life. He fears modern times - since, in 1939, the Second World War is imminent - foreseeing food queues, soldiers, secret police and tyranny. So he decides to escape to the world of his childhood, to the village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquillity. But his return journey to Lower Binfield may bring only a more complete disillusionment ...

'Very funny, as well as invigoratingly realistic ... Nineteen Eighty-Four is here in embryo. So is Animal Farm ... not many novels carry the seeds of two classics as well as being richly readable themselves'
John Carey, Sunday Times

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell (Author) , Peter Davison (Notes by)

Gordon Comstock loathes dull, middle-class respectability and worship of money. He gives up a 'good job' in advertising to work part-time in a bookshop, giving him more time to write. But he slides instead into a self-induced poverty that destroys his creativity and his spirit. Only Rosemary, ever-faithful Rosemary, has the strength to challenge his commitment to his chosen way of life. Through the character of Gordon Comstock, Orwell reveals his own disaffection with the society he once himself renounced.

Enlivened with vivid autobiographical detail, George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a tragically witty account of the struggle to escape from a materialistic existence, with an introduction by Peter Davison in Penguin Modern Classics.

A Clergyman's Daughter

George Orwell (Author)

Intimidated by her father, the rector of Knype Hill, Dorothy performs her submissive roles of dutiful daughter and bullied housekeeper. Her thoughts are taken up with the costumes she is making for the church school play, by the hopelessness of preaching to the poor and by debts she cannot pay in 1930s Depression England. Suddenly her routine shatters and Dorothy finds herself down and out in London. She is wearing silk stockings, has money in her pocket and cannot remember her name. Orwell leads us through a landscape of unemployment, poverty and hunger, where Dorothy's faith is challenged by a social reality that changes her life.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell (Author)

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century.

Animal Farm

George Orwell (Author) , Malcolm Bradbury (Introducer)

'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others'

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.

'It is the history of a revolution that went wrong - and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine,' wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945. Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished; its savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britain's ally, led to the book being refused by publisher after publisher. Orwell's simple, tragic fable has since become a world-famous classic.

This Penguin Modern classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury.

War and Peace

Orlando Figes (Afterword by) , Leo Tolstoy (Author) , Anthony Briggs (Translator)

Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace is a sprawling epic covering the impact of Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia on five different families. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction and notes by Anthony Briggs, with an afterword by Orlando Figes, author of A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution 1891-1924.

At a glittering society party in St Petersburg in 1805, conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon's army marches on Russia, and the lives of three young people are changed forever. The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants to soldiers and Napoleon himself. In War and Peace, Tolstoy entwines grand themes - conflict and love, birth and death, free will and faith - with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur.

Anthony Briggs's superb translation combines stirring, accessible prose with fidelity to Tolstoy's original, while Orlando Figes's afterword discusses the novel's vast scope and depiction of Russian identity. This edition also contains appendices, notes, a list of prominent characters and maps.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was born at Yasnaya Polyana, in central Russia. After marrying Sofya Behrs in 1862, Tolstoy settled down, managing his estates and writing two of his best-known novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878). In 1884 Tolstoy experienced a spiritual crisis, becoming an extreme moralist, rejecting the state, the church and private property. His last novel, Resurrection (1900), was written to raise money for the Doukhobor sect of Christian spiritualists.

If you enjoyed War and Peace, you might also like Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

'A masterpiece ... This new translation is excellent'

— Anthony Beevor

'A book that you don't just read, you live'

— Simon Schama

Mary Barton

Elizabeth Gaskell (Author)

Mary Barton, the daughter of disillusioned trade unionist, rejects her working-class lover Jem Wilson in the hope of marrying Henry Carson, the mill owner’s son, and making a better life for herself and her father. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men. Through Mary’s dilemma, and the moving portrayal of her father, the embittered and courageous activist John Barton, Mary Barton (1848) powerfully dramatizes the class divides of the ‘hungry forties’ as personal tragedy. In its social and political setting, it looks towards Elizabeth Gaskell’s great novels of the industrial revolution, in particular North and South.

On the Eve

Gilbert Gardiner (Author), Ivan Turgenev (Author)

Turgenev is an author who no longer belongs to Russia only. During the last fifteen years of his life he won for himself the reading public, first in France, then in Germany and America, and finally in England. In his funeral oration the spokesman of the most artistic and critical of European nations, Ernest Renan, hailed him as one of the greatest writers of our times: "The Master, whose exquisite works have charmed our century, stand more than any other man as the incarnation of the whole race," because "a whole world lived in him and spoke through his mouth." Not the Russian world only, we may add, but the whole Slavonic world, to which it was "an honour to have been expressed by so great a Master."

As regards his method of dealing with his material and shaping it into mould, he stands even higher than as a pure creator. Tolstoy is more plastical, and certainly as deep and original and rich in creative power as Turgenev, and Dostoevsky is more intense, fervid, and dramatic. But as an artist, as master of the combination of details into a harmonious whole, as an architect of imaginative work, he surpasses all the prose writers of his country, and has but few equals among the great novelists of other lands.

To one familiar with all Turgenev's works it is evident that he possessed the keys of all human emotions, all human feelings, the highest and the lowest, the novel as well as the base.
But there was in him such a love of light, sunshine, and living human poetry, such an organic aversion for all that is ugly, or coarse and discordant, that he makes himself almost exclusively the poet of the gentler side of human nature.

We may say that the description of love is Turgenev's speciality.

The Bostonians

Henry James (Author)

Published in 1886, The Bostonians begins with the arrival in Boston of Basil Ransom, a young Mississippi lawyer in search of a career. Through his cousin, Olive Chancellor, Ransom comes to meet Verena, the beautiful daughter of a charlatan faith-healer and showman. When they hear Verena talk, Olive hopes to win the girl over to the feminist cause, Ransom is attracted to her looks, and a battle for possession of the girl begins.With its discussion of the situation of women and its uncompromising depiction of the city and the media, THE BOSTONIANS is a modern novel which is immediately accessible and relevant today.

Jane Austen: The Complete Works

Jane Austen (Author)

Sense and Sensibility | Pride and Prejudice | Mansfield Park | Emma | Northanger Abbey | Persuasion | Love and Freindship

Few novelists have conveyed the subtleties and nuances of their own social milieu with the wit and insight of Jane Austen. Through her vivacious and spirited heroines and their circle, she paints vivid portraits of English middle-class life as the eighteenth century came to a close. Each of the novels is a love story and a story about marriage - marriage for love, for financial security, for social status. But they are not mere romances; ironic, comic and wise, they are masterly studies of the society Jane Austen observed. The seven books in this box set contain some of the most brilliant, dazzling prose in the English language.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett (Author)

After the death of her parents, Mary is brought back from India as a forlorn and unwanted child, to live in her uncle's great lonely house on the moors. Then one day she discovers the key to a secret garden and, like magic, her life begins to brighten in so many ways.

Roderick Random

David Blewett (Author) , Tobias Smollett (Author)

Roderick is combative, often violent, but capable of great affection and generosity. His father had been disinherited and has left Scotland leaving his son penniless. After a brief apprenticeship to a surgeon, the innocent Roderick travels to London where he encounters various rogues.

The Anger of Achilles

Robert Graves (Author)

War is raging between the Greeks and the Trojans. Achilles, the great warrior champion of the Greek army, is angrily sulking in his tent and refusing to fight, after a row with his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan king Hector kills Achilles’ beloved friend, he plunges back into the battle to seek his bloody revenge – even though he knows it will bring about his own doom.

Robert Graves’s gripping, vigorous retelling of The Iliad portrays quarrelling kings and tarnished heroes, who leave suffering women behind them and are watched over by capricious gods and goddesses. It takes a revered classic back to its roots as popular entertainment.

The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James (Author)

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword and that there is a price to be paid for independence. With its subtle delineation of American characters in a European setting, Portrait of a Lady is one of the most accomplished and popular of Henry James's early novels.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain (Author)

From the famous episodes of the whitewashed fence and the ordeal in the cave to the trial of Injun Joe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is redolent of life in the Mississippi River towns in which Twain spent his own youth. A somber undercurrent flows through the high humor and unabashed nostalgia of the novel, however, for beneath the innocence of childhood lie the inequities of adult reality—base emotions and superstitions, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery. In his introduction, noted Twain scholar John Seelye considers Twain’s impact on American letters and discusses the balance between humorous escapades and serious concern that is found in much of Twain’s writing.

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