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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.
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.
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
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.
'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.
'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.
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.
'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.
Published: 27 Aug 2015
Confession of a Child of the Century, now a major new film starring Pete Doherty (frontman of The Libertines, Babyshambles), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia), and Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), is Alfred de Musset's classic French novel of infidelity and decadence. This Penguin Classics edition, from award-winning translator David Coward, is the first new English version of Musset's novel in a hundred years.
The Napoleonic Wars are over. Octave (Pete Doherty), a young Parisian, loves his mistress Elise (Lily Cole) - until he witnesses her being unfaithful. In despair, he descends into decadence and libertinism. However, the death of his father takes Octave to the countryside where he falls in love with Brigitte (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a young widow who spends most of her days caring for others. At first, Brigitte tries to resist his advances, but eventually they become lovers. Octave, however, is quickly overcome by suspicion. Will Brigitte remain true to him? Doesn't every woman betray her lover sooner or later?
Sylvie Verheyde's production of Confession of a Child of the Century, screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, brings to life the all the debauchery, despair and passionate love of de Musset's classic novel.
Alfred de Musset (1810-57) was born in Paris. He attempted careers in medicine, law and drawing before publishing his first collection of poems, Contes d'Espagne et d'Italie (1829). He subsequently wrote numerous plays, and the erotic novel Gamiani, or Two Nights of Excess (1833) is sometimes attributed to him. From 1833 to 1835, he had an affair with the novelist George Sand, which became the basis for his most famous novel La Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle (1836). Sand herself also fictionalized the affair in her novel Elle et lui.
Published: 6 Dec 2012
Ten-year-old Randal Thane is distressed to be taken from his mother, his governess and his home and sent to prep school. But once there, he discovers an adult world he had never before imagined, and falls unwillingly but entirely under the spell of a charismatic older boy, Felton, who will introduce him to all the pleasures, pains and perplexities of first love.
A unique, enchanting and complicated coming-of-age story about the passion between two young boys, In the Making is widely hailed as G. F. Green's masterpiece, and is now in print for the first time since its original publication in 1952.
G.H., a well-to-do Rio sculptress, enters the room of her maid, which is as clear and white 'as in an insane asylum from which dangerous objects have been removed'. There she sees a cockroach - black, dusty, prehistoric - crawling out of the wardrobe and, panicking, slams the door on it. Her irresistible fascination with the dying insect provokes a spiritual crisis, in which she questions her place in the universe and her very identity, propelling her towards an act of shocking transgression. Clarice Lispector's spare, deeply disturbing yet luminous novel transforms language into something otherworldly, and is one of her most unsettling and compelling works.
Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer. Her innovation in fiction brought her international renown. References to her literary work pervade the music and literature of Brazil and Latin America. She was born in the Ukraine in 1920, but in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Civil War, the family fled to Romania and eventually sailed to Brazil. She published her first novel, Near to the Wildheart in 1943 when she was just twenty-three, and the next year was awarded the Graça Aranha Prize for the best first novel. Many felt she had given Brazillian literature a unique voice in the larger context of Portuguese literature. After living variously in Italy, the UK, Switzerland and the US, in 1959, Lispector with her children returned to Brazil where she wrote her most influential novels including The Passion According to G.H. She died in 1977, shortly after the publication of her final novel, The Hour of the Star.
Introducing Bombay CID's most dogged, dutiful officer, and one of the greatest, most engaging creations in all detective fiction, H.R.F. Keating's The Perfect Murder: The First Inspector Ghote Mystery includes a preface by Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, in Penguin Modern Classics.
One crime that couldn't have happened, one that probably hasn't. Nothing's ever easy for Inspector Ghote. In the house of Lala Varde, a vast man of even vaster influence, an attack has taken place. Varde's secretary, Mr Perfect, has been struck on his invaluable business head. And try as Inspector Ghote might to remain conscientious and methodical, his investigation is beset on all sides by cunning, disdain and corruption. And then there's another urgent case to be dealt with: the impossible theft of a single rupee . . .
H. R. F. Keating (1926-2011) was born at St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex. He went to Merchant Taylors, leaving early to work in the engineering department of the BBC. After a period of service in the army, which he describes as 'totally undistinguished', he went to Trinity College, Dublin, where he became a scholar in modern languages. He was also the crime books reviewer for The Times for fifteen years. His first novel about Inspector Ghote, The Perfect Murder, won the Gold Dagger of the Crime Writers Association and an Edgar Allen Poe Special Award. His other works in Penguin Modern Classics include Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg, Inspector Ghote Trusts the Heart, and Under a Monsoon Cloud: An Inspector Ghote Mystery.
If you enjoyed The Perfect Murder, you might like Keating's Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'May the redoubtable Ghote go on for ever'
'Beautiful little classics'
Alexander McCall Smith
Anthony Trollope's heartwarming tales of Christmas, presented in a beautiful hardcover edition perfect for giving as a gift.
Christmas at Thompson Hall collects the best Christmas tales of Anthony Trollope, the enormously popular author of the Chronicles of Barsetshire and Palliser series of novels. Mostly set in Trollope's imaginary county of Barsetshire, the stories depict the festive period with all Trollope's trademark zest, humour, and cheerfulness, and offer rich and psychologically acute portrayals of the middle class and gentry of Victorian England at Christmas time.
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was born in London to a bankrupt barrister father and a mother who, as a well-known writer, supported the family. Trollope enjoyed considerable acclaim both as a novelist and as a senior civil servant in the British Postal Service. He published more than forty novels and many short stories that are regarded by some as among the greatest of nineteenth-century fiction.
Published: 6 Nov 2014
Bernard Mac Laverty (Author) , Ronald Carter (Edited by) , Valerie Durow (Edited by)Cal has very few choices in life. He can continue working at the abattoir that sickens him, or join the ranks of the unemployed. He can brood on his past or try to plan a future with Marcella. Cal is a haunting love story set against the fear and violence of Ulster, where tenderness and innocence must struggle to survive.
Published: 26 Oct 2000
The Penguin English Library Edition of Evelina by Frances Burney
'O Sir, how much uneasiness must I suffer, to counterbalance one short morning of happiness!'
In this comic and sharply incisive satire of excess and affectations, beautiful young Evelina falls victim to the rakish advances of Sir Clement Willoughby on her entrance to the world of fashionable London. Colliding with the manners and customs of a society she doesn't understand, she finds herself without hope that she should ever deserve the attention of the man she loves. Frances Burney's first novel brilliantly sends up eighteenth-century society - and its opinions of women - while enticingly depicting its delights.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
Chariton (Author) , Longus (Author) , Helen Morales (Edited by), John Penwill (Translator) , Phiroze Vasunia (Translator) , Rosanna Omitowoju (Translator)In this collection of Greek fiction written between the first and fourth centuries AD, 'Callirhoe' is the stirring tale of star-crossed lovers Chaereas and Callirhoe, torn apart when she is kidnapped and sold as a slave, while 'Daphnis and Chloe' tells of a boy and girl abandoned at birth, who grow up to fall in love and battle pirates. Greek Fiction - also containing 'Letters of Chion', an early thriller about tyranny and a political assassination - is a fascinating glimpse into an alternative view of Ancient Greece's literary culture.
Theodore Dreiser (Author) , Larzer Ziff (Introducer)A master of gritty naturalism, Theodore Dreiser explores the corruption of the American dream in The Financier. Frank Cowperwood, a fiercely ambitious businessman, emerges as the very embodiment of greed as he relentlessly seeks satisfaction in wealth, women, and power. As Cowperwood deals and double-deals, betrays and is in turn betrayed, his rise and fall come to represent the American success story stripped down to brutal realities-a struggle for spoils without conscience or pity. Dreiser's 1912 classic remains an unsparing social critique as well as a devastating character study of one of the most unforgettable American businessmen in twentieth-century literature.
Published: 2 Apr 2009