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The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James (Author)

The Penguin English Library edition of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

'She knew of no wrong that he had done; he was not violent, he was not cruel; she simply believed that he hated her'

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 her freedom, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. Then she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond. Charming and cultivated, Osmond sees Isabel as a rich prize waiting to be taken. In this portrait of a 'young woman affronting her destiny', Henry James created one of his most magnificent heroines, and a story of intense poignancy.

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.

Treasure Island and The Ebb-Tide

Robert Louis Stevenson (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Treasure Island and The Ebb-Tide by Robert Louis Stevenson

'"One more step, Mr Hands," said I, "and I'll blow your brains out"'

In Treasure Island, a weathered old sailor known as Billy Bones arrives at the inn of young Jim Hawkins's parents - and it is the start of an adventure beyond anything he could have imagined. For when Bones dies mysteriously, Jim stumbles across a map of a mysterious island in his sea chest - where 'X' marks the spot of a stash of buried pirate gold. Setting sail with his friends on the ship Hispaniola to recover the treasure, Jim soon realizes that he's not the only one who knows about the hoard. Suddenly he is thrown into a world of treachery, mutiny, castaways and murder and, at the centre of it all, is the charming but sinister Long John Silver, who will stop at nothing to grab his share of the loot... The Ebb-Tide, a short novel published the year of Stevenson's death, is also a rollicking seafaring adventure, narrating the voyage of a stolen ship whilst exploring such themes as imperialism, violence, dishonesty, Christianity and corruption.

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.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

'I cannot allow any man to - to criticise my private conduct!' she exclaimed. 'Nor will I for a minute'

Hardy's powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men - respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel - making her the object of scandal and betrayal. Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, Far from the Madding Crowd shows the precarious position of a woman in a man's world.

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.

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

"May you not rest, as long as I am living. You said I killed you - haunt me, then"

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

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.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

'"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). "Now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Goodbye, feet!"'

'I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole ... without the least idea what was to happen afterwards,' wrote Lewis Carroll, describing how Alice was conjured up one 'golden afternoon' in 1862 to entertain his child-friend Alice Liddell. His dream worlds of nonsensical Wonderland and the back-to-front Looking Glass kingdom depict order turned upside-down: a baby turns into a pig, time is abandoned at a disorderly tea-party and a chaotic game of chess makes a seven-year-old girl a Queen. But amongst the anarchic humour and sparkling word play, puzzles and riddles, are poignant moments of nostalgia for lost childhood.

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.

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

'Death!' I shouted. 'Death is coming! Death!'

In this pioneering, shocking and nightmarish tale, naïve suburban Londoners investigate a strange cylinder from space, but are instantly incinerated by an all-destroying heat-ray. Soon, gigantic killing machines that chase and feed on human prey are threatening the whole of humanity. A pioneering work of alien invasion fiction, The War of the World's journalistic style contrasts disturbingly with its horrifying visions of the human race under siege.

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.

Framley Parsonage

Anthony Trollope (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

'He was sickened also with all these lies. His very soul was dismayed by the dirt through which he was forced to wade. He had become unconsciously connected with the lowest dregs of mankind, and would have to see his name mingled with theirs in the daily newspapers'

Mark Robarts is a clergyman with ambitions beyond his small country parish of Framley. In a naive attempt to mix in influential circles, he agrees to guarantee a bill for a large sum of money for the disreputable local Member of Parliament, while being helped in his career in the Church by the same hand. But the unscrupulous politician reneges on his financial obligations, and Mark must face the consequences this debt may bring to his family.

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.

Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

'A parish child - the orphan of a workhouse - the humble, half-starved drudge - to be cuffed and buffeted through the world, despised by all, and pitied by none'

Dark, mysterious and mordantly funny, Oliver Twist features some of the most memorably drawn villains in all of fiction - the treacherous gangmaster Fagin, the menacing thug Bill Sikes, the Artful Dodger and their den of thieves in the grimy London backstreets. Dicken's novel is both an angry indictment of poverty, and an adventure filled with an air of threat and pervasive evil.

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.

David Copperfield

Charles Dickens (Author)

'Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show'

Dickens's epic, exuberant novel is one of the greatest coming-of-age stories in literature. It chronicles David Copperfield's extraordinary journey through life, as he encounters villains, saviours, eccentrics and grotesques, including the wicked Mr Murdstone, stout-hearted Peggotty, formidable Betsey Trotwood, impecunious Micawber and odious Uriah Heep.

Dickens's great Bildungsroman (based, in part, on his own boyhood, and which he described as a 'favourite child') is a work filled with life, both comic and tragic.

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.

Ivanhoe

Walter Scott (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Ivanhoe by Walter Scott

'Fight on, brave knights! Man dies, but glory lives!'

Banished from England for seeking to marry against his father's wishes, Ivanhoe joins Richard the Lion Heart on a crusade in the Holy Land. On his return, his passionate desire is to be reunited with the beautiful but forbidden lady Rowena, but he soon finds himself playing a more dangerous game as he is drawn into a bitter power struggle between the noble King Richard and his evil and scheming brother John. The first of Scott's novels to address a purely English subject, Ivanhoe is set in a highly romanticized medieval world of tournaments and sieges, chivalry and adventure where dispossessed Saxons are pitted against their Norman overlords, and where the historical and fictional seamlessly merge.

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.

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

'Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare'

Chilling, prophetic and hugely influential, The Time Machine sees a Victorian scientist propel himself into the year 802,701 AD, where he is delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty and contentment in the form of the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man. But he soon realizes that they are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and living in terror of the sinister Morlocks lurking in the deep tunnels, who threaten his very return home. H. G. Wells defined much of modern science fiction with this 1895 tale of time travel, which questions humanity, society, and our place on Earth.

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.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

'All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil'

Published as a 'shilling shocker', Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with 'damnable young man' Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil.

This edition also includes Stevenson's chilling story 'The Bottle Imp'.
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.

A Study in Scarlet

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Penguin English Library edition

When Dr John Watson takes rooms in Baker Street with amateur detective Sherlock Holmes, he has no idea that he is about to enter a shadowy world of criminality and violence. Accompanying Holmes to an ill-omened house in south London, Watson is startled to find a dead man whose face is contorted in a rictus of horror. There is no mark of violence on the body yet a single word is written on the wall in blood. Dr Watson is as baffled as the police, but Holmes's brilliant analytical skills soon uncover a trail of murder, revenge and lost love . . .

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

'Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!'

Described by Dickens as 'the best story I have written', A Tale of Two Cities interweaves thrilling historical drama with heartbreaking personal tragedy. It vividly depicts a revolutionary Paris running red with blood, and a London where the poor starve. In the midst of the chaos two men - an exiled French aristocrat and a dissolute English lawyer - are both redeemed and condemned by their love for the same woman, as the shadow of La Guillotine draws closer...

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.

The Island of Doctor Moreau

H. G. Wells (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

'That black figure, with its eyes of fire, struck down through all my adult thoughts and feelings, and for a moment the forgotten horrors of childhood came back to my mind'

Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo - a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery's master, the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments - with truly horrific results.

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.

The Great God Pan

Arthur Machen (Author)

'I will not read it; I should never sleep again'

A doctor performs an experiment on a young woman that goes horribly wrong, and a series of increasingly strange events follow: sinister woodland rituals, disappearances, suicides... Viewed as immoral and decadent on first publication in 1894, Machen's weird tale has since established itself as a classic of its genre and has been described by Stephen King as 'one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language'.

The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Baroness Orczy (Author)

'Every step the Scarlet Pimpernel takes on French soil is fraught with danger'

The French Terror is raging, and few are safe from the threat of the guillotine. Sir Percy Blakeney, a foppish Englishman, decides to rescue imprisoned aristocrats before they can be executed. Showing great daring and aided by a band of brave comrades, he disguises himself as the formidable Scarlet Pimpernel. But will his beautiful French wife Marguerite unwittingly prove his downfall? Baroness Orczy's swashbuckling 1905 novel set the standard for all future tales of masked avengers and was later adapted into a famous stage play and several film versions.

The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

Peter Pan

J. M. Barrie (Author)

'All children, except one, grow up.'

It was Friday night. Mr and Mrs Darling were dining out. Nana had been tied up in the backyard. The poor dog was barking, for she could smell danger. And she was right - this was the night that Peter Pan would take the Darling children on the most breath-taking adventure of their lives, to a place called Neverland, a strange country where the lost boys live and never grow up, a land with mermaids, fairies and pirates - and of course the terrible, evil, Captain Hook. Peter Pan is undoubtedly one of the most famous and best-loved stories for children, an unforgettable, magical fantasy which has been enjoyed by generations.

The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

The Awakening

Kate Chopin (Author)

'The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamouring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude...'

When 'The Awakening' was first published in 1899, charges of sordidness and immorality seemed to consign it into obscurity and irreparably damage its author's reputation. But a century after her death, it is widely regarded as Kate Chopin's great achievement. Through careful, subtle changes of style, Chopin shows the transformation of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother, who - with tragic consequences - refuses to be caged by married and domestic life, and claims for herself moral and erotic freedom.

The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

The Call of the Wild

Jack London (Author)

'The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect and, while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.'

The biting cold and the aching silence of the far North become an unforgettable backdrop for Jack London's vivid, rousing, superbly realistic wilderness adventure stories featuring the author's unique knowledge of the Yukon and the behavior of humans and animals facing nature at its cruelest.

The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

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