Search: The Penguin English Library

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The Valley of Fear

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition

The deadly hand of Professor Moriarty once more reaches out to commit a vile and ingenious crime, but a mole in Moriarty's criminal organization alerts Sherlock Holmes of the evil deed by means of a cipher . . .

When Holmes and Watson arrive at a Sussex manor house they appear to be too late. The discovery of a body suggests that Moriarty's henchmen have been at their work. But there is much more to this tale of murder than at first meets the eye.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

'No sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes ...'

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

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 Hound of the Baskervilles

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

"Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!"

The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body: this classic horror story pits detective against dog, rationalism against the supernatural, good against evil. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. It is left to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery of the legend of the phantom hound before Sir Charles' heir comes to an equally gruesome end. The Hound of the Baskervilles gripped readers when it was first serialised and has continued to hold its place in the popular imagination.

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 Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

"Every idiot who goes around with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding"

Charles Dickens's tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is haunted by three spirits and learns the true meaning of Christmas has had, along with Dickens's other Christmas writings, a lasting and significant influence upon our ideas about the season as a time for celebration, charity and memory.

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.

Silas Marner

George Eliot (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Silas Marner by George Eliot

"God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her!"

Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life.

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.

Kim

Rudyard Kipling (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Kim by Rudyard Kipling

'He knew the wonderful walled city of Lahore from the Delhi Gate to the outer Fort Ditch; was hand in glove with men who led lives stranger than anything Haroun al Raschid dreamed of; and he lived in a life wild as that of the Arabian Nights ...'

Kipling's epic rendition of the imperial experience in India is also his greatest long work. Two men - Kim, a boy growing into early manhood, and the lama, an old ascetic priest - are fired by a quest. Kim is white, although born in India. While he wants to play the Great Game of imperialism, he is also spiritually bound to the lama and he tries to reconcile these opposing strands. A celebration of their friendship in an often hostile environment, Kim captures the opulence of India's exotic landscape, overlaid by the uneasy presence of the British Raj.

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.

Tristram Shandy

Laurence Sterne (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

'I am got, I know not how, into a cold unmetaphorical vein of infamous writing, and cannot take a plumb-lift out of it for my soul; so must be obliged to go on writing like a Dutch commentator to the end of the chapter, unless something be done ...'

Laurence Sterne's great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

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.

Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

"The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!"

Jane Austen's novel tells the story of Marianne Dashwood, who wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

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.

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

"What do you think that is?' she asked me, again pointing with her stick; 'that, where those cobwebs are?"
"I can't guess what it is, ma'am."
"It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!"

Great Expectations, Dickens's funny, frightening and tender portrayal of the orphan Pip's journey of self-discovery, is one of his best-loved works. Showing how a young man's life is transformed by a mysterious series of events - an encounter with an escaped prisoner; a visit to a black-hearted old woman and a beautiful girl; a fortune from a secret donor - Dickens's late novel is a masterpiece of psychological and moral truth, and Pip among his greatest creations.

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 Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales

Edgar Allan Poe (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

'... an agility astounding, a strength superhuman, a ferocity brutal, a butchery without motive, a grotesquerie in horror absolutely alien from humanity...'

Horror, madness, violence and the dark forces hidden in humanity abound in this collection of Poe's brilliant tales, including - among others - the bloody, brutal and baffling murder of a mother and daughter in Paris in 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue', the creeping insanity of 'The Tell-Tale Heart', the Gothic nightmare of 'The Masque of the Red Death', and the terrible doom of 'The Fall of the House of Usher'.

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 House of Mirth

Edith Wharton (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

'It was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions'

A searing, shocking tale of women as consumer items in a man's world, The House of Mirth sees Lily Bart, beautiful and charming, living among the wealthy families of New York but reluctant to finally commit herself to a husband. In her search for freedom and the happiness she feels she deserves, Lily is ultimately ruined by scandal.
Edith Wharton's shattering novel created controversy on its publication in 1905 with its scathing portrayal of the world's wealthy and the prison that marriage can become.

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.

Persuasion

Jane Austen (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Persuasion by Jane Austen

'Her attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every enjoyment of youth; and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting effect'

Persuasion, Jane Austen's last novel, is a moving, masterly and elegiac love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities. It tells the story of Anne Elliot, who, persuaded to break off her engagement to the man she loved because he was not successful enough, has never forgotten him. When he returns, he brings with him a tantalizing second chance of happiness ...

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.

Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

'Fifteen hundred of the Emperor's largest horses, each about four inches and an half high, were employed to draw me towards the Metropolis, which, as I said, was half a Mile distant'

A savage and hilarious satire, Gulliver's Travels sees Lemuel Gulliver shipwrecked and adrift, subject to bizarre and unnerving encounters with, among others, quarrelling Lilliputians, philosophizing horses and the brutish Yahoo tribe, that change his view of humanity - and himself - for ever. Swift's classic of 1726 portrays mankind in a distorted hall of mirrors as a diminished, magnified and finally bestial species, presenting us with a comical yet uncompromising reflection of ourselves.

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.

Evelina

Frances Burney (Author)

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.

The Way of All Flesh

Samuel Butler (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler

'The greater part of every family is always odious; if there are one or two good ones in a very large family, it is as much as can be expected'

Written with great humour, irony and honesty, The Way of All Flesh exploded perceptions of the Victorian middle-class family in its radical depiction of Ernest Pontifex, a young man who casts off his background and discovers himself. The awkward but likeable son of a tyrannical clergyman and a priggish mother, and destined to follow his father into the church, Ernest gleefully rejects his parents' respectability, and chooses instead to find his own way in the 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.

Vanity Fair

William Makepeace Thackeray (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

'Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?'

No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles - military and domestic - are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.

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.

Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw

Henry James (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

"I'm a fearful, frightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girl that was not?"

This edition contains two of Henry James's most popular short works.

Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? In Daisy Miller Henry James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.

Oscar Wilde called James's chilling The Turn of the Screw 'a most wonderful, lurid poisonous little tale'. It tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil within the houses, she soon becomes obsessed with the belief that malevolent forces are stalking the children in her care.

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.

Little Dorrit

Charles Dickens (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

'You talk very easily of hours, sir! How long do you suppose, sir, that an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?'

A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens's maturity. When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother's seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy's father, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea. As Arthur discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect many lives, from Mr Panks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier.

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.

Two on a Tower

Thomas Hardy (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy

'Then they proceeded to scan the sky, roving from planet to star, from single stars to double stars, from double to coloured stars...'

Hardy's atmospheric, moving story of star-crossed lovers shows human beings at the mercy of forces far beyond their control, setting a tragic drama of human passion and conflict against a background of vast stellar space and scientific discovery. Two on a Tower tells the story of Lady Constantine, who breaks all the rules of decorum when she falls in love with the beautiful youth Swithin St Cleeve, her social inferior and ten years her junior. Together, in an ancient monument converted into an astronomical observation tower, they create their own private universe - until the pressures of the outside world threaten to destroy it.

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.

Mary Barton

Elizabeth Gaskell (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

"The rich know nothing of the trials of the poor; I say, if they don't know, they ought to know. We're their slaves as long as we can work; we pile up their fortunes with the sweat of our brows, and yet we are to live as separate as if we were in two worlds"

Mary Barton, the heroine of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, is beautiful but has been born poor. Her father fights for the rights of his fellow workers, but Mary wants to make a better life for them both. She rashly decides to reject her lover Jem, a struggling engineer, in the hope of marrying the rich mill-owner's son Henry Carson and securing a safe future. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself hopelessly torn between them. She also discovers an unpleasant truth - one that could bring tragedy upon everyone, and threatens to destroy her.

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.

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