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Where Angels Fear to Tread

E M Forster (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

'I had got an idea that everyone here spent their lives in making little sacrifices for objects they didn't care for, to please people they didn't love; that they never learned to be sincere - and, what's as bad, never learned how to enjoy themselves'

E. M. Forster's first novel is a witty comedy of manners that is tinged with tragedy. It tells the story of Lilia Herriton, who proves to be an embarrassment to her late husband's family as, in the small Tuscan town of Monteriano, she begins a relationship with a much younger Italian man - classless, uncouth and highly unsuitable. A subtle attack on decorous Edwardian values and a humanely sympathetic portrayal of the clash of two cultures, Where Angels Fear to Tread is also a profound exploration of character and virtue.

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 Sign of Four

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Penguin English Library edition

A dense yellow miasma swirls in the streets of London as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson accompany a beautiful young woman to a sinister assignation.

For Mary Marston has received several large pearls - one a year for the last six years - and now a mystery letter telling her she is a wronged woman. If she would seek justice she is to meet her unknown benefactor, bringing with her two companions.

But unbeknownst to them all, others stalk London's fog-enshrouded streets: a one-legged ruffian with revenge on his mind - and his companion, who places no value on human life . . .

The Adventure of the Six Napoleons and Other Cases

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Penguin English Library edition

Many readers would claim that The Adventure of the Copper Beeches or The Man with the Twisted Lip was their favourite Sherlock Holmes story - but then that would be doing an injustice to The Adventure of the Yellow Face and The Problem of Thor Bridge. It is just as well that in the end we do not have to choose - as if we did then there would be no doubt it should be The Adventure of the Six Napoleons.

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.

The Invisible Man

H. G. Wells (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

'People screamed. People sprang off the pavement ... "The Invisible Man is coming! The Invisible Man!"'

With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin - the new guest at The Coach and Horses - is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however - and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.

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 Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

'I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me ... Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day - mock me horribly!'

A story of evil, debauchery and scandal, Oscar Wilde's only novel tells of Dorian Gray, a beautiful yet corrupt man. When he wishes that a perfect portrait of himself would bear the signs of ageing in his place, the picture becomes his hideous secret, as it follows Dorian's own downward spiral into cruelty and depravity. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a masterpiece of the evil in men's hearts, and is as controversial and alluring as Wilde himself.

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.

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.

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop ... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth ... stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white'

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

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.

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.

Middlemarch

George Eliot (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Middlemarch by George Eliot

'She did not know then that it was Love who had come to her briefly as in a dream before awaking, with the hues of morning on his wings - that it was Love to whom she was sobbing her farewell as his image was banished by the blameless rigour of irresistible day'

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.

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.

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

'The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself'

Passionate, poetic and revolutionary, Jane Eyre is a novel of naked emotional power. Its story of a defiant, fiercely intelligent woman who refuses to accept her appointed place in society - and instead finds love on her own terms - has become famous as one of the greatest romances ever written, but it is also a brooding Gothic mystery, a profound depiction of character and a transformative work of the 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.

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.

Moby-Dick

Herman Melville (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

'The frail gunwales bent in, collapsed, and snapped, as both jaws, like an enormous shears, sliding further aft, bit the craft completely in twain...'

Moby-Dick is one of the most expansive feats of imagination in the whole of literature: the mad, raging, Shakespearean tale of Captain Ahab's insane quest to kill a giant white whale that has taken his leg, and upon which he has sworn vengeance, at any cost. A creation unlike any other, this is an epic story of fatal monomania and the deepest dreams and obsessions of mankind.

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.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

'Never did I behold a vision so horrible as his face, of such loathsome, yet appalling hideousness'

A twisted, upside-down creation myth, Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale lays bare the dark side of science, and the horror within us all. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, who plunders graveyards to create a new being from the bodies of the dead - but whose botched creature causes nothing but murder and destruction. Written after a nightmare when its author was only eighteen, Frankenstein gave birth to the modern science fiction novel.

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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