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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.

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.

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 Mayor of Casterbridge

Thomas Hardy (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

'Here - I am waiting to know about this offer of mine. The woman is no good to me. Who'll have her?'

In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper.

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 . . .

Humphry Clinker

Tobias Smollett (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

'What is the society of London, that I should be tempted, for its sake, to mortify my senses, and compound with such uncleanness as my soul abhors?'

Smollett's savage, boisterously funny lambasting of eighteenth-century British society charts the unfortunate journey of the gout-ridden and irascible squire Matthew Bramble across Britain, who finds himself everywhere surrounded by decadents, pimps, con-men, raucousness and degeneracy - until the arrival of the trusty manservant Humphry Clinker promises to improve his fortunes. Populated with unforgettable grotesques and written with a relish for earthy humour and wordplay, and a ferocious pessimism, Humphry Clinker is Smollett's masterpiece.

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.

The Warden

Anthony Trollope (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Warden by Anthony Trollope

'It was so hard that the pleasant waters of his little stream should be disturbed and muddied ... that his quiet paths should be made a battlefield: that the unobtrusive corner of the world which been allotted to him ... made miserable and unsound'

Trollope's witty, satirical story of a quiet cathedral town shaken by scandal - as the traditional values of Septimus Harding are attacked by zealous reformers and ruthless newspapers - is a drama of conscience that pits individual integrity against worldly ambition. In The Warden Anthony Trollope brought the fictional county of Barsetshire to life, peopled by a cast of brilliantly realised characters that have made him among the supreme chroniclers of the minutiae of Victorian England.

The first book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

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 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 Garden Party

Katherine Mansfield (Author)

'They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it.'

A windless, warm day greets the Sheridan family on the day of their garden party. As daughter Laura takes the reins on party preparations the news of a neighbour's demise casts a cloud over the host and threatens the entire celebration.

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 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.

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.

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