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A Room with a View

E M Forster (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

'"But you do," he went on, not waiting for contradiction. "You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it ..."

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.

Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Dubliners

James Joyce (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Dubliners by James Joyce

'Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears ... But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work'

From a child grappling with the death of a fallen priest, to a young woman's dilemma over whether to elope to Argentina with her lover, to the dance party at which a man discovers just how little he really knows about his wife, these fifteen stories bring the gritty realism of existence in Joyce's native Dublin to life. With Dubliners, James Joyce reinvented the art of fiction, using a scrupulous, deadpan realism to convey truths that were at once blasphemous and sacramental.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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