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Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

'The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, rage - who can tell? - but truth - truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder - the man knows, and can look on without a wink'

Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been considered the most important indictment of the evils of imperialism written to date.

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.

Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

'To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive'

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

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.

Lady Audley's Secret

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

'Lady Audley uttered a long, low, wailing cry, and threw up her arms above her head with a wild gesture of despair'

In this outlandish, outrageous triumph of scandal fiction, a new Lady Audley arrives at the manor: young, beautiful - and very mysterious. Why does she behave so strangely? What, exactly, is the dark secret this seductive outsider carries with her? A huge success in the nineteenth century, the book's anti-heroine - with her good looks and hidden past - embodied perfectly the concerns of the Victorian age with morality and madness.

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 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.

Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Elizabeth von Arnim (Author)

' "Oh, my dear, relations are like drugs, - useful sometimes, and even pleasant, if taken in small quantities and seldom, but dreadfully pernicious on the whole, and the truly wise avoid them" '

Taking respite from the Man of Wrath, her children and her stifling household, Elizabeth discovers that the path to joy lies in having a garden, rather than a room, of one's own. This enchanting semi-autobiographical novel delighted readers when it first appeared in 1898 and has never been out of print since.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Emma

Jane Austen (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Emma by Jane Austen

'I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall'

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

The Penguin English Library - 100 paperbacks of the best fiction written 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.

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe (Author)

The Penguin English Library Edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

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.

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