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Shirley Jackson's masterpiece: the deliciously dark and funny story of Merricat, tomboy teenager, beloved sister - and possible lunatic. 'Her greatest book ... at once whimsical and harrowing, a miniaturist's charmingly detailed fantasy sketched inside a mausoleum ... Through depths and depths and bloodwarm depths we fall, until the surface is only an eerie gleam high above, nearly forgotten; and the deeper we sink, the deeper we want to go' Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn't leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family. This Penguin edition includes an afterword by the acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates. All Shirley Jackson's other novels, plus The Lottery and Other Stories, are available in Penguin Modern Classics. Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lotterywas first published in The New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial,The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. In addition to her dark, brilliant novels, she wrote lightly fictionalized magazine pieces about family life with her four children and her husband, the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep in 1965 at the age of 48. 'The world of Shirley Jackson is eerie and unforgettable ... She is a true master' A. M. Homes 'A masterpiece of Gothic suspense' Joyce Carol Oates 'If you haven't read We Have Always Lived in the Castle ... you have missed out on something marvellous' Neil Gaiman
Italo Calvino's enchanting stories about the evolution of the universe, with characters that are fashioned from mathematical formulae and cellular structures, The Complete Cosmicomics is translated by Martin McLaughlin, Tim Parks and William Weaver in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Naturally, we were all there, - dld Qfwfq said, - where else could we have been? Nobody knew then that there could be space. Or time either: what use did we have for time, packed in there like sardines?' The Cosmicomics tell the story of the history of the universe, from the big bang, through millennia and across galaxies. It is witnessed through the eyes of 'cosmic know-it-all' Qfwfq, an exuberant, chameleon-like figure, who takes the shape of a dinosaur, a mollusc, a steamer captain and a moon milk gatherer, among others. This is the first complete edition in English of Italo Calvino's funny, whimsical and delightful stories, which blend scientific fact, flights of fancy, parody and wordplay to show the strangeness and the wonders of the world. Italo Calvino (1923-1985), one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. Calvino was born in Cuba and raised in San Remo, Italy; he fought for the Italian Resistance from 1943-45. Among his other works published in Penguin Modern Classics are Italian Folktales, Hermit in Paris, Into the War, The Path to the Spiders' Nests, Numbers in the Dark, Six Memos for the Next Millennium and Why Read the Classics? If you liked The Complete Cosmicomics, you might enjoy Jorge Luis Borges' Fictions, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The complete and definitive collection ... a masterpiece' Gilbert Adair, Evening Standard 'Dazzling ... a book of revelation' Tim Adams, Observer 'If you have never read Cosmicomics, you have before you the most joyful reading experience of your life' Salman Rushdie 'A landmark in fiction, the work of a master' Ursula K Le Guin, Guardian
A reticent personnel manager living with his mother, Mr Newman shares the prejudices of his times and of his neighbours - and neither a Hispanic woman abused outside his window nor the persecution of the Jewish store owner he buys his paper from are any of his business. Until Newman begins wearing glasses, and others begin to mistake him for a Jew. Arthur Miller's chilling novel displays the same searing moral precision and emotional intensity of his plays, as the intensity of anti-Semitism in 1945 New York mounts, and the prejudices Newman shares begin to turn threateningly against him.
An ancient bridge collapses over a gorge in Peru, hurling five people into the abyss. It seems a meaningless human tragedy. But one witness, a Franciscan monk, believes the deaths might not be as random as they appear. Convinced that the disaster is a punishment sent from Heaven, the monk sets out to discover all he can about the travellers. The five strangers were connected in some way, he thinks. There must be a purpose behind their deaths. But are their lost lives the result of sin? ... Or of love?
Depicting the daily struggle of the individual against a tyrannical dictatorship, We the Living shows the terrible impact of a revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their happiness. Kira, determined to maintain her independence and courageous in the face of starvation and poverty; Leo, upper class and paralysed by state repression; and Andrei, an idealistic communist and officer in the secret police who nonetheless wants to help his friends.
When he was almost sixty years old, worried that he might have lost touch with the sights, the sounds and the essence of America's people, Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through the woods and deserts, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and glorious wildernesses, Steinbeck observed - with remarkable honesty and insight, with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye - America, and the Americans who inhabited it. What he saw was a lonely, generous nation too packed with individuals for single judgements; what he saw made him proud, angry, sympathetic and elated. His vision of how the world was changing still speaks to us prophetically through the decades.
Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, and the grinding struggle to survive against the crushing realities of the Soviet system: in Among Friends, a doting mother commits an atrocious act against her beloved son in an attempt to secure his future; The Time: Night examines the suicide of the great Russian poetess Anna Andreevna with heartbreaking clarity; while in Chocolates with Liqueur the struggle for ownership of an apartment between a nurse and a madman turns murderous. With the satirical eye of Cindy Sherman, the psychological perceptiveness of Dostoevsky, and the bleak absurdities of Beckett, Petrushevskaya blends macabre spectacle with transformative moments of grace and shows just why she is Russia's preeminent contemporary fiction writer. One of Russia's best living writers ... her tales inhabit a borderline between this world and the next - The New York Times Ludmilla Petrushevskaya was born in Moscow in 1938 and is the only indisputable canonical writer currently writing in Russian today. She is the author of more than fifteen collections of prose, among them this short novel The Time: Night, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize in 1992, and Svoi Krug, a modern classic about 1980s Soviet intelligentsia. Petrushevskaya is equally important as a playwright: since the 1980s her numerous plays have been staged by the best Russian theater companies. In 2002, Petrushevskaya received Russia's most prestigious prize, The Triumph, for lifetime achievement. She lives in Moscow.
'Football is a pleasure that hurts' This unashamedly emotional history of football is a homage to the romance and drama, spectacle and passion of a 'great pagan mass'. Through stories of superstition, heartbreak, tragedy, luck, heroes and villains, those who lived for football and those who died for it, Eduardo Galeano celebrates the glory of a game that - however much the rich and powerful try to control it - still retains its magic. 'The Uruguayan whose writing got right to the heart of football ... readers were never in doubt of the warmth of the blood running through his veins' Guardian 'Galeano can run rings round our glamorous football intelligentsia' When Saturday Comes 'Stands out like Pele on a field of second-stringers' New Yorker
A pioneering work of modernist fiction, using her unique stream-of-consciousness technique to explore the inner lives of her characters, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is widely regarded as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the twentieth century. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Stella McNichol, with an introduction and notes by Hermione Lee. To the Lighthouse is at once a vivid impressionistic depiction of a family holiday, and a meditation on marriage, on parenthood and childhood, on grief, tyranny and bitterness. For years now the Ramsays have spent every summer in their holiday home in Scotland, and they expect these summers will go on forever; but as the First World War looms, the integrity of family and society will be fatally challenged. With a psychologically introspective mode, the use of memory, reminiscence and shifting perspectives gives the novel an intimate, poetic essence, and at the time of publication in 1927 it represented an utter rejection of Victorian and Edwardian literary values. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group', an informal collective of artists and writers that exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed To the Lighthouse, you might like James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Bears endless re-reading ... the sea encircles the story in a brilliant ebb and flow' Rachel Billington
My part of Ireland had a poet at one time, a poor ragged fellow whom no respectable person whom no respectable person would be seen talking to, but he left doors open as he passed. A delightful autobiographical novel from one of Ireland's best-loved writers Time hardly mattered in the village of Mucker, the birthplace of poet and writer Patrick Kavanagh. Full of wry humour, Kavanagh's unsentimental and evocative account of his Irish rural upbringing describes a patriarchal society surviving on the edge of poverty, sustained by the land and an insatiable love of gossip. There are tales of schoolboy skirmishes, blackberrying and night-time salmon-poaching; of country-weddings and fairs, of political banditry and religious pilgrimages; and of farm-work in the fields and kicking mares. Kavanagh's experiences inspired him to write poetry which immortalized a fast-disappearing way of life and brought him recognition as one of Ireland's great poets.
Subtitled An Anglo-American Tragedy, Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One is a witty satirical novel on artistic integrity and the British expat community in Hollywood, published in Penguin Modern Classics. The more startling for the economy of its prose and plot, this novel's story, set among the manicured lawns and euphemisms of Whispering Glades Memorial Park in Hollywood, satirizes the American way of death and offers Waugh's memento mori. Following the death of a friend, poet and pets' mortician Dennis Barlow finds himself entering into the artificial Hollywood paradise of the Whispering Glades Memorial Park. Within its golden gates, death, American-style, is wrapped up and sold like a package holiday. There, Dennis enters the fragile and bizarre world of Aimee, the naive Californian corpse beautician, and Mr Joyboy, the master of the embalmer's art... A dark and savage satire on the Anglo-American cultural divide, The Loved One depicts a world where love, reputation and death cost a very great deal. Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) was born in Hampstead, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. Men at Arms (1952) was the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; the other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. If you enjoyed The Loved One, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The master of black comedy' Sunday Times 'One of the funniest and most significant books of the century' Alice Thomas Ellis, Daily Telegraph
Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as 'useful [corrective] to the romantic conception of war', R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End is an unflinching vision of life in the trenches towards the end of the First World War, published in Penguin Classics. Set in the First World War, Journey's End concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed. Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic. R.C. Sherriff (1896-1975) joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, serving as a captain in the East Surrey regiment. After the war, an interest in amateur theatricals led him to try his hand at writing. Following rejection by many theatre managements, Journey's End was given a single performance by the Incorporated Stage Society, in which Lawrence Olivier took the lead role. The play's enormous success enabled Sherriff to become a full-time writer, with plays such as Badger's Green (1930), St Helena (1935), and The Long Sunset (1955); though he is also remembered as a screenplay writer, for films such as The Invisible Man (1933), Goodbye Mr Chips (1933) and The Dam Busters (1955). If you enjoyed Journey's End, you might like Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving' Clive Barnes
A searing account of George Orwell's observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in Orwell's later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain. Published with an introduction by Richard Hoggart in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is easy to see why the book created and still creates so sharp an impact ... exceptional immediacy, freshness and vigour, opinionated and bold ... Above all, it is a study of poverty and, behind that, of the strength of class-divisions' Richard Hoggart
Published in Penguin Modern Classics, Penelope Lively's Heat Wave is a moving portrayal of a fragile family damaged and defined by adultery, and the lengths to which a mother will go to protect the ones she loves. Pauline is spending the summer at World's End, a cottage somewhere in the middle of England. This year the adjoining cottage is occupied by her daughter Teresa and baby grandson Luke; and, of course, Maurice, the man Teresa married. As the hot months unfold, Maurice grows ever more involved in the book he is writing - and with his female copy editor - and Pauline can only watch in dismay and anger as her daughter repeats her own mistakes in love. The heat and tension will lead to a violent, startling climax. Penelope Lively (b. 1933) was born in Cairo. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her novels include Passing On, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave, and many are published by Penguin. If you enjoyed Heat Wave, you might like Lively's Moon Tiger, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Extraordinarily good, intelligent and perceptive ... very moving' Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black '[Heat Wave is] short, but the emotions are so intense and the writing so good that it punches well above its weight' Independent
MODERN TIMES brings together an extraordinary collection of Sartrean gems, many of which have never been translated into English before. From writings on food and sex to a mini portrait of his great friend and rival, Albert Camus, the volume contains an amazing sweep of thematically organised writing. Amidst the grander set pieces on communism and the art of biography, are shorter and more revealing pieces on maternal love and masturbation.
This extraordinary re-creation of the life of a medieval Italian merchant, Francesco di Marco Datini, is one of the greatest historical portraits written in the twentieth century. Drawing on an astonishing cache of letters unearthed centuries after Datini's death, it reveals to us a shrewd, enterprising, anxious man, as he makes deals, furnishes his sumptuous house, buys silks for his outspoken young wife and broods on his legacy. It is an unequalled source of knowledge about the texture of daily life in the small, earthy, violent, striving world of fourteenth-century Tuscany. 'Datini has now probably become most intimately accessible figure of the later Middle Ages ... brilliant and intricate' The Times 'As a picture of Tuscany before the dawn of the Renaissance it is a complement to The Decameron' Sunday Times
A collection of the stories of Damon Runyon who presents the 1950s world of guys and dolls on Broadway.
Radical and inspiring ... Yanagi's vision puts the connection between heart and hand before the transient and commercial - Edmund de Waal The daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholeheartedly fulfilling utilitarian needs. They should, in short, be things of beauty. In an age of feeble and ugly machine-made things, these essays call for us to deepen and transform our relationship with the objects that surround us. Inspired by the work of the simple, humble craftsmen Yanagi encountered during his lifelong travels through Japan and Korea, they are an earnest defence of modest, honest, handcrafted things - from traditional teacups to jars to cloth and paper. Objects like these exemplify the enduring appeal of simplicity and function: the beauty of everyday things.
A silent comedy star whose legendary slapstick routines are recognisable to this day, Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin's My Autobiography is an incomparably vivid account of the life of one of the greatest filmmakers and comedians, with an introduction by David Robinson As a child, Charlie Chaplin was awed and inspired by the sight of glamorous vaudeville stars passing his home, and from then on he never lost his ambition to become an actor. Chaplin's film career as the Little Tramp adored by the whole world is the stuff of legend, but this frank autobiography shows another side. Born into a theatrical family, Chaplin's father died of drink while his mother, unable to bear the poverty, suffered from bouts of insanity. From a childhood of grinding poverty in the south London slums, Chaplin found an escape in his early debut on the music hall stage, followed by his lucky break in America, the founding of United Artists with D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks, the struggle to maintain artistic control over his work, the string of failed marriages, and his eventual exile from Hollywood after personal scandals and persecution for his left-wing politics during the McCarthy Era. Sir Charles 'Charlie' Chaplin (1895-1976) was born in Walworth, London. Best known for his work in silent film, his most famous role was The Little Tramp, a universally recognisable and iconic character who appeared in films such as The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925) and City Lights (1931). His other films include Modern Times (1936), a commentary on the Great Depression, and The Great Dictator (1940), a satirical attack on Hitler and the Nazis. If you enjoyed My Autobiography, you might like Andy Warhol's The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Tells so much about this curious, difficult man ... a wonderfully vivid imagination' The New York Times 'The only genius to come out of the movie industry' George Bernard Shaw
A sensitive portrayal of the healing process that took place in the aftermath of the First World War, J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country includes an introduction by Penelope Fitzgerald, author of Offshore, in Penguin Modern Classics. A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years. Adapted into a 1987 film starring Colin Firth, Natasha Richardson and Kenneth Branagh, A Month in the Country traces the slow revival of the primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great War Joseph Lloyd Carr (1912-1994) attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in the North Riding and Castleford Secondary School. A head teacher, publisher and novelist, his books include A Day in Summer (1964); The Harpole Report (1972); A Month in the Country (1980), which won the Guardian Fiction prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Battle of Pollock's Crossing (1985), which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize; What Hetty Did (1988) and Harpole and Foxberrow, General Publishers (1992). If you enjoyed A Month in the Country, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Unlike anything else in modern English literature' D.J. Taylor, Spectator
Tennessee Williams's controversial Hollywood screenplay Baby Doll opens with Archie Lee's teenage bride driving him to distraction, as she has refused to consummate their marriage until the day of her twentieth birthday. Enter wily Sicilian Silva Vaccaro, Archie's rival both in the cotton business and for the affections of the flirtatious Baby Doll, and things reach breaking-point. This volume also contains Something Unspoken, a brilliantly comic study of a wealthy, manipulative Southern spinster, and Summer and Smoke, a sexually charged portrayal of Alma, a sensitive, unmarried minister's daughter, and her childhood love, the wild, sensual doctor's son John.
'Do you know it, do you remember it, the drives, the attitudes, the terrors and, yes, the joys?' Thus Steinbeck introduces his collection of poignant and hard-hitting dispatches for the New York Herald Tribune when the Second World War was at its height. He begins in England, recounting the courage of the bomber crews, the tragic air-raids and the strangeness of the British, before being sent to Africa and joining a special operations unit off the coast of Italy. Eating, drinking talking and fighting alongside the soldiers, Steinbeck's empathy for the common man is always in evidence in these pieces, and he never fails to evoke the human side of an inhuman war. 'If you have forgotten what the war was like, Steinbeck will refresh your memory. Age can never dull this kind of writing.' Chicago Tribune
With its astounding hardcover reviews Richard Zenith's new complete translation of THE BOOK OF DISQUIET has now taken on a similar iconic status to ULYSSES, THE TRIAL or IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME as one of the greatest but also strangest modernist texts. An assembly of sometimes linked fragments, it is a mesmerising, haunting 'novel' without parallel in any other culture.
Georges Simenon's chilling portrayal of tragic love, persecution and betrayal. 'One sensed in him neither flesh nor bone, nothing but soft, flaccid matter, so much so that his movements were hard to make out. Very red lips stood out from his orb-like face, as did the thin moustache that he curled with an iron and looked as if it had been drawn on with India ink; on his cheekbones were the symmetrical pink dots of a doll's cheeks.' People find Mr Hire strange, disconcerting. The tenants he shares his building with try to avoid him. He is a peeping Tom, a visitor of prostitutes, a dealer in unsavoury literature. He is also the prime suspect for a brutal murder that he did not commit. Yet Mr Hire's innocence will not stand in the way of those looking for a scapegoat as tragedy unfolds in this quietly devastating and deeply unnerving novel. 'The romans durs are extraordinary: tough, bleak, offhandedly violent, suffused with guilt and bitterness, redolent of place . . . utterly unsentimental, frightening in the pitilessness of their gaze, yet wonderfully entertaining' John Banville
'One of the greatest football novels ever written and a comic masterpiece' DJ Taylor' DJ Taylor 'But is this story believable? Ah, it all depends upon whether you want it to believe it.' J.L. Carr In their new all-buttercup-yellow-stripe, Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, who usually feel lucky when their pitch is above water-level, are England's most obscure team. This uncategorizable, surreal and extremely funny novel is the story of how they start the season by ravaging the Fenland League and end it by going all the way to Wembley. Told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes, How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup is both entertaining and moving. There will never be players again like Alex Slingsby, Sid 'the Shooting Star' Swift and the immortal milkman-turned-goalkeeper, Monkey Tonks.
Henry Earlforward, a shabby Clerkenwell bookseller, has retired from life to devote himself (and his wife Violet) to a consuming passion for money. Miserliness becomes a fatal illness and Bennett gives a terrifying description of its ravages. But the book's horrible situation is saved through the character of Elsie - whose life-affirming refusal to engage with the nightmarish world of the bookseller transforms the story. Bennett wished in Riceyman Steps to create an English novel as powerful as anything by Balzac, the writer he most admired, with the same sense of great human issues being played out within the confines of a household. The result is an unforgettable work which is also a gripping description of the harsh, battered London of the period just after the First World War.
The writing of Fernando Pessoa reveals a mind shaken by intense inner suffering. In these poems he adopted four separate personae: Alberto Caeiro, Alvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis and himself, using them to express 'great swarms of thought and feeling'. While each personae has its own poetic identity, together they convey a sense of ambivalence and consolidate a striving for completeness. Dramatic, lyrical, Christian, pagan, old and modern, Pessoa's poets and poetry contribute to the 'mysterious importance of existence'.
Chronicling some from the point of view of one of the twentieth century's most influential musicians, Woody Guthrie's Bound for Glory includes an introduction by Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors, in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Now I been here an' I been there, Rambled aroun' most everywhere' Bound for Glory is the funny, cynical and earthy autobiography of Woody Guthrie, the father of modern American folk music. He tells of his childhood running wild in an Oklahoma oil-boom town, the tragedies that struck his family and of life on the open road during the Great Depression - hell-raising and brawling in boxcars, all while singing to raise a dime for his next meal. But above all, this is a song for the America that Woody saw from his lonesome highway, as he travelled from one end of the country to the other with guitar in hand and the songs that made him a legend drifting out over the Dust Bowl. Adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring David Carradine, Bound for Glory is the moving true story of America's greatest folksinger. Woody Guthrie (1912-67), the son of a cowboy, was born in rural Oklahoma. When the Depression arrived, Woody hit the road and travelled round America. He became a folksinger, guitarist, actor, artist and broadcaster, and is best remembered for songs including 'This Land is Your Land', 'Roll On, Columbia, Roll On' and 'Worried Man Blues'. If you enjoyed Bound for Glory, you might like Jack Kerouac's On the Road, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Wild as a train whistle in the mountains, a scrumptious picture of fighting, carousing, singing, laughing migratory across America' The New York Times 'One of the patron saints of American rebelliousness' Joe Klein 'Even readers who never heard Woody or his songs will understand the current esteem in which he's held after reading just a few pages ...always shockingly immediate and real, as if Woody was telling it out loud ...A book to make novelists and sociologists jealous' The Nation
An enormous escaped rhinoceros from London Zoo has eaten James's parents. And it gets worse! James is packed off to live with his two really horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker. Poor James is miserable, until something peculiar happens and James finds himself on the most wonderful and extraordinary journey he could ever imagine... A new and delectable Deluxe edition of this wonderful classic.
In order to reclaim his father's kingdom, Jason has been sent on an impossible mission - to take the golden ram's fleece that lies far away, guarded by a dragon. Jason, who is so attractive that women fall instantly in love with him, sets sail in the Argo, along with the greatest heroes of ancient Greece, including the surly (and often drunk) Hercules, the enchanting musician Orpheus and the battling twins Castor and Pollux. As they battle clashing rocks, monsters and seductresses, watched over by pitiless gods, they will learn that victory comes at a price. In The Golden Fleece Robert Graves transforms Greek myth into a thrilling and richly imagined story, bringing the ancient world vividly alive.
A respected literary biographer, Mark is working on the life of Gilbert Strong - a writer about whom he thinks he knows everything. Happily married, and apparently dedicated to a life of letters, he nevertheless falls in love with Strong's granddaughter Carrie, a vague and unsophisticated young woman more interested in bedding plants than books or passion. As Mark's obsessions develop over a hot, complicated summer, he begins to understand that nothing is ever what it seems; not Gilbert Strong, and certainly not himself. According to Mark is a witty and moving look at love, literature and the dangers of middle-aged folly.
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in Paris. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill ...
Quentin is a successful lawyer in New York, but inside his head he is struggling with his own sense of guilt and the shadows of his past relationships. One of these an ill-fated marriage to the charming and beautiful Maggie, who went from operating a switchboard to become a self-destructive star - a singer everyone wanted a piece of. With tremendous psychological acuity and depth, and a brilliant, dreamlike structure, After the Fall is a literary masterpiece, drawing on Miller's own life - the story of a man striving to comprehend his feelings for his friends, family and the women he has loved.
Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck was a prolific correspondent. Opening with letters written during Steinbeck's early years in California, and closing with an unfinished, 1968 note written in Sag Harbor, New York, this collection of around 850 letters to friends, family, his editor and a diverse circle of well-known and influential public figures gives an insight into the raw creative processes of one of the most naturally-gifted and hard-working writing minds of this century.
This collection of letters forms a fascinating day-by-day account of Steinbeck's writing of EAST OF EDEN, his longest and most ambitious novel. The letters, ranging over many subjects - textual discussion, trial flights of workmanship, family matters - provide an illuminating perspective on Steinbeck, the creative genius, and a private glimpse of Steinbeck, the man.
Using details of the ancient Scandinavian legends that were the inspiration for Hamlet, John Updike brings to life Gertrude's girlhood as the daughter of King Rorik, her arranged marriage to the man who becomes King Hamlet, and her middle-aged affair with her husband's younger brother. As only he could, Updike recasts a tale of medieval violence and presents the case for its central couple that Shakespeare only hinted at. Gertrude's warmth and lucidity, Claudius's soldierly yet peaceable powers of command are seen afresh against a background of fond intentions and familial dysfunction, on a stage darkened by the ominous shadow of a sullen, disaffected prince.
Steinbeck's only work of political satire turns the French Revolution on its head, as amateur astronomer Pippin Heristal is drafted in to rule the unruly French. Enchanting comedy ensues as Steinbeck creates the most hilarious royal court ever around the brief, bold reign of the corduroy-clad Pippin, his social-climbing wife Maria, his star-struck daughter Clotilde and her Californian beau, Todd.
From the moment she walks from court having been charged with attempting to poison her husband, to her banishment, escape to Paris, and final years of solitude and waiting, the life of Therese Desqueyroux is passionate and tortured. The victim of a hostile fate, Therese, as Mauriac said of her `belongs to that class of human beings ... for whom night can end only when life itself ends. All that is asked of them is that they should not resign themselves to night's darkness.' Therese's moving and powerful story affirms the vitality of the human spirit, making her an unforgettable heroine.
'What had happened to the lost manuscripts, what train of chances took Rolfe to his death in Venice? The Quest continued' One summer afternoon A.J.A. Symons is handed a peculiar, eccentric novel that he cannot forget and, captivated by this unknown masterpiece, determines to learn everything he can about its mysterious author. The object of his search is Frederick Rolfe, self-titled Baron Corvo - artist, rejected candidate for priesthood and author of serially autobiographical fictions - and its story is told in this 'experiment in biography': a beguiling portrait of an insoluble tangle of talents, frustrated ambitions and self-destruction.
One of the masters of 'weird fiction', H. P. Lovecraft expanded the vast boundaries of the horror genre with his vividly imagined stories of exotic and fantastical otherworlds, nightmarish dreamscapes or the supernatural terrors lurking beneath the surface of small-town America. The shadow of New England's witch-hunting past hangs over many of the tales, as in 'The Shunned House' and 'The Dreams in the Witch House', in which malevolent spectres return to haunt the region. Others, such as 'From Beyond' and 'The Shadow Out of Time', depict the catastrophic results when cosmic channels of time and space are opened, while stories such as 'Polaris' and 'The Doom that Came to Sarnath' portray the downfall of mythical civilizations.
'The best Norwegian novel ever' Karl Ove Knausgaard Mattis doesn't understand much about the world. He doesn't understand why others call him simple. Or why his sister Hege, who has cared for him in their peaceful lakeside cottage since they were young, gets so frustrated. But he knows that the woodcock which starts to fly over their house every day is a sign something is about to change. And when Hege falls in love, disrupting their familiar existence and unbalancing his thoughts, he decides he must face his fate. Translated by Torbjorn Stoverud and Michael Barnes 'A masterpiece' Literary Review 'Mattis, absurd and boastful, but also sweet, pathetic and even funny, is shown with great insight' Sunday Times
This collection of pithy, brilliantly acerbic pieces is a companion to Sixty Stories, Barthelme's earlier retrospective volume. Barthelme spotlights the idiosyncratic, haughty, sometimes downright ludicrous behavior of human beings, but it is style rather than content which takes precedence.
In this funny, nightmarish masterpiece of imaginative excess, grotesque characters engage in acts of violent one-upmanship, boundless riches mangle a corner of Africa into a Bacchanalian utopia, and technology, flesh and violence fuse with and undo each other. A fragmentary, freewheeling novel, it sees wild boys engage in vigorous, ritualistic sex and drug taking, as well as pranksterish guerrilla warfare and open combat with a confused and outmatched army. The Wild Boys shows why Burroughs is a writer unlike any other, able to make captivating the explicit and horrific.
The quickest way to get rich is to marry someone rich, but how do you do this if you aren't yet rich? TV chat-show host Ronnie Appleyard is preoccupied with this question as he pursues wealthy heiress Simona Quick over two continents in the company of braying aristocrats, Greek shipping magnates, American dandies and the dreaded mother-in-law to be. But as he comes closer to his prize other questions present themselves. Is the androgenous Simona really worth it? Why doesn't she like sex? Is it possible to drink all day? With his unerring eye for absurdity and class satire Kingsley Amis shows us what happens when money meets naked ambition.
A young and inexperienced sea captain finds that his first command leaves him with a ship stranded in tropical seas and a crew smitten with fever. As he wrestles with his conscience and with the increasing sense of isolation that he experiences, the captain crosses the `shadow-line' between youth and adulthood. In many ways an autobiographical narrative, Conrad's novella was written at the start of the Great War when his son Borys was at the Western Front, and can be seen as an attempt to open humanity's eyes to the qualities needed to face evil and destruction.
Fat Phil can't lose at dice, even when his friends turn nasty and he's trying his hardest; a salesman finds success comes from fortune cookie mottoes, but panics when these mottoes turn against him; a date goes so perfectly a man talks himself out of ever seeing the woman again; a commuter finds himself obsessed with a plain young woman on his train, at the expense of his marriage. In this collection of short stories, Hubert Selby Jr. plunges the reader into the violent, passionate worlds of his protagonists and captures perfectly the delicate balance between joy and despair.
Once described as the 'longest and most charming love-letter in literature', the Virginia Woolf's Orlando is edited by Brenda Lyons with an introduction and notes by Sandra M. Gilbert in Penguin Classics. Written for Virginia Woolf's intimate friend, the charismatic writer Vita Sackville-West, Orlando is a playful mock 'biography' of a chameleonic historical figure, immortal and ageless, who changes sex and identity on a whim. First masculine, then feminine, Orlando begins life as a young sixteenth-century nobleman, then gallops through three centuries to end up as a woman writer in Virginia Woolf's own time. A wry commentary on gender roles and modes of history, Orlando is also, in Woolf's own words, a light-hearted 'writer's holiday' which delights in ambiguity and capriciousness. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers, which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed Orlando, you might like Woolf's The Waves, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'I read this book and believed it was a hallucinogenic, interactive biography of my own life and future' Tilda Swinton
Collected together for the first time, this volume includes the complete text of THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER - Orwell's vivid and impassioned documentary of unemployment and proletarian life - as well as Orwell's best writing on the political and social condition of England.
'Perhaps that moment had been exceptional, but still, I felt alive. That pressure on my chest means being alive.' Forty-nine, with a kind face, no serious ailments (apart from varicose veins on his ankles), a good salary and three moody children, widowed accountant Martin Santome is about to retire. He assumes he'll take up gardening, or the guitar, or whatever retired people do. What he least expects is to fall passionately in love with his shy young employee Laura Avellaneda. As they embark upon an affair, happy and irresponsible, Martin begins to feel the weight of his quiet existence lift - until, out of nowhere, their joy is cut short. The intimate, heartbreaking diary of an ordinary man who is reborn when he falls in love one final time, this beloved Latin American novel has been translated into twenty languages and sold millions of copies worldwide, and is now published in Penguin Classics for the first time.
'Every man had not only a weak spot but also a criminal one' At his wife's insistence, upstanding citizen and artillery officer Anselm Eibenschutz leaves his beloved Austro-Hungarian army and takes up a civilian post, as Inspector of Weights and Measures in a remote backwater near the Russian border. At first he does everything by the book, but gradually he finds himself adrift in a world of petty corruption, bribery and drunkenness - and undone by his passion for the beautiful gypsy Euphemia. A haunting evocation of Eastern Europe's borderlands in the early twentieth century, Weights and Measures is also the story of the disintegration of a good man. Translated by David Le Vay
The 18 plays are: The Shadowy Waters; Cathleen in Houlihan; The Hour Glass; On Baile's Strabd; The Green Helmet; Deirdre; At the Hawk's Well; The Dreaming of the Bones; The Cat and the Moon; The Only Jealousy of Emer; Calvary; Sophocles' King Oedipus; The Resurrection; The Words Upon the Windwo-FPane; The King of the Great Clock Tower; The herne's Egg; Purgatory; The Death of Cuchulain.
At birth Edmund Gosse was dedicated to 'the Service of the Lord'. His parents were Plymouth Brethren. After his mother's death Gosse was brought up in stifling isolation by his father, a marine biologist whose faith overcame his reason when confronted by Darwin's theory of evolution. Father and Son is also the record of Gosse's struggle to 'fashion his inner life for himself' - a record of whose full and subversive implications the author was unaware, as Peter Abbs notes in his Introduction. First published anonymously in 1907, Father and Son was immediately acclaimed for its courage in flouting the conventions of Victorian autobiography and is still a moving account of self-discovery.
'Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.' Waugh begins his story with heredity, writing of the energetic, literary and sometimes eccentric men and women who, unknown to themselves, contributed to his genius. Save for a few pale shadows, his childhood was warm, bright and serene. The Hampstead and Lancing schooldays which followed were sometimes agreeable, but often not. His life at Oxford - which he evokes in Brideshead Revisited - was essentially a catalogue of friendship. His cool recollection of those hedonistic days is a portrait of the generation of Harold Acton, Cyril Connolly and Anthony Powell. That exclusive world he recalls with elegant wit and precision. He closes with his experiences as a master at a preparatory school in North Wales which inspired Decline and Fall.
Smurov, a fussily self-conscious Russian tutor, shoots himself after a humiliating beating by his mistress' husband. Unsure whether his suicide has been successful or not, Smurov drifts around Berlin, observing his acquaintances, but finds he can discover very little about his own life from the opinions of his distracted, confused fellow-emigres. Nabokov's shortest novel, The Eye is both a satirical detective story and a wonderfully layered exploration of identity, appearance and the loss of self in a world of word-play and confusion.
Asher Lev is a gifted loner, the artist who painted the sensational Brooklyn Crucifixion. Into it he poured all the anguish and torment a Jew can feel when torn between the faith of his fathers and the calling of his art. Here Asher Lev plunges back into his childhood and recounts the story of love and conflict which dragged him to this crossroads.
This classic of economic thought is a scathing critique of American snobbery and wastefulness. Chief among the practices that Veblen so wittily satirizes is conspicuous consumption , a pattern of behaviour that still flourishes among us.
His first published collection, these twelve stories were written between 1907 and 1914, during a crucial period of development for Lawrence from which he emerged a leading figure of the modernist movement. Reaching new levels of feeling and experience, these stories range from the tale of a Prussian officer who drives his orderly towards a bloody reckoning, to the strangely exotic elements of 'A Fragment of Stained Glass', and the divisions within society and conflicts of the heart that form the central themes of 'Daughters of a Vicar'. Interweaving individual lives, their happiness, failures and defeats, with the prfound forces of nature, Lawrence has created stories of remarkable power and sensitivity. This Penguin edition reproduces the newly established Cambridge text, which is based on Lawrence's manuscripts, typescripts and corrected proofs.
Horace Rumpole - witty, eloquent, dishevelled and cynical - is one of fiction's best-loved barristers-at-law. In these twenty classic tales, Rumpole battles through the Old Bailey, whether defending various members of an incompetent South London crime family, taking on haute-cuisine chefs and showfolk or mocking the pomposity of his own profession, all the while being held in check by his wife, Hilda: the wonderful, fearsome She Who Must Be Obeyed. These collected stories, in Penguin Modern Classics for the first time, are a definitive introduction to one of the wisest and wittiest characters in British comic writing and a reminder of what justice should really be about. With a new introduction by Sam Leith, former literary editor of the Daily Telegraph and contributor to the Evening Standard, Guardian and Spectator.
Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer, Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A RUSSIAN JOURNAL is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpse of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle
The most beautiful and powerful of Milosz's poems from across his writing life This selection brings together the most beautiful and powerful of Czeslaw Milosz's poems, spanning his writing life. In verses such as 'Cafe' he considers the upheaval, revolutions and two world wars that he had witnessed, while 'My Faithful Mother Tongue' reflects the loyalty he felt to his native Polish language. He also remembers his schooldays in 'The World', and in 'Bypassing Rue Descartes' recalls the Paris streets of his student years, displaying both tenderness and tough-minded fury towards those who shaped his experiences. Writing not about abstract emotions, but about the horrors and beauty that he directly observed, Milosz opens our eyes to the joy-bringing potential of the poetry to which he gave his life. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Born in Lithuania while it was still part of the Russian Empire, he lived much of his life in Poland or exiled in California. He was the author of one of the definitive books on totalitarianism, The Captive Mind, but also wrote with extraordinary vividness and moral authority on his childhood, his experiences under Nazism and on the tragedy of Central Europe.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire is the tale of a catastrophic confrontation between fantasy and reality, embodied in the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Arthur Miller. 'I have always depended on the kindness of strangers' Fading southern belle Blanche DuBois is adrift in the modern world. When she arrives to stay with her sister Stella in a crowded, boisterous corner of New Orleans, her delusions of grandeur bring her into conflict with Stella's crude, brutish husband Stanley Kowalski. Eventually their violent collision course causes Blanche's fragile sense of identity to crumble, threatening to destroy her sanity and her one chance of happiness. Tennessee Williams's steamy and shocking landmark drama, recreated as the immortal film starring Marlon Brando, is one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). If you enjoyed A Streetcar Named Desire, you might like The Glass Menagerie, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Lyrical and poetic and human and heartbreaking and memorable and funny' Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather 'One of the greatest American plays' Observer
'One of our greatest contemporary novelists' Washington Post Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt's funeral, but to encounter the place he fled in bitterness forty-five years ago. A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward childhood to become a figure who commanded international respect. But the realities of the present recede in the face of ghosts of his past. As he makes the perfunctory arrangements for the funeral, his inner pilgrimage leads him to the father who darkened his childhood, the mother whose support was both redeeming and embarrassing, the friend who drew him into the respectable world of which he so craved to be a part, and the woman he nearly married. In this profoundly moving book, Stegner has drawn an intimate portrait of a man understanding how his life has been shaped by experiences seemingly remote and inconsequential.
An intoxicating yet sensitive novel about the sexual experiences of ten couples from Tarbox, New England. Well-to-do, sociable, articulate but dangerously unfulfilled; they play word games in the evening and adultery all year round.
Based on the trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, convicted of delivering information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel includes a new introduction by Jonathan Freedland in Penguin Modern Classics. As Cold War hysteria inflames America, FBI agents pay a surprise visit to a Communist man and his wife in their New York apartment. After a trial that divides the country, the couple are sent to the electric chair for treason. Decades later, in 1967, their son Daniel struggles to understand the tragedy of their lives. But while he is tormented by his past and trying to appreciate his own wife and son, Daniel is also haunted, like millions of others, by the need to come to terms with a country destroying itself in the Vietnam War. A stunning fictionalization of a political drama that tore the United States apart, The Book of Daniel is an intensely moving tale of political martyrdom and the search for meaning. E.L. Doctorow (b.1931) is one of America's most accomplished and acclaimed living writers. Winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Humanities Medal, he is the author of nine novels that have explored the drama of American life from the late 19th century to the 21st, including Ragtime, The Book of Daniel and Billy Bathgate. If you enjoyed The Book of Daniel, you might like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Art on this level can be only a cause for rejoicing' Joyce Carol Oates '[Doctorow] is at once a radical historian, a cultural anthropologist, a troubadour, a private eye, and a cost-benefit analyst of assimilation and upward mobility in the great American multiculture' John Leonard, New York Review of Books
As far as Benjamin Braddock's parents are concerned, his future is sewn up. Now he has graduated from college, he will go to Yale or Harvard, get a good job and enjoy a life of money, cocktails and pool parties in the suburbs, just like them. For Benjamin, however, this isn't quite enough. When his parents' friend Mrs Robinson, a formidable older woman, strips naked in front of him and they begin an affair, it seems he might have found a way out. That is, until her daughter Elaine comes into the picture, and things get far more complicated.
Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh were two of the twentieth century's most amusing and gifted writers, who matched wits and traded literary advice in more than five hundred letters over twenty-two years. Dissecting their friends, criticizing each other's books and concealing their true feelings beneath a barrage of hilarious and knowing repartee, they found it far easier to conduct a friendship on paper than in person. This correspondence provides a colourful glimpse into the literary and social circles of London and Paris, during the Second World War and for twenty years after.
An omnibus comprising Raymond Chandler's three Philip Marlowe novels, THE LADY IN THE LAKE, THE HIGH WINDOW and THE LITTLE SISTER.
In these hauntingly beautiful stories of abandonment and vengeance, extreme situations lead to disturbing conclusions. A missionary is sent to a place so distant he finds his God has no power there; a husband abandons his wife as they honeymoon in the South American jungle; a splash of water triggers an explosion of violence; and a boy's drug-induced transformation leads to cruelty enjoyed and suffered. Masterfully written, these are chilling tales from sun-drenched and brutal climes.
This is the story of Tom and Betsy Rath, a young couple with three children, a nice home, a steady income. They have every reason to be happy, but for some reason they are not. Universally acclaimed when it was first published in 1955, the novel captured the mood of a generation. It was a sensational best-seller that was made into an award-winning film with Gregory Peck, it was translated into twenty-six languages, and its title has become a permanent part of our vocabulary. Today, it is more relevant than ever.
In Kingsley Amis's Difficulties With Girls, Jenny Bunn and Patrick Standish have settled into London life with their troubled courtship long behind them. Patrick works in publishing and Jenny teaches sick children in a hospital. They have reached a certain level of maturity, or so they think. It is not long before they realize their respectability will be severely tested by seductive neighbours with a taste for whisky, the sexually confused Ted Valentine, and the literary set of Hampstead. In this funny and provocative study of a young couple growing up, Amis shows us that the difficulty with marriage is that it's so hard to preserve, especially when Patrick and Jenny harbour deep yearnings for a different kind of life. Kingsley Amis's (1922-95) works take a humorous yet highly critical look at British society, especially in the period following the end of World War II. Born in London, Amis explored his disillusionment in novels such as That Uncertain Feeling (1955). His other works include The Green Man (1970), Stanley and the Women (1984), and The Old Devils (1986), which won the Booker Prize. Amis also wrote poetry, criticism, and short stories.
When John Franklin brings his plane down into Occupied France at the height of the Second World war, there are two things in his mind - the safety of his crew and his own badly injured arm. It is a stroke of unbelievable luck when the family of a French farmer risk their lives to offer the airmen protection. During the hot summer weeks that follow, the English officer and the daughter of the house are drawn inexorably to each other...
William Burroughs closed his classic debut novel, Junky, by saying he had determined to search out a drug he called 'Yage' which he believed transmitted telepathic powers, a drug that could be 'the final fix'. In The Yage Letters - a mix of travel writing, satire, psychedelia and epistolary novel - he journeys through South America, writing to his friend Allen Ginsberg about his experiments with the strange drug, using it to travel through time and space, to derange his senses - the perfect drug for the author of the wild decentred books that followed. Years later, Ginsberg writes back as he follows in Burroughs' footsteps, and the drug worse and more profound than he had imagined.
The novel tells the story of Lyman Ward, a retired professor of history and author of books about the Western frontier, who returns to his ancestral home in the Sierra Nevada. Wheelchair-bound with a crippling bone disease, Ward embarks nonetheless on a search to rediscover his grandmother, no long dead, who made her own journey to Grass Valley nearly a hundred years earlier.
Andy Warhol kept these diaries faithfully from November 1976 right up to his final week, in February 1987. Written at the height of his fame and success, Warhol records the fun of an Academy Awards party, nights out at Studio 54, trips between London, Paris and New York, and surprisingly even the money he spent each day, down to the cent. With appearances from and references to everyone who was anyone, from Jim Morrison, Martina Navratilova and Calvin Klein to Shirley Bassey, Estee Lauder and Muhammad Ali, these diaries are the most glamorous, witty and revealing writings of the twentieth century.
In Kingsley Amis's Take A Girl Like You, twenty year old Jenny Bunn is supernally beautiful and stubbornly chaste, which is why Patrick Standish, an arrogant schoolmaster, wants her so much. This perceptive coming of age novel about a northern girl who moves south, wants to fit in and yet wants to preserve her principles, challenges our assumptions about the battle of the sexes and classes in Britain. It is a story about 'the squalid business of the man and the woman' and 'the most wonderful thing that had ever happened' to Jenny Bunn. Few twentieth century novelists have explored our preoccupation with sex like Kingsley Amis. The results are surprising and often hilarious. Kingsley Amis's (1922-95) works take a humorous yet highly critical look at British society, especially in the period following the end of World War II. Born in London, Amis explored his disillusionment in novels such as That Uncertain Feeling (1955). His other works include The Green Man (1970), Stanley and the Women (1984), and The Old Devils (1986), which won the Booker Prize. Amis also wrote poetry, criticism, and short stories.
Into the insular town of 1930s Ferrara, a new doctor arrives. Fadigati is hopeful and modern, and more than anything wants to fit into his new home. But his fresh, appealing appearance soon crumbles when the townsfolk discover his homosexuality, and the young man he pays to be his lover humiliates him publicly. As anti-Semitism spreads across Italy, the Jewish narrator of the tale begins to feel pity for the ostracized doctor, as the fickle nature of a community changing under political forces becomes clear. The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles is a gripping and tragic study of how lives can be destroyed by those we consider our neighbours.
A couple on an epicurean journey across Mexico are excited by the idea of a particular ingredient, suggested by ancient rituals of human sacrifice. Precariously balanced on his throne, a king is able only to listen to the sounds around him - sure that any deviation from their normal progression would mean the uprising of the conspirators that surround him. And three different men search desperately for the beguiling scents of lost women, from a Count visiting Madame Odile's perfumery, to a London drummer stepping over spent, naked bodies.
In five elegant autobiographical meditations Calvino delves into his past, remembering awkward childhood walks with his father, a lifelong obsession with the cinema and fighting in the Italian Resistance against the Fascists. He also muses on the social contracts, language and sensations associated with emptying the kitchen rubbish and the shape he would, if asked, consider the world. These reflections on the nature of memory itself are engaging, witty, and lit through with Calvino's alchemical brilliance.
Set in turn-of-the-century New York, E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime seamlessly blends fictional characters and realistic depictions of historical figures to bring to life the events that defined American history in the years before the First World War. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Al Alvarez. Welcome to America at the turn of the twentieth century, where the rhythms of ragtime set the beat. Harry Houdini astonishes audiences with magical feats of escape, the mighty J. P. Morgan dominates the financial world and Henry Ford manufactures cars by making men into machines. Emma Goldman preaches free love and feminism, while ex-chorus girl Evelyn Nesbitt inspires a mad millionaire to murder the architect Stanford White. In this stunningly original chronicle of an age, such real-life characters intermingle with three remarkable families, one black, one Jewish and one prosperous WASP, to create a dazzling literary mosaic that brings to life an era of dire poverty, fabulous wealth, and incredible change - in short, the era of ragtime. E.L. Doctorow (b.1931) is one of America's most accomplished and acclaimed living writers. Winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Humanities Medal, he is the author of nine novels that have explored the drama of American life from the late 19th century to the 21st, including Ragtime, The Book of Daniel and Billy Bathgate. If you enjoyed Ragtime, you might like John Dos Passos' U.S.A., also available in Penguin Classics. 'In its perfection it stuns and holds from beginning to end' Daily Mail 'Witty, lyrical, put together with admirable craft ... dazzling economy and insight ... Mr Doctorow knows what he is doing and has done it beautifully' Guardian 'One of the best American novels for years' Economist
Reminiscent of her classic story 'The Lottery', Jackson's disturbing and darkly funny first novel exposes the underside of American suburban life. 'Her books penetrate keenly to the terrible truths which sometimes hide behind comfortable fictions, to the treachery beneath cheery neighborhood faces and the plain manners of country folk; to the threat that sparkles at the rainbow's edge of the sprinkler spray on even the greenest lawns, on the sunniest of midsummer mornings' Donna Tartt In Pepper Street, an attractive suburban neighbourhood filled with bullies and egotistical bigots, the feelings of the inhabitants are shallow and selfish: what can a neighbour gain from another neighbour, what may be won from a friend? One child stands alone in her goodness: little Caroline Desmond, kind, sweet and gentle, and the pride of her family. But the malice and self-absorption of the people of Pepper Street lead to a terrible event that will destroy the community of which they are so proud. Exposing the murderous cruelty of children, and the blindness and selfishness of adults, Shirley Jackson reveals the ugly truth behind a 'perfect' world. Shirley Jackson's chilling tales have the power to unsettle and terrify unlike any other. She was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the greatest American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep at the age of 48. 'An amazing writer' Neil Gaiman 'Shirley Jackson is one of those highly idiosyncratic, inimitable writers ... whose work exerts an enduring spell' Joyce Carol Oates 'An unburnished exercise in the sinister' The New York Times
Proud to be a Mammal (1942-97) is Czeslaw Milosz's moving and diverse collection of essays. Among them, he covers his passion for poetry, his love of the Polish language that was so nearly wiped out by the violence of the twentieth century, and his happy childhood. Milosz also includes a letter to his friend in which he voices his concern about the growing indifference to murder and the true value of freedom of thought, as well as a verbal map of Wilno, with each street revealing both a rich local history and intricate, poignant personal memories.
Clinging to the Wreckage is the first part of John Mortimer's acclaimed autobiography. Here he recounts his solitary childhood in the English countryside, with affectionate portraits of his remote parents - an increasingly unconventional barrister father, whose blindness must never be mentioned, battling earwigs in the mutinous garden, and a vague and endlessly patient mother. As a boy dreaming of a tap-dancing career on the stage and forming a one-boy communist cell at boarding school, his father pushes him to pursue the law, where Mortimer embarks on the career that was to inspire his hilarious and immortal literary creations. Told with great humour and touching honesty, this is a magnificent achievement by one of Britain's best-loved writers.
An opium addict is lost in the jungle; young men wage war against an empire of mutants; a handsome young pirate faces his execution; and the world's population is infected with a radioactive epidemic. These stories are woven together in a single tale of mayhem and chaos. In the first novel of the trilogy continued in The Place of Dead Roads and The Western Lands, William Burroughs sharply satirizes modern society in a poetic and shocking story of sex, drugs, disease and adventure.
The story of a man undone by a culture that in part created him, Season of Migration to the North, is a powerful and evocative examination of colonization in two vastly different worlds. When a young man returns to his village in the Sudan after many years studying in Europe, he finds that among the familiar faces there is now a stranger - the enigmatic Mustafa Sa'eed. As the two become friends, Mustafa tells the younger man the disturbing story of his own life in London after the First World War. Lionized by society and desired by women as an exotic novelty, Mustafa was driven to take brutal revenge on the decadent West and was, in turn, destroyed by it. Now the terrible legacy of his actions has come to haunt the small village at the bend of the Nile.
'How simple this novel is. How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary' Doris Lessing 'I'm surprised it isn't the most famous book in the world' Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers 'She was close to the edge now: the ice laid its hand upon her' The schoolchildren call it the Ice Palace: a frozen waterfall in the Norwegian fjords transformed into a fantastic structure of translucent walls, sparkling towers and secret chambers. It fascinates two young girls, lonely Unn and lively Siss, who strike up an intense friendship. When Unn decides to explore the Ice Palace alone and doesn't return, Siss must try to cope with the loss of her friend without succumbing to a frozen world of her own making.
Jody Tiflin has the urge for rebellion, but he also wants to be loved. In THE RED PONY, Jody begins to learn about adulthood - its pain, its responsibilities and its problems - through his acceptance of his father's gifts. First he is given a red pony, and later he is promised the colt of a bay mare. Yet both of these gifts bring him tragedy as well as joy, and Jody is taught not only the harsh lessons of life and death, but made painfully aware of the fallibilty of adults.
'The only four things that interested me were: reading books, going to the movies, tap-dancing and drawing pictures. Then one day I started writing . . .' Truman Capote began writing at the age of eight, and never looked back. A Capote Reader contains much of the author's published work: his brilliant and prolific oeuvre of fiction, travel sketches, portraits, reportage and essays. It includes all twelve of his celebrated short stories, together with The Grass Harp and Breakfast at Tiffany's. There are vivid sketches of places from Tangiers to Brooklyn, and fascinating insights into the lives of his contemporaries, from Jane Bowles and Cecil Beaton to Marilyn Monroe and Tennessee Williams. Generous space is devoted to reportage including 'The Muses Are Heard', on his trip to Communist Europe in the 1950s with the cast of Porgy and Bess. In all, A Capote Reader demonstrates the chameleon talents of one of America's most versatile and gifted writers.
Tristes Tropiques begins with the line 'I hate travelling and explorers', yet during his life Claude Levi-Strauss travelled from wartime France to the Amazon basin and the dense upland jungles of Brazil, where he found 'human society reduced to its most basic expression'. His account of the people he encountered changed the field of anthropology, transforming Western notions of 'primitive' man. Tristes Tropiques is a major work of art as well as of scholarship. It is a memoir of exquisite beauty and a masterpiece of travel writing: funny, discursive, movingly detailing personal and cultural loss, and brilliantly connecting disparate fields of thought. Few books have had as powerful and broad an impact.
Each of these delightful interconnected tales is devoted to a family living in a fertile valley on the outskirts of Monterey, California, and the effects that one particular family has on them all. Steinbeck tackles two important literary traditions here; American naturalism, with its focus on the conflict between natural instincts and the demand to conform to society's norms, and the short story cycle. Set in the heart of 'Steinbeck land', the lush Californian valleys.
A series of provocative discussions on everything from individual authors to contemporary religious thinking, Against Interpretation and Other Essays is the definitive collection of Susan Sontag's best known and important works published in Penguin Modern Classics. Against Interpretation was Susan Sontag's first collection of essays and made her name as one of the most incisive thinkers of our time. Sontag was among the first critics to write about the intersection between 'high' and 'low' art forms, and to give them equal value as valid topics, shown here in her epoch-making pieces 'Notes on Camp' and 'Against Interpretation'. Here too are impassioned discussions of Sartre, Camus, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, Levi-Strauss, science-fiction movies, psychoanalysis and contemporary religious thought. Originally published in 1966, this collection has never gone out of print and has been a major influence on generations of readers, and the field of cultural criticism, ever since. Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was born in Manhattan and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. She is the author of four novels - The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover and In America, which won the 2000 US National Book Award for fiction - a collection of stories, several plays, and six books of essays, among them Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. Her books are translated into thirty-two languages. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work, and in 2003 she received the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. If you enjoyed Against Interpretation and Other Essays, you might like Sontag's On Photography, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A dazzling intellectual performance' Vogue 'Sontag offers enough food for thought to satisfy the most intellectual of appetites' The Times
Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg's classic account explains the central ideas of the quantum revolution, and his celebrated Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg reveals how words and concepts familiar in daily life can lose their meaning in the world of relativity and quantum physics.This in turn has profound philosophical implications for the nature of reality.
A delicate boy growing up in Paris, Jerome Palissier spends many summers at his uncle's house in the Normandy countryside, where the whole world seems 'steeped in azure'. There he falls deeply in love with his cousin Alissa and she with him. But gradually Alissa becomes convinced that Jerome's love for her is endangering his soul. In the interests of his salvation, she decides to suppress everything that is beautiful in herself - in both mind and body. A devastating exploration of aestheticism taken to extremes, Strait is the Gate is a novel of haunting beauty that stimulates the mind and the emotions.
'To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one's freedom' - Andre Gide Michel had been a blindfold scholar until, newly married, he contracted tuberculosis. His will to recover brings self-discovery and the growing desire to rebel against his background of culture, decency and morality. But the freedom from constraints that Michel finds on his restless travels is won at great cost. And freedom itself, he finds, can be a burden. Gide's novel examines the inevitable conflicts that arise when a pleasure seeker challenges conventional society and, without moralizing, it raises complex issues involving the extent of personal responsibility.
Simon Camish is an embittered, timid barrister, too busy with his own problems to take note of Rose Vassiliou across a dinner party table. But only a few years before, Rose had frequently been in the news, an heiress who turned her back on family money in the name of independence. Now she is a single parent in a decaying house, trying to raise her three children while her ex-husband takes legal action against her. When Simon finds himself drawn into her affairs, he will discover - despite what Rose may wish - that the power of money is ultimately inescapable.
A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly rare in a young woman in the 1920s. Simone de Beavoir describes her early life, from her birth in Paris in 1908 to her student days at the Sorbonne, where she met Jean-Paul sartre - 'the dream-companion I had longed for since I was fifteen'.
In eighteenth century France, Charles Perrault rescued from the oral tradition fairy tales that are known and loved even today by virtually all children in the West. Angela Carter came across Perrault's work and set out to adapt the stories for modern readers of English. In breathing new life into these classic fables, she produced versions that live on as classics in their own right, marked as much by her signature wit, irony, and subversiveness as they are by the qualities that have made them universally appealing for centuries.
'We're not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.' Exiled to a remote and barren corner of Italy for his opposition to Mussolini, Carlo Levi entered a world cut off from history and the state, hedged in by custom and sorrow, without comfort or solace, where, eternally patient, the peasants lived in an age-old stillness and in the presence of death - for Christ did stop at Eboli.
In Agua Viva Clarice Lispector aims to 'capture the present'. Her direct, confessional and unfiltered meditations on everything from life and time to perfume and sleep are strange and hypnotic in their emotional power and have been a huge influence on many artists and writers, including one Brazilian musician who read it one hundred and eleven times. Despite its apparent spontaneity, this is a masterly work of art, which rearranges language and plays in the gaps between reality and fiction.
Candida Wilton has been ignored by her husband and children for years, before being displaced by a younger woman. Moving to London, alone, divorced and without much money, it seems she will now enjoy a life only of small pleasures: trips to the gym, visits to her reading group. When she receives an unexpected windfall, Candida gathers together six travelling companions - women friends from childhood, from married life and after - and maps out a journey she has long dreamed of, around Tunis, Naples and Pompeii, where her grey city lifecan blossom into one of colour and adventure. In The Seven Sisters, Margaret Drabble captures the wonder of second chances with dry wit, honesty and immaculate observation.
Fictionalising his experience of service during the Second World War, Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour is the complete one-volume edition of his masterful trilogy, edited with an introduction by Angus Calder in Penguin Modern Classics. Waugh's own unhappy experience of being a soldier is superbly re-enacted in this story of Guy Crouchback, a Catholic and a gentleman, commissioned into the Royal Corps of Halberdiers during the war years 1939-45. High comedy - in the company of Brigadier Ritchie-Hook or the denizens of Bellamy's Club - is only part of the shambles of Crouchback's war. When action comes in Crete and in Yugoslavia, he discovers not heroism, but humanity. Sword of Honour combines three volumes: Officers and Gentlemen, Men at Arms and Unconditional Surrender, which were originally published separately. Extensively revised by Waugh, they were published as the one-volume Sword of Honour in 1965, in the form in which Waugh himself wished them to be read. Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) was born in Hampstead, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). In 1939 he was commissioned in the Royal Marines and later transferred to the Royal Horse Guards, serving in the Middle East and in Yugoslavia. In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. Men at Arms (1952) was the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; the other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. If you enjoyed Sword of Honour, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Marvellous ... one of the masterpieces of the century' John Banville, Irish Times
Why Read the Classics? is an elegant defence of the value of great literature by one of the finest authors of the last century. Beginning with an essay on the attributes that define a classic (number one - classics are those books that people always say they are 'rereading', not 'reading'), this is an absorbing collection of Italo Calvino's witty and passionate criticism.
A fascinating mix of autobiographical episodes and extraordinary Egyptian theology, Burroughs's final novel is poignant and melancholic. Blending war films and pornography, and referencing Kafka and Mailer, The Western Lands confirms his status as one of America's greatest writers. The final novel of the trilogy containing Cities of the Red Night and The Place of Dead Roads, this is a profound meditation on morality, loneliness, life and death.
A sizzling drama of desire, avarice and deception set in the American Deep South, Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is published in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Big Daddy' Pollitt, the richest cotton planter in the Mississippi Delta, is about to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday. His two sons have returned home for the occasion: Gooper, his wife and children, Brick, an ageing football hero who has turned to drink, and his feisty wife Maggie. As the hot summer evening unfolds, the veneer of happy family life and Southern gentility gradually slips away as unpleasant truths emerge and greed, lies, jealousy and suppressed sexuality threaten to reach boiling point. Made into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a masterly portrayal of family tensions and individuals trapped in prisons of their own making. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). If you enjoyed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, you might like Williams's The Glass Menagerie, also published in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Tennessee Williams will live as long as drama itself ... he is, quite simply, indispensable' Peter Shaffer, author of Equus
A historical romance, Sontag's book is based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton, his wife, Emma, and Lord Nelson in the final decades of the eighteenth century. Passionately examining the shape of Western civilization since the Age of Enlightenment, Sontag's novel is an exquisitely detailed picture of revolution, the fate of nature, art and love.
The story of In America is inspired by the emigration to America in 1876 of Helena Modrzejewska, Poland's most celebrated actress, accompanied by her husband, Count Karol Chlapowski, her fifteen-year-old son, Rudolf, the young journalist and future author of Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz, and a few friends; their brief sojourn in Anaheim, California; and Modrzejewska's subsequent triumphant career on the American stage under the name Helena Modjeska.
The first book in his award-winning 'Rabbit' series, John Updike's Rabbit, Run contains an afterword by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. It's 1959 and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, one time high school sports superstar, is going nowhere. At twenty-six he is trapped in a second-rate existence - stuck with a fragile, alcoholic wife, a house full of overflowing ashtrays and discarded glasses, a young son and a futile job. With no way to fix things, he resolves to flee from his family and his home in Pennsylvania, beginning a thousand-mile journey that he hopes will free him from his mediocre life. Because, as he knows only too well, 'after you've been first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate'. John Updike (1932-2009) was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year at Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of staff at The New Yorker. Updike was the author of twenty-one novels as well as numerous collections of short stories, poems and criticism, and is one of only three authors to win more than one Pulitzer Prize. His most famous works are the Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom series, all of which are published in Penguin Modern Classics: Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990). If you enjoyed Rabbit, Run, you might like Don DeLillo's Americana, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is sexy, in bad taste, violent and basically cynical. And good luck to it' Angus Wilson, Observer 'That special polish, that brilliance; Updike is among the best' Malcolm Bradbury 'Brilliant and poignant ... By his compassion, clarity of insight, and crystal-bright rose, [Updike] makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own' Washington Post
A tie-in edition of Fallada's best-selling WW2 novel, to accompany the major new film starring Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson. Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. When unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France, they are shocked out of their quiet existence and begin a silent campaign of defiance. A deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich in Fallada's desperately tense and heartbreaking exploration of resistance in impossible circumstances.
A brilliant, bruising depiction of the dark side of 1950s Hollywood, from the author of In Love. At a Hollywood party, a screenwriter rescues an aspiring actress from a drunken suicide attempt. He is married, disillusioned; she is young, seemingly wise to the world and its slights. They slide into a casual relationship together, but as they become ever more entangled, he realises that his actions may have more serious consequences than he could ever have suspected. Hayes' exquisite novella, written in his cool, inimitable style, holds a revealing light to the hollowness of the Hollywood dream and exposes the untruths we tell ourselves, even when we think we have left illusions behind. 'A masterpiece ... an insider's manual for all those who would aspire to fame, the ghostly glamour of the movies' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'Hayes is the poet of the things we think about while lying in bed, when sleep refuses to carry us off' David Thomson
'A great writer' James Baldwin 'Part vision, part satire, part farce ... a wholly original, unholy cross between the craft of fiction and witchcraft' The New York Times A plague is spreading across 1920s America, racing from New Orleans to New York. It's an epidemic of free expression, carried by black artists, and its symptoms are an uncontrollable urge to dance, sing, laugh and jive. The state will stop at nothing to suppress the outbreak, but, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodum priest Papa LaBas has other ideas - and, possibly, the key to everything. A freewheeling, explosive blend of jazz, ragtime, ancient myth, magic and conspiracy thriller, this anarchic postmodern classic is a satire for our times.
A car wreck on the slopes of Mount Morgan puts insurance tycoon Lyman Felt in the hospital. While Lyman recovers, two women meet in the hospital waiting room only to discover that they are both married to him. With his secrets exposed, Lyman tries to justify himself to the two women - the prim, cultured Theo and the restless, ambitious Leah - at the same time hoping to convince himself that he is blameless. Moving between broad farce and delicate tragedy, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan explores the struggle between honesty with others and honesty with oneself.
Arthur Miller's penultimate play, Resurrection Blues, is a darkly comic satirical allegory that poses the question: What would happen if Christ were to appear in the world today? In an unidentified Latin American country, General Felix Barriaux has captured an elusive revolutionary leader. The rebel, known by various names, is rumoured to have performed miracles throughout the countryside. The General plans to crucify the mysterious man, and the exclusive television rights to the twenty-four-hour reality-TV event have been sold to an American network. An allegory that asserts the interconnectedness of our actions and each person's culpability in world events, Resurrection Blues is a comedic and tragic satire of precarious morals in our media-saturated age.
Both a gripping tale of adventure and a poetic meditation, Antoine de Saint Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars is the lyrical autobiography of an aviation pioneer, from the author of The Little Prince. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated from the French with an introduction by William Rees. In 1926 de Saint-Exupery began flying for the pioneering airline Latecoere - later known as Aeropostale - opening up the first mail routes across the Sahara and the Andes. Wind, Sand and Stars is drawn from this experience. Interweaving encounters with nomadic Arabs and other adventures into a richly textured autobiographical narrative, it has its climax in the extraordinary story of Saint-Exupery's crash in the Libyan Desert in 1936, and his miraculous survival. 'Self-discovery comes when a man measures himself against an obstacle,' writes Saint-Exupery. This book explores the transcendent perceptions that arise when life is tested to its limits. Writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-44), was born in Lyon, France. His first two books, Southern Mail and Night Flight, are distinguished by a poetic evocation of the romance and discipline of flying. Later works, including Wind, Sand and Stars and Flight to Arras, stress his humanistic philosophy. Saint-Exupery's popular children's book The Little Prince is also read by adults for its allegorical meaning. Saint-Exupery's plane disappeared during a mission in World War II. If you enjoyed Wind, Sand and Stars, you might like Woody Guthrie's Bound for Glory, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A Conrad of the air ... Like Conrad, Saint-Exupery is a poet of action' Andre Maurois
Graves described poetry as his ruling passion, and for him love was 'the main theme and origin of true poems'. He created a rich mythology where love, fear, fantasy and the supernatural play an essential role. Intimate yet universal, passionate yet precise, their brilliant alchemy of realism and magic made Graves's poems some of the finest of the last century. In this edition the poems appear without critical apparatus or commentary. The volume represents in its purest form the achievement of Graves's seventy productive years.
Selected Poems brings together some two hundred poems - the largest collection of Borges' poetry ever assembled in English, including many never previously translated. The brilliance of the Spanish originals is matched with luminous English versions rendered by a remarkable cast of translators, among them W.S. Merwin, John Updike, Robert Fitzgerald, Mark Strand and Alastair Reid.
'We are Progress and the New Age. Nothing can stand in our way.' When Oxford-educated Emperor Seth succeeds to the throne of the African state of Azania, he has a tough job on his hands. His subjects are ill-informed and unruly, and corruption, double-dealing and bloodshed are rife. However, with the aid if Minister of Modernization Basil Seal, Seth plans to introduce his people to the civilized ways of the west - but will it be as simple as that?
Growing up in Kenya in the early twentieth century, the brothers Matu and Muthegi are raised according to customs that, they are told, have existed since the beginning of the world. But when the 'red' strangers come, sunburned Europeans who seek to colonize their homeland, the lives of the two Kikuyu tribesmen begin to change in dramatic new ways. Soon, their people are overwhelmed by unknown diseases that traditional magic seems powerless to control. And as the strangers move across the land, the tribe rapidly finds itself forced to obey foreign laws that seem at best bizarre, and that at worst entirely contradict the Kikuyu's own ancient ways, rituals and beliefs.
'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it'. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies. A firsthand account of the brutal conditions of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia includes an introduction by Julian Symons in Penguin Modern Classics.
Orwell's classic satire ANIMAL FARM continues to be an international best seller. For the first time ever, ORWELL AND POLITICS brings this major work together with the author's other works exploring the nature of politics and the Second World War.
Romantics, adventurers, sensualists, melancholics and dreamers inhabit the bizarre and exotic world conjured up in these seven intricately interwoven tales, whose settings range from Tuscany and Elsinore, to a dhow on its way from Lamu to Zanzibar. Proclaimed a masterpiece on its publication in 1934, this collection is shot through with themes of love and desire - from the maiden lady who now believes herself to have been the grand courtesan of her time, to the Count whose wife is so jealous that she cannot bear him to admire her jewels, and Lincoln Forsner, an Englishman whose search for a woman he met in a brothel leads him into many strange adventures.
The key literary figure in the pubs of post-war Fitzrovia, Maclaren-Ross pulled together his dispersed energies to write two great books: the posthumously published Memoirs of the Forties and this spectacular novel of the Depression, Of Love and Hunger - harsh, vivid, louche and slangy it deserves a permanent place alongside Coming Up for Air and Hangover Square.
Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and language teacher living in France, is enjoying his first break for years in a small hotel on the Riviera. But when he takes his holiday photographs to be developed at a local chemists, he suddenly finds himself mistaken for a Gestapo agent and a charge of espionage is levelled at him. To prove himself innocent to the French police, he must discover which one of his fellow guests at his pension is the real spy. As he desperately tries to uncover the true culprit's identity, Vadassy must risk his job, his safety and everything he holds dear.
The Original of Laura is Vladimir Nabokov's final, incredible unfinished novel in fragments. Dr Philip Wild, a man of brilliance, wit, fortune and tremendous bulk, is used to suffering humiliations at the hands of his wife, the younger, slender, and rudely promiscuous Flora. But in a novel, a 'maddening masterpiece' documenting her infidelities, written by one of her lovers and given to the doctor, she appears as My Laura. Dishonoured, Wild still finds pleasure in life, by indulging in self-annihilation, beginning with the removal of his toes.
Old Masters (1985) is Thomas Bernhard's devilishly funny story about the friendship between two old men. For over thirty years Reger, a music critic, has sat on the same bench in front of a Tintoretto painting in a Viennese museum, thinking and railing against contemporary society, his fellow men, artists, the weather, even the state of public lavatories. His friend Atzbacher has been summoned to meet him, and through his eyes we learn more about Reger - the tragic death of his wife, his thoughts of suicide and, eventually, the true purpose of their appointment. At once pessimistic and exuberant, rancorous and hilarious, Old Masters is a richly satirical portrait of culture, genius, nationhood, class, the value of art and the pretensions of humanity.
Primo Levi's The Periodic Table is a collection of short stories that elegantly interlace the author's experiences in Fascist Italy, and later in Auschwitz, with his passion for scientific knowledge and discovery. This Penguin Modern Classics edition of is translated by Raymond Rosenthal with an essay on Primo Levi by Philip Roth. A chemist by training, Primo Levi became one of the supreme witnesses to twentieth-century atrocity. In these haunting reflections inspired by the elements of the periodic table, he ranges from young love to political savagery; from the inert gas argon - and 'inert' relatives like the uncle who stayed in bed for twenty-two years - to life-giving carbon. 'Iron' honours the mountain-climbing resistance hero who put iron in Levi's student soul, 'Cerium' recalls the improvised cigarette lighters which saved his life in Auschwitz, while 'Vanadium' describes an eerie post-war correspondence with the man who had been his 'boss' there. In his essay, Philip Roth reproduces a conversation with Primo Levi, delving into the process of Levi's authorial technique, his sense of identity and distinctiveness and the relationship between science, writing and survival. Primo Levi (1919-87), an Italian Jew, did not come to the wide attention of the English-reading audience until the last years of his life. A survivor of the Holocaust and imprisonment in Auschwitz, Levi is considered to be one of the century's most compelling voices, and The Periodic Table is his most famous book. Levi is the author of Moments of Reprieve and If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. Philip Roth is the author of Nemesis and The Plot Against America, and winner of the both the Pulitzer prize, and the Man Booker International prize. If you enjoyed The Periodic Table, you might like Levi's If Not Now, When?, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A book it is necessary to read' Saul Bellow, author of Herzog 'One of the finest writers in post-war Italy' The Times
From fabulous enchantments and supernatural horrors to subtler, more psychological terrors, the best of nineteenth-century fantastic literature is collected here by Italo Calvino. These mysterious and macabre tales include Hoffmann's nightmarish 'The Sandman', Poe's terrifying 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and Dickens's chilling ghost story 'The Signal-Man', and relatively unknown works from celebrated writers including Honore de Balzac, Henry James, Sir Walter Scott, Guy de Maupassant and Robert Louis Stevenson, alongside lesser-known contributors. Each story comes with a fascinating introduction by Calvino.
When a history professor - Alfred Clayton, the hero of John Updike's fifteenth novel - is asked to record his impressions of the Ford Administration, he recalls a turbulent piece of personal history as well: his unfinished book on 19th-century president James Buchanan.
These three dramatic works by Tennessee Williams explore the darker side of human nature and are haunted by a sense of isolation and regret. 'Suddenly Last Summer' is the starkly told story of Catherine, who seemingly goes insane after her cousin Sebastian dies in grisly circumstances on a trip to Europe. 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore' is a passionate examination of a wealthy old woman as she recounts her memories in the face of death, while in 'Small Craft Warnings' a motley group of people - including a blowsy beautician, a discredited alcoholic doctor, a vulnerable waif and two gay men - sit around a seedy bar on the Californian coast, each contemplating their own desperate fate.
A mesmerising, chilling close-up portrayal of Stalin from Milovan Djilas, a Communist insider - with an introduction from Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag and Iron Curtain This extraordinarily vivid and unnerving book three meetings held with Stalin during and after the Second World War. Djilas brilliantly describes the dictator in his lair - cunning, cruel, enormously talented. Few books give as clear a sense of what made Stalin such a compelling figure and how he was able to hypnotise and terrify those around him. Djilas also describes the key members of Stalin's court: Beria, Malenkov, Zhukov, Molotov and Khruschchev. The result is a gripping account of the ruler at the height of his fame and power.
'The stories here will provoke, delight and impress. Joost Zwagerman's selection forms a fascinating guidebook to a landscape you'll surely want to wander in again.' Clare Lowden, TLS 'There is a lot of northern European melancholy in the collection, though often tinged with wry humour...an excellent book' Jonathan Gibbs, Minor Literatures 'We were kids - but good kids. If I may say so myself. We're much smarter now, so smart it's pathetic. Except for Bavink, who went crazy' A husband forms gruesome plans for his new fridge; a government employee has a haunting experience on his commute home; prisoners serve as entertainment for wealthy party guests; an army officer suffers a monstrous tropical illness. These short stories contain some of the most groundbreaking and innovative writing in Dutch literature from 1915 to the present day, with most pieces appearing here in English for the first time. Blending unforgettable snapshots of the realities of everyday life with surrealism, fantasy and subversion, this collection shows Dutch writing to be an integral part of world literary history. Joost Zwagerman (1963-2015) was a novelist, poet, essayist and editor of several anthologies. He started his career as a writer with bestselling novels, describing the atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Gimmick!(1988) and False Light (1991). In later years, he concentrated on writing essays - notably on pop culture and visual arts - and poetry. Suicide was the theme of the novel Six Stars (2002). He took his own life just after having published a new collection of essays on art, The Museum of Light.
'Reading Brodsky's essays is like a conversation with an immensely erudite, hugely entertaining and witty (and often very funny) interlocutor' Wall Street Journal Watermark is Joseph Brodsky's witty, intelligent, moving and elegant portrait of Venice. Looking at every aspect of the city, from its waterways, streets and architecture to its food, politics and people, Brodsky captures its magnificence and beauty, and recalls his own memories of the place he called home for many winters, as he remembers friends, lovers and enemies he has encountered. Above all, he reflects with great poetic force on how the rising tide of time affects city and inhabitants alike. Watermark is an unforgettable piece of writing, and a wonderful evocation of a remarkable, unique city. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
This excellent collection of Donald Barthelme's literary output during the 1960s and 1970s covers the period when the writer came to prominence--producing the stories, satires, parodies, and other formal experiments that altered fiction as we know it--and wrote many of the most beautiful sentences in the English language. Due to the unfortunate discontinuance of many of Barthelme's titles, 60 Stories now stands as one of the broadest overviews of his work, containing selections from eight previously published books, as well as a number of other short works that had been otherwise uncollected.
'It is the sum of myself, as far as the written word can go' Kerouac on THE TOWN AND THE CITY Kerouac's debut novel is a great coming of age story which can be read as the essential prelude to his later classics. Inspired by grief over his father's death and gripped by determination to write the Great American Novel, he draws largely on his own New England childhood.
It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours This new enlarged edition combines two collections previously published in the United States as Kolyma Tales and Graphite.
Rand lives free; lean, pure and defiant, the world has little influence on him. His passion is climbing - the mountains, the huge vertical faces. There, where storms, snow, or rockfall can kill, he finds his happiness, sometimes climbing with others, sometimes alone. This is a novel of obsession and where it leads. Rand, not intending it, becomes suddenly famous for a daring rescue in the Alps. What happens when passion is spent and what becomes of heroes is revealed in this terse and powerfully written novel.
Karl Rossman has been banished by his parents to America, following a family scandal. There, with unquenchable optimism, he throws himself into the strange experiences that lie before him as he slowly makes his way into the interior of the great continent. Kafka's first novel (begun in 1911 and never finished) is infused with a quite un-Kafkaesque blitheness and sunniness, brought to life in this lyrical translation that returns to the original manuscript of the book.
Let It Come Down, with its title from Macbeth, tells the story of Dyar, a New York bank clerk who throws up his secure, humdrum job to find a reality abroad with which to identify himself, and his macabre experiences in the inferno of Tangiers as he gives in to his darkest impulses. Rich in descriptions of the corruption and decadence of the International Zone in the last days before Moroccan independence, Bowles's second novel is an alternately comic and horrific account of a descent into nihilism.
All Souls is a compelling black comedy of Oxford life by Javier Marias, whose highly-anticipated new novel The Infatuations is published in 2013. This Penguin Modern Classics edition features a new Introduction by John Banville, author of The Sea. The pretty young tutor Clare Bayes attracts many eyes at an Oxford college dinner, not least those of a visiting Spanish lecturer (desperate to escape his conversation with an obese economist about an eighteenth-century cider tax). As they begin an affair, meeting in hotel bedrooms away from the eyes of Clare's husband, the Spaniard finds himself increasingly drawn into the strange world of Oxford, 'one of the cities in the world where the least work gets done', in a story of lust, loneliness, vanity and memory. Filled with brilliant set pieces and pin-sharp observation, All Souls is a masterpiece of black humour.
'England is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family.' 'England Your England' is one of the most compelling and insightful portraits of the nation ever written. Shot through with Orwell's deeply felt sense of patriotism and love for his homeland, the essay is at the same time unfailingly clear-eyed about the nation's failings: entrenched social inequality, a dishonest press and a class system that only works for those at the top. Written during the Second World War, as the bombs were falling on England, the essay today speaks to the nation's current moment of crisis just as urgently as it did in Orwell's own time. It is a crucial read for anyone who wants to understand who we are, and where we've come from.
Henry Bech, the celebrated author of Travel Light, has been scrutinized, canonized and vilified by critics and readers across the world. Here, the experiences of this bemused literary icon, one of Updike's greatest creations, are described in hilarious detail, as he travels the world struggling to break his writer's block; returns to his native America to find new success with Think Big, his all-time blockbuster; and visits communist Czechoslovakia, where he is greeted by a dizzyingly adoring public. Brilliantly comic and deeply poignant, The Complete Henry Bech is one of the greatest of all explorations of the writing life and of what happens when an writer becomes a literary celebrity.
Following a baseball game that nearly became a religious war, two Jewish boys become friends. Danny comes from the strict Hasidic sect that keeps him bound in centuries of orthodoxy. Reuven is brought up by a father patently aware of the twentieth century. Everything tries to destroy their friendship, but they use honesty with each other as a shield and it proves an impenetrable protection.
The pieces here span reflections on personal and collective identity, on home and family, on literature, language and politics, and on Achebe's lifelong attempt to reclaim the definition of 'Africa' for its own authorship. For the first thirty years of his life, before Nigeria's independence in 1960, Achebe was officially defined as a 'British Protected Person'. In The Education of a British-Protected Child he gives us a vivid, ironic and delicately nuanced portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its 'middle ground', interrogating both his happy memories of reading English adventure stories in secondary school and also the harsher truths of colonial rule.
Virginia Woolf tested the boundaries of fiction in these short stories, developing a new language of sensation, feeling and thought, and recreating in words the 'swarm and confusion of life'. Defying categorization, the stories range from the more traditional narrative style of 'Solid Objects' through the fragile impressionism of 'Kew Gardens' to the abstract exploration of consciousness in 'The Mark on the Wall'.
The Stones of Florence and Venice Observed are wonderfully vivid and perceptive descriptions of two great Italian cities, told through their history and art, revealing Mary McCarthy to be one of literature's greatest travelling companions. Here she depicts Florence through its tempestuous past, from the reign of the Medicis to Savonarola's bonfire of the vanities. Her account is dominated by the splendours of the Renaissance - the statues of Michelangelo and Donatello, the architecture of Brunelleschi, the paintings of Giotto and Botticelli - but she also shows Florence as a living city with a bustling street pageant of sounds and smells. A 'gold idol with clay feet', McCarthy's Venice is a city of illusion and spectacle, carnival and commerce, entrancing visitors with its grandeur and richness, its reflection glittering in the waters of the Adriatic.
Miami, Summer 1968. The Vietnam War is raging; Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy have just been assassinated. The Republican Party meets in Miami and picks Richard Nixon as its candidate, to little fanfare. But when the Democrats back Lyndon Johnson's ineffectual vice president, Hubert Humphrey, the city of Chicago erupts. Antiwar protesters fill the streets and the police run amok, beating and arresting demonstrators and delegates alike, all broadcast on live television, and captured in these pages by one of America's fiercest intellects.
Pirandello (1867-1936) is the founding architect of twentieth-century drama, brilliantly innovatory in his forms and themes, and in the combined energy, imagination and visual colours of his theatre.This volume of plays, translated from the Italian by Mark Musa, opens with Six Characters in Search of an Author, Pirandello's most popular and controversial work in which six characters invade the stage and demand to be included in the play. The tragedy Henry IV dramatizes the lucid madness of a man who may be King. In So It Is (If You Think So) the townspeople exercise a morbid curiosity attempting to discover 'the truth' about the Ponza family. Each of these plays can lay claim to being Pirandello's masterpiece, and in exploring the nature of human personality each one stretches the resources of drama to their limits.
Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics. In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful and far-flung rule. A work of superbly detailed research and sustained empathy, Memoirs of Hadrian captures the living spirit of the Emperor and of Ancient Rome. Marguerite de Crayencour (1903-88), who went by the inexact anagrammatic pen name 'Marguarite Yourcenar', was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist, the first woman to be elected to the Academie francaise. Her first novel Alexis was published in 1929; in 1939 she was invited to America by her lover Grace Frick, where she lectured in comparative literature at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. When Memoires d'Hadrien was first published in 1951, it was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim. If you enjoyed Memoirs of Hadrian, you might like Robert Graves's I, Claudius, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A timeless masterpiece ... every page is informed by her profound scholarship' Paul Bailey, author of Gabriel's Lament 'Yourcenar conjures worlds. She can make us share passion - for beauty, bodies, ideas, even power - and consider it closely at the same time. She is that most extraordinary thing: a sensual thinker' Independent on Sunday
When Kino, a poor Indian pearl-diver, finds 'the Pearl of the world' he believes that his life will be magically transformed. He will marry Juana and their son Coyotito will be able to attend school. Obsessed by his dreams, Kino is blind to the greed and even violence the pearl arouses in him and his neighbours. Written with lyrical simplicity, The Pearl sets the values of the civilized world against those of the primitive and finds them tragically inadequate.
The play is a parable inspired by the Chinese play Chalk Circle. Written at the close of World War II, the story is set in the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, and retells the tale of King Solomon and a child claimed by two mothers. A chalk circle is metaphorically drawn around a society misdirected in its priorities. Brecht's statements about class are cloaked in the innocence of a fable that whispers insistently to the audience.
This is the essential edition of the essential book of modern times, 1984, now annotated for students with an introduction by D. J. Taylor. Ever since its publication in 1949, George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian regime where Big Brother controls its citizens like 'a boot stamping on a human face' has become a touchstone for human freedom, and one of the most widely-read books in the world. In this new annotated edition Orwell's biographer D. J. Taylor elucidates the full meaning of this timeless satire, explaining contemporary references in the novel, placing it in the context of Orwell's life, elaborating on his extraordinary use of language and explaining the terms such as Newspeak, Doublethink and Room 101 that have become familiar phrases today.
Flora Thompson's immortal trilogy, containing Lark Rise , Over To Candleford and Candleford Green , is a heartwarming portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century. This story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities - a hamlet, the nearby village and a small market town - is based on the author's experiences during childhood and youth. It chronicles May Day celebrations and forgotten children's games, the daily lives of farmworkers and craftsmen, friends and relations - all painted with a gaiety and freshness of observation that make this trilogy an evocative and sensitive memorial to Victorian rural England. With a new introduction by Richard Mabey
Harry White is the man other men want to be: admired by his peers, talented, rich, and desired by countless women. His steady rise to a position of unprecedented influence in a New York investment firm seems inevitable to those who know him, and on the way he acquires a beautiful wife and children. But with every achievement the desire to destroy what is his grows stronger. A demon within drives him to sexual excess, petty crime and eventually murder. The Demon explores the dark side of a man's ambitions with unflinching determination. Harry White's story is a gripping twentieth-century tragedy.
In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of the capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties.
In these dark, dreamlike love stories with a twist, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya tells of strange encounters in claustrophobic communal apartments, ill-fated holiday romances, office trysts, schoolgirl crushes, tentative courtships, rampant infidelity, tender devotion and terrifying madness. By turns sly and sweet, earthy and sublime, these fables of flawed love blend black humour and macabre spectacle with transformative moments of grace.
It is 1913 - just prior to England's entry into World War I - and Edwardian England is about to vanish into history. A group of men and women gather at Sir Randolph Nettleby's estate for a shooting party. Opulent, adulterous, moving assuredly through the rituals of eating and slaughter, they are a dazzlingly obtuse and brilliantly decorative finale of an era.
An enchanting collection from India's foremost storyteller, rich in wry, warmly observed characters from every walk of Indian life - merchants, beggars, herdsmen, rogues - all of whose lives are microcosms of the human experience Like Nambi in the title story, Narayan has the mesmeric ability to spellbind his audience. This he achieves with a masterful combination of economy and rhythm, creating haunting images and a variety of settings to evoke a unique paradox of reality and folklore.
Empson has long been applauded for the dazzling intelligence and emotional passion of his poems. Praised in his lifetime by the likes of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and John Betjeman, his reputation contines to be high. His poems take a wide range of themes from metaphysics to melancholy, social climbing to political satire, and from love to loss.
L'Abbe C is a shocking, unnerving narrative about the intense and terrifying relationship between twin brothers. Charles is a modern libertine, dedicated to vice and depravity, while Robert is a priest so devout that he is nicknamed 'l'Abbe'. When the sexually wild Eponine intrudes upon their suffocating relationship, anguish, delirium, and death ensue. Charged with sensuality and a heightened, dreamlike atmosphere, this novel portrays the darkest and most profound aspects of human experience.
When a society becomes more affluent, does it lose other values? Are the skills that education and literacy gave millions wasted on consuming pop culture? Do the media coerce us into a world of the superficial and the material - or can they be a force for good? When Richard Hoggart asked these questions in his 1957 book The Uses of Literacy Britain was undergoing huge social change, yet his landmark work has lost none of its pertinence and power today. Hoggart gives a fascinating insight into the close-knit values of Northern England's vanishing working-class communities, and weaves this together with his views on the arrival of a new, homogenous 'mass' US-influenced culture. His headline-grabbing bestseller opened up a whole new area of cultural study and remains essential reading, both as a historical document, and as a commentary on class, poverty and the media.
The French Writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), was born in Lyon. His first two books, SOUTHERN MAIL and NIGHT FLIGHT, are distinguished by a poetic evocation of the romance and discipline of flying. Later works, including WIND, SAND AND STARS and FLIGHT TO ARRAS, stress his humanistic philosophy. Saint-Exupery's popular children's book THE LITTLE PRINCE is also read by adults for its allegorical meaning. Saint-Exupery's plane disappeared during a mission in World War II.
'There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves' Anna Freud was one of the most creative and innovative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis, whose pioneering work in child analysis and development revolutionized the treatment of the young. This essential anthology of her writings includes extracts from her classic The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence, as well as papers on normal and pathological child development, on adolescence, trauma, aggression and analytical technique. Together they offer a definitive overview of her entire career, displaying the richness, variety and originality of her thinking. 'An achievement of the first importance ... underlines the clarity and cogency of Anna Freud's thinking, [and] makes it accessible to a wide audience' Clifford Yorke, former Medical Director, the Anna Freud Centre, London
'A virtuoso storyteller ... a Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age' The New York Times 'He was a robot-hypochondriac. On his squeaking cart he carried a complete set of spare parts.' A freighter pilot leads a manhunt across the Moon for a robot gone berserk; a shapeshifting assassin falls in love with the man she's programmed to kill; a paranoid King converts his kingdom into his artificial mind, but his dreams rebel. These stories range from surreal fables that satirically turn the fairy tale on its head, to longer works including the man vs. robot thriller, 'The Hunt', and possibly fiction's strangest love story, 'The Mask'. InMortal Engines Stanislaw Lem lays bare humanity's clash with machines, masterfully exploring science fiction's furthest frontiers.
Beginning as surprisingly formal notes from the road to his friends Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the letters gradually deepen in substance and style. Burroughs's letters show the development of both the man and the writer, vividly documenting his (often turbulent) personal and cultural history. The collection provides a key to opening up and contextualizing Burroughs's fiction, but more than that it shows how letter-writing was itself integral to his life and creative process.
Lawrence asserted that 'the proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it'. In these highly individual, penetrating essays he has exposed 'the American whole soul' within some of that continent's major works of literature. In seeking to establish the status of writings by such authors as Poe, Melville, Fenimore Cooper and Whitman, Lawrence himself has created a classic work. Studies in Classic American Literature is valuable not only for the light it sheds on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American consciousness, telling 'the truth of the day', but also as a prime example of Lawrence's learning, passion and integrity of judgement.
Few novels have caused as much debate as Hubert Selby Jr.'s notorious masterpiece, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting. Described by various reviewers as hellish and obscene, Last Exit to Brooklyn tells the stories of New Yorkers who at every turn confront the worst excesses in human nature. Yet there are moments of exquisite tenderness in these troubled lives. Georgette, the transvestite who falls in love with a callous hoodlum; Tralala, the conniving prostitute who plumbs the depths of sexual degradation; and Harry, the strike leader who hides his true desires behind a boorish masculinity, are unforgettable creations. Last Exit to Brooklyn was banned by British courts in 1967, a decision that was reversed the following year with the help of a number of writers and critics including Anthony Burgess and Frank Kermode. Hubert Selby, Jr. (1928-2004) was born in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 15, he dropped out of school and went to sea with the merchant marines. While at sea he was diagnosed with lung disease. With no other way to make a living, he decided to try writing: 'I knew the alphabet. Maybe I could be a writer.' In 1964 he completed his first book, Last Exit to Brooklyn, which has since become a cult classic. In 1966, it was the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. His other books include The Room, The Demon, Requiem for a Dream, The Willow Tree and Waiting Period. In 2000, Requiem for a Dream was adapted into a film starring Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn, and directed by Darren Aronofsky. If you enjoyed Last Exit to Brooklyn, you might like Larry McMurty's The Last Picture Show, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Last Exit to Brooklyn will explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America, and still be eagerly read in 100 years' Allen Ginsberg 'An urgent tickertape from hell' Spectator
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Hungarian Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform scientific research on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous Angel of Death : Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account of the terror of Auschwitz. This new Penguin Modern Classics edition contains an introduction by Richard Evans.
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian. After his father, a paperhanger and upholsterer, died of cholera, five-year-old Gorky was taken to live with his grandfather, a polecat-faced tyrant who would regularly beat him unconscious, and with his grandmother, a tender mountain of a woman and a wonderful storyteller, who would kneel beside their bed (with Gorky inside it pretending to be asleep) and give God her views on the day's happenings, down to the last fascinating details. She was, in fact, Gorky's closest friend and the epic heroine of a book swarming with characters and with the sensations of a curious and often frightened little boy. My Childhood, the first volume of Gorky's autobiographical trilogy, was in part an act of exorcism. It describes a life begun in the raw, remembered with extraordinary charm and poignancy and without bitterness. Of all Gorky's books this is the one that made him 'the father of Russian literature'.
Both a fast-paced story of social unrest and strike, and the tale of one young man's struggle for identity, IN DUBIOUS BATTLE is a novel about the apocalyptic violence that breaks out when the masses become the mob. Set in California apple country, a strike by migrant workers spirals out of control, as principled defiance turns into blind fanaticism. Caught in this upheaval is Jim Nolan, a once aimless man who finds himself briefly becoming the leader of the strike before being crushed in its service. IN DUBIOUS BATTLE explores and dramatises many of the ideas and themes key to Steinbeck's writing.
A Breath of Life is Clarice Lispector's final novel, 'written in agony', which she did not live to see published. Sensual and mysterious, it is a mystical dialogue between a god-like author and the creation he breathes life into: the speaking, shifting, indefinable Angela Pralini. As he has created Angela, so, eventually, he must let her die, for life is merely 'a kind of madness that death makes.' This is a unique, elegiac meditation on the creation of life, and of art.
A searing indictment of evil in Hitler's Germany. Hendrik Hofgen is a man obsessed with becoming a famous actor. When the Nazis come to power in Germany, he willingly renounces his Communist past and deserts his wife and mistress in order to keep on performing. His diabolical performance as Mephistopheles in Faust proves to be the stepping-stone he yearned for: attracting the attention of Hermann Goering, it wins Hofgen an appointment as head of the State Theatre. The rewards - the respect of the public, a castle - like villa, a uplace in Berlin's highest circles - are beyond his wildest dreams. But the moral consequences of his betrayals begin to haunt him, turning his dreamworld into a nightmare.
Anais Nin's Little Birds is published in Penguin Modern Classics. Anais Nin's second volume of erotic short stories after Delta of Venus, Little Birds is broader in scope, encompassing the entire breadth of human sensuality. Each of the 13 stories captures a moment of pure desire, in all its complexity and paradoxical simplicity. Anais Nin (1903-77), born in Paris, was the daughter of a Franco-Danish singer and a Cuban pianist. Her first book - a defence of D. H. Lawrence - was published in the 1930s. Her prose poem, House of Incest (1936) was followed by the collection of three novellas, collected as Winter of Artifice (1939). In the 1940s she began to write erotica for an anonymous client, and these pieces are collected in Delta of Venus and Little Birds (both published posthumously). During her later years Anais Nin lectured frequently at universities throughout the USA, in 1974 and was elected to the United States National Institute of Arts and Letters. If you enjoyed Little Birds, you might like Nin's Delta of Venus, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the most extraordinary and unconventional writers of this century' The New York Times Book Review
Written after the First World War when he was living in Sicily, SEA AND SARDINIA records Lawrence's journey to Sardinia and back in January 1921. It reveals his delighted response to a new landscape and people and his uncanny ability to transmute the spirit of place into literary art. Like his other travel writings the book is also a shrewd inquiry into the political and social values of an era which saw the rise of communism and fascism.
A stunning new clothbound edition of one of the most famous science-fiction novels of the twentieth century, designed by the acclaimed Coralie-Bickford Smith. When Bill Masen wakes up blindfolded in hospital there is a bitter irony in his situation. Carefully removing his bandages, he realizes that he is the only person who can see: everyone else, doctors and patients alike, have been blinded by a meteor shower. Now, with civilization in chaos, the triffids - huge, venomous, large-rooted plants able to 'walk', feeding on human flesh - can have their day...
In Homer's Daughter Robert Graves recreates the Odyssey. This bold retelling of the ancient epic imagines that its author was not the blind and bearded Homer of legend, but a young woman in Western Sicily who calls herself Nausicaa. In Robert Graves's words, Homer's Daughter is 'the story of a high-spirited and religious-minded Sicilian girl who saves her father's throne from usurpation, herself from a distasteful marriage, and her two younger brothers from butchery by boldly making things happen, instead of sitting still and hoping for the best.'
Shiva Naipaul was the brother of V. S. Naipaul and author of Firefles and The Chip-Chip Gatherers. The Chip-Chip Gatherers, his second novel, was winner of the Whitbread Literary Award in 1973 and is set in Naipaul's native Trinidad. It includes a new foreword by Amit Chaudhuri. The crowded, ramshackle community of the Settlement in Trinidad is at the mercy of a tyrant. Egbert Ramsaran, the proud owner of the Ramsaran Transport Company, who has become the richest man in town through sheer strength of will, is a capricious, eccentric despot who loves nobody and whom nobody can afford to ignore. There is his son Wilbert, bullied into passivity and failure; Vishnu the downtrodden grocer without grace or hope; the beautiful, unpredictable Sushila, who tries to wield her seductive powers over Ramsaran; and her daughter, Sita, intelligent enough to know that escape is possible. Their intricately woven lives are perfectly captured in all their pathos, comedy and humanity.
'I wanted your soft verges But you gave me the hard shoulder' The Mersey Sound brought poetry down from the shelf and on to the street, capturing the mood of the Sixties and speaking to real lives with its irreverent, wry, freewheeling verses of young love, petrol-pump attendants, CND leaflets and bus journey capers. Bringing together the hugely influential work of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten - the 'Liverpool Poets' - this perennially beloved volume is the bestselling poetry anthology of all time. Now, for its fiftieth anniversary, this edition restores the original text of the book as it first appeared in 1967: energetic, raw and a true record of its era.
Brought up in a stifling, emotionless home in the north of England, Clara finds freedom when she wins a scholarship and travels to London. There, she meets Clelia and the rest of the Denham family: brilliant and charming, they dazzle Clara with their flair for life, and Clara yearns to be part of their bohemian world. But while she will do anything to join their circle, she gives no thought to the chaos that she may cause... In this captivating story of growing up and moving on, Margaret Drabble explores what it means to leave a disregarded childhood and family behind.
When Maude Slocum - beautiful, frightened and angry - comes to Lew Archer's office with a poison pen letter intended for her husband, he reluctantly agrees to help her. As he follows the Slocums around, Archer finds that Mrs Slocum might have the least of the family's troubles: her teenage daughter is desolate, her husband is in the closet and her mother-in-law has just come to an unpleasant end in the swimming pool. But why is their handsome ex-chauffeur still hanging around? And what does the sinister Pacific Refinery Company have to do with the all the bloodshed? The Drowning Pool is Ross Macdonald's gripping tale of adultery, jealousy, murder and lies. Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.
Drawn from journals, this book is an account of a woman's sexual awakening, covering a single momentous year - 1931-32, in Paris, when June fell in love with Henry Miller, undermining her own idealized marriage. The question of the outcome of June Miller's return to Paris dominates her thoughts.
One of the major twentieth-century European poets, Paul Celan wrote poetry of exceptional linguistic brilliance and intensity drawn from his experiences, particularly of the war years and the loss of his parents in the death camps. In his verse he sought to express 'not only what the experience felt like, but also a sense of living, with comprehension, inside the experience'. WINNER OF THE FIRST EUROPEAN TRANSLATION PRIZE
'It's only after our death that we shall really be able to hear' The measured tone of hopeless nihilism that pervades The Counterfeiters quickly shatters any image of Andre Gide as the querulous and impious Buddha to a quarter-century of intellectuals. In sharp and brilliant prose a seedy, cynical and gratuitously alarming narrative is developed, involving a wide range of otherwise harmless and mainly middle-to-upper-class Parisians. But the setting could be anywhere. From puberty through adolescence to death, The Counterfeiters is a rare encyclopedia of human disorder, weakness and despair.
In Joe and Kate Keller's family garden, an apple tree - a memorial to their son Larry, lost in the Second World War - has been torn down by a storm. But his loss is not the only part of the family's past they can't put behind them. Not everybody's forgotten the court case that put Joe's partner in jail, or the cracked engine heads his factory produced which caused it and dropped twenty-one pilots out of the sky ...
The Cowards (1958) is Josef Skvorecky's blackly comic tale of post-war politics that was immediately banned on publication. In 1945, in Kostelec,Danny is playing saxophone for the best jazz band in Czechoslovakia. Their trumpeter has just got out of a concentration camp, their bass player is only allowed in the band since he owns the bass, and the love of Danny's life is in love with somebody else. But Danny despairs most about the bourgeoisie patriots in his town playing at revolution in the face of the approaching Red Army - not least because it ruins the band's chance of any good gigs.
The Wayward Bus travels through the backroads of the lush California countryside, transporting the lost and the lonely to new destinations. Juan Chicoy is at the wheel, a man of the land, hot-blooded and uninhibited. His passengers include Ernest, a travelling salesman out for fun, seventeen-year-old Kit, also known as Pimples, and Camille the stripper who dances at stag nights and takes the star-struck young Norma under her wing. This powerful and unsentimental novel becomes a story of crisis and passion, love and longing, as the travellers reveal their secrets and journey away from their pasts and towards, possibly, the promise of the future. The Wayward Bus, with its profound insight into human desires and failings, remains one of Steinbeck's most powerful novels.
School is 'wet and weedy', according to Nigel Molesworth, the 'goriller of 3B', 'curse of St Custard's' and superb chronicler of fifties English life. Nothing escapes his disaffected eye and he has little time for such things as botany walks and cissy poetry with an assortment of swots, snekes and oiks. Instead he is very good at missing lessons, charming masters and putting down little brothers, in fact he is exceptional at most things except spelling. Wildly funny and full of sharp observations on life, the `Molesworth tetralogy' is magnificently complemented by the illustrations of Ronald Searle
Steinbeck's first posthumously published work, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is a reinterpretation of tales from Malory's Morte d'Arthur. In this highly successful attempt to render Malory into Modern English, Steinbeck recreated the rhythm and tone of the original Middle English.
Essayist and poet Joseph Brodsky was one of the most penetrating voices of the twentieth century. This prize-winning collection of his diverse essays includes uniquely powerful appreciations of great writers: on Dostoevsky and the development of Russian prose, on Auden and Akhmatova, Cavafy, Montale and Mandelstam. These are contrasted with his reflections on larger themes of tyranny and evil, and subtle evocations of his childhood in Leningrad. Brodsky's insightful appreciation of the intricacies of language, culture and identity connect these works, revealing his remarkable gifts as a prose writer.
The Mahabharata is some 3,500 years old and is the longest poem in any language. It is one of the founding epics of Indian culture and, with its mixture of cosmic drama and profound philosophy (one small section forms the BHAGHAVAD GITA) it holds aunique place in world literature. In this drastically shortened prose rendering, Narayan uses all his extraordinary talents to convey to a modern reader why this is such a great story. Filled with vivid characters, obsessed with the rise and fall of gods, empires and heroes, Narayan's MAHABHARATA is an enormously enjoyable experience and the perfect introduction to the otherwise bewildering Indian cosmology.
The Benefactor is Susan Sontag's first book and first novel. It was originally published in 1963, and introduced a unique writer to the world. In the form of a memoir by a latter-day Candide named Hippolyte, The Benefactor leads us on a kind of psychic Grand Tour, in which Hippolyte's violently imaginative dream life becomes indistinguishable from his surprising experiences in the 'real world'.
Twenty years ago, Anthony Galton vanished, along with his streetwise bride and several thousand dollars of the Galton fortune. Now his dying mother wants him found, and Lew Archer is on the case: is Anthony hiding somewhere, happy and eager not to be discovered? But what Archer finds - a headless skeleton, a clever con and a terrified blonde - reveals a game whose stakes are so high that someone is willing to kill. The Galton Case is a wonderfully devious and poetic look at poverty, greed, murder and identity. Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.
By a detailed investigation of the universal phenomenon of dreaming, Freud discovered a radical new way of exploring the unconscious and recognized that dreams are a conflict and compromise between conscious and unconscious impulses. Through his insights about dreams, Freud was able to revise his methods of treatment for neurotic patients and develop, largely through this remarkable work, his revolutionary theories of the Oedipus Complex and of the profound importance of infantile life and sexuality for the development of adults.
Dix Steele is back in town, and 'town' is post-war LA. His best friend Brub is on the force of the LAPD, and as the two meet in country clubs and beach bars, they discuss the latest case: a strangler is preying on young women in the dark. Dix listens with interest as Brub describes their top suspect, as yet unnamed. Dix loves the dark and women in equal measure, so he knows enough to watch his step, though when he meets the luscious Laurel Gray, something begins to crack. The American Dream is showing its seamy underside.
Kenton's career as a journalist depends on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics and his quick judgement. Where his judgement sometimes fails him, however, is in his personal life. When he travels to Nuremberg to investigate a story about a top-level meeting of Nazi officials, he inadvertently finds himself on a train bound for Austria after a bad night of gambling. Stranded with no money, Kenton jumps at the chance to earn a fee helping a refugee smuggle securities across the border. Yet he soon discovers that the documents he holds have far more than cash value - and that they could cost him his life ...
For Joyce, literature 'is the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man'. Written between 1914 and 1921, Ulysses has survived bowdlerization, legal action and bitter controversy. An undisputed modernist classic, its ceaseless verbal inventiveness and astonishing wide-ranging allusions confirms its standing as an imperishable monument to the human condition. Declan Kiberd says in his introduction that Ulysses is 'an endlessly open book of utopian epiphanies. It holds a mirror up to the colonial capital that was Dublin on 16 June 1904, but it also offers redemptive glimpses of a future world which might be made over in terms of those utopian moments.' This Annotated Student Edition has full explanatory notes and line numbers for critical reference.
In what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as 'murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes'. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden's poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.
The tale of Kerouac's alter-ego, Vanity of Duluoz presents Jack Duluoz's high school experiences as a sporting jock in Massachusetts and his time at Columbia University on a football scholarship. Just as Jack's glamorous new adult life begins, so does World War II, and he joins the US Navy to travel the world. As Jack experiences more, he realizes the limits of his former plans and returns to New York at the start of the Beat movement, to a riot of drugs, sex and writing. Vanity of Duluoz was Kerouac's final work published before his death in 1969.
The volume collects together, for the first time ever, Orwell's writings on his experience of the Spanish Civil War - the chaos at the Front, the futile young deaths for what became a confused cause, the antique weapons and the disappointment many British Socialists felt on arriving in Spain to help. ORWELL IN SPAIN includes the complete text of HOMAGE TO CATALONIA.
Walter Benjamin - philosopher, essayist, literary and cultural theorist - was one of the most original writers and thinkers of the twentieth century. This new selection brings together Benjamin's major works, including 'One-Way Street', his dreamlike, aphoristic observations of urban life in Weimar Germany; 'Unpacking My Library', a delightful meditation on book-collecting; the confessional 'Hashish in Marseille'; and 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', his seminal essay on how technology changes the way we appreciate art. Also including writings on subjects ranging from Proust to Kafka, violence to surrealism, this is the essential volume on one of the most prescient critical voices of the modern age. Contains: 'Unpacking My Library'; 'One-Way Street'; 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'; 'Brief History of Photography'; 'Hashish in Marseille'; 'On the Critique of Violence'; 'The Job of the Translator'; 'Surrealism'; 'Franz Kafka' and 'Picturing Proust'.
For Willi Kufult, prison life means staying out of trouble, keeping his cell clean, snagging a precious piece of tobacco - and dreaming of the day of his release. Then he gets out. As Willi tries to make a new life for himself in Hamburg, finding a job and even love, he still cannot escape his past. Gradually he becomes sucked into a world of drink, desperation and deceit, and with one terrible act, he is ensnared in a noose of his own making... Hans Fallada's dark and moving 1934 novel brilliantly describes a seedy criminal underworld of shabby lives and violent deeds, showing how our actions always catch up with us.
The air of Eastwick breeds witches - women whose powerful longings can stir up thunderstorms and fracture domestic peace. Jane, Alexandra and Sukie, divorced and dangerous, have formed a coven. Into the void of Eastwick breezes Darryl Van Horne, a charismatic magus of a man who entrances the trio, luring them to his mansions...
When a chance encounter makes him a witness to the abduction of a child, private detective Lew Archer can't help but be drawn into the case, pursuing a trail that leads all too quickly to murder. While forest fires rage in the hills around Los Angeles, threatening the homes of some of the city's wealthiest families, Archer unearths a hidden history of failed marriages, runaway children, and a man's life consumed by a search for the father who abandoned him. Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.
In Vichy France, 1942, a group of men sit outside an office, waiting to be interviewed. The reason they have been pulled off the street and taken there is obvious enough. They are, for the most part, Jews. But how serious an offence this is, and how they are to suffer for it, is not clear, and they hope for the best. But as rumours pass between them of trains full of people locked from the outside and furnaces in Poland, and although they reassure themselves that nothing so monstrous could be true, their panic rises. Arthur Miller's claustrophobic play of how the inconceivable becomes allowed to pass, Incident at Vichy is one of the most indispensable, moving pieces of art about the Holocaust.
The Elephant (1957) is Slawomir Mrozek's award-winning collection of hilarious and unnerving short stories, satirising life in Poland under a totalitarian regime. The family of a wealthy lawyer keep a 'tamed progressive' as a pet; a zoo saves money for the workers by fashioning their elephant from rubber; a swan is dismissed from the municipal park for public drunkenness; and under the Writers' Association, literary critics are banished to the salt mines. In these tales of bureaucrats, officials and artists, Mrozek conjures perfectly a life of imagined crimes and absurd authority.
One of Evelyn Waugh's most exuberant comedies, Scoop is a brilliantly irreverent satire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news. Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of The Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs Algernon Stitch, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. But for, pale, ineffectual William Boot, editor of the Daily Beast's 'nature notes' column, being mistaken for a competent journalist may prove to be a fatal error... If you enjoyed Scoop, you might like Waugh's Decline and Fall, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Waugh at the mid-season point of his perfect pitch' Christopher Hitchens
This colourful, perceptive portrayal of English country life reverberates with the voices of the village inhabitants, from the reminiscences of survivors of the Great War evoking days gone by, to the concerns of a younger generation of farm-workers and the fascinating and personal recollections of, among others, the local schoolteacher, doctor, blacksmith, saddler, district nurse and magistrate. Providing insights into farming, education, welfare, class, religion and death, Akenfield forms a unique document of a way of life that has, in many ways, disappeared.
Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor in 1978, while suffering from breast cancer herself. In her study she reveals that the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment. By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is - a disease; not a curse, not a punishment, certainly not an embarrassment, and highly curable, if good treatment is found early enough. Almost a decade later, with the outbreak of a new, stigmatized disease replete with mystifications and punitive metaphors, Sontag wrote Aids and Its Metaphors, extending the argument of the earlier book to the AIDS pandemic.
In his work as a physician, Williams had learnt the skill of objective observation which he applied to his poetry, examining, as he said, 'the particular to discover the universal'. Marked by a vernacular American speech and direct observation of the landscape and people of his native New Jersey, his poetry explores the 'raw merging of American pastoral and urban squalor. Emotionally restrained but rich in sensory experience, the poems were written according to the guiding concept: 'no ideas but in things' and those 'things', a red wheelbarrow, a group of trees, a river, convey the local and the particular with a vivid intensity.
My Education is Burroughs's last novel, first published two years before his death in 1997. It is a book of dreams, collected over several decades and as close to a memoir as we will see. The dreams cover themes from the mundane and ordinary - conversations with his friends Allen Ginsberg or Ian Sommerville, feeding his cats, procuring drugs or sex - to the erotic, bizarre and visionary. Always a rich source of imagery in Burroughs's own fiction, in this book dreams become a direct and powerful force in themselves.
Tennessee Williams's evocation of loneliness and lost love, The Glass Menagerie is one of his most powerful and moving plays. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a new introduction by Robert Bray. Abandoned by her husband, Amanda Wingfield comforts herself with recollections of her earlier, more gracious life in Blue Mountain when she was pursued by 'gentleman callers'. Her son Tom, a poet with a job in a warehouse, longs for adventure and escape from his mother's suffocating embrace, while Laura, her shy crippled daughter, has her glass menagerie and her memories. Amanda is desperate to find her daughter a husband, but when the long-awaited gentleman caller does arrive, Laura's romantic illusions are crushed. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). If you enjoyed The Glass Menagerie, you might like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Tennessee Williams will live as long as drama itself' Peter Shaffer, author of Equus
'One of the most important American novels of the twentieth century' The Times 'It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves' Ralph Ellison's blistering and impassioned first novel tells the extraordinary story of a man invisible 'simply because people refuse to see me'. Published in 1952 when American society was in the cusp of immense change, the powerfully depicted adventures of Ellison's invisible man - from his expulsion from a Southern college to a terrifying Harlem race riot - go far beyond the story of one individual to give voice to the experience of an entire generation of black Americans. This edition includes Ralph Ellison's introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of Invisible Man, a fascinating account of the novel's seven-year gestation. With an Introduction by John F. Callahan 'Brilliant' Saul Bellow
Perhaps the funniest travel book ever written, Remote People begins with a vivid account of the coronation of Emperor Ras Tafari - Haile Selassie I, King of Kings - an event covered by Evelyn Waugh in 1930 as special correspondent for The Times. It continues with subsequent travels throughout Africa, where natives rub shoulders with eccentric expatriates, settlers with Arab traders and dignitaries with monks. Interspersed with these colourful tales are three 'nightmares' which describe the vexations of travel, including returning home.
Both heartwarming and meditative, The Cat Inside explores not only the personal relationship between Burroughs and cats, but the deeper relationship of cats with mankind, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptians. This book of moving and witty discourse is for both Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.
An experimental novel which remained unpublished for years, Visions of Cody is Kerouac's fascinating examination of his own New York life, in a collection of colourful stream-of-consciousness essays. Transcribing taped conversations between members of their group as they took drugs and drank, this book reveals an intimate portrait of people caught up in destructive relationships with substances, and one another. Always fixated by Neal Cassady - the Cody of the title, renamed for the book along with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs - Kerouac also explores the feelings he had for a man who would inspire much of his work.
Based on his experiences as a policeman in Burma, George Orwell's first novel presents a devastating picture of British colonial rule. It describes corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, 'after all, natives were natives - interesting, no doubt, but finally ... an inferior people'. When Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Indian Dr Veraswami, he defies this orthodoxy. The doctor is in danger: U Po Kyin, a corrupt magistrate, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is membership of the all-white Club, and Flory can help. Flory's life is changed further by the arrival of beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen from Paris, who offers an escape from loneliness and the 'lie' of colonial life. George Orwell's first novel, inspired by his experiences in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, Burmese Days includes a new introduction by Emma Larkin in Penguin Modern Classics.
In the din and stink that is Cannery Row a colourful blend of misfits - gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists - survive side by side in a jumble of adventure and mischief. Lee Chong, the astute owner of the well-stocked grocery store, is also the proprietor of the Palace Flophouse that Mack and his troupe of good-natured 'boys' call home. Dora runs the brothel with clockwork efficiency and a generous heart, and Doc is the fount of all wisdom. Packed with invention and joie de vivre CANNERY ROW is Steinbeck's high-spirited tribute to his native California.
Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman ('his slapdash and very misleading book'), the narrator, V, sets out to record Sebastian Knight's life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian's erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever. Nabokov's first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.
In The Night Manager, John le Carre's first post-Cold War novel, an ex-soldier helps British Intelligence penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers. 'Le Carre is the equal of any novelist now writing in English' Guardian 'A marvellously observed relentless tale' Observer At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine. In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carre creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted. 'Complex and intense ... page-turning tension' San Francisco Chronicle 'When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carre ... they were a journey into the wider world ... These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind' Aung San Suu Kyi 'One of those writers who will be read a century from now' Robert Harris 'He can communicate emotion, from sweating fear to despairing love, with terse and compassionate conviction' Sunday Times (on The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) 'Return of the master . . . Having plumbed the devious depths of the Cold War, le Carre has done it again for our nasty new age' The Times (on Our Kind of Traitor)
Lucan has been orphaned and Zosine has been deserted, and London is a hostile place for two young girls without a home. Bound together by poverty, grief and their shared years at school, they set out to make a future for themselves in new surroundings. They are adopted by the austere, puritanical Reverend Pennhallow and his wife, and in their large, gloomy house they become immersed in study. But, after a chain of disturbing events, it does not take long before they realize that the cleric and his wife are not all they seem to be ...
Italo Calvino once said that he preferred to give false details about his biography since he felt that even the genuine data of a writer's life shed no light on the creative work. But this volume of posthumously collected personal writings is the closest we will ever come to the autobiography of this most private of writers. The pieces collected here range from the early 1950s to his last interview, completed just before his sudden death in 1985. Apart from providing a glimpse into his own formative experiences and evolution as an author, Calvino's autobiographical writings also examine the major events of twentieth-century history from a very personal viewpoint. This volume is full of ideas on literature and other writers, all conveyed with the author's distinctive lightness and intelligence. Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and raised in San Remo, Italy; he fought for the Italian Resistance from 1943-45. His major works include Cosmicomics (1968), Invisible Cities (1972), and If on a winter's night a traveler (1979). He died in Sienna in 1985.
A cultural storm swept through the 1960s -- Pop Art, Bob Dylan, psychedelia, underground movies -- and at its centre sat a bemused young artist with silver hair: Andy Warhol. Andy knew everybody (from the cultural commissioner of New York to drug-driven drag queens) and everybody knew Andy. His studio, the Factory, was the place: where he created the large canvases of soup cans and Pop icons that defined Pop Art, where one could listen to the Velvet Underground and rub elbows with Edie Sedgwick and where Warhol himself could observe the comings and goings of the avant-guarde.
Numbers in the Dark is a collection of short stories covering the length of Italo Calvino's extraordinary writing career, from when he was a teenager to shortly before his death. They include witty allegories and wise fables; a town where everything has been forbidden apart from the game of tip-cat; a pitiable tribe watching the flight paths of guided missiles from outside their mud huts; a computer programmer considering the possible sequence of a series of brutal acts; and dialogues with Henry Ford, a Neanderthal and the gloomy, overthrown Montezuma ...
'Psychoanalytic treatment utilised the patient's capacity to love and desire as a means to an end. The stuff of romance became the stuff of cure. When Freud is writing about technique in psychoanalysis - and these papers [in Wild Analysis] represent his most significant contributions to the subject over three decades of work - it is important to remember that he is talking about what a couple, an analyst and a so-called patient, can do in a room together. For better or worse.' Adam Phillips
'Timely and timeless ... Will hold any reader to its last haunting page' Chicago Tribune The early life of Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's National Book Award-winning novel, The Spectator Bird, features in this disquieting and keenly observed novel. Scarred by the senseless death of their son and baffled by the engulfing chaos of the 1960s, Allston and his wife, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And although their new home looks like Eden, it also has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of drugs, yoga and sex; and Marian Catlin, an attractive young woman whose otherworldly innocence is far more appealing - and far more dangerous. 'The Great Gatsby captures the twenties and yet transcends them. All the Little Live Things is a comparable achievement for the sixties ... Stegner's craft is here at an apex' Virginia Quarterly Review
The greatest playwright of the American South, Tennessee Williams used his talent throughout his life to create brief plays exploring many of the themes that dominated his best-known works. Here, thirteen never-before-published one-act dramas reveal some of his most poignant and hilarious characters. From the indefatigable, witty and tough drag queens of And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens to the disheartened poet Mister Paradise, and the extravagant mistress in The Pink Bedroom, these are tales of isolated figures struggling against a cruel world, who refuse to lose sight of their dreams.
This collection brings together all of W. B. Yeats's published prose writings on Irish folklore, legend and myth, with pieces on subjects including ghosts, kidnappers, fairies, ancient tribes, precious stones and Gaelic love songs. Through his researches on Irish folklore, Yeats attempted to create a movement in literature that was enriched by and rooted in a vital native tradition. In this volume Yeats's essays, introductions and sketches are presented chronologically, giving a clear picture of how his analysis developed, increasing in its depth and complexity in his quest to create an Ireland of the imagination.
Banished to a desert retreat for recalcitrant clerics, the Reverend but randy Thomas Marshfield preens his fantasies. A Month of Sundays, written ad libidum as occupational therapy, is his confession and his testament. Interspersed with dazzling insights, bawdy wit and an intrigue of undelivered sermons, John Updike's book reveals with demonic zeal the very odour of a pastor adrift in modern America.
When Lolita was first published in 1955 it created a sensation and established Nabokov as one of the most original prose writers of the twentieth century. This annotated edition, a revised and considerably expanded version of the 1970 edition, does full justice to the textual riches of Lolita, illuminating the elaborate verbal textures and showing how they contribute to the novel's overall meaning. Alfred Appel, Jr. also provides fresh observations on the novel's artifice, games and verbal patternings and a delightful biographical vignette of Nabokov. The annotations themselves were prepared in consultation with Nabokov while newly identified allusions were confirmed by him during the final years of his life.
The gripping story of an affair gone horribly wrong, from one of Japan's greatest twentieth-century writers Koji, a young student, has fallen hopelessly in love with the beautiful, enigmatic Yuko. But she is married to the literary critic and serial philanderer Ippei. Tormented by desire and anger, Koji is driven to an act of violence that will bind this strange, terrible love triangle together for the rest of their lives. A starkly compelling story of lust, guilt and punishment, The Frolic of the Beasts explores the masks we wear in life, and what happens when they slip. 'One of the greatest avant-garde Japanese writers of the twentieth century' New Yorker
This collection of essays contains some of the most important pieces of criticism of the twentieth century, including the classics 'The Aesthetics of Silence', a brilliant account of language, thought and consciousness, and 'Trip to Hanoi', written during the Vietnam War. Here too is an excoriating account of America's identity and future, a robust and surprising discussion of pornography and other richly rewarding writings on art, film, literature and politics.
'She has examined the heart of man with an understanding ... that no other writer can hope to surpass' Tennessee Williams Often cited as one of the great novels of twentieth-century American fiction, Carson McCullers' prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty-three. Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature. The owner of the cafe where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry socialist drunkard, a frustrated black doctor: each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways the could never imagine. Moving, sensitive and deeply humane, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love.
From one of twentieth-century China's greatest writers and the author of Lust, Caution, this is an unforgettable story of a love affair set in 1930s Shanghai. Manzhen is a young worker in a Shanghai factory, where she meets Shijun, the son of wealthy merchants. Despite family complications, they fall in love and begin to dream of a shared life together - until circumstances force them apart. When they are reunited after a separation of many years, can they start their relationship again? Or is it destined to be the romance of only half a lifetime? This affectionate and captivating novel tells the moving story of an enduring love affair, and offers a fascinating window onto Chinese life in the first half of the twentieth century. Eileen Chang was born in Shanghai in 1920. She studied literature at the University of Hong Kong but returned to Shanghai in 1941 during the Japanese occupation, where she established her reputation as a literary star. She moved to America in 1955 and died in Los Angeles in 1995. Karen S. Kingsbury taught and studied in Chinese-speaking cities for nearly two decades, and currently lives in Pennsylvania, USA. She has translated Love in a Fallen City for Penguin Classics, as well as other essays and stories by Chang. 'A giant of modern Chinese literature' The New York Times 'Eileen Chang is the fallen angel of Chinese literature' Ang Lee 'A dazzling and distinctive fiction writer' New York Times Book Review 'Chang's world is a stark and mysterious place where people strive to find their way in love but often fail under the pressures of family, tradition, and reputation' New Yorker
'There has been a lot of fighting hereabouts. The trenches have made themselves rather than been made, and run inconsequently in and out of the big thirty-foot high stacks of bricks; it is most confusing. The parapet of a trench which we don't occupy is built up with ammunition boxes and corpses . . .' In one of the most honest and candid self-portraits ever committed to paper, Robert Graves tells the extraordinary story of his experiences as a young officer in the First World War. He describes life in the trenches in vivid, raw detail, how the dehumanizing horrors he witnessed left him shell-shocked. They were to haunt him for the rest of his life.
Eric Gill's opinionated manifesto on typography argues that 'a good piece of lettering is as beautiful a thing to see as any sculpture or painted picture'. This essay explores the place of typography in culture and is also a moral treatise celebrating the role of craftsmanship in an industrial age. Gill, a sculptor, engraver, printmaker and creator of many classic typefaces that can be seen around us today, fused art, history and polemic in a visionary work which has been hugely influential on modern graphic design. 'Written with clarity, humility and a touch of humour . . . timeless and absorbing' Paul Rand, The New York Times 'His lettering was clear, confident and hugely influential on the development of modern type design. The world has now caught up with Gill' Guardian How do we see the world around us? This is one of a number of pivotal works by creative thinkers like John Berger and Susan Sontag whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision for ever.
Fez, 1954, and American ex-pat Stenham reluctantly accepts a guide for his night-time walk home through the streets of the Medina. A nationalist uprising is transforming the country, much to the annoyance of Stenham, who enjoys the trappings of the old city. His path soon crosses with the young, illiterate son of a healer, another outsider to the newly politicised life of Morocco, in this brutally honest novel of life in the midst of terrorism, violence and the ugly opportunism that accompanies both. Bowles's most masterly novel combines his classic themes: the conflict of Eastern and Western cultures and the trials of otherness.
Sam the Lion runs the pool-hall, the picture house and the all-night cafe. Coach Popper whips his boys with towels and once took a shot at one when he disturbed his hunting. Billy wouldn't know better than to sweep his broom all the way to the town limits if no one stopped him. And teenage friends Sonny and Duane have nothing better to do than drift towards the adult world, with its temptations of sex and confusions of love. The basis for a classic film, The Last Picture Show is both extremely funny and deeply profound. And, with the eccentrically peopled Thalia, Texas, Larry McMurtry made a small town that feels as real as any you've ever walked around.
Taking its title from T.S. Eliot's modernist poem The Waste Land, Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust is a chronicle of Britain's decadence and social disintegration between the First and Second World Wars. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Murray Davis. After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars. This breakdown of the Last marriage is a painful, comic re-working of Waugh's own divorce, and a symbol of the disintegration of society. If you enjouyed A Handful of Dust, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the twentieth century's most chilling and bitter novels; and one of its best' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'One of the most distinguished novels of the century' Frank Kermode 'This is a masterpiece of stylish satire, and is funny, too ... a marvellous book' John Banville, Irish Times
Set against the backdrop of Europe's slide into Fascism, Blue of Noon is a blackly compelling account of depravity and violence. As its narrator lurches despairingly from city to city in a surreal sexual and mental nightmare of squalor, sadism and drunken encounters, his internal collapse mirrors the fighting and marching on the streets outside. Exploring the dark forces beneath the surface of civilization, this is a novel torn between identifying with history's victims and being seduced by the monstrous glamour of its terrible victors, and is one of the twentieth century's great nihilist works.
A philosopher, essayist, novelist, pornographer and fervent Catholic who came to regard the brothels of Paris as his true 'churches', Georges Bataille ranks among the boldest and most disturbing of twentieth-century thinkers. In this influential study he links the underlying sexual basis of religion to death, offering a dazzling array of insights into incest, prostitution, marriage, murder, sadism, sacrifice and violence, as well as including comments on Freud, Sade and Saint Theresa. Everywhere, Eroticism argues, sex is surrounded by taboos, which we must continually transgress in order to overcome the sense of isolation that faces us all.
My Happy Days in Hell (1962) is Gyorgy Faludy's grimly beautiful autobiography of his battle to survive tyranny and oppression. Fleeing Hungary in 1938 as the German army approaches, acclaimed poet Faludy journeys to Paris, where he finds a lover but merely a cursory asylum. When the French capitulate to the Nazis, Faludy travels to North Africa, then on to America, where he volunteers for military service. Missing his homeland and determined to do the right thing, he returns - only to be imprisoned, tortured, and slowly starved, eventually becoming one of only twenty-one survivors of his camp.
Barley Blair is not a Service man: he is a small-time publisher, a self-destructive soul whose only loves are whisky and jazz. But it was Barley who, one drunken night at a dacha in Peredelkino during the Moscow Book Fair, was befriended by a high-ranking Soviet scientist who could be the greatest asset to the West since perestroika began, and made a promise. Nearly a year later, his drunken promise returns to haunt him. A reluctant Barley is quickly trained by British Intelligence and sent to Moscow to liaise with a go-between, the beautiful Katya. Both are lonely and disillusioned. Each is increasingly certain that if the human race is to have any future, all must betray their countries ... In his first post-glasnost spy novel, le Carre captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them.
William Burroughs' work was dedicated to an assault upon language, traditional values and all agents of control. Produced at a time when he was at his most extreme and messianic, The Job lays out his abrasive, incisive, paranoiac, maddened and maddening worldview in interviews interspersed with stories and other writing. On the Beat movement, the importance of the cut-up technique, the press, Scientology, capital punishment, drugs, good and evil, the destruction of nations, Deadly Orgone Radiation and whether violence just in words is violence enough - Burroughs' insights show why he was one of the most influential writers and one of the sharpest, most startling and strangest minds of his generation.
Life is a Dream (1931) is Gyula Krudy's magical collection of ten short stories. Creating a world where editors shoot themselves after a hard day's brunching, men attend duels incognito and lovers fall out over salad dressing, Life is a Dream is a comic, nostalgic, romantic and erotic glimpse into the Hungary of the early twentieth century. Focussing on the poor and dispossessed, these tales of love, food, death and sex are ironic and wise about the human condition and the futility of life, and display fully Krudy's wit and mastery of the form.
In the essays collected here William Langewiesche considers how flying has altered not only how we move about the earth, but also how we view our world and our place in it. With vivid descriptions of the aesthetics and excitement of flight, Langewiesche also writes of the risks that go with this beauty: the perils of air traffic control, and the dangers of nervous passengers and bad weather. Full of spare and elegant prose, Aloft is a fascinating journey into the new, profound dimension that flight has added to the human experience.
A thought experiment in future-shock survivalism' Robert MacFarlane 'Gripping ... of all science fiction's apocalypses, this is one of the most haunting' Financial Times WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT MACFARLANE A post-apocalyptic vision of the world pushed to the brink by famine, John Christopher's science fiction masterpiece The Death of Grass includes an introduction by Robert MacFarlane in Penguin Modern Classics. At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain, society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother's farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits. A chilling psychological thriller and one of the greatest post-apocalyptic novels ever written, The Death of Grass shows people struggling to hold on to their identities as the familiar world disintegrates - and the terrible price they must pay for surviving. John Christopher (1922-2012) was the pen name of Samuel Youd, a prolific writer of science fiction. His novels were popular during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably The Death Of Grass (1956), The World in Winter (1962), and Wrinkle in the Skin (1965), all works depicting ordinary people struggling in the midst of apocalyptic catastrophes. In 1966 he started writing science-fiction for adolescents; The Tripods trilogy, the Prince in Waiting trilogy (also known as the Sword of the Spirits trilogy) and The Lotus Caves are still widely read today. Ifyou enjoyed The Death of Grass, you might like John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
In this surreal comedy of soldiers and spies, Lieutenant James Churchill and his colleagues find themselves questioning their purpose. Are they for death or against it? These men of action will travel between the barracks, the lunatic asylum and the house of an aristocratic nymphomaniac in search of answers. For while few know the awful truth about Operation Apollo, the mission they are being trained for, fewer still understand the motives of the powerful psychiatrist Dr Best, who thinks he is surrounded by repressed homosexuals, and none know the identity of the secret agent among them. When the Anti-Death League is founded they are at last offered the chance to rebel and perhaps escape ...
Julian Green was born to American parents in Paris in 1900, and spent most of his life in the French capital. Paris is an extraordinary, lyrical love letter to the city, taking the reader on an imaginative journey around its secret stairways, courtyards, alleys and hidden places. Whether evoking the cool of a deserted church on a hot summer's day, remembering Notre Dame in a winter storm in 1940, describing chestnut trees lit up at night like 'Japanese lanterns' or lamenting the passing of street cries and old buildings, his book is filled with unforgettable imagery. It is a meditation on getting lost and wasting time, and on what it truly means to know a city.
Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades. Achieving twelve Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance and Christy Moore, amongst others. An animal protectionist, in 2006 Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British icon by viewers of the BBC, losing out to Sir David Attenborough. In 2007 Morrissey was voted the greatest northern male, past or present, in a nationwide newspaper poll. In 2012, Morrissey was awarded the Keys to the City of Tel-Aviv. It has been said 'Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.' Autobiography covers Morrissey's life from his birth until the present day.
Part of the Penguin Classics campaign celebrating 100 years of Albert Camus, 'A Sea Close By' reveals the writer as a sensual witness of landscapes, the sea and sailing. It is a light, summery day-dream. Accompanying 'The Sea Close By' is the essay 'Summer in Algiers', a lovesong to his Mediterranean childhood.
Victor, a New York cop nearing retirement, moves among furniture in the disused attic of a house marked for demolition. Cabinets, desks, a damaged harp, an overstuffed armchair - the relics of a lost life of affluence he's finally come to sell. But when his brother Walter, who he hasn't spoken to in years, arrives, the talk stops being just about whether Victor's been offered a fair price for the furniture, and turns to the price that one and not the other of them paid when their father lost both his fortune and the will to go on ... Fraught, but cut through with humour, The Price is one of Arthur Miller's finest plays.
An extraordinary collection of thematically linked essays, including THE UNCANNY, SCREEN MEMORIES and FAMILY ROMANCES. Leonardo da Vinci fascinated Freud primarily because he was keen to know why his personality was so incomprehensible to his contemporaries. In this probing biographical essay he deconstructs both da Vinci's character and the nature of his genius. As ever, many of his exploratory avenues lead to the subject's sexuality - why did da Vinci depict the naked human body the way hedid? What of his tendency to surround himself with handsome young boys that he took on as his pupils? Intriguing, thought-provoking and often contentious, this volume contains some of Freud's best writing.
The first volume in his Roads to Freedom trilogy, Jean-Paul Sartre's The Age of Reason is a philosophical novel exploring existentialist notions of freedom, translated by Eric Sutton with an introduction by David Caute in Penguin Modern Classics. Set in the volatile Paris summer of 1938, The Age of Reason follows two days in the life of Mathieu Delarue, a philosophy teacher, and his circle in the cafes and bars of Montparnasse. Mathieu has so far managed to contain sex and personal freedom in conveniently separate compartments. But now he is in trouble, urgently trying to raise 4,000 francs to procure a safe abortion for his mistress, Marcelle. Beyond all this, filtering an uneasy light on his predicament, rises the distant threat of the coming of the Second World War. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was an iconoclastic French philosopher, novelist, playwright and, widely regarded as the central figure in post-war European culture and political thinking. Sartre famously refused the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964 on the grounds that 'a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution'. His most well-known works, all of which are published by Penguin, include The Age of Reason, Nausea and Iron in the Soul. If you enjoyed The Age of Reason, you might like Sartre's Nausea, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'For my money ... the greatest novel of the post-war period' Philip Kerr, author of the Berlin Noir trilogy
These three great plays by one of the founding fathers of the theatre of the absurd, are alive and kicking with tragedy and humour, bleakness and farce. In Rhinoceros we are shown the innate brutality of people as everyone, except for Berenger, turn into clumsy, unthinking rhinoceroses. The Chairs depicts the futile struggle of two old people to convey the meaning of life to the rest of humanity, while The Lesson is a chilling, but anarchically funny drama of verbal domination. In these three 'antiplays' dream, nonsense and fantasy combine to create an unsettling, bizarre view of society.
A searing account of George Orwell's observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in Orwell's later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain. Published with an introduction by Richard Hoggart in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is easy to see why the book created and still creates so sharp an impact ... exceptional immediacy, freshness and vigour, opinionated and bold ... Above all, it is a study of poverty and, behind that, of the strength of class-divisions' Richard Hoggart
A philosophical exploration of the idea of 'rebellion' by one of the leading existentialist thinkers, Albert Camus' The Rebel looks at artistic and political rebels throughout history, from Epicurus to the Marquis de Sade. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated by Anthony Bower with an introduction by Oliver Todd. The Rebel is Camus' 'attempt to understand the time I live in' and a brilliant essay on the nature of human revolt. Published in 1951, it makes a daring critique of communism - how it had gone wrong behind the Iron Curtain and the resulting totalitarian regimes. It questions two events held sacred by the left wing - the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 - that had resulted, he believed, in terrorism as a political instrument. In this towering intellectual document, Camus argues that hope for the future lies in revolt, which unlike revolution is a spontaneous response to injustice and a chance to achieve change without giving up collective and intellectual freedom. Albert Camus (1913-60) is the author of a number of best-selling and highly influential works, all of which are published by Penguin. They include The Fall, The Outsider and The First Man. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Camus is remembered as one of the few writers to have shaped the intellectual climate of post-war France, but beyond that, his fame has been international. If you enjoyed The Rebel, you might like Camus' The Fall, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the great humanist manifestos' The Times 'A conscience with style' V.S. Pritchett, author of A Cab at the Door
A new volume which includes the original screenplay, with its copious director's notes, and the narrative - this has followed on from a previously undiscovered manuscript by Steinbeck being found in the UCLA Research Library - the narrative treatment of the story on which he based his screenplay.
This lush, lyrical fantasy is Steinbeck's sole work of historical fiction. Henry Morgan ruled the Spanish Main in the 1670s, ravaging the coasts of Cuba and America and striking terror wherever he went. His lust and greed knew no bounds, and he was utterly consumed by two passions; to possess the mysterious woman known as La Santa Roja, the Red Saint, and to conquer Panama and wrest 'the cup of gold' from Spanish hands.
'The smaller we come to feel ourselves compared with the mountain, the nearer we come to participating in its greatness.' Philosopher, mountaineer, activist and visionary, Arne Naess's belief that all living things have value made him one of the most inspirational figures in the environmental movement. Drawing on his years spent in an isolated hut high in the Norwegian mountains, and on influences as diverse as Gandhi's nonviolent action and Spinoza's all-encompassing worldview, this selection of the best of his writings is filled with wit, charisma and intense connection with nature. Emphasizing joy, cooperation and 'beautiful actions', they create a philosophy of life from a man who never lost his sense of wonder at the world. 'Arne Naess's ideas ... inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world' The New York Times
'The strong must learn to be lonely' When Dr Stockmann discovers that the water in the small Norwegian town in which he is the resident physician has been contaminated, he does what any responsible citizen would do: reports it to the authorities. But Stockmann's good deed has the potential to ruin the town's reputation as a popular spa destination, and instead of being hailed as a hero, Stockmann is labelled an enemy of the people. Arthur Miller's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic drama is a classic in itself, a penetrating exploration of what happens when the truth comes up against the will of the majority.
A chance encounter while holidaying in Central America leads an American couple, the Slades, to befriend the charming, handsome Grove Soto and his young Cuban mistress. But as the Slades' trip becomes prolonged and they grow increasingly dependent on their new acquaintances, an undercurrent of cruelty begins to disturb the comfort and niceties to which they are accustomed. Up Above the World shows Paul Bowles to be a master of the tension and horror of rising viciousness.
How I Came to Know Fish (1974) is Ota Pavel's magical memoir of his childhood in Czechoslovakia. Fishing with his father and his Uncle Prosek - the two finest fishermen in the world - he takes a peaceful pleasure from the rivers and ponds of his country. But when the Nazis invade, his father and two older brothers are sent to concentration camps and Pavel must steal their confiscated fish back from under the noses of the SS to feed his family. With tales of his father's battle to provide for his family both in wealthy freedom and in terrifying persecution, this is one boy's passionate and affecting tale of life, love and fishing.
If you can't prove something, it is literally senseless - so argues Ayer in this irreverent and electrifying book. Statements are either true by definition (as in maths), or can be verified by direct experience. Ayer rejected metaphysical claims about god, the absolute, and objective values as completely nonsensical. Ayer was only 24 when he finished LANGUAGE, TRUTH & LOGIC, yet it shook the foundations of Anglo-American philosophy and made its author notorious. It became a classic text, cleared away the cobwebs in philosophical thinking, and has been enormously influential.
A selection of witty and provocative essays from the father of New Journalism, Gay Talese's Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and Other Essays is published in Penguin Modern Classics. Gay Talese is the father of American New Journalism, who transformed traditional reportage with his vivid scene-setting, sharp observation and rich storytelling. His 1966 piece for Esquire, one of the most celebrated magazine articles ever published, describes a morose Frank Sinatra silently nursing a glass of bourbon, struck down with a cold and unable to sing, like 'Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel - only worse'. The other writings in this selection include a description of a meeting between two legends, Fidel Castro and Muhammad Ali; a brilliantly witty dissection of the offices of Vogue magazine; an account of travelling to Ireland with hellraising actor Peter O'Toole; and a profile of fading baseball star Joe DiMaggio, which turns into a moving, immaculately-crafted meditation on celebrity. Gay Talese (b. 1932) is an American author. He wrote for The New York Times in the early 1960s and helped to define literary journalism or 'new nonfiction reportage', also known as New Journalism. His most famous articles are about Joe DiMaggio, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. He lives in New York with his wife, Nan Talese. If you enjoyed Frank Sinatra has a Cold, you might like George Orwell's Essays, also published in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The best American prose of the second half of the twentieth century' Atlantic Monthly 'The best non-fiction writer in America' Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather 'A masterful New Journalism pioneer ... raises the magazine article to the level of an art form' Los Angeles Times
Written when Mishima was only twentysix, Forbidden Colors is a depiction of a male homosexual relationship, in which a rich older man buys the love of a young man who is stunningly handsome but who lacks the ability to love. As in Mann's Death in Venice, the older man's longing for the beauty of youth is associated with aestheticism and death.
Shiva Naipaul was the brother of V. S. Naipaul and author of Firefles and The Chip-Chip Gatherers. Fireflies, his first novel, published in 1970 and longlisted for the 'Lost Man Booker Award' in 2010, is set in Naipaul's native Trinidad. It includes a new foreword by Amit Chaudhuri. The Khojas are Trinidad's most venerated Hindu family. Rigidly orthodox, presiding over acres of ill-kept sugarcane and hoards of jewellery enthusiastically guarded by old Mrs Khoja, they seem to have triumphed more by default than by anything else. Only 'Baby' Khoja, who is parcelled off into an arranged marriage with a blustering bus driver, proves an exception to this rule. Her heroic story - of resourcefulness, strength and survival - is the gleaming thread in Shiva Naipaul's ferociously comic and profoundly sad first novel.
The Sun is about to go Nova. Earth and Moon have ceased their axial rotation and present one face continuously to the sun. The bright side of Earth is covered with carnivorous forest. This is the Age of vegetables. Gren and his lady - not to mention the tummybelly men - journey to the even more terrifying Dark side. One of Aldiss' most famous and long-enduring novels, fast moving, packed with brilliant imagery.
No, Groucho is not my real name, I'm just breaking it in for a friend.' Presenting the greatest and most hilarious examples of Groucho, one of the most influential and well-loved figures in the long and glittering history of comedy. From early scripts to complete screenplays, from magazine funnies to fascinating personal correspondence, via books, greedy banks, even greedier lawyers and the coming of television, Kanfer's collection captures the essence of Groucho's inimitable comic genius. 'I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception...
Private detective Lew Archer has better things to do than take on an investigation for Alex Kincaid, a young man claiming that his new bride, Dolly, has gone missing. Snapped by a hotel photographer on the day of their wedding, the beautiful girl vanished only hours after and Alex has heard nothing since. But when Archer begins digging, he finds evidence that links Dolly to brutal murders that span two decades, and a terrible secret. In this byzantine and compelling tale, Ross Macdonald explores the darkest experiences that can bind a family together - and tear it apart. Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.
'Insistently asks the question: What would you do? Would you fight, or acquiesce, or collaborate? ... Karski was deeply patriotic and ludicrously brave ... an astonishing testament of survival' Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat It is 1939. Jan Karski, a brilliant young Polish student, enjoys a life of parties and pleasure. Then war breaks out and his familiar world is destroyed. Now he must live under a new identity, in the resistance. And, in a secret mission that could change the course of the war, he must risk his own life to try and save those of millions.
In 1940s Shanghai, beautiful young Jiazhi spends her days playing mahjong and drinking tea with high society ladies. But China is occupied by invading Japanese forces and things are not always what they seem in wartime. Jiazhi's life is a front. A patriotic student radical, her mission is to seduce a powerful employee of the occupying government and lead him to the assassin's bullet. Yet as she waits for him to arrive at their liaison, Jiazhi begins to wonder if she is cut out to be a femme fatale and coldly take Mr Yi to his death. Or is she beginning to fall in love with him? A passionate tale of espionage, deception and love, Lust, Caution is accompanied here by four further dazzling short stories by Eileen Chang.
'We don't live alone ... We are responsible for each other' A policeman interrupts a rich family's dinner to question them about the suicide of a young working-class girl. As their guilty secrets are gradually revealed over the course of the evening, 'An Inspector Calls', J. B. Priestley's most famous play, shows us the terrible consequences of poverty and inequality. The other powerful plays in this collection - 'Time and the Conways', 'I Have Been Here Before' and 'The Linden Tree' - explore time, fate, free will and the effects of war. 'A vastly talented and exceptionally versatile and wise writer' Iris Murdoch 'Priestley was volcanic, fertile ... and never dull' Anthony Burgess If you enjoyed An Inspector Calls, you might like Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
From Evelyn Waugh, the author of beloved novels such as Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies, this is the biography of Ronald Knox - priest, classicist, prolific writer and one of the outstanding men of letters of his time. The renowned Oxford chaplain was a friend of figures such as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, and was known for his caustic wit and spiritual wisdom. Evelyn Waugh, his devoted friend and admirer, was asked by Knox to write his biography just before his death in 1957. The result, published after two years of research and writing, is a tribute to a uniquely gifted man: 'the wit and scholar marked out for popularity and fame; the boon companion of a generation of legendary heroes; the writer of effortless felicity and versatility ... who never lost a friend or made an enemy'.
In That Uncertain Feeling by Kingsley Amis, competition is stiff for the position of sub-librarian in Aberdarcy Library. For John Lewis, the situation is complicated by the attentions of daunting and desirable village socialite, Elizabeth Gruffyd-Williams, who is married to a member of the local Council. Pursuing an affair with her whilst keeping his job prospects alive is John's predicament, as he finds himself running down Welsh country lanes at midnight in a wig and dress, resisting the advances of local drunks and suffering the long speeches of a 'nut-faced' clergyman. At times tenderly satirical and at times riotously slap-stick, Amis sends up an array of rural stereotypes in this story about a man who doesn't know what he wants. Kingsley Amis's (1922-95) works take a humorous yet highly critical look at British society, especially in the period following the end of World War II. Born in London, Amis explored his disillusionment in novels such as That Uncertain Feeling (1955). His other works include The Green Man (1970), Stanley and the Women (1984), and The Old Devils (1986), which won the Booker Prize. Amis also wrote poetry, criticism, and short stories.
A masterpiece of transgressive, surrealist erotica, George Bataille's Story of the Eye was the Fifty Shades of Grey of its era. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated by Joachim Neugroschal, and published with essays by Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. Bataille's first novel, published under the pseudonym 'Lord Auch', is still his most notorious work. In this explicit pornographic fantasy, the young male narrator and his lovers Simone and Marcelle embark on a sexual quest involving sadism, torture, orgies, madness and defilement, culminating in a final act of transgression. Shocking and sacrilegious, Story of the Eye is the fullest expression of Bataille's obsession with the closeness of sex, violence and death. Yet it is also hallucinogenic in its power, and is one of the erotic classics of the twentieth century. This edition also includes Susan Sontag's superb study of pornography as art, 'The Pornographic Imagination', as well as Roland Barthes' essay 'The Metaphor of the Eye'. Georges Bataille (1897-1962), French essayist and novelist, was born in Billom, France. He converted to Catholicism, then later to Marxism, and was interested in psychoanalysis and mysticism, forming a secret society dedicated to glorifying human sacrifice. Leading a simple life as the curator of a municipal library, Bataille was involved on the fringes of Surrealism, founding the Surrealist magazine Documents in 1929, and editing the literary review Critique from 1946 until his death. Among his other works are the novels Blue of Noon (1957) and My Mother (1966), and the essays Eroticism (1957) and Literature and Evil (1957). If you enjoyed Story of the Eye, you might like Anais Nin's Delta of Venus, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'His black masterpiece ... [a] brilliant, exquisitely fetishistic tale of sexual agitaion' New Statesman
Jack Kerouac called Doctor Sax, the enigmatic figure who haunted his boyhood imagination, 'my ghost, personal angel, private shadow, secret lover'. In this extraordinary autobiographical account of growing up in Lowell, Massachussetts, told through his fictional alter ego Jack Duluoz, he mingles real people and events with fantastical figures to capture the accents, scents, sights and texture of his childhood: playing among the river weeds and railroad tracks, going to church, witnessing life and death on the street corners. Written when he was staying with William Burroughs in Mexico in 1952, Doctor Sax was Kerouac's favourite of all his books: a dark, vivid and magical evocation of a boy's vibrant inner life.
It is 1940 and Mr Graham, a quietly-spoken engineer and arms expert, has just finished high-level talks with the Turkish government. And now somebody wants him dead. The previous night three shots were fired at him as he stepped into his hotel room, so, terrified, he escapes in secret on a passenger steamer from Istanbul. As he journeys home - alongside, among others, an entrancing French dancer, an unkempt trader, a mysterious German doctor and a small, brutal man in a crumpled suit - he enters a nightmarish world where friend and foe are indistinguishable. Graham can try to run, but he may not be able to hide for much longer ...
The Forsyte Saga is the first part of John Galsworthy's magnificent, well-loved Forsyte Chronicles, which trace the changing fortunes of the wealthy Forsyte dynasty through fifty years of material triumph and emotional disaster. The Forsyte Saga begins as the nineteenth century is drawing to a close, and the upper middle classes, with their property and propriety, are becoming a dying section of society. The Forsytes are blind to this fact, clinging to their conventions and `brilliant respectability'. As dignified Soames Forsyte struggles to uphold the old moral code in the face of the social revolution resulting from the Great War, his wife Irene's extraordinary beauty causes even more disruption. The bitter feud between them comes to split the Forsyte family for two generations.
A fascinating insight into the vibrant culture of Modernism, and the rich artistic world of Paris's Left Bank, Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas includes an introduction by Thomas Fensch in Penguin Modern Classics. For Gertrude Stein and her wife Alice B. Toklas, life in Paris was based upon the rue de Fleurus and the Saturday evenings and 'it was like a kaleidoscope slowly turning'. Picasso was there with 'his high whinnying Spanish giggle', as were Cezanne and Matisse, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. As Toklas put it - 'The geniuses came and talked to Gertrude Stein and the wives sat with me'. A light-hearted entertainment, this is in fact Gertrude Stein's own autobiography and a roll-call of all the extraordinary painters and writers she met between 1903 and 1932. Audacious, sardonic and characteristically self-confident, this is a definitive account by American in Paris. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), a writer of experimental prose, is one of the original American Modernists. Born in Pennsylvania, she lived most of her life in Paris with her partner, Alice B. Toklas. Experimental books like Three Lives (1909), Tender Buttons (1914), and The Making of Americans (1925) established her reputation as an avant-garde stylist, and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas made her an international celebrity. As an experimental writer she has been an inspiration to countless novelists and poets in our century, from Ernest Hemingway and Edith Sitwell in her own time to Jack Kerouac and Robert Duncan in ours. If you enjoyed The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, you might like Virginia Woolf's Orlando, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Buttonholes the reader with its informality, its unhurried rhythms, deadpan humour and acerbic remarks' Frances Spalding, Sunday Times
Sally is big, blonde and pampered. She's married to Richard. But she loves Jerry. Jerry loves Sally in return, but he's also still in love with his wife Ruth. Who's been sleeping with Richard ... As a hot, feverish summer of snatched weekends, secret phone calls and illicit lovemaking on the beach comes to a head, it turns out everyone knows more than they've been letting on. And that no one knows quite when to stop.
Here are the essential ideas of psychoanalytic theory, including Freud's explanations of such concepts as the Id, Ego and Super-Ego, the Death Instinct and Pleasure Principle, along with classic case studies like that of the Wolf Man. Adam Phillips's marvellous selection provides an ideal overview of Freud's thought in all its extraordinary ambition and variety. Psychoanalysis may be known as the 'talking cure', yet it is also and profoundly, a way of reading. Here we can see Freud's writings as readings and listenings, deciphering the secrets of the mind, finding words for desires that have never found expression. Much more than this, however, The Penguin Freud Reader presents a compelling reading of life as we experience it today, and a way in to the work of one of the most haunting writers of the modern age.
A landmark in American literature, presented in its complete and unexpurgated version. Dreiser's unsparing story of a country girl's rise to riches as the mistress of a wealthy man marked the beginning of the naturalist movement in America. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's objective, nonmoralizing approach made it highly controversial, and only a heavily edited version could be published in 1900. In this restored version, the truly revolutionary nature of Sister Carrie is made fully evident.
In Journey Through a Small Planet (1972), the writer Emanuel Litvinoff recalls his working-class Jewish childhood in the East End of London: a small cluster of streets right next to the city, but worlds apart in culture and spirit. With vivid intensity Litvinoff describes the overcrowded tenements of Brick Lane and Whitechapel, the smell of pickled herring and onion bread, the rattle of sewing machines and chatter in Yiddish. He also relates stories of his parents, who fled from Russia in 1914, his experiences at school and a brief flirtation with Communism. Unsentimental, vital and almost dream like, this is a masterly evocation of a long-vanished world.
GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014 No marriage of a major twentieth-century writer lasted longer than Vladimir Nabokov's. Vera Slonim shared his delight at the enchantment of life's trifles and literature's treasures, and he rated her as having the best and quickest sense of humour of any woman he had met. From their meeting in 1921, Vladimir's letters to his beloved Vera form a narrative arc that tells a forty-six year-long love story, and they are memorable in their entirety. Almost always playful, romantic, and pithy, the letters tell us much about the man and the writer; we see that Vladimir observed everything, from animals, faces, speech, and landscapes with genuine fascination.
Edward Venn-Thomas lives in the twentieth century but has been mysteriously transported to the future, and the apparently idyllic society of New Create, where there is no hunger, no war and no dissatisfaction. However Venn-Thomas is starting to find life among the New Cretans rather dull. He comes to realize that their perfect existence, inspired by the poets and magicians of their strange occultic religion, lacks one fundamental thing - evil. So Venn-Thomas sees it as nothing less than his duty to introduce them to the darker side of life. First published in 1949 and also known as Watch the North Wind Rise, Graves's novel is a thrilling blend of utopian fantasy, science fiction and mythology.
'This is the age for the short story. None will be better or more worthy of admiration than Wallace Stegner's Collected Stories' Washington Post Book World In a literary career spanning more than fifty years, Wallace Stegner, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, has created a remarkable record of the history and culture of twentieth-century America. These thirty-one stories demonstrate why he is acclaimed as one of America's master storytellers. Here are tales of young love and older wisdom, of the order and consistency of the natural world and the chaos, contradictions and continuities of the human being. 'Exemplary stories ... The reader of Stegner's writing is immediately reminded of an essential America ... a distinct place, a unique people, a common history, and a shared heritage remembered as only Stegner can' Los Angeles Times
Le Carre's post-Cold War masterpiece, filled with suspense, betrayal, desire and drama The Cold War is over and retired secret servant Tim Cranmer has been put out to pasture, spending his days making wine on his Somerset estate. But then he discovers that his former double agent Larry -- dreamer, dissolute, philanderer and disloyal friend - has vanished, along with Tim's mistress. As their trail takes him to the lawless wilds of Russia and the North Caucasus, he is forced to question everything he stood for. Set in a fragmented, uncertain post-Soviet world, le Carre's brutal story of falsehoods and betrayal shows men playing dangerous games beyond their control.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Isaac Bashevis Singer, comes a fictional exploration of primitive history. Singer's novel portrays an era of superstition and violence in a country emerging from the darkness of savagery. Set in Poland in the dark ages, it describes the brutality, prejudice and subjugation that occur when hunter-gatherers and farmers struggle for supremacy over the land. Part parable of modern civilization, part fascinating historical novel, this modern myth is a philosophical examination of man and his beliefs, and reaffirms the author's reputation as a master of narrative invention.
The exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff 'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls to us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are . . .' Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjieff's unique perspective on life. With vivacity and charm, he organizes his account around portraits of the remarkable men and women who accompanied him through remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia, and who aided his search for hidden knowledge. Among them are Gurdjieff's own father (a traditional bard), a Russian prince dedicated to the search for Truth, a Christian missionary who entered a World Brotherhood deep in Asia, and a woman who escaped slavery to become a trusted member of Gurdjieff's group of fellow seekers. Meetings with Remarkable Men conveys a haunting sense of what it means to live fully - with conscience, with purpose and with heart.
After The Second World War, Czeslaw Milosz was exiled for many years from his home country of Poland. In Native Realm, he evokes that homeland and his years away from it; how it nurtured him and how its divisions and destruction shaped a generation. Exploring such diverse memories as a Soviet officer drinking tea with his little finger sticking out, or two Chinese girls passing, laughing, by a New York subway station, Milosz uses these to both 'bring Europe closer to the Europeans' and to capture the formative moments in his life, from his Catholic education to his time in Paris, all with his distinctive honesty, elegance and self-awareness. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
A foreign bachelor living in Peking's Chinese quarter finds himself guardian to the young daughter of an Italian railway worker. Through his stewardship, he catches a glimpse of an entirely different side of life. As Kuniang grows up, his feelings for her change, and he must compete with a motley cast of characters for her attentions. These include a shadowy former mistress of Rasputin, a flamboyant American fashion designer, and an English millionaire. But when Kuniang unwittingly falls under a form of Eastern hypnosis, a terrifying vision threatens their prospects. Set against the mysterious and turbulent backdrop of Peking with its disparate inhabitants in the early twentieth century, The Maker of Heavenly Trousers is a charming, and at times tragic, story of love and family.
Visionary poet Allen Ginsberg was one of the most influential cultural and literary figures of the 20th century, his face and political causes familiar to millions who had never even read his poetry. And yet he is a figure that remains little understood, especially how a troubled young man became one of the intellectual and artistic giants of the postwar era. He never published an autobiography or memoirs, believing that his body of work should suffice. The Essential Ginsberg attempts a more intimate and rounded portrait of this iconic poet by bringing together for the first time his most memorable poetry but also journals, music, photographs and letters, much of it never before published.
Originally published at the zenith of Nazi Germany's power, The Moon Is Down explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside and betrayal from within the close-knit community. As he delves into the motivations and emotions of the enemy, Steinbeck uncovers profound and often unsettling truths both about war and human nature.
What happens when the five luckiest children in the entire world walk through the doors of Willy Wonka?s famous, mysterious chocolate factory? What happens when, one by one, the children disobey Mr. Wonka?s orders? In Dahl?s most popular story, the nasty are punished and the good are deliciously, sumptuously rewarded. A delectable new Deluxe edition of this wonderful classic.
'A novelist of immense power ... uncompromising and original' Colm Toibin 'I can feel the passage of time, as though it were coursing through my veins, along with my blood...' One June day in 1955 Alejandra, last of a noble yet decaying Argentinian dynasty, shoots her father, locks herself up with his body, and sets fire to them both. What caused this act of insanity? Does the answer lie with Martin, her troubled lover, Bruno, the writer who worshipped her mother, or with her father Fernando himself, demonic creator of the strange 'Report on the Blind'? Their lives entwine in Ernesto Sabato's dark epic of passion, philosophy and paranoia in Buenos Aires. 'Bewitched, baroque, monumental' Newsweek
Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 'A savagely short novel of immeasurable ambition and violent beauty. This is the language of genius.' Juan Pablos Villalobos 'How often, honestly, does the unveiling in translation of a 'forgotten genius' live up to the hype? Well here's one that does: Raduan Nassar' Times Literary Supplement 'Yes, bastard, you're the one I love' A pair of lovers - a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback - spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other. Amid vitriolic insults, cruelty and warring egos, their sexual adventure turns into a savage power game. This intense, erotic cult novel by one of Brazil's most infamous modernist writers explores alienation, the desire to dominate and the wish to be dominated. A new translation by Stefan Tobler
From pre-First World War Warsaw to the New York of the 1930s, Nobel Prize-winner Isaac Bashevis Singer traces the early years of his life in this autobiographical trilogy. In A Little Boy in Search of God, he remembers his bookish boyhood as the son of an Orthodox rabbi, equally absorbed in science, philosophy and cabbala. Later, the pursuit of women came to obsess him almost as much as the pursuit of knowledge, and in A Young Man in Search of Love he chronicles the intricacies of his first love affairs. When he emigrated to the United States from Poland on the eve of the Second World War loneliness and depression overwhelmed him, and he relives those dark years in Lost in America. From beginning to end, Love and Exile sheds new light on Singer's own life and the fictional lives mirrored in it.
Dressed in his cheap, battered suit, Joseph Marti arrives at the impressive villa of Karl Tobler, an enthusiastic but ill-starred inventor, to begin employment as his clerk. Tobler is determined to finance his family's lavish lifestyle with the proceeds from his latest idea - a clock adorned with advertisements. But Tobler's grand plans are destined for failure and the household, including Marti, refuse to acknowledge their approaching ruin. Robert Walser claimed to have written The Assistant, a semi-autobiographical work, in just six weeks as an entry for a literary competition. The second of his few surviving novels, it is now regarded as major work of modernist literature.
A moving, raw and powerful novel about fighting on the front - 'The finest and noblest book of men in war that I have ever read' (Ernest Hemingway) Bourne is a private fighting on the front. He is under pressure to accept a commission and become an officer, but he prefers to be among the ranks, drawn into the universal struggle for survival in a world gone mad. Manning's startling work is unlike any other First World War novel in its portrayal of the lives of ordinary British soldiers: the trauma of the Somme; the moments of bloodlust; the camaraderie, rivalry, alcohol and boredom. Considered obscene for its language and previously published in censored form as Her Privates We, The Middle Parts of Fortune appears here in its raw, unexpurgated version.
'Literature is not innocent,' stated Georges Bataille in this extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, arguing that only by acknowledging its complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely. These literary profiles of eight authors and their work, including Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and the writings of Sade, Kafka and Sartre, explore subjects such as violence, eroticism, childhood, myth and transgression, in a work of rich allusion and powerful argument.
'The most exciting book I have ever read ... a feverish, fascinating novel' Antony Beevor, Sunday Telegraph 'I can't take any more of your revolting merciful kindness!' Who would have thought that the great military hero Captain Hofmiller - that living monument to his own courage - would have anything burdening his soul? But when he reveals his story, it is not one of bravery but tragedy: a simple blunder at a dance from which disaster grows, ruining lives with his weak, foolish pity... Impatience of the Heart is Stefan Zweig's greatest novel, fiercely capturing human emotions in all their subtleties and extremes - while Hofmiller, his unforgettable, naive creation, misunderstands everything, resulting in his downfall. A new translation by Jonathan Katz
'It is quite an experience to be locked up all by yourself in any size room' says the anonymous narrator of Hubert Selby Jr.'s second novel. What follows is a startling series of recollections and fantasies that illuminate the workings of a prisoner's unhinged mind. He yearns for his violent childhood, rages against obscure authorities, and imagines enacting horrible revenge on those who imprisoned him. The prisoner's remand cell becomes the scene of a surreal mental torture. Disorienting, nightmarish and structurally inventive, The Room is a shocking examination of the suffering humans can inflict on each other.
A searing, unflinchingly realist novel about life at war, written during the First World War 'Men are made to be husbands, fathers - men, in short! Not animals that hunt one another down' Under Fire follows the fortune of a French battalion during the First World War. For this group of ordinary men, thrown together from all over France and longing for home, war is simply a matter of survival, and the arrival of their rations, a glimpse of a pretty girl or a brief reprieve in hospital is all they can hope for. Based directly on Henri Barbusse's experiences of the trenches, Under Fire is the most famous French novel of the First World War, starkly evoking the mud, stench and monotony of an eternal battlefield. It is also a powerful critique of inequality between ranks, the incomprehension of those who have not experienced battle, and of war itself.
Harry Caldecote is the most charming man you'll ever meet, a convivial academic who devotes his life to others. He is on call when his alcoholic niece falls into strange hands, when his brother threatens to emulate Wordsworth, when his son's lesbian lodger is beaten up by her girlfriend. He endures misplaced seductions, swindles and aggressive dogs just to keep the peace at the King's pub in Shepherd's Hill. But when the Adams' Institute of Cultural and Commercial History in America offers him the opportunity to do 'whatever he wanted to do' in a picturesque lakeside town, he faces a choice between freedom or responsibility - and whether to take charge of his own life.
'Enchanting, heartrending and eminently enviable' Vladimir Nabokov Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner's boyhood was spent on the beautiful and remote frontier of the Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan, where his family homesteaded fro 1914 to 1920. In a recollection of his years there, Stegner applies childhood remembrances and adult reflection to the history of the region to create this wise and enduring portrait of pioneer community existing in the verge of a modern world. 'Stegner has summarized the frontier story and interpreted it as only one who was part of it could' The New York Times Book Review
Robert Graves first came across the name of Roger Lamb in 1914, when Graves was an English officer instructing his platoon in regimental history. Lamb was a British soldier who had served his king during the American War of Independence, and whose claim to a footnote in history is that he managed to escape twice from American prison camps. When Graves went to America in the 1930s, he remembered Sergeant Lamb, investigated his story and created this fictionalized memoir telling Lamb's story from his Irish childhood to war and revolution, weaving a mesmerizing tale of courage and adventure.
'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which...' Halas & Bachelor studio's classic and controversial 1954 animation of Animal Farm, George Orwell's chilling fable of idealism betrayed, was the first ever British animated feature film. This landmark illustrated edition of Orwell's novel was first published alongside it, and features the original line drawings by the film's animators, Joy Batchelor and John Halas.
'Words connect the visible track to the invisible thing ... like a fragile makeshift bridge cast across the void' With imagination and wit, Italo Calvino sought to define the virtues of the great literature of the past in order to shape the values of the future. His effervescent last works, left unfinished at his death, were the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, which he was due to deliver at Harvard in 1985-86. These surviving drafts explore the literary concepts closest to his heart: Lightness, Quickness, Multiplicity, Exactitude and Visibility (Constancy was to be the sixth), in serious yet playful essays that reveal his debt to the comic strip and the folktale. This collection, now in a fluent and supple new translation, is a brilliant precis of a great writer whose legacy will endure through the millennium he addressed. Translated by Geoffrey Brock 'The book I give most to people is Six Memos for the Next Millennium' Ali Smith 'Wonderful . . . full of wit and erudition' Daily Telegraph
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is the moving follow-up to Laurie Lee's acclaimed Cider with Rosie Abandoning the Cotswolds village that raised him, the young Laurie Lee walks to London. There he makes a living labouring and playing the violin. But, deciding to travel further a field and knowing only the Spanish phrase for 'Will you please give me a glass of water?', he heads for Spain. With just a blanket to sleep under and his trusty violin, he spends a year crossing Spain, from Vigo in the north to the southern coast. Only the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War puts an end to his extraordinary peregrinations . . . 'He writes like an angel and conveys the pride and vitality of the humblest Spanish life with unfailing sharpness, zest and humour' Sunday Times 'There's a formidable, instant charm in the writing that genuinely makes it difficult to put the book down' New Statesman 'A beautiful piece of writing' Observer
'Peter, Peter, Pumpkin eater Had a wife and couldn't keep her...' In this extraordinary, semi-autobiographical novel, Penelope Mortimer depicts a married woman's breakdown in 1960s London. With three husbands in her past, one in her present and a numberless army of children, Mrs Armitage is astonished to find herself collapsing one day in Harrods. Strange, unsettling and shot through with black comedy, this is a moving account of one woman's realisation that marriage and family life may not, after all, offer all the answers to the problems of living.
Haunting, terrifying and hilarious, The Day of the Oprichnik is a dazzling novel and a fierce critique of life in the New Russia Moscow 2028: Andrei Danilovich Komiaga, oprichnik, member of the czar's inner circle of trusted courtiers, rouses himself from a drunken stupor and prepares for another day of debauchery, violence, terror and beauty. In this New Russia, futuristic technology combine with the draconian world of Ivan the Terrible to create a dystopia chillingly akin to reality. Over the twenty-four-hour span of the novel, Komiaga will rape, pillage and torture, in the name of the czar he fears and adores. Shimmering with invention, fierce social commentary and razor-sharp wit, Day of the Oprichnik imagines a near future too disturbing to contemplate and too close to reality to ignore.