On Mr Jones’s farm, the animals revolt against their human masters. The pigs become the leaders, but corrupted by power, they turn into the new tyrants. A satire on revolutionary and Stalinist Russia, Orwell’s novel has remained as vivid and as relevant as when it first appeared in 1945.
Chilling Supernatural Tales
From the pitter-patter footsteps of a haunted porcelain doll to a shadowy spectre slumped by the fireside, the eerie apparitions conjured from the imaginations of writers including MR James, Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens provide an unsettling reminder that there are things beyond our understanding.
The Classic Science Fiction Collection
Fantastic Tales From Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Miles J Breuer, Austin Hall
This anthology draws on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Jules Verne and HG Wells were experimenting with ideas suggested by technology. These 41 tales by 21 authors feature robots, dystopian societies and time travel and set the scene for the genre’s success.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Thomas De Quincey's powerful autobiographical study describes his addiction to opium and its psychological effects: childhood experience is turned into dreams that are at first euphoric, but become horrific as his dependence on the drug deepens. Published in 1822, the book brought De Quincey literary fame and became an important influence on later writers.
The Mayor of Casterbridge
While he was drunk at a fair, the hay-trusser Michael Henchard sold his wife and child to a sailor for five guineas. Alone the next morning, he vowed to mend his ways and eventually, by hard work and good judgement, he became mayor of Casterbridge. Then, 18 years after being sold, his wife returns and Henchard finds he cannot escape his past.
Jude the Obscure
A self-taught young stonemason whose ambition is to go to university, Jude Fawley has his hopes dashed when he is tricked into a bad marriage. Once free again, he finds a soul-mate, but society and class conspire to deny them happiness. Hardy described his novel as the story of a ‘deadly war waged between flesh and spirit’.
The Great Adventure Collection
Tracking Magua with Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans; travelling into the Heart of Darkness in search of Kurtz; or entering an extinct volcano on a Journey to the Centre of the Earth ... This set of eight novels could be described as the A-list of adventure stories: the other five are The Man Who Would Be King, Robinson Crusoe, The Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a ninth book is a journal to record your own exploits.
The Innocents Abroad
In 1867 Mark Twain joined a group of American tourists sailing to Europe and the Holy Land aboard the steamship Quaker City. Offering ‘no apologies for any departures from the usual style of travel-writing’, Twain produced a merciless satire on contemporary travel guides and a hugely entertaining account of his fellow ‘pilgrims’ and their ‘pleasure trip’, describing incidents such as a communal fumigation in Italy as well as the scenery and sights.
The Call of the Wild
He had Learned Well the Law of Club and Fang
Set in the Yukon during the 1890s Gold Rush, Jack London’s short novel tells of Buck, a pet mongrel – a cross between a St Bernard and a Scottish sheepdog – who is stolen and taken to Alaska to work as a sled dog and has to adapt to life in a pack.
Far from the Madding Crowd
As a young, independent woman taking over the running of a rural estate, Bathsheba Everdene attracts the attentions of three very different men: a respectable local farmer, a dashing soldier, and a devoted young shepherd, Gabriel Oak, who works on her land. This was the first of Hardy’s great novels, originally published in 1874.
Franz Kafka’s strange tale of Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous bug, is open to many interpretations – probably as many as it has readers. Metamorphosis was written in 1912. Translated from the German, with a short introduction, by William Aaltonen.
Franz Kafka’s strange tale of Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous bug, is open to many interpretations – probably as many as it has readers – and was written in 1912. Translated from the German, with a short introduction, by William Aaltonen.
In this early masterpiece of detective fiction, Rachel Verinder is given the Moonstone, a large Indian diamond, on her 18th birthday. That very night, the jewel is stolen, and the curse of the Moonstone begins; a renowned detective is called in to unravel a mystery involving hypnotism, opium and Indian jugglers. First published in 1868.
The Great Horror and Fantasy Collection
From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, the mysterious characters, gothic towers and challenges to rational thought in these eight classic titles continue to unnerve modern readers. The set also includes The Woman in White, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula, The Turn of the Screw, Metamorphosis, and a collection of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, as well as a journal with illustrations and quotes to inspire your own tale.
In the final years of the Trojan War, the Achaeans, led by Agamemnon and joined eventually by a reluctant Achilles, are fighting to reclaim Helen from Hector of Troy. This great epic is presented in Samuel Butler’s 1898 prose translation, with black and white illustrations based on Greek vase painting.
The Importance of Being Earnest
And Other Plays
Wilde’s comedy of mistaken identity offers a witty satire of Victorian manners and morals. Also included are his earlier plays Lady Windermere’s Fan, which revolves around marital infidelity, and An Ideal Husband, with its theme of political corruption.
The Invisible Man
Suddenly I Realized The Power I Held, The Power to Rule....
Having made himself invisible through an irreversible process, scientist Griffin is free from the constraints of the law, but also on the path to insanity. Written in 1897, his story offers a warning about unintended consequences and explores questions of morality.
The Man Who Would be King
And Other Stories
Including the story that inspired the classic movie starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine, these nine dramatic tales demonstrate Kipling’s mastery of the short story and ability to create believable characters and settings, in Britain and the subcontinent.
In the aftermath of the Trojan War, Odysseus makes his ten-year journey from Troy to Ithaca, overcoming the Cyclops, the Sirens and the Shades of the Dead, only to meet suitors vying for his wife's hand at home in Ithaca. This edition presents Alexander Pope’s classic translation, with illustrations after John Flaxman.
The Randolph Carter Tales
The recurring character Carter, presumed to be Lovecraft’s alter ego, is an obscure author with magical ancestry who faces unnameable monsters and nightmares. This collection of stories describes his encounters with and philosophical musings about the dreamworld, mummies and aliens.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
This collection assembles some of the most influential fantastic fiction of the late 19th and 20th centuries, ranging across landscapes from Antarctica to Mars, with stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and HG Wells, and including Robert E. Howard’s tales of Conan the Barbarian.
The Valley of Fear
After receiving a cryptic letter, Sherlock Holmes sets off to warn a wealthy American ex-pat that he is in danger, only to find John Douglas already murdered. Investigating, Holmes uncovers the dead man’s past as a Pinkerton agent – and the hand of the arch-criminal Moriarty.
Stories of the Dreamlands
‘Well do I remember the night of the great Aurora, when over the swamp played the shocking coruscations of the daemon-light’: one sentence from ‘Polaris’ and we are in the alien dimension of Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. Here are all 23 stories, including ‘The Cats of Ulthar’, ‘Nyarlathotep’ and ‘Cool Air’.
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Beautiful and spirited, but also impoverished and mistreated, Tess suffers through the hypocrisy of Victorian society, and falls victim to injustice. Controversial at the time of writing and censored when it was first published, the novel is now considered Hardy’s masterwork.
A study of conflict between father and daughter, this is the story of Catherine, the plain, obedient daughter of Dr August Sloper of Washington Square, New York. When Morris Townsend, a handsome man-about-town, proposes to Catherine, her father forbids the marriage, believing Townsend to be after his daughter’s inheritance.
Autobiography of a Female Slave
Martha Griffith Browne, a Southern slave-owner who became wedded to the cause of emancipation, wrote this ‘autobiography’ of Ann, a woman born into slavery, to raise the money to liberate those she had inherited from her father. Published in 1856, it was written in the style of contemporary narratives, and although a fiction, draws on Browne’s own experience to describe the horrors of slavery.
John Barleycorn: A Drinking Life
In this semi-autobiographical novel, John Barleycorn shares the travels and adventures of Jack London (1876–1916) across North America, sailing with oyster pirates, prospecting for gold, living rough, struggling to be a writer and, crucially, losing the fight against alcohol addiction.
And Other Stories
Edith Wharton’s novella, the story of young Mattie Silver, who goes to keep house at the remote Massachusetts farm belonging to Etham Frome and his wife, Mattie’s cousin Zeena, is accompanied in this edition by four short stories, including two from Wharton’s Tales of Men and Ghosts (1910).
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
On its first publication in 1839, this collection included ‘King Pest’, ‘Morella’ and ‘William Wilson’ and other chilling tales. This expanded edition adds several later stories by the American master of terror, such as ‘Eleonora’ and ‘The Balloon Hoax’.
Translated, with an introduction by the Oxford classicist Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893), Plato’s Republic is widely regarded as the finest of the Socratic dialogues, bringing together political thought and philosophy. Among the issues debated in the dialogue are the meaning of justice and the just man, immortality of the soul, the theory of Forms, and the ideal state ruled by its philosopher king.
Crime and Punishment
Ground-breaking in its realism and psychological depth, Dostoevsky’s novel tells the story of Raskolnikov, the impoverished student who justified to himself the murder of a miserly pawnbroker and the theft of her money, yet suffers moral anguish in the aftermath of his brutal crime.