Leo Tolstoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
Once upon a time, a teenaged Kate Winslet (The Reader, Titanic, Revolutionary Road) received a gift that would leave a lasting impression: a copy of Emile Zola's classic Thérèse Raquin. Six Academy Award nominations and one Best Actress award later, she steps behind the microphone to perform this haunting classic of passion and disaster.
"gripping and vivid"
Goethe's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever.
Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of unexplained horror and nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. It is the story of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. This hugely influential work inspired George Orwell, Albert Camus, Jorge Louis Borges, and Ray Bradbury, while continuing to unsettle millions of readers.
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests in his essay that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling children as food. By doing this he mocks the authority of the British officials.
"A Classic Work of Satire Brought to Life"
Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne's masterpiece. "Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump" (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive....
"in the words of Pencroft, Hoorah!"
'I had begun, God knows why, tearing a corner off of everyday truth, begun seeing myself in another kind of mirror, and now the whole of the old, more or less comfortable truth was falling to pieces.' Confident and successful, New York advertising executive Ray Sanders takes what he wants from life. When he goes missing in a snowstorm in Connecticut one evening, his closest friend begins to reassess his loyalties, gambling with Ray's fate and his own future.
In stories like "A Night in the Cemetery," "Night of Horror," and "Murder," not only will Chekhov's dark humor and twisted crimes satisfy even the most hardboiled of mystery fans, but readers will again appreciate the penetrating, absurdist insight into the human condition that only Chekhov can bring. Whether it is the death of a young amateur playwright at the hands of an editor who hates bad writing, or a drunken civil servant who ends up trapped in a graveyard, these stories overflow with the unforgettable characters and unique sensibility that will forever make Chekhov one of the most fascinating figures in literature.
Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his way once more in Paris. Unscrupulous, seductive, and with unbounded ambition, he schemes and manipulates his way to power. Financial undertakings in the Middle East lead to the establishment of a powerful new bank and speculation on the stock market; Saccard meanwhile conducts his love life as energetically as he does his business, and his empire is seemingly unstoppable.
Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s imperial Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself - and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse.
This classic tale is a fantastical fable of two dear friends - one of whom goes astray and is literally lost to the north woods, while the other undertakes an epic journey to rescue him. This charming, strange, and wonderful story is a timeless allegory about growing up and the challenges of staying true to one's self, and it served as the wintry inspiration for the blockbuster hit Frozen.
"Classic fairytale for Xmas"
A collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the famous Brothers Grimm. Their most famous tales are instantly recognizeable: "Rumpelstiltskin", "Snow White", "Rapunzel", "Cinderella", "Hansel and Gretel", and "The Frog Prince." The collection is often known today as "Grimms' Fairy Tales".
O'Flaherty's 13th novel is about the Irish land uprisings during the time of Parnell. Set in Co. Mayo during the early days of the 19th-century Land War, this mighty epic of the Irish land and people tells of the struggles between the British landlords and the Irish tenantry.
A Signature Performance: Leelee Sobieski's Emma is sultry but vulnerable, offering a sympathetic rendering of the heroine and her plight, allowing the listener to draw his own conclusions about Madame Bovary in this cautionary tale of love, passion, and desperation.
One of the great works of the twentieth century, Kafka's The Trial has been read as a study of political power, a pessimistic religious parable, or a crime novel where the accused man is himself the problem. In it, a man wakes up one morning to find himself under arrest for an offence which is never explained. Faced with this ambiguous but threatening situation, Josef K. gradually succumbs to its psychological pressure.
"The Trial: Lost in a Sea of Pretentious Fishes."
This collection of 10 time-honored tales brims with enchantment, whimsy, and sly humor. Assembled by a renowned poet and student of Gaelic language and culture, this edition includes "The Birth of Bran", "The Little Brawl at Allen", "The Enchanted Cave of Cesh Corran", "Becuma of the White Skin", "Mongan's Frenzy", and other stories.
A pairing of Tolstoy's most spiritual and existential works of fiction and nonfiction from the renowned translator of Turgenev and Chekhov. In the last two days of his own life, Peter Carson completed these new translations of The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession before he succumbed to cancer in January 2013. In Carson's shimmering prose, these two transcendent works are presented in their most faithful rendering in English.
The Next Great War begins, and soon all Europe is involved. The war lasts a year - and then the women, robbed of husbands and sweethearts and sons, grow doubtful of the benefits of military policy, and begin to think that victory will come too late to do them any good. But what can they do? A remedy was discovered by Aristophanes about 2,350 years ago. It is re-discovered and reapplied. And it is again successful.
Intense, compelling, beautifully descriptive - as Wuthering Heights is to the Yorkshire moors, so The Black Soul is to the Aran Islands. The sea roars dismally round the shores of Inverara. A stranger takes a room on the island. Here lives a couple whose married years have been joyless, until the presence of the stranger unleashes their passions.... For as spring softens the wild beauty of Inverara, the stranger becomes conscious of the dark-haired Mary - how summer makes her shiver with life. He is the first man she has ever loved, and she thrills with sexual awakening.
Pope Joan traces the remarkable history of a young woman who, according to tradition, travelled across Europe in the ninth century disguised as a monk, acquired great learning and ruled over Christendom for two years as Pope John VIII before dying in childbirth. On the books first publication in Athens in 1886, it created a sensation; it was banned and its author excommunicated. The work became nevertheless soon established itself securely in Greek literature.
"I don't know if it's true, but it's very funny"
Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.
The most influential work of the entire Spanish literary canon and a founding work of modern Western literature, Don Quixote is also one of the greatest works ever written. Hugely entertaining but also moving at times, this episodic novel is built on the fantasy life of one Alonso Quixano, who lives with his niece and housekeeper in La Mancha. Quixano, obsessed by tales of knight errantry, renames himself 'Don Quixote' and with his faithful servant Sancho Panza, goes on a series of quests.
"The Mother and Father of all novels"
The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude.
Les Misérables is set in Paris after the French Revolution. In the sewers and backstreets, we encounter "the wolf-like tread of crime", and assassination for a few sous is all in a day's work. We weep with the unlucky and heart-broken Fantine, and we exult with the heroic revolutionaries of the barricades; but above all we thrill to the steadfast courage and nobility of soul of ex-convict Jean Valjean, always in danger from the relentless pursuit of the diabolical Inspector Javert.
"Wonderful though sound quality poor"
On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.
"The Count of Monte CristoNarrated by Bill Homewood"
A century after it first appeared, Crime and Punishment remains one of the most gripping psychological thrillers. A poverty-stricken young man, seeing his family making sacrifices for him, is faced with an opportunity to solve his financial problems with one simple but horrifying act: the murder of a pawnbroker. She is, he feels, just a parasite on society. But does the end justify the means? Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov makes his decision and then has to live with it.
"Last two words are missing which is a nuisance.."
Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable.
"I knew I'd never read it"
The foundation for all modern economic thought and political economy, The Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of Scottish economist Adam Smith, who introduces the world to the very idea of economics and capitalism in the modern sense of the words.
"Very long winded"
The Trial is one of the great works of the 20th century - an extraordinary vision of one man put on trial by an anonymous authority on an unspecified charge. Kafka evokes all the terrifying reality of his ordeal.
"a dull life brought to insanity"
The first authorized, unabridged release of this timeless classic and exclusively available from Recorded Books. Ulysses records the events of a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin, Ireland.
"Amazing - get this version!"
The story is told by a young 'unknown soldier' in the trenches of Flanders during the First World War. Through his eyes we see all the realities of war; under fire, on patrol, waiting in the trenches, at home on leave, and in hospitals and dressing stations.
"Powerful antiwar novel."
Romance, treachery, courage...The Three Musketeers has it all! In one of the greatest adventure stories ever written, the dashing young swordsman D'Artagnan and his daredevil companions Athos, Aramis and Porthos, become embroiled in duels, love-tangles and sinister intrigues which threaten the future of King, Queen and France herself.
"A Blinking good read"
The most exciting underwater adventure ever! In 1866 a mysterious giant whale savagely attacks ships in international seas. A famous French marine biologist, Pierre Aronnax, joins the hunt to track down and incapacitate the creature. With him are his loyal servant, Conseil, and redoubtable Canadian harpooner Ned Land. They soon find that their enemy is no sea beast but a brilliantly designed submarine. They are captured and imprisoned by its master, the sinister Captain Nemo.
Featuring a fictional version of himself - 'Marcel' - and a host of friends, acquaintances, and lovers, In Search of Lost Time is Proust's search for the key to the mysteries of memory, time, and consciousness. As he recalls his childhood days, the sad affair of Charles Swann and Odette de Crecy, his transition to manhood, the tortures of love and the ravages of war, he realises that the simplest of discoveries can lead to astonishing possibilities.
"BBC does Proust proud"
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is the classic working-class novel. It was written in 1906 by an impoverished house painter, Robert Tressell, and within its framework contains a manifesto for socialism. It tells of the appalling working conditions of a group of painters and decorators and their struggle to survive at the most basic level. It is moving, grimly humorous and tragic. It has sold over six million copies worldwide since it was published, and it has the power to change lives.
"Amazing performance of a classic"
"It was the best of times and the worst of times." In one of the most famous openings of any novel, Dickens masterfully presents the turmoil of the French Revolution, which is the backdrop for a novel of love, patience, hope, and self-sacrifice. This version is read by Anton Lesser, whose award-winning Dickens recordings in their abridged form has now resulted in the opportunity to read the full unabridged text.
"It is a far far better thing ..."
What is reality? Ask yourself whether you can actually know the answer, much less be sure that you can know it, and you've begun to grapple with the metaphysical and epistemological quandaries that have occupied, teased, and tormented modern philosophy's greatest intellects since the dawn of modern science and a century before the Enlightenment.
A land-surveyor, known only as K., arrives at a small village permanently covered in snow and dominated by a castle to which access seems permanently denied. K.'s attempts to discover why he has been called constantly run up against the peasant villagers, who are in thrall to the absurd bureaucracy that keeps the castle shut, and the rigid hierarchy of power among the self-serving bureaucrats themselves.
Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp.
"A glorious romp of a novel!"