This effervescent brimming-over-with-the-joy-of-life novel in the form of a fictional autobiography goes shooting off in every which way as one thought leads to another, so that it takes the verbose but quite spell-bindingly fascinating and funny author a whole 80 pages to bring his life story (that starts naturally enough but nevertheless very originally with the hilarious account of the moment of his conception) up to the moment of his birth. This great book was written in the early days (...)
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"Tristam Shandy" by Laurence Sterne (1759)29 March, by Laurence Sterne
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"Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding (1749)26 March, by Henry Fielding
Exploding with life and vigour and a great deal of humour, very cosmopolitan with an engaging young hero wandering all over England learning the ways of the world, full of snappy dialogues, nicely written but unpretentious, this wonderful big book epitomises the spirit of that momentous century in a unique way.
Without a doubt one of the most outstanding English novels of its time, and of all time.
With our own translations in the form of footnotes (signed ed.) of all the very many (...)
"Gulliver’s Travels" by Jonathan Swift (1729)23 March, by Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift’s scathing satire of the society of his time in the form of a seafarer’s account of all the amazing peoples he had encountered in strange far-off places - the tiny Lilliputs, the enormous Brobdingnags, the ferocious peoples of the Far East and, especially, the wonderful land of the magnificent horse-like Houyhnhnms so superior in all ways to their awful human-like enemies the Yahoos, so similar to himself and his fellow countrymen.
An original and brilliantly-recounted (...)
"Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe (1719)20 March, by Daniel Defoe
The great story – the very first English novel! – about how an adventurous man in the 17th century accomplishes his destiny when marooned on a desert island, where he manages not only to survive but to prosper, to find spiritual peace and comfort in his condition, to open his heart to a native whose life he has saved, and finally to triumph in a series of extraordinary challenges that have to be read to be believed.
In spite of the archaic mindset of the central character – notably his (...)
"Youth is Beautiful" by Hermann Hesse (1916)17 March, by Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse, the celebrated author of Siddharta and Steppenwolf, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, was also a masterful writer of short stories, of which this delicate, charming account of a young man returning to his birthplace is an outstanding example.
It has been specially translated here for this site. (14,400 words) An e-book, with the original text in an annex, is available for downloading below.
The original text can also be seen here. > CHAPTER ONE (...)
"Not Only Dead Men" (1942): an early A. E. van Vogt story7 March, by A. E. van Vogt
THIS EARLY GOLDEN-AGE STORY HAS BEEN RE-ISSUED AFTER A LONG AND REGRETTABLE ABSENCE FROM THE SITE
First published in the November 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, this well-written wartime story, only ever republished in the sixties in a little anthology of van Vogt stories bizarrely - and off-puttingly - entitled Monsters (Bug-Eyed Monsters — even worse! — in the UK edition at the time), tells of confrontation and — yes! — (eventual) cooperation between a group of isolated (...)
"Granite" (1853) by the Austrian writer and painter Adalbert Stifter25 February, by Adalbert Stifter
An account of life and death and nature in the high alps in upper Austria long before modern life changed the ancient ways in those remote parts, recounted with strong poetic overtones by the narrator as he remembers a striking incident from his youth in that magnificent region.
A charming, captivating and finally very moving reading experience.
By the Austrian writer, painter and teacher Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868), one of the leading figures of the Biedermeier literary movement that (...)
"An Unpleasantness" (1888) by Anton Chekhov10 February, by Anton Chekhov
Grigory Ivanovitch is an experienced doctor who, while doing his rounds at the hospital, is so upset with his incompetent assistant for being drunk on duty that he utterly loses his temper and strikes the fellow. The consequences of this act on the life of the hospital and on the career of the doctor and the assistant, and the play of forces at work in the hospital organisation and in the judicial system – for there are judicial consequences – are the marrow of this story with a strong (...)
"Immensee" (1849) by Theodor Sturm5 February, by Theodor Sturm
An elderly man meditates on the great love of his life, a young girl who had promised to follow him around the world but who had married one of his oldest friends while he was away from her pursuing his university studies.
Delicately told in the light, poetical and nature-loving style of one of the most gifted and prolific German writers of his time, the distinguished jurist, poet, novelist and story-writer Theodor Sturm (1817-1888).
Translated by C. W. Bell M. A. an e-book, with the (...)