Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • "Make Westing" and other stories by Jack London

    by Jack London

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. The Misogynist (1897) A confirmed bachelor wakes up one morning to find that all females have suddenly disappeared and the world is now a purely masculine one! Things start rapidly going to pot as everyone, including our hero, desperately tries to survive. (8,600 words) (...)

  • "Great Expectations" (1861) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    This is Dickens at his very best, or rather his greatest. A mature work, his penultimate novel, it gets off to a rousing start – the dramatic encounter of young Pip with an escaped convict takes place on page 2 –, the writing is absolutely sparkling, deeply infused with his profound humanity and (...)

  • "Suicides" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. Suicides (1880) A letter is found beside a 57-year-old man who has just shot himself in a depressed state of mind, as dramatically explained in his letter. (1,800 words)

    2. Lasting Love (1882) A group of hunters and their wives are debating the question of long-lasting (or otherwise) love after a copious dinner, and a retired Parisian doctor recounts the most intense and long-lasting affair he had ever encountered, involving a respectable pharmacist and a (...)

  • "David Copperfield" (1850) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    This portrait of a sensitive young boy’s struggles with his school mentors and with his schoolmates is as powerful and humanistic as anything Dickens or anyone else ever wrote, and the hard-hearted but oh-so-smooth uncle Mr. Murdstone is as worthy a villain — always a Dickens strong point — as (...)

  • "An Enigmatic Nature" and other stories by Anton Chekhov

    by Anton Chekhov

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. AN ENIGMATIC NATURE (1883) A very pretty young lady in a first-class railway car is baring her soul to a budding author who is all too anxious to proffer his psychological expertise on problems of the heart, but the explanation by the lovely lady of her current romantic (...)

  • "Twas the night before Christmas" (1823) by Clement Moore

    by Clement Moore

    This charming poem, generally attributed to the New York theologian Clement Moore (1779-1863), was first published (anonymously) in an upstate New York newspaper, the Troy Sentinel, on December 23, 1823, with the title "A Visit from St. Nicolas".
    It rapidly gained acclaim and widespread (...)

  • The Expendables and other stories by A. E. van Vogt

    by A. E. van Vogt

    1. THE EXPENDABLES (1963) A spaceship on an exploration mission encounters crafty and powerful aliens who threaten to take over after they are brought on board – and a ferocious struggle breaks out in parallel among the ship’s leading officers for control of the ship. . (11,400 words)
    2. THE (...)

  • "The Pearls of Parlay" and other stories by Jack London

    by Jack London

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. Pluck and Pertinacity (1899) In the words of the author: “The true story of a man who practically achieved the impossible in his hazardous ice-journey in the dead of the Arctic winter. Happily, success crowned the effort.” (1,450 words).
    2. The Scorn of Women (1901) Floyd (...)

  • "The Burning Log" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. THE BURNING LOG (1882) The narrator is having tea with a close friend when a log burning in the fireplace rolls onto the carpet. That reminds him of a similar but more dramatic incident when he’d been dining with very close and newly-married friends, a story that the lady (...)

  • "The Black Monk" and other stories by Anton Chekhov

    by Anton Chekhov

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. CHORISTERS (1884) The sacristan of a village church has been intensely rehearsing a complex choral with the school’s choir in preparation for the forthcoming visit of a Petersburg dignitary, in spite of the vocal inadequacies of the singers and the hostility of the church (...)

  • German prefixes and suffixes - an overview

    by Ray

    The German language has a large number of prefixes and suffixes whose function is to enable the formation of an open-ended number of new words by adding new nuances, aspects and dimensions to other words.
    These powerful tools can be added in front of or behind just about anything to create (...)

  • "A Christmas Carol" (1843) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    A Christmas Carol was a huge hit in both England and the United States when it was published shortly before Christmas in 1843.
    This 29,000-word novella was instrumental in reinvigorating popular enthusiasm for the Christmas season among the general public on both sides of the Atlantic, and it (...)

  • "The Invisible Collection" and other stories by Stefan Zweig

    by Stefan Zweig

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. TWO LONELY SOULS (1901) A disabled lad limps home at the end of the day’s work in his factory, left behind by the other workers because of his handicap. He stops when he hears sobbing by the roadside and tries to console another social outcast, a female worker at the (...)

  • "Burning Secret" (1911) by Stefan Zweig

    by Stefan Zweig

    In in the celebrated Austrian mountain resort of Semmering an experienced ladies’ man sets his sights on an attractive woman who has come there with her sickly twelve-year-old son for a cure, and cleverly first strikes up a friendship with the boy as a way to his mother’s heart. This stratagem is (...)

  • The complete (44) stories of Stefan Zweig — synopses, comments and ratings

    by Ray

    Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), born and raised in the glorious pre-WW1 Vienna of the Belle Epoque, was one of the most outstanding European intellectuals of the 20th century, and a prolific writer of stories, biographies, historical studies, essays, travel journals, memoirs and letters – as well as (...)

  • "At the Spa" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    More excellent tales by master Maupassant, all of which have been translated into English specially for this site. TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. COCONUT, COCONUT, FRESH COCONUT! (1878) Pierre’s uncle left him 500 francs and also 100 francs to be given to the first street coconut-vendor he comes across. (...)

  • “Little Dorrit” (1857) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    In this very big and wide-ranging opus Dickens follows his eponymous heroine from the Marshalsea Prison for Debtors in south London, where she had lived for the first twenty-plus years of her life and the first half of the book, across France and Switzerland with her newly-rich family on a (...)

  • "Anyuta" and other Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. A DEAD BODY (1885) A corpse wrapped in linen is lying under a tree in the middle of a misty August night, dutifully watched over by two peasants who are keeping a fire alive. They listen to the sounds of the forest and talk to fight off their feelings of eeriness when a (...)

  • "On the Water" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. ON THE WATER (1876) The narrator tells us about the eerie adventure on the Seine of his neighbour, an enthusiastic boater and lover of the river and all its mysteries. (2,300 words)
    2. A NORMANDY JOKE (1882) At a wedding feast in the Normandy countryside the bridegroom (...)

  • "The Huntsman" and other Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. THE HUNTSMAN (1885) Yegor is hunting with his dog when he hears his name called by Pelagea, the young woman he had married twelve years previously and who is still hopelessly in love with him. (1,700 words)
    2. SORROW (1885) The introverted monologue of a peasant who is (...)

  • An anthology of famous French poems, with their English translations

    by Ray

    There is surely a consensus among cognoscenti that famous texts such as François Villon’s La ballade des pendus, (“Song of the Hanged Men”), Lamartine’s Le lac, (“The Lake”), Rimbaud’s Le bateau ivre (‘The Drunken Boat”) and Apollinaire’s Le pont Mirabeau (“The Mirabeau Bridge") are all among the (...)

  • A selection of Tang Dynasty poems

    by Ray

    The Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) was a period of extraordinary flourishing of the Chinese civilisation in all domains, notably art and literature.
    No other civilisation has ever placed poetry on such an elevated pedestal in its scale of values: everyone with an education wrote poetry from the (...)

  • More of Jack London’s best Far North stories

    by Jack London

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. The Wife of a King (1899) A prospector has left his half-Indian wife to join the flood of gold-seekers in Dawson, and when he fails to return word comes back about his dallying with a casino dancer, the plucky wife sets off for Dawson in the thick of winter to see for (...)

  • "The Night" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    A selection of nine memorable tales by Guy de Maupassant, all in new English translations — two for the first time — that have been done specially for this site.
    e-books with the original French texts are available for downloading below.
    The original French texts can be seen here. TABLE OF (...)

  • "Lalie’s Story", from Zola’s novel "L’Assommoir" (1877)

    by Emile Zola

    Lalie is an eight-year-old girl living in the room next to Gervaise, the central character of Emile Zola’s novel "L’Assommoir" about life in a working-class district of Paris in the 1850s and 60s.
    She is one of the most unforgettable characters in that masterwork, although she only appears in (...)