Littérature générale

  • When the Time Traveller courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything has changed. In another, more utopian age, creatures seemed to dwell together in perfect harmony. The Time Traveller thought he could study these marvelous beings--unearth their secret and then retum to his own time--until he discovered that his invention, his only avenue of escape, had been stolen. H.G. Well's famous novel of one man's astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination first appeared in 1895. It won him immediate recognition, and has been regarded ever since as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction.
    From the Paperback edition.
    />

  • Touted by its 1885 publisher as yes'>#8220;the most amazing story ever written,yes'>#8221; King Solomon's Mines was one of the bestselling novels of the nineteenth century. H. Rider Haggard's thrilling saga of elephant hunter Allan Quatermain and his search for fabled treasure is more than just an adventure story, though: As Alexandra Fuller explains in her Introduction, in its vivid portrayal of the alliances and battles of white colonials and African tribesmen, King Solomon's Mines yes'>#8220;brings us the world of extremes, of the absurdly tall tales and of the illogical loyalty between disparate people that still informs this part of the world.yes'>#8221;From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Hailed by The New York Times as yes'>#8220;a master of the British mystery,yes'>#8221; awardwinning author Elizabeth George is one of our most distinguished writers, cherished by readers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her first collection of short stories is an extraordinary offering that deftly explores the dark side of everyday peopleand the lengths to which they will go to get what they want most....In these five tantalizing and original tales, George plumbs the depths of human natureand human weaknessas only she can. From the chilling tale of a marriage built on an appalling set of lies that only death can reveal, to the final, title story about a penniless schoolteacher whose ambition turns murderous, I, Richard is filled with pageturning drama, danger, and unmatched suspense. Whether the setting is urban or suburban, affluent or middle class, no one is safe from menace. Thanks to Inspector Thomas Lynley, a squabbling group of Anglophiles discovers a killer in its midstyes'>#8230;But little help is on hand when a pictureperfect town is shattered by an eccentric new residentyes'>#8217;s horrifying pet project.... And when a wealthy husband is haunted by suspicions about his muchyounger wife, it becomes clear that a manyes'>#8217;s imagination can be his own worst enemy...Ironic, revealing, and undeniably entertaining, this imaginative collection proves once again why Elizabeth George is one of todayyes'>#8217;s bestloved authors.

  • 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. Here, in Faust, Part I, the tremendous versatility of Goethe's genius creates some of the most beautiful passages in literature. Here too we experience Goethe's characteristic humor, the excitement and eroticism of the witches' Walpurgis Night, and the moving emotion of Gretchen's tragic fate.This authoritative edition, which offers Peter Salm's wonderfully readable translation as well as the original German on facing pages, brings us Faust in a vital, rhythmic American idiom that carefully preserves the grandeur, integrity, and poetic immediacy of Goethe's words.From the Paperback edition.

  • Introduction and Notes by Robert FolkenflikRich in playful double entendres, digressions, formal oddities, and typographical experiments, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman provoked a literary sensation when it first appeared in England in a series of volumes from 1759 to 1767. An ingeniously structured novel (about writing a novel) that fascinates like a verbal game of chess, Tristram Shandy is the most protean and playful English novel of the eighteenth century and a celebration of the art of fiction; its inventiveness anticipates the work of Joyce, Rushdie, and Fuentes in our own century. This Modern Library Paperback is set from the nine-volume first edition from 1759.From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • A runaway bestseller on its publication in 1887, H. Rider Haggard's She is a Victorian thrill ride of a novel, featuring a lost African kingdom ruled by a mysterious, implacable queen; ferocious wildlife and yawning abysses; and an eerie love story that spans two thousand years. She has bewitched readers from Freud and Jung to C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; in her Introduction to this Modern Library Paperback Classic--which includes period illustrations by Maurice Greiffenhagen and Charles H. M. Kerr--Margaret Atwood asserts that the awe-inspiring Ayesha, "She-who-must-be-obeyed," is "a permanent feature of the human imagination."From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847, the year before the author's death at the age of thirty, endures today as perhaps the most powerful and intensely original novel in the English language. "Only Emily Brontë," V.S. Pritchett said about the author and her contemporaries, "exposes her imagination to the dark spirit." And Virginia Woolf wrote, "It is as if she could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognisable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality. Hers, then, is the rarest of all powers. She could free life from its dependence on facts, with few touches indicate the spirit of a face so that it needs no body; by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar." This Modern Library edition contains a biographical note and preface by the author's sister Charlotte Brontë, and an Introduction by Diane Johnson.

  • Called a 'perfect novel' by Harold Bloom, Persuasion was written while Jane Austen was in failing health. She died soon after its completion, and it was published in an edition with Northanger Abbey in 1818.
    In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called 'almost too good for me,' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time. 'She is a prose Shakespeare,' Thomas Macaulay wrote of Austen in 1842. 'She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings.' Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.

  • Over a short period in the 1840s, the three Brontë sisters working in a remote English parsonage produced some of the best-loved and most-enduring of all novels: Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a book that created a scandal when it was published in 1884 under the pseudonym Action Bell.
    Compelling in its imaginative power and bold naturalism, the novel opens in the autumn of 1827, when a mysterious woman who calls herself Helen Graham seeks refuge at the deso-late moorland mansion of Wildfell Hall. Bronte's enigmatic heroine becomes the object of gossip and jealousy as neighbors learn she is escaping from an abusive marriage and living under an assumed name. A daring story that exposed the dark brutality of Victorian chauvinism, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was nevertheless attacked by some critics as a celebration of the same excesses it criticized.
    'Every reader who has felt the power of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights comes, sooner or later, to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,' observed Bronte scholar Margaret Lane. 'Anne Bronte, with all the Bronte taste for violence and drama, and with her experience of the same rude scenes and savage Yorkshire tales that had fed the imaginations of her sisters, did not shrink. She used the material at hand, and shaped it with singular honesty and seriousness....Anne is a true Bronte.

  • Upon its first appearance in 1895, Thomas Hardy';s Jude the Obscure shocked Victorian critics and readers with a frank depiction of sexuality and an unbridled indictment of the institutions of marriage, education, and religion, reportedly causing one Angli-can bishop to order the book publicly burned. The experience so exhausted Hardy that he never wrote a work of fiction again.
    Rich in symbolism, Jude the Obscure is the story of Jude Fawley and his struggle to rise from his station as a poor Wessex stonemason to that of a scholar at Christminster. It is also the story of Jude';s ill-fated relationship with his cousin Sue Bridehead, and the ultimate tragedy that causes Jude';s undoing and Sue';s transformation. Jude the Obscure explores man';s essential loneliness and remains one of Hardy';s most widely read novels.

  • The story and characters in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of NotreDame  have resonated with succeeding generations since its publication in 1831. It has tempted filmmakers, and most recently animators, who have exploited its dramatic content to good effect but have inevitably lost some of the grays that make the original text so compelling.   From Victor Hugo's flamboyant imagination came Quasimodo, the grotesque bell ringer; La Esmeralda, the sensuous gypsy dancer; and the haunted archdeacon Claude Frollo. Hugo set his epic tale in the Paris of 1482 under Louis XI and meticulously recreated the daytoday life of its highest and lowest inhabitants. Written at a time of perennial political upheaval in France, The Hunchback of NotreDame  is the product of an emerging democratic sensibility and prefigures the teeming masterpiece Les Misérables, which Hugo would write thirty years later.   He made the cathedral the centerpiece of the novel and called it NotreDame de Paris. (It received its popular English title at the time of its second translation in 1833.) Hugo wrote that his inspiration came from a carving of the word "fatality" in Greek that he had found in the cathedral. The inscription had been eradicated by the time the book was published, and Hugo feared that NotreDame's Gothic splendor might soon be lost to the contemporary fad for tearing down old buildings. NotreDame has survived as one of the great monuments of Pris, and Hugo's novel is a fitting celebration of it, a popular classic that is proving to be just as enduring.The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventyfifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.Jacket paintings: (front) detail from Notre Dame  by Paul Lecomte, courtesy of David David Gallery/SuperStock; (spine) Victor Hugo, 1833, by Louis Boulanger of Giraudon/Art Resource, N.Y.From the Hardcover edition.

  • In A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain’s unofficial sequel to The Innocents Abroad, the author records his hilarious and diverse observations and insights while on a fifteenmonth walking trip through Central Europe and the Alps. “Here you have Twain’s inimitable mix,” writes Dave Eggers in his Introduction, “of the folksy and the effortlessly erudite, his unshakable good sense and his legendary wit, his knack for the easy relation of a perfect anecdote, and some achingly beautiful nature writing.”This Modern Library Paperback Classic reproduces the text of the first American edition and features new explanatory notes and a critical Afterword by Kerry Driscoll, professor of English at Saint Joseph College in Connecticut.From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Concerned for her family’s financial welfare and eager to expand her own horizons, Agnes Grey takes up the position of governess, the only respectable employment for an unmarried woman in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, Agnes cannot anticipate the hardship, humiliation, and loneliness that await her in the brutish Bloomfield and haughty Murray households. Drawn from Anne Brontë’s own experiences, Agnes Grey depicts the harsh conditions and class snobbery that governesses were often forced to endure. As Barbara A. Suess writes in her Introduction, “Brontë provides a portrait of the governess that is as sympathetic as her fictional indictment of the shallow, selfish moneyed class is biting.”From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his--or any other--generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty--even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler’s edge.

  • In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and violence. Rabbit is abandoned by his family, his home invaded by a runaway and a radical, his past reduced to a ruined inner landscape; still he clings to semblances of decency and responsibility, and yearns to belong and to believe.

  • Meet the Deans“The fact is, the whole of Australia despises my father more than any other man, just as they adore my uncle more than any other man. I might as well set the story straight about both of them . . .”Heroes or Criminals?Crackpots or Visionaries?Families or Enemies?“. . . Anyway, you know how it is. Every family has a story like this one.”Most of his life, Jasper Dean couldn’t decide whether to pity, hate, love, or murder his certifiably paranoid father, Martin, a man who overanalyzed anything and everything and imparted his selfgarnered wisdom to his only son. But now that Martin is dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the crackpot who raised him in intellectual captivity, and what he realizes is that, for all its lunacy, theirs was a grand adventure.As he recollects the events that led to his father’s demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries—about his infamous outlaw uncle Terry, his mysteriously absent European mother, and Martin’s constant losing battle to make a lasting mark on the world he so disdains. It’s a story that takes them from the Australian bush to the cafes of bohemian Paris, from the Thai jungle to strip clubs, asylums, labyrinths, and criminal lairs, and from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition. The result is a rollicking rollercoaster ride from obscurity to infamy, and the movig, memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings.A Fraction of the Whole is an uproarious indictment of the modern world and its mores and the epic debut of the blisteringly funny and talented Steve Toltz.

  • An American frigate, tracking down a shipsinking monster, faces not a living creature but an incredible invention a fantastic submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo.  Suddenly a devastating explosion leaves just three survivors, who find themselves prisoners inside Nemo's death ship on an underwater odyssey around the world from the pearlladen waters of Ceylon to the icy dangers of the South Pole . . .as Captain Nemo, one of the greatest villians ever created, takes his revenge on all society.More than a marvelously thrilling drama, this classic novel, written in 1870, foretells with uncanny accuracy the inventions and advanced technology of the twentieth century and has become a literary steppingstone for generations of science fiction writers.From the Paperback edition.
    />

  • Uncle Tom, Topsy, Sambo, Simon Legree, little Eva: their names are American bywords, and all of them are characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's remarkable novel of the preCivil War South. Uncle Tom's Cabin was revolutionary in 1852 for its passionate indictment of slavery and for its presentation of Tom, "a man of humanity," as the first black hero in American fiction. Labeled racist and condescending by some contemporary critics, it remains a shocking, controversial, and powerful work exposing the attitudes of white nineteenthcentury society toward "the peculiar institution" and documenting, in heartrending detail, the tragic breakup of black Kentucky families "sold down the river." An immediate international sensation, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 300,000 copies in the first year, was translated into thirtyseven languages, and has never gone out of print: its political impact was immense, its emotional influence immeasurable.From the Paperback edition.

  • Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful." Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced." Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics "Deathbed" edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes.From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Shocking his stodgy colleagues at the exclusive Reform Club, enigmatic Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers his fortune, undertaking an extraordinary and daring enterprise: to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. With his French valet Passepartout in tow, Verne’s hero traverses the far reaches of the earth, all the while tracked by the intrepid Detective Fix, a bounty hunter certain he is on the trail of a notorious bank robber. Set from the text of George M. Towle’s original 1873 translation, this Modern Library Paperback Classic of Verne’s adventure novel comes vividly alive, brilliantly reflecting on time, space, and one man’s struggle to reach beyond the bounds of both science and society.From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held a special appeal for each generation of readers. The Tales gathers twentynine of literature’s most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society, from the exalted Knight to the humble Plowman. This new edition includes a comprehensive introduction that summarizes some of the most important historical events and movements that defined the world of Chaucer and his pilgrims; two additional tales (Reeve’s and Shipman’s); introductions for each tale designed to prepare the reader for a better understanding and enjoyment of the tale; newly written and conveniently placed explanatory notes; and a new, more easily understood system for learning to pronounce Chaucerian Middle English.From the Paperback edition.

  • The intrepid Professor Lindenbrock embarks upon the strangest expedition of the nineteenth century: a journey down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the Earth’s very core. In his quest to penetrate the planet’s primordial secrets, the geologist—together with his quaking nephew Axel and their devoted guide, Hans—discovers an astonishing subterranean menagerie of prehistoric proportions. Verne’s imaginative tale is at once the ultimate science fiction adventure and a reflection on the perfectibility of human understanding and the psychology of the questor. As David Brin notes in his Introduction, though Verne never knew the term “science fiction,” Journey to the Centre of the Earth is “inarguably one of the wellsprings from which it all began.”From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Hailed by Victor Hugo as "the real epic of our age," Ivanhoe was an immensely popular bestseller when first published in 1819. The book inspired literary imitations as well as paintings, dramatizations, and even operas. Now Sir Walter Scott's sweeping romance of medieval England has prompted a lavish new television production.    In the twelfth century, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe returns home to England from the Third Crusade to claim his inheritance and the love of the lady Rowena. The heroic adventures of this noble Saxon knight involve him in the struggle between Richard the LionHearted and his malignant brother John: a conflict that brings Ivanhoe into alliance with the mysterious outlaw Robin Hood and his legendary fight for the forces of good.    "Scott's characters, like Shakespeare's and Jane Austen's, have the seed of life in them," observed Virginia Woolf. "The emotions in which Scott excels are not those of human beings pitted against other human beings, but of man pitted againstNature, of man in relation to fate. His romance is the romance of hunted men hiding in woods at night; of brigs standing out to sea; of waves breaking in the moonlight; of solitary sands and distant horsemen; of violence and suspense." For Henry James, "Scott was a born storyteller. . . . Since Shakespeare, no writer has created so immense a gallery of portraits."From the Hardcover edition.

empty