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The great war epic of Western literature, translated by acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles   Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and…

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A 'romance of many dimensions' that has fascinated generations of readers with its clever blend of social satire and mathematical theory, the Penguin Classics edition of Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland introduction by Alan Lightman. A work that continues to pose…

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The quintessential adventure story that first established pirates in the popular imagination  When a mysterious sailor dies in sinister circumstances at the Admiral Benbow inn, young Jim Hawkins stumbles across a treasure map among the dead man's…

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An enchanting story that has inspired generations of writers, including Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats  Written towards the end of the second century AD, The Golden Ass tells the story of the many adventures of a young man whose fascination with…

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A fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture, written by France's first professional woman of letters The pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after…

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The arrival of two newcomers in the quiet village of Mellstock arouses a bitter feud and leaves a convoluted love affair in its wake. While the Reverend Maybold creates a furore among the village's musicians with his decision to abolish the church's traditional…

Ivanhoe

by Walter Scott

|October 1, 2000

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"Fight on, brave knights! Man dies, but glory lives!" Banished from England for seeking to marry against his father's wishes, Ivanhoe joins Richard the Lion Heart on a crusade in the Holy Land. On his return, his passionate desire is to be reunited with the…

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One of the great books of world literature--an unforgettable tale of jealousy, unrequited love, greed, and vengeance. Based on Viking Age poems and composed in thirteenth-century Iceland, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend, and sheer human drama…

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‘You are ambitious, Eustacia–no not exactly ambitious, luxurious. I ought to be of the same vein, to make you happy, I suppose’ Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small…

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In 1919 Thomas Mann hailed  Effi Briest  (1895) as one of "the six most significant novels ever written." Set in Bismarck's Germany, Fontane's luminous tale of a socially suitable but emotionally disastrous match between the enchanting…

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First published in 1873, The Gilded Age is both a biting satire and a revealing portrait of post-Civil War America-an age of corruption when crooked land speculators, ruthless bankers, and dishonest politicians voraciously took advantage of the nation's…

Autobiography

by Benvenuto Cellini

|November 1, 1999

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Benvenuto Cellini was a celebrated Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith - a passionate craftsman who was admired and resented by the most powerful political and artistic personalities in sixteenth-century Florence, Rome and Paris. He was also a murderer and a…