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Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an…

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The Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, also called the Age of Reason, was so named for an intellectual movement that shook the foundations of Western civilization. In championing radical ideas such as individual liberty and an empirical appraisal of the…

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The works collected in this volume provide an illuminating introduction to George Eliot's incisive views on religion, art and science, and the nature and purpose of fiction. Essays such as 'Evangelical Teaching' show her rejecting her earlier religious…

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Saul Bellow 's fiction, honored by a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer, among other awards, has made him a literary giant. Now the man himself and a lifetime of his insightful views on a range of topics spring off the page in this, his first nonfiction collection,…

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A revised selection of Lady Montagu's letters. Besides presenting a vivid picture of manners in a picturesque age, they contain a unique series of impressions from foreign courts seldom visited and nowhere else so intimately described. Lady Mary was the wife of…

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This volume contains a generous selection from the essays Johnson published twice weekly as "The Rambler" in the early 1750s. It was here that he first created the literary character and forged the distinctive prose style that established him as a public figure.…

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In the four and a half centuries since Machiavelli’s death, no single and unanimously accepted interpretation of his ideas has succeeded in imposing itself upon the lively debate over the meaning of his works. Yet there has never been any doubt about the…

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One of the world's greatest correspondents, Madame de Sévigné paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society…

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One of the world's most celebrated and tragic love affairs Through the letters between Abelard and Heloise, we follow the path of their 12th-century romance, from its reckless and ecstatic beginnings when Heloise became Abelard's pupil, through the suffering of…

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Illuminating essays on philsophy, literature, soceity, and art by one of Ireland's greatest wits Oscar Wilde—witty raconteur, flamboyant hedonist, and self-destructive lover—is most familiar as the author of brilliant comedies, including The…