"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (1890) is a short story by the American writer and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. Regarded as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature", it was originally published by The San Francisco Examiner on July 13, 1890, and was first collected in Bierce's book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1891). The story, which is set during the American Civil War, is known for its irregular time sequence and twist ending. Bierce's abandonment of strict linear narration in favor of the internal mind of the protagonist is an early example of the stream of consciousness narrative mode.
Bleak House is a novel by English author Charles Dickens, first published as a serial between March 1852 and September 1853. The novel has many characters and several sub-plots, and the story is told partly by the novel's heroine, Esther Summerson, and partly by an omniscient narrator. At the centre of Bleak House is a long-running legal case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, which came about because someone wrote several conflicting wills. Dickens uses this case to satirise the English judicial system. Though the legal profession criticised Dickens' satire as exaggerated, this novel helped support a judicial reform movement, which culminated in the enactment of legal reform in the 1870s.
Aristotle's Poetics (Greek: Περὶ ποιητικῆς; Latin: De Poetica; c. 335 BC) is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory in the West. This has been the traditional view for centuries. However, recent work is now challenging whether Aristotle focuses on literary theory per se (given that not one poem exists in the treatise) or whether he focuses instead on dramatic musical theory that only has language as one of the elements.
The Two Towers is the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. It is preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and followed by The Return of the King. The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Thus continues the magnificent, bestselling tale of adventure begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its soul-stirring climax in The Return of the King.
The story of Princess Sophia, a world class gambler and hostess. Princess Sophia’s father, the reigning Prince Leonard’s grandfather, was a man extraordinarily truculent in disposition, with a hand of iron under no velvet glove, and a temper frankly diabolical. His wife, the Grand Duchess Fedora, had died in giving birth to his only child, the Princess Sophia; and so long as the girl grew up strong and healthy, he had no thoughts of attempting to take to himself another partner. In this he acted contrarily to the bias of mankind, who would see in the education of a daughter the need of a mother’s hand. Not so thought Prince Demetrius. Had Sophia died, there would then be an undeniable necessity for marrying again, and so continuing his line, and disappointing the hopes of the cousin who stood next the throne, a man abhorrent to him; but as long as she lived, such a course appeared to him to be altogether outside the region of the vaguest consideration.
Faust is a tragic
play in two parts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, usually known in English as Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two. Although rarely staged in its entirety, it is the play with the largest audience numbers on German-language stages. Faust is considered by many to be Goethe's magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature.
This is the question that fills the minds of the inhabitants of Saumur, the setting for Eugénie Grandet, one of the earliest and most famous novels in Balzac’s Comédie humaine. The Grandet household, oppressed by the exacting miserliness of Grandet himself, is jerked violently out of routine by the sudden arrival of Eugénie’s cousin Charles, recently orphaned and penniless. Eugénie’s emotional awakening, stimulated by her love for her cousin, brings her into direct conflict with her father, whose cunning and financial success are matched against her determination to rebel. Eugénie’s moving story is set against the backdrop of provincial oppression, the vicissitudes of the wine trade, and the workings of the financial system in the aftermath of the French Revolution. It is both a poignant portrayal of private life and a vigorous fictional document of its age.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. It is set in the 1840s in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived as a boy. In the novel Tom Sawyer has several adventures, often with his friend, Huck. One such adventure, Tom's whitewashing of a fence, has been adapted into paintings and referenced in other pieces of popular culture. Originally a commercial failure the book ended up being the best selling of any of Twain's works during his lifetime.
Candide, ou l'Optimisme (/kænˈdiːd/; French: [kɑ̃did]) is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: Optimism (1947). It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting Leibnizian optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best" in the "best of all possible worlds".
Songs of Innocence and of Experience is an illustrated collection of poems by William Blake. It appeared in two phases. A few first copies were printed and illuminated by William Blake himself in 1789; five years later he bound these poems with a set of new poems in a volume titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. William Blake was also a painter before the songs of innocence and experience and made paintings such as Oberon, Titania, and Puck dancing with fairies.