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1) The Double
While his literary reputation rests mainly on such celebrated novels as Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot, Dostoyevsky also wrote much superb short fiction. The Double is one of the finest of his shorter works. It appeared in 1846 (his second published work) and is by far the most significant of his early stories, not least for its successful, straight-faced treatment of a hallucinatory theme.
3) The jungle
10) On liberty
Discussed and debated from time immemorial, the concept of personal liberty went without codification until the 1859 publication of On Liberty. John Stuart Mill's complete and resolute dedication to the cause of freedom inspired this treatise, an enduring work through which the concept remains well known and studied.
The British economist, philosopher, and ethical theorist's argument does not focus on "the so-called Liberty of the Will…but
First published in Latin in 1516, Utopia was the work of Sir Thomas More (1477–1535), the brilliant humanist, scholar, and churchman executed by Henry VIII for his refusal to accept the king as the supreme head of the Church of England.
In this work, which gave its name to the whole genre of books and movements hypothesizing an ideal society, More envisioned a patriarchal island kingdom that practiced religious tolerance, in which
12) Death in Venice
One of the most famous literary works of the 20th century, the novella "Death in Venice" embodies themes that preoccupied Thomas Mann (1875–1955) in much of his work; the duality of art and life, the presence of death and disintegration in the midst of existence, the connection between love and suffering, and the conflict between the artist and his inner self. Mann's handling of these concerns in this story of a middle-aged German writer,...
A highly influential figure in the Church of England, John Henry Newman stunned the Anglican community in 1843, when he left his position as vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford, to join the Roman Catholic church. Perhaps no one took greater offense than Protestant clergyman Charles Kingsley, whose scathing attacks against Newman's faith and honor inspired this brilliant response. Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Newman's spiritual autobiography, explores...
In the 19th century, abolitionist and African-American periodicals printed thousands of poems by black men and women on such topics as bondage and freedom, hatred and discrimination, racial identity and racial solidarity, along with dialect verse that mythologized the Southern past. Early in the 20th century, black poets celebrated race consciousness in propagandistic and protest poetry, while World War I helped engender the outpouring of African-American...
19) The Gallic War
The only chronicle by an ancient general of his own campaigns, this historical treasure is also a work of profound literary merit. Julius Caesar's fascinating account of his conquests offers a trove of priceless details about the cultures of Gaul, Germany, and Britain during the First century B.C.—and of the great man himself.
Despite his extensive background in politics, Caesar expresses himself without hiding behind rhetoric, in an uncluttered,...
The first and greatest of French literature's epics, this eleventh-century tale of romance and heroism embodies all the power and majesty of its predecessors from other cultures. Its narrative framework echoes that of classical mythology, and it melds European historic accounts and legends of the troubadours with folklore from the Far East. This crystalline translation by Leonard Bacon does full justice to the timeless tale of the warrior Roland,...
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