Twelve Years A Slave
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2393-0
Publish Date: 11/26/19
This harrowing true story of Solomon Northup was the basis for the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. In it, he takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from the slave markets in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans to the major cotton and sugar plantations in Louisiana.
Born and raised a freeman in New York, with a house, a loving wife and two children, Northup was offered a short-term engagement as a violinist in Washington D.C. where he was tricked, drugged and sold into slavery in the deep south.
Kept in bondage in Louisiana for 12 years, enduring backbreaking labor, unimaginable violence, and inhumane treatment at the hands of cruel masters, Northup was finally able to write to friends and family in New York, who succeeded in securing his release.
This memoir is a shocking portrait of America’s most insidious institution and is even more disturbing in print than in the film. Published shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s memoir became a bestseller in 1853.With its eloquent depiction of life before and after bondage, this story of his extraordinary journey shows just how the resiliency of hope and the strong human spirit can conquer even the most horrible of circumstances.
“Now I had approached within the shadow of the cloud, into the thick darkness whereof I was soon to disappear, thenceforward to be hidden from the eyes of all my kindred, and shut out from the sweet light of liberty, for many a weary year.” —Solomon Northup
My Bondage And My Freedom
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2130-1
Publish Date: 6/25/19
This is ex-slave Frederick Douglass’ second autobiography. First published in 1855—at the height of Douglass’ involvement in the abolitionist movement—his narrative describes the steps that had led him to the forefront of the struggle for racial justice. It was written after 10 years of reflection following his legal emancipation in 1846 and his break with his mentor, William Lloyd Garrison, that catapulted Douglass into the international spotlight as the foremost spokesman for American blacks, both freed and slave.
This Classic edition contains an index to make it easier to search for people, places, and terms of interest.
Frederick Douglass Classics: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and My Bondage and My Freedom
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2356-5
Publish Date: 9/16/19
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining preeminence for his oratory and anti-slavery writing.
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS is a dramatic autobiography of the early life of an American slave, first published in 1845 when its author had just achieved his freedom. Its shocking first-hand account of the horrors of slavery became an international bestseller. His eloquence led Frederick Douglass to become the first great African-American leader in the United States.
MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM is Frederick Douglass’ second autobiography. First published in 1855—at the height of Douglass’s involvement in the abolitionist movement—his narrative describes the steps that had led him to the forefront of the struggle for racial justice. Writing a decade of reflection following his legal emancipation in 1846, and after breaking with his mentor, William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass became catapulted into the international spotlight as the foremost spokesman for American blacks, both freed and slave.
Read these two autobiographical classics of American literature and discover the brilliance and determination of the incredible leader, Frederick Douglass.
Up From Slavery
Booker T. Washington
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2518-7
Publish Date: 17/6/20
Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). Born in a Virginia slave hut, Washington rose from a slave child during the Civil War to worldwide recognition for his many accomplishments, becoming the most influential spokesman for African Americans of his day. In this eloquently written book, Washington describes his impoverished childhood and youth as a child in bondage, and the difficulties he faced in his unrelenting struggle for an education. These challenges helped propel him into a dedicated obsession with the Hampton Institute until he achieved being enrolled there as a student. He covers his early teaching assignments and his work establishing vocational schools, including his selection in 1881 as the head of the famed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, designed to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful and marketable skills to help them find jobs and pull themselves up as a race. Reflecting on the generosity of teachers and philanthropists who helped educate blacks and Native Americans, Washington describes his efforts to instill manners, health and a feeling of dignity to students. His educational philosophy of education as the best route to advancement stressed combining academic subjects with learning a trade, believing that the integration of practical subjects helped reassure the white community as to the usefulness of educating black people. Washington disapproved of civil-rights agitation thereby facing the opposition of many black intellectuals. Yet today he’s regarded as a major figure in the struggle for equal rights, who furthered the cause and worked tirelessly to educate and unite African Americans.
The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man
James Weldon Johnson
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2566-8
Publish Date: 7/16/19
First published anonymously in 1912, James Weldon Johnson’s emotionally gripping fictional autobiography of a young biracial man living in America during the turn of the century is a landmark in black literary history and a classic of American fiction. Masterfully exploring the complexity of race relations in America and the search for racial identity by one of mixed ethnicity, this pioneering work probes the psychological aspects of “passing for white” and examines the American caste and class system. Narrated by a biracial man whose light skin allows him to “pass” for white, the novel describes a pilgrimage through America’s color lines at the turn of the century – from his attendance of a black college in Florida to an elite New York nightclub, from the rural South to the suburbs of the Northeast, and Europe. The “Ex-Colored” man makes his living as a jazz pianist playing ragtime at a popular New York City club. While there, he catches the attention of a wealthy white gentleman who employs him to play at his parties. They become friends but a feeling of subservience prompts the narrator to part ways. He travels to the South to perfect his music and glorify the artistry of his race. But after witnessing a Southern lynching he abandons his desire to embrace his black heritage opting instead to “pass” as a white man. Johnson influenced a generation of writers during the Harlem Renaissance and gave white readers a new perspective on the double standard of racial identity imposed on black Americans.
The Souls of Black Folk
W.E.B. Du Bois
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2394-7
Publish Date: 11/12/19
“EITHER AMERICA WILL DESTROY IGNORANCE OR IGNORANCE WILL DESTROY THE UNITED STATES.” -W.E.B. Du Bois This classic groundbreaking work of American literature first published in 1903 is a cornerstone of African-American literary history and a seminal work in the field of sociology. W.E.B. Du Bois, who drew from his own experiences as an African-American living in American society, explores the concept of “double-consciousness”-a term he uses to describe living as an African-American and having a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.” With Du Bois’ examination of Black life in post-Civil War America, his explanation of the meaning of emancipation and its effect, and his views on the roles of the black leaders of his time, The Souls of Black Folk is one of the important early works in the field of sociology. His fourteen essays have had a lasting impact on civil rights and the discussion of race in the United States. The essays include these topics: * “OUR” SPIRITUAL STRIVINGS * THE DAWN OF FREEDOM * MEANING OF PROGRESS * TRAINING OF BLACK MEN * THE SONS OF MASTER AND MAN * FAITH OF THE FATHERS WILLIAM EDWARD BURGHARDT DU BOIS (1868-1963) was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, (where he was the first African-American to earn a doctorate), he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the NAACP. * SORROW SONGS * AND MORE
The Life of Olaudah Equiano
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2570-5
Publish Date: 7/16/20
A remarkable account of early slavery and later freedom, The Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, Written By Himself, is the 1789 autobiography of former slave Olaudah Equiano. This memoir is a slave narrative, travel tale, and spiritual journey all-in-one. His life is a tale of terror as well as an exciting adventure. This fascinating account describes Equiano’s abduction from Africa at the age of ten and the years spent in labor on slave ships. It documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom in 1766. What follows is success in business, in literacy, and a move to becoming an influential African advocate of abolishing the slave trade in Britain during the late 18th century. Equiano’s degraded youth and respected later life in England is told with verve and sophistication in this spirited quest for fulfillment. A real masterpiece and a book of historical importance, the book was one of the first widely read slave narratives and was a precursor to other such slave narratives as that of Frederick Douglass. The work has proven so influential in the study of African and African-American literature that it is frequently taught in both English literature and history classrooms in universities.
Narrative of Sojourner Truth
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2469-2
Publish Date: 7/16/20
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth is the memoir of an African-American woman who struggled against the bondages of slavery in the early 1800s. It is one of the most famous slave narratives of all time and is one of the most important documents of slavery ever written. This is her story. This is her voice. Dictated to her friend Olive Gilbert and first published privately in 1850, this partial autobiography of the woman who became a pioneer in the struggles for racial and sexual equality is a lens into the little-known world of northern slavery and an inspiring account of a black woman striving for personal and political empowerment. Truth was born into slavery around 1797 but managed to escape with her infant daughter in 1826. She found refuge in the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagenen of New Paltz, New York and in 1828, became the first black woman to win a case against a white man when she sued to recover her son, who was still enslaved. Born Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner changed her name to signify her belief that God had tasked her with the mission to go forth and preach the message of abolition. Her strong spirituality helped her overcome the many struggles she faced in life and enabled her to become a leading abolitionist and champion of women’s rights. This narrative bears witness to Sojourner Truth’s thirty years of bondage and her transformation into an extraordinary abolitionist, feminist, orator, and preacher. She is the passionate woman on the Smithsonian Institution’s list of “100 Most Significant Americans. It is a must read for anyone interested in that dark period of time in American history.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2517-0
Publish Date: 7/16/20
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. The lives and losses of slaves in the American south are portrayed in this unflinching indictment of slavery. The book is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s and it helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War. In the first year after the novel was published, 300,000 copies were sold in the United States and one million copies in Great Britain. It was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist, featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters revolve. When a benevolent landowner decides to sell two slaves, Uncle Tom and Eliza, in order to raise funds, their lives follow divergent paths. While Eliza escapes to eventual freedom, Uncle Tom is repeatedly sold until he ends up working on the prosperous Legree plantation, where his very life is destroyed by his violent master. In depicting the reality of slavery this sentimental novel also asserts that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings. The deep historical impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a vital antislavery tool is reinforced by a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, Lincoln declared, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2473-9
Publish Date: 7/16/20
In this timeless classic of American literature, Mark Twain created the memorable characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer exemplifies the life of a young boy on the frontier in the mid-1800s. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived. This jaunty, free-wheeling tale was based on Twain’s memories of his experiences with boys he grew up with. It is set by the Mississippi River and follows the two boys as they get into predicament after predicament. It is both an idyllic picture of boyhood and an affectionate satire of adult conventions. Tom, who lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid, is a mischievous young boy with a nose for trouble and a heart of gold who exudes a charm and an easygoing nature, which keeps him from being in anyone’s bad graces for long. Whether he’s sneaking food, swooning over a pretty girl or hoodwinking the local boys to do his work for him, Tom is the ultimate schemer. When Tom dirties his clothes in a fight, he is made to whitewash the fence the next day as punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. His classic whitewashing of the fence has become part of American legend. When Tom teams up with his friend Huck Finn, their sleepy Missouri town had better watch out. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is one of Twain’s most beloved stories.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2411-1
Publish Date: 7/16/20
This beautifully designed unabridged original edition of the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is one of the first American novels to be written in vernacular English. This tale of freedom and friendship depicted through a boy’s journey down the Mississippi River, conveyed both the voice and the experience of the American frontier as no other book had done before. Twain created one of literature’s most unforgettable characters in Tom Sawyer’s cohort, Huckleberry Finn. When Huck escapes from his drunken father and the ‘sivilizing’ Widow Douglas he travels down the Mississippi River on a raft with his friend Jim, a runaway slave. In this scalding social satire they embark on a series of adventures amidst the inherent racism and corruption of the pre-Civil War South. We encounter through Huck’s eyes and voice the perils he and Jim face, including fog, feuding families, and unscrupulous rogues. Beneath the adventurous exploits are the more serious undercurrents of slavery, adult authority and, above all, the struggle that Huck faces between his inherent goodness and the corrupt values of society which threaten his deep, long lasting friendship with Jim. Huck who thrives in a life without rules and order must confront his beliefs about friendship and turn away from the life he once knew. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the “greatest humorist [the United States] has produced”, and William Faulkner called him “the father of American literature.”
Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2407-4
Publish Date: 6/29/20
This powerful and unflinching memoir by young mother and fugitive slave, Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813 -1897), remains among the few remaining slave narratives written by a woman. The book was published in 1861 after Jacobs’ harrowing escape from a wicked and predatory master, under the pseudonym Linda Brent since having her true identity revealed would have jeopardized her freedom under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Jacobs describes her life as a young slave in North Carolina as relatively idyllic until her mother’s death when her mistress bequeathed her to a relative. She soon discovers the horror of her position and writes candidly of the struggles, sexual abuse, and fight for survival that female slaves faced on plantations, as well as the hypocrisy of the master-slave relationship. She recounts women’s efforts to practice motherhood and protect their children who might be sold away at any time. The book documents her life of servitude, her attempts to escape, and how she finally gained freedom to be reunited with her children in the North where she became an abolitionist speaker and reformer.
This remarkable odyssey of her struggle for self-preservation and freedom was a passionate appeal to white Northern women as she sought to expand their knowledge and influence their thoughts about slavery as an institution. While overshadowed by the breakout of the Civil War, it has since been touted as one of the first important slave narratives written from the female perspective.
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2447-0
Publish Date: 6/29/20
First published in 1899, this compelling novel shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin’s daring portrayal of twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Edna Pontellier and her struggle to negotiate love and motherhood. She is a woman trapped in a stifling marriage who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the straitened confines of her domestic situation. This sensuous book tells of the woman’s abandonment of her family, her seduction, and her awakening to desires and passions that threatened to consume her. The novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. It is hailed as a work that is beautifully written, and uninhibited in its treatment of infidelity. Few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman in search of self-discovery who turns away from conventions and becomes involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening. This powerful and provocative reading experience, rooted firmly in the romantic tradition of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson has been hailed as an early vision of woman’s emancipation. This sensitive, innovative combination of realistic narrative and psychological complexity contributed to the birth of American modernist literature and has been hailed as the catalyst to creating a genre that inspired authors such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.
The Scarlet Plague
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2465-4
Publish Date: 6/29/20
The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1910 and was originally published as a series in London Magazine in 1912. The story takes place in 2073, sixty years after the Red Death, a devastating plague, has wiped out most of humanity. “The handful of survivors from all walks of life have established their own civilization and their own hierarchy in a savage world. Art, science, and all learning has been lost, and the young descendants of the healthy know nothing of the world that was.” James Howard Smith, a ragged eighty-seven-year-old who had lived in the San Francisco area, was one of only a handful of survivors left alive from the pre-plague era. Now, teary-eyed and clad only in goat-skin, he wanders along deserted railway tracks in a savage wilderness with his grandsons and tries to impart the wonders of that bygone age and the horrors of The Scarlet Plague that wiped out civilization. “It looked serious, but we in California, like everywhere else, were not alarmed. We were sure that the bacteriologists would find a way to overcome this new germ, just as they had overcome other germs in the past. But the trouble was the astonishing quickness with which this germ destroyed human beings, and the fact that it inevitably killed any human body it entered. No one ever recovered.” The book was noted in 2020 as having been prescient of the Coronavirus pandemic which is essentially eerie since London wrote this at a time when the world was not as quickly connected by travel as it is today. The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1910 and was originally published as a series in London Magazine in 1912. The story takes place in 2073, sixty years after the Red Death, a devastating plague, has wiped out most of humanity. “The handful of survivors from all walks of life have established their own civilization and their own hierarchy in a savage world. Art, science, and all learning has been lost, and the young descendants of the healthy know nothing of the world that was.” James Howard Smith, a ragged eighty-seven-year-old who had lived in the San Francisco area, was one of only a handful of survivors left alive from the pre-plague era. Now, teary-eyed and clad only in goat-skin, he wanders along deserted railway tracks in a savage wilderness with his grandsons and tries to impart the wonders of that bygone age and the horrors of The Scarlet Plague that wiped out civilization. “It looked serious, but we in California, like everywhere else, were not alarmed. We were sure that the bacteriologists would find a way to overcome this new germ, just as they had overcome other germs in the past. But the trouble was the astonishing quickness with which this germ destroyed human beings, and the fact that it inevitably killed any human body it entered. No one ever recovered.” The book was noted in 2020 as having been prescient of the Coronavirus pandemic which is essentially eerie since London wrote this at a time when the world was not as quickly connected by travel as it is today.
A Journal of The Plague Year
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2464-7
Publish Date: 6/29/20
The year was 1665 when the plague swept through London. Daniel Defoe was only five at the time but 60 years later relied on his memories as well as those of his uncles and a collection of their journals to create this vivid chronicle of the devastating epidemic, which claimed over 97,000 lives. The ringing of a bell and the chilling call of “Bring out your dead!” from the collector of plague victims, still fills readers centuries later with terror as Defoe traces the devastating advance of the Bubonic plague through the streets of London. Through Defoe’s fictional narrator we see a city transformed by the sounds and smells of human suffering in this pandemic known as the Black Death. Reading of some streets eerily empty, and others with crosses on their doors, we bear witness to first hand accounts of the terror and fear that defined the times and the horrifying stories that still scream to be heard. Defoe both historically and fictionally reconstructed events, incorporating memorable, realistic details that give the novel its authenticity. It’s no wonder that parallels of A Journal of the Plague Year, always a staple of college literature courses, can be drawn to this century’s Covid-19 pandemic, making it even more fascinating and relevant today.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2444-9
Publish Date: 6/29/19
First published in 1886, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is author Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of man’s inner struggle between good and evil. The novella revolves around the investigation by London lawyer Gabriel John Utterson, concerning the association between his old friend Dr. Henry Jekyll and the evil, morally corrupt Edward Hyde, to whom Jekyll has recently willed his estate. Through the use of a magic potion, Dr. Jekyll, who nurtured a belief that every person has two distinct personalities, is transformed into Mr. Hyde, in order to indulge in the darker side of his character without any consequences besmirching Jekyll’s good name. After some time, Jekyll finds that he is involuntarily turning into Hyde and must use the magic serum, which is running low, in order to turn back. Stevenson from early on in his career was interested in the impact of personality on human behavior and incorporated it into this work. A respected medical practitioner undertaking an experiment to split one person into two different personalities is a classic examination of the duality that exists within man and the tragic consequences that can occur when the darker elements of one’s character are let out. “Split personality” is referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. The phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has become part of the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature who are vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
Romeo and Juliet
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2410-4
Publish Date: 6/29/20
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career near the end of the 16th century. This story of a love that can never be truly realized and the tragedy that ensues, involves two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, who had been engaged in a blood feud for many years. Based upon an Italian tale which was translated by 16th century English poet Arthur Brooke into the narrative poem “The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was among his most popular plays during the Bard’s lifetime and along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays today. Romeo and Juliet had a profound influence on subsequent literature. The archetypal young lovers in Romeo and Juliet, regarded as one of the greatest and most tragic love stories of all time, has generated the most, and most varied, adaptations, including prose and verse narratives, drama, opera, orchestral and choral music, ballet, film, television, and painting. Before then, romance had not even been viewed as a worthy topic for tragedy. As Harold Bloom writes, Shakespeare “invented the formula that the sexual becomes the erotic when crossed by the shadow of death.” The word “Romeo” has even become synonymous with “male lover” in English.
Heart of Darkness
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2406-7
Publish Date: 6/29/19
Heart of Darkness is a novella written in 1899 by Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad. It is about a voyage into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow, an introspective sailor who takes a job as a riverboat captain with the Company, a Belgian concern organized to trade in the Congo. Marlow, aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames in London, recounts to his friends the story of his assignment to journey up the Congo to retrieve and return Kurtz, an ivory hunter reputed to be an idealistic man of great abilities enjoying a reverenced effect on the natives, who delivers more ivory than all other stations combined. As Marlow travels to Africa and then up the Congo on the steamer ship, he encounters widespread inefficiency and brutality in the Company’s stations. The native inhabitants of the region have been forced into the Company’s service, and suffer terribly from overwork and ill treatment at the hands of the Company’s agents. This setting provides the framework for Marlow’s story of his obsession with Kurtz, and enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. Central to the book is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages. Conrad raises important questions about imperialism and racism. The cruelty and squalor of this imperial enterprise contrasts sharply with the majestic jungle that surrounds the white man’s settlements, making them appear to be tiny islands amidst a vast darkness. Heart of Darkness is a novella written in 1899 by Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad. It is about a voyage into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow, an introspective sailor who takes a job as a riverboat captain with the Company, a Belgian concern organized to trade in the Congo. Marlow, aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames in London, recounts to his friends the story of his assignment to journey up the Congo to retrieve and return Kurtz, an ivory hunter reputed to be an idealistic man of great abilities enjoying a reverenced effect on the natives, who delivers more ivory than all other stations combined. As Marlow travels to Africa and then up the Congo on the steamer ship, he encounters widespread inefficiency and brutality in the Company’s stations. The native inhabitants of the region have been forced into the Company’s service, and suffer terribly from overwork and ill treatment at the hands of the Company’s agents. This setting provides the framework for Marlow’s story of his obsession with Kurtz, and enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. Central to the book is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages. Conrad raises important questions about imperialism and racism. The cruelty and squalor of this imperial enterprise contrasts sharply with the majestic jungle that surrounds the white man’s settlements, making them appear to be tiny islands amidst a vast darkness.
A Doll’s House
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2403-6
Publish Date: 6/29/19
“I Think That Before All Else I Am a Human Being, Just As Much As You Are―Or At Least I will Try to Become One.” –Henrik Ibsen in A Doll’s House A Doll’s House, the three-act play by Henrik Ibsen, which premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1879, is one of the most well-known and frequently performed of modern plays. It richly displays the genius with which Ibsen pioneered modern, real¬istic prose drama. The play is significant for the way it deals with the fate of the central character Nora, a married woman, who at that time in Norway lacked opportunities for self-fulfillment in a male-dominated world. Ibsen was inspired by the belief that “a woman cannot be herself in modern society,” since it is “an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint.” The play aroused great controversy at the time, as it concludes with Nora leaving her husband and children because she wants to discover herself. The outrage went far beyond the theater to the world of news¬papers and society. In Nora, Ibsen epitomized the human struggle against the humiliating constraints of social conformity. Even today many agree that the theme of the play is the need of every individual to be able to find out the kind of person he or she is and to be allowed to become that person.
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2405-0
Publish Date: 6/29/19
There is no greater novel and no more well-known monster than Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Now you can enjoy the original 1818 version in this beautifully designed edition. The creature at the center of this tale is more than just a lumbering giant. He is in reality a thinking intelligent being who is tormented by a world in which he does not belong. Shelley draws upon the universal themes of creation and the nature of existence with the overall need for acceptance. As the narrative points out, it is without this acceptance that the true monster, the violent nature of humanity, emerges. In the story, Swiss scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein is obsessed with the secret of creation. He cobbles together a body he’s determined to bring to life until that one fateful night, when he actually does. As the creature opens his eyes, the doctor is repulsed to see that this is not his vision of perfection, but is instead a hideous monster. Dr. Frankenstein abandons his repulsive creation, and in doing so, sets in motion a chain of violence and terror wrought on by a monster who just will not be ignored.
Shelley’s tale is as relevant today as it is haunting. Infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement, this gripping story about the ethics of creation and the consequences of trauma, is one of the most influential Gothic novels in British literature. Frankenstein is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction and is a must read for fans of that genre as well as horror buffs.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2404-3
Publish Date: 6/29/20
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a romantic comedy play by William Shakespeare, is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed throughout the world.
Theseus and Hippolyta, wonderful figures from classical mythology, are about to marry. In the woods outside Athens, two young men and two young women finally sort themselves out into couples after first forming one love triangle, and then another. By presenting them as almost interchangeable, Shakespeare probes the mystery of how lovers find compelling, life-shaping differences where there seem to be only likenesses.
In the same woods, controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest, we find yet other images of desire in Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of Fairyland, and Bottom, an Athenian weaver who had been magically transformed into an ass-headed monster by Oberon’s helper, hobgoblin Robin Goodfellow. King Oberon who is engaged in a near epic battle with Queen Titania over the custody of an orphan boy, uses magic to make the queen fall in love with Bottom, who had come into the woods with his companions – six amateur actors – to rehearse a play for the king’s wedding. This “Beauty and the Beast” story adds another dimension as it brings in the power of infatuation to transform the image of the beloved in the lover’s eyes.
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2448-7
Publish Date: 3/16/19
This beautifully designed original edition of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, twice released as a major motion picture, is about a spoiled, precocious, headstrong young woman, Emma Woodhouse, who is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people’s lives. Set in Regency England in the early nineteenth century, Emma lives with her wealthy, kindly, yet eccentric father who is quite the hypochondriac. Lovable, beautiful, wealthy and smart, Emma enjoys matchmaking and believes that she can determine people’s emotions and whom they love simply by watching them. Unfortunately, she is also a spoiled, meddlesome snob and not at all good at arranging marriages. Her rich imagination and mistaken perceptions lead her astray in this playful comedy of manners which highlights England’s country society and their obsession with social distinctions as well as the dependence of women on marriage at that time to secure their class rank and economic security. Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among England’s high society with their country estates and emphasis on social standing, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her timeless stories of the landed gentry have been turned into a host of movies and television shows, and translated into multiple languages. Her realism and stinging social commentary have cemented her historical importance among scholars and critics alike. Readers, young and old, have enjoyed being a part of that era through Austen’s rich and memorable characters as they romp through her detailed novels of English country life in the nineteenth century.
The Call of The Wild
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2442-5
Publish Date: 3/3/20
This beloved classic tells the story of Buck, a kind-hearted dog suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of Alaska during the 1890s Yukon Gold Rush. Enslaved and forced to pull a heavy sled through miles and miles of frozen ice with little or nothing to eat and frequent beatings, Buck regresses into a primitive form of himself, which allows him to survive the harsh conditions and dangerous environment. He quickly learns the rules of the wild and fights for, and wins, his place as the leader of the team. When new incompetent drivers take over the sled, a kind man named John Thornton rescues Buck from this life of cruelty and certain death.
Buck sets off on a journey of a lifetime with this new master whose life he saves several times. Although often racked with the primal urge to run off and join the wolf packs―his brothers from the wild―he stays with Thornton until he has no option but to join them as their new leader. This book, one of the great dog stories of all time, can also be read as a parable of a man reduced to his own resources in a hostile environment, or as an escape from civilization and its discontents.
Louisa May Alcott
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2395-4
Publish Date: 2/10/120
This unabridged top quality edition of the beloved classic, Little Women, is a portrait of nineteenth-century family life that has been read by young and old for generations. It is the story of four sisters―Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, and details their passage from childhood to womanhood as they defy society’s expectations.
Children around the world have come of age with these sisters who couldn’t be more different―hardworking Meg, impulsive Jo, virtuous Beth and precocious Amy. While their father was away at war, their loving mother supported the family as they endured the hardships of wartime shortages and poverty. We watch as these sisters support each other as they hope for their father’s safe return from the war and along the way have unforgettable adventures that as readers, we’re privileged to share.
A Christmas Carol
EPUB ISBN 978-1-7225-2402-9
Publish Date: 12/22/19
Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, A Christmas Carol, is a beloved tale, which has captivated generations of readers for over 150 years.
It is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable, stingy and bitter old man who has no friends. One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. They take him on a troubling journey in order to show him the error of his stingy and mean ways. By visiting his past, present and future, Scrooge learns to love Christmas and all the people around him.
Rediscover this timeless story of Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kinder man after his ghostly visitations. The tale renews the joy and caring that is Christmas along with a festive generosity of spirit.