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Melmoth Reconciled

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

In this long story, part of the Philosophical Studies section of Honore de Balzac's epic masterwork The Human Comedy, the author takes the uncharacteristic step of alluding to a previously published novel, Charles...


The Message

by Honore de Balzac & Ellen Marriage

In this short story, a pleasant afternoon carriage ride lends itself to philosophical chitchat between two passengers, who muse together about the nature of life and love. When tragedy suddenly strikes, one...


A Man of Business

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

Though a relatively short story, "A Man of Business" is an important component of Honore de Balzac's vast story cycle The Human Comedy, involving many of the recurring characters from the series and tying up...


Parisians in the Country: The Illustrious Gaudissart

by Honore de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley & James Waring

Set among the sprawling vineyards of France's Loire Valley, Balzac's novel Parisians in the Country follows the life of one Dinah Piedefer, a beautiful and talented young woman who finds herself trapped in a...


A Passion in the Desert

by Honore de Balzac & Ernest Dowson

During Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, one French soldier becomes separated from his regiment and finds himself wandering lost in the desert. Just when he has given up all hope, he makes an unlikely friend. This...


Paz: The Imaginary Mistress

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This novella is part of the Scenes From Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's sprawling story cycle The Human Comedy. Trapped in a maddeningly frustrating love triangle and unable to express his true feelings...


An Old Maid

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Immerse yourself in the inner workings of a quaint French village in this charming novel from Honore de Balzac, an early master of literary realism. Brimming with finely observed details and Balzac's trademark...


Pierre Grassou

by Honore de Balzac & Katharine Prescott Wormeley

This short story is part of the Scenes of Paris Life section of Honore de Balzac's epic masterpiece The Human Comedy. Pierre Grassou is an artist who has many of the attributes necessary for success -- but lacks...


Poor Relations: Cousin Betty and Cousin Pons

by Honore de Balzac, James Waring & Ellen Marriage

This diptych is part of Honore de Balzac's epic masterpiece, The Human Comedy. It comprises two stories, "Cousin Betty" and "Cousin Pons," each of which delve deeply into complicated family dynamics and the...


The Purse

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

"The Purse" is a short story that makes up part of Honore de Balzac's epic cycle The Human Comedy. Daydreaming while working on a ladder, the painter Hippolyte Schinner accidentally falls and sustains an injury....


In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories

by Robert Barr

Born in Scotland and raised in Canada, travel was a part of author Robert Barr's life from a very young age. His wanderlust continued throughout his life, and Barr passed many months on round-the-world sea voyages....


Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

by Aphra Behn

The first prominent female writer working in English, author Aphra Behn lived a fascinating life, spending time as a spy for the U.K. before turning her attention to literary pursuits. This novel tells the tale...


A Prince of Bohemia

by Honore de Balzac & Clara Bell

This short vignette from Honore de Balzac, a key figure in French realism, is a story within a story. The narrator, Nathan, regales a pair of aristocratic ladies with stories about the Rusticoli family and its...


Alice Sit-By-The-Fire

by J. M. Barrie

Written immediately after the play that would launch J. M. Barrie to international acclaim, Peter Pan, Alice Sit-By-The-Fire is just as charming, sweet and madcap as its predecessor. A group of older children...


Queen of the Black Coast

by Robert E. Howard

Conan the Barbarian, also known as Conan the Cimmerian in some stories, is the swashbuckling hero created by master of the sword-and-sorcery genre Robert E. Howard. In the story "Queen of the Black Coast," Conan...


Shadows in the Moonlight

by Robert E. Howard

This gripping story from Robert E. Howard, an important figure in the development of the sword-and-sorcery fantasy subgenre, features a daring rescue by fearless protagonist Conan the Cimmerian (also known as...


The Hyborian Age

by Robert E. Howard

When he was first conceiving of the story series that would eventually include the unforgettable character Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian), author Robert E. Howard put together a sketch...


Beyond the Black River

by Robert E. Howard

Ever beset by wanderlust and an insatiable urge to seek out conflict, Conan the Cimmerian (also known as Conan the Barbarian) travels to a wild frontier region that lies beyond the Black River. Amidst a raging...


Shadows in Zamboula

by Robert E. Howard

In this thrilling story from sword-and-sorcery luminary Robert E. Howard, our hero Conan the Barbarian is besieged by ravenous cannibals in a strange town and finds himself in a face-to-face standoff with one...


Love in a Cloud: A Comedy in Filigree

by Arlo Bates

A young woman named May Calthorpe has become obsessed with a novel called Love in a Cloud -- and she's taken her interest in the book one step further by striking up a correspondence with the book's anonymous...