Literary

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The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Arthur Conan Doyle

"It's an ugly business, Watson, an ugly dangerous business, and the more I see of it the less I like it."

Sherlock Holmes had been dead for eight years—killed of in another story—when Arthur Conan Doyle decided...


Lucinella

by Lore Segal

Intelligence turns me on.

Lore Segal's tour de force look at the New York literary scene was a hit when it was first released in the 1970s, winning the praise of the literary elite. John Garnder called it “magical.”...


How the Two Ivans Quarrelled

by Nikolai Gogol & John Cournos

"How dared you, in disregard of all decency, call me a goose?"

This lesser-known work is perhaps the perfect distillation of Nikolai Gogol’s genius: a tale simultaneously animated by a joyful, nearly slapstick...


The Country of the Pointed Firs

by Sarah Orne Jewett

...it was touching to discover that this lonely spot was not without its pilgrims.

The story of an endearing, unlikely friendship set against the backdrop of a remote and beautiful Maine coastal town, The Country...


The Awakening

by Kate Chopin

She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.

Condemned as "sordid" and "immoral" on its publication in 1899, this story of a woman trapped in her marriage effectively ended Chopin's career but...


The Dialogue of the Dogs

by Miguel de Cervantes & David Kipen

"Ever since I could chase a bone, I've longed to talk...."

The first talking-dog story in Western literature—from the writer generally acknowledged, alongside William Shakespeare, as the founding father of...


The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg

by Mark Twain

"Why, you simple creatures, the weakest of all weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire."

Written on hotel stationary while in Europe on the run from American creditors, soon after the death...


Freya of the Seven Isles

by Joseph Conrad

There is a degree of bliss too intense for elation.

This little-known novella from one of the masters of the form is so unusual for Joseph Conrad's work in several respects, although not in its exotic maritime...


My Life

by Anton Chekhov & Constance Garnett

...perhaps I was not living as I ought.

Renowned as the greatest short story writer ever, Anton Chekhov was also a master of the novella, and perhaps his most overlooked is this gem, My Life—the tale of a rebellious...


Adolphe

by Benjamin Constant & Carl Wildman

We are such volatile creatures that we finally feel the sentiments we feign.

First published in 1816, Adolphe is the story of a young man with all the privileges and advantages of a noble birth, bt who's still...


Mathilda

by Mary Shelley

But my father, my beloved and most wretched father... Would he never overcome the fierce passion that now held pitiless dominion over him?

With its shocking theme of father-daughter incest, Mary Shelley’s publisher—her...


Stempenyu: A Jewish Romance

by Sholem Aleichem & Hannah Berman

Even the most pious Jew need not shed so many tears over the destruction of Jerusalem as the women were in the habit of shedding when Stempenyu was playing.

The first work of Sholom Aleichem’s to be translated...


The Lesson of the Master

by Henry James

"You know as well as you sit there that you'd put a pistol-ball into your brain if you had written my books!"

Exemplifying Henry James's famous belief that "Art makes life," The Lesson of the Master is a piercing...


The Touchstone

by Edith Wharton

Glennard had never thought himself a hero; but he had been certain that he was incapable of baseness.

The story of a young man who scorns the love of a tortured novelist, only to have her words come back to haunt...


Michael Kohlhaas

by Heinrich von Kleist & Martin Greenberg

"You can send me to the scaffold, but I can make you suffer, and I mean to."

Based on actual historic events, this thrilling saga of violence and retribution bridged the gap between medieval and modern literature,...


The Eternal Husband

by Fyodor Dostoevsky & Constance Garnett

The most monstrous monster is the monster with noble feelings.

This remarkably edgy and suspenseful tale shows that, despite being better known for his voluminous and sprawling novels, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a...


The Beach of Falesa

by Robert Louis Stevenson

"White men die very suddenly in Falesá."

Originally censored by its British publisher, The Beach at Falesá is a scathing critique of colonialism and economic imperialism that bravely takes on many of the 19th...


The Coxon Fund

by Henry James

The greater the windbag the greater the calamity.

Henry James examines one of his favorite topics—the artist’s place in society—by profiling a “genius” who just can’t seem to support himself. A dazzling...


First Love

by Ivan Turgenev & Constance Garnett

"The great thing is to lead a normal life, and not be the slave of your passions. What do you get if not?"

One of Russian literature's most renowned love stories—a vivid and sensitive account of adolescent...


Jacob's Room

by Virginia Woolf

He left everything just as it was.... Did he think he would come back?

Jacob's Room was the first book in Virginia Woolf's unique, experimental style, making it an important text of early Modernism. Ostensibly,...