Tag Archives: free online books

Sintram and His Companions

Sintram and His Companions by Friedrich de La Motte-Fouqué

Sintram and His Companions by Friedrich de La Motte-Fouqué

Friedrich de la Motte Fouque, also the author of Undine, was a German Romantic writer whose stories were filled with knights, damsels in distress, evil enchantments, and the struggle of good against overpowering evil. ‘My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure.’ Fouque blends the Romantic love for nature and ancient chivalry while telling a powerful story about a young man who yearns for that which he can never attain.

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Don Quixote – Volume 2

Don Quixote - Volume 2 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote – Volume 2 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote is an early novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story in the character of the Morisco historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli, whom he claims to have hired to translate the story from an Arabic manuscript he found in Toledo’s bedraggled old Jewish quarter.

The protagonist, Alonso Quixano, is a minor landowner who has read so many stories of chivalry that he descends into fantasy and becomes convinced he is a knight errant. Together with his companion Sancho Panza, the self-styled Don Quixote de la Mancha sets out in search of adventures. His “lady” is Dulcinea del Toboso, an imaginary object of his courtly love crafted from a neighbouring farmgirl by the illusion-struck “knight” (her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo, and she is totally unaware of his feelings for her. In addition, she never actually appears in the novel).

Published in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

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Maggie, a Girl of the Streets

Maggie, a Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

Maggie, a Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane’s first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has been called “the first dark flower of American Naturalism” for its distinctive elements of naturalistic fiction. The chief character, Maggie, descends into prostitution after being led astray by her lover. Rather than focusing on those that make up the very rich or middle class, the novel highlights the deplorable living conditions of the working class during the so-called Gilded Age in New York’s Bowery.

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Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini

Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini

Cellini’s autobiographical memoirs, which he began writing in Florence in 1558, give a detailed account of his singular career, as well as his loves, hatreds, passions, and delights, written in an energetic, direct, and racy style. They show a great self-regard and self-assertion, sometimes running into extravagances which are impossible to credit. He even writes in a complacent way of how he contemplated his murders before carrying them out.

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The Pretty Lady

The Pretty Lady by Arnold Bennett

The Pretty Lady by Arnold Bennett

The Pretty Lady’ is considered to be one of Bennett’s most revealing and under-rated works. It is the story of a French prostitute, Christine, who has escaped from wartime Ostend, and set herself up in business in London. Though a refugee, she demands no pity; she is self-sufficient, practical and realistic. Christine is not a harpy preying on innocent soldiers, but a canny businesswoman, doing the best she can with the opportunities life has given her. Her main relationship is with G.J. Hoape, a wealthy man above the military age. Bennett in this novel presents a disturbing image of wartime society, fragmented, uneasy and divided. There are references to industrial unrest and to social injustices, and hints that the British press is less than frank about the war.

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The Tales of the Heptameron – Volume 4

The Tales of the Heptameron - Volume 4 by Marguerite of Navarre

The Tales of the Heptameron – Volume 4 by Marguerite of Navarre

THE HEPTAMERON (here Volume 4 of 5), first published posthumously in 1558, is divided into seven complete days containing 10 stories each, and an eighth day containing only 2 stories. The stories, many of which deal with love and infidelity, resulted in “accusations of looseness” by critics of the day. The author, Margaret of Navarre (also known as Margaret of Angoulême) became an influential woman in the intellectual and cultural circles of the French Renaissance.

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Paul and Virginia

Paul and Virginia by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

Paul and Virginia by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

Paul and Virginia are very good friends since birth who fall in love, but sadly die when the ship Le Saint-Geran is wrecked. The story is set in the island of Mauritius under French rule, then named Île de France, which the author had visited. Written on the eve of the French Revolution, the novel is hailed as Bernardin’s finest work. It records the fate of a child of nature corrupted by the false, artificial sentimentality that prevailed at the time among the upper classes of France.(Summary by Wikipedia)

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The Manxman

The Manxman by Sir Hall Caine

The Manxman by Sir Hall Caine

The Manxman tells the story of two childhood friends, a poor fisherman, Pete Quilliam, and a lawyer, Philip Christian. Pete is in love with Kate but when her father, Old Caesar refuses to consent to their marriage, Pete sets off for Africa to make his fortune, asking Philip to take care of Kate until he returns.

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Sylvia’s Lovers

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

The novel begins in the 1790s in the coastal town of Monkshaven. Sylvia Robson lives with her parents on a farm, and is loved by her rather dull Quaker cousin Philip. She, however, meets and falls in love with Charlie Kinraid, a sailor on a whaling vessel, and they become engaged, although few people know of the engagement. But Charlie gets press-ganged and has to leave without a word. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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The Glimpses of the Moon

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

“The Glimpses of the Moon” is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an “open” relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.

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