- the commuters a comedy in
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is one of the most important and innovative figures of the European Middle Ages. Writing his Comedy (the epithet Divine was added by later admirers) in exile from his native Florence, he aimed to address a world gone astray both morally and politically. At the same time, he sought to push back the restrictive rules which traditionally governed writing in the Italian vernacular, to produce a radically new and all-encompassing work. The Comedy tells the story of the journey of a character who is at one and the same time both Dante himself and Everyman. In the Inferno, Dantes protagonist - and his reader - is presented with a graphic vision of the dreadful consequences of sin, and encounters an all-too-human array of noble, grotesque, beguiling, ridiculous and horrific characters.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, travel writer, and essayist. He was a celebrity during his lifetime for works like Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island. Now he is one of the most translated authors in the world. The Wrong Box is a brilliant black comedy novel co-written with Lloyd Osbourne. The book tells the story of the brothers who are the last two members of a tontine, a deal in which the last surviving member stands to receive a fortune.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is one of the most important and innovative figures of the European Middle Ages. Writing his Comedy (the epithet Divine was added by later admirers) in exile from his native Florence, he aimed to address a world gone astray both morally and politically. At the same time, he sought to push back the restrictive rules which traditionally governed writing in the Italian vernacular, to produce a radically new and all-encompassing work. The Comedy tells of the journey of a character who is at one and the same time both Dante himself and Everyman through the three realms of the Christian afterlife: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. He presents a vision of the afterlife which is strikingly original in its conception, with a complex architecture and a coherent structure. On this journey Dantes protagonist - and his reader - meet characters who are variously noble, grotesque, beguiling, fearful, ridiculous, admirable, horrific and tender, and through them he is shown the consequences of sin, repentance and virtue, as he learns to avoid Hell and, through cleansing in Purgatory, to taste the joys of Heaven.
Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex. Much Ado About Nothing has long been celebrated as one of Shakespeares most popular comedies. The central relationship, between Benedick and Beatrice, is wittily combative until love prevails. Broader comedy is provided by Dogberry, Verges and the watchmen. The drama ranges between the destructively sinister and the lyrically romantic, giving the whole a complex and sometimes problematic character. Numerous revivals, in the theatre and on screen, have displayed the lively variety and interpretative openness of this engaging comedy.
Some call him a Russian Mark Twain. And with his special blend of comedy, social commentary, and fantasy, Nikolai Gogol paved the way for his countrymen Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. This sampling of Gogols works includes the increasingly fantastic entries of The Diary of a Madman, followed by the wonderfully surrealistic The Nose, in which the title character embarks on some unlikely activities when separated from its owners face. In The Carriage, a pompous landowner gets his comeuppance when he attempts to impress a general. Rounding out the collection are the woefully comic tale of a clerks acquisition of The Overcoat and the celebrated novella Taras Bulba about the Ukrainian mythic hero said to have led a bloody Cossack revolt against the Poles. Translated by Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. McAndrew. With a New Introduction and an Afterword by Priscilla Meyer.
Edited, Introduced and Annotated by Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, University of Sussex. The Wordsworth Classics Shakespeares Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeares works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal. Variously melancholy, lyrical, joyous and farcical, Twelfth Night has long been a popular comedy with Shakespearian audiences. The main plot revolves around mistaken identities and unrequited love. Both Olivia and Orsino are attracted to Viola, who is disguised as a young man; and Violas brother, Sebastian, finds that he is loved not only by Antonio but also by Olivia. Meanwhile, in the comic sub-plot, Sir Toby Belch and his companions outwit the vain Malvolio, who is ludicrously humiliated. While offering broad comedy, Twelfth Night teasingly probes gender-roles and sexual ambiguities.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, considered by many as the greatest English writer. Hundreds of specialists were able to translate his works into every major language, and most of the plays are performed more often than those of any other author. The Taming of the Shrew is a stellar comedy that tells the tale of Petruchio, a fortune seeker who decides to marry Katherina, a strong-willed and even stubborn young woman. Petruchio then tries to tame her temperament in a hilarious style that only Shakespeare can create.
Theres something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. Its PC Peter Grants speciality. Only its more than going bump. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter - making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.
Summer 1970 - a long, hot summer. In a castle in Italy, half a dozen young lives are afloat on the sea of change, trapped inside the history of the sexual revolution. The girls are acting like boys, and the boys are going on acting like boys, and Keith Nearing - twenty years old, a literature student all clogged up with the English novel - is struggling to twist feminism and the rise of women towards his own ends. The sexual revolution may have been a velvet revolution (in at least two senses), but it wasnt bloodless - and now, in the twenty-first century, the year 1970 finally catches up with Keith Nearing. The Pregnant Widow is a comedy of manners and a nightmare, brilliant, haunting and gloriously risque. It is the most eagerly anticipated novel of the year and Martin Amis at his fearless best.
Henry James (1843-1916) was an American author regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism. The Europeans is a wonderful comedy, contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the new world of New England.
A classic coming-of-age novel from the perennially influential author of novels such as A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol. When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which leads him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak, and friendship and betrayal. Retold by Elizabeth Walker.
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