"Coming back to the ""nest"" of his family home in Russia after years of fruitless endeavours away from his roots, Lavretsky decides to turn his back on the vacuous salons of Paris and his frivolous and unfaithful wife Varvara Pavlovna. On his return he meets Liza, the daughter of one of his cousins..
"A mysterious stranger named Chichikov arrives in a small provincial Russian town and proceeds to visit a succession of landowners, making each of them an unusual and somewhat macabre proposition. He offers to buy the rights to the dead serfs who are still registered on the landowner's estate, th..
"Bathsheba Everdene is a headstrong young woman who attracts the attentions of a succession of ill-matched suitors: a quiet sheep farmer, a handsome soldier and an older, wealthy landowner. As the men vie for her affections, she struggles to retain her independence of spirit in the face of their dec..
"Purporting to be an autobiography of the antihero Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne's novel is a comic masterpiece of digression, egoism and sensationalism, as its hilarious asides, explanations and host of memorable secondary characters - such as Uncle Toby, Dr Slop, Parson Yorick and Widow Wadman ..
"Presented as a collection of confessional letters written by the eponymous protagonist, The Sorrows of Young Werther charts the emotional journey of a young man who, during a stay in a picturesque German village, falls in love with Lotte, a local woman engaged to another man. As he realizes that hi..
"""There is absolutely no necessity to learn how to read; meat smells a mile off, anyway. Nevertheless, if you live in Moscow and have a brain in your head, you'll pick up reading willy-nilly, and without attending any courses. Out of the forty thousand or so Moscow dogs, only a total idiot won't kn..
"On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abductio..
"James Joyce's first published book, which he wrote when he was still in his twenties, Dubliners is far removed from the bold experimentalism of his later work, but is essential for understanding the author's development as a writer, and endures as a masterly example of the short-story form. Althou..
"In Hard Times, Dickens illustrates the condition of England through the fictional city of Coketown. Among its inhabitants are Thomas Gradgrind, the utilitarian headmaster who attempts to impose his rigid worldview on his family circle, and the uncaring businessman Mr Bounderby. Their materialist ph..
"On a boat in the Thames estuary, Marlow tells his travelling companions of his reconnaissance expedition for a Belgian trading company to its most remote outpost in central Africa, which brought him on the trail of the elusive Kurtz, a brilliant idealist gone rogue. His account relates not only the..
"Born into a poor family, Fanny Price is raised amid the daunting splendour of Mansfield Park by her rich uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram. Treated as an inferior by most of the family, Fanny forms a close attachment to her cousin Edmund, the only person to show her kindness. With the departure of her uncl..
"While enjoying a six weeks' stay in fashionable Bath, the young and callow Catherine Morland is introduced to the delights of high society. Thanks to a new literary diet of the sensational and the macabre, Catherine travels to Northanger Abbey fully expecting to become embroiled in a Gothic adventu..
"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer charts the escapades of a thirteen-year-old boy growing up on the banks of the Mississippi. Testing the patience of his aunt Polly, the bold and sharp-witted Tom Sawyer frequently skips school in search of excitement, and the scrapes he gets into with his friend Huckleb..
"The mysterious Griffin arrives at a picturesque English inn during a snowstorm, swaddled in bandages which cover his face and with his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. His odd get-up and irascible behavior intrigue the locals, who believe him to be the victim of an accident. However, the true reaso..
"When Rachel Verinder's legacy of a priceless Indian diamond is stolen, all the evidence indicates that it is her beloved, Franklin Blake, who is guilty. Around this central axis of crime and thwarted love, Collins constructs an ingenious plot of teasing twists and surprises, and an elaborate multi-..