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By: Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

Celebrated Crimes by Alexandre Dumas Celebrated Crimes

Dumas's 'Celebrated Crimes' was not written for children. The novelist has spared no language -- has minced no words -- to describe the violent scenes of a violent time.In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader, for whom the books are intended, will recognize, and allow for, this fact.The first volume comprises the annals of the Borgias and the Cenci. The name of the noted and notorious Florentine family has become a synonym for intrigue and violence, and yet the Borgias have not been without stanch defenders in history...

By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Reviews by Oscar Wilde Reviews

Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that I think it proof against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would have preferred to forget. As a matter of fact, I believe this volume will prove of unusual interest; some of the reviews are curiously prophetic; some are, of course, biassed by prejudice hostile or friendly; others are conceived in the author’s wittiest and happiest vein; only a few are colourless. And if, according to Lord Beaconsfield, the verdict of a continental nation may be regarded as that of posterity, Wilde is a much greater force in our literature than even friendly contemporaries ever supposed he would become...

Aphorisms by Oscar Wilde Aphorisms

In 1894, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) published two short collections of aphorisms: “A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated”, in the Saturday Review newspaper, and “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young”, in the Oxford student magazine The Chameleon. By turns witty, intellectual, counter-intuitive and obtuse, the collections came to be seen by many as emblematic of Wilde’s style, and countless collections of Wildean aphorisms have since been published. (Summary by Carl Manchester)

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde De Profundis

This is a letter written from prison in 1897 by Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, in which he recounts how he came to be in prison and charts his spiritual development. (summary by AdamH)

The Soul of Man by Oscar Wilde The Soul of Man

“(T)he past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.”Published originally as “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” this is not so much a work of sober political analysis; rather it can be summed up as a rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the Individual. Socialism having deployed technology to liberate the whole of humanity from soul-destroying labour, the State obligingly withers away to allow the free development of a joyful, anarchic hedonism...

By: G. K. Chesterton

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton A Short History of England

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a prolific writer on many topics. His views of history were always from the standpoint of men and their interactions, and it may fairly be said he saw all of history as a battle between civilization and barbarism. So it has always been, and that remains true even today.“But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information...

Heretics by G. K. Chesterton Heretics

The Author Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on the 29th of May, 1874. Though he considered himself a mere “rollicking journalist,” he was actually a prolific and gifted writer in virtually every area of literature. A man of strong opinions and enormously talented at defending them, his exuberant personality nevertheless allowed him to maintain warm friendships with people–such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells–with whom he vehemently disagreed. Chesterton had no difficulty standing up for what he believed...

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is a book that has become a classic of Christian apologetics. In the book's preface Chesterton states the purpose is to "attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it." In it, Chesterton presents an original view of the Christian religion. He sees it as the answer to natural human needs, the "answer to a riddle" in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience. (Summary by Wikipedia)

Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton Charles Dickens

G. K. Chesterton was a great admirer of Charles Dickens, and wrote a noted critique of Dickens’ works expressing his opinion in his own inimitable style. (Summary by Karen Merline)

Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton Eugenics and Other Evils

Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them “The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females”; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles...

Miscellaneous Essays by G. K. Chesterton Miscellaneous Essays

These nine files are miscellaneous short essays or stories from G. K. Chesterton. They were chosen for not only their brevity but also for being shining exemplars of Chesterton’s wit and whimsy. A fun but powerful introduction into the mind of the man that is G. K. Chesterton. (Summary by G. K. Cleveland)

Alarms and Discursions by G. K. Chesterton Alarms and Discursions

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox.” He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and “Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia by Karen Merline.)

What I Saw in America by G. K. Chesterton What I Saw in America

“Let me begin my American impressions with two impressions I had before I went to America. One was an incident and the other an idea; and when taken together they illustrate the attitude I mean. The first principle is that nobody should be ashamed of thinking a thing funny because it is foreign; the second is that he should be ashamed of thinking it wrong because it is funny.” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The New Jerusalem by G. K. Chesterton The New Jerusalem

“On the road to Cairo one may see twenty groups exactly like that of the Holy Family in the pictures of the Flight into Egypt; with only one difference. The man is riding on the ass.” “The real mistake of the Muslims is something much more modern in its application than any particular passing persecution of Christians as such. It lay in the very fact that they did think they had a simpler and saner sort of Christianity, as do many modern Christians. They thought it could be made universal merely by being made uninteresting...

The Crimes of England by G. K. Chesterton The Crimes of England

“Second, when telling such lies as may seem necessary to your international standing, do not tell the lies to the people who know the truth. Do not tell the Eskimos that snow is bright green; nor tell the negroes in Africa that the sun never shines in that Dark Continent. Rather tell the Eskimos that the sun never shines in Africa; and then, turning to the tropical Africans, see if they will believe that snow is green. Similarly, the course indicated for you is to slander the Russians to the English and the English to the Russians; and there are hundreds of good old reliable slanders which can still be used against both of them...

George Bernard Shaw by G. K. Chesterton George Bernard Shaw

Chesterton and Shaw were famous friends and enjoyed their arguments and discussions. Although rarely in agreement, they both maintained good-will towards and respect for each other. However, in his writing, Chesterton expressed himself very plainly on where they differed and why. In Heretics he writes of Shaw: “After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all...

The Appetite of Tyranny by G. K. Chesterton The Appetite of Tyranny

“Unless we are all mad, there is at the back of the most bewildering business a story: and if we are all mad, there is no such thing as madness. If I set a house on fire, it is quite true that I may illuminate many other people’s weaknesses as well as my own. It may be that the master of the house was burned because he was drunk; it may be that the mistress of the house was burned because she was stingy, and perished arguing about the expense of the fire-escape. It is, nevertheless, broadly true that they both were burned because I set fire to their house...

Tremendous Trifles by G. K. Chesterton Tremendous Trifles

“None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests. But don’t let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some such thing in what follows; but anyone else may do it better, if anyone else will only try. ” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

Varied Types by G. K. Chesterton Varied Types

Another delightful and sharply pointed excursion into the topics of the day, and of our day as well, with Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Here he uses his wit and mastery of paradox to bring into focus a number of historical persons who in many ways typify the people who presently shape our world and who in their own right have already shaped Western civilization. These reprinted magazine articles are filled with his good natured wit and devastating ability to use reductio ad absurdum to destroy the popular myths that drive our society at full-speed into, and expose the utter nonsense that underlies, secular humanism...

A Utopia of Usurers by G. K. Chesterton A Utopia of Usurers

“Now I have said again and again (and I shall continue to say again and again on all the most inappropriate occasions) that we must hit Capitalism, and hit it hard, for the plain and definite reason that it is growing stronger. Most of the excuses which serve the capitalists as masks are, of course, the excuses of hypocrites. They lie when they claim philanthropy; they no more feel any particular love of men than Albu felt an affection for Chinamen. They lie when they say they have reached their position through their own organising ability...

The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton The Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens

“These papers were originally published as prefaces to the separate books of Dickens in one of the most extensive of those cheap libraries of the classics which are one of the real improvements of recent times. Thus they were harmless, being diluted by, or rather drowned in Dickens. My scrap of theory was a mere dry biscuit to be taken with the grand tawny port of great English comedy; and by most people it was not taken at all–like the biscuit. Nevertheless the essays were not in intention so aimless as they appear in fact...

A Miscellany of Men by G. K. Chesterton A Miscellany of Men

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was among the world’s most prolific writers who incorporated relentless logic, wonderful humor, and a clear view of truth into an amazing tool for exposing the foolishness of the policies of the world around him through the device of paradox.It is always great fun, and certainly always a learning experience to read Chesterton. A Miscellany of Men may be his hardest work to define, as it deals with a huge array of issues, using “personal types” as illustration...

Irish Impressions by G. K. Chesterton Irish Impressions

“For the Irish Question has never been discussed in England. Men have discussed Home Rule; but those who advocated it most warmly, and as I think wisely, did not even know what the Irish meant by Home. Men have talked about Unionism; but they have never even dared to propose Union. A Unionist ought to mean a man who is not even conscious of the boundary of the two countries; who can walk across the frontier of fairyland, and not even notice the walking haystack. As a fact, the Unionist always shoots at the haystack; though he never hits it...

Robert Browning by G. K. Chesterton Robert Browning

There is an old anecdote, probably apocryphal, which describes how a feminine admirer wrote to Browning asking him for the meaning of one of his darker poems, and received the following reply: “When that poem was written, two people knew what it meant–God and Robert Browning. And now God only knows what it means. (Summary by Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

Lord Kitchener by G. K. Chesterton Lord Kitchener

“The paradox of all this part of his life lies in this–that, destined as he was to be the greatest enemy of Mahomedanism, he was quite exceptionally a friend of Mahomedans.” (Summary quoted from Gilbert Keith Chesterton) Proofed and produced by Karen Merline

By: Alfred Marshall (1842-1924)

Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall Principles of Economics

Book 1: Preliminary SurveyPrinciples of Economics is a leading economics textbook by Alfred Marshall (1842-1924). Marshall began writing the treatise in 1881 and he spent much of the next decade at work on it. His plan for the work gradually extended to a two-volume compilation on the whole of economic thought; the first volume was published in 1890 to worldwide acclaim that established him as one of the leading economists of his time. It brought the ideas of supply and demand, of marginal utility and of the costs of production into a coherent whole, and became the dominant economic textbook in England for a long period...

By: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott Hospital Sketches

Alcott in 1862 served as a nurse in Georgetown, D.C during the Civil War. She wrote home what she observed there. Those harrowing and sometimes humorous letters compiled make up Hospital Sketches. (Summary by Aaron Elliott)

By: Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930)

Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible

Some years ago, the editor of an English magazine sent a communication to “the hundred greatest men in Great Britain” asking them this question: “If for any reason you were to spend a year absolutely alone, in a prison for instance, and could select from your library three volumes to be taken with you as companions in your period of retirement please to inform us what those three books would be.” The inquiry was sent to peers of the realm, prominent leaders in politics, judges, authors, manufacturers, merchants, gentlemen of leisure—men who would represent every aspect of successful life...

By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

The Life Of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell The Life Of Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë was a British author, the eldest of the three famous Brontë sisters who have become standards of English literature. She is best known for her novel Jane Eyre, one of the greatest classics of all time. Just two years after Charlotte’s death, her friend Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her biography. Want to know more about Charlotte Brontë? If you do, please read this biography.

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort by Edith Wharton Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort

American novelist Edith Wharton was living in Paris when World War I broke out in 1914. She obtained permission to visit sites behind the lines, including hospitals, ravaged villages, and trenches. Fighting France records her travels along the front in 1914 and 1915, and celebrates the indomitable spirit of the French people. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

By: Henry Gray

Anatomy of the Human Body by Henry Gray Anatomy of the Human Body

Henry Gray’s classic anatomy textbook was first published in 1858 and has been in continuous publication ever since, revised and expanded through many successive editions. This recording is of the public-domain 1918 US edition (some information may be outdated). The illustrations can be found in the online text at bartleby.com. Part 1 includes the Embryology and Osteology sections.

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Chronicles of Canada -- Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada by Stephen Leacock Chronicles of Canada -- Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada

Volume 1- The Dawn of Canadian History: A Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada by Stephen Leacock takes Canada from the beginning of existence to its first European discoverers and includes a brief history of the aboriginal people. These little books were designed to cover Canadian history in a scholarly and readable fashion. Summary by Esther


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