Still one of the most radical novels of the 20th Century, James Joyce's Ulysses is considered to have ushered in the era of the modern novel. Loosely based on Homer's Odyssey, the book follows Leopold Bloom and a number of other characters through an ordinary day, twenty four hours, in Dublin, on June 16, 1904. The text is dense and difficult, but perfectly suited to an oral reading, filled with language tricks, puns and jokes, stream of consciousness, and bawdiness.
NOTE: Because of the nature of this project, there was a bending of usual LibriVox procedures: pub-like background noise was encouraged, as well as group readings; and no editing was required, so in places there may be some accidental variation from the original text ... Listener be warned!
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of evil. Crime and Punishment is considered by many as the first of Dostoevsky's cycle of great novels, which would culminate with his last completed work, The Brothers Karamazov, shortly before his death.
This is James Joyce's first novel, the semi-autobiographical story of a young Irish boy who struggles with family, country, and religion to become an artist and a man.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is a wealthy and attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature and has a series of romances that eventually lead to his disillusionment. In his later novels, Fitzgerald would further develop the book's theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking.
The Mysterious Stranger-A Romance- is the final novel attempted by Mark Twain. It was worked on periodically from roughly 1890 up until 1910. The body of work is a serious social commentary by Twain addressing his ideas of the Moral Sense and the "damned human race".
Lawrence, D. H.
This intimate portrait of a coal-miner's family fastens on each member in turn: Walter Morel, the collier; Gertrude, his wife; and the children: William, Annie, Arthur, and Paul. When Mrs. Morel begins to be estranged from her husband because of his poor financial sense and his drinking habits, she comes to inhabit the lives of her children - most particularly, her sons. She is determined that they will grow to be something more than men that come home blackened with coal dust every day and roaring with drink every night. As each grows up and moves away, she must release him. But Paul, she holds; they have a bond that defies time and the attractions of young women.
Lawrence originally intended the book's title to be "Paul Morel" and it is on this son - and his lovers - that he spends the bulk of his tale. The strong mother can make a success of her son, but if he cannot learn to leave his mother's apron strings, will he really be a better man than his father?
Cather, Willa Sibert
O Pioneers! tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish immigrants in the farm country near Hanover, Nebraska, (a fictional town near Glenvil) around the turn of the 20th century. The main character, Alexandra Bergson, inherits the family farmland when her father dies, and she devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time when other immigrant families are giving up and leaving the prairie. The novel also concerns two romantic relationships - one between Alexandra and family friend Carl Lindstrom, and another between Alexandra's brother Emil and the married Marie Shabata.
The story is one of only two novels by Wharton to be set in New England. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, Charity Royall, and shares many plot similarities with Wharton's better known novel, Ethan Frome. Only moderately well-received when originally published, Summer has had a resurgence in critical popularity since the 1960's.
Maugham, W. Somerset
Rain charts the moral disintegration of a missionary attempting to convert a Pacific island prostitute named Sadie Thompson.
A Girl of the Limberlost, a novel written by the American writer and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter, was first published in August, 1909. The story takes place in Indiana, in and around the Limberlost Swamp, during the early 20th century.
Classic shortish story by Conrad that relates his self-thought alienation from British society, as a young foreign man survives a shipwreck off the coast of Kent, England only to be shunned by most of the townsfolk. The one exception is the loving, if dull-witted, Miss Foster.
The small Midwestern town of Freeport was scandalized years ago when Ruth Holland, then a young girl, ran away to the West with a married man. Now that she's returned home to take care of her dying father, she faces some hard truths about who her true friends are and where her life is headed.
Locke, William John
Set during WWI in England, The Red Planet is a rich tale about the life in a little English town from the point of view of Major Duncan Meredyth, a disabled veteran of the Boer Wars. As he struggles to keep his life and the lives of those he cares for in harmony, he must also shelter a dark secret regarding one of the village's favorite sons.
The Red Planet was the third bestselling novel in the United States for 1917.
A well-to-do French farm family is destroyed by a flood. The story, thrilling to the very end, is told from the point of view of the family's 70-year-old patriarch. The story speaks of the helplessness of mankind in the face of the forces of nature.
Walter Alden Dyer
This collection of stories about dogs and the people they own was published in 1918. The story proceeds leisurely with much information about different breeds of dogs. The author obviously likes both boys and dogs. ( David Wales)
Barrie, J. M.
Short stories with dramatic parts about civilian life in London during the First World War. Some humorous moments. By the author of "Peter Pan".
Mayor, F. M.
Miss Mayor tells this story with singular skill, more by contrast than by drama, bringing her chief character into relief against her world, as it passes in swift procession. Her tale is in a form becoming common among our best writers; it is compressed into a space about a third as long as the ordinary novel, yet form and manner are so closely suited that all is told and nothing seems slightly done, or worked with too rapid a hand.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Alice Adams chronicles the attempts of a lower middle class American midwestern family at the turn of the 20th century to climb the social ladder. The eponymous heroine is at the heart of the story, a young woman who wants a better place in society and a better life. As Gerard Previn Meyer has stated, "Apart from being the contribution to social history its author conceived it to be, [Alice Adams] is something more, that something being what has attracted to it so large a public: its portrait of a (despite her faults) 'lovable girl'."
Ada Cambridge (November 21, 1844 - July 19, 1926), later known as Ada Cross, was an English born Australian writer. While she gained recognition as Australia’s first woman poet of note, her longer term reputation rests on her novels. Overall she wrote more than twenty-five works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works. Many of her novels were serialised in Australian newspapers, and were never published in book form.
The story pans over three - four decades revolving the four Pennycuick sisters.
A modern American family move into a traditionally drafty and very haunted English mansion. So far so good but anyone knowing Wilde can expect twists and turns to make it interesting. In this cast the crusty old ghost has a tough time convincing the family he exists and then in frightening them. This is extremely frustrating of course to him and as the protagonist of the story, takes matters (and non-matters) into his hands to deal with the upstart and irreverent new tenants. (phil chenevert)
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Rilla of Ingleside (1921) is the final book in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, but was the sixth of the eight "Anne" novels she wrote. This book draws the focus back onto a single character, Anne and Gilbert's youngest daughter Bertha Marilla "Rilla" Blythe. It has a more serious tone, as it takes place during World War I and the three Blythe boys -- Jem, Walter, and Shirley -- along with Rilla's sweetheart Ken Ford, and playmates Jerry Meredith and Carl Meredith -- end up fighting in Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
The author arranged for this collection of three short stories and ten poems to be printed in a small run of 300 copies in Dijon (France.) The book entered into the public domain in 2019.
A multitude of very short stories populated with things that lurk in the dark corners of human imagination. Wonderfully crafted and sometimes ending with an unexpected outcome, these stories are well rooted in mythology and speak of things beyond the thin veil of reality.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
The story moves from Anne and Gilbert to their six children, and their new neighbours, the children of the new Presbyterian minister.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne Shirley is grown up and married, and her six children are off having their own adventures with the Merediths - the four children of a widowed, absent-minded minister. Whether they're hiding a runaway home girl and plotting to save her from the orphanage or organizing a day of fasting to punish themselves for singing an awful song in the graveyard, their adventures and misadventures make this seventh Anne novel a different, but still delightful, story.
D. H. Lawrence
Briefly appearing in 1915, then banned and taken out of circulation for its adult treatment of sexuality, Lawrence's visionary novel The Rainbow attempts to situate the lives of three generations of the Brangwen family within the continuous social change marking the Victorian transformation of Britain. Farmer Tom and his Polish wife Lydia, whose peaceful rural existence re-enacts the potent myths of Genesis; artisan Will and the matriarch Anna, who go to live among the industrial and mining communities so rapidly sprung up around Nottingham; finally the restless Ursula who, moving to the city, seeks sexual and emotional fulfilment with the Polish-descended Skrebensky - the three couples are not merely illustrative of the changing times, but allow the author to study in depth the conflict between the outer 'social' selves of those individuals and what he curiously calls the 'inhuman' essential being, the 'is-ness' at the core of their psychical life.
Lawrence evokes this dark, unconscious 'vital core' through a language of breathtaking poetic beauty; a rhythmic incantatory prose which listeners to this recording will find perfectly rendered by Tony Foster, in all its nuances. Like Paul Morel, the hero of the earlier Sons and Lovers, Ursula survives her losses to face a future of uncertain but radiant hope: "She saw in the rainbow the earth's new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven."
In Philadelphia, Frank Cowperwood, whose father is a banker, makes his first money by buying cheap soaps on the market and selling it back with profit to a grocer. Later, he gets a job in Henry Waterman & Company, and leaves it for Tighe & Company. He also marries an affluent widow, in spite of his young age. Over the years, he starts embezzling municipal funds. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire redounds to a stock market crash, prompting him to be bankrupt and exposed. Although he attempts to browbeat his way out of being sentenced to jail by intimidating Mr Stener, politicians from the Republican Party use their influence to use him as a scapegoat for their own corrupt practices. Meanwhile, he has an affair with Aileen Butler, a young girl, subsequent to losing faith in his wife. She vows to wait for him after his jail sentence. Her father, Mr Butler dies; she grows apart from her family. Frank divorces his wife. Sometime after being released, he invests in stocks subsequent to the Panic of 1873, and becomes a millionaire again. He decides to move out of Philadelphia and start a new life in the West.
Henry James considered The Ambassadors his best, or perhaps his best-wrought, novel. It plays on the great Jamesian theme of the American abroad, who finds himself in an older, and some would say richer, culture that that of the United States, with its attractions and dangers. Here the protagonist is Lambert Strether, a man in his fifties, editor of a small literary magazine in Woollett, Massachusetts, who arrives in Europe on a mission undertaken at the urging of his patron, Mrs. Newsome, to bring back her son Chadwick. That young man appears to be enjoying his time in Paris rather more than seems good for him, at least to those older and wiser. The novel, however, is perhaps really about Strether's education in this new land, and one of his teachers is the city of Paris -- a real Paris, not an idealized one, but from which Strether has much to learn. Chad Newsome, of course is there too, and so are a scattering of other Americans, his old friend Waymarsh and his new acquaintance Maria Gostrey among them. Had Strether his life to live over again, knowing what he has now learned,. how different would it be? and what are the lessons he takes home with him?
The Golden Bowl is a 1904 novel by Henry James. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the "major phase" of James' career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight.
Virginia Woolf’s third novel lacks a conventional narrative style and some say even a plot. It follows Jacob from his childhood, through his education at Cambridge and finally to his death in World War I. The prose repeatedly shifts its point of view and the reader is challenged to find connections between the narrative fragments. Largely from the comments of others we come to know the sequence and some moments of Jacob’s life but we never fully learn who Jacob is. The literary experimentation in Jacob’s Room is used even more successfully in Woolf’s later novels.
A framing story is told in the first person by Darrell Standing, a university professor serving life imprisonment in San Quentin State Prison for murder. Prison officials try to break his spirit by means of a torture device called "the jacket," a canvas jacket which can be tightly laced so as to compress the whole body, inducing angina. Standing discovers how to withstand the torture by entering a kind of trance state, in which he walks among the stars and experiences portions of past lives.
The jacket itself was actually used at San Quentin at the time and Jack London's descriptions of it were based on interviews with a former convict named Ed Morrell, which is also the name of a character in the novel. For his role in the Sontag and Evans gang which robbed the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1890s, Morrell spent fourteen years in California prisons (1894-1908), five of them in solitary confinement. London championed his pardon. After his release, Morrell was a frequent guest at London's Beauty Ranch.
Robert E. Howard
"The People of the Black Circle" is one of the original novellas about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in three parts over the September, October and November 1934 issues. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan kidnapping a regal princess of Vendhya (pre-historical India) and foiling a nefarious plot of world domination by the Black Seers of Yimsha. Due to its epic scope and atypical Hindustan flavor, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. It is also one of the few Howard stories where the reader is treated a deeper insight on magic and magicians beyond the stereotypical Hyborian depiction as demon conjurer-illusionist-priests.
The famous Castlecourt Diamonds have gone missing and the story surrounding their disappearance is strange indeed. To help sort out the mystery, you will hear eye witness statements given by the various participants in this curious case now, for the first time, given to the public.
Robert W. Chambers
Robert Chambers was a contemporary of Lovecraft, and this book consists of "weird supernatural tales" in a somewhat similar manner, except that the emphasis is on humor rather than horror. The narrator works for the newly opened Bronx Zoo in New York. He describes his adventures trying to obtain various rare specimens for the zoo's collection, animals that range from the merely extinct to the considerably more unusual. Along the way, he invariably finds a beautiful woman to fall in love with.
Three Lives tells the stories of three women from the same fictitious town of Bridgeport. The first story is of Anna, a servant to the wealthy, or those who seem to be wealthy. She finds herself taking on "projects" in an effort to better the people around her. Story number two is of Melanctha, a mixed-race character who is looking for ways to increase her knowledge and power over others, but mostly finds herself dealing with rejection and betrayal. The final story is of Lena, a German immigrant who leads a rather ordinary life as a married woman.
Freckles is a young man who has been raised since infancy in a Chicago orphanage. His one dream is to find a job, a place to belong and people who accept him despite his youth and the disability of having only one hand. He finds this place in the Limberlost Swamp, as a Limberlost guard of precious timber.
In the process, he discovers a love for the wilderness and animals he encounters every day on his rounds and a burning desire to learn about all the new birds and plants he sees on his rounds every day. He also finds and falls in love with a girl he calls the "Swamp Angel." This is the story of his plucky courage in sticking to his job in the swamp, and his adventures in learning about the natural world he finds himself in every day. He is befriended by the "Bird Woman" and with her help learns to love the Limberlost he has been hired to guard.
W. Somerset Maugham
The Magician is a novel by British author W. Somerset Maugham, originally published in 1908. In this tale, the magician Oliver Haddo, a caricature of Aleister Crowley, attempts to create life. Crowley wrote a critique of this book under the pen name Oliver Haddo, where he accused Maugham of plagiarism. Maugham wrote The Magician in London, after he had spent some time living in Paris, where he met Aleister Crowley. The novel was later republished with a foreword by Maugham entitled A Fragment of Autobiography. (Wikipedia)
Before Adam is a mixture of sound science and sci-fi speculation. It is based around Darwin's theory of evolution and the idea of racial memory. The main character lives in the current world but has dreams and nightmares that he relives the pre-stone age life of one of his proto-human ancestors. Those who are scientifically inclined may enjoy this novel more than fans of "standard" science fiction such as Edgar Rice Burroughs.
D. H. Lawrence
Lawrence summarised the plot of Sons and Lovers in a letter to Edward Garnett in 1912:
“It follows this idea: a woman of character and refinement goes into the lower class, and has no satisfaction in her own life. She has had a passion for her husband, so her children are born of passion, and have heaps of vitality. But as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers — first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother — urged on and on. But when they come to manhood, they can't love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives, and holds them...”
The present reader tells the story in his authentic regional English, featuring the East Midlands dialect used by Lawrence in the more intimate exchanges between characters. (Summary prepared by Martin Geeson.)
Ernest Vincent Wright
Fifty-year-old John Gadsby is alarmed by the decline of his hometown, Branton Hills, and rallies the city's young people to form an "Organization of Youth" to build civic spirit and improve living standards. Gadsby and his youthful army, despite some opposition, transform Branton Hills from a stagnant municipality into a bustling, thriving city. The story begins around 1906 and continues through World War I, Prohibition, and President Warren G. Harding's administration.
"Gadsby" is a lipogram - a whole novel of some 50.000 words without a single instance of the letter E. When it first appeared in 1939 it was hardly noticed by the general public, but a modern reviewer called it "probably the most ambitious work ever attempted in this genre". Hardcopies of the book are extremely rare and sell for thousands of dollars.
A collection of short stories.
Kate Douglas Wiggin
An romantic comedy. A pretty young American girls tours English Cathedrals, with her very blue-blooded Aunt. Then boy meets girl. Boy chases girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finds girl. Finally, girl catches boy with the help of a mad bull.
This is a story of an innocent, caring, beautiful young girl from and extremely poor family who throughout her life is drawn into affairs with two different men from a much higher social class. How members of her family, the family of one of the wealthy men, and society in general react to her situation is the basis of this story.
The Old Wives' Tale is a novel by Arnold Bennett, first published in 1908. It deals with the lives of two very different sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, following their stories from their youth, working in their mother's draper's shop, into old age. It is generally regarded as one of Bennett's finest works. It covers a period of about 70 years from roughly 1840 to 1905, and is set in Burslem and Paris.
This 1918 book consists of five short stories or novelettes by Galsworthy. They are The First and Last (1914), A Stoic, The Apple Tree (1916), The Juryman, Indian Summer of a Forsyte (1918) This last became part of the trilogy The Forsyte Saga.
Sybella: "There is no plot in this story, because there has been none in my life or in any other life which has come under my notice. I am one of a class, the individuals of which have no time for plots in their life, but have all they can do to get their work done without indulging in such a luxury". Like the author Miles Franklin, Sybella grows up in the bush, and as her family's fortunes decline, so her feelings rise that life should hold more for her than the relentless hard physical work farming marginal land in times of drought.
M. R. James
Five ghost stories, published in 1920, by the early twentieth century master of ghostery.
Guy de Maupassant
This short novel’s titular characters are brothers. An old family friend dies, leaving without explanation his entire fortune to Jean, the younger brother. Pierre, the protagonist, is puzzled, jealous, and increasingly bitter. A bequest, a secret, a major decision. This, Maupassant’s fourth novel, is considered by many to be his finest. (Lee Smalley)
In rural England during the time of war, a rash of unsolved murders spawns conspiracy theories, paranoia, and fear as they search for a culprit, an explanation, and an end to the terror.
At an age when he should, by rights, be embarking on a well-deserved and comfortable retirement, Captain Whalley, a sailor of the old school — and even, in a small way, a pioneer of the eastern maritime trade — finds himself forced by circumstance and his own sense of honour to bind himself to a three year contract of employment as captain of a tramp steamer whose owner is the steamer's own engineer, and a mean and surly gambling addict to boot. Even this challenging situation, however, soon proves to be the least of Captain Whalley's difficulties.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.