Very brief, well-crafted stories, many having surprise endings, all steeped in the dye of myth and calling to every reader's neglected imagination.
Lesley Castle is a melodramatic epistolary novelette written by Jane Austen when she was sixteen years old. Although the novels Austen became known for were not published until she was in her thirties, she was an active writer from the age of twelve, frequently composing epistolary works such as Lesley Castle. Austen eventually compiled 29 of her early writings in three notebooks that became known as the Juvenilia and that she called “Volume the First”, “Volume the Second”, and “Volume the Third”, including Lesley Castle in “Volume the Second”.
Lesley Castle is set contemporaneously to Austen’s writing and consists of a series of ten letters by five characters, all of whom are women of high society living in Great Britain. In this short work, Austen employs a mock serious tone to humorously critique her peers on subjects such as self-absorption and jealousy. Austen acknowledged in a prefatory note that she left Lesley Castle unfinished; it includes several interconnected storylines, but no overarching plot or clear conclusion.
Old Martin Chuzzlewit has heaps of money that has never brought him anything but misery. Estranged from his grandson and namesake, when word gets out that he is ill, he finds himself surrounded by a throng of relatives that he despises, all hoping to get a piece of the pie. He allows himself to be taken under the wing of his obsequious and hypocritical cousin, Seth Pecksniff, who is more than happy to shelter him and kowtow to him and to keep all other relatives away. Will this vulture be the one to inherit the old man’s fortune, or is there more going on than meets the eye?
Treachery, mayhem, and possibly murder, along with some genuine love and compassion are skillfully intertwined in this book, along with Dickens’ classic wit and brilliantly created characters. His villains are odious, his good guys are delightful, and those that fall in between truly deserve to be called “Characters.”
Erewhon, or Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters "h" and "w" are transposed. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is obviously a satire of Victorian society.
The Voyage Out is the first novel by Virginia Woolf, published in 1915 by Duckworth; and published in the U.S. in 1920 by Doran. One of Woolf's wittiest social satires.
Rachel Vinrace embarks for South America on her father's ship and is launched on a course of self-discovery in a kind of modern mythical voyage. The mismatched jumble of passengers provide Woolf with an opportunity to satirize Edwardian life. The novel introduces Clarissa Dalloway, the central character of Woolf's later novel, Mrs. Dalloway.
E. M. Forster described it as "... a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South America not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an America whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis... It is absolutely unafraid... Here at last is a book which attains unity as surely as Wuthering Heights, though by a different path."
(Introduction from Wikipedia)
The Bourgeois Gentleman of the title is a middle-class social climber, assured that by learning all the arts of a true and noble gentleman, he shall truly become one. This enables Moliere to satire both the pretentious middle class and the snobbish aristocracy all at one time. Originally presented in 1670 before the court of Louis the 14th with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, it was more recently re-choreographed by George Balanchine to music by Strauss. This will be a purely spoken version of the original.
Edwin Abbott Abbott
This is a satirical novel written by Edwin A. Abbott, first published in 1884. Abbott uses a two-dimensional world, with himself as the protagonist, known simply as "A Square", to deride the Victorian aristocracy and its hierarchies. But the book has retained its value throughout the years for its unique portrayal of a two-dimensional world, and how a Sphere introduces the Square to the incomprehensible possibility of a third dimension. Once the square fully understands the third dimension, he suggests to the Sphere that even a fourth, fifth, or sixth dimension could exist. But the Sphere sends the square back to his two-dimensional world, where he cannot convince anyone of the existence of a three dimensional world.
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade was the last major novel by Herman Melville, the American writer and author of Moby-Dick. Published on April 1, 1857 (presumably the exact day of the novel's setting), The Confidence-Man was Melville's tenth major work in eleven years. The novel portrays a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism. Many critics have placed The Confidence-Man alongside Melville's Moby-Dick and "Bartleby the Scrivener" as a precursor to 20th-century literary preoccupations with nihilism, existentialism, and absurdism.
A Tale of a Tub was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697, that was eventually published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of "digression" and a "tale" of three brothers, each representing one of the main branches of western Christianity. A Tale was long regarded as a satire on religion itself, and has famously been attacked for that, starting with William Wotton. The "tale" presents a consistent satire of religious excess, while the digressions are a series of parodies of contemporary writing in literature, politics, theology, Biblical exegesis, and medicine. The overarching parody is of enthusiasm, pride, and credulity. At the time it was written, politics and religion were still linked very closely in England, and the religious and political aspects of the satire can often hardly be separated. "The work made Swift notorious, and was widely misunderstood, especially by Queen Anne herself who mistook its purpose for profanity." "It effectively disbarred its author from proper preferment within the church," but is considered one of Swift's best allegories, even by himself. It was enormously popular, but Swift believed it damaged his prospect of advancement in the Church of England.
Fascinating and brilliant at many levels, Huxley's spoof of Lady Ottoline Morrell's famous bohemian gatherings is difficult to categorize. The ironic tone and caricaturish rendering of some characters makes it partly entertaining satire, but intertwined with the irony are a very human love story and much poignant social commentary. Denis Stone (Huxley himself) is a young poet hopelessly enamored of the languid Anne Wimbush, who comes to Priscilla Wimbush's Crome estate for several weeks of intellectual and artistic escape. Along the way of his love affair, he engages in or eavesdrops upon conversations with other guests about the War, about eschatology, about future society, about Sex, about Art, about Love. Several of these dialogues directly foreshadow themes of Huxley's later dystopian masterpiece, Brave New World. Others show a tragic prescience of another great European war on its way, an awareness that future tragedy might attempt to complete the unfinished business of the recent Great War. Huxley's first novel, Crome Yellow is well worth reading in its own right, while containing embryonic forms of so much of Huxley's later intellectual themes.
Washington Irving, an author, biographer, historian, and diplomat, completed his first major work, a satire of contemporary local history and politics entitled A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809. Prior to its publication, Irving started a promotional hoax (not unlike some modern-day publicity stunts?) by placing fake missing persons advertisements in local newspapers asking for help in locating Diedrich Knickerbocker. As a continuation of the hoax, Irving also published a notice purported to be written by the proprietor of the hotel where Knickerbocker was staying, in which he threatened to publish a manuscript “left behind” by Knickerbocker if the hotel bill was not paid. From “The Author’s Apology”: “The main object of my work, in fact, had a bearing wide from the sober aim of history, but one which, I trust, will meet with some indulgence from poetic minds. It was to embody the traditions of our city in an amusing form; to illustrate its local humors, customs and peculiarities; to clothe home scenes and places and familiar names with those imaginative and whimsical associations so seldom met with in our new country, but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the old world, binding the heart of the native inhabitant to his home.” -
Washington Irving, an author, biographer, historian, and diplomat, completed his first major work, a satire of contemporary local history and politics entitled A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809. Prior to its publication, Irving started a promotional hoax (not unlike some modern-day publicity stunts?) by placing fake missing persons advertisements in local newspapers asking for help in locating Diedrich Knickerbocker. As a continuation of the hoax, Irving also published a notice purported to be written by the proprietor of the hotel where Knickerbocker was staying, in which he threatened to publish a manuscript “left behind” by Knickerbocker if the hotel bill was not paid. From “The Author’s Apology”: “The main object of my work, in fact, had a bearing wide from the sober aim of history, but one which, I trust, will meet with some indulgence from poetic minds. It was to embody the traditions of our city in an amusing form; to illustrate its local humors, customs and peculiarities; to clothe home scenes and places and familiar names with those imaginative and whimsical associations so seldom met with in our new country, but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the old world, binding the heart of the native inhabitant to his home.”
"The range of subjects treated in this book is wonderful, even to me. It is a library of universal knowledge, and the facts contained in it are different from any other facts now in use. I have carefully guarded, all the way through, against using hackneyed and moth-eaten facts. As a result, I am able to come before the people with a set of new and attractive statements, so fresh and so crisp that an unkind word would wither them in a moment."
Zadig, ou La Destinée, ("Zadig, or The Book of Fate") (1747) is a famous novel written by the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. It tells the story of Zadig, a philosopher in ancient Babylonia. The author does not attempt any historical accuracy, and some of the problems Zadig faces are thinly disguised references to social and political problems of Voltaire's own day.
The book is philosophical in nature, and presents human life as in the hands of a destiny beyond human control. It is a story of religious and metaphysical orthodoxy, both of which Voltaire challenges with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself. Voltaire's skillful use of the literary devices of contradiction and juxtaposition are shown in beautiful form in this prose. Behind Candide, it is considered one of his most celebrated works.
"there is no Evil under the Sun, but some Good proceeds from it:" -- this quote from this novel sums it up. One of Voltaire's most celebrated works, Zagig follows the plight of a young man, Zadig, as he embarks on matrimony. This tale is somewhat philosophical, suggesting that no matter how we act, we are confronted by bigotry, injustice and betrayal. Although set in Babylon, there is no attempt at historical accuracy.
This is another collection of O. Henry short stories.
Alice Duer Miller
A collection of poetry and some other short works by suffragist Alice Duer MIller. Many of these satirical works were first published in the New York Times. The work consists of five sections: Treacherous Texts, Campaign Material (For Both Sides), Women's Sphere, A Masque of Teachers, and The Unconscious Suffragists.
If Jefferson "Parleyvoo" Pickens had appeared in print just a few years later, he might have been the "Gentle Grifter" instead of the "Gentle Grafter", the name O. Henry picked for him. His situation as an ethical graft artist gives Jeff an extra impediment in pursuing his craft, but he never wanted it to be too easy. The result is fourteen delightful tales for us and a number of new partners for him. With those partners (he always has at least one) he works his way through a number of confidence games. Some they win, some they lose, some go into extra innings. They seem never to end just the way you figure they will. In the end he conquers almost all, except for the English language, which often seems to defeat him. (Intro by Leslie Walden)
"One of the most inspired chronicles written in English" was the verdict of William Butler Yeats on the novel Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth which was first published in 1800. It is recognised as the first true historical novel in English as well as the first Big-House novel. Written at the time when there was much debate about the Act of Union which proposed to unite Great Britain with Ireland, the book satirised the mismanagement of their Irish estates by Anglo-Irish landlords. Maria Edgeworth's writing is wonderful - informative, entertaining and amusing by turns. Just before publication, extensive footnotes, a glossary and a preface were added, to counteract any negative impact that the Edgeworth family feared it might have on The Act of Union. This 1895 Edition includes a wonderful Introduction by Anne Thackeray Ritchie.
The novel is set in early 1780's Ireland and is narrated by Honest Thady, loyal steward to generations of the Rackrent family. These are: The generous Sir Patrick, the tight fisted Sir Murtagh (married into the Skinflint family), the cruel Sir Kit who locked his wealthy wife up in her room for seven years and the amiable spendthrift Sir Condy, who has no head for business and a fondness for whisky punch. Together, they have run the estate into debt and disaster. Jason Quirk, Thady's astute son sorts everything out in the end to his satisfaction but much to Thady's dismay.
A. A. Milne
A. A. MILNE:…was best known for the perennially popular Pooh (Winnie the), arguably one of his lesser contributions to the literature of his day. He was highly acclaimed for dozens of popular plays. Moreover, he was both a contributor to and editor of Britain’s famous Punch Magazine; and for Punch, The Atlantic Monthly and dozens of other internationally acclaimed journals he wrote hundreds of essay, sketches and poems.
THE WORLD WARS:Milne argued aggressively against the many enemy atrocities characterizing both World Wars, and also fought in both. All four years of the Great War he spent primarily in the trenches, sustaining the greatest dangers of the new warfare at close range. His war experiences are forcibly captured in some of the poems in this collection and others.
INFLUENCE ON THE STYLE OF BRITISH HUMOR:His immense popularity doubtless helped influenced the very basis of British wit and humor: His gentle, often self-deprecatory but always kind style of humor lured readers and publishers away from the more ironic, cynical, and acerbic humorous works of recent decades.
The Small House at Allington concerns the Dale family, who live in the "Small House", a dower house intended for the widowed mother (Dowager) of the owner of the estate. The landowner, in this instance, is the bachelor Squire of Allington, Christopher Dale. Dale's mother having died, he has allocated the Small House, rent free, to his widowed sister-in-law and her daughters Isabella ("Bell") and Lilian ("Lily").
This book, the fiend’s delight, was published in 1873, during the lifetime of author Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914, pseudonym Dod Grile.It is a collection of short stories which cover many subjects. Dependent upon the reader the stories may seem callous, entertaining or some of the stories even just weird. The author has been known to have a penchant for being macabre as some of his works have displayed. Ambrose Bierce served in the Civil War so he did have personal experience with having seen just how horrid some lives were. He also had a family: a wife whom he divorced in 1904 and 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter. Difficult times followed for him as the sons died before Ambrose died, with his ex wife dying 1 year after their divorce. Ambrose himself was known to have had lifelong asthma & brain injuries from the war which caused him to faint & become irritable. His daughter did live 65 years, dying in 1940. She spent time searching for her father, whom she did not think was dead. Possibly his family is why some of his writings were not so macabre? Unfortunately that answer is not known.Leaving to visit his civil war grounds had him traveling into Mexico were there was revolution in 1913. There he joined Pancho Villa’s army as an observer where he disappeared. Many theories existed as to how his disappearance happened, most of which were unreliable. It was determined his final fate was unknown & referred to as a mystery.April Reynolds
The line between sanity and insanity is blurred in this classic novella by Anton Chekhov. The disillusioned idealist Dr. Rabin is in charge of a provincial lunatic asylum, overseeing with weary, dubious policies a motley group of patients, a group that mirrors in microcosm all of human and especially Russian society. Seeking answers to profound questions, Dr. Rabin enters into dialogues with both staff members and patients, trying to make sense out of what has become of his life, until it becomes less and less clear who is the doctor and who is the patient. Written with obvious reformist concerns about the dehumanization of "lunatics," the story is also a harrowing parable about the meaning of human existence
Thomas Love Peacock
Deep in the fens of the British coast sits the gloomy mansion that goes by the name Nightmare Abbey. It is inhabited by persons of very low opinion of the human race, and in fact they pride themselves in the depths of their detestation. Others of its denizens believe the ultimate exercise and product of the human mind ought to be chaos.
Now let the young master of the house get snared by the wiles of a beautiful young lady. And for good measure, toss in another beautiful young lady. Now Scythrop (named in honor of an ancestor who became bored with life and hanged himself) is about to find that two such make too much of a good thing!
Peacock wrote Nightmare Abbey as a satire, and he has folded in allusions to or quotations from literally dozens of other works. He makes use of many long, impressive-sounding words (some of which he very possibly made up!). Ignore these and his occasional Latin phrase, treat the rest as a farce, and you're on track for a fun listen!(Summary be Mark F. Smith)
Do remember reading a panic-mongering news story a while back about genetically engineered “Frankengrass” “escaping” from the golf course where it had been planted? That news story was foreshadowed decades previously in the form of prophetic fiction wherein a pushy salesman, a cash-strapped scientist, and a clump of crabgrass accidentally merge forces with apocalyptic consequences. A triple-genre combo of science fiction, horror, and satire, Greener Than You Think is a forgotten classic that resonates beautifully with modern times. This is a faithful reading of a 1947 first edition text.
Holberg, Ludvig Baron
Niels Klim's Underground Travels, originally published in Latin as "Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum" (1741) is a satirical science-fiction/fantasy novel written by Ludvig Holberg, a Norwegian-Danish dramatist, historian, and essayist, born in Bergen, Norway. It was his first and only novel. It describes a utopian society from an outsider's point of view, and often pokes fun at diverse cultural and social topics such as moral, science, sexual equality, religion, governments, and philosophy.
Orley Farm is Trollope at his best (as good as the Barsetshire series), which means some of the best characterizations in the English language. Trollope's people are real; the beleaguered Lady Mason, charged with forging a will; the aged lover Sir Peregrine Orme; Madeleine Stavely, deeply but practically in love; the shallow, fickle Sophia Furnival and others are 3-dimensional figures that live and breathe. His satire of the so-called "justice" system is the best kind of satire: he just describes the court proceedings as they really are. The result is as up-to-date as today's newspaper.
The Unbearable Bassington was the first novel written by Saki (H. H. Munro). It also contains much of the elegant wit found in his short stories. Comus (The Unbearable) Bassington, is a charming young man about town. His perversity however thwarts all his mother’s efforts to advance his prospects and lands him in hot water. Like many a “black sheep” he ends up being sent off to one of the colonies to fend for himself. This book showcases Saki’s wonderful writing and that ability to be so very funny and terribly sad at the same time.
The epigram to this work from Christoher Marlowe applies to the plot of this story: "My men like satyrs grazing on the lawns / Shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay." The plot follows Huxley and his cohorts in a search for meaning and hope and love in post WWI London.
Civilization, Immortality, the Death Penalty, these are just a few of the essays enclosed in this collection, A Cynic Looks At Life. Written by Ambrose Bierce, these essays continue to be thought provoking, offering a valid outlook on life
The five-volume work chronicling the adventures of father Gargantua and son Pantagruel is a vehicle for Rabelais' satire of sixteenth-century European society. It is lively, outrageous, and, at times, bawdy. This the third of the five volumes--all are translated by Thomas Urquhart and Peter Motteux
From Galileo to Grover Cleveland, from wasps to cattle, from dinosaurs to the railroad, Bill Nye's wide ranging wit pokes gentle fun at everything and everybody. This book is another wonderful collection of his thoughts on late 19th century America.
H. G. Wells
The teaching profession, science and politics in late 19th century England. H. G. Wells’ humorous early novel, drawing on his own life, shows how these – as well as involvement in spiritualism – have to compete with love.
Robert Smythe Hichens
The Green Carnation, first published anonymously in 1894, was a scandalous novel by Robert Hichens whose lead characters are closely based on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas - also known as 'Bosie', whom the author personally knew. It was an instant succès de scandale on both sides of the Atlantic. The book features the characters of 'Esmé Amarinth' (Wilde), and 'Lord Reginald (Reggie) Hastings' (Douglas). The words put in the mouths of the hero and his young friend in the story are mostly gathered from the sayings of their originals. Robert Hichens spent nearly a year "in the company of the men" and was able to accurately recreate the atmosphere and relationship between Oscar and Bosie. The book was withdrawn from circulation in 1895, but by that time the damage had been done. Wilde soon stood three consecutive trials for Gross Indecency and was sentenced to two years at hard labor. The Green Carnation was one of the works used against him by the prosecution.
A collection containing a parody on Problem Plays, as well as humorous anecdotes from Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.
This novel is sometimes thought of as [Fielding's] first because he almost certainly began composing it before he wrote Shamela and Joseph Andrews. It is a satire of Walpole that draws a parallel between Walpole and Jonathan Wild, the infamous gang leader and highwayman. He implicitly compares the Whig party in Parliament with a gang of thieves being run by Walpole, whose constant desire to be a "Great Man" (a common epithet for Walpole) should culminate only in the antithesis of greatness: being hanged.
H. G. Wells
An other-worldly creature visits a small English village, and H. G. Wells uses humour and satire to convey some of the imperfections of Victorian society, as ‘angel’ and humans view each other with equal incomprehension.( summary by Mary Bard)
The world’s most confident, most chaos-creating eleven year old boy is at it again in these fourteen glorious and funny 1924 short stories.
It's a cold and foggy night in London. A man is horribly murdered in his bedroom, the door locked and bolted on the inside. Scotland Yard is stumped. Yet the seemingly unsolvable case has, as Inspector Grodman says, "one sublimely simple solution" that is revealed in a final chapter full of revelations and a shocking denouement. Detective fiction afficionados will be happy to learn that all the evidence to solve the case is provided. One of the earliest “locked room” mystery stories, The Big Bow Mystery is also a satire of late Victorian society.
Howells, William Dean
In his novel Indian Summer, William Dean Howells presents a mellow but realistic story that has the complete feel of that delightful time of the year, although the plot actually spans several seasons. The Indian summer aspect applies to a sophisticated gentleman, Theodore Colville, who has just entered his middle years as he returns to a scene, Florence, Italy, that played an important part in his early manhood. It was here twenty years earlier that he first fell in love, seemingly successfully until a sudden and harsh rejection. Now, after a once profitable career as a newspaper editor has ended, he is barely ensconced in the Italian city when he meets a lady from his past, a close friend of his lost love. Lina Bowen, now a widow with a young daughter, is an attractive and charming socialite among the American and English residents of Florence. Also living with her at this time as a temporary ward is a beautiful young girl just blossoming into womanhood, Imogene Graham.
Colville, although he still hides a shy nature, has become an exceedingly witty and entertaining conversationalist. He quickly becomes a favorite with young Effie Bowen and Imogene Graham. Miss Graham indicates a disdain for the shallow young men that she has met and is highly attracted to the urbane, intelligent Mr. Colville. Mrs. Bowen invites Colville to become a regular guest in her home, and for a time the little coterie is delightfully congenial, but then an emotional triangle begins to develop. Imogene seems to be too devoted to this older gentleman, and Colville does not discourage her. Mrs. Bowen, who apparently is captivated by his charm as well, begins to feel overshadowed by her lovely young ward. This is the core of the intriguing plot.
Howells’ characters are totally believable in their thoughts, their motivations, their words, and their actions. The dialogue is delightful, both in the lighter conversations and in the more passionate speeches. Aided by the social milieu of expatriates in a historic city of art and culture, the story moves at first slowly and pleasantly, but begins to build inexorably toward an emotional crisis. As the whole plot unwinds before us, we can eventually see that there is really no other way that the events could realistically move. This novel is a very engrossing and satisfying tale of people that we become truly interested in.
A Deal with the Devil is a classic tale with a humorous twist. We find that on the night preceeding his 100th birthday Grandpapa, a cantankerous yet loveable sort, has made a deal with the devil, which his granddaughter, in part, will pay.
William Dean Howells
Set in the early 1890s, at a fashionable summer resort somewhere on the East Coast of the United States, this book tells the story of Mr. Twelvemough, an author who has been selected to function as host to a visitor from the faraway island of Altruria. The visitor, Mr. Homos, has come all the way to the United States, a country which prides itself on democracy and equality, to experience everyday life in America firsthand, and to see for himself how the principle that "All men are created equal" is being put into practice. Due to Altruria's secluded existence, very little is known about the island, so Twelvemough and his circle of acquaintances, all of whom are staying at the same resort hotel, seem more eager to learn about Altruria than to explain American life and institutions. To their dismay, it becomes gradually clear that the United States is greatly lagging behind Altruria in practically every aspect of life, be it political, economic, cultural or moral.
Meet the Golovliovs, the ultimate dysfunctional family. In the difficult transition years before and after the liberation of Russia’s serfs, the Golovliovs are a gentry family ill-equipped to face the adaptations necessary in the new social order. Petty, back-biting, greedy, rigid, ignorant, and cruel, their personalities are captured in the array of nicknames they themselves give each other: The Hag, Little Judas, Simple Simon, Pavel the Sneak, the Orphans, the Blood-Sucker. They hate each other ferociously and utterly despise the peasants around them, who are gradually awakening to the potentialities of their new freedoms. In this most famous of Saltykov-Shchedrin’s novels, there is a keen sympathy toward the plight of women caught in the complexities of social change: Anninka and Lubinka, the aristocratic orphans who, seeking independence, recklessly cast themselves into the bohemian life; the matriarch Arina Petrovna, whose desperately vigorous administration of the estate leads to an exhilarating but only temporary stability; the peasant girl Yevpraksia, who is resistlessly taken by the loathsome Porfiry Vladimirych as his mistress. Far from a piece of social propaganda, A Family of Noblemen shows a subtle portraiture of the complex characters and convoluted circumstances of the time. (Expatriate)
H. G. Wells
This is satirical look at the English educational system and society in the early twentieth century and the effect of World War I on them by following the lives of Peter Stublands and the orphaned Joan. It is a sad indictment, and Wells includes "An Apology of a Schoolmaster" to explain the constraints of the system.
Finley Peter Dunne
In Chicago lay a street called Archey Road, which stretched through a neighborhood which was mostly Irish immigrants, among whom was Martin Dooley, "doctor of philosophy." Mr. Dooley was a saloonkeeper with opinions on most everything in his day, political or not. His pronouncements found their mark often as not in the White House, and President Theodore Roosevelt would begin his cabinet meetings with readings of Mr. Dooley's thoughts for the day. Of course, Mr. Dooley was entirely fictional, but his keen wit and insight were as relevant as any put forth by, say, Finley Peter Dunne, that penner of satirical essays.
George Douglas Brown
The House with the Green Shutters is a novel by the Scottish writer George Douglas Brown, first published in 1901 by John MacQueen. Set in mid-19th century Ayrshire, in the fictitious town of Barbie which is based on his native Ochiltree, it consciously violates the conventions of the sentimental kailyard school, and is sometimes quoted as an influence on the Scottish Renaissance.
The novel describes the struggles of a proud and taciturn carrier, John Gourlay, against the spiteful comments and petty machinations of the envious and idle villagers of Barbie (the "bodies").
Arthur Wing Pinero
Mr. Pinero holds that farce should treat of probable people placed in possible circumstances, but regarded from a point of view which exaggerates their sentiments and magnifies their foibles. In this light it is permitted to this class of play, not only to deal with ridiculous incongruities of incident and character, but to satirise society, and to wring laughter from those possible distresses of life which might trace their origin to fallacies of feeling and extravagances of motive.
As early as 1720 Steele spoke in the Theatre of "a friend of mine" who was lately preparing a comedy according to the just laws of the stage, and had introduced a scene in which the first character bore unprovoked wrong, denied a duel, and still appeared a man of honour and courage. This was clearly an allusion to the play eventually to be published as The Conscious Lovers.
Robert Cortes Holliday
Robert Cortes Holliday was an early 20th century essayist, editor, and librarian. Writer Christopher Morley said that he "has the genuine gift of the personal essay, mellow, fluent, and pleasantly eccentric." Most of these pleasant pieces appeared originally in various American newspapers and magazines.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.