The Picture of Dorian Gray

In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde's most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.
Views: 11 971

The Importance of Being Earnest

Here is Oscar Wilde's most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in London's St. James' Theatre on February 14, 1895.* The Importance of Being Earnest* is celebrated not only for the lighthearted ingenuity of its plot, but for its inspired dialogue, rich with scintillating epigrams still savored by all who enjoy artful conversation. From the play's effervescent beginnings in Algernon Moncrieff's London flat to its hilarious denouement in the drawing room of Jack Worthing's country manor in Hertfordshire, this comic masterpiece keeps audiences breathlessly anticipating a new bon mot or a fresh twist of plot moment to moment. **
Views: 10 314

Hamlet

One of the greatest plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the tormented young prince of Denmark continues to capture the imaginations of modern audiences worldwide. Confronted with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, and with his mother’s infidelity, Hamlet must find a means of reconciling his longing for oblivion with his duty as avenger. The ghost, Hamlet’s feigned madness, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, the “closet scene” in which Hamlet accuses his mother of complicity in murder, and breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make **Hamlet** an enduring masterpiece of the theater. Each Edition Includes: • Comprehensive explanatory notes • Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship • Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English • Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories • An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography
Views: 9 234

Waiting for Godot

From an inauspicious beginning at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone in 1953, followed by bewilderment among American and British audiences, Waiting for Godot has become of the most important and enigmatic plays of the past fifty years and a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. As Clive Barnes wrote, “Time catches up with genius … Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the century.”The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.
Views: 7 782

Macbeth

Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, and is considered one of his darkest and most powerful works. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political effects produced when evil is chosen as a way to fulfil the ambition for power. The play is believed to have been written between 1599 and 1606, and is most commonly dated 1606. The earliest account of a performance of what was probably Shakespeare's play is the Summer of 1606, when Simon Forman recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre. It was first published in the Folio of 1623, possibly from a prompt book. It was most likely written during the reign of James I, who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the English throne in 1603. James was a patron of Shakespeare's acting company, and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote during James's reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright's relationship with the sovereign. Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy, and tells the story of a brave Scottish general named Macbeth who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia, and he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler as he is forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of arrogance, madness, and death. Shakespeare's source for the tragedy is the account of Macbeth, King of Scotland, Macduff, and Duncan in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of England, Scotland, and Ireland familiar to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, although the events in the play differ extensively from the history of the real Macbeth. In recent scholarship, the events of the tragedy are usually associated more closely with the execution of Henry Garnett for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed, and will not mention its title aloud, referring to it instead as "the Scottish play". Over the course of many centuries, the play has attracted some of the most renowned actors to the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. It has been adapted to film, television, opera, novels, comic books, and other media. **
Views: 6 301

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Hamlet told from the worm's-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.
Views: 5 300

First Love and Other Shorts

This new collection brings together "First Love", "The Calamative", "The End" and "The Expelled"; these four novellas are among the first major works of Beckett's decision to use French as his language of literary composition. Rich in verbal and situational humour, they offer a fascinating insight into many of the issues which preoccupied Beckett all his working life. As the first novella reveals, nobody writes with quite such cruel and unnervingly clever wit as Beckett...
Views: 1 207

The Taming of the Shrew

A robust and bawdy battle of the sexes, this ever popular comedy captivates audiences with outrageous humor as Katharina, the shrew, engages in a contest of wills–and love–with her bridegroom, Petruchio. Their boisterous conflict is set off against a more conventional romantic plot involving the wooing of Katharina’s lovely and compliant sister, Bianca. Rich with the psychological themes of identity and transformation, the play is quintessentially lighthearted, filled with visual gags, witty repartee, and unmatched theatrical brilliance from Petruchio’s demand, “Kiss me, Kate!” to the final spectacle of the wedding feast. Each Edition Includes: • Comprehensive explanatory notes • Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship • Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English • Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories • An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography
Views: 1 188

Dream Story

This wonderful translation of Dream Story will allow a fresh generation of readers to enjoy this beautiful, heartless and baffling novella. Dream Story tells how through a simple sexual admission a husband and wife are driven apart into rival worlds of erotic intrigue and revenge.
Views: 1 151

Rock 'N' Roll

Rock ’n’ Roll is an electrifying collision of the romantic and the revolutionary. It is 1968 and the world is ablaze with rebellion, accompanied by a sound track of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Clutching his prized collection of rock albums, Jan, a Cambridge graduate student, returns to his homeland of Czechoslovakia just as Soviet tanks roll into Prague. When security forces tighten their grip on artistic expression, Jan is inexorably drawn toward a dangerous act of dissent. Back in England, Jan’s volcanic mentor, Max, faces a war of his own as his free-spirited daughter and his cancer-stricken wife attempt to break through his walls of academic and emotional obstinacy. Over the next twenty years of love, espionage, chance, and loss, the extraordinary lives of Jan and Max spin and intersect until an unexpected reunion forces them to see what is truly worth the fight.
Views: 1 144

The Collected Shorter Plays of Samuel Beckett

'Beckett reduces life, perception, and writing to barest minimums: a few dimly seen, struggling torsos; a hopeless intelligence compulsively seeking to come to terms, in rudimentary yet endlessly varied language, with the human condition they represent. Within these extraordinary limitations, Beckett's verbal ability nonetheless generates great intensity.'--Library Journal
Views: 1 097