HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,' said the Spirit. 'Look upon me!' A celebration of Christmas, a tale of redemption and a critique on Victorian society, Dickens' atmospheric novella follows the miserly, penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge who views Christmas as 'humbug'. It is only through a series of eerie, life-changing visits from the ghost of his deceased business partner Marley and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future that he begins to see the error of his ways. With heart-rending characters, rich imagery and evocative language, the message of A Christmas Carol remains as significant today as when it was first published.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...' Set before and during the French Revolution in the cities of Paris and London, A Tale of Two Cities tells the story of Dr Manette's release from imprisonment in the Bastille and his reunion with daughter, Lucie. A French aristocrat Darnay and English lawyer Carton compete in their love for Lucie and the ensuing tale plays out against the menacing backdrop of the French Revolution and the shadow of the guillotine.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'We are in Transylvania; and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.' Earnest and naive solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to organise the estate of the infamous Count Dracula at his crumbling castle in the ominous Carpathian Mountains. Through notes and diary entries, Harker keeps track of the horrors and terrors that beset him at the castle, telling his fiance Mina of the Count's supernatural powers and his own imprisonment. Although Harker eventually manages to escape and reunite with Mina, his experiences have led to a mental breakdown of sorts. Meanwhile in England, Mina's friend Lucy has been bitten and begins to turn into a vampire. With the help of Professor Van Helsing, a previous suitor of Lucy's, Seward, and Lucy's fiance Holmwood attempt to thwart Count Dracula and his attempts on Lucy and consequently Mina's life. Arguably the most enduring Gothic novel of the 19th Century, Bram Stoker's Dracula is as chilling today in its depiction of the vampire world and its exploration of Victorian values as it was at its time of publication.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'The rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open...' Victor Frankenstein's monster is stitched together from the limbs of the dead, taken from 'the dissecting room and the slaughter-house'. The result is a grotesque being who, rejected by his maker and starved of human companionship, sets out on a journey to seek his revenge. In the most famous gothic horror story ever told, Shelley confronts the limitations of science, the nature of human cruelty and the pathway to forgiveness. Begun when Mary Shelley was only eighteen years old and published two years later, this chilling tale of a young scientist's desire to create life - and the consequences of that creation - still resonate today.
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics. 'It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.' Set in fictitious Coketown, England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1850s, Dickens wished to expose the enormous gulf between the rich and poor through his writing. In Hard Times, the social and moral purpose of his work is at its most evident. Openly ironic and satirical in its tone, Dickens suggests a mechanization of society, where the wealthy are ruthless and uncharitable towards those less fortunate than themselves. Siblings Louisa and Tom Gradgrind are raised by their father, a harsh and pragmatic educator and his influence means that they go on to lead lives that are lacking in all areas. Louisa marries the arrogant and greedy Josiah Bounderby, ending in an unhappy pairing and the unfeeling and villainous Tom robs his own brother-in-law's bank. As their father watches their plight, he realises that his own principles may have led to their downfall.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'Wouldn't it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true and we could live in them?' A heart-warming tale of love, sisterhood and hardship during the New England Civil War, Little Women tells the story of the lovable March family. Meg, Beth, Jo and Amy try to support their mother at home while their father is away at war and enter into various scrapes and adventures as they do so. Alcott beautifully interweaves bad times and good as her characters struggle with the trials and tribulations of growing up and their relationships with one another.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. '...for her, life was as cold as an attic with a window looking to the north, and ennui, like a spider, was silently spinning its shadowy web in every cranny of her heart.' Married to Charles, a provincial doctor, Emma Bovary yearns for a more glamorous life. Disenchanted with her husband and seeking an escape from their dull marriage she is soon tempted into a brief romantic liaison with another man. Although short-lived, she remains desirous of passion and the finer things in life and embarks on another affair, destroying her reputation. Considered scandalous at the time, Emma Bovary's superficial and immoral behaviour shocked readers and caused moral outcry. Flaubert holds up to ridicule not only Madame Bovary herself, but the society that dares to judge her.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'It happen'd one Day about Noon going towards my Boat, I was exceedingly surpriz'd with the Print of a Man's naked Foot on the Shore.' Shipwrecked in a storm at sea, Robinson Crusoe is washed up on a remote and desolate island. As he struggles to piece together a life for himself, Crusoe's physical, moral and spiritual values are tested to the limit. For 24 years he remains in solitude and learns to tame and master the island, until he finally comes across another human being. Considered a classic literary masterpiece, and frequently interpreted as a comment on the British Imperialist approach at the time, Defoe's fable was and still is revered as the very first English novel.
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and he remains one of the most important voices of Bengali culture to this day. These short stories, written mostly in the 1890s, vividly portray Bengali life and culture. Tagore's treatment of caste culture, bureaucracy and poverty paint a vivid portrait of nineteenth-century India, and all are interwoven with Tagore's perceptive eye for detail, strong sense of humanity and deep affinity for the natural world. Tagore's stories continue to rise above geographic and cultural boundaries to capture the imaginations of readers around the world.
HarperCollins is proud to present its range of best-loved, essential classics. 'I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself.' Heralded as one of the first instances of feminist literature and rejected at its time of publication by the literary set on grounds of moral distaste, Kate Chopin's The Awakening caused consternation in 1899. Constrained and confined by the limitations surrounding marriage and motherhood in the late 1800s, Edna Pontellier begins to challenge the notion of femininity through her thoughts and actions. Questioning her love for her husband, and opening herself up to the possibilities of other men and a life outside of societal convention leads to a gradual awakening of her desires. Chopin's fascinating exploration of one woman challenging the expectation that surrounds her is powerful, daring and ultimately tragic in its conclusions.
The Great American Novel of love and betrayal in the Jazz Age. 'I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited - they went there'. Considered one of the all-time great American works of fiction, Fitzgerald's glorious yet ultimately tragic social satire on the Jazz Age encapsulates the exuberance, energy and decadence of an era. After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. He buys a mansion across from her house and throws lavish parties to try and entice her. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbour and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald's succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits.
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books; for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved, and the heart.' Set in 16th-Century England and following the lives of two young boys, The Prince and the Pauper is a classic and timeless tale. Tom Canty, the lowly pauper is almost identical in appearance to Edward Tudor, a prince. Unbeknownst to those around them, the boys strike up an unlikely friendship and soon realise that with their similar looks they could easily pass for one another. When the Prince's father dies, some of the more underhand court officials persuade the pauper to act as the Prince in order to reap the benefits of the 'mistake' and there follows a tale of friendship and growing up in one of Mark Twain's most infamous works.