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Best Published Work of All Time

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    1
    In Praise of Limestone

    In Praise of Limestone

    "In Praise of Limestone" is a poem written by W. H. Auden in Italy in May 1948. Central to his canon and one of Auden's finest poems, it has been the subject of diverse scholarly interpretations. Auden's limestone landscape has been interpreted as an allegory of Mediterranean civilization and of the human body. The poem, sui generis, is not easily classified. As a topographical poem, it describes a landscape and infuses it with meaning. It has been called the "first … postmodern pastoral". In a letter, Auden wrote of limestone and the poem's theme that "that rock creates the only human landscape." First published in Horizon in July 1948, the poem then appeared in his important 1951 collection Nones. A revised version was published beginning in 1958, and is prominently placed in the last chronological section of Auden's Collected Shorter Poems, 1922–1957 (1966). Auden summered on Ischia, an island in the Gulf of Naples, between 1948 and 1957; "In Praise of Limestone" was among the first poems he wrote there. The titular limestone is characteristic of the Mediterranean landscape and is considered an allegory of history in the poem; the properties of this sedimentary rock invoke the
    8.29
    7 votes
    2
    Hudibras

    Hudibras

    Hudibras is an English mock heroic narrative poem from the 17th century written by Samuel Butler. The work is a satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The work was begun, according to the title page, during the civil war and published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, with the first edition encompassing all three parts in 1684 (see 1684 in poetry). The Mercurius Aulicus (an early newspaper of the time) reported an unauthorised edition of the first part was already in print in early 1662. Published only four years after Charles II had been restored to the throne and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell being completely over, the poem found an appreciative audience. The satire is not balanced as Butler was fiercely royalist and only the parliamentarian side are singled out for ridicule. Butler also uses the work to parody some of the dreadful poetry of the time. The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory praise that is so thickly applied as to be absurd, and the conceited and arrogant person is visible beneath. He is praised for his
    7.14
    7 votes
    3
    The Frost Giant's Daughter

    The Frost Giant's Daughter

    "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard, but not published in his lifetime. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan pursuing a spectral nymph across the frozen snows of Nordheim. Rejected as a Conan story by Weird Tales magazine editor Farnsworth Wright, Howard changed the main character's name to "Amra of Akbitana" and retitled the piece as The Gods of the North. "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is, arguably, the earliest chronological story by Robert E. Howard in terms of Conan's life. The brief tale is set somewhere in frozen Nordheim, geographically situated north of Conan's homeland, Cimmeria. Conan is depicted by Howard as a youthful Cimmerian mercenary traveling among the golden-haired Aesir in a war party. Shortly before the story begins, a hand-to-hand battle has occurred on an icy plain. Eighty men ("four score") have perished in bloody combat, and Conan alone survives the battlefield where Wulfhere's Aesir "reavers" fought the Vanir "wolves" of Bragi, a Vanir chieftain. Thus, the story opens. Following this fierce battle against the red-haired Vanir,
    7.14
    7 votes
    4
    The Faerie Queene

    The Faerie Queene

    The Faerie Queene is an incomplete English epic poem by Sir Edmund Spenser. The first half was published in 1590, and a second installment was published in 1596. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it was the first work written in Spenserian stanza and is one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim of publishing The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.” The Faerie Queene found political favour with Elizabeth I and was consequently a success, to the extent that it became Spenser's defining work. The poem found such favour with the monarch that Spenser was granted a pension for life amounting to 50 pounds a year, though there is no evidence that Elizabeth I read any of the poem. A letter written by Spenser to Sir Walter
    7.83
    6 votes
    5
    Maelzel's Chess Player

    Maelzel's Chess Player

    "Maelzel's Chess Player" (1836) is an essay by Edgar Allan Poe exposing a fraudulent automaton chess player called The Turk, which had become famous in Europe and the United States and toured widely. The fake automaton was invented by Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1769 and was brought to the U.S. in 1825 by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel after von Kempelen's death. Although it is the most famous essay on the Turk, many of Poe's hypotheses were incorrect. He also may or may not have been aware of earlier articles written in the Baltimore Gazette where two youths were reported to have seen chess player William Schlumberger climbing out of the machine. He did, however, borrow heavily from David Brewster's Letters on Natural Magic. Other essays and article had been written and published prior to Poe's in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston - cities in which Poe had lived or visited before writing his essay. Poe's essay was originally published in the April 1836 issue of the Southern Literary Messenger. Poe's essay asserts that Maelzel's troupe of automata had made at least one previous visit to Richmond, Virginia "some years ago", at which time they were exhibited "in the house now occupied by M.
    8.80
    5 votes
    6
    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

    "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" is a popular poem for children written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889. The original title was Dutch Lullaby. The poem is a fantasy bed-time story of three children sailing and fishing in the stars. Their boat is a wooden shoe. The little fishermen symbolize a sleepy child's blinking eyes and nodding head. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night Sailed off in a wooden shoe — Sailed on a river of crystal light, Into a sea of dew. "Where are you going, and what do you wish?" The old moon asked the three. "We have come to fish for the herring fish That live in this beautiful sea; Nets of silver and gold have we!" Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. The old moon laughed and sang a song, As they rocked in the wooden shoe, And the wind that sped them all night long Ruffled the waves of dew. The little stars were the herring fish That lived in that beautiful sea — "Now cast your nets wherever you wish — Never afeard are we"; So cried the stars to the fishermen three: Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. All night long their nets they threw To the stars in the twinkling foam — Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe, Bringing the
    6.71
    7 votes
    7
    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

    "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe about a mesmerist who puts a man in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death. An example of a tale of suspense and horror, it is also, to a certain degree, a hoax as it was published without claiming to be fictional, and many at the time of publication (1845) took it to be a factual account. Poe toyed with this for a while before admitting it was a work of pure fiction in his "Marginalia". The narrator presents the facts of the extraordinary case of Valdemar which have incited public discussion. He is interested in Mesmerism, a pseudoscience involving bringing a patient into a hypnagogic state by the influence of magnetism, a process which later developed into hypnotism. He points out that, as far as he knows, no one has ever been mesmerized at the point of death, and he is curious to see what effects mesmerism would have on a dying person. He considers experimenting on his friend Ernest Valdemar, an author whom he had previously mesmerized, and who has recently been diagnosed with phthisis (tuberculosis). Valdemar consents to the experiment and informs the narrator by letter that he
    7.17
    6 votes
    8
    The Rape of the Lock

    The Rape of the Lock

    The Rape of the Lock is a mock-heroic narrative poem written by Alexander Pope, first published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany in May 1712 in two cantos (334 lines), but then revised, expanded and reissued under Pope's name on March 2, 1714, in a much-expanded 5-canto version (794 lines). The final form was available in 1717 with the addition of Clarissa's speech on good humour. The poem satirizes a minor incident by comparing it to the epic world of the gods. It was based on an actual incident recounted by Pope's friend, John Caryll. Arabella Fermor and her suitor, Lord Petre, were both from aristocratic recusant Catholic families at a period in England when under such laws as the Test Act, all denominations except Anglicanism suffered legal restrictions and penalties (for example Petre could not take up his place in the House of Lords as a Catholic). Petre, lusting after Arabella, had cut off a lock of her hair without permission, and the consequent argument had created a breach between the two families. Pope, also a Catholic, wrote the poem at the request of friends in an attempt to "comically merge the two." He utilized the character Belinda to represent Arabella and
    9.50
    4 votes
    9
    The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

    The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

    "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Sir James Damery comes to see Holmes and Watson about his illustrious client's problem (the client's identity is never revealed to the reader, although Watson finds out at the end of the story). It would seem that old General de Merville's young daughter Violet has fallen madly in love with the roguish and sadistic Austrian Baron Adelbert Gruner, whom both Damery and Holmes are convinced is a murderer. The victim was his last wife, of whose murder he was acquitted owing to a legal technicality and a witness's untimely death. She met her end in the Splügen Pass. Violet has a very strong will, and will not hear a word spoken against the Baron. He has even told her about his chequered past, but always spinning the tales to make himself appear the hapless victim. Holmes also finds out from Damery that the Baron has expensive tastes, is a collector, and a recognised authority on Chinese pottery. This will prove to be useful information later. Holmes's first step is to go
    8.20
    5 votes
    10
    The Colour Out of Space

    The Colour Out of Space

    "The Colour Out of Space" is a short story written by American horror author H. P. Lovecraft in March 1927. In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the "blasted heath" in the wild hills west of Arkham, Massachusetts. Listening to the experiences of an old man by the name of Ammi Pierce, the narrator discovers that many years ago a meteorite crashed into lands then-owned by a farmer by the name of Nahum Gardner. Scientists were unable to determine its origins and the rock eventually shrank into nothingness, leaving something that is described "only by analogy", as a "colour". This "colour" infects the farmstead and drains the life force from anything living nearby; vegetation grows large, but tasteless, animals are driven mad and deformed into grotesque shapes, and the Gardner family members go insane or die one by one. After two weeks of no contact from the family, Pierce visits the site to find that the horror has destroyed the family and the house. Returning with six men to investigate the remains, Pierce witnesses the "colour" pour out of the well and blight everything that it touches before returning to the sky that spawned
    7.00
    6 votes
    11
    The Nose

    The Nose

    "The Nose" (Russian: Нос) is a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Written between 1835 and 1836, it tells of a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own. The story is in three parts: On the 25th of March, a barber, Ivan Yakovlevich, finds a nose in his bread during breakfast. With horror he recognizes this nose as that of one of his regular customers, Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov (known as 'Major Kovalyov'). He tries to get rid of it by throwing it in the Neva River, but he is caught by a police officer. At the onset of “The Nose,” Major Kovalyov awakens to discover that his nose is missing, leaving a smooth, flat patch of skin in its place. His nose is already pretending to be a human. He finds and confronts it in the Kazan Cathedral, but from its clothing it is apparent that the nose has acquired a higher rank in the civil service than he and refuses to return to his face. Kovalyov visits the newspaper office to place an ad about the loss of his nose, but is refused. Kovalyov returns to his flat, where the police officer who caught Ivan finds him and returns the nose (which he caught at a coach station, trying to flee the city).
    9.25
    4 votes
    12
    The Man From Snowy River

    The Man From Snowy River

    "The Man from Snowy River" is a poem by Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson. It was first published in The Bulletin, an Australian news magazine, on 26 April 1890. The poem tells the story of a horseback pursuit to recapture the colt of a prizewinning racehorse that escaped from its paddock and is living wild with the brumbies (wild horses) of the mountain ranges. Eventually the brumbies descend a seemingly impassably steep slope, at which point the assembled riders give up the pursuit, except the young hero, who spurs his pony down the "terrible descent" to catch the mob. Two characters mentioned in the early part of the poem are featured in previous Paterson poems; "Clancy of the Overflow" and Harrison from "Old Pardon, Son of Reprieve". It is recorded in the selected works of "Banjo" Paterson that the location of the ride fictionalised in the poem was in the region of today's Burrinjuck Dam, north-west of Canberra in Australian Capital Territory. Paterson had helped round up brumbies as a child and later owned property in this region. The Snowy River, from where "the Man" comes, has its headwaters in the Snowy Mountains, the highest section of the Great Dividing Range near the
    6.67
    6 votes
    13
    Nietzsche contra Wagner

    Nietzsche contra Wagner

    "Nietzsche contra Wagner" is a critical essay by Friedrich Nietzsche, composed of recycled passages from his past works, written in his last year of lucidity (1888–1889). It was not published until 1895, six years after Nietzsche's mental collapse. In it Nietzsche describes why he parted ways with his one-time idol and friend, Richard Wagner. Nietzsche attacks Wagner's views in this short work, expressing disappointment and frustration in Wagner's life choices (such as his conversion to Christianity, perceived as a sign of weakness). Nietzsche evaluates Wagner's philosophy on tonality, music and art; he admires Wagner's power to emote and express himself, but largely disdains what Nietzsche calls his religious biases. The sections are as follows: Nietzsche explains that this book consists of selections from his previous writings. They show that he and Wagner are opposites. Nietzsche states that this book is for psychologists. He excludes Germans from his intended readers. Nietzsche admired Wagner's ability to express his own suffering and misery in short musical creations. He criticized Wagner's attempt to produce large works. Nietzsche’s objections to Wagner’s music were physical.
    10.00
    3 votes
    14
    Queen of the Black Coast

    Queen of the Black Coast

    "Queen of the Black Coast" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa May 1934. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan becoming a notorious pirate and plundering the coastal villages of Kush alongside Bêlit, a head-strong femme fatale. Due to its epic scope and atypical romance, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his most famous tales. Howard earned $115 for the sale of this story to Weird Tales and it is now in the public domain. The story begins in an Argos port where Conan forcefully demands passage aboard a sail barge, the Argus, which is casting off for southern waters to trade beads, silks, sugar and brass-hilted swords to the black kings of Kush. The captain of the barge reluctantly agrees to Conan's request for passage only after several threats of violence. The captain is soon informed that Conan is fleeing the civil authorities of Argos due to a court dispute in which Conan refused to betray the whereabouts of a casual friend to a fascistic magistrate
    8.50
    4 votes
    15
    The Man with the Twisted Lip

    The Man with the Twisted Lip

    "The Man with the Twisted Lip", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the sixth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in December 1891. Doyle ranked "The Man with the Twisted Lip" sixteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr. Watson is called upon late at night by a female friend of his wife. Her husband has been absent for several days and, as he is an opium addict, she is sure he has been indulging in a lengthy drug binge in a dangerous East End opium den. Frantic with worry, she seeks Dr. Watson's help in fetching him home. Watson does this, but he also finds his friend Sherlock Holmes in the den, disguised as an old man, trying to extract information about a new case from the addicts in the den. Mr. Neville St. Clair, a respectable and punctual country businessman, has disappeared. Making the matter even more mysterious is that Mrs. St. Clair is quite sure that she saw her husband at a second-floor window of the opium den, in Upper Swandam Lane, a rather rough part of town near the docks. He withdrew into the window
    8.50
    4 votes
    16
    The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

    The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

    "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the second of the twelve Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in most British editions of the canon, and second of the eight stories from His Last Bow in most American versions. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1892. The tale begins when Miss Susan Cushing of Croydon receives a parcel in the post which contains two severed human ears packed in coarse salt. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard suspects a prank by three medical students whom Miss Cushing was forced to evict because of their unruly behaviour. The parcel was sent from Belfast which is where one of the former boarders was from. Holmes, however, upon examining the parcel himself, is convinced that they are dealing with a serious crime. He reasons that a medical student with access to a dissection laboratory would likely use something other than plain salt to preserve human remains and would be able to make a neater incision than the rough hack used on these ears. Also, the address on the package itself, roughly written and with a spelling correction, suggests to Holmes a
    9.67
    3 votes
    17
    The Man of the Crowd

    The Man of the Crowd

    "The Man of the Crowd" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe about a nameless narrator following a man through a crowded London, first published in 1840. The story is introduced with the epigraph, "Ce grand malheur, de ne pouvoir être seul"—a quote taken from The Characters of Man by Jean de la Bruyère. It translates to Such a great misfortune, not to be able to be alone. This same quote is used in Poe's earliest tale, "Metzengerstein". After an unnamed illness, the unnamed narrator sits in an unnamed coffee shop in London. Fascinated by the crowd outside the window, he considers how isolated people think they are, despite "the very denseness of the company around". He takes time to categorize the different types of people he sees. As evening falls, the narrator focuses on "a decrepit old man, some sixty-five or seventy years of age," whose face has a peculiar idiosyncrasy, and whose body "was short in stature, very thin, and apparently very feeble" wearing filthy, ragged clothes of a "beautiful texture". The narrator dashes out of the coffee shop to follow the man from afar. The man leads the narrator through bazaars and shops, buying nothing, and into a poorer part of the
    7.20
    5 votes
    18
    Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    "Lost in Translation" is a narrative poem by James Merrill (1926–1995), one of the most studied and celebrated of his shorter works. It was originally published in The New Yorker magazine on April 8, 1974, and published in book form in 1976 in Divine Comedies. The poem opens with a description of a summer Merrill spent as a child in a great house in The Hamptons, with his governess, waiting patiently for a rented wooden jigsaw puzzle to arrive in the mail from an Upper East Side Manhattan puzzle rental shop. "Lost in Translation" is Merrill's most anthologized poem, and has been widely praised by literary critics including Harold Bloom. Merrill wrote in his lifetime mainly for a select group of friends, fans, and critics, and expected readers of "Lost in Translation" to have some knowledge of his biography. Born in New York City, Merrill was the son of the founder of the world's largest brokerage firm. He enjoyed a privileged upbringing in economic and cultural terms, although his intelligence and exceptional financial circumstances often made him feel lonely as a child. Merrill was the only son of Charles E. Merrill and Hellen Ingram. (Merrill had two older half siblings from his
    8.25
    4 votes
    19
    Namárië

    Namárië

    "Namárië" is a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien written in Quenya, a constructed language, and published for the first time in The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter "Farewell to Lórien"). It has the subtitle "Galadriel's Lament in Lórien", which in Quenya is Altariello nainië Lóriendessë. The poem appears only in one other book by Tolkien, The Road Goes Ever On. The Quenya word namárië is a reduced form of á na márië, meaning literally "be well", an Elvish formula used for greeting and for farewell. "Namárië" is the longest Quenya text in the The Lord of the Rings and also one of the longest continuous texts in Quenya that was ever written by Tolkien. It was rewritten many times by Tolkien before it reached the form that was published (see Early versions below). Many Tengwar versions were made by Tolkien. An English translation is provided in the book. The first version of "Namárië" was published in The Treason of Isengard pp. 284–285. The text is in Quenya, but Tolkien did not provide a translation and some of the words are unlike those used in the final poem. Many words can be found in the Etymologies. Although there are words that can be recognized by
    7.00
    5 votes
    20
    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

    "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a short story by the 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in the Argentine journal Sur, May 1940. The "postscript" dated 1947 is intended to be anachronistic, set seven years in the future. The first English-language translation of the story was published in 1961. In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called Uqbar is the first indication of a massive conspiracy of intellectuals to imagine (and thereby create) a world known as Tlön. Relatively long for Borges (approximately 5,600 words), the story is a work of speculative fiction. One of the major themes of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is that ideas ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world and the story is generally viewed as a parabolic discussion of Berkeleian idealism — and to some degree as a protest against totalitarianism. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" has the structure of a detective fiction set in a world going mad. Although the story is quite short, it makes allusions to many leading intellectual figures both in Argentina and in the world at large, and takes up a number of themes more typical of a novel of ideas.
    7.00
    5 votes
    21
    Men and Women

    Men and Women

    Men and Women is a collection of fifty-one poems in two volumes by Robert Browning, first published in 1855. While now generally considered to contain some of the best of Browning's poetry, at the time it was not received well and sold poorly. Men and Women was Browning's first published work after a five year hiatus, and his first collection of shorter poems since his marriage to Elizabeth Barrett in 1846. His reputation had still not recovered from the disastrous failure of Sordello fifteen years previously, and Browning was at the time comprehensively overshadowed by his wife in terms of both critical reception and commercial success. Away from the spotlight, Browning was able to work on a long-considered project. He had long been associated with the dramatic monologue, having written two early volumes of poems entitled Dramatic Lyrics and Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, but with Men and Women he took the concept a step further. Browning's Men and Women consists of fifty-one poems, all of which are monologues spoken by different narrators, some identified and some not; the first fifty take in a very diverse range of historical, religious or European situations, with the
    9.33
    3 votes
    22
    Mugby Junction

    Mugby Junction

    Mugby Junction was a set of short stories by Charles Dickens written in 1866. It was first published in a Christmas edition of the magazine All The Year Round. It includes the famous ghost story The Signalman concerning a spectre seen beside a tunnel entrance. The signal-man of the title tells the narrator of a ghost that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes, and is a harbinger of, a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman's work is at a signalbox in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him via telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident. The first accident involves a terrible collision between two trains in the tunnel. It is likely that Dickens based this incident on the Clayton Tunnel rail crash that occurred in 1861, five years before he wrote the story. Readers in 1866 would have been familiar with this major disaster. The
    8.00
    4 votes
    23
    The Book of the Duchess

    The Book of the Duchess

    The Book of the Duchess, also known as The Deth of Blaunche is the earliest of Chaucer’s major poems, preceded only by his short poem, "An ABC," and possibly by his translation of The Romaunt of the Rose. Most sources put the date of composition after September 12, 1368 (when Blanche of Lancaster died) and 1372, with many recent studies privileging a date as early as the end of 1368. Overwhelming (if disputed) evidence suggests that Chaucer wrote the poem to commemorate the death of Blanche of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt. The evidence includes handwritten notes from Elizabethan antiquary John Stowe indicating that the poem was written at John of Gaunt’s request. There are repeated instances of the word “White,” which is almost certainly a play on “Blanche.” In addition, at the end of the poem there are references to a 'long castel', suggesting the house of Lancaster (line 1318) and a 'ryche hil' as John of Gaunt was earl of Richmond (mond=hill) (line 1319) and the narrator swears by St John, which is John of Gaunt's saints name. At the beginning of the poem, the sleepless poet lies in bed, reading a book. A collection of old stories, the book tells the story of Ceyx and
    8.00
    4 votes
    24
    The Cask of Amontillado

    The Cask of Amontillado

    "The Cask of Amontillado" (sometimes spelled "The Casque of Amontillado") is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book. The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly in the 18th century) and is about the narrator's deadly revenge on a friend whom he believes has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive—in this case, by immurement. As in "The Black Cat" ,and "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe conveys the story through the murderer's perspective. Montresor tells the story of the day that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman, to an unspecified person who knows him very well. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester's motley. He baits Fortunato by telling him he has obtained what he believes to be a pipe (about 130 gallons, 492 litres) of a rare vintage of Amontillado. He claims he wants his friend's expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine
    8.00
    4 votes
    25
    The Devil in Iron

    The Devil in Iron

    "The Devil in Iron" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in August 1934. Howard earned $115 for the publication of this story. The plot concerns the resurrection of a mythical demon due to the theft of a sacred dagger, and an unrelated trap that lures Conan to the island fortress roamed by the demon. Due to its plot loopholes and borrowed elements from "Iron Shadows in the Moon", some Howard scholars claim this story is the weakest of the early Conan tales. In "The Devil in Iron," an ancient demon, Khosatral Khel, is awakened on the remote island of Xapur due to the meddling of a greedy fisherman. Upon reawakening, Khel resurrects the ancient fortress which once dominated the island, including its cyclopean walls, gigantic pythons, and long-dead citizens. Meanwhile, Conan — a leader of the Vilayet kozaks — is tricked by the villainous Jehungir Agha into pursuing the lovely Octavia to the island of Xapur. Jehungir Agha plans for Conan to fall into a prepared trap on the island. The unforeseen resurrection of the island demon and its ancient fortress, however, interrupts these plans. When Conan arrives on Xapur,
    8.00
    4 votes
    26
    The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

    The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

    "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes wakes Doctor Watson up early one morning to rush to a murder scene at the Abbey Grange near Chislehurst. Sir Eustace Brackenstall has been killed, apparently by burglars. Inspector Stanley Hopkins believes that it was the infamous Randall gang, a father and two sons. Upon arrival at Abbey Grange, Lady Brackenstall is found resting with a purple swelling over one eye, the result of a blow during the previous night's incident. There are also two red spots on her arm. Her maid, Theresa Wright, who has been with her mistress since she was a girl, later tells Holmes that Sir Eustace inflicted those with a hatpin. Lady Brackenstall tells Holmes that her marriage was not happy. Sir Eustace Brackenstall was a violent, abusive alcoholic. Moreover, Lady Brackenstall found it hard to adjust to life in England after the freedom that she enjoyed in her native Australia, which she left 18 months before. She had been married for about a year. About 11 o'clock, Lady Brackenstall walked
    6.00
    6 votes
    27
    Lady Clara Vere de Vere

    Lady Clara Vere de Vere

    Lady Clara Vere de Vere is an English poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, part of the collection The Lady of Shalott, and Other Poems, published in 1842. The poem is about a lady in a family of aristocrats, and has numerous noble references, such as to earls or coats of arms. One such line from the poem goes, "Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood." This line gave the title to the film Kind Hearts and Coronets. Lewis Carroll's poem Echoes is based on Lady Clare Vere de Vere.
    6.80
    5 votes
    28
    Xuthal of the Dusk

    Xuthal of the Dusk

    "The Slithering Shadow" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in the September 1933 issue of Weird Tales magazine. The story's original title was "Xuthal of the Dusk". It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan finding a lost city in a remote desert and encountering therein a Lovecraftian-esque demon known as Thog. The story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Adventurer (Lancer Books, 1966). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) as "The Slithering Shadow" and in Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003) under its original title, "Xuthal of the Dusk." Conan the Cimmerian and Natala the Brythunian are the sole survivors of Prince Almuric's army which swept through the Lands of Shem and the outlands of Stygia. With a Stygian host on its heels, the prince's army had cut its way through the kingdom of Kush, only to be annihilated on the edge of the southern desert. From
    6.60
    5 votes
    29
    In a Station of the Metro

    In a Station of the Metro

    "In a Station of the Metro" is an Imagist poem by Ezra Pound published in 1913 in the literary magazine Poetry. In the poem, Pound describes a moment in the underground metro station in Paris in 1912; Pound suggested that the faces of the individuals in the metro were best put into a poem not with a description but with an "equation". Because of the treatment of the subject's appearance by way of the poem's own visuality, it is considered a quintessential Imagist text. The poem was reprinted in Pound's collection Lustra in 1917, and again in the 1926 anthology Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound, which compiled his early pre-Hugh Selwyn Mauberley works. The poem contains only fourteen words, further exemplifying Imagism's precise economy of language. Pound was influential in the creation of Imagist poetry until he left the movement to embrace Vorticism in 1914. Pound, though briefly, embraced Imagism stating that it was an important step away from the verbose style of Victorian literature and suggested that it "is the sort of American stuff I can show here in Paris without its being ridiculed". "In a Station of the Metro" is an early work of Modernist poetry as it attempts
    7.50
    4 votes
    30
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance. It is one of the better-known Arthurian stories, of an established type known as the "beheading game". Written in bob and wheel stanzas, it emerges from Welsh, Irish and English tradition and highlights the importance of honour and chivalry. It is an important poem in the romance genre, which typically involves a hero who goes on a quest that tests his prowess, and it remains popular to this day in modern English renderings from J. R. R. Tolkien, Simon Armitage and others as well as through film and stage adaptations. In it Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table, accepts a challenge from a mysterious "Green Knight" who challenges any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him with his blow, at which the Green Knight stands up, picks up his head and reminds Gawain of the appointed time. In his struggles to keep his bargain Gawain demonstrates chivalry and loyalty until his honour is called into question by a test involving Lady Bertilak, the lady of the Green Knight's castle. The ambiguity of the poem's ending
    7.50
    4 votes
    31
    The Black Stranger

    The Black Stranger

    "The Black Stranger" is one of the stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, it was produced in the 1930s but not published in his lifetime. When the original Conan version of the story failed to find a publisher, Howard re-wrote "The Black Stranger" into a piratical Terence Vulmea story. The original version of the story was later rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp, into a different Conan story, and published in Fantasy Magazine for February 1953. It was retitled "The Treasure of Tranicos" for book publication later the same year. Its first hardbound publication was in King Conan, published by Gnome Press, and its first paperback publication was in Conan the Usurper, published by Lancer Books in 1967. It was republished together with an introduction and two non-fiction pieces on the story and on Howard by de Camp and illustrations by Esteban Maroto as The Treasure of Tranicos by Ace Books in 1980. Howard's original version of the story was first published in 1987 in Echoes of Valor and more recently in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (Del Rey Books, 2005). The story
    7.50
    4 votes
    32
    A Case of Identity

    A Case of Identity

    "A Case of Identity" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is the third story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Set in 1887, the story revolves around the case of Miss Mary Sutherland, a woman with a substantial income from the interest on a fund set up for her. She is engaged to a quiet Londoner who has recently disappeared. Sherlock Holmes's detective powers are barely challenged as this turns out to be quite an elementary case for him, much as it puzzles Watson. The fiancé, Mr. Hosmer Angel, is a peculiar character, rather quiet, and rather secretive about his life. Miss Sutherland only knows that he works in an office in Leadenhall Street, but nothing more specific than that. All his letters to her are typewritten, even the signature, and he insists that she write back to him through the local Post Office. The climax of the sad liaison comes when Mr. Angel abandons Miss Sutherland at the altar on their wedding day. Holmes, noting all these things, Hosmer Angel's description, and the fact that he only seems to meet with Miss Sutherland while her disapproving youngish stepfather, James Windibank, is out of the country on
    8.67
    3 votes
    33
    Diary of a Madman

    Diary of a Madman

    Diary of a Madman (1835; Russian: Записки сумасшедшего, Zapiski sumasshedshego) is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Along with The Overcoat and The Nose, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol's greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol's works written in first person, follows diary-entry format. Diary of a Madman centers on the life of Poprishchin, a low-ranking civil servant and titular counsellor who yearns to be noticed by a beautiful woman, the daughter of a senior official, with whom he has fallen in love. His diary records his gradual slide into insanity. As his madness deepens, he begins to suspect two dogs of having a love affair and believes he has discovered letters sent between them. Finally, he begins to believe himself to be the heir to the throne of Spain. When he is hauled off and maltreated in the asylum, the madman believes he is taking part in a strange coronation to the Spanish throne. Only in his madness does the lowly
    8.67
    3 votes
    34
    The Defenders

    The Defenders

    "The Defenders" is a 1953 science fiction short story by American author Philip K. Dick, and the basis for Dick's 1964 novel The Penultimate Truth. It is one of several of his short stories to be expanded into a novel. In 1956, the story was adapted for the radio program X Minus One by George Lefferts. The story deals with the Cold War era. It depicts a future history where nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union had occurred years ago and the American people are living in subterranean cities to avoid radiation. The Americans are told that the war is still continuing on the irradiated surface, fought on their behalf by soldier-like robots. The end of the story reveals that contrary to what Americans thought, the war has ended long ago and the robots have been maintaining a peace with the Soviets for many years. They had not informed the subterranean dwellers as they thought them too immature and belligerent to understand the futility of war. A team of American soldiers who had forced their way to the surface in order to observe a supposed Soviet attack discover the truth, and meet with a similar Soviet team brought by the robots to begin peace talks. The story
    8.67
    3 votes
    35
    Young Goodman Brown

    Young Goodman Brown

    "Young Goodman Brown" (1835) is a short story by American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story takes place in 17th century Puritan New England, a common setting for Hawthorne's works, and addresses the Calvinist/Puritan belief that humanity exists in a state of depravity, exempting those who are born in a state of grace. Hawthorne frequently attempts to expose the hypocrisy of Puritan culture in his literature. In a symbolic fashion, the story follows Young Goodman Brown's journey into self-scrutiny which results in his loss of faith. The story begins at dusk in Salem, Massachusetts, as young Goodman Brown leaves Faith, his wife of three months, for an unknown errand in the forest. Faith pleads with her husband to stay with her but he insists the journey into the forest must be completed that night. In the forest he meets a man, dressed in a similar manner to himself and bearing a resemblance to himself. The man carries a black serpent-shaped staff. The two encounter Mistress Cloyse in the woods who complains about the need to walk and, evidently friendly with the stranger, accepts his snake staff and flies away to her destination. Other townspeople inhabit the woods that night,
    8.67
    3 votes
    36
    A Legend of Old Egypt

    A Legend of Old Egypt

    "A Legend of Old Egypt" (Polish: "Z legend dawnego Egiptu") is a short story by Bolesław Prus, originally published January 1, 1888, in New Year's supplements to the Warsaw Kurier Codzienny (Daily Courier) and Tygodnik Ilustrowany (Illustrated Weekly). It was his first piece of historical fiction and later served as a preliminary sketch for his only historical novel, Pharaoh (1895), which would be serialized in the Illustrated Weekly. "A Legend of Old Egypt" and Pharaoh show unmistakable kinships in setting, theme and denouement. The centenarian pharaoh Ramses is breathing his last, "his chest... invested by a stifling incubus [that drains] the blood from his heart, the strength from his arm, and at times even the consciousness from his brain." He commands the wisest physician at the Temple of Karnak to prepare him a medicine that kills or cures at once. After Ramses drinks the potion, he summons an astrologer and asks what the stars show. The astrologer replies that heavenly alignments portend the death of a member of the dynasty; Ramses should not have taken the medicine today. Ramses then asks the physician how soon he will die; the physician replies that before sunrise either
    10.00
    2 votes
    37
    The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

    The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

    "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is contacted by Miss Violet Smith of Farnham, Surrey about an unusual turn in her and her mother’s lives. Violet’s father has recently died, and left his wife and daughter rather poor. However, a notice appeared in the newspaper not much later inquiring as to their whereabouts. Answering it, they met Mr. Carruthers and Mr. Woodley, the former a pleasant enough man, but the latter a churl and a bully. They had come from South Africa where they had known Violet’s uncle Ralph Smith, who had now also died in poverty and apparently wanted to see that his relatives were provided for. This struck Violet as odd, since she and her family had not heard a word from Uncle Ralph since he went to South Africa 25 years ago. Carruthers and Woodley explained that before dying, Ralph had heard of his brother’s death and felt responsible for his survivors’ welfare. Carruthers began by offering Violet a job as a live-in music teacher for his ten-year-old daughter at £100 a year, about
    10.00
    2 votes
    38
    The Phoenix on the Sword

    The Phoenix on the Sword

    "The Phoenix on the Sword" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine December 1932. The tale was a rewrite of the unpublished Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule!" with long passages being identical. The Conan version of the story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Usurper (Lancer Books, 1967). It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan foiling a nefarious plot to unseat him as king of Aquilonia. "The Phoenix on the Sword" begins with a middle-aged Conan of Cimmeria attempting to govern the turbulent kingdom of Aquilonia. Conan has recently seized the bloody crown of Aquilonia from King Numedides whom he strangled upon his throne; however, things have not gone well, as Conan is more suited to swinging a broadsword than to signing official documents with a stylus. The people of Aquilonia, who originally welcomed Conan as
    10.00
    2 votes
    39
    The Tree

    The Tree

    "The Tree" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1920 and first published in the October 1921. This story came early in Lovecraft's writing career, and is generally considered to be within his "Macabre" phase. Lovecraft's inspiration for the story likely came in part from the book The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, published in 1890. Of particular note is Machen's depiction of Pan as a power of nature. "The Tree" was first published in The Tryout, 7, No. 7 (October 1921), [3-10]. "The Tree" is told in past tense, in third person objective. The location of the story is Mount Maenalus, in Arcadia, Greece, a mountain which was a "chosen haunt" for the Greek God Pan. The story opens with a vivid description of the olive grove, and a fearful, human-like olive tree within it. The story then introspectively turns several years back, recalling the famous sculptors Kalos and Musides, whose works were praised throughout the known world. One day, the Tyrant of Syracuse invited Kalos and Musides to compete in the creation of "a wonder of nations and a goal of travelers". While working on their sculptures, Kalos fell ill, much to the dismay of Musides.
    10.00
    2 votes
    40
    Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu

    Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu

    Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu (English "The Unknown Masterpiece") is a short story by Honoré de Balzac. It was first published in the newspaper L'Artiste with the title "Maître Frenhofer" (English: "Master Frenhofer") in August 1831. It appeared again later in the same year under the title "Catherine Lescault, conte fantastique." It was published in Balzac's Études philosophiques in 1837 and was integrated into the La Comédie humaine in 1846. At the most fundamental level, "Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu" is a reflection on art. Young Nicolas Poussin, as yet unknown, visits the painter Porbus in his workshop. He is accompanied by the old master Frenhofer who comments expertly on the large tableau that Porbus has just finished. The painting is of Mary of Egypt, and while Frenhofer sings her praises, he hints that the work seems unfinished. With some slight touches of the paintbrush, Frenhofer transforms Porbus' painting such that Mary the Egyptian appears to come alive before their very eyes. Although Frenhofer has mastered his technique, he admits that he has been unable to find a suitable model for his own masterpiece, La Belle noiseuse, on which he has been working for ten years. This future
    6.40
    5 votes
    41
    An Anna Blume

    An Anna Blume

    An Anna Blume ("To Anna Flower" also translated as "To Eve Blossom") is a poem written by the German artist Kurt Schwitters in 1919. It has been described as a parody of a love poem, an emblem of the chaos and madness of the era, and as a harbinger of a new poetic language. Originally published in Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm magazine in August 1919, the poem made Schwitters famous almost overnight. The poem was parodied in newspapers and magazines, and strongly polarized public opinion. Whilst Schwitters was never an official member of Berlin Dada, he was closely linked to many members of the group, in particular Raoul Hausmann and Hans Arp, and the poem is written in a dadaist style, using multiple perspectives, fragments of found text, and absurdist elements to mirror the fragmentation of the narrator's emotional state in the throes of love, or of Germany's political, military and economic collapse after the First World War. "Elements of poetry are letters, syllables, words, sentences. Poetry arises from the interaction of those elements. Meaning is important only if it employed as one such factor. I play off sense against nonsense. I prefer nonsense, but that is a purely
    7.25
    4 votes
    42
    The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the last of the twelve collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in June 1892. Violet Hunter visits Holmes, asking whether she should accept a job as governess; a job with very strange conditions. She is enticed by the phenomenal salary which, as originally offered, is £100 a year, later increased to £120 when Miss Hunter baulks at having to cut her long hair short (Her previous position paid £48 per year). This is only one of many peculiar provisos to which she must agree. The employer, Jephro Rucastle, seems pleasant enough, yet Miss Hunter obviously has her suspicions. She announces to Holmes, after the raised salary offer, that she will take the job, and Holmes suggests that if he is needed, a telegram will bring him to Hampshire, where Mr Rucastle's country estate, the Copper Beeches, is situated. After a fortnight, Holmes receives such a message, beseeching him to come and see her in Winchester. Miss Hunter tells them one of the most singular stories that they have ever heard. Mr Rucastle would
    7.25
    4 votes
    43
    The Scarlet Citadel

    The Scarlet Citadel

    "The Scarlet Citadel" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa January 1933. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns a middle-aged Conan battling rival kingdoms, being captured through treachery and escaping from an eldritch dungeon via unexpected aid. The story includes Tsotha-lanti who is an evil wizard whose sorcerous arts help ensnare King Conan. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Usurper (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "The Scarlet Citadel" was the second Conan story to be printed by Weird Tales magazine and involves an older, wiser Conan as king of Aquilonia. King Conan receives a call for help from Amalrus, the ruler of neighbouring Ophir, who claims that Stradabonus, the king of Koth, is threatening his border. When Conan marches to the aid of Amalrus with five thousand
    7.25
    4 votes
    44
    The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

    The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

    "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" (1835) is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in the June 1835 issue of the monthly magazine Southern Literary Messenger, and intended by Poe to be a hoax. Poe planned to continue the hoax in further installments, but was upstaged by the famous Great Moon Hoax which started in the August 25, 1835 issue of the New York Sun daily newspaper. Poe later wrote that the flippant tone of the story made it easy for educated readers to see through the supposed hoax. The story opens with the delivery to a crowd gathered in Rotterdam of a manuscript detailing the journey of a man named Hans Pfaall. The manuscript, which comprises the majority of the story, sets out in detail how Pfaall contrived to reach the moon by benefit of a revolutionary new balloon and a device which compresses the vacuum of space into breathable air. The journey takes him nineteen days, and the narrative includes descriptions of the Earth from space as well as the descent to its fiery, volcanic satellite. Pfaall withholds most of the information regarding the surface of the moon and its inhabitants in order to negotiate a pardon from the Burgomaster for several
    7.25
    4 votes
    45
    The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

    The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

    "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main narrator is not Doctor Watson, but Sherlock Holmes himself. With Watson providing an introduction, the story-within-a-story is a classic example of a frame tale. It is one of the earliest recorded cases investigated by Holmes, and establishes his problem solving skills. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" shares elements with two Edgar Allan Poe tales: "The Gold Bug" and "The Cask of Amontillado". In 1927, Conan Doyle ranked the story at 11th place on his top 12 Holmes stories list. The story did better in a 1959 chart produced by the Baker Street Journal, ranking 6th out of 10. In the story, Holmes recounts to Watson the events arising after a visit from a university acquaintance, Reginald Musgrave. Musgrave visits Holmes after the disappearance of two of his domestic staff, Rachel Howells, a maid, and Richard Brunton, the longtime butler. The pair vanished after Musgrave had
    8.33
    3 votes
    46
    Love's Labour's Lost

    Love's Labour's Lost

    Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s, and first published in 1598. The play opens with the King of Navarre and three noble companions, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, taking an oath to devote themselves to three years of study, promising not to give in to the company of women – Berowne somewhat more hesitantly than the others. Berowne reminds the king that the princess and her three ladies are coming to the kingdom and it would be suicidal for the King to agree to this law. The King denies what Berowne says, insisting that the ladies make their camp in the field outside of his court. The King and his men meet the princess and her ladies. Instantly, they all fall comically in love. The main story is assisted by many other humorous sub-plots. A rather heavy-accented Spanish swordsman, Don Adriano de Armado, tries and fails to woo a country wench, Jaquenetta, helped by Moth, his page, and rivalled by Costard, a country idiot. We are also introduced to two scholars, Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, and we see them converse with each other in schoolboy Latin. In the final act, the comic characters perform a
    6.20
    5 votes
    47
    The Spectacles

    The Spectacles

    "The Spectacles" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1844. It is one of Poe's comedy tales. The narrator, 22-year old Napoleon Buonaparte, changes his last name from "Froissart" to "Simpson" as a requirement to inherit a large sum from a distant cousin, Adolphus Simpson. At the opera he sees a beautiful woman in the audience and falls in love instantly. He describes her beauty at length, despite not being able to see her well; he requires spectacles but, in his vanity, "resolutely refused to employ them." His companion Talbot identifies the woman as Madame Eugenie Lalande, a wealthy widow, and promises to introduce the two. He courts her and proposes marriage; she makes him promise that, on their wedding night, he will wear his spectacles. When he puts on the spectacles, he sees that she is a toothless old woman. He expresses horror at her appearance, and even more so when he learns she is 82 years old. She begins a rant about a very foolish descendant of hers, one Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart. He realizes that she is his great-great-grandmother. Madame Lalande, who is also Mrs. Simpson, had come to America to meet her husband's heir. She was accompanied by a much
    6.20
    5 votes
    48
    The Thing on the Doorstep

    The Thing on the Doorstep

    "The Thing on the Doorstep" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror fiction. It was written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Two novels suggested as inspirations for "The Thing on the Doorstep" are Barry Pain's An Exchange of Souls (1911), about a scientist's invention that allows him to switch personalities with his wife, and H. B. Drake's The Remedy (1925; published in the U.S. as The Shadowy Thing), in which a character with the power of mind-transference comes back from the dead by possessing the body of an injured friend. The story is divided into 7 chapters: Daniel Upton, the story's narrator, begins by telling that he has killed his best friend, Edward Derby, and that he hopes his account will prove that he is not a murderer. He begins by describing Derby's life and career. He then tells of Asenath Waite, and how Derby and she wed. A few years later, people start to notice a change in Derby's abilities. He confides in Upton, telling him strange stories of Asenath, and how he believes her father, Ephraim Waite, may not actually be dead. Upton is called to pick up Derby who has been
    6.20
    5 votes
    49
    —All You Zombies—

    —All You Zombies—

    ""—All You Zombies—"" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein. It was written in one day, July 11, 1958, and first published in the March 1959 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine after being rejected by Playboy. The story involves a number of paradoxes caused by time travel. In 1980, it was nominated for the Balrog Award for short fiction. ""—All You Zombies—"" further develops themes explored by the author in a previous work: "By His Bootstraps", published some 18 years earlier. Some of the same elements also appear later in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1988), including the Circle of Ouroboros and the Temporal Corps. "'—All You Zombies—'" chronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); he thus turns out to be the offspring of that union, with the paradoxical result that he is his own mother and father. As the story unfolds, all the major characters are revealed to be the same person, at different stages of her/his life. The story involves an intricate series of time-travel journeys. It begins with a young man speaking to the narrator,
    6.20
    5 votes
    50
    Eloisa to Abelard

    Eloisa to Abelard

    Published in 1717, Eloisa to Abelard is a poem by Alexander Pope (1688–1744). It is an Ovidian heroic epistle inspired by the 12th-century story of Héloïse's illicit love for, and secret marriage to, her teacher Pierre Abélard, perhaps the most popular teacher and philosopher in Paris, and the brutal vengeance that her family exacts when they castrate him, even though the lovers had married. After the assault, and even though they have a child, Abélard enters a monastery and bids Eloisa to do the same. She is tortured by the separation and by her unwilling vow of silence, which she takes with her eyes fixed upon Abélard rather than upon the cross (line 116). Years later, she completes Historia Calamitatum (History of my Misfortunes), which is a letter of consolation to a friend, and her passion for him is reawakened. Eloisa and Abelard exchange four letters. In an effort to make sense of their personal tragedy, they explore the nature of human and divine love. However, their incompatible male and female perspectives make painful the dialogue for both. In Pope's poem, Eloisa feels anguish over her powerful feelings — especially in her dreams — for Abélard. She feels further anguish
    9.50
    2 votes
    51
    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is an 1854 narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. He was the poet laureate of the United Kingdom at the time of the writing of the poem. Tennyson's poem, published December 9, 1854 in The Examiner, praises the Brigade, "When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made!", while mourning the appalling futility of the charge: "Not tho' the soldier knew / Some one had blunder'd ... Charging an army while / All the world wonder'd:". According to his grandson Sir Charles Tennyson, Tennyson wrote the poem in only a few minutes after reading an account of the battle in The Times. As poet laureate he often wrote verses about public events. It immediately became hugely popular, even reaching the troops in the Crimea, where it was distributed in pamphlet form at the behest of Jane, Lady Franklin. Each stanza tells a different part of the story, and there is a delicate balance between nobility and brutality throughout. Although Tennyson's subject is the nobleness of supporting one's country, and the poem's tone and hoofbeat cadences are rousing, it pulls no punches
    9.50
    2 votes
    52
    The Murders in the Rue Morgue

    The Murders in the Rue Morgue

    "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been recognized as the first detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination". Two works that share some similarities predate Poe's stories, including Das Fräulein von Scuderi (1819) by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Zadig (1748) by Voltaire. C. Auguste Dupin is a man in Paris who solves the mystery of the brutal murder of two women. Numerous witnesses heard a suspect, though no one agrees on what language was spoken. At the murder scene, Dupin finds a hair that does not appear to be human. As the first true detective in fiction, the Dupin character established many literary devices which would be used in future fictional detectives including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Many later characters, for example, follow Poe's model of the brilliant detective, his personal friend who serves as narrator, and the final revelation being presented before the reasoning that leads up to it. Dupin himself reappears in "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" and "The Purloined Letter". The story surrounds the baffling double murder of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter in
    9.50
    2 votes
    53
    7.00
    4 votes
    54
    Sir Launfal

    Sir Launfal

    Sir Launfal is a 1045-line Middle English romance or Breton lay written by Thomas Chestre dating from the late-14th century. It is based primarily on the 538-line Middle English poem Sir Landevale, which in turn was based on Marie de France's lai Lanval, written in a form of French understood in the courts of both England and France in the 12th century. Sir Launfal retains the basic story told by Marie de France and retold in Sir Landevale, augmented with material from an Old French lai Graelent and a lost romance that possibly featured a giant named Sir Valentyne. This is in line with Thomas Chestre's eclectic way of creating his poetry. In the tale, Sir Launfal is propelled from wealth and status – the steward at King Arthur's court – to being a pauper and a social outcast. He is not even invited to a feast in his home town of Caerleon in South Wales when the king visits, although Arthur knows nothing of this. Out in the forest alone, he meets with two damsels who take him to their mistress, the daughter of the King of Faerie. She gives him untold wealth and a magic bag in which money can always be found, on the condition that he becomes her lover. She will visit him whenever he
    7.00
    4 votes
    55
    Viaje al Parnaso

    Viaje al Parnaso

    Viaje al Parnaso (or Viaje del Parnaso) (Spanish: Journey to Parnassus) is a poetic work by Miguel de Cervantes, generally rated as his second greatest work after the novel Don Quixote. It was first published in 1614 (see 1614 in poetry), two years before the author's death. The chief object of the poem is to satirize those among the author's contemporaries who are false pretenders to the honours of the Spanish Parnassus. This satire is of a peculiar character: an effusion of sportive humour, leaving it a matter of doubt whether Cervantes intended to praise or to ridicule the individuals whom he points out as being particularly worthy of the favour of Apollo. He himself says: "Those whose names do not appear in this list may be just as well pleased as those who are mentioned in it." Cervantes' aims in composing the poem seem to have been to characterise true poetry according to his own poetic feelings, to manifest in a decided way his enthusiasm for the art even in his old age, and to hold up a mirror for the conviction of those who were only capable of making rhymes and inventing extravagances. Concealed satire and open jesting are the combined elements of this work. The poem is
    6.00
    5 votes
    56
    L'Allegro

    L'Allegro

    L'Allegro is a pastoral poem by John Milton published in 1645. L'Allegro (which means "the happy man" in Italian) is invariably paired with the contrasting pastoral poem, Il Penseroso ("the melancholy man"), which depicts a similar day spent in contemplation and thought. It is uncertain when L'Allegro and Il Penseroso were composed because they do not appear in Milton's Trinity College manuscript of poetry. However, the settings found in the poem suggest that they were possibly composed shortly after Milton left Cambridge. The two poems were first published in Milton's 1645 collection of poems. In the collection, they served as a balance to each other and to his Latin poems, including "Elegia 1" and "Elegia 6". Milton follows the traditional classical hymn model when the narrator invokes Mirth/Euphrosyne and her divine parentage: The narrator continues by requesting Mirth to appear with: Later, the narrator describes how Mirth is connected to pastoral environments: Near the end of the poem, the narrator requests from Mirth to be immersed in the poetry and the pleasures that Mirth is able to produce: The final lines of the poem is a response to questions found within Elizabethan
    8.00
    3 votes
    57
    The Adventure of the Naval Treaty

    The Adventure of the Naval Treaty

    "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty" nineteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr. Watson receives a letter, which he then refers to Holmes, from an old schoolmate, now a Foreign Office employee from Woking who has had an important naval treaty stolen from his office. It disappeared while Mr. Percy Phelps had stepped out of his office momentarily late in the evening to see about some coffee that he had ordered. His office has two entrances, each joined by a stairway to a single landing. The commissionaire kept watch at the main entrance. There was no-one watching at the side entrance. Phelps also knew that his fiancée's brother was in town and that he might drop by. Phelps was alone in the office. Phelps pulled the bell cord in his office to summon the commissionaire, and to his surprise the commissionaire's wife came up instead. He worked at copying the treaty that he had been given while he waited. At last, he went to see the
    8.00
    3 votes
    58
    The Adventure of the Resident Patient

    The Adventure of the Resident Patient

    "The Adventure of the Resident Patient", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Resident Patient" eighteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Doctor Percy Trevelyan brings Holmes an unusual problem. Having been a brilliant student but a poor man, Dr. Trevelyan has found himself a participant in an unusual business arrangement. A man named Blessington, claiming to have some money to invest, has set Dr. Trevelyan up in premises with a prestigious address and paid all his expenses. In return, he demands three-fourths of all the money that the doctor’s practice earns, which he collects every evening, going over the books thoroughly and leaving the doctor five shillings and threepence (5/3d) of every guinea (21 shillings or 1 pound/1 shilling in pre-decimalized currency) from the day’s takings. Blessington is himself infirm, it turns out, and likes this arrangement because he can always have a doctor nearby. Everything has gone fairly well for the doctor since the arrangement began. Now,
    8.00
    3 votes
    59
    The Dead

    The Dead

    "The Dead" is the final short story in the 1914 collection Dubliners by James Joyce. It is the longest story in the collection and is often considered the best of Joyce's shorter works. At 15,672 words it has also been considered a novella. It was made into a film also entitled The Dead in 1987, directed by John Huston. In 1999 it was adapted into a musical by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey. Christopher Walken starred in the original production. Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy, Kate and Julia Morkan, and Bartell d'Arcy are all alluded to in James Joyce's later work, Ulysses, though no character from "The Dead" makes a direct appearance in the novel. The story centres on Gabriel Conroy on the night of the Morkan sisters' annual dance and dinner in the first week of January 1904, perhaps the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Typical of the stories in Dubliners, "The Dead" develops toward a moment of painful self-awareness; Joyce described this as an epiphany. The narrative generally concentrates on Gabriel's insecurities, his social awkwardness, and the defensive way he copes with his discomfort. The story culminates at the point when Gabriel discovers that, through years of marriage,
    8.00
    3 votes
    60
    Trends

    Trends

    "Trends" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and was reprinted in The Early Asimov (1972). "Trends" was the tenth story written by Asimov, the third to be published, and the first to appear in Astounding, then the leading science fiction magazine. The story had its genesis in research Asimov was conducting on behalf of an academic writing a book on social resistance to technological change. Asimov was particularly struck by a series of articles by Simon Newcomb from the early 20th century arguing that heavier-than-air flight was physically impossible. If there had been resistance to earlier technological change, then Asimov reasoned that there might be social resistance to spaceflight, which was a notion he had never encountered before in a science fiction story. In December 1938, Asimov wrote a story, which he originally titled "Ad Astra", that included resistance to a proposed flight to the Moon, submitting it to Astounding editor John W. Campbell on 21 December 1938. On 29 December 1938 Asimov received a letter from Campbell asking for a story conference. At the conference, Campbell said
    8.00
    3 votes
    61
    The Angel in the House

    The Angel in the House

    The Angel in the House is a narrative poem by Coventry Patmore, first published in 1854 and expanded until 1862. Although largely ignored upon publication, it became enormously popular during the later 19th century and its influence continued well into the twentieth. The poem was an idealised account of Patmore's courtship of his first wife, Emily, whom he believed to be the perfect woman. The poem is in two main parts, but was originally published in four instalments. The first was published with the main title in 1854. It was followed by "The Espousals" (1856), "Faithful for Ever" (1860), and "The Victories of Love" (1862). The latter two instalments are effectively a separate poem, related to the main text. The first two instalments form a single coherent poem. It begins with a preface in which the poet, called Felix Vaughan in the book, tells his wife that he is going to write a long poem about her. The narrative then begins with an account of the poet's youth when he meets Honoria Churchill, the woman who is to become his wife. It proceeds in a series of short lyrics, representing Felix's reflections on his beloved, and on the nature of ideal femininity. There are also lyrics
    6.75
    4 votes
    62
    The Land Ironclads

    The Land Ironclads

    Written by H. G. Wells, "The Land Ironclads" is a short story that originally appeared in the December 1903 issue of the Strand Magazine and set in a war similar to the First World War. The Ironclads are 100-foot-long (30 m) machines with remote controlled guns and accommodation for 42 soldiers, including 7 officers. The story is one of those responsible for Wells' reputation as a "prophet of the future", as the eponymous machines seem to anticipate the tanks of World War I. His rather sketchy battle between countrymen and townsmen also carries echoes of the Boer War and his 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, which also features a struggle between technologically uneven protagonists. The story opens with a war correspondent and a young lieutenant surveying the calm of the battlefield and reflecting upon the war. The two opposing sides are dug into trenches, each waiting for the other to attack, and the men on the war correspondent's side are confident in their coming victory. They believe that they will win because they are all strong outdoor-types - men who know how to use a rifle and fight - while their enemies are towns people ... "a crowd of devitalized townsmen ... They're
    6.75
    4 votes
    63
    Upon the Dull Earth

    Upon the Dull Earth

    "Upon the Dull Earth" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick, first published in November 1954 in Beyond Fantasy Fiction. By offering up the blood of a lamb, Silvia, the protagonist of Upon the Dull Earth, is able to summon creatures she identifies as angels. She thinks that the creatures are her ancestors and she is sure that one day she will join them. At the same time, though, it is not clear whether the creatures are really good, as Silvia thinks, or wicked. Their behavior and their relation with Silvia scare the girl's relatives and Rick, her boyfriend. Rick thinks that Silvia's behavior is very dangerous, as "the white-winged giants ... can sear [her] to ash". During a quarrel with Rick, the girl accidentally cuts herself. Independently from her will, Silvia's blood summons the creatures. Unable to control their power, the angel-like giants burn Silvia's body and leave only "a brittle burned-out husk". Unable to accept his lover's death, Rick tries to bring Silvia back, but in doing so he causes the degeneration and destruction of the world he lives in. The story also develops one of Dick's favorite themes, namely the definition of what is real. The reality we
    6.75
    4 votes
    64
    Tam Lin

    Tam Lin

    Tam (or Tamas) Lin (also called Tamlane, Tamlin, Tomlin, Tam Lien, Tam-a-Line, Tam Lyn, or Tam Lane) is the hero of a legendary ballad originating from the Scottish Borders. The story revolves around the rescue of Tam Lin by his true love from the Queen of the Fairies. While this ballad is specific to Scotland, the motif of capturing a person by holding him through all forms of transformation is found throughout Europe in folktales. The story has been adapted into various stories, songs and films. Most variants begin with the warning that Tam Lin collects either a possession or the virginity of any maiden who passes through the forest of Carterhaugh. When a young girl, usually called Janet or Margaret, goes to Carterhaugh and plucks a double rose, Tam appears and asks why she has come without his leave and taken what is his. She states that she owns Carterhaugh, because her father has given it to her. In most variants, Janet then goes home and discovers that she is pregnant; some variants pick up the story at this point. When taxed about her condition, she declares that her baby's father is an elf whom she will not forsake. In some variants, she is informed of a herb that will
    9.00
    2 votes
    65
    The Mad Moon

    The Mad Moon

    The Mad Moon is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the December 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. As was the case with his earlier stories "A Martian Odyssey" and "Parasite Planet", "The Mad Moon" showcases Weinbaum's talent for creating alien ecologies. "The Mad Moon" was the only Weinbaum story set on Io. In Weinbaum's Solar System, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earthlike environments on the Galilean moons. Io, the innermost Galilean satellite, has a tropical climate, so that the two human settlements are located at the poles, Junopolis in the north and Herapolis in the south. Extending partway around the equator are the Idiots' Hills, whose peaks extend beyond Io's dense but shallow atmosphere. (Weinbaum apparently didn't realize that Io is tidally locked, since he has Jupiter rise and set during the course of the story.) There are two intelligent races native to Io: first are the loonies, a humanoid race of only moderate intelligence with large balloonlike heads at the end of long, slim necks; second are the slinkers, small and ratlike with nasty tempers. (Members of the Harrison Expedition to Mars ran across a slinker in the
    9.00
    2 votes
    66
    The Necklace

    The Necklace

    "The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" (French: La Parure) is a short story by Guy de Maupassant, first published in 1884 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois. The story has become one of Maupassant's popular works and is well known for its ending. It is also the inspiration for Henry James's short story, "Paste". It has been dramatised as a musical by the Irish composer Conor Mitchell; it was first produced professionally by Thomas Hopkins and Andrew Jenkins for Surefire Theatrical Ltd at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007. "The Necklace" tells the story of Madame Mathilde Loisel and her husband Charles. Mathilde always imagined herself in a high social position with wonderful jewels. However she has nothing and marries a low paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy. Through lots of begging at work Charles is able to get two invitations to the Ministry of the Public Instruction party. Mathilde then refuses to go, for she has nothing to wear. Her husband is upset to see her displeasure and, using money that he was saving to buy a rifle, gives Mathilde 400 francs and lets his wife buy a dress that suits her. Mathilde goes out and buys a dress, but even with the dress Mathilde is
    9.00
    2 votes
    67
    The Dancing Girl of Izu

    The Dancing Girl of Izu

    "The Dancing Girl of Izu" or "The Izu Dancer" (伊豆の踊子, Izu no odoriko) is a 1926 short story by the Japanese writer and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata. The short story was first translated into English by Edward Seidensticker and published in an abridged form as "The Izu Dancer" in The Atlantic Monthly in 1955. A complete English translation of the story appeared in 1998. Kawabata's "The Izu Dancer" represent a lyric and elegiac memory of early love. The story is well known in Japan, and, today, part of the story's name, odoriko (which means "dancing girl") is used as the name of express trains to the Izu area. "The Dancing Girl of Izu" tells of the story between a young male student who is touring the Izu Peninsula and a family of traveling dancers he meets there, including their youngest girl on the onset of puberty. The student finds the naïve girl attractive even though he eventually have to part with the family after spending memorable time together. The story has been dramatized several times in Japan. Unless noted otherwise, all are talkies and in color. For each pair of stars, the female lead is named first.
    5.80
    5 votes
    68
    Idylls of the King

    Idylls of the King

    Idylls of the King, published between 1856 and 1885, is a cycle of twelve narrative poems by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892; Poet Laureate from 1850) which retells the legend of King Arthur, his knights, his love for Guinevere and her tragic betrayal of him, and the rise and fall of Arthur's kingdom. The whole work recounts Arthur's attempt and failure to lift up mankind and create a perfect kingdom, from his coming to power to his death at the hands of the traitor Modred. Individual poems detail the deeds of various knights, including Lancelot, Geraint, Galahad, and Balin and Balan, and also Merlin and the Lady of the Lake. There is little transition between Idylls, but the central figure of Arthur links all the stories. The poems were dedicated to the late Albert, Prince Consort. The Idylls are written in blank verse. Tennyson's descriptions of nature are derived from observations of his own surroundings, collected over the course of many years.The dramatic narratives are not an epic either in structure or tone, but derive elegiac sadness from the idylls of Theocritus. Idylls of the King is often read as an allegory of the societal conflicts in Britain during
    7.67
    3 votes
    69
    Roman de la Rose

    Roman de la Rose

    The Roman de la rose, pronounced: [ʁɔmɑ̃ də la ʁoz], is a medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision. It is a notable instance of courtly literature. The work's stated purpose is to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the poem, the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general. Likewise, the other characters' names function both as regular names and as abstractions illustrating the various factors that are involved in a love affair. The poem was written in two stages. The first 4058 lines, written by Guillaume de Lorris circa 1230, describe the attempts of a courtier to woo his beloved. This part of the story is set in a walled garden or locus amoenus, one of the traditional topoi of epic and chivalric literature. In this walled garden, the interior represents romance, while the exterior stands for everyday life. It is unclear whether Lorris considered his version to be incomplete, but it was generally viewed as such. Around 1275, Jean de Meun composed an additional 17,724 lines. Jean's discussion of love is considered more philosophical and encyclopedic, but also more
    7.67
    3 votes
    70
    Skinners Room

    Skinners Room

    Skinner's Room is a short story by William Gibson originally composed for Visionary San Francisco, a 1990 museum exhibition exploring the future of San Francisco. It features the first appearance in Gibson's fiction of "the Bridge", which Gibson revisited as the setting of his acclaimed Bridge trilogy of novels. In the story, the Bridge is overrun by squatters, among them Skinner, who occupies a shack atop a bridgetower. An altered version of the story was published in Omni magazine and subsequently anthologized. "Skinner's Room" was nominated for the 1992 Locus Award for Best Short Story. The story takes place in a near-future where the United States is in decline, having been negatively affected by some event referred to as the "devaluations." It is set in a decaying San Francisco in which the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge is closed and taken over by the homeless. The wealthy denizens of the city have retreated to gated-access enclaves. The room mentioned in the title is a shack built on top one of the bridge's towers. Skinner has lived on the bridge, and in his room, for a long time, and is accompanied by a girl with an interest in the history of the bridge town and who
    7.67
    3 votes
    71
    The Call of Cthulhu

    The Call of Cthulhu

    "The Call of Cthulhu" is a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written in the summer of 1926, it was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, in February 1928. Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M. Price claims the irregular sonnet "The Kraken", written in 1830 by Alfred Tennyson, is a major inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's story, as both reference a huge aquatic creature sleeping for an eternity at the bottom of the ocean and destined to emerge from his slumber in an apocalyptic age. S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz cited other literary inspirations: Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla" (1887), which Lovecraft described in "Supernatural Horror in Literature" as concerning "an invisible being who...sways the minds of others, and seems to be the vanguard of a horde of extraterrestrial organisms arrived on earth to subjugate and overwhelm mankind"; and Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the Black Seal" (1895), which uses the same method of piecing together of disassociated knowledge (including a random newspaper clipping) to reveal the survival of a horrific ancient being. Price also notes that Lovecraft admired the work of Lord Dunsany, who wrote The Gods of Pegana (1905),
    7.67
    3 votes
    72
    The Philosophy of Composition

    The Philosophy of Composition

    "The Philosophy of Composition" is an 1846 essay written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe that elucidates a theory about how good writers write when they write well. He concludes that length, "unity of effect" and a logical method are important considerations for good writing. He also makes the assertion that "the death... of a beautiful woman" is "unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world". Poe uses the composition of his own poem "The Raven" as an example. The essay first appeared in the April 1846 issue of Graham's Magazine. It is uncertain if it is an authentic portrayal of Poe's own method. Generally, the essay introduces three of Poe's theories regarding literature. The author recounts this idealized process by which he says he wrote his most famous poem, "The Raven" to illustrate the theory, which is in deliberate contrast to the "spontaneous creation" explanation put forth, for example, by Coleridge as an explanation for his poem Kubla Khan. Poe's explanation of the process of writing is so rigidly logical, however, that some have suggested the essay was meant as a satire or hoax. The three central elements of Poe's philosophy of composition are: Poe believed
    7.67
    3 votes
    73
    The Raven

    The Raven

    "The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore". The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references. Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay "The Philosophy of Composition". The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout. "The Raven" was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on
    7.67
    3 votes
    74
    A Scandal in Bohemia

    A Scandal in Bohemia

    "A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget. (Two of the four Sherlock Holmes novels – A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four – preceded the short story cycle). Doyle ranked "A Scandal in Bohemia" fifth in his list of his twelve favourite Holmes stories.The story itself is basically a rewrite of Allan Poe's short story The Purloined Letter. While the currently married Dr. Watson is paying Holmes a visit, Holmes is called upon by a masked gentleman introducing himself as Count Von Kramm, an agent for a wealthy client. However, Holmes quickly deduces that he is in fact Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and the hereditary King of Bohemia. The King admits this, tearing off his mask. It transpires that the King is to become engaged to Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meiningen, a young Scandinavian princess, but the King's in-laws-to-be would not allow the marriage should any evidence of his former liaison with an American opera singer, Irene Adler, be revealed to them. Adler herself is threatening
    10.00
    1 votes
    75
    Piers Plowman

    Piers Plowman

    Piers Plowman (written ca. 1360–87) or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus" (Latin for "step"). Piers is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature along with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight during the Middle Ages. The poem—part theological allegory, part social satire—concerns the narrator's intense quest for the true Christian life, from the perspective of mediæval Catholicism. This quest entails a series of dream-visions and an examination into the lives of three allegorical characters, Dowel ("Do-Well"), Dobet ("Do-Better"), and Dobest ("Do-Best"). The poem begins in the Malvern Hills in Malvern, Worcestershire. A man named Will falls asleep and has a vision of a tower set upon a hill and a fortress (donjon) in a deep valley; between these symbols of heaven and hell is a "fair field full of folk", representing the world of mankind. In the early part of the poem Piers, the humble plowman of the title, appears and offers himself
    10.00
    1 votes
    76
    Red Nails

    Red Nails

    "Red Nails" is the last of the stories about Conan the Cimmerian written by American author Robert E. Howard. A novella, it was originally serialized in Weird Tales magazine from July to October 1936. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan encountering a lost city in which the degenerate inhabitants are proactively resigned to their own destruction. Due to its grim themes of decay and death, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. The story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It was first published by itself in book form by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1975 as volume IV of their deluxe Conan set. It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz,2001) and The Conquering Sword of Conan (Del Rey, 2005) (published in the United Kingdom by Wandering Star as Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936)), as well as The Best of Robert E. Howard, Volume 2: Grim Lands ( Del Rey, 2007). "Red Nails" begins in the jungles far to the south
    10.00
    1 votes
    77
    Rogues in the House

    Rogues in the House

    "Rogues in the House" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa January 1934. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan inadvertently becoming involved in the power play between two powerful men fighting for control of a city. It was the seventh Conan story Howard had published. The story takes place in an unnamed city-state between Zamora and Corinthia during an apparent power struggle between two powerful leaders: Murilo, an aristocrat, and Nabonidus, the "Red Priest," a clergyman with a strong power base.After he is delivered a subtle threat by Nabonidus, Murilo learns of Conan's reputation as a mercenary and turns to him for help. Prior to the story's beginning, Conan killed a corrupt priest of Anu who was both a fence and a police informer, but was caught after he became intoxicated and a prostitute turned him in. Languishing in a jail and awaiting execution, Conan receives Murilo's visit and is proposed a bargain: in exchange for setting him free and getting him out of Corinthia with a bag of gold,
    10.00
    1 votes
    78
    The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

    The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

    "The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily" (German title: "Das Märchen") is a fairy tale by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1795 in Friedrich Schiller's German magazine Die Horen (The Horae). It portrays in imaginative form Goethe's impressions of Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a series of Letters. The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being. The tale begins with two will-o'-the-wisps who wake a ferryman and ask to be taken across a river. The ferryman does so, and for payment, they shake gold from themselves into the boat. This alarms the ferryman, for if the gold had gone into the river, it would overflow. He demands as payment: three artichokes, three cabbages, and three onions, and the will-o'-the-wisps may depart only after promising to bring him such. The ferryman takes the gold up to a high place, and deposits it into a rocky cleft, where it is discovered by a green snake who eats the gold, and finds itself luminous. This gives the snake opportunity to study an underground temple where we meet an old man with a lamp which
    10.00
    1 votes
    79
    The Revolt of Islam

    The Revolt of Islam

    The Revolt of Islam (1818) is a poem in twelve cantos composed by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1817. The poem was originally published under the title Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century by Charles and James Ollier in December, 1817. Shelley composed the work in the vicinity of Bisham Wood, near Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London, from April to September. The plot centres on two characters named Laon and Cythna who initiate a revolution against the despotic ruler of the fictional state of Argolis, modeled on the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Despite its title, the poem has nothing to do with Islam in particular, though the general subject of religion is addressed. The work is a symbolic parable on liberation and revolutionary idealism following the disillusionment of the French Revolution. In The Revolt of Islam, A Poem, in Twelve Cantos (1818), consisting of 4,818 lines, Shelley returned to the social and political themes of Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (1813). The poem is in Spenserian stanzas with each stanza containing nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single Alexandrine
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    80
    Ulysses

    Ulysses

    "Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), written in 1833 and published in 1842 in his well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form. Ulysses describes, to an unspecified audience, his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, Ithaca, after his far-ranging travels. Facing old age, Ulysses yearns to explore again, despite his reunion with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus. The character of Ulysses (in Greek, Odysseus) has been explored widely in literature. The adventures of Odysseus were first recorded in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800–700 BC), and Tennyson draws on Homer's narrative in the poem. Most critics, however, find that Tennyson's Ulysses recalls Dante's Ulisse in his Inferno (c. 1320). In Dante's re-telling, Ulisse is condemned to hell among the false counsellors, both for his pursuit of knowledge beyond human bounds and for his adventures in disregard of his family. For much of this poem's history, readers viewed Ulysses as resolute and heroic, admiring him for his determination "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to
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    1 votes
    81
    Adonais

    Adonais

    Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc. ( /ˌædɵˈneɪ.ɨs/), also spelled Adonaies, is a pastoral elegy written by Percy Bysshe Shelley for John Keats in 1821, and widely regarded as one of Shelley's best and most well-known works. The poem, which is in 495 lines in 55 Spenserian stanzas, was composed in the spring of 1821 immediately after April 11, when Shelley heard of Keats' death (seven weeks earlier). It is a pastoral elegy, in the English tradition of John Milton's Lycidas. Shelley had studied and translated classical elegies. The title of the poem is likely a merging of the Greek "Adonis", the god of fertility, and the Hebrew "Adonai" (meaning "Lord"). Most critics suggest that Shelley used Virgil's tenth Eclogue, in praise of Cornelius Gallus, as a model. It was published by Charles Ollier in July 1821 (see 1821 in poetry) with a preface in which Shelley made the mistaken assertion that Keats had died from a rupture of the lung induced by rage at the unfairly harsh reviews of his verse in the Quarterly Review and other journals. He also thanked Joseph Severn for caring for Keats in Rome. This praise increased literary interest in
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    82
    The Second Coming

    The Second Coming

    "The Second Coming" is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919 and first printed in The Dial (November 1920) and afterwards included in his 1921 collection of verses titled Michael Robartes and the Dancer. The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in post-war Europe. The poem is considered a major work of Modernist poetry and has been reprinted in several collections including The Norton Anthology of Modernist Poetry. The poem was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. While the various manuscript revisions of the poem refer to the Renaissance, French Revolutions, the Irish rebellion, and those of Germany and of Russia, Richard Ellman and Harold Bloom suggest the text refers to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Bloom argues that Yeats takes the side of the counter-revolutionaries and the poem suggests that reaction to the revolution would come too late. Early drafts also included such lines as: "And there's no Burke to cry aloud no Pitt," and "The good are wavering, while the worst prevail." The word gyre in the poem's first line may be used in a sense drawn from Yeats's book
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    83
    Tidal Moon

    Tidal Moon

    "Tidal Moon" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum and Helen Weinbaum that first appeared in the December 1938 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories and was reprinted in the collection Interplanetary Odysseys (2006). Sam Moskowitz stated that Stanley G. Weinbaum completed only a page and a half of the story before his death, and that his sister Helen Weinbaum completed the story on her own. "Tidal Moon" is the only story by Weinbaum to take place on Ganymede. In Weinbaum's Solar System, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earthlike environments on the Galilean moons. Ganymede, the third Galilean satellite, has a subarctic climate, large bodies of water, and a six month rotation period. Due to Jupiter's tidal pull, every spot on Ganymede's surface is inundated with water every three months except a small area of the south pole where the human settlement of Hydropole is located. The Ganymedian natives, the Nympus, grow a mosslike plant called cree which is ordinarily red, but which turns blue when exposed to the ammonia in Ganymede's atmosphere. The blue moss is collected by human traders in the employ of Cree, Inc. who travel among the native villages on an aquatic
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    4 votes
    84
    Description of a Struggle

    Description of a Struggle

    "Description of a Struggle" (German: "Beschreibung eines Kampfes") is a short story by Franz Kafka. It contains the dialogues "Conversation with the Supplicant" ("Gespräch mit dem Beter") and "Conversation with the Drunk" ("Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen") "Description of a Struggle" is one of Kafka's earliest stories that was not destroyed and is usually the earliest included in collections of his work. (His oldest surviving work of fiction is "Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart," which he wrote a few years earlier and which only survived because it was included in a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak.) Kafka began the story in 1904 at the age of 20 and worked on it on and off until 1909. It is also notable for being the story that Kafka first showed to his friend Max Brod and which convinced Brod that Kafka should further pursue his writing. Brod liked the story so much that he mentioned Kafka as an example of "the high level reached by [today's] German literature" in a theatre review of his, this before Kafka had even been published. Brod eventually convinced Kafka to submit his work to Franz Blei's literary journal Hyperion, which published a short fragment of the story in its
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    85
    The Adventure of the Dancing Men

    The Adventure of the Dancing Men

    "The Adventure of the Dancing Men", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" third in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Mr. Hilton Cubitt of Ridling Thorpe Manor in Norfolk visits Sherlock Holmes and gives him a piece of paper with this mysterious sequence of stick figures. The little dancing men are at the heart of a mystery which seems to be driving his young wife Elsie to distraction. He married her about a year ago, and until recently, everything was well. She is American, and before the wedding, she asked her husband-to-be to promise her never to ask about her past, as she had had some “very disagreeable associations” in her life, although she said that there was nothing that she was personally ashamed of. Mr. Cubitt swore the promise and, being an honourable English gentleman, insists on living by it, which is one of the things causing difficulty at Ridling Thorpe Manor. The trouble began when Elsie received a letter from the United States, which evidently disturbed her, and she threw
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    86
    The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

    The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

    "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. One wretched November night, Inspector Stanley Hopkins comes to see Holmes at 221B Baker Street to tell him of a murder that defies solution. The dead man is Willoughby Smith, secretary to Professor Coram, an old invalid. The murder happened at Yoxley Old Place near Chatham, Kent. The most perplexing thing about the case to Hopkins is that it is apparently motiveless. Willoughby Smith seems to have nothing untoward in his background, and not an enemy in the world. He was the third secretary to the professor, the former ones not having worked out. The murder weapon was a sealing-wax knife belonging to the professor. The maid found Smith, and the last words that he uttered as he lay dying were “The professor–it was she.” The professor, however, is a man. This same maid told Hopkins while he was at Yoxley that she had heard Smith leave his room and walk down to the study. She had been hanging curtains and did not actually see him, only recognizing his brisk step. The
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    2 votes
    87
    The Ballad of the White Horse

    The Ballad of the White Horse

    The Ballad of the White Horse is a poem by G. K. Chesterton about the idealized exploits of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, published in 1911. Written in ballad form, the work is usually considered one of the last great traditional epic poems ever written in the English language. The poem narrates how Alfred was able to defeat the invading Danes at the Battle of Ethandun under the auspices of God working through the agency of the Virgin Mary. In addition to being a narration of Alfred's military and political accomplishments, it is also considered a Catholic allegory. Chesterton incorporates a significant amount of philosophy into the basic structure of the story. The poem consists of 2,684 lines of English verse. They are divided into stanzas, typically consisting of 4 to 6 lines each. The poem is based on the ballad stanza form, although the poem often departs significantly from it. Types of metrical feet are used more or less freely, although there is often basic repetition in a line. The rhyme scheme varies, often being ABCB or ABCCCB. Prefatory Note Chesterton begins his work with a note (in prose) declaring that the poem is not historical. He says that he has chosen to place
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    88
    The Brus

    The Brus

    The Brus is a long narrative poem, in Early Scots, of just under 14,000 octosyllabic lines composed by John Barbour which gives a historic and chivalric account of the actions of Robert the Bruce and the Black Douglas in the Scottish Wars of Independence during a period from the circumstances leading up the English invasion of 1296 through to Scotland's restored position in the years between the Truce of 1328 and the death of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray in 1332. The poem's centre-piece (literally) is an extensive account of the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314. Barbour's poetic account of these events is a keystone in Scotland's national story. Patriotic as the sentiment is, it is in more general terms than is found in later Scottish literature. The king is a hero of the chivalric type common in contemporary romance; freedom is a "noble thing" to be sought and won at all costs; the opponents of such freedom are shown in the dark colours which history and poetic propriety require; but there is none of the complacency of the merely provincial habit of mind. The lines do not lack vigour; and there are passages of high merit, notably the oft-quoted section beginning "A! fredome is a
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    89
    The Miller's Prologue and Tale

    The Miller's Prologue and Tale

    "The Miller's Tale" (Middle English: The Milleres Tale) is the second of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1380s-1390s), told by the drunken miller Robyn to "quite" (requite) "The Knight's Tale". The Miller's Prologue is the first "quite" that occurs in the tales (to "quite" someone is to make repayment for a service, the service here being the telling of stories). The general prologue to The Canterbury Tales describes the Miller, Robyn, as a stout and gracious churl fond of wrestling. In the Miller's Prologue, the pilgrims have just heard and enjoyed "The Knight's Tale", a classical story of courtly love, and the host asks the Monk to "quite" ("follow" or "repay") with a tale of his own. However, the Miller insists on going next. He claims that his tale is "noble", but reminds the other pilgrims that he is quite drunk and cannot be held accountable for what he says. He explains that his story is about a carpenter and his wife, and how a clerk "hath set the wrightes cappe" (that is, fooled the carpenter). Osewold the Reeve, who had originally been a carpenter himself, protests that the tale will insult carpenters and wives, but the Miller carries on anyway. "The Miller's Tale"
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    2 votes
    90
    Flight on Titan

    Flight on Titan

    Flight on Titan is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the January 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It was the third story published by Weinbaum, the first to appear in Astounding, and the only story by him set on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. In Weinbaum's Solar System, in accordance with the then-accepted near-collision hypothesis of planetary formation, the gas giants radiate enough heat to bring their inner satellites up to Earthlike temperatures. Being over 600,000 miles from Saturn, Titan receives only a third of its heat from its primary. Titan's temperature is comparable to Earth's Arctic regions, ranging from just above freezing during the day to eighty below zero Fahrenheit during the nine-hour-long nights. Due to Saturn's tidal pull, Titan is also subject to 100 mph winds, which blow from east to west during half of the moon's sixteen-day revolution around its primary, and west to east during the other half, only dying down for half an hour in between each shift in direction. Despite all this, Titan has a flourishing Arctic ecosystem, at the top of which is a seal-like native race of modest intelligence. The natives have developed
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    91
    The Heathen Chinee

    The Heathen Chinee

    "The Heathen Chinee", originally published as "Plain Language from Truthful James", is a narrative poem by American writer Bret Harte. It was published for the first time in September 1870 in Overland Monthly. It was written as a parody of Algernon Charles Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon (1865), and satirized anti-Chinese sentiment in northern California. Harte, who is known to have repeatedly opposed racial discrimination since as early as 1863, intended the poem to be a satire of the prevalent prejudice among Irish laborers in northern California against the Chinese immigrants competing for the same work. However, the predominantly white middle-class readership of the Overland and the periodicals that reprinted it — including the New York Evening Post, Prairie Farmer, New York Tribune, Boston Evening Transcript, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and Saturday Evening Post (published twice) — interpreted and embraced the poem as mocking the Chinese. Following the September 1870 publication, the poem was included in a book by Harte titled Poems, released in January 1871. Several periodicals and books would republish the poem with illustrations. "The Heathen Chinee", as the poem
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    92
    The Twelve

    The Twelve

    The Twelve (Russian: Двенадцать, Dvenadtsat) is a controversial long poem by Aleksandr Blok. Written early in 1918, the poem was one of the first poetic responses to the October Revolution of 1917. The poem describes the march of twelve Bolshevik soldiers (likened to the Twelve Apostles) through the streets of revolutionary Petrograd, with a fierce winter blizzard raging around them. The mood of the Twelve as conveyed by the poem oscillates from base and even sadistic aggression towards everything perceived bourgeois and counter-revolutionary, to strict discipline and sense of "revolutionary duty." In a violent clash with a vigilante deserter, a prostitute (who is accused of killing an officer) is killed by one of the Twelve (Peter), who appears unusually struck by the accident and later reveals to his comrades that he had been in love with the woman. However, after the others remind him that in these revolutionary times one's personal tragedies are nothing, the murderer regains his determination and continues the march. In the last stanza of the poem, most controversially, a figure of Christ is seen in the snowstorm, heading the march of the Twelve. The Twelve, with its
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    3 votes
    93
    The Walrus and the Carpenter

    The Walrus and the Carpenter

    "The Walrus and the Carpenter" is a narrative poem by Lewis Carroll that appeared in his book Through the Looking-Glass, published in December 1871. The poem is recited in chapter four, by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice. The poem is composed of 18 stanzas and contains 108 lines, in an alternation of iambic trimeters and iambic tetrameters. The rhyme scheme is ABCBDB, and masculine rhymes appear frequently. The rhyming and rhythmical scheme used, as well as some archaisms and syntactical turns, are those of the traditional English ballad. The Walrus and the Carpenter are the eponymous characters in the poem, which is recited by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice. Walking upon a beach one night when both sun and moon are visible, the Walrus and Carpenter come upon an offshore bed of oysters, four of whom they invite to join them. To the disapproval of the eldest oyster, many more follow them. After walking along the beach (a point is made of the fact that the oysters are all neatly shod despite having no feet), the two main characters are revealed to be predatory and eat all of the oysters. After hearing the poem, the good-natured Alice attempts to determine which of the two
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    94
    The Adventure of the Gloria Scott

    The Adventure of the Gloria Scott

    "The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott,'" one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. This story is related mainly by Holmes rather than Watson, and is the first case to which Holmes applied his powers of deduction, having treated it as a mere hobby until this time. In his college days, Holmes spent a month with his friend, Victor Trevor, at his father's estate in Norfolk. While there, Holmes amazed his host, Victor's father, who was a Justice of the Peace and a landowner besides. He had made his fortune in the goldfields in Australia. One of Holmes's deductions was that the elder Mr. Trevor was once connected with someone with the initials J. A. whom he wanted to forget. His host then passed out on the table. Holmes had touched a sore spot, and possibly did not believe the old man's explanation once he had come back to himself that J. A. had been an old lover. Holmes perceived that he was making his host uncomfortable and decided to take his leave. The evening before he did this, another old man suddenly appeared at the house causing the elder Mr. Trevor to
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    4 votes
    95
    The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

    The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

    "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893. This story introduces Holmes's elder brother Mycroft. Doyle ranked "The Greek Interpreter" seventeenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. On a summer evening, while engaged in in an aimless conversation that has come round to the topic of hereditary attributes, Doctor Watson learns that Sherlock Holmes, far from being a one-off in terms of his powers of observation and deductive reasoning, in fact has an elder brother whose skills, or so Holmes claims, outstrip even his own. As a consequence of this, Watson becomes acquainted with the Diogenes Club and his friend's brother, Mycroft. Mycroft, as Watson learns, does not have the energy of his younger brother and as a consequence is incapable of using his great skills for detective work: In spite of his inertia however, the elder Holmes has often delivered the correct answer to a problem that Sherlock has brought to him. On this
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    4 votes
    96
    Herbert West--Reanimator

    Herbert West--Reanimator

    "Herbert West—Reanimator" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was first serialized in February through July 1922 in the amateur publication Home Brew. The story was the basis of the 1985 horror film Re-Animator and its sequels, in addition to numerous other adaptations in various media. The story is the first to mention Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University. It is also notable as one of the first depictions of zombies as scientifically reanimated corpses, with animalistic and uncontrollable temperament. According to his letters, Lovecraft wrote the story as a parody of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He drops in numerous Frankenstein references (even hinting at the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as Shelley did). Lovecraft claimed to be unhappy with the work, writing it only because he was being paid five dollars for each installment. Moreover, he disliked the requirement that each installment end with a cliffhanger, which was unlike his normal style. He also had to begin each installment with a recap of the previous episode. Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi claims that "Herbert
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    3 votes
    97
    Jack and the Beanstalk

    Jack and the Beanstalk

    Jack and the Beanstalk is an English folktale. The tale is closely associated with the tale of Jack the Giant-killer, and is known under a number of versions. Benjamin Tabart's moralized version of 1807 is the first appearance in print, but "Felix Summerly" (Henry Cole) popularized it in The Home Treasury (1842), and Joseph Jacobs rewrote it in English Fairy Tales (1890). Jacobs's version is most commonly reprinted today and is believed to more closely adhere to the oral versions than Tabart's, because it lacks the moralizing of that version. In the Jacobs version of the story Jack is a young lad living with his widowed mother. Their only means of income is a cow. When this cow stops giving milk one morning, Jack is sent to the market to sell it. On the way to the market he meets an old man who offers to give him "magic" beans in exchange for the cow. Jack takes the beans but when he arrives home without money, his mother becomes furious and throws the beans out the window and sends Jack to bed without supper. As Jack sleeps, the beans grow into a gigantic beanstalk. Jack climbs the beanstalk and arrives in a land high up in the sky where he follows a road to a house, which is the
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    3 votes
    98
    Lines

    Lines

    Lines is a poem written by English writer Emily Brontë in December 1837. It is understood that the poem was written in the Haworth parsonage, two years after Brontë had left Roe Head, where she was unable to settle as a pupil. At the time Lines was written, Emily had already lived through the death of her mother and two of her sisters, Elizabeth and Maria. As the daughter of a parson, Emily received a rigorously religious education which is evident in much of her work. Lines is representative of much of Emily’s poetry, which broke Victorian gender stereotypes by adopting the Gothic tradition and genre of Romanticism, allowing her to express and examine her emotions. Throughout their lives, the Brontë children struggled with leaving their in home in Haworth to which they felt so closely attached. The gender prejudice of the nineteenth century left little choice for young women, like Emily, who were seeking employment, occupation or education. It was widely accepted that females would hold self-effacing roles as housewives, mothers, governesses or seamstresses. Any poetry written by females was expected to address issues of religion, motherhood and wifehood on an instructive and
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    3 votes
    99
    Parasite Planet

    Parasite Planet

    "Parasite Planet" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the February 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It was Weinbaum's fourth published story, and the first to be set on Venus. He quickly followed it up with a sequel called "The Lotus Eaters". In the story, tidal locking keeps one side of Venus perpetually facing the Sun. This side of the planet is a barren desert. Towards the planet's twilight region the temperature drops below the boiling point of water and the Hotlands begin: an area of the planet inhabited by native life forms, all of them parasitic to a greater or lesser degree. "A thousand different species, but all the same in one respect; each of them was all appetite. In common with most Venusian beings, they had a multiplicity of both legs and mouths; in fact, some of them were little more than blobs of skin split into dozens of hungry mouths, crawling on a hundred spidery legs." The air of the Hotlands is hazy with spores which instantly infest any life-form unfortunate enough to have its skin pierced, and at the top of the Venusian food chain is the doughpot, a mass of fast-moving undifferentiated protoplasm that absorbs every
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    3 votes
    100
    Red Star, Winter Orbit

    Red Star, Winter Orbit

    "Red Star, Winter Orbit" is a short story written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling in the 1980s. It was first published in Omni in July 1983, and later collected in Burning Chrome, a 1986 anthology of Gibson's early short fiction, and in Sterling's 1986 cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades. The story is set in an alternate future where the Soviet Union controls most of the Earth's resources, especially oil. As a result of this the United States is no longer a dominant economic power on earth and the Soviets have won the space race. Science fiction critic Takayuki Tatsumi regards the story as a descriptive account of "the failure of the dream of space exploration", reminiscent of Ballard's "inner space/outer space" motif. Gibson scholar Tatiani Rapatzikou commented that the motif of the space station was used by the authors as a "symbol of the tension and uneasiness the characters or readers experience every time they deal with the artificiality of their technological world". The story takes place on the Soviet space station Kosmograd ("Cosmic City"), which consists of a number of Salyuts linked together. The station has both civilian and military roles; the military portion is a
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    3 votes
    101
    The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb

    The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb

    "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the ninth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in March 1892. In his narration, Dr. Watson notes that this is one of only two cases which he personally brought to the attention of Sherlock Holmes. The story, set in 1889, mainly consists of a young London consultant hydraulic engineer, Mr. Victor Hatherley, recounting strange happenings of the night before, first to Dr. Watson, who dresses the stump where Mr. Hatherley's thumb has been cut off, and then to Sherlock Holmes himself. Hatherley had been visited in his office by a man who identified himself as Colonel Lysander Stark. He offered Hatherley a commission at a country house, to examine a hydraulic press used, as Stark explains, to compress fuller's earth into bricks. Stark warned Hatherley to keep the job confidential, offering him 50 guineas (£52 10s, an enormous sum at the time, worth over 4000 GBP today). Hatherley felt compelled to take this work, despite his misgivings, as his business was newly
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    3 votes
    102
    The Adventure of the Second Stain

    The Adventure of the Second Stain

    "The Adventure of the Second Stain", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Second Stain" eighth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Lord Bellinger, the Prime Minister, and Trelawney Hope, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, come to Holmes in the matter of a document stolen from Hope's dispatch box, which he kept at home in Whitehall Terrace when not at work. If divulged, this document could bring about very dire consequences for all Europe, even war. They are loath to tell Holmes at first the exact nature of the document's contents, but when Holmes declines to take on their case, they tell him that it was a rather injudicious letter from a foreign potentate. It disappeared from the dispatch box one evening when Hope was out for four hours. No-one in the house knew about the document, not even the Secretary's wife, with whom he will not discuss his work. None of the servants could have guessed what was in the box. Holmes decides to begin with some spies known to him, and is then astonished to
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    3 votes
    103
    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

    "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is an 1865 short story by Mark Twain, his first great success as a writer, bringing him national attention. The story has also been published as "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (its original title) and "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". In it, the narrator retells a story he heard from a bartender, Simon Wheeler, at the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, about the gambler Jim Smiley. Twain describes him: "If he even seen a straddle bug start to go anywheres, he is bet you how long it would take him to get to—to wherever he going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road." "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is also the title story of an 1867 collection of short stories by Mark Twain. Twain's first book, it collected 27 stories that were previously published in magazines and newspapers. Twain first wrote the title short story at the request of his friend Artemus Ward, for inclusion in an upcoming book. Twain worked on two versions but neither was satisfactory to him—neither got around to
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    3 votes
    104
    The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert' Ivana Ilyicha), first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin injures his side while hanging up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family's superior status in society. Within weeks, he has developed a strange taste in his mouth and a pain that will not go away. Several expensive doctors are consulted, but beyond muttering about blind gut and floating kidneys, they can neither explain nor treat his condition, and it soon becomes clear that Ivan Ilyich is dying. The second half of the novel records his terror as he battles with the idea of his own death. "I have been here. Now I am going there. Where? ... No, I won't have it!" Oppressed by the length of the process, his wife, daughter, colleagues, and even the physicians, decide in the end not to speak of it, but advise him to stay
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    3 votes
    105
    The Lady of Shalott

    The Lady of Shalott

    "The Lady of Shalott" is a Victorian ballad by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892). Like his other early poems – "Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere" and "Galahad" – the poem recasts Arthurian subject matter loosely based on medieval sources. Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1833, of twenty stanzas, the other in 1842 of nineteen stanzas. It was loosely based on the Arthurian legend of Elaine of Astolat, as recounted in a thirteenth-century Italian novella titled Donna di Scalotta (No. lxxxii in the collection Cento Novelle Antiche), with the earlier version being closer to the source material than the later. Tennyson focused on the Lady's "isolation in the tower and her decision to participate in the living world, two subjects not even mentioned in Donna di Scalotta." The first four stanzas describe a pastoral setting. The Lady of Shalott lives in an island castle in a river which flows to Camelot, but little is known about her by the local farmers. Stanzas five to eight describe the lady's life. She suffers from a mysterious curse, and must continually weave images on her loom without ever looking directly out at the world. Instead, she looks
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    3 votes
    106
    The Song of the Stormy Petrel

    The Song of the Stormy Petrel

    "The Song of the Stormy Petrel" (Russian: Песня о Буревестнике) is a short piece of revolutionary literature written by the Russian writer Maxim Gorky in 1901. Written in a variation of unrhymed trochaic tetrameter with occasional Pyrrhic substitutions, it is considered poetry. In 1901, no one could criticise the Tsar directly and hope to escape unhappy fate. The language calling for revolution is coded—the proud stormy petrel, unafraid of the storm (that is, revolution), as all other animals cower. Maxim Gorky wrote "The Song of the Storm Petrel" in March 1901 in Nizhny Novgorod. It was first published in the Zhizn magazine in April 1901. Gorky was arrested for publishing "The Song", but released shortly thereafter. The poem was later referred to as "the battle anthem of the revolution", and the epithet Burevestnik Revolyutsii (The Storm Petrel of the Revolution) soon became attached to Gorky himself. According to Nadezhda Krupskaya, "The Song" became one of Lenin's favorite works by Gorky. In honor of the poem, and of Maxim Gorky himself, various things in the Soviet Union—and, in particular, in its Gorky Oblast—became named "Burevestnik" (Storm Petrel), including a national
    7.00
    3 votes
    107
    Enoch Soames

    Enoch Soames

    Enoch Soames is a short story by the British writer Max Beerbohm. It appeared in the collection Seven Men (1919) and was originally published in the May 1916 edition of The Century Magazine. It is well known for its clever and humorous use of the ideas of time travel and pacts with the Devil. The story is also memorable for its complex combination of fact and fiction; though the hero Soames is a fictional character, the story is narrated by Beerbohm himself, and contains a written portrait of the real-life artist William Rothenstein, as well as countless references to contemporary events and places. As narrator, Beerbohm presents himself as a moderately successful young English essayist and writer in London during the 1890s. He purports to relate the fate of a friend of his named Enoch Soames, an utterly obscure, forgettable, miserable and unsuccessful English writer. Obsessed with the idea that he was a great author of literature and poetry and keenly curious about his sure future fame, Soames one day in 1897 makes a contract with the devil to be able to spend one afternoon (from 2:10 to 7 PM) in the Round Reading Room of the British Museum library exactly one hundred years in the
    6.00
    4 votes
    108
    The Pit and the Pendulum

    The Pit and the Pendulum

    "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842 in the literary annual The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843. The story is about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, though Poe skews historical facts. The narrator of the story describes his experience of being tortured. The story is especially effective at inspiring fear in the reader because of its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound, emphasizing its reality, unlike many of Poe's stories which are aided by the supernatural. The traditional elements established in popular horror tales at the time are followed, but critical reception has been mixed. The tale has been adapted to film several times. The story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. At the beginning of the story an unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Poe provides no explanation of why he is there or for what he has been arrested. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself in a pitch black compartment. At first the prisoner thinks
    6.00
    4 votes
    109
    Afternoon of a Faun

    Afternoon of a Faun

    L'après-midi d'un faune (or The Afternoon of a Faun) is a poem by the French author Stéphane Mallarmé. It is his best-known work and a landmark in the history of symbolism in French literature. Paul Valéry considered it to be the greatest poem in French literature. Initial versions of the poem were written between 1865 (the first mention of the poem is found in a letter Mallarmé wrote to Henri Cazalis in June 1865) and 1867, and the final text was published in 1876 (see 1876 in poetry). It describes the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep and discusses his encounters with several nymphs during the morning in a dreamlike monologue. Mallarmé's poem formed the inspiration for the orchestral work Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy and the ballets Afternoon of a Faun by Vaslav Nijinsky, Jerome Robbins and Tim Rushton. The Debussy and Njinsky works would be of great significance in the development of modernism in the arts. Hendrik Lücke: Mallarmé - Debussy. Eine vergleichende Studie zur Kunstanschauung am Beispiel von „L'Après-midi d'un Faune“. (= Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, Bd. 4). Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-8300-1685-9.
    8.00
    2 votes
    110
    Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas

    Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas

    Sir Thopas is a story in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales published in 1387. In Canterbury Tales, there is a character named Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer's portrait of himself is unflattering and humble. He presents himself as a reticent, maladroit figure who can barely summon a tale to mind. In comparison to the other travelers in the group, Chaucer the character is reluctant to speak, but when he does tell a tale, it is a rather frivolous burlesque very different from what went before. Sir Thopas is the story in tail rhyme of a child knight who goes on a quest to find his elf-queen but is waylaid by the giant Sir Oliphant (elephant). He runs back to his merry men for a feast of sweets and to ready for a battle with his giant foe. The tale is interrupted by the Host, though, for its tail rhyme format and is never finished. The tale is a parody of romances, with their knights and fairies and absurdities, and Chaucer the author satirizes not only the grandiose, Gallic romances, but also the readership of such tales. The tale is a hodgepodge of many of the popular stories of the time which even apes their simple rhymes, a style Chaucer uses nowhere else. Elements of deliberate anticlimax
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    2 votes
    111
    O Captain! My Captain!

    O Captain! My Captain!

    "O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem written in 1865 by Walt Whitman, concerning the death of American president Abraham Lincoln. Walt Whitman wrote the poem after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Repeated metaphorical reference is made to this issue throughout the verse. The "ship" spoken of is intended to represent the United States of America, while its "fearful trip" recalls the troubles of the American Civil War. The title role "Captain" is Lincoln himself. With a conventional meter and rhyme scheme that is unusual for Whitman, it was the only poem anthologized during Whitman's lifetime. Many articles of the time stated that Whitman was planning to change his writing style, and after reading this poem, they were shocked with his counter-attack on the media. This was the only poem that he had ever written like this. O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: In 1996, Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer translated the poem to Hebrew and wrote music for it. This was done in
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    2 votes
    112
    Story of Your Life

    Story of Your Life

    Story of Your Life is a science fiction short story by Ted Chiang. It was the winner of the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella as well as the 1999 Sturgeon award. The major themes explored by this tale are determinism, language, and an interesting take on the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Dr. Louise Banks is enlisted by the military to communicate with a race of radially-symmetrical aliens who initiated first contact with humanity. Woven through the story are remembrances of her daughter. The heptapods have two distinct forms of language. Heptapod A is their spoken language, which is described as having free word order and many levels of center-embedded clauses. Understanding Heptapod B, the written language of the aliens, is central to the plot. Unlike its spoken counterpart, Heptapod B has such complex structure that a single semagram cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence. When writing in Heptapod B, the writer knows how the sentence will end. The phenomenon of Heptapod B is explained by the alien's understanding of mathematics and Fermat's Theory of Least Time. Dr. Banks's understanding of the heptapods' writing system affects the way she perceives time
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    2 votes
    113
    The Adventure of the Dying Detective

    The Adventure of the Dying Detective

    "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", in some editions simply titled "The Dying Detective", is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with seven other stories, it is collected as His Last Bow. Dr. Watson is called to 221B Baker Street to tend Holmes, who is apparently dying of a rare Asian disease contracted while he was on a case at Rotherhithe. Watson is shocked, having heard nothing about his friend’s illness. Mrs. Hudson says that he has neither eaten nor drunk anything in three days. Upon arriving, Watson finds Holmes in his bed looking very ill and gaunt indeed, and Holmes proceeds to make several odd demands of Watson. He is not to come near Holmes, for the illness is highly contagious. He will seek no help save from the man whom Holmes names. He will wait until six o’clock before Holmes names him. When Watson objects and tries to leave for help, Holmes musters enough strength to leap out of bed, and lock the door, taking the key. So, Watson is forced to wait. Holmes seems delirious at times. Watson examines several objects in Holmes’s room while he waits. Holmes has a fit when Watson touches one item, a
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    2 votes
    114
    The Adventure of the Final Problem

    The Adventure of the Final Problem

    "The Final Problem" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring his detective character Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle later ranked "The Final Problem" fourth on his personal list of the twelve best Holmes stories. This story, set in 1891, introduces Holmes's greatest opponent, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Holmes arrives at Dr. Watson's one evening in a somewhat agitated state and with grazed and bleeding knuckles. He has apparently escaped three murder attempts that day after a visit from Professor Moriarty, who warned Holmes to withdraw from his pursuit of justice against him to avoid any regrettable outcome. First, just as he was turning a street corner, a cab suddenly rushed towards him and Holmes just managed to leap out of the way in time. Second, while Holmes was walking along the street, a brick fell from the roof of a house, just missing the detective. He then called the police to search the whole area but could not prove that it was anything other than an accident. Finally, on his way to Watson's house, he was
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    2 votes
    115
    The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

    The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

    "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the second tale from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in 1903 with original illustrations by Sidney Paget. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are visited by "the unhappy John Hector McFarlane", a young lawyer from Blackheath who has been accused of murdering one of his clients, a builder called Jonas Oldacre. McFarlane explains to Holmes that Oldacre had come to his office only the day before and asked him to draw up his will in legally appropriate terms. McFarlane saw to his surprise that Oldacre was making him the sole beneficiary, and heir to a considerable bequest at that. McFarlane could not imagine why, although Oldacre claimed that it was due to a prior relationship with McFarlane's mother, which gaving him reliable knowledge that McFarlane could be trusted, and a lack of any biological relatives for him to leave his assets to. This business took McFarlane to Oldacre's house in Norwood where some documents had to be examined for legal purposes. These were kept in the safe where the murder allegedly
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    2 votes
    116
    The Vale of Lost Women

    The Vale of Lost Women

    "The Vale of Lost Women" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard, but not published during his lifetime. The story was first published in The Magazine of Horror for Spring, 1967, and republished in the collection Conan of Cimmeria (Lancer Books, 1967). It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan rescuing a female Ophirean captive from the Bamula tribe on the (apparent) condition that he will receive sexual favors in return for this generosity. The story has been criticized for its racialism, sexism and lesbian homophobia. "The Vale of Lost Women" is another short story which, although included in the official lore of Conan the Cimmerian, was not published until long after the death of Robert E. Howard. The story begins with Livia, a soft and civilized woman, as a prisoner of the Bakalah jungle tribe, who have captured her and have killed the brother she was traveling with excruciating savage
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    2 votes
    117
    Berenice

    Berenice

    "Berenice" is a short horror story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835. The story follows a man named Egaeus who is preparing to marry his cousin Berenice. He has a tendency to fall into periods of intense focus during which he seems to separate himself from the outside world. Berenice begins to deteriorate from an unnamed disease until the only part of her remaining healthy is her teeth, which Egaeus begins to obsess over. Berenice is buried, and Egaeus continues to contemplate her teeth. One day Egaeus wakes up from a period of focus with an uneasy feeling, and the sound of screams in his ears. A servant startles him by telling him Berenice's grave has been disturbed, and she is still alive; but beside Egaeus is a box containing 32 blood-stained teeth and a poem about "visiting the grave of my beloved." Contemporary readers were horrified by the story's violence and complained to the editor of the Messenger. Though Poe later published a self-censored version of the work he believed he should be judged solely by how many copies were sold. The narrator, Egaeus, is a studious young man who grows up in a large gloomy mansion with his cousin
    9.00
    1 votes
    118
    Delenda Est

    Delenda Est

    "Delenda Est" is a short story written by Poul Anderson, part of his Time Patrol (1960) series. The title alludes to the Latin phrase Carthago delenda est ("Carthage must be destroyed") from the Third Punic War. Renegade time travelers meddle in the outcome of the Second Punic War, bringing about the premature deaths of Publius Cornelius Scipio and Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Ticinus in 218 BC, and thus creating a new timeline in which Hannibal destroys Rome in 210 BC. This meant that western European civilization came to be based on a Celtic-Carthaginian cultural synthesis (rather than Greco-Roman, as in actual history). This civilization discovered the western hemisphere, and created certain inventions (such as the steam engine) long before the corresponding events happened in actual history (partly since there was nothing corresponding to the fall of the Roman Empire), but overall technological progress has been slow, since most developments are arrived at through ad hoc tinkering (there is no scientific methodology of empirically testing rigorous theories). At the time of the story, Britain (Brittys), Ireland, France (Gallia) and Spain (Celtan) are under Celtic control,
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    1 votes
    119
    The Adventure of the Empty House

    The Adventure of the Empty House

    "The Adventure of the Empty House", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring the sleuth back to life, and explain his apparently miraculous survival of a deadly struggle with Professor Moriarty. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Empty House" sixth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. The empty house across from Baker St flat has a clear view of a wax Holmes, which is bait for Colonel Sebastian Moran, a surviving lieutenant of Moriarty. In April 1894, Watson (now a widower) checks 427 Park Lane where a young gambler, the Honorable Ronald Adair, was shot in a closed room on the 30th of March. He bumps into a wizened old book collector, who follows him home to his Kensington practice study then drops his disguise - it is Holmes. Holmes apologizes for the deception needed to outwit his enemies, and describes his three years' exploits. He needed funds, so he confided in his brother Mycroft, who had preserved Sherlock Holmes' rooms. After a roundabout route, they wait two hours until around midnight
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    1 votes
    120
    The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

    The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

    "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard brings Holmes a seemingly trivial problem about a man who shatters plaster busts of Napoleon. One was shattered in Morse Hudson’s shop, and two others, sold by Hudson to a Dr. Barnicot, were smashed after the doctor’s house and branch office had been burgled. Nothing else was taken. In the former case, the bust was taken outside before being broken. Holmes knows that Lestrade’s theory about a Napoleon-hating lunatic must be wrong. The busts in question all came from the same mould. Why is he breaking them? The next day, Lestrade calls Holmes to a house where there has been yet another bust-shattering, but there has also been a murder. Mr. Horace Harker found the dead man on his doorstep after investigating a noise. His Napoleon bust was also taken by a burglar entering through a window. It, too, was from the same mould. Also, a photograph of a rather apish-looking man is found in the dead man’s pocket. The fragments of Harker's bust are in
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    1 votes
    121
    The Garden of Forking Paths

    The Garden of Forking Paths

    "The Garden of Forking Paths" (original Spanish title: "El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan") is a 1941 short story by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. It is the title story in the collection El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), which was republished in its entirety in Ficciones (Fictions) in 1944. It was the first of Borges's works to be translated into English when it appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in August 1948. According to Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, "The concept Borges described in 'The Garden of Forking Paths'—in several layers of the story, but most directly in the combination book and maze of Ts'ui Pên—is that of a novel that can be read in multiple ways, a hypertext novel. Borges described this in 1941, prior to the invention (or at least the public disclosure) of the electromagnetic digital computer. Not only did he arguably invent the hypertext novel—Borges went on to describe a theory of the universe based upon the structure of such a novel." Borges's vision of "forking paths" has been cited as inspiration by numerous new media scholars, in particular within the field of hypertext fiction. The story takes the form of a
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    1 votes
    122
    The Gernsback Continuum

    The Gernsback Continuum

    "The Gernsback Continuum" is a short story by William Gibson about a photographer who has been given the assignment of photographing old, futuristic architecture. This architecture, although largely forgotten at the time of the story, embodied for the generation that built it their concept of the future. The titular "Gernsback" alludes to Hugo Gernsback, a Pulp magazine science fiction publisher during the early 20th century. By using this title Gibson contrasts the future envisaged during Gernsback's style of science fiction and the present, "cyberpunk" era that Gibson was establishing. The story was published in Gibson's Burning Chrome anthology. During his assignment to photograph 1930s era futuristic architecture, Parker begins to realize a "continuum," an alternative reality containing the possible future of the world represented by the architecture he is photographing – a future that could have been, but was not, thereby contrasting modernism to postmodern reality. Parker's glimpses of this fantastical utopian future, characterised by massive multi-lane highways, giant zeppelins and Aryan inhabitants become increasingly frequent and disturbing until, on the advice of a
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    1 votes
    123
    Tiriel

    Tiriel

    Tiriel is a narrative poem by William Blake, written c.1789. Considered the first of his prophetic books, it is also the first poem in which Blake used free septenaries, which he would go on to use in much of his later verse. Tiriel was unpublished during Blake's lifetime and remained so until 1874, when it appeared in William Michael Rossetti's Poetical Works of William Blake. Although Blake did not engrave the poem, he did make twelve sepia drawings to accompany the rough and unfinished manuscript, although three of them are considered lost as they have not been traced since 1863. Many years before the poem begins, the sons of Har and Heva revolted and abandoned their parents. Tiriel subsequently set himself up as a tyrant in the west, driving one of his brothers, Ijim, into exile in the wilderness, and chaining the other, Zazel, in a cave in the mountains. Tiriel then made slaves of his own children, until eventually, led by the eldest son, Heuxos, they too rebelled, overthrowing their father. Upon his demise, Tiriel refused their offer of refuge in the palace, and instead went into exile in the mountains with his wife, Myratana. Five years later, the poem begins with the now
    9.00
    1 votes
    124
    "—And He Built a Crooked House—"

    "—And He Built a Crooked House—"

    ""—And He Built a Crooked House—"" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein first published in Astounding Science Fiction in February 1941. It was reprinted in the anthology Fantasia Mathematica (Clifton Fadiman, ed.) in 1958 and in the Heinlein collection The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag in 1959. The story is about a mathematically inclined architect named Quintus Teal who has what he thinks is a brilliant idea to save on real estate costs by building a house shaped like the unfolded net of a tesseract. The title is a paraphrase of the nursery rhyme "There Was a Crooked Man". Quintus Teal, "Graduate Architect", while drinking with his friend Homer Bailey, bemoans the conservatism of American architecture. He wants architects to be inspired by topology and the Picard-Vessiot theory. The conversation turns to four-dimensional objects and he shows Bailey three-dimensional models made of toothpicks and clay, representing projections of a four-dimensional tesseract, the equivalent of a cube. Bailey is baffled, but when Teal constructs an "unfolded tesseract", a three-dimensional object, Bailey suggests building a house to that pattern. Teal, ever hungry for a
    6.67
    3 votes
    125
    Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky

    "Jabberwocky" is a nonsense verse poem written by Lewis Carroll in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book tells of Alice's adventures within the back-to-front world of a looking glass. In a scene in which she is in conversation with the chess pieces White King and White Queen, Alice finds a book written in a seemingly unintelligible language. Realising that she is travelling through an inverted world, she recognises that the verse on the pages are written in mirror-writing. She holds a mirror to one of the poems, and reads the reflected verse of "Jabberwocky". She finds the nonsense verse as puzzling as the odd land she has walked into, later revealed as a dreamscape. "Jabberwocky" is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. Its playful, whimsical language has given us nonsense words and neologisms such as "galumphing" and "chortle". A decade before the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass, Carroll wrote the first stanza to what would become "Jabberwocky" while in Croft on Tees, close to nearby Darlington, where he lived
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    3 votes
    126
    La Vénus d'Ille

    La Vénus d'Ille

    La Vénus d'Ille is a short story by Prosper Mérimée. It was written in 1835 and published in 1837. It tells the story of a statue of Venus that comes to life and kills the son of its owner, whom it believes to be its husband. The narrator, an archeologist, is visiting the town of Ille in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. A friend of his recommended him to M. de Peyrehorade, who is familiar with the Roman ruins in the area. When he arrives, he discovers that M. de Peyrehorade's son, Alphonse, is to be married to a certain Mademoiselle de Puygarrig, and the narrator is invited to the wedding. Meanwhile, M. de Peyrehorade shows the narrator his new discovery: a bronze statue of Venus Pudica. The narrator judges the statue to be very old and deciphers the inscription. Both men marvel at her fierce gaze; she is as frightening as she is beautiful. She also seems to be cursed: the man who found her had his leg broken, and another man who threw a stone at her was injured by the stone rebounding and striking him. Before the wedding, the groom decides to play a game of Paume, and he slips the wedding ring intended for his fiancée onto a finger of the statue. He wins the game, but
    6.67
    3 votes
    127
    Ligeia

    Ligeia

    "Ligeia" is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1838. The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. She falls ill, composes "The Conqueror Worm", and quotes lines attributed to Joseph Glanvill (which suggest that life is sustainable only through willpower) shortly before dying. After her death, the narrator marries the Lady Rowena. Rowena becomes ill and she dies as well. The distraught narrator stays with her body overnight and watches as Rowena slowly comes back from the dead – though she has transformed into Ligeia. The story may be the narrator's opium-induced hallucination and there is debate whether the story was a satire. After the story's first publication in The American Museum, it was heavily revised and reprinted throughout Poe's life. The unnamed narrator describes the qualities of Ligeia, a beautiful, passionate and intellectual woman, raven-haired and dark-eyed, that he thinks he remembers meeting "in some large, old decaying city near the Rhine." He is unable to recall anything about the history of Ligeia, including her family's name, but remembers her beautiful
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    3 votes
    128
    Pocket Statistical Data on Switzerland 2007

    Pocket Statistical Data on Switzerland 2007

    The most important Swiss statistics can be found in the small brochure entitled "Statistical Data on Switzerland".

    This brochure is free of charge and available in both electronic form (downloadable over the Internet) and hardcopy.
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    3 votes
    129
    Pole, Hungarian, two good friends

    Pole, Hungarian, two good friends

    "Pole and Hungarian cousins be" (the Polish version) and "Pole and Hungarian, two good friends" (a Hungarian version) are respective forms of a popular bilingual proverb concerning the historic friendship between the Polish and Hungarian peoples. A full Polish text of the proverb is: —which may be rendered: A full Hungarian text of the proverb is: —which may be rendered: —or, without the contrivance and rigidity of rhyme, meter, or syllable-count, but translated word-by-word: The Polish version of the proverb comprises two couplets, each of the four lines consisting of 8 syllables; the Hungarian version comprises a single couplet, each of the two lines also consisting of 8 syllables. In the Polish version, "bratanki" means "nephews (one's brother's sons)", but at one time "bratanek" (the singular) may have been a diminutive for "brother" ("brat"). This Polish expression differs in meaning from the Hungarian version's "barát" ("friend"), though the two words look much alike. The Polish version given above is the one most commonly quoted by Poles today. In Hungarian, there are a total of 10 versions, each a couplet of the same general meaning, and most again comprising 8
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    3 votes
    130
    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is a novella by novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was first published in the June 1922 issue of The Smart Set magazine, and was included in Fitzgerald's 1922 short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. Much of the story is set in Montana, a setting that may have been inspired by the summer that Fitzgerald spent near White Sulphur Springs, Montana in 1915. Orson Welles adapted the story into a radio play in 1945 and another version was presented three times on the program Escape between 1947 and 1949. A teleplay version was broadcast on Kraft Theatre in 1955. The story's sisters, Kismine and Jasmine, were portrayed by Lee Remick and Elizabeth Montgomery, who were unknowns of 20 and 22 at the time. Mickey Mouse no. 47 (Apr./May 1956) contains a retelling of Fitzgerald's story under the title The Mystery of Diamond Mountain, scripted by William F. Nolan and Charles Beaumont and illustrated by Paul Murry. John T. Unger, a teenager from the Mississippi River town of Hades, is sent to a private boarding school near Boston. During the summer he visits the homes of his classmates, the majority of whom are from wealthy families. In the middle of his sophomore
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    3 votes
    131
    The God in the Bowl

    The God in the Bowl

    "The God in the Bowl" is one of the original short stories featuring the sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard but not published during his lifetime. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan robbing a temple museum only to be ensnared in bizarre events and be deemed the prime suspect in a murder mystery. The story first saw publication in September 1952 in Space Science Fiction and has been reprinted many times since. One night in the Nemedian municipality of Numalia, the second largest Nemedian city, Conan enters a fantastic establishment: a great museum and antique house which laymen call the Temple of Kallian Publico. In the midst of robbing this temple museum, Conan finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation when the strangled corpse of the temple's owner and curator, Kallian Publico, is found by a night watchman. Though the Cimmerian is the prime suspect, the investigating magistrate, Demetrio, and the prefect of police, Dionus, show remarkable forbearance, allowing Conan not only to remain free, but also to keep his unsheathed sword while their nervous men search the shadowy premises. It was a
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    3 votes
    132
    The Happy Hypocrite

    The Happy Hypocrite

    The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for Tired Men is a short story with moral implications, first published in a separate volume by Max Beerbohm in 1897. His earliest short story, The Happy Hypocrite first appeared in Volume XI of The Yellow Book in October, 1896. Beerbohm's tale is a lighter, more humorous version of Oscar Wilde's classic tale of moral degeneration, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Happy Hypocrite tells the story of a man who deceives a woman with a mask in order to marry her. The book was published by John Lane at The Bodley Head, in New York and in London in 1897. In 1900 the story was produced as a stage show at the Royalty Theatre in London starring Frank Mills and Mrs Patrick Campbell. In 1936 the play was revived at His Majesty's Theatre starring Ivor Novello, Vivien Leigh, Isabel Jeans and Marius Goring. An edition with twelve illustrations by George Sheringham was published by John Lane in 1915. The protagonist is named Lord George Hell. A worldly man, he is a dandy, fond of gambling, drinking, womanizing, and the like. He is enjoying lavish outdoor entertainment in London with his lover, La Gambogi, when a young and innocent dancer named Jenny Mere performs
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    3 votes
    133
    The New Colossus

    The New Colossus

    "The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–1887), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. This poem was written as a donation to an auction of art and literary works conducted by the "Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty", the aim of which was to raise money for the pedestal's construction The contribution was solicited by fundraiser William Maxwell Evarts. Initially Lazarus refused, but Constance Cary Harrison convinced her that the statue would be of great significance to immigrants sailing into the harbor. "The New Colossus" was the only entry read at the exhibit's opening, but was forgotten and played no role at the opening of the statue in 1886. In 1901, Lazarus's friend Georgina Schuyler began an effort to memorialize Lazarus and her poem, which succeeded in 1903 when a plaque bearing the text of the poem was mounted on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The line "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" has read "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" on the plaque hanging inside the Statue of
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    134
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The Mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The Wedding-Guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience and fear to fascination as the Mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: for example, Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create either a sense of danger, of the supernatural or of serenity, depending on the mood of each of the different parts of the poem. The Mariner's tale begins with his ship departing on its journey. Despite initial good fortune, the ship is driven south off course by a storm and eventually
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    3 votes
    135
    The Adventure of Black Peter

    The Adventure of Black Peter

    "The Adventure of Black Peter" is a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. This tale is in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes, but was published originally in 1904 in the Strand Magazine and Collier's. Forest Row in the Weald is the scene of a gruesome harpoon murder, and a young police inspector, Stanley Hopkins, asks Holmes, whom he admires, for help. Holmes has already determined that it would take a great deal of strength and skill to run a man through with a harpoon and embed it in the wall behind him. Peter Carey, the 50-year-old victim and former master of the Sea Unicorn of Dundee, was a most unpleasant man, especially when he was drunk. He had a reputation for being violent, even having been prosecuted once for assaulting the local vicar. His daughter is actually glad that he is dead. She and her mother have endured years of abuse from the old whaler and sealer, who moreover had some remarkably peculiar habits. He did not sleep in the family house, but in an outhouse that he built some distance from the house, and which he decorated to look like a sailor’s cabin on a ship. This is where he was found harpooned. Hopkins could find no footprints or other
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    4 votes
    136
    The Boscombe Valley Mystery

    The Boscombe Valley Mystery

    "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fourth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1891. Lestrade summons Holmes to a community in Herefordshire, where a local land owner has been murdered outdoors. The deceased's estranged son is strongly implicated. Holmes quickly determines that a mysterious third man may be responsible for the crime, unraveling a thread involving a secret criminal past, thwarted love, and blackmail. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson take a train to Boscombe Valley, in Herefordshire. En route, Holmes reads the news and briefs Watson on their new case. Mr. John Turner, a widower and a major landowner who has a daughter named Alice, lives there with a fellow expatriate from Australia, Mr. Charles McCarthy, a widower who has a son named James. Charles has been found dead near Boscombe Pool. It was reported that he was there to meet someone. Two witnesses testify that they saw Charles walking into the woods followed by James, who was bearing a gun. Patience Moran, daughter of a lodge keeper, says she saw
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    4 votes
    137
    The Green Leopard Plague

    The Green Leopard Plague

    The Green Leopard Plague is a 2004 novella by Walter Jon Williams that won the Nebula Award, and was nominated for the Hugo Award. It is based on the idea of a genetically engineered virus that allows people to photosynthesize food, leading the world to an agalmic society, where there are no more food shortages. It begins in the far future with a mermaid who makes her living by searching old archives. She is approached by a customer who wants her to find information on the man who founded the theoretical background on which their civilization is based, John Terzian. It is eventually revealed that he was involved in the release of the photosynthesis virus. The story then veers back and forward between his story and the mermaid's.
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    4 votes
    138
    Beyond Lies the Wub

    Beyond Lies the Wub

    "Beyond Lies the Wub" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was his first published story, originally appearing in Planet Stories in July, 1952. Peterson, a crew member of a spaceship visiting Mars buys an enormous pig-like creature known as a "wub" from a native just before departure. Franco, his captain, is worried about the extra weight, but seems more concerned about its taste. However, after takeoff, the crew realizes that the wub is a very intelligent creature, capable of telepathy and maybe even mind control. Peterson and the wub spend time discussing mythological figures and the travels of Odysseus. Captain Franco, paranoid after an earlier confrontation with the Wub which left him paralyzed, bursts in and insists on killing and eating the wub. The crew becomes very much opposed to killing the sensitive creature after it makes a plea for understanding, but Franco still makes a meal out of him. At the dinner table, Captain Franco apologises for the "interruption" and resumes the earlier conversation Peterson had been having with the Wub - which has possessed the Captain's body. The theme of the Wub and immortality was revisited by Dick in his later short
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    2 votes
    139
    By the Waters of Babylon

    By the Waters of Babylon

    "By the Waters of Babylon" is a post-apocalyptic short story by Stephen Vincent Benét first published July 31, 1937, in The Saturday Evening Post as "The Place of the Gods". It was republished in 1943 in The Pocket Book of Science Fiction, and was adapted in 1971 into a one-act play by Brainerd Duffield. Set in a future following the destruction of industrial civilization, the story is narrated by a young man who is the son of a priest. The priests of John’s people (the hill people) are inquisitive people associated with the divine. They are the only ones who can handle metal collected from the homes (called the "Dead Places") of long-dead people whom they believe to be gods. The plot follows John’s self-assigned mission to get to the Place of the Gods. His father allows him to go on a spiritual journey, but does not know he is going to this forbidden place. John journeys through the forest for eight days and crosses the river Ou-dis-sun. Once John gets to the Place of the Gods, he feels the energy and magic there. He sees a statue of a "god" — in point of fact, a human — that says "ASHING" on its base. He also sees a building marked "UBTREAS". After being chased by dogs and
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    2 votes
    140
    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders Fields

    "In Flanders Fields" is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially unsatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch. It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best known literary works. John McCrae was a poet
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    2 votes
    141
    In Memoriam A.H.H.

    In Memoriam A.H.H.

    In Memoriam A.H.H. is a poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet's Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. Because it was written over a period of 17 years, its meditation on the search for hope after great loss touches upon many of the most important and deeply-felt concerns of Victorian society. It contains some of Tennyson's most accomplished lyrical work, and is an unusually sustained exercise in lyric verse. It is widely considered to be one of the great poems of the 19th century. The poem was a great favourite of Queen Victoria, who found it a source of solace after the death of Prince Albert in 1861: "Next to the Bible, In Memoriam is my comfort." In 1862, Victoria requested a meeting with Tennyson because she was so impressed by the poem. The original title of the poem was "The Way of the Soul", and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennyson's thoughts and feelings as he copes with his grief over such a long period - including wrestling with the big philosophico-scientific questions of his day. It is perhaps because of this that the
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    2 votes
    142
    Kubla Khan

    Kubla Khan

    Kubla Khan ( /ˌkʊblə ˈkɑːn/) is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in 1816. According to Coleridge's Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China Kublai Khan. Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200–300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. He left it unpublished and kept it for private readings for his friends until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was published. Some of Coleridge's contemporaries denounced the poem and questioned his story about its origin. It was not until years later that critics began to openly admire the poem. Most modern critics now view Kubla Khan as one of Coleridge's three great poems, with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel. The poem is considered one of the most famous examples of Romanticism in English poetry. A copy of the manuscript is a permanent
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    2 votes
    143
    Love Among the Ruins

    Love Among the Ruins

    Love Among the Ruins is an 1855 poem by Robert Browning. It was included in his collection Men and Women, published that year. It is the first poem in the book. Below is the first stanza: Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles, Miles and miles On the solitary pastures where our sheep Half-asleep Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop As they crop--- Was the site once of a city great and gay, (So they say) Of our country's very capital, its prince Ages since Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far Peace or war. Browning here employs an unusual structure of rhyming couplets in which long trochaic lines are paired with short lines of three syllables. This may be related to the theme of the poem, a comparison between love and material glory. The speaker, overlooking a pasture where sheep graze, recalls that once a great ancient city, his country's capital, stood there. After spending four stanzas describing the beauty and grandeur of the ancient city, the speaker says that "a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair/Waits me there", and that "she looks now, breathless, dumb/Till I come." The speaker, after musing further on the glory of the city and thinking
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    2 votes
    144
    Redemption Cairn

    Redemption Cairn

    Redemption Cairn is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the March 1936 issue of Astounding Stories. "Redemption Cairn" is the only Weinbaum story set on Europa. In Weinbaum's Solar System, in keeping with the then-current "near-collision" hypothesis of planetary formation, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earth-like environments on the Galilean moons. Europa is airless except for a depression on the Jupiter-facing side of the tidally locked moon, which holds a thin, but breathable atmosphere. This region is divided into a number of small valleys separated from each other by ridges rising above the atmosphere. The most widespread Europan species is the bladder bird, which carries its own air supply with it in an air sac, allowing it to cross over the airless peaks. Jack Sands, the story's narrator, is a spaceship pilot down on his luck. In September 2111, he is about to be evicted from a flophouse when he is recruited by his old friend Captain Harris Henshaw to co-pilot an expedition to Europa. Sands is one of only two survivors of a previous visit to the Jovian moon. The other was his drug-addled co-pilot Kratska, who crashed the
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    2 votes
    145
    The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

    The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

    "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the eleventh of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in May 1892. A banker, Mr. Alexander Holder of Streatham makes a loan of £50,000 to a socially prominent client, who leaves the Beryl Coronet — one of the most valuable public possessions in existence — as collateral. Holder feels that he must not leave this rare and precious piece of jewellery in his personal safe at the bank, and so he takes it home with him to lock it up there. He is awakened in the night by a noise, enters his dressing room, and is horrified to see his son Arthur with the coronet in his hands, apparently trying to bend it. Holder's niece Mary comes at the sound of all the shouting and, seeing the damaged coronet, faints dead away. Three beryls are missing from it. In a panic, Mr. Holder travels to see Holmes, who agrees to take the case. The case against Arthur seems rather damning, yet Holmes is not convinced of his guilt. Why has Arthur clammed up? Why is he refusing to give a statement of any
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    2 votes
    146
    Il Penseroso

    Il Penseroso

    Il Penseroso is a vision of poetic melancholy by John Milton. Presented in the 1645 folio of verses, The Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, Il Penseroso was presented as a companion piece to L'Allegro, a vision of poetic Mirth. The speaker of this reflective ode dispels "vain deluding Joys" from his mind in a ten-line prelude, before invoking "divinest Melancholy" to inspire his future verses. The melancholic mood is idealised by the speaker as a means by which to "attain / To something like prophetic strain," and for the central action of Il Penseroso - which, like L'Allegro, proceeds in couplets of iambic tetrameter - the speaker speculates about the poetic inspiration that would transpire if the imagined goddess of Melancholy he invokes were his Muse. The highly digressive style Milton employs in L'Allegro and Il Penseroso dually precludes any summary of the poems' dramatic action as it renders them interpretively ambiguous to critics. However, it can surely be said that the vision of poetic inspiration offered by the speaker of Il Penseroso is an allegorical exploration of a contemplative paradigm of poetic genre. It is uncertain when L'Allegro and Il Pensero
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    4 votes
    147
    Iliad

    Iliad

    The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' looming death and the sack of Troy, prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, so that when it reaches an end, the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War. The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC. In the modern
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    3 votes
    148
    Jewels of Gwahlur

    Jewels of Gwahlur

    "Jewels of Gwahlur" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. Set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, it concerns several parties, including Conan, fighting over and hunting for the eponymous treasure in Hyborian Africa. The tale was first published in Weird Tales in 1935. Howard's original title for the story was "The Servants of Bit-Yakin". Robert E. Howard set the story in Hyborian Africa. The Teeth of Gwahlur are legendary jewels, kept in the abandoned city of Alkmeenon, in the country of Keshan "which in itself was considered mythical by many northern and western nations". Conan, following legends of this treasure, has travelled to Keshan and offered his services to train and lead Keshan's army against their neighbour, Punt. However, Thutmekri, a Stygian rogue with similar intentions, and his Shemitish partner, Zargheba, also arrive in the country with an offer of a military alliance with another of Punt's neighbours, Zembabwei, with some of the Teeth to seal their pact. The high priest of Keshan, Gorulga, announces that a decision on the matter can only be made after
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    3 votes
    149
    The Adventure of the Speckled Band

    The Adventure of the Speckled Band

    "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the eighth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of four Sherlock Holmes stories that can be classified as a locked room mystery. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in February 1892, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. It was published under the different title "The Spotted Band" in New York World in August 1905. Doyle later revealed that he thought this was his best Holmes story. Doyle wrote and produced a play based on the story. It premiered at the Adelphi Theatre, London on 4 June 1910, with H. A. Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes and Lyn Harding as Dr. Grimesby Roylott. The play, originally called The Stonor Case, differs from the story in several details, such as the names of some of the characters. A young woman named Helen Stoner consults the detective Sherlock Holmes about the suspicious death of her sister, Julia. One night, after conversing with her twin sister about her upcoming wedding day, Julia screamed and came to the hallway where Helen came out to see her, in Julia's dying
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    3 votes
    150
    The Chronic Argonauts

    The Chronic Argonauts

    "The Chronic Argonauts" is a short story written by H. G. Wells. First published by the Royal College of Science in 1888, it is the first well-developed use of a machine constructed to travel through time (a "time machine") in science fiction, as it predates Wells's more famous time traveling novel, The Time Machine, by 7 years. This brief story begins with a third-person account of the arrival of a mysterious inventor to the peaceful Welsh town of Llyddwdd. Dr. Moses Nebogipfel takes up residence in a house sorely neglected after the deaths of its former inhabitants. The main bulk of the story concerns the apprehension of the simple rural folk who eventually storm the inventor's "devilish" workshop in an effort to repay supposed witchery. Nebogipfel escapes with one other person—the sympathetic Reverend Elijah Ulysses Cook—in what is later revealed to be a time machine. The next part picks up with an unnamed "Author" character discovering the dazed Reverend Cook returned from unbelievable exploits after having been missing for three weeks. The remainder of the story is the Reverend's short retelling (again in the third-person) of the events that took place that night and the
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    3 votes
    151
    The Martian Way

    The Martian Way

    "The Martian Way" is a science fiction novella by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the November 1952 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction and reprinted in the collections The Martian Way and Other Stories (1955), The Best of Isaac Asimov (1973), and Robot Dreams (1986). It was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973) after being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965. Mario Esteban Rioz and Ted Long are both Scavengers, Mars-born humans who scour space for the spent lower stages of spacecraft. Rioz has been doing the work his whole life, but his partner for his current six-month trip puzzles him—a former mining engineer who gave up a comfortable, well-paying desk job in the Martian iron mines for the hardscrabble life of a Scavenger. He doesn't understand Long's philosophical musings on what he calls "the Martian way". Rioz is tense because the trip has been unprofitable. He chews Long out for wasting power listening to some Grounder (Earth-born) politician named John Hilder making a speech. As Rioz listens to the speech, he realizes that Hilder is saying that Earth's settlements on Mars, Venus, and the Moon are useless drains on Earth's economy,
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    3 votes
    152
    The Prisoner of Chillon

    The Prisoner of Chillon

    The Prisoner of Chillon is a 392-line narrative poem by Lord Byron. Written in 1816, it chronicles the imprisonment of a Genevois monk, François Bonivard, from 1532 to 1536. On 22 June 1816, Lord Byron and his contemporary and friend Percy Bysshe Shelley were sailing on Lake Geneva (referred to as "Lac Leman", the French name, throughout the poem) and stopped to visit the Château de Chillon. After touring the castle (and walking through the dungeon in which Bonivard was imprisoned), Byron was inspired by Bonivard's story and composed The Sonnet of Chillon. Because of torrential rainfall, Byron and his companion rested at a hotel in Ouchy following their tour. In late June or early July (several early drafts and copies present conflicting dates), Byron composed the longer fable. The work was probably completed by 2 July 1816. Following his return to England, The Prisoner of Chillion was first published as The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems by John Murray on 5 December 1816. The work's themes and images follow those of a typical poem by Lord Byron: the protagonist is an isolated figure, and brings a strong will to bear against great sufferings. He seeks solace in the beauty of
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    3 votes
    153
    The Stolen Child

    The Stolen Child

    "The Stolen Child" is a poem by William Butler Yeats, published in 1889 in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. The poem was written in 1886 and is considered to be one of Yeats's more notable early poems. The poem is based on Irish legend and concerns faeries beguiling a child to come away with them. Yeats had a great interest in Irish mythology about faeries resulting in his publication of Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry in 1888 and Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland in 1892. The poem reflects the early influence of Romantic literature and Pre-Raphaelite verse. The places mentioned in the poem are in Leitrim and Sligo where Yeats spent much of his childhood. The poem was first published in the Irish Monthly in December 1886. The poem was then published in a compilation of work by several Irish poets Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland in 1888 with several critics praising the poem. It was later published in his first book of poetry The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems as well as Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. The poem was set to music and recorded by Loreena McKennitt on her 1985 debut album Elemental. Subsequently, additional musical versions were
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    3 votes
    154
    Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

    Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

    "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" is a poem by English author Robert Browning, written in 1855 and first published that same year in the collection entitled Men and Women. The title, which forms the last words of the poem, is a line from William Shakespeare's play King Lear. In the play, Gloucester's son, Edgar, lends credence to his disguise as Tom o' Bedlam by talking nonsense, of which this is a part: Child Rowland to the dark tower came, His word was still 'Fie, foh, and fum I smell the blood of a British man. King Lear, Act 3, scene 4 Shakespeare took inspiration from the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", although the poem has no direct connection to the tale. Browning claimed that the poem came to him, fully formed, in a dream. Browning explores Roland's journey to the Dark Tower in 34 six line stanzas with the rhyme form A-B-B-A-A-B and iambic pentameter. It is filled with images from nightmare but the setting is given unusual reality by much fuller descriptions of the landscape than was normal for Browning at any other time in his career. In general, however, the work is one of Browning's most complex works. This is, in part, because the hero's story is glimpsed slowly
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    1 votes
    155
    Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

    Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

    Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 is a sonnet by William Wordsworth describing London and the River Thames, viewed from Westminster Bridge in the early morning. It was first published in the collection Poems in Two Volumes in 1807. The sonnet was originally dated 1803, but this was corrected in later editions and the date of composition given precisely as 31 July 1802, when Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were travelling to Calais to visit Annette Vallon and his daughter Caroline by Annette, prior to his forthcoming marriage to Mary Hutchinson. The sonnet has always been popular, escaping the generally excoriating reviews from critics such as Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review when Poems in Two Volumes was first published. The reason undoubtedly lies in its great simplicity and beauty of language, turning on Dorothy's observation that this man-made spectacle is nevertheless one to be compared to nature's grandest natural spectacles. Cleanth Brooks analysed the sonnet in these terms in The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry. Stephen Gill remarks that at the end of his life Wordsworth, engaged in editing his works, contemplated a revision
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    156
    Creation, Man and the Messiah

    Creation, Man and the Messiah

    Creation, Man and the Messiah is the title of an epic poem written by the Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland in 1829. The scale of the poem invited criticism, especially by Wergeland's counterpart, Johan Sebastian Welhaven. In 1845, while on his deathbed, Wergeland revised the poem and republished it under the title Man. The poem starts out at the beginning of history, with two spirits watching and arguing over the newly created earth. One of them, Phun-Abiriel, is dismayed, because he is eager to create on his own, but unlike God, his thoughts do not take shape. In the process, he also wishes to see God, but can't. Phun-Abiriel's friend, Ohebiel, patiently explains to him that the spirits are not able to see the eternal, and that Phun-Abiriel is considered a newborn spirit or a rash youth. Anyway, Ohebiel loves him, but can't help him from brooding. As they talk, the heavenly host approaches, led by the eldest of spirits, Akadiel. Then, Akadiel and Eons witness the birth of life, as recalled in Genesis, over a period of six days. At the end of this part, Akadiel holds his speech to the still-sleeping human couple, demanding of them that they shall be rulers over themselves first, and
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    157
    Epic of Gilgamesh

    Epic of Gilgamesh

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about 'Bilgamesh' (Sumerian for Gilgamesh), king of Uruk. Four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first, "Old Babylonian" version of the epic dates to the 18th century BC and is titled Shūtur eli sharrī ("Surpassing All Other Kings"). Only a few fragments of it survive. The later, Standard Babylonian version dates from the 13th to the tenth centuries and bears the title Sha naqba īmuru ("He who Saw the Deep"). Fragments of approximately two thirds of this longer, 12 tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh's equal to distract him from oppressing the people of Uruk. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh
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    158
    Mold of the Earth

    Mold of the Earth

    "Mold of the Earth" (Polish: "Pleśń świata") is one of the shortest micro-stories by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus. The story was published on 1 January 1884 in the News Year's Day issue of the Warsaw Courier (Kurier Warszawski). The story comes from a several years' period of pessimism in the author's life. That pessimism had been caused by the situation of Poland (which nine decades earlier, upon the completion of the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, had ceased to exist as an independent country) and by the 1883 failure of Nowiny (News), a Warsaw daily that Prus had been editing for less than a year. The story is set adjacent to the Temple of the Sibyl on the grounds of the old Czartoryski estate in Puławy. The Temple had been erected in the late 18th century by Princess Izabela Czartoryska as a museum and patriotic memorial to the late Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Next to the Temple is a boulder, overgrown with molds, which at a certain moment magically transforms into a globe. In his one-and-a-half-page micro-story, Prus identifies human societies with colonies of molds that contest the surface of the globe. He thus provides a metaphor for the competitive
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    159
    The Chronicles of Colonel Walter S Houghington III

    The Chronicles of Colonel Walter S Houghington III

    The Chronicles of Sir Colonel Walter S Houghington III is a series of comical stories assembled as the "memoirs" of a pulp-style adventurer known as Sir Colonel Walter S Houghington III. The Chronicles of Walter S Houghington III began as a staged, one man show and first appeared in print on a freewebs page. The story now continues as a serial novella on blogspot. Houghington serves as the stories' first person narrator. The novella is broken up into Entries as though it were written as a diary. Most entries end on a cliffhanger when the heroes find themselves out of the frying pan and into the fire. Houghington often uses bombastic language and makes frequent use of onomatopoeia and alliteration. The world that he creates is all encompassing in terms of early 1900's thought and technology, but no direct moments, places, or times are given. Houghington often interjects short lessons on how to become an adventurer such as himself. These may be by way of a one line quip such as "It is inadvisable to engage in any form of physical violence when more than five hundred feet off the ground," to more in-depth tutorials such as the C.L.A.S.S. System of Escape or The Three G's; Guard, Gun,
    8.00
    1 votes
    160
    The People of the Black Circle

    The People of the Black Circle

    "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. Howard earned $250 for the publication of this story. 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. This Conan story is set in mythical Hyborian versions of India-Pakistan (then united) and Afghanistan (Vendhya and Ghulistan respectively). The death of Bunda Chand, King of Vendhya, via a curse channelled to his soul through a lock of his hair leads to the ascension of his sister, Devi Yasmina, who vows to get revenge
    8.00
    1 votes
    161
    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

    "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Set in Africa, it was published in the September 1936 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine concurrently with "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". The story was eventually adapted to the screen as the Zoltan Korda film The Macomber Affair (1947). Francis Macomber and his wife Margaret (usually referred to as "Margot"), are on a big-game safari in Africa, guided by professional hunter Robert Wilson. Earlier, Francis had panicked when a wounded lion charged him. Margot mocks Macomber for this act of cowardice, and it is implied that she sleeps with Wilson. The next day the party hunt buffalo. Macomber and Wilson hunt together where the pair shoot 3 buffalo. Two of the buffalo are killed, but the first buffalo was only wounded and has gone into the bush. Macomber now feels confident, and he and Wilson proceed to track the wounded animal, paralleling the circumstances of the previous day's lion hunt. When they find the buffalo, it charges Macomber. Although he stands his ground and fires at it, his shots are too high. Wilson fires at the beast as well, but it keeps charging. Macomber kills the buffalo at the last second.
    8.00
    1 votes
    162
    Christmas on Ganymede

    Christmas on Ganymede

    "Christmas on Ganymede" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was written in December 1940, first published in the January 1942 issue of Startling Stories, and reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov and the anthology Christmas on Ganymede and Other Stories, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. It was the twenty-sixth story written by Asimov, and the nineteenth to be published. In his autobiography In Memory Yet Green, Asimov had this to say about Christmas on Ganymede: "I was trying to be funny, of course. I had this terrible urge to be funny, you see, and had already indulged in humor in more than one story. Writing humor, however, is harder than digging ditches. Something can be moderately well written, or moderately suspenseful, or moderately ingenious, and get by in every case. Nothing, however, can be moderately humorous. Something is either funny, or it is not funny at all. There is nothing in between." "Christmas on Ganymede" was later included in an early Foundation Series timeline that was published in Thrilling Wonder Stories along with the story "The Portable Star". As the title indicates, the story is set on the Jovian moon Ganymede, the first story
    5.25
    4 votes
    163
    Arthur Jermyn

    Arthur Jermyn

    "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1920. The story was first published in the journal The Wolverine in March and June of 1921. To Lovecraft's distaste, the story was retitled "The White Ape" when it appeared in Weird Tales in 1924; subsequent reprintings titled it "Arthur Jermyn" until the corrected publishing in Dagon and Other Macabre Tales in 1986. In a letter, Lovecraft described the story's surprising impetus: Somebody had been harassing me into reading some work of the iconoclastic moderns — these young chaps who pry behind exteriors and unveil nasty hidden motives and secret stigmata — and I had nearly fallen asleep over the tame backstairs gossip of Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. The sainted Sherwood, as you know, laid bare the dark area which many whited village lives concealed, and it occurred to me that I, in my weirder medium, could probably devise some secret behind a man's ancestry which would make the worst of Anderson's disclosures sound like the annual report of a Sabbath school. Hence Arthur Jermyn. Critic William Fulwiler suggests that the plot of "Arthur Jermyn" may have been inspired by Edgar
    7.00
    2 votes
    164
    The Adventure of the Priory School

    The Adventure of the Priory School

    "The Adventure of the Priory School", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Priory School" tenth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Holmes receives a visit from Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable, the founder and principal of a preparatory school called Priory School in Northern England. He beseeches Holmes to come back to Mackleton with him to look into the kidnapping of one of his pupils. The boy's father, the Duke of Holdernesse, has offered a reward of £5000 to anyone who can tell him where his son, the ten-year-old Lord Saltire, is, and a further £1000 to anyone who can tell him who his kidnappers are. James Wilder, the Duke's personal secretary, has also been indiscreet enough to mention something to Huxtable about the young Lord's unhappy home life. His parents no longer live together, his mother having moved to Southern France. Wilder has said that Lord Saltire's sympathies were with his mother in these matters. Upon arrival at the school, though, Lord Saltire seemed to be quite happy, and in his
    7.00
    2 votes
    165
    The Man That Was Used Up

    The Man That Was Used Up

    "The Man That Was Used Up," sometimes subtitled "A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign," is a short story and satire by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1839 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. The story follows an unnamed narrator who seeks out the famous war hero John A. B. C. Smith. He becomes suspicious that Smith has some deep secret when others refuse to describe him, instead remarking only on the latest advancements in technology. When he finally meets Smith, the man must first be assembled piece by piece. It is likely that in this satire Poe is actually referring to General Winfield Scott, veteran of the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, and the American Civil War. Additionally, Poe is questioning the strong male identity as well as how humanity falls as machines become more advanced. An unnamed narrator meets the famous Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith, "one of the most remarkable men of the age." Smith is an impressive physical specimen at six feet tall with flowing black hair, "large and lustrous" eyes, powerful-looking shoulders, and other essentially perfect attributes. He is also known for his great speaking ability, often boasting
    7.00
    2 votes
    166
    The Pool of the Black One

    The Pool of the Black One

    "The Pool of the Black One" is one of the original short stories starring the sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan becoming the captain of a pirate vessel and encountering a remote island with a mysterious pool that has powers of transmutation. First published in Weird Tales in 1933, the story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Adventurer (Lancer Books, 1966). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "The Pool of the Black One," which appeared in Weird Tales magazine the month after "The Slithering Shadow," is a piratical adventure story and occurs in the Western Sea of the Hyborian Age. The story begins with Conan the Cimmerian, adrift at sea near the Barachan Isles, clambering aboard a pirate ship christened The Wastrel. After a terse conversation with the captain and a brawl with a Zingaran bully, Conan is begrudgingly accepted as a lowly member of the crew and is
    7.00
    2 votes
    167
    The Queen of Spades

    The Queen of Spades

    "The Queen of Spades" (Russian: Пиковая дама; translit. Pikovaya dama) is a short story by Alexander Pushkin about human avarice. Pushkin wrote the story in autumn 1833 in Boldino and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in March 1834. The character of the Countess was inspired by Princess Natalya Petrovna Galitzine (Princesse Moustache). The story was the basis of the operas The Queen of Spades (1890) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, La dame de pique (1850) by Fromental Halévy and Pique Dame (1865) by Franz von Suppé (the overture to the Suppé work is all that remains in today's repertoire). It has been filmed various times, the most notable version being a 1949 film by the same name directed by Thorold Dickinson. Hermann, an ethnic German, is an officer of the engineers in the Imperial Russian army. He constantly watches the other officers gamble, but never plays himself. One night, Tomsky tells a story about his grandmother, an elderly countess. Many years ago, in France, she lost a fortune at cards, and then won it back, with the secret of the three winning cards, which she learned from the notorious Count of St. Germain. Hermann becomes obsessed
    7.00
    2 votes
    168
    New Rose Hotel

    New Rose Hotel

    "New Rose Hotel" is a short story by William Gibson, first published in 1984 in Omni and later included in his 1986 collection Burning Chrome. Set in the near future, the story provides the reader with a glimpse into the niche criminal market of corporate defections. Huge megacorporations control and dominate entire economies. Their wealth and competitive advantage reside in the human capital of their employees and the intellectual property they produce. Corporations jealously guard their most valuable employees and go to great expense to keep them safe and happily productive. There is little point in traditional corporate espionage as new products are developed at a lightning pace. There is no time to capitalize on the intelligence acquired from a rival firm. Here is where the protagonists of the story come into play, setting themselves up as shady middle-men in the world of corporate defections. Key scientists are cajoled, lured, bribed, and blackmailed into leaving their firms. The story follows two corporate extraction agents, the narrator and Fox, who are quickly betrayed after a successful operation. After they are betrayed by a partner, they are hunted by their former
    5.00
    4 votes
    169
    Paladin of the Lost Hour

    Paladin of the Lost Hour

    "Paladin of the Lost Hour" is the second segment of the seventh episode from the first season (1985–1986) of the television series The New Twilight Zone, as well as a novelette by script-writer Harlan Ellison. An old man standing at a grave, apparently grieving, is suddenly attacked by a couple of muggers. The man screams that someone must protect him. One of the muggers takes the only thing the man had—a pocket watch that starts to glow and burns the hand of the mugger. It floats through the air back to the old man, while another man visiting the grounds helps him. The old man, who reveals his name is Gaspar, wants to talk to Billy, the man who helped him. They go to Billy's apartment and talk about what happened at the cemetery. He goes there to visit his "girl" and Billy was visiting a friend's grave. Billy must go to work and lets Gaspar stay so Gaspar can rest. Billy gets home to find Gaspar still in the apartment and cooking dinner. Billy discovers that Gaspar is homeless and dying. He offers to let Gaspar stay, and Gaspar discovers that Billy was visiting the grave of a man he fought with in the Vietnam War. They watch the news to discover how close a nuclear war could be,
    5.67
    3 votes
    170
    A Toccata of Galuppi's

    A Toccata of Galuppi's

    "A Toccata of Galuppi's" is a poem by Robert Browning, originally published in the 1855 collection Men and Women. The title refers to the fact that the speaker is either playing or listening to a toccata by the 18th-century Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi. It is not known whether Browning was thinking of any one piece by Galuppi; in Galuppi's time, the terms "toccata" and "sonata" were less clearly differentiated than they later became, and were used interchangeably. A number of Galuppi's sonatas have been suggested as Browning's inspiration, but as Charles van den Borren wrote in The Musical Times, "every poet has the right to evade the prosaic minutiae of fact", and it is impossible to state with confidence that one Galuppi piece has more claim than another to be the inspiration for the poem. Commentators have remarked on the musicality of the poem. Browning was trained extensively in music, both in composition and musical theory. Professional musicians and musicologists have been dismissive of his use of musical terms, but the music scholar Deryck Cooke writes of the poet's precise grasp of fine musical detail in this work. David Parkinson identifies "a link between each
    6.50
    2 votes
    171
    Cinderella

    Cinderella

    "Cinderella", or "The Little Glass Slipper", (French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, Italian: Cenerentola, German: Aschenputtel, Dutch: Assepoester) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Although both the story's title and the character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore "Cinderella" is the archetypal name. The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. The Cinderella theme may well have originated in classical antiquity. The Ancient Greek historian Strabo (Geographica Book 17, 1.33) recorded in the 1st century BC the tale
    6.50
    2 votes
    172
    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

    "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (also commonly known as "Daffodils" or "The Daffodils") is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth. It was inspired by an event on April 15, 1802, in which Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, came across a "long belt" of daffodils. Written at some time between 1804 and 1807 (in 1804 on Wordsworth's own account), it was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a revised version was published in 1815. It is written in six-line stanzas with an ababcc rhyme scheme, as in the Venus and Adonis stanza of Shakespeare but in tetrameters rather than pentameters. It is generally considered Wordsworth's most famous work. In the "Nation's Favourite Poems", a poll carried out by the BBC's Bookworm, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" came fifth. Often anthologised, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is commonly seen as a classic of English romanticism within poetry, although Poems in Two Volumes was poorly reviewed by Wordsworth's contemporaries. The inspiration for the poem came from a walk he took with his sister Dorothy around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District. Wordsworth would draw on this to compose "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" in 1804. It was
    6.50
    2 votes
    173
    Marooned Off Vesta

    Marooned Off Vesta

    "Marooned Off Vesta" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was the third story written by Asimov, and the first to be published. Written in July 1938 when Asimov was 18, it was rejected by Astounding Science Fiction in August, then accepted in October by Amazing Stories, appearing in the March 1939 issue. Asimov first included it in his 1968 story collection Asimov's Mysteries, and subsequently in the 1973 collection The Best of Isaac Asimov. Marooned Off Vesta tells the story of three men who survive the wreck of the spaceship Silver Queen in the asteroid belt and find themselves trapped in orbit around the asteroid Vesta. They have at their disposal three airtight rooms, one spacesuit, three days' worth of air, a week's supply of food, and a year's supply of water. With typically Asimovian courage and ingenuity, the trapped men manage to use the limited resources at their disposal to rescue themselves. The description of their rescue is heavy with accurate portrayals of the physics and experiences involved with being in space, a theme that often re-emerges in Asimov's later works. In 1958, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the story's appearance, Asimov wrote
    6.50
    2 votes
    174
    My Country

    My Country

    "My Country" is an iconic patriotic poem about Australia, written by Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) at the age of 19 while homesick in England. After travelling through Europe extensively with her father during her teenage years she started writing the poem in London in 1904 and re-wrote it several times before her return to Sydney. The poem was first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title "Core of My Heart". It was reprinted in many Australian newspapers, quickly becoming well known and establishing Mackellar as a poet. Mackellar's family owned substantial properties in the Gunnedah district of New South Wales and a property (Torryburn) in the Paterson district. The inspiration for her poems undoubtedly came from the time she spent on the rural properties as a child. The famous poem is believed to have been directly inspired by witnessing the break of a drought when she was at Torryburn; My Country uses imagery to describe the land after the breaking of a long drought. Of ragged mountain ranges possibly refer to the Mount Royal Ranges, and the Barrington Tops. To many the poem is an overtly romanticised version of "The Australian condition" as Mackellar's family
    6.50
    2 votes
    175
    Rolliad

    Rolliad

    The Rolliad, in full Criticisms on the Rolliad, is a pioneering work of British satire directed principally at the administration of William Pitt the Younger. It was written and originally published in serial form in the Morning Herald in 1784-85, and its authors also contributed ancillary satires which were published together with it. The satire takes the form of a piece of literary criticism of an epic poem called The Rolliad which is extensively quoted. The subject of the poem is John Rolle, MP for Devon, who is being guided around Parliament by Merlin who introduces the leading personalities to him. Rolle, despite the fact that he was not a constant supporter of Pitt, was picked out for ridicule by the authors after he shouted down Edmund Burke in the House of Commons. The authors claimed his descent from the Norman Rollo of Normandy. The Rolliad was a collaborative work and the authors remained anonymous. Joseph Richardson, a journalist, was the principal writer; George Ellis (an antiquary), Richard Tickell (a librettist) and French Laurence (Professor of Civil Law at Oxford) also contributed. There were contributors from the field of politics including Richard Fitzpatrick who
    6.50
    2 votes
    176
    The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk

    The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk

    "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the fourth of the twelve collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in most British editions of the canon, and third of eleven in most American ones (owing to the omission of the "scandalous" "Adventure of the Cardboard Box"). The story was first published in Strand Magazine in March 1893 and featured seven illustrations by Sidney Paget. A young clerk, Hall Pycroft, consults Holmes with his suspicions concerning a company that has offered him a very well-paid job. Holmes, Watson and Pycroft travel by train to Birmingham, where the job is initially to be based, and Pycroft explains that he was recently made redundant from a stockbroking house. He eventually secured a new post with another stockbrokers, Mawson and Williams, in Lombard Street in the City. Before taking up the job, he was approached by Arthur Pinner, who offered him a managership with a newly-established hardware distribution company, to be based in France. Pycroft is sent to Birmingham to meet Pinner's brother and company co-founder, Harry Pinner. He is offered a very
    6.50
    2 votes
    177
    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft. From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Force, provided the following explanatory note: "A ball turret was a plexiglass sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upsidedown in his little sphere. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose." Reviewer, Leven M. Dawson, says that "The theme of Randall Jarrell's 'The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner' is that institutionalized violence, or war, creates moral paradox, a condition in which acts repugnant to human nature become
    6.50
    2 votes
    178
    The Eternal Adam

    The Eternal Adam

    The Eternal Adam (French: L'Éternel Adam) is a short novelette by Jules Verne recounting the progressive fall of a group of survivors into barbarism following an apocalypse. Although the story was drafted by Verne in the last years of his life, it was greatly expanded by his son, Michel Verne. The story is set in a far future in which an archaeologist deciphers the preserved journal of a survivor to total destruction of civilisation. The discovery comes in the midst of philosophical controversies on the origin of humankind, between those that believe in the existence of a unique ancestor and those that do not. The journal describes the struggle for survival of a small group and the futility of the accumulated knowledge in the group. The conclusion of the novel implies that the unique ancestor is the survivor whose journal was discovered, and that civilisation is doomed to eternal fall and rebirth. The Eternal Adam Summary page for publications of this title at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
    6.50
    2 votes
    179
    The Five Orange Pips

    The Five Orange Pips

    "The Five Orange Pips", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fifth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in The Strand magazine in November 1891. Conan Doyle later ranked the story seventh in a list of his twelve favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. A young Sussex gentleman named John Openshaw has a strange story: in 1869 his uncle Elias Openshaw had suddenly come back to England to settle on an estate at Horsham, West Sussex after living for years in the United States as a planter in Florida and serving as a Colonel in the Confederate Army. Not being married, Elias had allowed his nephew to stay at his estate. Strange incidents have occurred; one is that although John could go anywhere in the house he could never enter a locked room containing his uncle's trunks. Another peculiarity was that in March 1883 a letter postmarked from Pondicherry, India arrived for the Colonel inscribed only "K.K.K." with five orange pips enclosed. More strange things happened: Papers from the locked room were burnt and a will was drawn up leaving the estate to John Openshaw. The Colonel's
    6.50
    2 votes
    180
    The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice (German: Der Zauberlehrling) is a poem by Goethe, written in 1797. The poem is a ballad in fourteen stanzas. The poem begins as an old sorcerer departs his workshop, leaving his apprentice with chores to perform. Tired of fetching water by pail, the apprentice enchants a broom to do the work for him — using magic in which he is not yet fully trained. The floor is soon awash with water, and the apprentice realizes that he cannot stop the broom because he does not know how. Not knowing how to control the enchanted broom, the apprentice splits it in two with an axe, but each of the pieces becomes a new broom and takes up a pail and continues fetching water, now at twice the speed. When all seems lost, the old sorcerer returns, quickly breaks the spell and saves the day. The poem finishes with the old sorcerer's statement that powerful spirits should only be called by the master himself. Der Zauberlehrling is well known in the German-speaking world. The lines in which the apprentice implores the returning sorcerer to help him with the mess he has created have turned into a cliché, especially the line Die Geister, die ich rief ("The spirits that I called"), a
    6.50
    2 votes
    181
    The Vampyre

    The Vampyre

    "The Vampyre" is a short story or novella written in 1819 by John William Polidori which is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction. The work is described by Christopher Frayling as "the first story successfully to fuse the disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent literary genre." "The Vampyre" was first published on 1 April 1819 by Henry Colburn in the New Monthly Magazine with the false attribution "A Tale by Lord Byron". The name of the work's protagonist, "Lord Ruthven", added to this assumption, for that name was originally used in Lady Caroline Lamb's novel Glenarvon (from the same publisher), in which a thinly-disguised Byron figure was also named Lord Ruthven. Despite repeated denials by Byron and Polidori, the authorship often went unclarified. The tale was first published in book form by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones in London, Paternoster-Row, in 1819 in octavo as The Vampyre; A Tale in 84 pages. The notation on the cover noted that it was: "Entered at Stationers' Hall, March 27, 1819". Initially, the author was given as Lord Byron. Later printings removed Byron's name and added Polidori's name to the title page. The story was an immediate
    6.50
    2 votes
    182
    A Predicament

    A Predicament

    "A Predicament" is a humorous short story by Edgar Allan Poe, usually combined with its companion piece "How to Write a Blackwood Article." It was originally titled "The Scythe of Time". The bizarre story follows a female narrator, Signora Psyche Zenobia. This is unusual for Poe, whose only other female voice is in the poem "Bridal Ballad". While walking through the city with her 5-inch-tall (130 mm) poodle Diana and 3-foot-tall (0.91 m) black servant Pompey, she is drawn to a large Gothic cathedral. As she makes her way into the steeple, she ponders life and the metaphor of surmounting stairs: At the steeple, Zenobia sees a small opening that she wishes to look through. Standing on Pompey's shoulders, she pushes her head through the opening and realizes she is in the face of a giant clock. As she gazes out at the city beyond, she soon finds that the sharp minute hand has begun to dig into her neck. Slowly, the minute hand decapitates her, which it will do for the remainder of the story. At one point, pressure against her neck causes her eye to fall and roll down into the gutter and then into the streets below. She is annoyed not so much that she has lost her eye but at "the
    7.00
    1 votes
    183
    Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

    Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

    Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) is a long poem by Ezra Pound. It has been regarded as a turning point in Pound's career (by F.R. Leavis and others), and its completion was swiftly followed by his departure from England. The name "Selwyn" might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the titular subject is also reminiscent of T. S. Eliot's main character in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The poem comprises eighteen short poems which are grouped into two sections. The first is a capsule biography of Ezra Pound himself, as indicated by the title of the first poem, which reads "E.P. Ode pour l'élection de son sépulchre" ("Ezra Pound: Ode for the Choice of His Sepulchre"). The second section introduces us to the struggling poet Mauberley's character, career and fate. Readers have been misled by the fact that Pound assigns to every poem a title or, alternatively, a number. Thus poem I, "E.P. Ode pour l'Election de Son Sépulchre", is followed by poems II-V, that are numbered, while poems VI to IX are again given individual titles. As a consequence, in some websites poems II-V are reprinted as if they were parts II-V of "E.P. Ode". They are
    7.00
    1 votes
    184
    Mariana

    Mariana

    Mariana is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson published in 1830. The poem follows a common theme in much of Tennyson's work—that of despondent isolation. The subject of Mariana is a woman who continuously laments her lack of connection with society. The isolation defines her existence, and her longing for a connection leaves her wishing for death at the end of every stanza. The premise of Mariana originates in William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, but the lover of Tennyson's Mariana does not return at the end of the poem. Tennyson's version was adapted by others, including John Everett Millais and Elizabeth Gaskell, for use in their own works. The poem was well received by critics, and it is described by critics as an example of Tennyson's skill at poetry. Tennyson wrote Mariana in 1830 and printed it within his early collection Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. Previously, he contributed poems to the work Poems by Two Brothers (1827), where his early poems dealing with isolation and memory can be found. The theme was continued in the later collection, with poems like Mariana, Ode to Memory, and others representing the earlier poems. During a visit to the Pyrenees during the summer of
    7.00
    1 votes
    185
    Tam o' Shanter

    Tam o' Shanter

    "Tam o' Shanter" is a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1790. First published in 1791, it is one of Burns's longer poems, and employs a mixture of Scots and English. It tells the story of a man who stayed too long at a public house and witnessed a disturbing vision on his way home. The name is often misspelled "Tam O'Shanter", by mistaking "o'", a contraction of "of", for the Irish patronymic prefix "O'". The poem begins: When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm. After Burns has located us geographically: (Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonnie lasses). (a quote that gave Ayr United F.C. their nickname "the honest men"), Tam sits and drinks with his friends, and the reader is regaled with a dark prophecy of Tam's wife Kate: She prophesied that late or soon, Thou
    7.00
    1 votes
    186
    The Fall of the House of Usher

    The Fall of the House of Usher

    "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The legend opens with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Roderick's pathagens can be described according to its terminology. They include a form of sensory overload known as hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, deathlike trances. The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings, and attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings "The Haunted Palace", then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be [sentience|sentient], and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Roderick later informs the
    7.00
    1 votes
    187
    The Overcoat

    The Overcoat

    "The Overcoat" (Russian: Шинель, translit. Shinel; sometimes translated as "The Cloak") is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations. The story centers on the life and death of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin (Акакий Акакиевич Башмачкин), an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Akaky is dedicated to his job as a titular councillor, taking special relish in the hand-copying of documents, though little recognized in his department for his hard work. Instead, the younger clerks tease him and attempt to distract him whenever they can. His threadbare overcoat is often the butt of their jokes. Akaky decides it is necessary to have the coat repaired, so he takes it to his tailor, Petrovich, who declares the coat irreparable, telling Akaky he must buy a new overcoat. The cost of a new overcoat is beyond Akaky's meagre salary, so he forces himself to live within a
    7.00
    1 votes
    188
    Pocket Statistical Data on Switzerland 2006

    Pocket Statistical Data on Switzerland 2006

    The most important Swiss statistics can be found in the small brochure entitled "Statistical Data on Switzerland".

    This brochure is free of charge and available in both electronic form (downloadable over the Internet) and hardcopy.
    5.33
    3 votes
    189
    The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter

    The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter

    "The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. It was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1904 with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Mr. Cyril Overton of Trinity College, Cambridge wants to find Godfrey Staunton, key rugby team player needed for match tomorrow against Oxford. Pale and bothered earlier, Staunton left his hotel about half past ten in the evening with a bearded man who came with a devastating note, toward Strand, and vanished. Overton wired to Cambridge and his friend's wealthy miserly uncle and nearest kin Lord Mount-Jameserly 80ish, without success. Holmes questions the porter, who overheard one word, "time". At six o’clock, the porter brought Staunton a telegram, saw him write a reply, but was told Staunton would send reply himself. On the blotter, Holmes finds a partial impression "Stand by us for God’s sake”, revealing danger and more people involved. He puts other papers in his pocket. Lord Mount-James visits, aghast at possibility of kidnapping for extortion. At the telegraph office,
    5.33
    3 votes
    190
    J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement

    J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement

    "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" is an 1884 short story by a then-young Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, loosely based on the real mystery of the abandonment of the Mary Celeste, published anonymously in the January 1884 issue of the respected Cornhill Magazine. One reviewer sought to attribute the story to Robert Louis Stevenson, while critics compared it to Edgar Allan Poe. Doyle changed the spelling of the ship from Mary to Marie Celeste. In 1887 it was included in the second volume, "Strange Stories of Coincidence and Ghostly Adventure," of the George Redway anthology, Dreamland and Ghostland. In 1890 it was published in The Captain of the Polestar and other tales. In 1922 it was included in the collection Tales of Pirates and Blue Water It was presented as an eye-witness account of the end met by those on the mysterious "ghost ship." Much to Doyle's astonishment, some, including the Boston Herald, took the story as a true account. Doyle's fictional story drew heavily on the original incident. Much of this story's fictional content, and the incorrect name, have come to dominate popular accounts of the incident.
    6.00
    2 votes
    191
    Shades

    Shades

    "Shades" (Polish: "Cienie") is one of Bolesław Prus' shortest micro-stories. Written in 1885, it comes from a several years' period of pessimism in the author's life caused partly by the 1883 failure of Nowiny (News), a Warsaw daily that he had been editing less than a year. Prus, the "lamplighter" who had striven to dispel darkness and its attendant "fear, error and crime," had failed to sufficiently interest the public in his "observatory of societal facts," Nowiny. "Shades" is one of several micro-stories by Bolesław Prus that were inspired partly by 19th-century French prose poetry. Prus scholar Zygmunt Szweykowski writes: Prus' micro-story "Shades" comprises two successive parts. The first half evokes the above-described atmosphere of dread, via Prus' description of an eternal contest between light and darkness. The second half of the micro-story pictures the efforts of one of a number of nameless lamplighters to dispel the darkness, for as long as his limited lifespan permits.
    6.00
    2 votes
    192
    The Adventure of the Three Students

    The Adventure of the Three Students

    "The Adventure of the Three Students", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes finds himself in a famous university town (probably either Oxford or Cambridge) when a tutor and lecturer of St Luke's College, Mr. Hilton Soames, brings him an interesting problem. Someone got into Soames’s office and had a look at the galley proofs of an exam he was going to give. Soames had gone to a friend’s for tea and locked his office. When he came back an hour later, he found a key in the lock. His servant, Bannister, forgot his key after he found Soames was gone for tea. Nevertheless, the proofs were found out of place, with one near the window, another on the floor, and the last still on the desk. Bannister swears that he did not touch the papers. Interestingly, Holmes can tell Soames which of the papers was in which place. Soames’s desire is to uncover the cheater and prevent him from taking the exam, since it is for a sizeable scholarship. Fortunately there are only three students who will take the exam, all of which live above him in the same
    6.00
    2 votes
    193
    The Belonging Kind

    The Belonging Kind

    The Belonging Kind is a science fiction short story; a collaboration between noted cyberpunk authors William Gibson and John Shirley. It was first published in the horror anthology Shadows 4 in 1981, later to be included along with several other stories in Gibson's collection Burning Chrome. It is a departure from the Sprawl universe in which several of Gibson's novels and stories are set, taking place in a setting much more like contemporary American life. The main character is Coretti, a dull, scholarly man who studies and teaches linguistics and social interaction theory. He sometimes visits bars to help dull the tedium, only choosing bars which have a low chance of putting him in social interaction. Coretti meets a woman in a bar who seems to fit perfectly there. He follows her to various other bars and clubs, watching as she constantly drinks and talks with a companion of hers, her appearance and clothing shifting to let her fit in wherever she goes. His performance at work suffers and his appetite decreases as he devotes all his time and resources to tracking the duo. Coretti spots the man secreting money from some kind of pocket, and realizes that he's discovered a new kind
    6.00
    2 votes
    194
    The Callistan Menace

    The Callistan Menace

    "The Callistan Menace" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the April 1940 issue of Astonishing Stories and was reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov. It was the second story written by Asimov, and the oldest story of his still in existence. Asimov came up with the idea for the story, which he called "Stowaway", after his first meeting with John W. Campbell on 21 June 1938. When his first story, "Cosmic Corkscrew," was rejected by Campbell on the 23rd, Asimov started writing "Stowaway". He finished the first draft on the 28th, and the final draft on 10 July. He submitted "Stowaway" to Campbell in person during another visit on the 18th. Suspecting that Campbell would reject it, Asimov spent the subway ride home coming up with the plot for a third story, "Marooned Off Vesta". Campbell did indeed reject "Stowaway", based on the story's "general air of amateurishness, constraint, forcing". On 3 August Asimov submitted the story to Thrilling Wonder Stories. When Thrilling Wonder rejected it, Asimov mailed the story to the offices of Amazing Stories in Chicago, which also rejected it. In the summer of 1939, following the sale of some later
    6.00
    2 votes
    195
    Dagon

    Dagon

    "Dagon" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in July 1917, one of the first stories he wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant (issue #11). After reading Lovecraft's juvenilia in 1917, W. Paul Cook, editor of the amateur press journal The Vagrant, encouraged Lovecraft to resume writing fiction. That summer, Lovecraft wrote two stories: "The Tomb" and "Dagon". The story was inspired in part by a dream he had. "I dreamed that whole hideous crawl, and can yet feel the ooze sucking me down!" he later wrote. Critic William Fulwiler indicates that Lovecraft may have been influenced by Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead", a story about a strange fish-like human. Fulwiler has also suggested that Lovecraft took the story's theme of "an ancient prehuman race that will someday rise to conquer humanity" from Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core (1914). The story mentions Piltdown Man, which had not been exposed by the scientific community as a fraud and hoax at the time of writing. The story is the testament of a tortured, morphine-addicted man who plans to commit suicide over an incident that occurred early on in World War I when he was a
    5.00
    3 votes
    196
    Ode on a Grecian Urn

    Ode on a Grecian Urn

    "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a poem written by the English Romantic poet John Keats in May 1819 and published in January 1820 (see 1820 in poetry). It is one of his "Great Odes of 1819", which include "Ode on Indolence", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale", and "Ode to Psyche". Keats found earlier forms of poetry unsatisfactory for his purpose, and the collection represented a new development of the ode form. He was inspired to write the poem after reading two articles by English artist and writer Benjamin Haydon. Keats was aware of other works on classical Greek art, and had first-hand exposure to the Elgin Marbles, all of which reinforced his belief that classical Greek art was idealistic and captured Greek virtues, which forms the basis of the poem. Divided into five stanzas of ten lines each, the ode contains a narrator's discourse on a series of designs on a Grecian urn. The poem focuses on two scenes: one in which a lover eternally pursues a beloved without fulfilment, and another of villagers about to perform a sacrifice. The final lines of the poem declare that "'beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know", and literary
    5.00
    3 votes
    197
    A Descent into the Maelstrom

    A Descent into the Maelstrom

    "A Descent into the Maelström" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In the tale, a man recounts how he survived a shipwreck and a whirlpool. It has been grouped with Poe's tales of ratiocination and also labeled an early form of science fiction. Inspired by the Moskstraumen, it is couched as a story within a story, a tale told at the summit of a mountain climb in Lofoten, Norway. The story is told by an old man who reveals that he only appears old—"You suppose me a very old man," he says, "but I am not. It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves." The narrator, convinced by the power of the whirlpools he sees in the ocean beyond, is then told of the "old" man's fishing trip with his two brothers a few years ago. Driven by "the most terrible hurricane that ever came out of the heavens", their ship was caught in the vortex. One brother was pulled into the waves; the other was driven mad by the horror of the spectacle, and drowned as the ship was pulled under. At first the narrator only saw hideous terror in the spectacle. In a moment of revelation, he saw that the Maelström is a beautiful and awesome
    5.50
    2 votes
    198
    Dragon of Wantley

    Dragon of Wantley

    The Dragon of Wantley is a 17th century satirical verse parody about a dragon and a brave knight. It was included in Thomas Percy's 1767 Reliques of Ancient Poetry. The poem is a parody of medieval romances and satirizes a local churchman. In the poem, a dragon appears in Yorkshire and eats children and cattle. The knight More of More Hall battles the dragon and kills it. The Wantley of the poem is Wharncliffe, as the dragon lived in a cave on Wharncliffe Crags, five miles to the north of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Sir Francis Wortley, the diocese ecclesiastic, and the parishioners of Wharncliffe had a disagreement on tithing and how much the parish owed (under the law of "First Fruits"), so the poem makes him a dragon. More of More Hall was a lawyer who brought a suit against Wortley and succeeded, giving the parishioners relief. Thus, this parody romance satirizes Wortley. The author of the poem is unknown. Henry Carey wrote the libretto to a burlesque opera called The Dragon of Wantley in 1737. The opera, with music composed by John Frederick Lampe, punctured the vacuous operatic conventions and pointed a satirical barb at Robert Walpole and his taxation policies. The opera was
    5.50
    2 votes
    199
    MS. Found in a Bottle

    MS. Found in a Bottle

    "MS. Found in a Bottle" is an 1833 short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The plot follows an unnamed narrator at sea who finds himself in a series of harrowing circumstances. As he nears his own disastrous death while his ship drives ever southward, he writes an "MS.", or manuscript telling of his adventures which he casts into the sea. Some critics believe the story was meant as a satire of typical sea tales. Poe submitted "MS. Found in a Bottle" as one of many entries to a writing contest offered by the weekly Baltimore Saturday Visiter. Each of the stories was well liked by the judges but they unanimously chose "MS. Found in a Bottle" as the contest's winner, earning Poe a $50 prize. The story was then published in the October 19, 1833, issue of the Visiter. An unnamed narrator, estranged from his family and country, sets sail as a passenger aboard a cargo ship from Batavia (now known as Jakarta, Indonesia). Some days into the voyage, the ship is first becalmed then hit by a Simoon (a combination of a sand storm and hurricane) that capsizes the ship and sends everyone except the narrator and an old Swede overboard. Driven southward by the magical Simoon towards the
    5.50
    2 votes
    200
    Ring Out, Wild Bells

    Ring Out, Wild Bells

    "Ring Out, Wild Bells" is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Published in 1850, the year he was appointed Poet Laureate, it forms part of In Memoriam, Tennyson's elegy to Arthur Henry Hallam, his sister's fiancé who died at the age of twenty-two. According to a story widely held in Waltham Abbey, and repeated on many websites (see two examples below), the 'wild bells' in question were the bells of the Abbey Church. According to the local story, Tennyson was staying at High Beach in the vicinity and heard the bells being rung. In some versions of the story it was a particularly stormy night and the bells were being swung by the wind rather than deliberately. This poem is recited annually at the national New Year's Eve celebration in Sweden every year by actor and singer Jan Malmsjö, who has recited the poem since 31 December 2001. The Swedish tradition of reading 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' began in 1897 when the young Swedish actor Anders de Wahl was asked to perform the poem at the annual New Year's Eve Celebration at Skansen in Stockholm. Anders de Wahl performed 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' (which, in Swedish, is called 'Nyårsklockan') until his death in 1956. The television producers at
    5.50
    2 votes
    201
    The Mystery of Marie Roget

    The Mystery of Marie Roget

    "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt", often subtitled A Sequel to "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe written in 1842. This is the first murder mystery based on the details of a real crime. It first appeared in Snowden's Ladies' Companion in three installments, November and December 1842 and February 1843. Poe's detective character C. Auguste Dupin and his sidekick the unnamed narrator undertake the unsolved murder of Marie Rogêt in Paris. The body of Rogêt, a perfume shop employee, is found in the Seine River and the media take a keen interest in the mystery. Dupin remarks that the newspapers "create a sensation... [rather] than to further the cause of truth." Even so, he uses the newspaper reports to get into the mind of the murderer. Dupin uses his skills of ratiocination to determine that a single murderer was involved who dragged her by the cloth belt around her waist before dumping her body off a boat into the river. Finding the boat, Dupin suggests, will lead the police to the murderer. The narrative is based upon the actual murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers. Rogers was presumably born in Lyme, Connecticut in 1820, though her birth records have not
    5.50
    2 votes
    202
    The Purloined Letter

    The Purloined Letter

    "The Purloined Letter" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe. It is the third of his three detective stories featuring the fictional C. Auguste Dupin, the other two being "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt". These stories are considered to be important early forerunners of the modern detective story. It first appeared in the literary annual The Gift for 1845 (1844) and was soon reprinted in numerous journals and newspapers. The unnamed narrator is discussing with the famous Parisian amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin some of his most celebrated cases when they are joined by the Prefect of the Police, a man known as G—. The Prefect has a case he would like to discuss with Dupin. A letter has been stolen from the boudoir of an unnamed female by the unscrupulous Minister D—. It is said to contain compromising information. D— was in the room, saw the letter, and switched it for a letter of no importance. He has been blackmailing his victim. The Prefect makes two deductions with which Dupin does not disagree: The Prefect says that he and his police detectives have searched the Ministerial hotel where D— stays and have found nothing. They
    5.50
    2 votes
    203
    The Planet of Doubt

    The Planet of Doubt

    "The Planet of Doubt" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that was first published in the October 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It is Weinbaum's third story featuring Hamilton Hammond and Patricia Burlingame, a sequel to "Parasite Planet" and "The Lotus Eaters". Following his expedition to the night side of Venus, the Smithsonian Institution appoints Hamilton "Ham" Hammond to head an expedition to Uranus. In Weinbaum's version of the Solar System, all of the gas giants generate significant amounts of infrared radiation, enough to produce Earthlike environments on the inner moons of Jupiter and Saturn and on the surface of Uranus itself. At the time "The Planet of Doubt" takes place at the turn of the 22nd century, the limited range of the spaceships ensures that Uranus can only be reached from the American base on Titan when Saturn reaches conjunction with Uranus, an event that occurs once every forty years. The Young expedition explored the planet's south pole in 2060; now Hammond takes his ship, the Gaea, to the north pole. Finding an ocean at the north pole, Hammond sends the Gaea spiraling southeast until they reach land. They find the surface of Uranus
    4.67
    3 votes
    204
    Bon-Bon

    Bon-Bon

    "Bon-Bon" is a comedic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in December 1832 in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier. Originally called "The Bargain Lost", the story follows a man named Pierre Bon-Bon, who believes himself a profound philosopher, and his encounter with the devil. The humor of the story is based on the verbal interchange between the two, which satirizes classical philosophers including Plato and Aristotle. The devil reveals he has eaten the souls of many of these philosophers, intriguing Bon-Bon. The story, which received moderate praise, was originally submitted by Poe as "The Bargain Lost", and was his entry to a writing contest. Though none of the five stories he submitted won the prize, the Courier printed them all, possibly without paying Poe for them. This early version of the story has many differences from later versions, which Poe first published as "Bon-Bon" in 1835. Pierre Bon-Bon is a well-known French restaurant owner and chef, known both for his omelettes and for his metaphysical philosophies. The narrator describes him as profound and a man of genius, as even the man's cat knew. Bon-Bon, who has "an inclination for the bottle", is drinking on
    6.00
    1 votes
    205
    Metzengerstein

    Metzengerstein

    "Metzengerstein", also called "Metzengerstein: A Tale In Imitation of the German", was the first short story by American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe to see print. It was first published in the pages of Philadelphia's Saturday Courier magazine, in 1832. The story follows the young Frederick, the last of the Metzengerstein family who carries on a long-standing feud with the Berlifitzing family. Suspected of causing a fire that kills the Berlifitzing family patriarch, Frederick becomes intrigued with a previously-unnoticed and untamed horse. Metzengerstein is punished for his cruelty when his own home catches fire and the horse carries him into the flame. "Metzengerstein" follows many conventions of Gothic fiction and, to some, exaggerates those conventions. Because of this, critics and scholars debate if Poe intended the story to be taken seriously or as a satire of Gothic stories. Regardless, many elements introduced in "Metzengerstein" would become common in Poe's future writing, including the gloomy castle and the power of evil. Because the story follows an orphan raised in an aristocratic household, some critics suggest an autobiographical connection with its author. The
    6.00
    1 votes
    206
    The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

    The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

    "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, and is the second and final appearance of Mycroft Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" fourteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. The monotony of thick smog-shrouded London is broken by a sudden visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft. He has come about some missing, secret submarine plans. Seven of the ten pages — three are still missing — were found with Arthur Cadogan West’s body. He was a young clerk in a government office at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, whose body was found next to the Underground tracks near the Aldgate tube station, his head crushed. He had little money with him (although there appears to have been no robbery), theatre tickets, and curiously, no Underground ticket. The three missing pages by themselves could enable one of Britain’s enemies to build a Bruce-Partington submarine. It seems clear that Cadogan West fell from a train and that he stole the plans meaning to sell them, but the mystery is truly
    6.00
    1 votes
    207
    The Pirate

    The Pirate

    "The Pirate" is a science fiction short story by Poul Anderson that first appeared in the October 1968 issue of Analog. "The Pirate" was a prequel to the earlier Psychotechnic League novel Star Ways (later retitled The Peregrine), and was the last story in the Psychotechnic series to be published. The story was included in the 1975 collection Homeward and Beyond and the 1982 collection Starship, and the timeline from the latter collection places the story in the year 3115. Trevelyan Micah, an agent of the Stellar Union's Coordination Service, is alerted to some suspicious activity on the part of Murdoch Juan, a Trader with whom Trevelyan has crossed paths before. Murdoch claims to be recruiting settlers for a newly-discovered planet he calls Good Luck. However, the cost of building housing and infrastructure for the settlers would make the settlement uneconomical for Murdoch, and the equipment he is loading aboard his ship, the Campesino, seems mismatched for the planet he describes. When the Campesino sets out, Trevelyan and his alien partner Smokesmith pursue in a smaller, faster ship called the Genji. They follow Campesino to an Earthlike world a hundred light years from the
    6.00
    1 votes
    208
    The Tell-Tale Heart

    The Tell-Tale Heart

    "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed. (The victim was an old man with a blind "vulture eye", as the narrator calls it.) The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator's guilt manifests itself in an auditory hallucination: The narrator hears the man's heart still beating under the floorboards. It is unclear what relationship, if any, the old man and his murderer share. The narrator denies having any feelings of hatred or resentment for the man. He tells us: 'I loved the old man! He had never wronged me! He had never given me insult!'. He also denies the assumption that he killed for greed: 'Object there was none.', 'For his gold I had no desire.' It has been suggested that the old man is a father figure, the narrator's landlord, or that the narrator works for the old man as a servant, and that perhaps his "vulture eye" represents some sort of veiled secret, or power. The ambiguity and lack of details about the two
    6.00
    1 votes
    209
    Silver Blaze

    Silver Blaze

    "Silver Blaze", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "Silver Blaze" 13th in a list of his 19 favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. One of the most popular Sherlock Holmes short stories, "Silver Blaze" focuses on the disappearance of the titular race horse (a famous winner) on the eve of an important race and on the apparent murder of its trainer. The tale is distinguished by its atmospheric Dartmoor setting and late-Victorian sporting milieu. It also features some of Conan Doyle's most effective plotting, hinging on the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time:" Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson travel by train to Dartmoor, summoned to investigate a crime that has convulsed the newspapers: the disappearance of the great race horse Silver Blaze and the murder of the horse's trainer, John Straker. Inspector Gregory has already arrested a man in connection with John Straker's murder by the time Holmes and Watson arrive at King's Pyland, the Dartmoor stable owned by Colonel Ross, from which Silver Blaze is missing. The suspect is
    5.00
    2 votes
    210
    The Metamorphosis

    The Metamorphosis

    "The Metamorphosis" (German: Die Verwandlung, also sometimes termed "The Transformation") is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a monstrous vermin. It is never explained in the story why Samsa transforms, nor did Kafka ever give an explanation. One day Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, wakes up to find himself transformed into a "ungeheuren Ungeziefer", literally "monstrous vermin", often interpreted as a giant bug or insect. Confused, he looks around his room which appears normal. He decides to fall asleep again and forget what happened in the hope that everything will revert to normal. He tries to roll over to his right but discovers that he cannot due to his new body - he is stuck on his hard, convex back.Instead of two legs he now possesses numerous little ones on both sides.He feels an itch on his stomach and tries to touch the area with his leg. He retracts immediately as the area is highly sensitive. He
    5.00
    2 votes
    211
    The Wanderings of Oisin

    The Wanderings of Oisin

    The Wanderings of Oisin ( /oʊˈʃiːn/ oh-SHEEN) is an epic poem published by William Butler Yeats in 1889 in the book The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. It was his first publication outside of magazines, and immediately won him a reputation as a significant poet. This narrative poem takes the form of a dialogue between the aged Irish hero Oisín and St. Patrick, the man traditionally responsible for converting Ireland to Christianity. Most of the poem is spoken by Oisin, relating his three-hundred year sojourn in the isles of Faerie. Oisin has not been a popular poem with critics influenced by modernism, who dislike its pre-Raphaelite character. However, Harold Bloom defended this poem in his book-length study of Yeats, and concludes that it deserves reconsideration. The fairy princess Niamh fell in love with Oisin's poetry and begged him to join her in the immortal islands. For a hundred years he lived as one of the Sidhe, hunting, dancing, and feasting. At the end of this time he found a spear washed up on the shore and grew sad, remembering his times with the Fenians. Niamh took him away to another island, where the ancient and abandoned castle of the sea-god Manannan stood.
    5.00
    2 votes
    212
    Empire of the Ants

    Empire of the Ants

    "Empire of the Ants" is a 1905 short story by H. G. Wells, which inspired a film of the same title in 1977. The story involves an explorer who is dispatched to South America to investigate reports of intelligent ants destroying a colony. It was published in 1905 in The Strand Magazine.
    4.50
    2 votes
    213
    The Adventure of the Yellow Face

    The Adventure of the Yellow Face

    "The Adventure of the Yellow Face", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the third tale from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1893 with original illustrations by Sidney Paget. One of Doyle's sentimental pieces, the story is remarkable in that Holmes' deduction during the course of it proves incorrect. (Nevertheless, the truth still comes out.) According to Dr. Watson: "...where he failed it happened too often that no one else succeeded... Now and again, however, it chanced that even when he erred the truth was still discovered." It has been remarked Doyle's sympathetic treatment of interracial marriage could be considered extraordinarily liberal because, at that time, anti-miscegenation laws were in effect in several countries. The story is written and set in the United Kingdom, a country with no anti-miscegenation laws, though not without racial prejudice. As is evident from the story, in British society of the time, having contracted an interracial marriage and having a mixed race child was not in any way illegal — but still was treated as a shameful secret to be kept closely
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    The Premature Burial

    The Premature Burial

    "The Premature Burial" is a horror short story on the theme of being buried alive, written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Fear of being buried alive was common in this period and Poe was taking advantage of the public interest. The story has been adapted to film. In "The Premature Burial", the first-person unnamed narrator describes his struggle with "attacks of the singular disorder which physicians have agreed to term catalepsy," a condition where he randomly falls into a death-like trance. This leads to his fear of being buried alive ("The true wretchedness," he says, is "to be buried while alive."). He emphasizes his fear by mentioning several people who have been buried alive. In the first case, the tragic accident was only discovered much later, when the victim's crypt was reopened. In others, victims revived and were able to draw attention to themselves in time to be freed from their ghastly prisons. The narrator reviews these examples in order to provide context for his nearly crippling phobia of being buried alive. As he explains, his condition made him prone to slipping into a trance state of unconsciousness, a disease that
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    A Martian Odyssey

    A Martian Odyssey

    "A Martian Odyssey" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. It was Weinbaum's first published story, and remains his best known. It was followed four months later by a sequel, "Valley of Dreams". These are the only stories by Weinbaum set on Mars. Early in the 21st century, nearly twenty years after the invention of atomic power and ten years after the first lunar landing, the four-man crew of the Ares has landed on Mars in the Mare Cimmerium. A week after the landing, Dick Jarvis, the ship's American chemist, sets out south in an auxiliary rocket to photograph the landscape. Eight hundred miles out, the engine on Jarvis' rocket gives out, and he crash-lands into one of the Thyle regions. Rather than sit and wait for rescue, Jarvis decides to walk back north to the Ares. Just after crossing into the Mare Chronium, Jarvis comes across a tentacled Martian creature attacking a large birdlike creature. He notices that the birdlike Martian is carrying a bag around its neck, and figuring it for an intelligent being, saves it from the tentacled monstrosity. The rescued creature refers to itself as Tweel. Tweel
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    The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

    The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

    "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. It is notable for being narrated by Holmes himself, instead of by Dr. Watson (who does not appear in the story). Holmes is enjoying his retirement in Sussex when one day at the beach, he meets his friend Harold Stackhurst, the headmaster of a nearby preparatory school called The Gables. No sooner have they met than Stackhurst's science master, Fitzroy McPherson, staggers up to them, obviously in agony and wearing only an overcoat and trousers. He collapses, manages to say something about a "lion's mane", and then dies. He is observed to have red welts all over his back, administered by a flexible weapon of some kind, for the marks curve over his shoulder and round his ribs. Moments later, Ian Murdoch, a mathematics teacher, comes up behind them. He has not seen the attack, and has only just arrived at the beach from the school. Holmes sees a couple of people far up the beach, but thinks they are much too far away to have had anything to do with McPherson's death. Likewise,
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    217
    The Red-Headed League

    The Red-Headed League

    "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. It is also the second of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which was published in 1892. Jabez Wilson, a red-haired London pawnbroker, comes to consult Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. He tells them that some weeks before his young assistant, Vincent Spaulding, urged him to respond to a newspaper want-ad offering work to only red-headed male applicants. The next morning, Wilson had waited in a long line of fellow red-headed men, was interviewed and was the only applicant hired, because none of the other applicants had hair to match Wilson's red locks. Wilson, whose business mainly operates in evenings, was well-paid, receiving four pounds a week for several weeks (equal to £330 today); the work was obviously useless clerical work in a bare office. Finally one morning, a sign on the locked office door inexplicably announced that "THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE
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    218
    William Wilson

    William Wilson

    "William Wilson" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1839, with a setting inspired by Poe's formative years outside of London. The tale follows the theme of the doppelgänger and is written in a style based on rationality. It also appeared in the 1840 collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, and has been adapted several times. The story follows a man of "a noble descent" who calls himself William Wilson because, although denouncing his profligate past, he does not accept blamefor his actions, saying that "man was never thus [...] tempted before". After several paragraphs, the narration then segues into a description of Wilson's boyhood, which was spent in a school "in a misty-looking village of England". William meets another boy in his school who shared the same name, who had roughly the same appearance, and who was even born on exactly the same date — January 19 (which was also Poe's birthday). William's name (he asserts that his actual name is only similar to "William Wilson") embarrasses him because it sounds "plebeian" or common, and he is irked that he must hear the name twice as much on account of the other William. The boy also dresses like
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    219
    A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle

    A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle

    A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle is a long poem by Hugh MacDiarmid written in Scots and published in 1926. It is composed as a form of monologue with influences from stream of consciousness genres of writing. A poem of extremes, it ranges between comic and serious modes and examines a wide range of cultural, sexual, political, scientific, existential, metaphysical and cosmic themes, ultimately unified through one consistent central thread, the poet's emotionally and intellectually charged contemplation, from a male perspective, of the condition of Scotland. It also includes extended and complex responses to figures from European and Russian literature, in particular Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, as well as referencing topical events and personalities of the mid 1920s such as Isadora Duncan or the UK General Strike of 1926. It is one of the major modernist literary works of the 20th century. The Scots poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle is an extended montage of distinct poems, or sections in various poetic forms, that are connected or juxtaposed to create one emotionally continuous whole in a way which both develops and consciously parodies compositional techniques used by poets such
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    220
    The Hunting of the Snark

    The Hunting of the Snark

    The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits) is usually thought of as a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in 1874, when he was 42 years old. It describes "with infinite humour the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature". The poem borrows occasionally from Carroll's short poem "Jabberwocky" in Through the Looking-Glass (especially the poem's creatures and portmanteau words), but it is a stand-alone work, first published in 1876 by Macmillan. The illustrations were by Henry Holiday. In common with other Carroll works, the meaning of his poems has been queried and analysed in depth. One of the most comprehensive gatherings of information about the poem and its meaning is The Annotated Snark by Martin Gardner. The crew consists of ten members, whose descriptions all begin with the letter B: a Bellman (the leader), a Boots, a Bonnet-maker, a Barrister, a Broker, a Billiard-marker, a Banker, a Butcher, a Baker, and a Beaver. The Boots is the only character who is not shown in any illustration in the original, a fact that has led to much speculation (see below). After crossing the sea guided by the Bellman's map of the
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    221
    Averroes's Search

    Averroes's Search

    "Averroës's Search" (original Spanish title: "La Busca de Averroes") is a 1947 short story by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Originally published in the magazine Sur, it was later included in his second anthology of short stories, El Aleph. The story imagines the difficulty of Averroës, the famed Islamic philosopher and translator, in translating Aristotle's Poetics because (in the story) he didn't understand what a play was, owing to the absence of live theatrical performances from Averroës' cultural milieu, in contrast to that of ancient Greece. Ironically, in the story, Averroës casually observes some children play-acting, then later hears a traveler ineptly describe an actual theatrical performance he once saw in a distant land, but still fails to understand that the tragedies and comedies of which Aristotle writes are a kind of performance art, rather than merely literature. The process of writing the story is meant to parallel the events in the story itself; Borges writes in an afterword to the story that his attempt to understand Averroës was as doomed as Averroës's attempt to understand drama. "I felt that the work mocked me, foiled me, thwarted me. I felt that
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    222
    La Légende des siècles

    La Légende des siècles

    La Légende des siècles ("The Legend of the Ages") is a collection of poems by Victor Hugo, conceived as an immense depiction of the history and evolution of humanity. Written intermittently between 1855 and 1876, while the exiled Victor Hugo worked on numerous other projects, the poems were published in three series in 1859, 1877, and 1883. Bearing witness to an unparalleled poetic talent in which all Hugo's art is evident, the Légende des Siècles is often considered the only true French epic and, according to Baudelaire's formulation, the only modern epic possible. The dreaming poet contemplates the "wall of the centuries," indistinct and terrible, on which scenes of the past, present and future are drawn, and along which the whole long procession of humanity can be seen. The poems are depictions of these scenes, fleetingly perceived and interspersed with terrifying visions. Hugo sought neither historical accuracy nor exhaustiveness; rather, he concentrated on obscure figures, usually his own inventions, who incarnated and symbolized their eras. As he proclaimed himself in the preface to the first series, "this is history, eavesdropped upon at the door of legend." The poems, by
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    223
    Ozymandias

    Ozymandias

    "Ozymandias" ( /ˌɒziˈmændiəs/, also pronounced with four syllables in order to fit the poem's meter) is a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818 in the 11 January issue of The Examiner in London. It is frequently anthologised and is probably Shelley's most famous short poem. It was written in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet entitled "Ozymandias" seen below. In addition to the power of its themes and imagery, the poem is notable for its virtuosic diction. The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is unusual and creates a sinuous and interwoven effect. The central theme of "Ozymandias" is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time. Ozymandias represents a transliteration into Greek of a part of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The sonnet paraphrases the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica, as "King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works." Shelley's poem is often said to have been inspired by the arrival in London of a colossal statue of Ramesses
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    The Adventure of the Crooked Man

    The Adventure of the Crooked Man

    "The Adventure of the Crooked Man", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Crooked Man" fifteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes calls on Watson late one evening to tell him about a case that he has been working on, and also to invite him to be a witness to the final stage of the investigation. Colonel James Barclay, of The Royal Mallows based at Aldershot Camp, is dead, apparently by violence, and his wife Nancy is the prime suspect. The Colonel’s brother officers are quite perplexed at the Colonel’s fate. Most of them have always believed that he and Nancy were a happy couple. They have observed over the years, however, that the Colonel seemed rather more attached to his wife than she to him. It also hasn’t escaped their notice that the Colonel sometimes had bouts of deep depression and moodiness for no apparent reason. As a married officer, the Colonel and his wife lived in a villa outside the camp at Aldershot, and one evening, Nancy went out in the evening with her next-door
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    225
    The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

    The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

    "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the tenth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in April 1892. The story served as the very loose basis for the made-for-television film The Eligible Bachelor starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes, Edward Hardwicke as Watson and Simon Williams as Lord Robert St Simon, the screenplay of which turned St Simon into a villainous "Bluebeard" character who had married and disposed of a series of wealthy women before marrying Hatty Doran. The story entails the bride of the fictional Lord Robert St. Simon disappearing on the day of their marriage. She attends (and participates in) the wedding, but disappears from the reception. The events of the wedding day are most perplexing to Lord Robert as it seemed to him that his bride, Miss Hatty Doran of San Francisco, was full of enthusiasm about their impending marriage. St. Simon tells Holmes that he noticed a change in the young lady's mood just after the wedding ceremony. She was uncharacteristically sharp with him. The only obvious
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    The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

    The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

    "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is visited by Mrs. Merrilow, a landlady from South Brixton who has an unusual lodger who never shows her face. She saw it once accidentally and it was hideously mutilated. This woman, formerly very quiet, has recently taken to cursing in the night, shouting “Murder, murder!” and “You cruel beast! You monster!” Also, her health has taken a turn for the worse, and she is wasting away. Mrs. Merrilow has brought this case to Holmes’s attention as her tenant, Mrs. Ronder, will not involve the clergy or the police in something that she would like to say. She has told her landlady to mention Abbas Parva, knowing that Holmes would understand the reference. Indeed he does. It was a most tragic case in which a circus lion somehow got loose and savaged two people, one of whom was killed, and the other badly disfigured. The latter is apparently this lodger. The former was her husband. Holmes could make little of the case at the time, but perhaps if someone had actually hired
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    227
    The Lotus Eaters

    The Lotus Eaters

    "The Lotus Eaters" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the April 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. "The Lotus Eaters" was Weinbaum's fifth published story, and is a sequel to "Parasite Planet". A month after the events in "Parasite Planet", Hamilton "Ham" Hammond and Patricia Burlingame are married, and thanks to Burlingame's connections, the two have been commissioned by the Royal Society and the Smithsonian Institution to explore the night side of Venus. There they find a species of warm-blooded mobile plants with a communal intelligence that Burlingame nicknames Oscar. Oscar is very intelligent, quickly picking up English from Hammond and Burlingame. The humans learn that the Oscar beings reproduce by releasing clear bubbles full of gaseous spores. When the bubbles burst, the spores come to rest on another Oscar being, eventually grow into another individual, and bud off. In “Parasite Planet”, the vicious, night-dwelling Triops noctivivans used these bubbles to attack Hammond and Burlingame, since the spores have a soporific effect on humans. The humans are horrified to learn that, being plants, the Oscar beings have no survival
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    The Minister's Black Veil

    The Minister's Black Veil

    "The Minister's Black Veil" is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was first published in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, edited by Samuel Goodrich. It later appeared in Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories by Hawthorne published in 1837. The story begins with the sexton standing in front of the meeting-house, ringing the bell. He is to stop ringing the bell when the Reverend Mr. Hooper comes into sight. However, the congregation is met with an unusual sight: Mr. Hooper is wearing a black semi-transparent veil that obscures all of his face but his mouth and chin from view. This creates a stir among the townspeople, who begin to speculate about his veil and its significance. As he takes the pulpit, Mr. Hooper's sermon is on secret sin and is "tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper's temperament". This topic concerns the congregation who fear for their own secret sins as well as their minister's new appearance. After the sermon, a funeral is held for a young lady of the town who has died. Mr. Hooper stays for the funeral and continues to wear his now more appropriate veil. It is said that if the veil
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    229
    The Waste Land

    The Waste Land

    The Waste Land is a 434-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures—the poem has become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month," "I will show you fear in a handful of dust," and the mantra in the Sanskrit language "Shantih shantih shantih." Eliot probably worked on what was to become The Waste Land for several years preceding its first publication in 1922. In a letter to New York lawyer and patron of modernism John Quinn dated 9 May 1921, Eliot wrote that he had "a long poem in mind and partly on paper which I am wishful to finish." Richard Aldington, in his memoirs, relates that "a year or so" before Eliot read him the manuscript draft of The Waste Land in London, Eliot visited him in the country. While walking through a graveyard, they started discussing Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country
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    Valley of Dreams

    Valley of Dreams

    Valley of Dreams is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the November 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. "Valley of Dreams" was Weinbaum's second published story, and is a sequel to his first story, "A Martian Odyssey". Two weeks before the Ares is scheduled to leave Mars, Captain Harrison sends American chemist Dick Jarvis and French biologist "Frenchy" Leroy to retrieve the film Jarvis took before his auxiliary rocket crashed into the Thyle highlands the week before. Along the way, the Earthmen stop at the city of the cart creatures and the site of the pyramid building creature for Leroy to take some samples. After picking up the film canisters from the crashed rocket at Thyle II, the two men fly east to Thyle I to look for signs of the birdlike Martian, Tweel. Near a canal the men find a strange, deserted city thousands of years old. The buildings are inhabited by birdlike Martians of Tweel's species, including Tweel himself, and Jarvis and the Martian enjoy a happy reunion. Jarvis persuades Tweel to guide them through the city. In one building they come across a ratlike being hunched over a Martian book. Tweel angrily chases the rat-thing away
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    231
    A Witch Shall be Born

    A Witch Shall be Born

    "A Witch Shall Be Born" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian. It was written in only a few days in spring of 1934 and first published in Weird Tales in 1934. The story concerns a witch replacing her twin sister as queen of a city state, which brings her into conflict with Conan who had been the captain of the queen's guard. Themes of paranoia, and the duality of the twin sisters, are paramount in this story but it also includes elements of the conflict between barbarism and civilization that is common to the entire Conan series. The novella as a whole is considered an average example of the series but one scene stands out. Conan's crucifixion early in the story in the second chapter ("The Tree of Death") is considered one of the most memorable scene in the entire series. A variation of this scene was included in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Queen Taramis of Khauran awakens one day to find an identical twin sister, Salome, staring her in the face. As a child, Salome was deemed a witch due to a crescent birthmark on her chest. This birthmark was believed to be a sign of evil, so she was left in the desert to
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    232
    Absalom and Achitophel

    Absalom and Achitophel

    Absalom and Achitophel is a landmark poetic political satire by John Dryden. The poem exists in two parts. The first part, of 1681, is undoubtedly by Dryden. The second part, of 1682, was written by another hand, most likely Nahum Tate, except for a few passages—including attacks on Thomas Shadwell and Elkanah Settle, expressed as Og and Doeg—that Dryden wrote himself. The poem is an allegory that uses the story of the rebellion of Absalom against King David as the basis for discussion of the background to the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), the Popish Plot (1678) and the Exclusion Crisis. The story of Absalom's revolt is told in the Second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Bible (chapters 14 to 18). Absalom rebels against his father King David. The beautiful Absalom is distinguished by extraordinarily abundant hair, which is probably meant to symbolize his pride (2 Sam. 14:26). When David's renowned advisor, Achitophel (Achitophel in the Vulgate) joins Absalom's rebellion, another advisor, Hushai, plots with David to pretend to defect and give Absalom advice that plays into David's hands. The result was that Absalom takes the advice of the double agent Hushai over the good
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    233
    Bernice Bobs Her Hair

    Bernice Bobs Her Hair

    "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year. It appeared shortly thereafter in the collection Flappers and Philosophers. The story was based on letters Fitzgerald sent to his younger sister, Annabel, advising her on how to be more attractive to young men. The original text was much longer, but Fitzgerald cut nearly 3000 words and changed the ending to make the story more attractive to publishers. The story concerns Bernice, a wealthy girl from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who goes to visit her cousin Marjorie for the month of August. Marjorie feels that Bernice is a drag on her social life, and none of the boys want to dance with Bernice. Bernice overhears a conversation between Marjorie and Marjorie's mother where the younger girl complains that Bernice is socially hopeless. The next day, Bernice threatens to leave town, but when Marjorie is unfazed, Bernice relents and agrees to let Marjorie turn her into a society girl. Marjorie teaches Bernice how to hold interesting conversations, how to flirt with even unattractive or uninteresting boys to make herself seem more desirable, and
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    234
    Black Colossus

    Black Colossus

    "Black Colossus" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, June 1933. Howard earned $130 for the sale of this story. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan leading the demoralized army of Khoraja against an evil sorcerer named Natokk, "the Veiled One." This story formed part of the basis for the later Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon. A powerful wizard named Thugra Khotan is awoken from his three-thousand year sleep by an audacious yet unlucky Zamoran thief named Shevatas (he does not survive the experience). Thugra wakes with dreams of world domination. He assumes the name Natohk, the Veiled One, gathers an army of desert tribes and sets out to conquer the Hyborian nations. However, the tiny kingdom of Khoraja stands in his way, a country presently ruled by the lithesome Yasmela, sister of the king, who is himself a captive of neighbouring Ophir. In dread of Natohk's pending invasion, Yasmela turns for advice to the nigh-forgotten god of her ancestors, Mitra, and is told to venture into the streets and
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    Carmen

    Carmen

    Carmen is a novella by Prosper Mérimée, written and first published in 1845. It has been adapted into a number of dramatic works, including the famous opera by Georges Bizet. According to a letter Mérimée wrote to the Countess of Montijo, Carmen was inspired by a story she told him on his visit to Spain in 1830. He said, "It was about that ruffian from Málaga who had killed his mistress, who consecrated herself exclusively to the public. [...] As I have been studying the Gypsies for some time, I have made my heroine a Gypsy." An important source for the material on the Romani people (Gypsies) was George Borrow's book The Zincali (1841). Another source may have been the narrative poem The Gypsies (1824) by Alexander Pushkin. The novella comprises four parts. Only the first three appeared in the original publication in the October 1, 1845 issue of the Revue des Deux Mondes (Robinson 1992); the fourth first appeared in the book publication in 1846. Mérimée tells the story as if it had really happened to him on his trip to Spain in 1830. Part I. While searching for the site of the Battle of Munda in a lonely spot in Andalusia, Mérimée meets a man who his guide hints is a dangerous
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    236
    Germany. A Winter's Tale

    Germany. A Winter's Tale

    Germany: A Winter's Tale (German: Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen) is a satirical verse-epic or narrative by the German-Jewish author Heinrich Heine. From the onset of the (Metternich) Restoration in Germany Heine was no longer secure from the state Censor, and in 1831 he migrated to France as an exile. In 1835 a decree of the German Federal Assembly banned his writings together with the publications of the Young Germany literary group. At the end of 1843 Heine went back to Germany for a few weeks to visit his mother and his publisher Julius Campe in Hamburg. On the return journey the first draft of Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen took shape. The verse epic appeared in 1844 published by Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg. According to the censorship regulations of the Carlsbad Conference of 1819, manuscripts of more than twenty folios did not fall under the scrutiny of the censor. Therefore Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen was published together with other poems in a volume called ‘New Poems’. Then on the 4 October 1844 the book was banned, and the stock confiscated, in Prussia. On December 12 1844 King Friedrich Wilhelm IV issued a warrant of arrest against Heine. In the period following the
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    237
    Iron Shadows in the Moon

    Iron Shadows in the Moon

    "Shadows in the Moonlight" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in April 1934. Howard originally named his story "Iron Shadows in the Moon". It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan escaping to a remote island in the Vilayet Sea where he encounters the Red Brotherhood, a skulking creature, and mysterious iron statues. The story was republished in the collections Conan the Barbarian (Gnome Press, 1954) and Conan the Freebooter (Lancer Books, 1968). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "Shadows in the Moonlight" (Howard's original title was "Iron Shadows in the Moon") is a moody story, and one of the better Conan novellettes. It begins a little unusually when a female lovely named Olivia, having fled captivity from the city of Akif, is chased down and cornered in a marsh, on the edge of the Vilayet Sea. Her pursuer and former master is a sadistic
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    238
    Shadows in Zamboula

    Shadows in Zamboula

    "Shadows in Zamboula" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in 1935. Its original title was "The Man-Eaters of Zamboula". The story takes place over a night in Zamboula, with political intrigue amidst streets filled with roaming cannibals. It features the character Baal-pteor, one of the few humans in the Conan stories to be a physical challenge for the main Cimmerian character himself. Despite a warning received in the Suq by an elderly desert nomad, Conan stays the night in a cheap tavern in Zamboula, run by Aram Baksh. As night falls, a black Darfarian cannibal enters to drag him away to be eaten. All of the Darfar slaves in the city are cannibals who roam the streets at night. As they only prey on travellers, the people of the city tolerate this and stay locked securely in their homes, while nomads and beggars make sure to spend the night at a comfortable distance from its walls. This night, however, Conan finds a naked woman chasing through the streets after her deranged lover; Conan rescues them from an attack by the cannibals. She tells him that she tried to secure her lover's unending affection via a
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    The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

    The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

    "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes and was published in 1904. According to William S. Baring-Gould's timeline of the Sherlock Holmes canon, the events of Milverton occurred in 1899. This was nine years after the strange death of Charles Augustus Howell, the real-life inspiration for the character of Milverton (see below). Holmes is hired by the débutante Lady Eva Blackwell to retrieve compromising letters from a blackmailer: Milverton, who causes Holmes more revulsion than any of the 50-odd murderers in his career. Milverton is "the king of blackmailers" and he makes his living out of blackmail. He demands £7,000 (about $700,000 in 2010) for the letters, which would cause a scandal that would break off Lady Eva's engagement. Holmes offers £2,000, all Lady Eva can pay, but Milverton insists on £7,000. It is worth £2,000 to him to make an example of Lady Eva. Holmes resolves to recover the letters by whatever means necessary, as Milverton has placed himself outside the bounds of morality. Holmes
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    The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

    The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

    "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the seventh story of twelve in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in January 1892. Watson visits his friend Holmes at Christmas time and finds him contemplating a battered old hat, brought to him by the commissionaire Peterson after it and a Christmas goose had been dropped by a man in a scuffle with some street ruffians. Peterson takes the goose home to eat it, but comes back later with a carbuncle. His wife has found it in the bird's crop (throat). Holmes makes some interesting deductions concerning the owner of the hat from simple observations of its condition, conclusions amply confirmed when an advertisement for the owner produces the man himself: Henry Baker. Holmes cannot resist such an intriguing mystery, and he and Watson set out across the city to determine exactly how the jewel, stolen from the Countess of Morcar during her stay at a hotel, wound up in a goose's crop. The man who dropped the goose, Mr. Henry Baker, clearly has no knowledge of the crime, but he gives Holmes valuable
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    The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

    The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

    "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire", also known as "The Adventure of the Reigate Squires" and "The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle", was one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire" twelfth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Watson takes Holmes to a friend's estate near Reigate in Surrey to rest after a rather strenuous case in France. Holmes finds that his services are needed here, but he also finds that his recent illness serves him well. His host is Colonel Hayter. There has recently been a burglary at the nearby Acton estate in which the thieves stole a motley assortment of things, even a ball of twine, but nothing terribly valuable. Then one morning, the Colonel's butler tells news of a murder at another nearby estate, the Cunninghams'. The victim is William Kirwan, the coachman. Inspector Forrester has taken charge of the investigation, and there is one physical clue: a torn piece of paper found in William's hand with a few words written on it. Holmes takes an instant interest in
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    The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

    The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

    "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" is one of the fifty-six Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. One of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, it is a lengthy, two-part story consisting of "The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro", which on original publication in The Strand bore the collective title of "A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes". Holmes is visited by a perturbed proper English gentleman, John Scott Eccles, who wishes to discuss something “grotesque”. No sooner has he arrived at 221B Baker Street than Inspector Gregson also shows up, along with Inspector Baynes of the Surrey Constabulary. They wish a statement from Eccles about the murder near Esher last night. A note in the dead man’s pocket indicates that Eccles said that he would be at the victim’s house that night. Eccles is shocked to hear of Aloysius Garcia’s beating death. Yes, he spent the night at Wisteria Lodge, Garcia’s rented house, but when he woke up in the morning, he found that Garcia and his servants had all disappeared. He was alone in an empty house. He last remembers seeing Garcia at about one o’clock in the
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    The Black Cat

    The Black Cat

    "The Black Cat" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in the August 19, 1843, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. It is a study of the psychology of guilt, often paired in analysis with Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". In both, a murderer carefully conceals his crime and believes himself unassailable, but eventually breaks down and reveals himself, impelled by a nagging reminder of his guilt. The story is presented as a first-person narrative using an unreliable narrator. He is a condemned man at the outset of the story. The narrator tells us that from an early age he has loved animals. He and his wife have many pets, including a large black cat named Pluto. This cat is especially fond of the narrator and vice versa. Their mutual friendship lasts for several years, until the narrator becomes an alcoholic. One night, after coming home intoxicated, he believes the cat is avoiding him. When he tries to seize it, the panicked cat bites the narrator, and in a fit of rage, he seizes the animal, pulls a pen-knife from his pocket, and deliberately gouges out the cat's eye. From that moment onward, the cat flees in terror at his master's approach. At first, the narrator
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    The Devil and Daniel Webster

    The Devil and Daniel Webster

    "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét. This retelling of the classic German Faust tale is based on the short story "The Devil and Tom Walker", written by Washington Irving. Benet's version of the story centers on a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the Devil and is defended by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the famous lawyer and orator. The story was published in 1937 by Farrar & Rinehart. In 1938, it appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and won an O. Henry Award that same year. The author would adapt it in 1938 into a folk opera with music by Douglas Stuart Moore, a fellow alumnus of Yale University, member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize. Benét also worked on the screenplay adaptation for the 1941 RKO Pictures film. A local farmer, Jabez Stone, is plagued with unending bad luck, causing him to finally swear that "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!" Stone is visited the next day by a stranger, who later identifies himself as "Mr. Scratch" and makes such an offer (in exchange for seven years of prosperity), to which Stone agrees. After the seven years, Stone
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    The Dunciad

    The Dunciad

    The Dunciad /ˈdʌnsi.æd/ is a landmark literary satire by Alexander Pope published in three different versions at different times. The first version (the "three book" Dunciad) was published in 1728 anonymously. The second version, the Dunciad Variorum was published anonymously in 1729. The New Dunciad, in four books and with a different hero, appeared in 1743. The poem celebrates the goddess Dulness and the progress of her chosen agents as they bring decay, imbecility, and tastelessness to the Kingdom of Great Britain. Pope told Joseph Spence (in Spence's Anecdotes) that he had been working on a general satire of Dulness, with characters of contemporary scribblers, for some time and that it was the publication of Shakespeare Restored by Lewis Theobald that spurred him to complete the poem and publish it in 1728. Theobald's edition of Shakespeare was not, however, as imperfect as The Dunciad would suggest; it was, in fact, far superior to the edition Pope had himself written in 1725. Pope's underlying reason for the satire then was retaliation against the full title of Theobald's edition: Shakespeare restored, or, A specimen of the many errors, as well committed, as unamended, by Mr.
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    The Knight's Tale

    The Knight's Tale

    "The Knight's Tale" (Middle English: The Knightes Tale) is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The story introduces many typical aspects of knighthood such as courtly love and ethical dilemmas. The story is written in iambic pentameter end-rhymed couplets. Cousins Arcita and Palamon, who are nephews of King Creon of Thebes, have a close brotherly bond. They are captured and imprisoned by Theseus, duke of Athens following his intervention against Creon. Their cell is in the tower of Theseus's castle which overlooks his palace garden. In prison Palamon wakes early one morning in May, to see Emily (Emelia) in the courtyard; his moan is heard by Arcita, who then too wakes to see Emily, and falls in love with her as well. The competition brought about by this love causes them to hate each other. After some years, Arcita is released from prison through the good offices of Theseus's friend Pirithoos, and then returns to Athens in disguise and enters service in Emily's household. Palamon eventually escapes by drugging the jailer and while hiding in a grove overhears Arcita singing about love and fortune. They begin to duel with each other over who should get Emily,
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    The Masque of the Red Death

    The Masque of the Red Death

    "The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death" (1842), is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose "costume" proves to have nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn. The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the titular disease. The story was first published in May 1842 in Graham's Magazine. It has since been adapted in many different forms, including the 1964 film starring Vincent Price. It has been alluded to by other works in many types of media. The story takes
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    The Signal-Man

    The Signal-Man

    "The Signal-Man" is a short story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. The railway signal-man of the title tells the narrator of a ghost that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman's work is at a signalbox in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident. The first accident involves a terrible collision between two trains in the tunnel. It is likely that Dickens based this incident on the Clayton Tunnel crash that occurred in 1861, five years before he wrote the story. Readers in 1866 would have been familiar with this major disaster. The second warning involves the mysterious death of a young woman on a passing train. The final warning is a
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    The Tower of the Elephant

    The Tower of the Elephant

    "The Tower of the Elephant" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan infiltrating a perilous tower in order to steal a fabled gem from an evil sorcerer named Yara. Due to its unique insights into the Hyborian world and atypical science fiction elements, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. In the Zamorian "thief city", called by some Arenjun, or the City of Thieves, a young Conan is drinking in a rowdy tavern when he overhears a fat Kothic rogue describing a fabulous jewel called the "Heart of the Elephant." The jewel is kept in an eponymous tower by an evil sorcerer named Yara. When Conan presses the rogue for more information, insults are traded and a fight ensues. As they begin to fight, a candle is knocked over by bewildered onlookers plunging the tavern into darkness. In the resulting confusion, Conan slays the Kothian and escapes into the nighted streets of the city. After this tavern brawl, the Cimmerian sets out to steal the
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    The Winter Market

    The Winter Market

    "The Winter Market" is a science fiction short story written by William Gibson and published as part of his Burning Chrome short story collection. The story was commissioned in 1985 by Vancouver Magazine, who stipulated that Gibson – who at the time was "unquestionably the leading Vancouver author on the international literary scene" – set it in the city (thereby making it unique among the author's works). The market of the title was modelled on that of Granville Island, though in a state of bohemian decay. As the author commented in a 2007 blog post: "Vancouver's Granville Island, centered around Granville Island Market (produce and food fair) is a very successful (and pleasant) retrofit of an under-bridge urban island that previously was heavily industrial. When the story was written, the retrofit was recent, and I dirtied it up for requisite punky near-future effect." The story primarily concerns human relationships and their tenuous and problematic qualities by deploying the concept of technological immortality, in which one's consciousness is separated from the body and "uploaded" into a supercomputer, where it continues to think and function on its own. Characters in the
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