Hesperus Press LTD Digital

  • A captivating portrait of some of Charles Dickens'; most memorable female characters presented by popular actress Miriam Margolyes to accompany her hugely successful one-woman show touring the world in 2012. In his novels Dickens presents a series of unrivalled portraits of women, young and old. From Little Nell to Miss Havisham, these girls and women speak to us today, making us laugh and sometimes cry. The popular British actress Miriam Margolyes will be touring the world in 2012, the bicentenary of Dickens birth, with a one-woman show about Dickens'; women, and this book accompanies the show by building on the script and expanding to include many more of the female characters Dickens described and analysed so astutely in his novels. 'Mrs Pipchin was a marvellous ill-favoured, ill-conditioned old lady, of a stooping figure, with a mottled face, like bad marble, a hook nose, and a hard grey eye, that looked as if it might have been hammered at on an anvil without sustaining any injury.';

  • Follows the four March sisters - pretty Meg, tomboy Jo, shy Beth and vain Amy - as they grow and mature into four distinctive little women. Louisa May Alcott was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, the setting for Little Women.

  • Charlotte Brontë's first ever book, The Professor, is a love story full of feeling and emotion told from a male viewpoint – a must read for Brontë fans. The first book ever to emerge from Charlotte Brontë's pen, The Professor is an autobiographically inspired romantic love story set in Brussels. Thinly veiling her personal experiences, Brontë unusually uses a male narrator, making this a fascinating and unique read. With the action played out in dark boarding-school classrooms and windy streets, Brontë weaves a tale of much emotion – one that foresees the longer, better-known saga Villette that was to follow many years later. Fresh out of Eton, orphaned William Crimsworth finds himself in an unenviable situation – a clerk to his little-educated, caddish mill-owner brother – until opportunity presents itself for a complete change of fortune. Crimsworth is offered a job in Brussels as a teacher in an all-girls boarding school, run by a M Pelet. Later headhunted to a better position by the beguiling Zoraide Reuter, Crimsworth believes himself slightly enamoured with his new employer – only to discover her secretly and perfidiously engaged to M Pelet. His new position almost intolerable, Crimsworth finds solace in teaching Frances Henri, a young Swiss-English seamstress teacher with promising intelligence and ear for language. Mlle Reuter though, jealous of the young professor's obvious partiality, dismisses Frances from her position. Crimsworth, in despair, is forced to resign from the school and takes up a ghostly existence in Brussels, roaming the streets in the hopes of finding his Frances. An often neglected classic, The Professor is not only a compellingly written novel but fascinating in its concern with gender issues, religion and social class, making it a book still studied today.

  • First published in 1930 and shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, The Great Meadow is a historical novel set in the early days of the settling of Kentucky. Intertwined with a flowing romantic sage of young love on the Kentucky trail are richly painted scenes of colonial America.

  • As part of The Living you cannot die. As part of The Living you have no free will. Yet one man is born who is different to the rest; one who could bring society crashing down. A stunning and sinister vision of a dystopian future by a critically acclaimed young Russian author.

  • In 1902, the young German writer Rainer Maria Rilke travelled to Paris to write a monograph on the sculptor Auguste Rodin. He returned to the city many times over the course of his life, by turns inspired and appalled by the high culture and low society. Paris was a lifelong source of inspiration for Rilke. Perhaps most significantly, the letters he wrote about it formed the basis of his prose masterpiece, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. This volume brings together a new translation of Rilke';s essay on poetry, Notes on the Melody of Things, and the first English translation of Rilke';s experiences in Paris as observed by his French translator, Maurice Betz.

  • In his three short stories, 'For a Night of Love', 'Nantas', and 'Fasting', Emile Zola presents characters in search of fulfilment - romantic, religious, and financial. Read together, For a Night of Love is an extraordinary depiction of sexual mores. When the apparently angelic Thérèse commits murder, she offers sexual favours to a petty clerk if he will dispose of the body; the pregnant Flavie manipulates a neighbour's interest in her dowry to arrange a shotgun wedding; churchgoing women find their hunger for Christianity unsatisfied by a vapid priest - these beautiful and poignant stories are united by the powerful themes of deception and dissatisfaction.

  • Addressed to a petrified Victorian society, this spine-chilling volume, long of out print and here republished in a modern edition, brings together a collection of unnerving stories of live burials and narrow escapes. An assortment of anecdotes based on historical materials and real accounts, Premature Burial was written to reassure or warn nineteenth-century readers concerned about being buried alive. This was seemingly an alarmingly frequent occurrence; one of the book's authors himself, Dr Vollum, had narrowly escaped live sepulture after almost drowning. Gruesome stories abound: desperate men and women attempting to claw their way out of coffins; a family tradition of stabbing dead bodies in the heart to prevent live burial that results in a father stabbing his own daughter (who turned out to have been alive). There are also the more cheery tales of apparently dead bodies waking in the middle of their own funerals and accounts of last minute miracle reprieves. The authors uncovered a truly fearsome number of stories and gathered a large amount of scientific detail from a multitude of countries. Presenting detailed descriptions of a coffin that detects a breathing 'corpse' and sounds an alarm and giving the specifics of a waiting mortuary staffed twenty-four hours a day in which 'dead' bodies are given a chance to come round (or putrefy), Premature Burial offers potential solutions as well as terrifying anecdotes.

  • In one of his best-known books, From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne described how a group of men in The Gun Club of Baltimore used a giant cannon to send a spacecraft to the moon. Now, in this sequel, the gun is brought into use again to achieve an equally ambitious aim - to tilt the earth's axis so that the North Pole is displaced to the Tropics. The plotters believe there are limitless resources of coal at the North Pole and their cunning plan will allow them to exploit these resources to become rich. In spite of its disregard for anything approaching scientific plausibility, this enjoyable book has a modern resonance in a world in which conserving energy is increasingly important, and the dangers of climate change - one huge consequence if the Gun Club's plot succeeds - are daily in the forefront of the news.

  • A moving and witty portrayal of a family and community in turmoil during the Second World War. It is 1942 and the sleepy village of Saint-Boniface in the Ardèche has become stuffed with refugees from all over France and indeed Europe. Expats, exiles and migrant Jews all mingle together. Daily life is shambolic. Several Jewish families have washed up in Saint-Boniface, lodged in guest houses and rented farmhouses, they are attempting to carve out a new life for themselves among the folded hills and isolated farmsteads. Battling against the bureaucracy and paperwork of Vichy-France and the spectre of the Germans closing in on the Free Zone, the families struggle to get used to the local ways, just as the locals struggle to accept them. From the non-existent toilets and lack of electricity to black market dealings and the self-serving, sadistic gendarme, life in Saint-Boniface is challenging and spirited. Welcome to the Free Zone is a vivid and dark humoured novel based on the true story of Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, who take on the role of the Verès family in the book. Originally published in 1946 this new translation with revive this extraordinary tale.

  • Mr Bensington and Professor Redwood were amongst that new breed of men - or 'scientists' as they had become known. They discover Herakleophorbia IV, a chemical foodstuff that accelerates growth, and, after a series of experiments, the countryside is overrun with giant chickens, rats, wasps and worms. Havoc ensues, but Benson and Redwood are undeterred and begin to use 'the food of the gods' on humans. Soon, children are growing up to 40 feet high. But where will the experiments end?

    H. G. Wells was responsible for an entirely new genre of writing. It was his bold, daring and hugely innovative books that first introduced readers to the concept of time travel, invisibility, genetic experimentation and interstellar invasion - ideas that have gone on to inspire future generations and given rise to the entire science fiction industry

  • With humour, wit and insight David Carter provides an account of the trials and tribulations of the Nobel Prize in Literature, together with tongue-in-cheek guidelines for the would-be laureate. There are acclaimed writers - James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain - who never won the Nobel Prize - and others, less well-known, such as Henryk Sienkiewicz, Paul Heyse and Wladyslaw Reymont, who did. What do you have to do to impress, or be snubbed by the Nobel Committee? Using the device of a set of guidelines for the would-be laureate, the book explores many of the unusual and controversial decisions made by the committee over the years. The reader can discover the many quirky considerations that hopeful writers must bear in mind. Certain factors always help, such as 'being a man' and 'having your work translated into Swedish'. Presenting interesting quotes from the presentation and acceptance speeches and from other sources in the writers' works, David Carter provides answers to some intriguing questions, such as: Why did some writers refuse to accept the prize, and why were others rejected? Is there evidence for political, ideological and geographical bias in the selection? Why was it sometimes awarded to two writers and sometimes not at all? What does it actually take to win?

  • Set at the turn of the century, The Time of Man tells the moving story of Ellen Chesser, a young woman with a mind of her own. She and her family travel from one small community to another in rural Kentucky, eking out a living as itinerant farmworkers. Initially she feels isolated and lonely, resenting the hardship of her life and longing to be with her childhood friends. Yet slowly she learns what it means to fall in love and forges lasting friendships with other young people at the local dances. She is left stunned, therefore, when the man she is to marry comes to her to confess a dark secret. His past is shameful to him and heartbreaking for her, but Ellen's independent spirit and strength of character sustain her in the aftermath. When further accusations come to light, they threaten to disturb the tranquility of her life and that of the community where she lives forever. Written in the subtle, soaring prose for which Elizabeth Madox Roberts was known, The Time of Man is a spectacular coming of age story. As she grows older, Ellen Chesser is forced to confront the darker side of human nature but ultimately manages to overcome the difficulties she faces with a resolute dignity.

  • John Milton's poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained are among the greatest pieces of writing in the English language. Like other writers of his time, Milton had only a sketchy idea of Islam and the Arab world, from travellers and linguists who had made the arduous journey to and from the Middle East. But buried in his works are signs that Milton had absorbed ideas and influences from Islam and Arab culture. Professor Dahiyat shows how from the Middle Ages, partly as an attempt to counteract Islam with Christianity, a wide range of writers and researchers spoke, read and wrote Arabic and published books in the earliest days of printing which Milton could have read. Dahiyat then shows how many different references there are to the Orient and Islam in Milton's writings, and discusses the later response of Arab writers and scholars to Milton's major works.

  • Five Russian Dog Stories presents touching narratives from three giants in Russian literature. Some heart-warming, some tear jerking, none will easily be forgotten. Turgenev's Mumu is rescued from drowning by a mute serf, Gerasim, and quickly becomes his closest friend and comforter until Gerasim's mistress intervenes with tragic consequences. Shchedrin's Trezor is the perfect embodiment of canine fidelity, carrying out his duties to the letter, despite being chained up, badly treated and sometimes not even fed. Chekhov's Kashtanka, when lost, is taken in by a circus clown and trained for an act in the ring. However, she prefers to return to her former abusive master, sitting in the audience at her first performance, rather than remain with her new caring, thoughtful owner. These stories have long been held in high esteem, tugging at the readers' heartstrings. When Turgenev died in 1883 a wreath was sent to the grave of 'the author of Moomoo' by British Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  • Once seen as a prediction of the sinking of the Titanic, The Wreck of the Titan was written fourteen years before that ill-fated event of 1912. Now, on the centenary anniversary of the sinking, the striking similarities between the fate of the Titan and Titanic can be examined again in this new edition. In this 1898 novella, John Rowland, a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant, has taken employment as a lowly deck hand aboard the largest ship ever to have sailed, the Titan. One night in deep fog in the North Atlantic, the Titan strikes a gigantic iceberg and sinks almost immediately. The foreword is by Sam Leith, who has examined chance and coincidence in his novel, The Coincidence Machine.

  • The Emerald City is under attack from the cunning Nome King - can Dorothy help defeat him?

  • The last book in the Oz series sees Glinda, the most powerful sorceress of Oz, coming to the rescue of Dorothy and Princess Ozma.

  • Travel to the land of Oz with Dorothy and find out what inspired the forthcoming film blockbuster Oz: The Great and Powerful

  • The sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz sees our hero, a young boy named Tip, escaping from evil witch Mombi and fleeing to the Emerald City.