Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle of Rilke's life that shows what he was experiencing in his own relationship to life and work when he wrote them.
Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra remains his most influential work. It describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Superman, the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor. With blazing intensity, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic and free. Translated with an introduction by R. J. HOLLINGDALE
Jane Austen, the daughter of a clergyman, was born in Hampshire in 1775, and later lived in Bath and the village of Chawton. As a child and teenager, she wrote brilliantly witty stories for her family's amusement, as well as a novella, Lady Susan. Her first published novel was Sense and Sensibility, which appeared in 1811 and was soon followed by Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma. Austen died in 1817, and Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously in 1818.
Once overshadowed by Sartre, Camus has proved the more durable of the two most celebrated French writer-philosophers of the last century. This collection of his work makes the reasons for his survival self-evident. In prose of bleak but piercing clarity, Camus cuts to the heart of each story he tells. After The Outsider (also published in Everyman) The Plague is his most powerful novel, at once an account of heroic attempts to contain an epidemic in Algeria and a parable of the human condition. In The Fall a once-successful Parisian lawyer tells his own tale of decline and self-discovery, Exile and the Kingdom collect together a number of short stories which explore the existentialist predicament from various viewpoints. This volume also contains two important essays - The Myth of Sisyphus and Reflections on the Guillotine - which reflect on the themes developed in the fiction.
Although it is over 120 years since his infamous trial for indecency, Oscar Wilde has never held greater fascination for us. This packed illustrated biography tells the life of Oscar Wilde through his own words – private letters, poems, plays, stories and legendary witticisms. It includes his relationships with key artists and writers of the time, including John Ruskin, Charles Ricketts, and Lillie Langtry. It is illustrated throughout with paintings, engravings, contemporary photographs, cartoons and caricatures of Wilde and his social circle. With illustrations and paintings by Aubrey Beardsley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, James Whistler and Max Beerbohm, it is a beautiful evocation of the glittering fin de siecle word by its most fascinating wordsmith and aesthete. The book details Wilde's ruin after the trial and its outcome. The profundity of his writing from prison and exile form an epitaph, not only to his own life, but also for the era that carelessly delighted in it.
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us. In this stunning collection, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life's work. Herons, sparrows, owls and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry and impermanence. Whether considering a bird's nest, the seeming patience of oak trees or the paintings of Franz Marc, Mary Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments. Blue Horses asks what it truly means to belong to this world and to live in it attuned to all its changes. 'To be human,' she shows us, 'is to sing your own song'.
In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being Real means. And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit’s journey towards becoming real – through the love of a child . . . Margery Williams’ timeless picture book classic has been read and cherished by many generations of children and their parents and is now available in this beautiful hardback edition. Brought to life by gorgeous and much-loved classic illustrations by William Nicholson, with a new foiled cover design, this is a wonderful keepsake gift to treasure and share.
Thomas Hardy Boxed Set – Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840 and became an apprentice architect at the age of sixteen. He spent his twenties in London, where he wrote his first poems. In 1867 Hardy returned to his native Dorset, whose rugged landscape was a great source of inspiration for his writing. Between 1871 and 1897 he wrote fourteen novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. This final work was received savagely; thereafter Hardy turned away from novels and spent the last thirty year of his life focusing on poetry. He died in 1928.
The letters - at times witty and irreverent, at times melancholy and introspective – are possibly even more revealing for their insights into the complex personality of the novelist herself. "A true letter", she insisted, "should be like a film of wax pressed close to the graving of the mind". The book contains biographical notes on the main recipients of the letters, together with background information on Virginia Woolf's life and work. Frances Spalding's previous books include "British Art Since 1900" and biographies of the painters Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell. This book is beautifully illustrated with contemporary photographs and paintings, many by members of the Bloomsbury Group, such as Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant.
The Chilean Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was probably the greatest and certainly the most prolific of twentieth-century Latin American poets. He brought out his first collection at the age of seventeen, and quickly developed an assured and distinctive poetic voice. His third book, Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada - Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair- was published in 1924 and attracted international acclaim. It remains one of the most celebrated and admired books of erotic poetry published in the last hundred years, with over a million copies sold worldwide. Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971.