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Homer – The Iliad

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Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet

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.

Mary Oliver – New and Selected Poems, Volume One: 1

Mary Oliver's perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death have won high praise from critics and readers alike. Do you love this world? she interrupts a poem about peonies to ask the reader. Do you cherish your humble and silky life? She makes us see the extraordinary in our everyday lives, how something as common as light can be an invitation/to happiness, /and that happiness, /when it's done right, /is a kind of holiness, /palpable and redemptive. She illuminates how a near miss with an alligator can be the catalyst for seeing the world as if for the second time/the way it really is. Oliver's passionate demonstrations of delight are powerful reminders of the bond between every individual, all living things, and the natural world.

Oscar Wilde – The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts. Illustrated with many fascinating photographs, the book includes introductions to each section by Merlin Holland (Oscar’s grandson), Owen Dudley Edwards, Declan Kiberd and Terence Brown. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Oscar Wilde, and a chronological table of his life and work.

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.

Virginia Woolf – The Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf

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 Brontë Sisters – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Villette

This stunning box set brings together the Brontë sisters' four greatest novels in beautiful Penguin editions designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. From the bleak moors of Wuthering Heights to the Belgian capital in Villette, and the mysterious, gloomy country estates of Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, these four novels of passion and struggle show the most famous siblings in literature at the peak of their powers.

Oscar Wilde – The Illustrated letters of Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters, Writings and Wit

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.

Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass

In 1855 Walt Whitman published his first collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass. The volume received great praise from leading Transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. This encouraged what would become a lifelong project as Whitman expanded and rewrote the volume until his death in 1892. Whitman's innovative use of free verse and the quotidian achieved his aim of reaching out to the everyday American. This edition, based on the earliest published version of 1855, features Whitman's most famous poem 'Song of Myself', an American epic inspired by his personal experiences.

Margery Williams – The Velveteen Rabbit

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.

Oscar Wilde – Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts. Illustrated with many fascinating photographs, the book includes introductions to each section by Merlin Holland (Oscar’s grandson), Owen Dudley Edwards, Declan Kiberd and Terence Brown. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Oscar Wilde, and a chronological table of his life and work.
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