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William Blake – Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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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 – A Thousand Mornings

I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall- what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Mary Oliver is beautifully open to the teachings contained within the smallest of moments. In A Thousand Mornings she explores, with startling clarity, humour and kindness, the mysteries of our daily experience.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë's first published novel, Jane Eyre was immediately recognised as a work of genius when it appeared in 1847. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – On Death & Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy & Their Own Families

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Kübler-Ross's famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kübler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives readers a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient's family, bringing hope to all who are involved. This edition includes an elegant, enlightening introduction by Dr. Ira Byock, a prominent palliative care physician and the author of Dying Well, as well as Congressional testimony given by Dr. Kübler-Ross on death with dignity.

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.

Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet

First published in the 1920's, The Prophet is perhaps the most famous work of religious fiction of the twentieth century, and has sold millions of copies in more than twenty languages. Gibran's Prophet speaks of many things central to daily life: love, marriage, death, beauty, passion, eating, work and play. The spiritual message he imparts, of finding divinity through love, blends eastern mysticism, religious faith and philosophy with simple advice. The Prophet became the bible of 1960s culture and was credited with founding the New Age movement, yet it still continues to inspire people around the world today. This edition is illustrated with Gibran's famous visionary paintings.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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