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ART STORIA | Literary Classics

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The Castle of Otranto

by Horace Walpole, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by DerMonkey

The Castle of Otranto is a novel by Horace Walpole. First published in 1764, it is generally regarded as the first gothic novel. In the second edition, Walpole applied the word 'Gothic' to the novel in the subtitle – A Gothic Story. The Castle of Otranto is purported to be a translation of an Italian story of the time of the crusades. In it Walpole attempted, as he declared in the Preface to the Second Edition, "to blend the two kinds of romance: the ancient and the modern." Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favorite among his numerous works. 

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A Journal of the Plague Year

by Daniel Defoe, Edited with Introduction by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Jan Brueghel the Elder

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is an account of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague struck the city of London in what became known as the Great Plague of London, the last epidemic of plague in that city. The Great Plague claimed nearly 100,000 lives. This makes A Journal of the Plague Year, originally published in March 1722, an imaginative reconstruction. The book is told somewhat chronologically, though without sections or chapter headings. Presented as an eyewitness account of the events at the time, it was written in the years just prior to the book's first publication. In the story, Defoe goes to great pains to achieve an effect of verisimilitude, identifying specific neighborhoods, streets, and even houses in which events took place. Additionally, it provides tables of casualty figures and discusses the credibility of various accounts and anecdotes received by the narrator. The novel is often compared to the actual, contemporary accounts of the plague in the diary of Samuel Pepys. Defoe's account, which appears to include much research, is far more systematic and detailed than Pepys's first-person account.

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Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art: On the island of Lilliput a colour print from an 1860s edition of Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver's Travels aka Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships is a 1726 prose satire by the Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, satirising both human nature and the "travelers' tales" literary subgenre.

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\The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Randy H. Sooknanan

Love, Devotion, and Redemption. The Count of Monte Cristo is a story of revenge and redemption, but Dumas presents both revenge and redemption as being motivated by love. It is a swashbuckling classic of romance, betrayal, and revenge. On the very day of his wedding to the beautiful Mercedes, young Edmund Dantes is framed by three men, arrested and thrown into the notorious prison Chateau d’If. Befriended by a fellow prisoner, he plots a daring escape, unearths a secret fortune and returns to Marseilles and Paris disguised as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo, determined to seek vengeance on the men who framed him.

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The Vampyre & Other Tales: The Original Vampire Stories

by John Polidori, Joesph Le Fanu & Robert Louis Stevenson, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Ørjan Anmo Moen

The literary vampire first appeared in 18th-century poetry before becoming one of the mainstay figures of gothic fiction. The notion of such lore was originally seen in literature with the publication of John William Polidori’s The Vampyre in 1819. Polidori’s work of fiction romanticized the vampire for the first time and went on to inspire many other writers after the fact. Inside this book, you will find other early vampire tales written long before the now-infamous Dracula by Bram Stoker. Stoker borrowed many themes and elements from these collected short stories himself, as have other literary artists over time. This edition includes The Vampyre by Polidori, along with Carmilla by J. Le Fanu and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Olalla. These three featured short stories have all been heavily influential on the genre. 

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\Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus

by Mary Shelley, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Introduction by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Julia Lillard

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley (1797–1851) that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. In an attempt to create the perfect new being, scientist Victor Frankenstein secretly assembles a collection of body parts and activates it with an electrical charge. The result is horrifying – even to his maker – and is never named. Widely regarded as the first proper science-fiction novel, Frankenstein provided the inspiration for a whole genre of horror stories and, later, films. 

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The Murders in the Rue Morgue

by Edgar Allan Poe, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Rita Yuwei Li

In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe invented the genre of detective fiction when he brought forth from his pen, a young, eccentric man he named Detective C. Auguste Dupin. Intelligent detective sleuthing made its debut into the realm of literature, and together with his macabre prose and the application of a reasoning mind to solve crime, these tales brought Poe fame and fortune. Poe’s literary invention and collection of short mysteries were instrumental in the creation of other famed fictional geniuses, including the notorious Sherlock Holmes. Although lesser known than the detective tales of the modern era, the flagship Dupin Stories are engaging and exhilarating must-read mysteries. These tales are the original reference point for the mystery-solving phenom that has become widespread in literary and popular culture. Edgar Allan Poe is a foundational figure of American literary studies across the educational sphere, and instrumental in the development of 19th-century criminology that has even made its way onto movie and television screens. This collection of three stories written between 1841 - 1844, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Murder of Marie Roget" and "The Purloined Letter”, are not easily found elsewhere in one edition. 

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by RE

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a Gothic and philosophical novel by Oscar Wilde. It is written in his distinctively dazzling manner and tells the story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. The novel remains the author’s most popular work. It was originally published in its earliest form with Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it was first serialized and published in the British magazine. Fearing the story was indecent, prior to publication the magazine's editor deleted roughly five hundred words without Wilde's knowledge. Despite that censorship, the story offended the moral sensibilities of British book reviewers, some of whom said that Oscar Wilde merited prosecution for violating the laws guarding public morality. The Picture of Dorian Gray is actually the only novel written by Wilde however it exists in several different versions. There is the 1890 magazine edition, which contains 13 chapters, in which important material was deleted before publication by the editor. Then there is another "uncensored" version which was also submitted to Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for publication which is presented in 13 chapters as well but contains all of Wilde's original material intact. The full version was first published in a book edition in 1891 by Harvard University Press with no censorship in 20 chapters. This edition contains the full 20 chapter version..

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A Study in Scarlet

by Arthur Conan Doyle, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Kromdor 

A Study in Scarlet is an 1887 detective novel written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The story marks the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who would become the most famous detective duo in popular fiction. The major themes in A Study in Scarlet are deductive/adductive reasoning, the ineffectiveness of public protection, religion, revenge modernism and friendship.

Also available:

Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet & A Scandal in Bohemia Deluxe Edition 

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by Bram Stoker, Edited with Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Arantzazu Martinez

Love and death and eternity... Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. It introduced the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy.

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Oswin Neumann 

Good versus Evil. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a Gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886. The story centers upon a conception of the duality of human nature. and is an allegory about the good and evil that exist in all men, At the core of the tale, we find the struggle with the two sides of any personality. The novella highlights the battle between good and evil that rages within the individual.

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The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw is an 1898 horror novella by Henry James. The novella about a naive young governess and her desperate but misguided efforts to shield two children from a pair of predatory wraiths at a lonely country estate may well be the most important ghost story written in the English language. Its main theme is an action that makes a bad situation worse, especially one that forces someone to do something.

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The Island of Doctor Moreau

by H. G. Wells, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by DerMonkey

The Island of Doctor Moreau is an early example of the mad scientist story. Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for misuse and terror. In The Island of Dr. Moreau, a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.

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BOOK 11:

The Sea Wolf

by Jack London, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Willem van de Velde

The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by American writer Jack London. The book's protagonist, Humphrey Van Weyden, is a literary critic who is a survivor of an ocean collision and who comes under the dominance of Wolf Larsen, the powerful and amoral sea captain who rescues him.

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Heart of Darkness

by Joesph Conrad, Foreward by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Malte Madsen

Heart of Darkness was published in 1899. It was written by Joseph Conrad and is about a voyage up the Congo River. The novella contains a story within a story, following a character who recounts his adventure to a group of people. In the story, a voyage takes readers deep into the Congo Free State. Upon the river, we journey into the very heart of Africa. The narrator, Charles Marlow, describes his travels in the African continent to his friends while aboard the boat anchored on the River Thames. Heart of Darkness implicitly comments on imperialism and racism. It acts as a reflection on corruptive European colonialism and is a journey into the nightmare psyche of those who have become corrupt. Heart of Darkness is considered to be one of the most influential works ever written.

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