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ART STORIA | Literary Classics 

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LITERARY CLASSICS 1
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The Iliad

by Homer, Translated by Samuel Butler, Edited with Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Charles-Antoine Coypel

The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature. It also provides a unique insight into both Greek history and the formation of a Greek identity...

Love and friendship, fate and free will, and honor are the main themes of Homer's The Iliad. All three themes follow Achilles and the other main characters of the epic poem. We see how Achilles' friendship with Patroclus and his hunger for honor guides much of the epic, which lead to both his and Hector's demises. 

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The Odyssey

by Homer, Translated by Samuel Butler, Edited with Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by John William Waterhouse

The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still read by contemporary audiences. As with the Iliad, the poem is divided into 24 books. It follows the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the Trojan War. 

 

After the war itself, which lasted ten years, his journey lasted for ten additional years, during which time he encountered many perils including lotus-eaters, a cyclops, sirens, Medusa, and throughout this perilous journey all his crewmates were killed. In his absence, Odysseus was assumed dead, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus had to contend with a group of unruly suitors who were competing for Penelope's hand in marriage. Once returned to his home and along with the help of his son, Telemachus, Odysseus destroys the relentless suitors of his faithful wife and re-establishes himself in his kingdom.

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The Voyage of the Argo

by Apollonius Rhodius, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Jacopo da Sellaio

The Voyage of the Argo aka The Argonautica is a Greek epic poem written by Apollonius Rhodius in the 3rd century BC. The only surviving Hellenistic epic, the Argonautica tells the myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from remote Colchis.

Alternative versions:

Jason and the Argonauts   

 

Jason and the Golden Fleece

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Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius, Translated by George W. Chrystal, Edited with Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Peter Arnell

Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. 

 

Few ancient works have been as influential as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and emperor of Rome (A.D. 161–180). A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, it remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style. For anyone who struggles to reconcile the demands of leadership with a concern for personal integrity and spiritual well-being, the Meditations remains as relevant now as it was two thousand years ago.

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The Symposium

by Plato, Translated by Benjamin Jowett, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Anselm Feuerbach

The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes.

 

On one level the book deals with the genealogy, nature and purpose of love, on another level the book deals with the topic of knowledge, specifically how does one know what one knows. The topic of love is taken up in the form of a group of speeches, given by a group of men at a symposium or a wine drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens. Plato constructed the Symposium as a story within a story within a story. This architecture creates the space for Plato to build his philosophy of knowledge. The speech of Socrates points out that the highest purpose of Love is to become a Philosopher, or Lover of Wisdom.

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The Republic

by Plato, Edited with Introduction by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Hans Werner Schmidt 

The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, authored by Plato around 375 BC, concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.

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The Last Days Of Socrates

by Plato, Translated by Benjamin Jowett & Henry Cary, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Jacques-Louis David

This edition includes all four Socratic dialogues of the Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, and Phaedo. Euthyphro, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates, between Socrates and Euthyphro. The dialogue covers subjects such as the meaning of piety and justice. As is common with Plato's earliest dialogues, it ends in aporia. The Apology of Socrates, written by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue of the speech of legal self-defence which Socrates (469–399 BC) spoke at his trial for impiety and corruption in 399 BC. Crito is a dialogue that depicts a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito of Alopece regarding justice, injustice, and the appropriate response to injustice after Socrates' imprisonment, which is chronicled in the Apology. Phaedo, also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The philosophical subject of the dialogue is the immortality of the soul.

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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

by E. A. Wallis Budge, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art: Book of the Dead of Hunefer (Hw-nfr) 19th Dynasty

The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text which was generally written on papyrus and used from the beginning of the New Kingdom to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw, is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day or Book of Emerging Forth into the Light.

In the year 1888, Dr. E. Wallis Budge, then purchasing agent for the British Museum, followed rumors he heard of a spectacular archeological find in Upper Egypt, and found in an 18th Dynasty tomb near Luxor "the largest roll of papyrus I had ever seen, tied with a thick band of papyrus, and in a perfect state of preservation." It was a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, written around 1500 B.C. for Ani, Royal Scribe of Thebes, Overseer of the Granaries of the Lords of Abydos, and Scribe of the Offerings of the Lord of Thebes. This Papyrus of Ani, a full version of the Theban recension, is presented here by Dr. Budge, who later became perhaps the world's most renowned Egyptologist.

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Tutankhamen and his Tomb: The Discovery of The Tomb of Tutankhamen by The Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter

by G. Elliot Smith, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe

The Discovery of The TOMB of TUTANKHAMEN By The Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter. Howard Carter (1874–1939) was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist, now renowned for discovering the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. The leader of the excavation offers a firsthand description of the remarkable events surrounding the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in Egypt's Valley of Kings and of the unique and priceless treasures that were found there. Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937) was an Australian-British anatomist, Egyptologist, he was the first to study Egyptian mummies using radiological techniques. He was the author of a number of books and this work on the discovery of Tutankhamen's Tomb was first published in 1923. Illustrated throughout.

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The Art of War

by Sun Tzu, Foreword by Elvira Valentina Resta, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art: Soldiers of Ming by Unknown Artist

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period. The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to an aspect of warfare and how it applies to military strategy and tactics.

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The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Paolo Veronese

The Prince is a 16th-century political treatise written by the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli as an instruction guide for new princes and royals. The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the "effectual" truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. It is also notable for being in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time, particularly those concerning politics and ethics. The treatise is the most remembered of Machiavelli's works and the one most responsible for bringing the word "Machiavellian" into usage as a pejorative. It even contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words "politics" and "politician" in western countries.

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The Arabian Nights

Translated by Andrew Lang, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Kay Rasmus Nielsen

"The Arabian Nights" is the title which encompasses all of the Persian, Arabian and Indian folk tales which have made their way into western culture over hundreds of years. This collection was edited by Andrew Lang, and his selections were made with the purpose of making the tales more suitable and interesting to a general audience.

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Stories of King Arthur and His Knights

by U. Waldo Cutler, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art: "The Arming and Departure of the Knights" scene from a 1890s Holy Grail Tapestry by Unknown Artist

This is reproduction of the original: Stories of King Arthur and His Knights by Cutler U. Waldo. The material for the Arthur stories came from many countries and from many different periods of history. Much of it is wholly fanciful, but the writers connected all the incidents directly or indirectly with the old Briton king of the fifth century, who was the model of knighthood, "without fear and without reproach." Perhaps there was a real King Arthur, who led the Britons against the Saxon invaders of their land, who was killed by his traitor nephew, and who was buried at Glastonbury,-the valley of Avilion of the legends; perhaps there was a slight historical nucleus around which all the romantic material was crystallising through the centuries, but the Arthur of romance came largely from the imagination of the early writers. And yet, though our "own ideal knight" may never have trod the soil of Britain or Roman or Saxon England, his chivalrous character and the knightly deeds of his followers are real to us, if we read them rightly, for "the poet's ideal was the truest truth."

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The Story of Siegfried

by James Baldwin, Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Peter von Cornelius

This version offers a clearer understanding and a wiser appreciation of the thoughts and feelings of our old northern ancestors. The story of Siegfried, the brave young man who rode through fire to awaken the lovely Brunhild from a long sleep, has been told many times and in many variations. James Baldwin's account, written well over 100 years ago, has taken bits and pieces from many different versions. The result is an adventure-packed retelling of tales describing "The Curse of Gold," "Nibelungen Land," "The Journey to Burgundy-Land," "How Spring-Time Came," "The War with the North-Kings," and fifteen other stories taken from ancient Icelandic texts known as the Eddas.
 

This captivating collection transports readers across a supernatural bridge to a world of dragons, giants, and gods, delighting adventure lovers with its rich selection of timeless tales.

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The Tibetan Book of the Dead

by Padmasambhava, Foreword by Denise K. McTighe, Edited by Denise K. McTighe & Randy H. Sooknanan, Cover Art by Denise K. McTighe

The Bardo Thodol, commonly known in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a terma text from a larger corpus of teachings, the Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, revealed by Karma Lingpa. It is the best-known work of Nyingma literature. 

 

The first complete translation of a classic Buddhist text on the journey through living and dying. Graced with opening words by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the Penguin Deluxe Edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead is "immaculately rendered in an English both graceful and precise." Translated with the close support of leading contemporary masters and hailed as “a tremendous accomplishment,” this book faithfully presents the insights and intentions of the original work. It includes one of the most detailed and compelling descriptions of the after-death state in world literature, practices that can transform our experience of daily life, guidance on helping those who are dying, and an inspirational perspective on coping with bereavement.

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BOOK 8:

On the Origin of Species

by Charles Darwin, Foreword by Denise K. McTighe. Edited by Randy H. Sooknanan & Denise K. McTighe

On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin that is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection.

 

 In the book, Darwin lays out his theory of evolution that asserts that all life on Earth has a common ancestor and that natural selection is the primary mechanism for species evolution. The book is regarded as one of the most influential scientific publications in history. It generated a sensation when it was first published because it attributed the diversity of living forms on Earth to a mechanical process rather than a supernatural intelligence. Although others had earlier proposed the possibility of evolution or natural selection, On the Origin of Species is the first text to derive the most profound conclusions from these ideas. The book elicited a wide range of reactions from scientific, theological, and philosophical perspectives.

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Men Like Gods

by H. G. Wells, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Trash Riot

Men Like Gods is set in 1921 and was published in 1923. It is part of a subgenre we do not see as much of in recent fiction. It is a utopian science fiction story. Today we have become predominantly familiar with this particular subgenre's other side, the dystopian science fiction. Dystopia offers audiences more shock value to draw attention, but we can look at the former as the older, wiser, and more optimistic version. The essential difference between utopian and dystopian fiction is the different perceptions of humanity. Men Like Gods is an excellent example of this and it is referred to by its author, English writer H. G. Wells, as a "scientific fantasy” novel. The story features a utopia located in a parallel universe. and was conceived in the aftermath of World War I, and it reflects the failings of human nature yet offers hope for the future, when men and women may live like gods. 

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A Princess of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Julia Lillard

A Princess of Mars ART STORIA | Literary Classics edition (Annotated) - A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was first serialized in All-Story Magazine from February–July, 1912. The story is full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal work of the planetary romance sub-genre of science fantasy that became incredibly popular in the decades following its publication. In the novel’s early chapters it also contains elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, and imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were popularized in the late 19th and early 20th-century. It has inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein.The series was also inspirational to many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who had read A Princess of Mars as a child.

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Lost Horizon

by James Hilton, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Denise K. McTighe

‘Lost Horizon’ was first published in 1933 by English writer James Hilton. The book is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopian lamasery located high in the mountains of Tibet. The book’s fantastical drama follows a group of plane-crash survivors who have landed in the mythical Shangri-La, a valley hidden deep within the mountains of the Himalayas. Rescued by followers of the High Llama, the outsiders grow to love the remote paradise, but a member of the British diplomatic service, Hugh Conway suspects that the crash was no accident, begins to investigate, leading to a surprising revelation.

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The Lost World

by Arthur Conan Doyle, Introduction by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by LJHT

The Lost World is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1912, concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals still survive. It is an early example of the monster attack genre and adventure narrative to an unknown mysterious land. It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself worthy of her. Soon after, he meets Professor George Challenger, a scientist who claims to have discovered a 'lost world' populated by pterodactyls and other prehistoric monsters.

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The War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Ørjan Anmo Moen

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. It is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. When an army of invading Martians lands in England, panic, and terror seize the population. As the aliens traverse the country in huge three-legged machines, incinerating all in their path with a heat ray and spreading noxious toxic gases, the people of the Earth must come to terms with the prospect of the end of human civilization and the beginning of Martian rule.

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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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The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway, Foreword by Randy H. Sooknanan, Edited by Denise K. McTighe, Cover Art by Winslow Homer

The Old Man and the Sea tells the story of a battle between an aging, experienced fisherman, Santiago, and a large marlin. The story opens with Santiago having gone 84 days without catching a fish, and now being seen as "salao", the worst form of unluckiness. It was written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cayo Blanco, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction written by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime.

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