By: Jerry White
London has the greatest literary tradition of any city in the world. Its roll call of storytellers includes cultural giants like Shakespeare, Defoe, and Dickens, and an innumerable host of writers of all sorts who sought to capture the essence of the place.
Acclaimed historian Jerry White has collected some twenty-six stories to illustrate the extraordinary diversity of both London life and writing over the past four centuries, from Shakespeare’s day to the present.
These are stories of fact and fiction and occasionally something in between, some from well-known voices and others practically unknown. Here are dramatic views of such iconic events as the plague, the Great Fire of London, and the Blitz, but also William Thackeray’s account of going to see a man hanged, Thomas De Quincey’s friendship with a teenaged prostitute, and Doris Lessing’s defense of the Underground.
This literary London encompasses the famous Baker Street residence of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and the bombed-out moonscape of Elizabeth Bowen’s wartime streets, Charles Dicken’s treacherous River Thames and Frederick Treves’s tragic Elephant Man. Graham Greene, Jean Rhys, Muriel Spark, and Hanif Kureishi are among the many great writers who give us their varied Londons here, revealing a city of boundless wealth and ragged squalor, of moving tragedy and riotous joy.
Published in 2014.
Published by: Everyman's Library
An anthology of literary love stories—in a beautiful hardcover Pocket Classics edition—perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Here are nineteen stories from a rich array of writers. The objects of passion in these stories range from a glamorous silent-movie starlet in Elizabeth Bowen’s haunting “Dead Mabelle” and a faithful ghost in Yasunari Kawabata’s “Immortality” to a heart surgeon in Margaret Atwood’s “Bluebeard’s Egg” who spends his days penetrating the mysteries of the human heart but who seems oddly emotionally opaque himself. Jhumpa Lahiri plumbs the despair of a husband and wife sundered by tragedy while Lorrie Moore movingly portrays a couple brought together by it. Katherine Mansfield, Tobias Wolff, and William Trevor explore the intricacies of long-term relationships, while Guy de Maupassant, Italo Calvino, and T. C. Boyle portray the elemental force of love in extremely different ways.
As alluring, moving, and intoxicating as its timeless theme, this collection makes an enticing gift for lovers at any stage of life.
Published in 2009.
As Scheherezade proved long ago, good stories make the best bedtime entertainment. The tales collected here represent the essence of the storyteller’s art, with its ancient roots in fantastical legends and tales told around a fire.
In Bedtime Stories, great writers of the past two centuries explore the boundaries between the real and the unreal, between waking and dreaming. From the surreal night visions of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” to the unspeakable horror that haunts two little girls in A. S. Byatt’s “The Thing in the Forest,” from Washington Irving’s comical “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to Ursula K. LeGuin’s sly perspective on Sleeping Beauty in “The Poacher,” these spellbinding stories transform the stuff of fables and fairy tales into high art.
Isak Dinesen, Vladimir Nabokov, Angela Carter, Julio Cortázar, Steven Millhauser, Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, and many more mingle their voices in this one-volume gateway to dreams–the perfect bedside companion for fiction lovers everywhere.
Published in 2011.
The chilling classic stories gathered here offer a remarkable variety of approaches to the theme of haunting. Revenge comes from beyond the grave in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Body-Snatcher,” while visions of the dead come between the living in Henry James’s “The Friends of the Friends.” P. G. Wodehouse gives us a farcical take on the haunted house in “Honeysuckle Cottage,” and in L. P. Hartley’s “W.S.,” a writer is fatally stalked by his own aggrieved creation.
Here are ghosts of every stripe and intent in stories from writers as varied as Elizabeth Bowen and Jorge Luis Borges, Eudora Welty and Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury and Edith Wharton, among others. In the hands of these masters, the ghost story ranges far beyond mere horror to encompass comedy and tragedy, pathos and drama, and even a touch of poetry.
Published in 2008.