This meticulously edited collection of Christmas tales, short stories, myths and legends is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents: Louisa May Alcott: Merry Christmas A Christmas Dream and How It Came True Becky's Christmas Dream Kitty's Class Day Rosa's Tale Tilly's Christmas The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation What the Bell Saw and Said A Christmas Turkey, and How It Came The Little Red Purse A Country Christmas O. Henry: The Gift of the Magi Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking Christmas by Injunction A Chaparral Christmas Gift Hans Christian Andersen: The Little Match Girl The Steadfast Tin Soldier The Snow Queen The Old House The Drop of Water The Happy Family The Story of a Mother The False Collar The Shadow The Old Street-lamp The Dream of Little Tuk The Naughty Boy The Two Neighboring Families The Darning-needle The Red Shoes Selma Lagerlöf: The Holy Night The Christmas Guest The Flight Into Egypt The Legend of the Christmas Rose Harriet Beecher Stowe: Betty's Bright Idea The First Christmas Of New England Deacon Pitkin's Farm Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol The Chimes The Cricket on the Hearth The Battle of Life The Haunted Man A Christmas Tree What Christmas Is As We Grow Older The Poor Relation's Story The Child's Story The Schoolboy's Story Nobody's Story The Seven Poor Travellers The Holly-Tree The Wreck of the Golden Mary The Perils of Certain English Prisoners A House to Let The Haunted House A Message From the Sea Tom Tiddler's Ground Somebody's Luggage Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions Mugby Junction No Thoroughfare Christmas at Fezziwig's Warehouse Thomas Nelson Page: Santa Claus's Partner A Captured Santa Claus Tommy Trots Visit to Santa Claus How the Captain made Christmas Anthony Trollope: Christmas at Thompson Hall Christmas Day at Kirkby Cottage The Mistletoe Bough Not if I Know It The Two Generals William Dean Howells: Christmas Every Day Turkeys Turning the Tables The Pony Engine and the Pacific Express The Pumpkin Glory…
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Louisa May Alcott was born on 29 November 1832 in Pennsylvania, and she grew up with plenty of books to read but seldom enough to eat. Louisa went to work when she was very young as a paid companion and teacher, but she loved writing most of all, and like Jo March she started selling sensational stories in order to help provide financial support for her family.
She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War but the experience made her extremely ill. Little Women was published in 1868 and was based on her life growing up with her three sisters. She followed it with three sequels, Good Wives (1869), Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886) and she also wrote other books for both children and adults. Louisa was also a campaigner for women's rights and the abolition of the slave trade. She died on 6 March 1888.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, in 1805. His Fairy Tales, the first children's stories of their kind, which were published in instalments from 1835 until his death in 1875, have been translated into more than a hundred languages and adapted for every kind of media.
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey was born in 1835 into a wealthy and influential family in Cleveland, Ohio. She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War before establishing a career as a successful and prolific writer of novels, short stories and poems.
Her most famous book, What Katy Did, published under her pseudonym Susan Coolidge, was inspired by her own childhood growing up in a large family with younger siblings. Its publication in 1872 was followed by four sequels. She never married and lived most of her adult life in Rhode Island where she died in 1905.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in 1785 and 1786 near Frankfurt, Germany. Their collections of folk and fairy tales have stood the test of time and still influence literature today.
Lyman Frank Baum, born May 15 1856, was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a host of other works (55 novels in total, plus four "lost" novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen.
His works anticipated such century-later commonplaces as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work).
On May 5, 1919, Baum suffered from a stroke. He died quietly the next day, nine days short of his 63rd birthday.His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published on July 10, 1920, a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors, notably Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books.
Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.
Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”
Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776–1822) replaced his third name, Wilhelm, with Amadeus in homage to Mozart. A towering figure of German Romanticism, Hoffmann was a composer, music critic, theater director, draftsman, and caricaturist as well as a writer. Although his stories challenged readers to free their minds from the conventions of reality, Hoffmann accepted the practical constraints of everyday life, training as a lawyer and serving as a judge.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and became the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.
A prolific writer, he published more than a dozen novels in his lifetime, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Hard Times, most of which have been adapted many times over for radio, stage and screen.
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1874. Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908, was her first novel and has remained in print across the world ever since. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942.
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840. His first published novel was Desperate Remedies in 1871. Such was the success of these early works, which included A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), that he gave up his work as an architect to concentrate on his writing.
However, he had difficulty publishing Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1889) and was forced to make changes in order for it to be judged suitable for family readers. This, coupled with the stormy reaction to the negative tone of Jude the Obscure (1895), prompted Hardy to abandon writing novels altogether and he concentrated on poetry for the rest of his life. He died in January 1928.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian physician, dramatist and author, is considered to be one of the greatest writers of short stories and modern drama. Born in Taganrog, a port town near the Black Sea, he attended medical school at Moscow University.
He began writing to supplement his income, writing short humorous sketches of contemporary Russian life. A successful literary careered followed, before his premature death of TB at the age of 44. He is best-remembered for his four dramatic masterpieces: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
Alphonse Daudet was born in Nimes in 1840. He made his name with gentle stories and novels portraying life in the French provinces, notably Lettres de mon Moulin (1869).
He died in 1897. His extraordinary notebooks detailing the effects of syphilis on his life were first published under the title In the Land of Pain by Daudet's widow in 1931.
The first English translation by Julian Barnes was published by Cape in 2002.
Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), he wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'.
By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later.
Hector Hugh Munro (1870 1916) was a British author best known by his pen name Saki.
Although he wrote two novels and several political sketches most notably The Westminster Alice, a parody authorized by Carroll's publishers it is his large output of satirical short stories for which he is remembered, and is still considered one of the masters of the genre.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810. Her mother, Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town she would later immortalize as Cranford.
In 1832 she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her writings and it was here that she wrote both Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855), as well as the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.
Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work, remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.
Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester in 1849 and moved to America in 1865, where she launched a literary career in which she produced over forty books including A Little Princess (1905) and The Secret Garden (1911). Frances died in 1924.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'.
He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes. He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write.
His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life.
And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.
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