Contents: Compiled and Edited by Charles W. Eliot LL D in 1909, the Harvard Classics is a 51-volume Anthology of classic literature from throughout the history of western civilization. The set is sometimes called "Eliot's Five-Foot Shelf." This e-book is all 51 volumes, the equivalent of over 20,000 printed pages in one e-book. It is fully searchable with a completely linked table of contents. + - All 20 volumes of the 'Harvard Classics Shelf Of Fiction' Each volume is also available separately in the store.
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Plato ranks among the most familiar ancient philosophers, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle.
In addition to writing philosophical dialogues - used to teach logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion, and mathematics as well as philosophy - he founded Athens' Academy, the Western world's first institution of higher learning.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is unknown but is celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be St George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which Shakespeare died.
Aged eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. By 1595 he had written five of his history plays, six comedies and his first tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. In all, he wrote thirty-seven plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803-April 27, 1882) was a famous lecturer, philosopher, poet, and writer. He led the transcendentalist movement of the 1800s, mentored Henry David Thoreau, and was a pioneer of multiculturalism in American writing.
Charles Darwin (1809–19 April 1882) is considered the most important English naturalist of all time. He established the theories of natural selection and evolution.
His theory of evolution was published as On the Origin of Species in 1859, and by the 1870s is was widely accepted as fact.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was born in AD 121, in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. At first he was called Marcus Annius Verus, but his well-born father died young and he was adopted, first by his grandfather, who had him educated by a number of excellent tutors, and then, when he was sixteen, by Aurelius Antoninus, his uncle by marriage, who had been adopted as Hadrian's heir, and had no surviving sons of his own. Aurelius Antoninus changed Marcus' name to his own and betrothed him to his daughter, Faustina. She bore fourteen children, but none of the sons survived Marcus except the worthless Commodus, who eventually succeeded Marcus as emperor.
On the death of Antoninus in 161, Marcus made Lucius Verus, another adopted son of his uncle, his colleague in government. There were thus two emperors ruling jointly for the first time in Roman history. The Empire then entered a period troubled by natural disasters, famine, plague and floods, and by invasions of barbarians. In 168, one year before the death of Verus left him in sole command, Marcus went to join his legions on the Danube.
Apart from a brief visit to Asia to crush the revolt of Avidius Cassius, whose followers he treated with clemency, Marcus stayed in the Danube region and consoled his somewhat melancholy life there by writing a series of reflections which he called simply To Himself. These are now known as his Meditations, and they reveal a mind of great humanity and natural humility, formed in the Stoic tradition, which has long been admired in the Christian world. He died, of an infectious disease, perhaps, in camp on 17 March AD 180.
John Milton (1608 74) is best known for his epic masterpiece Paradise Lost and for his commitment to the republican cause.
He wrote the crucial justifications for the trial and execution of King Charles I and was Secretary for Foreign Tongues, thus becoming the voice of the revolution. His influence on English literature can only be rivalled by Shakespeare.
Euripides (c.485-07 BC) was an Athenian born into a family of considerable rank. Disdaining the public duties expected of him, Euripides spent a life of quiet introspection, spending much of his life in a cave on Salamis.
Late in life he voluntarily exiled himself to the court of Archelaus, King of Macedon, where he wrote The Bacchae, regarded by many as his greatest work. Euripides is thought to have written 92 plays, only 18 of which survive.
Publius Vergilius Maro – or Virgil – was born near Mantua in 70 BC and was brought up there, although he attended schools in Cremona and Rome. Virgil’s rural upbringing and his affinity with the countryside are evident in his earliest work, The Eclogues, a collection of ten pastoral poems.
As an adult Virgil lived mostly in Naples, although he spent time in Rome and belonged to the circle of influential poets that included Horace. He also had connections to leading men within the senatorial class and to the Emperor Augustus himself. Following The Eclogues, Virgil wrote The Georgics, a didactic poem, and thereafter began his longest and most ambitious work, The Aeneid. He died in Brindisi in 19 BC.
John Bunyan (1628–88) was an English preacher and writer who wrote over sixty books and tracts. Bunyan was a Reformed Baptist, and his religious beliefs led to his persecution during the Restoration. While imprisoned Bunyan wrote the spiritual allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which quickly became one of the foundational texts of Protestant thought.
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.
The greatest German literary figure of the modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was a poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, critic, theater director, and statesman. He is best known for Faust, which he started at the age of 23 and finished shortly before his death, 60 years later.
The Sorrows of Young Werther, written at the age of 25, quickly achieved cult status and remains an exemplar of the Sturm und Drang literary movement. In addition to hundreds of poems of all kinds, Goethe wrote a series of classic memoirs of his childhood and travels as well as numerous essays on scientific subjects.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) was an English playwright and poet, who through his establishment of blank verse as a medium for drama did much to free the Elizabethan theatre from the constraints of the medieval and Tudor dramatic tradition.
His first play Tamburlaine the Great, was performed that same year, probably by the Admiral's Men with Edward Alleyn in the lead. With its swaggering power-hungry title character and gorgeous verse the play proved to be enormously popular; Marlowe quickly wrote a second part, which may have been produced later that year. Marlowe's most famous play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, based on the medieval German legend of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil, was probably written and produced by 1590, although it was not published until 1604. Historically the play is important for utilizing the soliloquy as an aid to character analysis and development.
The Jew of Malta (c. 1590) has another unscrupulous aspiring character at its centre in the Machiavellian Barabas. Edward II (c. 1592), which may have influenced Shakespeare's Richard II, was highly innovatory in its treatment of a historical character and formed an important break with the more simplistic chronicle plays that had preceded it.
Marlowe also wrote two lesser plays, Dido, Queen of Carthage (date unknown) and The Massacre at Paris (1593), based on contemporary events in France. Marlowe was killed in a London tavern in May 1593. Although Marlowe's writing career lasted for only six years, his four major plays make him easily the most important predecessor of Shakespeare.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence Italy in 1265. In 1301, a political dispute lead to his exile from Florence.
Over the next few years he made his home in Verona, Lucca and other cities. By 1310 he had written Inferno and Purgatorio, the first two books of his Divine Comedy.
He wrote the third and concluding book, Paradiso, in the years after he found sanctuary in Ravenna in 1318.
An allegorical account of his wanderings in a spiritual wilderness and eventual salvation under the guidance of his beloved Beatrice, The Divine Comedy is recognised as Dante's masterwork and a landmark of world literature. He died in exile in 1321 and was buried in Ravenna.
Alessandro Manzoni was born in 1785 near Lake Como, Italy. Sent to boarding school at the age of five, he felt estranged from his family, particularly when his mother left his father.
As a young man Manzoni subscribed to the ideas of the French Revolution, joining his mother in Paris, where he married Henriette Blondel in 1808.
He wrote throughout his life, but suffered from a nervous disorder which grew progressively worse through his lifetime. He died in 1873.
We know very little about the author of The Odyssey and its companion tale, The Iliad. Most scholars agree that Homer was Greek; those who try to identify his origin on the basis of dialect forms in the poems tend to choose as his homeland either Smyrna, now the Turkish city known as Izmir, or Chios, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea. According to legend, Homer was blind, though scholarly evidence can neither confirm nor contradict the point.
The ongoing debate about who Homer was, when he lived, and even if he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the "Homeric question." Classicists do agree that these tales of the fall of the city of Troy (Ilium) in the Trojan War (The Iliad) and the aftermath of that ten-year battle (The Odyssey) coincide with the ending of the Mycenaean period around 1200 BCE (a date that corresponds with the end of the Bronze Age throughout the Eastern Mediterranean). The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors and traders; beginning around 1600 BCE, they became a major power in the Mediterranean. Brilliant potters and architects, they also developed a system of writing known as Linear B, based on a syllabary, writing in which each symbol stands for a syllable.
Scholars disagree on when Homer lived or when he might have written The Odyssey. Some have placed Homer in the late-Mycenaean period, which means he would have written about the Trojan War as recent history. Close study of the texts, however, reveals aspects of political, material, religious, and military life of the Bronze Age and of the so-called Dark Age, as the period of domination by the less-advanced Dorian invaders who usurped the Mycenaeans is known. But how, other scholars argue, could Homer have created works of such magnitude in the Dark Age, when there was no system of writing? Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, placed Homer sometime around the ninth century BCE, at the beginning of the Archaic period, in which the Greeks adopted a system of writing from the Phoenicians and widely colonized the Mediterranean. And modern scholarship shows that the most recent details in the poems are datable to the period between 750 and 700 BCE.
No one, however, disputes the fact that The Odyssey (and The Iliad as well) arose from oral tradition. Stock phrases, types of episodes, and repeated phrases such as "early, rose-fingered dawn" bear the mark of epic storytelling. Scholars agree, too, that this tale of the Greek hero Odysseus's journey and adventures as he returned home from Troy to Ithaca is a work of the greatest historical significance and, indeed, one of the foundations of Western literature.
Few facts are known about the life of Herodotus. He was born around 490 BC in Halicarnassus, on the south-west coast of Asia Minor.
He seems to have travelled widely throughout the Mediterranean world, including Egypt, Africa, the area around the Black Sea and throughout many Greek city-states, of both the mainland and the islands.
A sojourn in Athens is part of the traditional biography, and there he is said to have given public readings of his work and been friends with the playwright Sophocles. He is said also to have taken part in the founding of the colony of Thurii in Italy in 443 BC. He probably died at some time between 415 and 410 BC.
His reputation has varied greatly, but for the ancients and many moderns he well deserves the title (first given to him by Cicero) of 'the Father of History'.
Voltaire (1694 1778) was a French man of letters and a leading figure of the Enlightenment, known for his outspokenness and polemical writings.
The philosophical novellas Candide and Zadig are among his most celebrated works.
Philosopher, scientist, and historian Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was a key figure in the Britain's transition from medieval to modern thinking.
His masterpiece, Leviathan, established the social contract theory that served as the foundation for most of Western political philosophy, and his view of mankind as essentially self-centered and competitive gave rise to the term "Hobbesian."
Laurence Sterne (1713-68) was an Irish-born Anglican minister.
He is most famous for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy.
Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon, near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on 18 July 1817.
Jane Austen was extremely modest about her own genius, describing her work to her nephew, Edward, as 'the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory, on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour'.
As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were published only after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime.
These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1817 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta in 1811. On his way to England from India, the small Thackeray saw Napoleon on St Helena.
In 1837, Thackeray came to London and became a regular contributor to Fraser's Magazine. From 1842 to 1851, he was on the staff of Punch, and this was when he wrote Vanity Fair, the work which placed him in the first rank of novelists. He completed it when he was thirty-seven.
In 1857, Thackeray stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for Oxford. In 1859 he took on the editorship of the Cornhill Magazine. He resigned the position in 1862 because kindliness and sensitivity of spirit made it difficult for him to turn down contributors.
Thackeray drew on his own experiences for his writing. He had a great weakness for gambling, a great desire for worldly success, and over his life hung the tragic illness of his wife Isabella, with whom he had hree daughters, one dying in infancy.
Thackeray died December 24, 1863. He was buried in Kensal Green, and a bust by Marochetti was put up to his memory in Westminster Abbey.
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.
George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans in 1819. Her father was the land agent of Arbury Hall in Warwickshire, in the library of which Eliot embarked upon a brilliant self-education. She moved to London in 1850 and shone in its literary circles.
It was, however, her novels of English rural life that brought her fame, starting with Adam Bede, published under her new pen name in 1859, and reaching a zenith with Middlemarch in 1871. It is indicative of the respect and love that she inspired in her most devoted readers that Queen Victoria was one of them. She died in 1880.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of his masterful tales of American colonial history.
His career as a novelist began with The Scarlet Letter (1850) and also includes The house of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun.
Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. In addition to writing fiction, Irving studied law, worked for his family's business in England and wrote essays for periodicals.
Some of his most famous tales, including Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were first published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one of America's greatest and best-loved writers.
Known as the father of the detective story, Poe is perhaps most famous for his short stories particularly his shrewd mysteries and chilling, often grotesque tales of horror he was also an extremely accomplished poet and a tough literary critic.
Poe's life was not far removed from the drama of his fiction. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by a foster family. As a young man, he developed problems with gambling, debts, and alcohol, and was even dismissed from the army.
His love life was marked by tragedy and heartbreak. Despite these difficulties, Poe produced many works now considered essential to the American literary canon.
Henry James was born in New York in 1843 and was educated in Europe and America. He left Harvard Law School in 1863, after a year's attendance, to concentrate on writing, and from 1869 he began to make prolonged visits to Europe, eventually settling in England in 1876.
His literary output was prodigious and of the highest quality: more than ten outstanding novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The American; countless novellas and short stories; as well as innumerable essays, letters, and other pieces of critical prose. Known by contemporary fellow novelists as 'the Master', James died in Kensington, London, in 1916.
Victor Hugo's classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga adaptation by Crystal S. Chan!
The gorgeous art of SunNeko Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic Manga Classics production of Les Miserables! All Manga Classic titles are produced with lesson plans, teaching guides and leveling for use in the classroom.
With each and every Manga Classic, it is our passion and hope that we help the reader connect with the story in a meaningful way. We also feel this is an exciting way to introduce these classic stories to a new reader who may then go back to read the original texts. We hope you enjoy our work.
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.
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.
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born in 1818 in the province of Oryol. In 1827 he entered St Petersburg University where he studied philosophy. When he was nineteen he published his first poems and went to the University of Berlin.
After two years he returned to Russia and took his degree at the University of Moscow. After 1856 he lived mostly abroad, and he became the first Russian writer to gain a wide reputation in Europe. He wrote many novels, plays, short stories and novellas, of which First Love (1860) is the most famous. He died in Paris in 1883.
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