Block of Books
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  • DECAMERON
    DECAMERON
    BOCCACCIO GIOVANNI
    ISBN: 9781840221336
    Title: DECAMERON
    Author: BOCCACCIO GIOVANNI
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A new version of John Payne's Victorian translation, with an Introduction by Cormac O Cuilleanain

    1348. The Black Death is sweeping through Europe. In Florence, plague has carried off one hundred thousand people. In their Tuscan villas, seven young women and three young men tell tales to recreate the world they have lost, weaving a rich tapestry of comedy, tragedy, ribaldry and farce. Boccaccio's Decameron recasts the storytelling heritage of the ancient and medieval worlds into perennial forms that inspired writers from Chaucer and Shakespeare down to our own day. Boccaccio makes the incredible believable, with detail so sharp we can look straight into the lives of people who lived six hundred years ago. His 'Decameron' hovers between the fading glories of an aristocratic past - the Crusades, the Angevins, the courts of France, the legendary East - and the colourful squalor of contemporary life, where wives deceive husbands, friars and monks pursue fleshly ends, and natural instincts fight for satisfaction.

    Here are love and jealousy, passion and pride - and a shrewd calculation of profit and loss which heralds the rise of a dynamic merchant class. These stories show us early capitalism during a moment of crisis and revelation.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $16.99

    Price: $16.99
  • DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE  -  ABRIDGED
    DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE - ABRIDGED
    GIBBON EDWARD
    ISBN: 9781853264993
    Title: DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE - ABRIDGED
    Author: GIBBON EDWARD
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Abridged and with an Introduction by Antony Lentin and Brian Norman.

    Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published between 1776 and 1788, is the undisputed masterpiece of English historical writing which can only perish with the language itself. Its length alone is a measure of its monumental quality: seventy-one chapters, of which twenty-eight appear in full in this edition.

    With style, learning and wit, Gibbon takes the reader through the history of Europe from the second century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 - an enthralling account by 'the greatest of the historians of the Enlightenment'.

    This edition includes Gibbon's footnotes and quotations, here translated for the first time, together with brief explanatory comments, a precis of the chapters not included, 16 maps, a glossary, and a list of emperors.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $16.95

    Price: $16.95
  • DEERSLAYER
    DEERSLAYER
    COOPER JAMES FENIMORE
    ISBN: 9781853265525
    Title: DEERSLAYER
    Author: COOPER JAMES FENIMORE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    With a new Introduction by Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D., Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.

    'The Deerslayer' is the culmination of James Fenimore Cooper's "Leather-Stocking" novels, featuring Natty Bumppo (the deer-slaying young frontiersman) and the Mohican chief, Chingachgook. Cooper portrays the hubris of the conquest of a vast territory.

    The action takes place during the American wars of the 1740s. Natty and his friend Harry attempt to save a trapper and two young women, whose floating fort on Lake Glimmerglass is besieged by the ruthless Iroquois. The tension steadily increases to the point at which a cruel outcome seems inevitable.

    The exciting action, the romantic potentialities and the knowledgeable evocation of frontier life (with its moral and racial conflicts) have made this novel a perennial favourite. The courageous Natty, with his problematic values, has set the precedent for countless American heroes. Culturally, 'The Deerslayer' has proved to be a powerfully influential work.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.95

    Price: $6.95
  • DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA - ABRIDGED
    DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA - ABRIDGED
    TOCQUEVILLE ALEXIS DE
    ISBN: 9781853264801
    Title: DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA - ABRIDGED
    Author: TOCQUEVILLE ALEXIS DE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    Abridged, with an Introduction by Patrick Renshaw.

    'Democracy in America' is a classic of political philosophy. Hailed by John Stuart Mill and Horace Greely as the finest book ever written on the nature of democracy, it continues to be an influential text on both sides of the Atlantic, above all in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe.

    De Tocqueville examines the structures, institutions and operation of democracy, and shows how Europe can learn from American success and failures. His central theme is the advancement of the rule of the people, but he also predicts that slavery will bring about the 'most horrible of civil wars', foresees that the USA and Russia will be the Superpowers of the twentieth century, and is 150 years ahead of his time in his views on the position and importance of women.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $16.95

    Price: $16.95
  • DESCENT OF MAN
    DESCENT OF MAN
    DARWIN CHARLES
    ISBN: 9781840226980
    Title: DESCENT OF MAN
    Author: DARWIN CHARLES
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    With an Introduction by Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University.

    In 'The Descent of Man' Darwin addresses many of the issues raised by his notorious 'Origin of Species': finding in the traits and instincts of animals the origins of the mental abilities of humans, of language, of our social structures and our moral capacities, he attempts to show that there is no clear dividing line between animals and humans. Most importantly, he accounts for what Victorians called the 'races' of mankind by means of what he calls sexual selection. This book presents a full explanation of Darwin's ideas about sexual selection, including his belief that many important characteristics of human beings and animals have emerged in response to competition for mates.

    This was a controversial work. Yet Darwin tried hard to avoid being branded as a radical revolutionary. He is steeped in Victorian sensibilities regarding gender and cultural differences: he sees human civilisation as a move from barbarous savagery to modern gentlefolk, and women as more emotional and less intellectual than men, thus providing a biological basis for the social assumptions and prejudices of the day. 'The Descent of Man' played a major role in the emergence of social Darwinism.

    This complete version of the first edition gives the modern reader an unparalleled opportunity to engage directly with Darwin's proposals, launched in the midst of continuing controversy over 'On the Origin of Species'.

    Janet Browne is the author of the prize-winning biography, 'Charles Darwin: Voyaging' and 'Charles Darwin: The Power of Place'.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $16.99

    Price: $16.99
  • DESPERATE REMEDIES
    DESPERATE REMEDIES
    HARDY THOMAS
    ISBN: 9781840226348
    Title: DESPERATE REMEDIES
    Author: HARDY THOMAS
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    The young Thomas Hardy, working as an architect, but fired with literary ambition, tried for years to get into print. He finally succeeded with 'Desperate Remedies', a "sensation novel" in the mode of Wilkie Collins. Here was a racy specimen of the genre, replete with sudden death, dark mysteries, intriguing clues, fire and storm, flight and pursuit.

    Anyone who enjoys 'The Woman in White' is likely to enjoy 'Desperate Remedies'. But that is only half the story. Hardy contrived also, in this unlikely context, to give a first airing to a number of the ideas and technical experiments which were to characterise his later fiction. The result is an exhilaratingly uneven work: at any point in the narrative some brilliant passage of description or metaphor may burst out like a firework. 'Desperate Remedies' can be relished both for what it is and for what it promises.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.99

    Price: $6.99
  • DEVILS
    DEVILS
    DOSTOYEVSKY FYODOR
    ISBN: 9781840220995
    Title: DEVILS
    Author: DOSTOYEVSKY FYODOR
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Translated by Constance Garnett with an Introduction by A.D.P. Briggs.

    In 1869 a young Russian was strangled, shot through the head and thrown into a pond. His crime? A wish to leave small group of violent revolutionaries, from which he had become alienated. Dostoevsky takes this real-life catastrophe as the subject and culmination of 'Devils', a title that refers the young radicals themselves and also to the materialistic ideas that possessed the minds of many thinking people Russian society at the time.

    The satirical portraits of the revolutionaries, with their naivety, ludicrous single-mindedness and readiness for murder and destruction, might seem exaggerated - until we consider their all-too-recognisable descendants in the real world ever since. The key figure in the novel, however, is beyond politics. Nikolay Stavrogin, another product of rationalism run wild, exercises his charisma with ruthless authority and total amorality. His unhappiness is accounted for when he confesses to a ghastly sexual crime - in a chapter long suppressed by the censor.

    This prophetic account of modern morals and politics, with its fifty-odd characters, amazing events and challenging ideas, is seen by some critics as Dostoevsky's masterpiece.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.99

    Price: $6.99
  • DIALOGUES OF TWO SNAILS
    DIALOGUES OF TWO SNAILS
    LORCA FEDERICO GARCIA
    ISBN: 9780241340400
    Title: DIALOGUES OF TWO SNAILS
    Author: LORCA FEDERICO GARCIA
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'My heart brims with billows and minnows of shadows and silver.'

    Beautiful, brutal, strange and lovely - this is Lorca reborn, in a selection of previously unpublished pieces and masterful new translations.

    Imprint: PENGUIN MODERN CLASSICS
    RRP: $2.50

    Price: $2.50
  • DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ AND OTHER STORIES
    DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ AND OTHER STORIES
    FITZGERALD F SCOTT
    ISBN: 9781853262128
    Title: DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ AND OTHER STORIES
    Author: FITZGERALD F SCOTT
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'The Diamond as Big as the Ritz' is an ominous fable about the pursuit of great wealth. Readers will be transported to a fabulous fantasy land of such opulence that its very existence has to remain a jealously guarded secret.

    Fatal consequences lie in store for 'bona fide' guests and uninvited visitors alike, while the sybaritic luxury of the place is evoked in an effortless prose style which is quintessentially F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Also featured in this volume are 'The Cut-Glass Bowl', 'May Day', 'The Rich Boy', 'Crazy Sunday', 'An Alcoholic Case', 'The Lees of Happiness', 'The Lost Decade' and 'Babylon Revisited'.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.95

    Price: $6.95
  • DIARY OF A NOBODY
    DIARY OF A NOBODY
    GROSSMITH GEORGE
    ISBN: 9781853262012
    Title: DIARY OF A NOBODY
    Author: GROSSMITH GEORGE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'The Diary of a Nobody' is based on a series of amusing columns written between 1888-9 for Punch, and published as a novel in 1892 with illustrations by Weedon. The book has remained in print ever since that first publication.

    The diary is that of Mr Charles Pooter, a city clerk of lower middle-class status but significant social aspirations, living in Upper Holloway. Other characters include his wife Carrie (Caroline), his son Lupin, his friends Mr Cummings and Mr Gowing, and Lupin's unsuitable fiancee, Daisy Mutlar. The humour derives from Pooter's unconscious gaffes and self-importance, as well as the snubs he receives from those he considers socially inferior (i.e. tradesmen). The book has spawned the word "Pooterish" to describe a tendency to take oneself excessively seriously.

    Pooter is mentioned in John Betjeman's poem about Wembley.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.95

    Price: $6.95
  • DISTANCE OF THE MOON
    DISTANCE OF THE MOON
    CALVINO ITALO
    ISBN: 9780241339107
    Title: DISTANCE OF THE MOON
    Author: CALVINO ITALO
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Science and fiction interweave delightfully in these playful Cosmicomic short stories.

    Imprint: PENGUIN MODERN CLASSICS
    RRP: $2.50

    Price: $2.50
  • DIVINE COMEDY
    DIVINE COMEDY
    DANTE
    ISBN: 9781840221664
    Title: DIVINE COMEDY
    Author: DANTE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'The Divine Comedy' tells of the journey of a character who is at one and the same time both Dante himself and Everyman through the three realms of the Christian afterlife: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. He presents a vision of the afterlife which is strikingly original in its conception, with a complex architecture and a coherent structure. On this journey Dante's protagonist – and his reader – meet characters who are variously noble, grotesque, beguiling, fearful, ridiculous, admirable, horrific and tender, and through them he is shown the consequences of sin, repentance and virtue, as he learns to avoid Hell and, through cleansing in Purgatory, to taste the joys of Heaven.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $16.95

    Price: $16.95
  • DIVINE COMEDY - INFERNO / PURGATORY / PARADISE
    DIVINE COMEDY - INFERNO / PURGATORY / PARADISE
    DANTE
    ISBN: 9780199535644
    Title: DIVINE COMEDY - INFERNO / PURGATORY / PARADISE
    Author: DANTE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Described variously as the greatest poem of the European Middle Ages and, because of the author's evangelical purpose, the `fifth Gospel', the Divine Comedy is central to the culture of the west. The poem is a spiritual autobiography in the form of a journey - the poet travels from the dark circles of the Inferno, up the mountain of Purgatory, where Virgil, his guide leaves him to encounter Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise. Dante conceived the poem as the new epic of Christendom, and he creates a world in which reason and faith have transformed moral and social chaos into order. Charles Sisson's blank verse translation is remarkable for its lucidity and vigour, and the Introduction, diagrams, maps, and notes by David Higgins provide the reader with invaluable guidance. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

    Imprint: OXFORD
    RRP: $26.99

    Price: $26.99
  • DOCTOR THORNE
    DOCTOR THORNE
    TROLLOPE ANTHONY
    ISBN: 9781840227369
    Title: DOCTOR THORNE
    Author: TROLLOPE ANTHONY
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    With an Introduction by Joanna Trollope.

    Trollope’s delightful novel recounts the fortunes of Doctor Thorne, an upright and principled country doctor, and his niece Mary. She falls in love with Frank Gresham, heir to the heavily mortgaged Greshambury estate, but he is constrained in his choices by the need to marry well so that he can restore the family fortunes.

    The vicissitudes of Mary and Frank's courtship are lovingly detailed with all the wit and satire that show Trollope at his finest. In this social comedy, full of snobbery, hypocrisy and self-seeking, we meet characters from the city and cathedral of Barchester, and are introduced to the grandiloquent de Courcy family, whose pretensions mark its members among the author's most felicitous creations, as well as the down-to-earth heiress Miss Dunstable and the deplorable Sir Roger Scatcherd.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.95

    Price: $6.95
  • DOMBEY AND SON
    DOMBEY AND SON
    DICKENS CHARLES
    ISBN: 9781853262579
    Title: DOMBEY AND SON
    Author: DICKENS CHARLES
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    With an Introduction and Notes by Karl Ashley Smith, University of St Andrews.

    Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz).

    Mr Dombey is a man obsessed with his firm. His son is groomed from birth to take his place within it, despite his visionary eccentricity and declining health. But Dombey also has a daughter, whose unfailing love for her father goes unreturned. "Girls" said Mr Dombey, "have nothing to do with Dombey and Son".

    When Walter Gay, a young clerk in her father's office, rescues her from a bewildering experience in the streets of London, his unforgettable friends believe he is well on his way to receiving her hand in marriage and inheriting the company. It is to be a very different type of story.

    'Dombey and Son' moved grown men to tears (Thackeray despaired of "writing against such power as this"), but its rich, comic characters and their joyful explosions of language draw laughter with equally unerring magic.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $6.95

    Price: $6.95
  • DON QUIXOTE
    DON QUIXOTE
    CERVANTES MIGUEL DE
    ISBN: 9781853260360
    Title: DON QUIXOTE
    Author: CERVANTES MIGUEL DE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Translated by Tobias Smollet. With an Introduction by David Whitlock.

    Cervantes' tale of the deranged gentleman who turns knight-errant, tilts at windmills and battles with sheep in the service of the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea del Toboso, has fascinated generations of readers, and inspired other creative artists such as Flaubert, Picasso and Richard Strauss. The tall, thin knight and his short, fat squire, Sancho Panza, have found their way into films, cartoons and even computer games. Supposedly intended as a parody of the most popular escapist fiction of the day, the 'books of chivalry', this precursor of the modern novel broadened and deepened into a sophisticated, comic account of the contradictions of human nature. Cervantes' greatest work can be enjoyed on many levels, all suffused with a subtle irony that reaches out to encompass the reader.


    According to tradition Cervantes first conceived his comic masterpiece in jail - his avowed intent being to debunk the romances of chivalry. From first publication 'Don Quixote' was a best-seller, initially taken as a knockabout account of a mad Spanish gentleman and his cowardly peasant squire, but later reinterpreted as an enlightenment text, a representation of universal human nature, a myth of a tragic hero defending man's nobler aspirations, a study in alienation, a spiritual autobiography, a metaphor for Spain's imperial decline, an experimental novel that shaped later prose fiction, a tragedy and comedy in one, and a demonstration that ambiguity and uncertainty can lie at the centre of great art and that great art can be comic.

    Smollet's vigorous and lively translation brilliantly catches the feeling and tone of the Spanish original. It is a comic novelist's homage to a comic novelist.

    Imprint: WORDSWORTH EDITIONS
    RRP: $7.99

    Price: $7.99
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