Oscar Wilde's one-act play, Salome, is a loose interpretation of the account of the beheading of St. John the Baptist in the 1st century A.D. as recorded in the New Testament (Gospel of Mark 6:15-29 and Gospel of Matthew 14:1-12). While Salome is...

Published in 1910, Howards End was E.M. Forster's fourth novel, and served to strengthen his reputation as an esteemed author. The novel addresses some of life's most serious questions, including how people relate to each other and what kinds of...

Published just two years after The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) was the second in H.G. Wells's great science fiction quartet. It validated his presence on the international literary scene. Many writers, "private gentlemen" like...

Although it was not popular duing Behn's lifetime, today Oroonoko (1688) is Aphra Behn's most widely read and most highly regarded work. Oroonoko: or the Royal Slave remains important. It also influenced the development of the English novel,...

"Benito Cereno," one of Melville's most enduring and intriguing works, was first published in Putnam's Monthly in October, November and December, 1855. Melville later collected it in The Piazza Tales (1856), a collection that also included...

Though Frisch published nine novels in his lifetime, three clearly stand out as his most masterful works. Among these, Homo Faber (1957) is often linked with its predecessor Stiller (1954; translated as I'm Not Stiller), primarily because Oedipal...

In addition to brilliant explorations of the mother-daughter relationship and its relationship with themes of colonialism, Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy (1990) offers sharp, perceptive commentary on American culture. The author, an Antiguan who came to...

The Color of Water (1997) is the bestselling memoir of James McBride, a biracial journalist, jazz saxophonist, and composer whose Jewish mother gave birth to twelve children, all of whom she raised in a housing project in Brooklyn. His mother...

Easily Anthony Burgess's most famous book - and his personal least favorite - A Clockwork Orange would have become a controversial work in the 20th-century canon even if not for Stanley Kubrick's stylized 1971 film adaptation. The futuristic novel...

Henry V was probably the greatest military leader that England ever had. He laid claim to the French throne in 1414 by invoking an English royal claim, and managed to win the Battle of Agincourt the following year against seemingly impossible...

The Sound and the Fury was published in 1929, although it was one of the first novels Faulkner wrote. Many critics and even Faulkner himself think that it is the best novel that he wrote. Its subject is the downfall of the Compson family, the...

Madame Bovary, written by Gustave Flaubert, was published in 1857 in French. Flaubert wrote the novel in Croisset, France, between 1851 and 1857 and set the action in the same period of time, the mid-1800s, in the French towns of Tostes, Yonville,...

Friedrich Duerrenmatt's The Visit premiered in Zurich in 1956. Duerrenmatt was 35 at the time, and the play's performance immediately won him international acclaim, cementing his reputation as a dramatist.

Duerrenmatt describes "The Visit" as a...

Snow Falling on Cedars is a novel strongly committed to engaging with the ideals of justice, law, love, and morality. Structured around the trial of an American citizen of Japanese ancestry and set in an island community in the Puget Sound, the...

Lord Jim, published in 1900, initially began as a short story based on a real incident involving a steamship called Jeddah, which carried Muslim pilgrims from Singapore to Mecca. Conrad had spent much of the time between 1883 and 1888 in the area...

Robert Louis Stevenson began writing Kidnapped in March of 1885. In February, he had finished writing The Black Arrow and was working on The Great North Road when he read Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A month later, he put aside...

Contemporary politics deeply influenced Dante's literary and emotional life, and had a major influence on the writing of the Inferno. Renaissance Florence was a thriving, but not a peaceful city: different opposing factions continually struggled...