Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • "Literary Lapses" by Stephen Leacock (1910)

    by Steven Leacock

    A collection of stories by the Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), a distinguished Professor of Economics and Political Science at Montreal’s McGill University and author of the best-selling masterworks Sunshine Stories of a Little Town and Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich. (...)

  • "The Ice Palace" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922)

    by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Sally Carrol leaves her sleepy southern town where she had declared: “I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale…” to visit her fiancé up north shortly before their planned marriage. It’s January and it’s very cold up there where a (...)

  • "Green Scythe" and other stories by Anton Chekhov

    by Anton Chekhov

    More outstanding stories by the most prolific short-story writer in the history of world literature. CONTENTS
    1. GREEN SCYTHE (1882) The narrator and his friends love to spend their summers on the Black Sea with with the vivacious Olya. Life is gay there but there’s a problem: Olga had promised (...)

  • "Fear (Angst)" (1922) by Stefan Zweig

    by Stefan Zweig

    A well-to-do married woman who has faulted with a seductive young pianist is aggressively blackmailed by a coarse young woman who threatens to denounce her to her husband. The blackmail is increasingly successful, the lady is overcome with fear and anguish and finally she sees only one fatal (...)

  • "Lost Business" and other previously-untranslated Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    A further selection of the best stories of the great Russian writer that have so far remained untranslated into English. CONTENTS
    1. LOST BUSINESS (1882) The narrator recounts how on a lovely spring day he’d gone to see his beloved Varya to empty his heart and soul to her. He’d mumbled a few (...)

  • Fourteen previously-untranslated Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    We have selected here fourteen of the best stories in the body of to-date-untranslated stories of the great Russian short-story writer, playwright and doctor that have been overviewed elsewhere on this site.
    Most – but not all – of them are written in the light, humorous tone that characterised (...)

  • "Anabasis, or The Retreat of the Ten Thousand", by Xenophon

    by Xenophon

    The dramatic account by Xenophon (430-355 BC), an Athenian philosopher, author, soldier and student of Socrates, of the expedition – that he participated in and eventually led – of an elite force of Greek soldiers into the heart of Persia on behalf of one of the contestants to the throne there, (...)

  • "Casanova’s Homecoming" (1918) by Arthur Schnitzler

    by Arthur Schnitzler

    The celebrated seducer, adventurer, diplomat and author Casanove is in his fifties, is practically penniless and has only one dream – to be allowed to return to his beloved Venice from which he had escaped over the rooftops of its central prison some twenty years previously.
    We follow his (...)

  • "White Nights" (1848) by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    A very lonely and very penniless young man wanders around the streets of Saint Petersburg dreaming about life in general and the people he sees around him in particular. One eventful evening he rescues a damsel in distress and strikes up the most significant relationship of his life – that does (...)

  • "Lieutenant Gustl" (1900) by Arthur Schnitzler

    by Arthur Schnitzler

    A long, intense and dramatic "stream-of-consciousness" mental monologue of of an officer in pre-WW1 Vienna before, during and after a dramatic incident in an opera house that neither he nor the reader can ever forget.
    A brilliant portrayal of the military mindset in the country that started (...)

  • "Saintly Simplicity" (1885) by Anton Chekhov

    by Anton Chekhov

    Savya, the aged priest of a little town, is delighted to by the visit of his son Alexander, a celebrated Moscow lawyer whom he hadn’t seen for fifteen years since he had sent him off to university in Moscow. The father can’t relate to the big-city life that the son has been leading: he thinks (...)

  • "The Cremona Violin (Rat Krespel)" by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1818)

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    Councillor Krespel (“Rat Krespel” – the original title of this original story) is an eccentric and somewhat mysterious fellow who plays the violin marvelously, specialises in repairing ancient instruments and who lives with (!) a particularly talented young singer Angelina whose voice – for those (...)

  • "The District Doctor" (1848) by Ivan Turgenev

    by Ivan Turgenev

    A country doctor recounts a particularly moving experience – for him and for the reader – when he had been called out to visit in difficult conditions a peasant family whose young daughter had been taken seriously ill.
    One of the most memorable stories in Turgenev’s collection of hunting tales A (...)

  • "Commentaries on the Gallic War" by Julius Caesar

    by Julius Caesar

    Julius Caesar’s account of his military campaign from 58-52 B.C. that integrated Gaul – and Britain – into the Roman Empire. A remarkably vivid, dramatic and on the whole accurate account of a particularly important episode in European history, written with the clarity, style and forcefulness that (...)

  • "The Queen of Spades" (1834) by Alexander Pushkin

    by Alexander Pushkin

    A cautious young man who has never gambled sees large sums of money being won and lost around him in the social whirl of Saint Petersburg and becomes fascinated by a fabulous story about an aged countess who had learned a secret method of winning at cards in her youth. He devotes all his (...)

  • "Counterparts" (1914) by James Joyce

    by James Joyce

    One of the central stories in James Joyce’s first published work of fiction, Dubliners (1914), this account of a day in the life of a very mediocre but very believable office worker is one of the harsher but nevertheless most outstanding stories in that collection of variegated vignettes of life (...)

  • "The Sandman" (1816) by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    Nathaniel has vivid memories of being terrified in his childhood of the Sandman, an evil being who punished children who didn’t want to go to bed by sprinkling sand over their eyes and then taking their eyes out to feed to his own monstrous brood (!). And of the fearsome advocate Coppelius who (...)

  • "Treasure Island" (1883) by Robert Louis Stevenson

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    One of the best books for younger readers ever written - anyone who has not read this book around the age of 12 years or so has missed something important in the growing-up experience!
    The writing is splendidly taut, the story moves along steadily at a nice pace, the bad guys are really well (...)

  • "The Burrow (Der Bau)" (1922) by Franz Kafka

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    A fascinating account of an undefined creature’s psychosis as it wanders around its enormous underground complex worrying about how to protect the domain from being discovered and invaded by enemies and, towards the end, constantly hearing strange sounds and worrying about what menacing creature (...)

  • "In Autumn" (1883), by Anton Chekhov

    by Anton Chekhov

    On a stormy evening Tikhon’s tavern is crowded with coachmen and pilgrims, and a forty-year-old man in shoddy clothes at the bar is ceaselessly begging for a glass of vodka, eventually proposing his worn-out coat in exchange. Tikhon contemptuously refuses to give him any more vodka until a (...)

  • "A Report to an Academy" (1920) by Franz Kafka

    by Franz Kafka

    An ape that has learned human ways reports to an assembly of scientists on the use or rather misuse that mankind had made of his talents.
    A moving and powerful account of his determined, obsessive striving to fundamentally change his essential condition and acquire a form of freedom in spite (...)

  • "Candide" (1759) by Voltaire

    by Voltaire

    Voltaire’s brilliant parody of the ideological notion that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds [1], ironically sub-titled "Optimism", that was written in three incredibly productive days(!) and has retained its charm, its venom and its Enlightenment message for mankind ever (...)

  • "A Christmas Tale (Conte de Noël)" by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    A doctor recounts his most memorable Christmas experience – the resolution of a dramatic case of possession – to a group of listeners.
    A vivid, intense account of a Christmas miracle from a distinctly detached point of view.
    Translated specially for this site. e-books of this striking tale, (...)