Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • "Anyuta" and other Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    1. A DEAD BODY (1885) A corpse wrapped in linen is lying under a tree in the middle of a misty August night, dutifully watched over by two peasants who are keeping a fire alive. They listen to the sounds of the forest and talk to fight off their feelings of eeriness when a (...)

  • "On the Water" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    1. ON THE WATER (1876) The narrator tells us about the eerie adventure on the Seine of his neighbour, an enthusiastic boater and lover of the river and all its mysteries. (2,300 words)
    2. A NORMANDY JOKE (1882) At a wedding feast in the Normandy countryside the bridegroom (...)

  • The Huntsman and other Chekhov stories

    by Anton Chekhov

    1. THE HUNTSMAN (1885) Yegor is hunting with his dog when he hears his name called by Pelagea, the young woman he had married twelve years previously and who is still hopelessly in love with him. (1,700 words)
    2. SORROW (1885) The introverted monologue of a peasant who is (...)

  • An anthology of famous French poems, with their English translations

    by Ray

    There is surely a consensus among cognoscenti that famous texts such as François Villon’s La ballade des pendus, (“Song of the Hanged Men”), Lamartine’s Le lac, (“The Lake”), Rimbaud’s Le bateau ivre (‘The Drunken Boat”) and Apollinaire’s Le pont Mirabeau (“The Mirabeau Bridge") are all among the (...)

  • A Selection of Tang Dynasty poems

    by Ray

    The Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) was a period of extraordinary flourishing of the Chinese civilisation in all domains, notably art and literature.
    No other civilisation has ever placed poetry on such an elevated pedestal in its scale of values: everyone with an education wrote poetry from the (...)

  • More of Jack London’s best Far North stories

    by Jack London

    1. The Wife of a King (1899) A prospector has left his half-Indian wife to join the flood of gold-seekers in Dawson, and when he fails to return word comes back about his dallying with a casino dancer, the plucky wife sets off for Dawson in the thick of winter to see for (...)

  • "The Night" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    A selection of nine memorable tales by Guy de Maupassant, all in new English translations — two for the first time — that have been done specially for this site.
    e-books with the original French texts are available for downloading below.
    The original French texts can be seen here. TABLE OF (...)

  • "Lalie’s Story", from Zola’s novel "L’Assommoir" (1877)

    by Emile Zola

    Lalie is an eight-year-old girl living in the room next to Gervaise, the central character of Emile Zola’s novel "L’Assommoir" about life in a working-class district of Paris in the 1850s and 60s.
    She is one of the most unforgettable characters in that masterwork, although she only appears in (...)