Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • "Burning Secret" (1911) by Stefan Zweig

    by Stefan Zweig

    In in the celebrated Austrian mountain resort of Semmering an experienced ladies’ man sets his sights on an attractive woman who has come there with her sickly twelve-year-old son for a cure, and cleverly first strikes up a friendship with the boy as a way to his mother’s heart. This stratagem is (...)

  • German prefixes and suffixes - an overview

    by Ray

    The German language has a large number of prefixes and suffixes whose function is to enable the formation of an open-ended number of new words by adding new nuances, aspects and dimensions to other words.
    These powerful tools can be added in front of or behind just about anything to create (...)

  • The complete stories of Stefan Zweig - synopses, comments and ratings

    by Ray

    Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), born and raised in the glorious pre-WW1 Vienna of the Belle Epoque, was one of the most outstanding European intellectuals of the 20th century, and a prolific writer of stories, biographies, historical studies, essays, travel journals, memoirs and letters – as well as (...)

  • "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 (...)