Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • A selection of Chekhov’s captions to humorous drawings

    by Anton Chekhov

    During his medical studies in the Moscow State Medical University between 1879 and 1884, Chekhov regularly contributed captions to humorous drawings in various literary publications.
    You will find below a selection of works from this interesting and little-known aspect of the master’s literary (...)

  • "Cards at Dawn" (aka Night Games) by Arthur Schnitzler (1926)

    by Arthur Schnitzler

    A young officer in Vienna decides to help a former comrade in need by risking his meagre funds in a card game with fellow officers and a selection of respectable local citizens. A decision that leads inexorably to drama and downfall culminating in a final existential crisis that plunges him (...)

  • "A Visit With Friends" by Anton Chekhov (1898)

    by Anton Chekhov

    Podgorin, a thirty-year-old lawyer, receives a mail from Tatyana and Varya, two young women of his age with whom he’d been very close ten years previously, asking him to come for a visit to Tatyana’s family home where she lives with husband and two young children and her young sister Nadezhda. He (...)

  • "The Valley of the Moon" by Jack London (1915)

    by Jack London

    Told essentially from the point of view of Saxon, a beautiful young laundry-sweatshop working-girl who meets at the very beginning of this working-class romance the man of her dreams Billy, a handsome young teamster and former prize-fighter. Billy sweeps her off her feet and they get married a (...)

  • "The Little Lady of the Big House" by Jack London (1916)

    by Jack London

    Dick Forrest is the very wealthy, very handsome and very charming owner of an immense 250,000-acre ranch in the rich farmland of the Sacramento River valley where he breeds livestock that he exports all over the United States and elsewhere. Former hobo in his youth, former captain of the U. of (...)

  • "The Stone Heart " by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1817)

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    The Court Counsellor Reutlinger organizes an elaborate festival on his grounds every three years to which everyone in the area, young and old, is invited – on the condition that they put on the clothes and accoutrements of the year 1760, a particularly important moment in the Counsellor’s life, (...)

  • "Gambler’s Luck" by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1820)

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    A powerful moral fable about the addictive and devastating fascination for gambling that has wreaked so much havoc in so many lives throughout time, by one of the leading spirts of the German Romanic movement. (12,000 words) an e-book, with the original texts in an annex, is available for (...)

  • "Letter to Father" (1919) by Franz Kafka

    by Franz Kafka

    The long letter that Kafka wrote to his father to explain why he’d always had so much difficulty communicating with him. An extraordinary document told from the heart by a son who may not have been as good a talker as his domineering and self-assured father, but who sure knew how to put words (...)

  • “Caliph Stork” and Other Fairy Tales by Wilhelm Hauff (1826)

    by Wilhelm Hauff

    Wilhelm Hauff, a rising star of the rich "Biedermeier" period of German literature in the early 19th century, was able to publish outstanding collections of fairy tales that he called Almanacs in each of his last three years before his tragic death by typhoid fever in 1827 at the age of 24. (...)

  • "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James (1898)

    by Henry James

    The celebrated ghost story by the author of Washington Square and The Portrait of a Lady.
    An e-book is available for downloading below. THE TURN OF THE SCREWCONTENTS Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI (...)

  • "Twilight Story" by Stefan Zweig (1908)

    by Stefan Zweig

    A fifteen-year-old English boy on holiday in the grand Scottish castle of his relatives wanders into the grounds late at night, fascinated by its somewhat eerie atmosphere. Where he’s abruptly accosted in the dark by a passionate young woman who vigorously embraces him before fleeing. Unable to (...)

  • "Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll (1871)

    by Lewis Carroll

    Lewis Carroll’s wonderful sequel to "Alice in Wonderland" where Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Red and Black Queens and Knights, Tiger-Lily, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Frog and the Gnat and the Lion and the Unicorn and talking flowers and so many other aspects (...)

  • "The Nightingale’s Benefit Performance" by Anton Chekhov (1883)

    by Anton Chekhov

    A group of people gathers on a grassy hillside to listen to a concert. It begins with the singing of the cuckoo, then a wide variety of creatures join in, and after an intermission the star of the evening gives a performance that reduces the audience, human and natural, to a stunned and (...)

  • "Unexpected Acquaintance with a Craft" by Stefan Zweig (1934)

    by Stefan Zweig

    Returning to Paris after a two-year absence, the narrator decides to just do nothing other than soak up the atmosphere of the boulevards and watch the crowds passing by there. Which enables him to identify a pickpocket and to study the fellow’s expert technique. When he follows the man on his (...)

  • "The Marquise of O..." by Heinrich von Kleist (1808)

    by Heinrich von Kleist

    In this stark investigation of the feminine condition in a rigid society ruled by pitiless moral strictures, the young widow Marquise of O... finds herself in an unexpected condition with no idea of how or why this situation came to be, and courageously puts an ad in the local paper proposing (...)

  • "Springtime in the Prater (Praterfrühling)" by Stefan Zweig (1900)

    by Stefan Zweig

    A young woman in an elegant building in the most select part of Vienna is quite beside herself with annoyance because the new gown that she has ordered for Derby Day has failed to arrive on time, obliging her to miss the fancy event. Finally she decides to put on her oldest dress and just go (...)

  • "The Window" and other Gallic stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    Seven more of the master’s best stories, most with a rather racy, distinctively Gallic touch and all with a distinctively direct, straightforward and rather elegant Maupassantian touch.
    They have all been translated specially for this site. TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. THE WINDOW The narrator recounts (...)

  • "Investigations of a Dog" (1922) by Franz Kafka

    by Franz Kafka

    A solitary dog recalls the investigations he had undertaken in his youth to understand the whys and the wherefores of such questions as food, hunger, language and communication with other members of his community. In the course of his investigations he had encountered strange and quasi-mystical (...)

  • "On a Spring Evening" and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

    by Guy de Maupassant

    More of the master’s best stories, all with a distinctive and distinctively Gallic touch, vous comprenez?
    All of these stories have been translated specially for this site. TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. ON A SPRING EVENING (1881) Jeanne and Jacques have grown up together, have fallen in love and are (...)

  • "Peter Pan" by J. M. Barrie (1911)

    by J. M. Barrie

    One of the most charming stories ever written with young people in mind, the account of how Wendy and her brothers meet up with a little boy who refuses to grow up, Peter Pan, who teaches them how to fly so that they can escape with him and his fairy companion Tinker Bell to Neverland, the land (...)

  • "Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman" by Stefan Zweig (1925)

    by Stefan Zweig

    In this story within a story a woman recounts a decisive moment in her life when she had tried to help a young nobleman whose passion for the roulette table had lead him to the brink of self-destruction.
    Soberly recounted with sensitivity and in-depth psychological penetration: one of the most (...)