Jonathan Swift almost defines satire in this biting and brutal pamphlet in which he suggests that poor (Catholic) Irish families should fatten up their children and sell them to the rich (Protestant) land owners, thus solving the twin problems of starving children and poverty in one blow. When the “Proposal” was published in 1729, Swift was quickly attacked, and even accused of barbarity – the exact state the “Proposal” was written to expose.
The Prince (Italian: Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (About Principalities). But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. This was done with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII, but "long before then, in fact since the first appearance of the Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings".
Although it was written as if it were a traditional work in the Mirror of Princes style, it is generally agreed that it was especially innovative. This is only partly because it was written in the Vernacular (Italian) rather than Latin, a practice which had become increasingly popular since the publication of Dante's Divine Comedy and other works of Renaissance literature.
The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics and ethics.
Du Bois, W.E.B.
The Souls of Black Folk is a well-known work of African-American literature by activist W.E.B. Du Bois. The book, published in 1903, contains several essays on race, some of which had been previously published in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Du Bois drew from his own experiences to develop this groundbreaking work on being African-American in American society. Outside of its notable place in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the first works to deal with sociology.
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne is one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts") contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written.
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne is one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre. He is also known as the father of Modern Skepticism. His pieces became famous for his apparent effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography. His main work, Essais (translated literally as "Attempts" but traditionally as "Essays"), contains some of the still most widely influential essays ever written. This is the second volume of that important work.
This is a letter written from prison in 1897 by Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, in which he recounts how he came to be in prison and charts his spiritual development.
This short work of Wilde's was written during his two year incarceration for "gross indecency". This work is a letter which sorts out his life, and his love toward Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde wrote this as a farewell letter to Douglas.
As a Man Thinketh is a literary essay of James Allen, published in 1902. The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs.
The Federalist Papers (correctly known as The Federalist) are a series of 85 articles advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788 . A compilation of these and eight others, called The Federalist, was published in 1788 by J. and A. M’Lean. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government.The authors of the Federalist Papers wanted to both influence the vote in favor of ratification and shape future interpretations of the Constitution. According to historian Richard Morris, they are an "incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer."
The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he unsuccessfully defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" (24b). "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions.
United States, Founding Fathers of the
Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
This is Mark Twain's vicious and amusing review of Fenimore Cooper's literary art. It is still read
widely in academic circles. Twain's essay, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (often spelled "Offences") (1895), particularly criticized The Deerslayer and The Pathfinder. Twain wrote at the beginning of the essay: 'In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.' Twain listed 19 rules 'governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction', 18 of which Cooper violates in The Deerslayer.
Chesterton, G. K.
“None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests. But don't let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some such thing in what follows; but anyone else may do it better, if anyone else will only try. ” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)
Wells, H. G.
Miniature wargaming got its start with the publication in 1913 of this thoroughly entertaining little account of how H.G. Wells, with certain of his friends, took their childhood toys and turned play into acceptable middle-aged sport by subjecting the exercise to the civilizing influence of actual rules.
While wargaming progressed far past these beginnings, Wells observes how "little wars" with even his elementary rules can suggest the wholesale crudity of the real thing.
"You have only to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be. Great War is at present, I am convinced, not only the most expensive game in the universe, but it is a game out of all proportion. Not only are the masses of men and material and suffering and inconvenience too monstrously big for reason, but--the available heads we have for it, are too small. That, I think, is the most pacific realisation conceivable, and Little War brings you to it as nothing else but Great War can do."
Wells leaves almost hanging the tantalizing concept that we might someday simulate war, as an instrument of international decision-making, rather than practice actual combat.
But most of this book is just the fun of evicting the boys from the playroom and spending happy days there, away from the "skirt-swishers", developing the framework under which two gentlemen might meet and accumulate boastable victories!
Thoreau, Henry David
This was originally a lecture given by Thoreau in 1851 at the Concord lyceum titled "The Wild" . He revised it before his death and it was included as part of the June 1862 edition of Atlantic Monthly. This essay appears, on the surface, to be simply expounding the qualities of Nature and man's place therein. Through this medium he not only touches those subjects, but with the implications of such a respect for nature, or lack thereof.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Russia, Goldman emigrated to the US in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. Goldman was imprisoned several times for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1910, she collected a series of speeches and items she had written for Mother Earth and published Anarchism and Other Essays. In addition to a comprehensive look at anarchism and its criticisms, the book includes essays on patriotism, women's suffrage, marriage, and prisons. (summary extracted from wikipedia)
Tales of Old Japan by Lord Redesdale is a collection of short stories focusing on Japanese life of the Edo period (1803 - 1868). It contains a number of classic Japanese stories, fairy tales, and other folklore; as well as Japanese sermons and non-fiction pieces on special ceremonies in Japanese life, such as marriage and harakiri, as observed by Lord Redesdale. The best know story of these is "The Forty-seven Ronins" a true account of samurai revenge as it happened at the beginning of 18th century Japan.
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (1837 - 1916) was a British diplomat, collector and writer. He worked in Japan as second secretary to the British Legation at the time of the Meiji Restoration. He wrote Tales of Old Japan in 1871.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Essays: First Series is a series of 12 essays written by Ralph Waldo Emerson concerning transcendentalism, including Self-Reliance. It was published in 1841.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul”.
Voltaire was an atheist. Diderot was Enlightened. But trite titles seldom encompass completely the beliefs of any individual. And this one fact is certainly true when dealing with Sir Francis Bacon.The youngest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Francis was born in Strand, London, on Jan. 22, 1561. He went to Trinity College at Cambridge. He was elected to Parliament; he was Queen’s Counsel; he even became Attorney General before finally gaining the position of Lord Chancellor.But as do the careers of so many politicians, in 1621 his political career ended in disgrace.And yet, for all of this, both Diderot and Voltaire considered him “the father of modern science.” Others consider him only the father of the “scientific method.” (That process of collecting and organizing data.) Bacon’s “The Essays,” to which we now turn our attention, are–if they are nothing else–a delightful collection in decided disarray. That is, they seem to take no true progression. But an essay is not meant to be a treatise. And for all that, these essays are still a pleasure to read.Encompassing a broad field of interest, their largesse denotes the broad learning of this brilliant philosopher. It is therefore our sincere hope that the reader will, themselves, encompass these Essays. More importantly, we hope you enjoy them.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s.
Chesterton, G. K.
A collection of reprinted articles on a wide-range of subject, all in the unique style of G. K. Chesterton. Using wit, paradox, and good humor he “defends” a series of seeming harmless things that need no defense, and in so doing he exposes many of the broken assumptions and dogmatic notions of secular humanism and other trends of his age and of ours.
An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744). However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope's various literary opinions. A reading of the poem makes it clear that he is addressing not so much the ingenuous reader as the intending writer. It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.
This speech was given March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having singlehandedly convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. In attendance were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Reportedly, the crowd, upon hearing the speech, jumped up and shouted, “To Arms! To Arms!”
The Gettysburg Address is the most famous speech of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and one of the most quoted speeches in United States history. It was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, in November, 1863, followed a few short months after the roiling, acrid clouds of gun smoke dissipated, leaving a little crossroads town in Pennsylvania heir to the human tragedy of over 7,000 corpses and 21,000 men suffering wounds. It was a most unnatural disaster.
On November 19, the chief executive made the trip to the still-dazed, shot-torn community to deliver, almost as an afterthought (for he was not the keynote speaker), an address that clarified his belief that the Negro race should be liberated from their slavery, and that despite the loss of so much blood and life, the Union should hold to the goal of completing this emancipation.
That he knew the eyes of the nation would rest of him was evident; this address was the first speech since his inauguration that he prepared in advance. But these carefully crafted words - only 269 of them - became a vital part of our nation's identity, and are a signature to the bedrock of our beliefs.
The Gettysburg Address is the most famous speech of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and one of the most quoted speeches in United States history. It was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated the Confederates at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.
Common Sense, Paine's pro-independence monograph published anonymously on 10 January 1776, spread quickly among literate colonists. Within three months, 120,000 copies are alleged to have been distributed throughout the colonies, which themselves totaled only four million free inhabitants, making it the best-selling work in 18th-century America. Its total sales in both America and Europe reached 500,000 copies. It convinced many colonists, including George Washington and John Adams, to seek redress in political independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and argued strongly against any compromise short of independence.
The Riot Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1714, the first year of the reign of George I, and came into effect in August 1715. This was a time of widespread social disturbance, as the preamble describes; the Act sought to put an end to this. A group of twelve or more people, “being unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled”, would be read a proclamation; they must disperse within an hour, on pain of death. The same fate would befall anyone preventing the reading of the proclamation, or damaging buildings while on a riot. If the law enforcement officers happened to injure or kill a rioter, they were immune from prosecution. The reading of the proclamation, the wording of which is detailed in the Act, was the necessary first step before action could be taken against the rioters. This gave us the phrase “to read the riot act”, to give a stern warning or rebuke. The Act was repealed in Britain in 1973, but had long since fallen into disuse there. A version is still in force in Canada.
Chesterton, G. K.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the "prince of paradox." He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and "Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections.
Chesterton, G. K.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a prolific writer on many topics. His views of history were always from the standpoint of men and their interactions, and it may fairly be said he saw all of history as a battle between civilization and barbarism. So it has always been, and that remains true even today.
"But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information provided about England in the last two or three centuries, in which its present industrial system was being built up, and the general information given about the preceding centuries, which we call broadly mediaeval. "
As this quotation taken from the Introduction clearly shows, he is no mere pedant reciting dry dates and locations, but a profound thinker flooding new light onto those modern "myths" that have filled our historys. He is a master of paradox, and the techique of reducing his opponents arguments to the logical absurdity they have inherent in them. He often turns them upside down. All of which makes his work both a sound subject for reflection and highly entertaining all the while it remains permanently timely.
Faith and reason, love and virtue, morality and mortality! In these two short volumes the famous novelist, essayist, and playwright, Upton Sinclair, confided his most prized worldly wisdom for generations to come. His kind and witty personal advice both provokes and enlightens page by page.
Bennett asks us to consider our brains as the most wonderful machine, a machine which is the only thing in this world that we can control. As he writes: "I am simply bent on calling your attention to a fact which has perhaps wholly or partially escaped you -- namely, that you are the most fascinating bit of machinery that ever was."
As ever, his prose is honeyed, his thoughts inspired, and his advice as relevant today as when it was written.
A great dog story, a well told tale--the naturalist and adventurer John Muir recounts how he and his companion, a dog named Stickeen, each, alone, confronted and conquered their fears of an icy Alaskan glacier in 1880.
The Golden Age is a collection of reminiscences of childhood, written by Kenneth Grahame and originally published in book form in 1895, in London by The Bodley Head, and in Chicago by Stone and Kimball. (The Prologue and six of the stories had previously appeared in the National Observer, the journal then edited by William Ernest Henley.) Widely praised upon its first appearance—Algernon Charles Swinburne, writing in the Daily Chronicle, called it "one of the few books which are well-nigh too praiseworthy for praise"—the book has come to be regarded as a classic in its genre.
Typical of his culture and his era, Grahame casts his reminiscences in imagery and metaphor rooted in the culture of Ancient Greece; to the children whose impressions are recorded in the book, the adults in their lives are "Olympians," while the chapter titled "The Argonauts" refers to Perseus, Apollo, Psyche, and similar figures of Greek mythology. Grahame's reminiscences, in The Golden Age and in the later Dream Days (1898), were notable for their conception "of a world where children are locked in perpetual warfare with the adult 'Olympians' who have wholly forgotten how it feels to be young"—a theme later explored by J. M. Barrie and other authors.
A series of lectures on landscape painting delivered at Oxford in 1871, by artist, critic, and social commentator, John Ruskin.
As the title reveals, these stories are a collection of some of Mark Twain's more fanciful and eccentric works. They run the gamut from political commentary to our species' need to "be remembered" somehow. Taken as a whole the stories are "whimsical". Taken individually, they speak the truth in different ways.
The Brothers Orville (1871 - 1948) and Wilbur (1867 – 1912) Wright made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, on 17th December 1903. They were not the first to build and fly aircraft, but they invented the controls that were necessary for a pilot to steer the aircraft, which made fixed wing powered flight possible. The Early History of the Airplane consists of three short essays about the beginnings of human flight. The second essay retells the first flight: "This flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it was nevertheless the first in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without reduction of speed and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it started."
Bryant, Walter W.
This biography of Johannes Kepler begins with an account of what the world of astronomy was like before his time, then proceeds to a look at his early years. Two chapters deal with his working relationship with Tycho Brahe. These are followed by a look at Kepler's laws and his last years.
Ledesma, Antonio Colmenero de
The Author sings the praises of Chocolate. "By the wise and Moderate use whereof, Health is preserved, Sicknesse Diverted, and Cured, especially the Plague of the Guts; vulgarly called _The New Disease_; Fluxes, Consumptions, and Coughs of the Lungs, with sundry other desperate Diseases. By it also, Conception is Caused, the Birth Hastened and facilitated, Beauty Gain'd and continued."
Mark Twain pulls no punches while exposing the "real" Percy Shelley in this scathing condemnation of Edward Dowden's "Life of Shelley". Even though, as Twain writes, "Shelley's life has the one indelible blot upon it, but is otherwise worshipfully noble and beautiful", Twain shows how Shelley's extra-marital conduct might easily be seen to have been the cause of his wife Harriet's suicide.
An account given of the lives of five great naturalists (Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius and Harvey) will not be found devoid of interest. The work of each one of them marked a definite advance in the science of Biology.
There is often among students of anatomy and physiology a tendency to imagine that the facts with which they are now being made familiar have all been established by recent observation and experiment. But even the slight knowledge of the history of Biology, which may be obtained from a perusal of this little book, will show that, so far from such being the case, this branch of science is of venerable antiquity. And, further, if in the place of this misconception a desire is aroused in the reader for a fuller acquaintance with the writings of the early anatomists the chief aim of the author will have been fulfilled.
Collection of short essays concerning French novelist and critic Paul Bourget. Included: "What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us" and "A Little Note to M. Paul Bourget".
Ingersoll, Robert G.
Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll's speeches.
If you’ve ever studied German (and maybe even if you haven’t), you’re likely to find this short essay to be hilarious. Published as Appendix D from Twain’s 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, this comedic gem outlines the pitfalls one will encounter when trying to wrap one’s mind around the torturous German cases, adjective endings, noun genders, and verb placement.
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (May 23, 1883 – December 12, 1939) was an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Baghdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro. His book, Laugh and Live, is a book about positive virtues and advice for leading a good, healthy, and successful life. An advisory about this book is in order. Published in 1917, it was written at a time when “men went to work, women kept house, and supported their man”. Some of the writing and references are old-fashioned by today’s standards. Several ideas may be at odds with plans for successful lives today, especially for female listeners. Listeners should still find many valuable common-sense suggestions for leading a wholesome life.
This is a series of late-19th Century essays about Florida's flora and fauna written by a Massachusetts-based naturalist.
Elbert Hubbard is best known as the author of the "Little Journeys To The Holmes of Famous People". These 11 short stores show the side of him that celebrated caring, friendship love among humans. The first describes how 5 frightened orphan children from a foreign country were cared for on a railroad journey of a thousand miles; all by strangers without any planning and without a word of English being spoken or needed. He observed caring human men and women of all ages doing whatever was necessary to see they reached their destination in whatever comfort could be provided. His famous motto was "The mintage of wisdom is to know that rest is rust and that real life lies in love, laughter and work". Hubbard
Written for the Atlantic magazine in 1877, this is a collection of stories about a trip Mark Twain made with some friends to Bermuda.
Chesterton, G. K.
“The paradox of all this part of his life lies in this--that, destined as he was to be the greatest enemy of Mahomedanism, he was quite exceptionally a friend of Mahomedans.”
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.