Go to A-Z Databases: eBooks to search for more eBooks.
Want more on finding books or eBooks? Try our How to Use Books & eBooks guides.
The Arabian Nights
"The Arabian Nights" is the title which encompasses all of the Persian, Arabian and Indian folk tales which have made their way into western culture over hundreds of years. This collection was edited by Andrew Lang, and his selections were made with the purpose of making the tales more suitable and interesting to a general audience.
Beowulf is the earliest surviving poem in Old English. Although the authorship is anonymous it is believed to have been written before the 10th century AD. The only extant European manuscript of the Beowulf text is placed at around 1010. The epic tells the tale of the Scandinavian hero Beowulf as he struggles against three adversaries; the monster Grendel, Grendel's mother and an unnamed dragon. The epic was recently released as a blockbuster film starring Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman, and Angelina Jolie.
Poem of the Cid : A Modern Translation With Notes
Few works have shaped a national literature as thoroughly as the Poem of the Cid has shaped the Spanish literary tradition. Tracing the life of the eleventh-century military commander Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, called El Cid (from the Arabic Sayyidi, "My Lord"), this medieval epic describes a series of events surrounding his exile. The text of the poem survives in only one early-thirteenth-century manuscript copied by a single scribe, yet centuries later the figure of the Cid still was celebrated in the Spanish popular ballad tradition. Today almost every theme that characterizes Spanish literature-honor, justice, loyalty, treachery, and jealousy--derives from the Poem of the Cid. Restored by poet and medievalist George Economou, this elegant and spirited translation by Paul Blackburn is judged by many the finest English translation of a great medieval poem.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighier
"O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?" Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso--the three fates of the deceased become the three pillars of an epic poem. The Divine Comedy, written by Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the fourteenth century, is considered the foremost work in Italian literature. The journey begins with Dante's descent into the depths of Hell where he witnesses those eternally separated from God. Then he climbs the mountain of Purgatory where Christian souls undergo final purification, before finally touring the celestial circles of Heaven where he is filled with the image of God. An allegorical work, the comedy is representative of the soul's journey towards God. Influential for seven centuries, this classic is a must have for lovers of great literature.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer's fourteenth-century masterpiece The Canterbury Tales is such a rollicking good read that you'll forget many critics and scholars also regard it as one of the most important literary works in English. A group of pilgrims are traveling together to visit a holy shrine at the Canterbury Cathedral. Along the way, they decide to hold a storytelling contest to pass the time, with the winner to be awarded a lavish feast on the return trip. The tales offered up in turn by each of the travelers run the full gamut of human emotion, ranging from raucous and ribald jokes to heartrending tales of doomed romance. Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of classic literature, The Canterbury Tales is worth a read.
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
Edward FitzGerald gave the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to his translation of poetry attributed to the Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician Omar Khayyam (1048-1123). The word "Rubaiyat" means quatrains - verses of four lines. These works by Fitzgerald are the best known English translations. This edition contains both the first and fifth editions of the Rubaiyat. This influential translation is seen by many as a zenith of English literature in the nineteenth century.
Helen of Troy
The famed beauty Helen of Troy inspired wars, suicides, and some of the world's best-loved poetry. In this book-length epic poem, Scottish writer and folklorist Andrew Lang presents his own take on Helen's story. A fascinating read for fans of The Odyssey and Greek mythology.