The Flowers of Evil

    By Charles Baudelaire

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    Judicially condemned in 1857 as offensive to public morality, The Flowers of Evil is now regarded as the most influential volume of poetry published in the nineteenth century. Torn between intense sensuality and profound spiritual yearning, racked by debt and disease, Baudelaire transformed his own…

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    The Last Day of a Condemned Man

    By Victor Hugo

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    A first-person diary of a prisoner’s final day before being executed for an unspecified crime, Victor Hugo’s poignant tale vividly conveys the mental anguish of a man confronted with the intransigent mechanism of justice, as his mind seeks refuge in recollections from his past and philosophical musi…

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    Seven Dada Manifestos

    By Tristan Tzara

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    This volume contains Tristan Tzara’s famous manifestos, which first appeared between 1916 and 1921 and became essential texts of the modern movement and models for Breton’s Surrealist manifestos. Art for Tzara was both deadly serious and a game, and the playfulness of his character is apparent not o…

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    The Etruscan Vase and Other Stories

    By Prosper Mérimée

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    When the young and sensitive Auguste Saint-Clair notices an Etruscan vase on the mantelpiece of his beloved Mathilde, he becomes gradually consumed by jealousy at the thought that it could be the gift of another man, and the situation escalates dramatically as he demands proof from her that she love…

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    Cheeks on Fire

    By Raymond Radiguet

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    Shortly before his death at the age of twenty, the young literary sensation Raymond Radiguet compiled a volume of his poetry, composed between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Presented here, this prodigious oeuvre is notable as much for its homage to classical style as it is for its risqué and ev…

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    The Comic Romance

    By Paul Scarron

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    Paul Scarron’s masterpiece, The Comic Romance, recounts the adventures of a troupe of provincial itinerant actors, skilfully weaving multiple narrative strands – such as the personal histories and love stories of the central couples Destiny and Star and Léandre and Angélique, the farcical misadventu…

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    The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs

    By Simone Benmussa

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    Set in a big Dublin hotel of the mid-nineteenth century, The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs is a total theatre creation. In it, we discover that Albert, the perfect waiter – who never drinks, smokes or flirts with the chambermaids – is in fact a woman who once dressed as a man to avoid poverty and is…

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    Madame Bovary

    By Gustave Flaubert

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    Beautiful Emma Rouault yearns for the life of wealth, passion and romance she has encountered in popular sentimental fiction, and when her doctor, the well-meaning but awkward and unremarkable Charles Bovary, begins to pay her attention, she imagines that she may be granted her wish. However, after…

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    Incest

    By Marquis de Sade

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    When the immoral libertine Monsieur de Franval marries and fathers a daughter, he decides to inculcate in her a sense of absolute freedom, an unconventional education that involves the two becoming secret lovers. But Franval’s virtuous, God-fearing wife becomes suspicious and confronts him, setting…

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    The Theatre and Its Double

    By Antonin Artaud

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    First published in 1938, The Theatre and Its Double is a collection of essays detailing Antonin Artaud’s radical theories on drama and theatre, which he saw as being stifled by conservatism and lack of experimentation. Containing the famous manifestos of the ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, the collection anal…

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    Travels in the South of France

    By Stendhal

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    From his Baker Street apartment, Sherlock Holmes wields his powers of deduction in pursuit of justice and truth, venturing out into foggy Victorian London accompanied by his faithful sidekick Dr Watson. This classic collection of Holmes tales includes many of the detective’s most-loved exploits: Hol…

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    The Voyeur

    By Alain Robbe-Grillet

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    When Mathias, a travelling watch salesman, returns after many years to the island of his birth, a young girl is found dead on the rocks. As Mathias makes an increasingly tense recapitulation of his movements on the day of the event, tiny details slowly and inexorably accumulate. Through the warped s…

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