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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Huell c. 1880

Latest Additions

  • Studies in the Art of Rat-Catching, by H. C. Barkley
    The classical education provided by English schools in the 19th century was hated by the pupils and did nothing to qualify them to make a living. Barkley proposes to solve both these problems by teaching them rat-catching, which boys love and which is an honourable and useful profession. This is the definitive text-book of the art.
    Added 26th January 2017
  • The True Story of John Carteret Pilkington
    The early adventures and misfortunes of the youngest son and amanuensis of Laetitia Pilkington, whose memoirs are also on this site. Also contains the corresondence of Laetitia Pilkington and Lord Kingsborough, and some poems and a play scene by J.C. Pilkington
    Added 11th January 2017
  • The Memoirs of Mrs.Margaret Leeson
    The leading courtesan and madam of late 18th Century Dublin, she published these memoirs in old age. Funny and frankly written, they show a wide panorama of life from debtors' prison to the Ascendancy at the height of their power and irresponsibility.
    Added 8th October 2016
  • More Crimes from the Newgate Calendar
    Another batch of 172 18th Century pirates, highwayman, forgers and sundry malefactors to add to our existing collection from the ex-classic compendium of crime
    Added 26th July 2016

  • Radical Pamphlets from the English Civil War 
    During the English Civil War and in the republic which followed, a wide range of radical ideas and movements flourished. There were Seekers and Ranters, Diggers and Levellers,  Quakers, Fifth Monarchists and Muggletonians; and a flood of remarkable pamphlets promoting their ideas poured from the printing presses.  Our selection includes such classics as A Fiery Flying Roll,  The Lamb's Officer is Gone Forth with the Lamb's Message, and the wonderfully-titled Tyranipocrit Discovered.
    Added 14th February 2016
  • The Emperor's New Clothes -- Original Version
    Hans Christian Anderson rewrote this mediaeval Spanish tale for the more fastidious audiences of the 19th Century. The original is well worth reading. 
    Added 3rd February 2016
  • Lives and Anecdotes of Misers, by F. Somner Merryweather
    As read by Silas Wegg to Mr. Boffin in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.
    Added 18th January 2016

  • The Metamorphosis of Ajax by Sir John Harington
    The first flush toilet, described together with a wealth of cloacal learning and philosophy by Queen Elizabeth I's scapegrace godson.
    Added 4th September 2015

  • The Poems of John Skelton
    John Skelton (1460?-1529) is a poet whose works have hovered on the edge of the canon, never being forgotten or lacking advocates, but never making it into the schools. Robert Graves thought him better than Milton. Howard Fish, now the Grand Old Man of American Literary Criticism (and proud to be the model for David Lodge's Morris Zapp) published a book-length study of Skelton in 1965, and more recently, Helen Cooper, professor of English at Cambridge, called him "one of the great figures of English poetry."
    Added 13th July 2015



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