The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Merchant of Venice was written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1596 and 1598. It was first printed in quarto in 1600.  Though it is classified as a comedy in the First Folio, it is quite dramatic. The play is most famous for the character of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender who loans money to Antonio on the condition that should he fail to re-pay, Shylock will extract from him a pound of flesh. Both the … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

Eugenie Grandet, by Honore De Balzac, Limited Editions Club (1960)

Eugénie Grandet, the first of what was to become the massive collection of works by Honoré de Balzac called La Comédie humane (The Human Comedy), was first published in 1833. Eugénie Grandet became the first of the grouping of works under ‘Scenes of Country Life’.  The novel is about miserliness and its destructive psychological impact,  with an associated theme of unhappy love intertwined. Balzac dedicated the second edition to his lover and mother of his daughter, Maria Du Fresnay. It turns … Continue reading Eugenie Grandet, by Honore De Balzac, Limited Editions Club (1960)

Old Goriot, by Honore De Balzac, Limited Editions Club (1948)

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was an early proponent of literary realism (perhaps with a dash of naturalism), with the collection called La Comédie humane (The Human Comedy) being his crowning achievement. At 91 published works and 46 unpublished, this collection of interrelated stories is immense. His characters are real; even the good have flaws. Themes include power, wealth and social success. Characters across the social spectrum come in and out throughout his novels, typically shown … Continue reading Old Goriot, by Honore De Balzac, Limited Editions Club (1948)

The Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies of William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939/1940)

William Shakespeare. The mere name puts students around the world into a state of fear and grief, sends conspiracy theorists into excited revelry and draws nervous shame from the masses who have never experienced Shakespeare. Yet, for lovers of literature, especially those who have read and re-read Shakespeare after reaching a mature age, hearing his name excites one’s soul while stimulating intellect, recalling scene after … Continue reading The Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies of William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939/1940)

The Apocrypha, Cresset Press (1929)

{This article is from Books and Vines contributor Neil.} The Apocrypha (from the Greek word meaning ‘hidden’/’hidden away’/’obscure’) are those books of the Bible that are not regarded by some as canonical, but are usually included anyway as they are viewed as ‘books proceeding from godly men’.  They were found in early manuscripts and early printed editions as part of the Old Testament and were first published as a separate … Continue reading The Apocrypha, Cresset Press (1929)