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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Huell, c. 1880

About Us

The Ex-Classics project was founded in 2000 to fill an unmet need.  When reading the blurb etc. to a book by Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte, say, we would often come across sentences like "Favourite reading included . . ."  If  it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. So off we go to the library or bookshop, to be met first with blank stares and then with the information that the book has been out of print for decades. Our first two books were Gil Blas and Hudibras, which are prime examples of this This web site is dedicated to rescuing these works from obscurity and making them available online, both for reading directly, and for downloading.

Book of the Month -- May 2022

 Love and Madness by Herbert Croft

Hackman shooting Miss Reay

In 1775, Mr James Hackman, an army officer who subsequently became a clergyman, met and fell in love with Martha Ray (or Reay), a singer and for many years the mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty who treated her generously and had given her several children. After (perhaps) some initial encouragement she rejected Hackman, no doubt thinking that mistress of a nobleman was a better condition than wife of an impoverished rural parson. Hackman, in a frenzy of jealousy and frustration, shot her and then himself in front of the Covent Garden Opera House on 7th April 1779. She was killed outright, but he survived to be hanged. This book purports to be a collection of their correspondence, showing the progress of the affair to its tragic end. However, it is actually a work of fiction published the following year.

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Max Adeler contemplating the Patent Office Report, by Arthur B. Frost

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