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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Huell, c. 1880

Book of the Month -- June 2024

 Stories by Catulle Mendès

Portrait of Catulle Mendes

We first came across a reference to this author in Max Beerbohm's Enoch Soames,where the title character's stories were described as "like a story by Catulle Mendès in which the translator had either skipped or cut out every alternate sentence." Mendès was a French writer who lived 1841-1909, and wrote prolifically, producing plays, poems, short stories and novels. The stories included fairy tales and fables, wry parables about love, accounts of crime and the uncanny. Very popular at the time, he is now mostly forgotten, and it turned out to be difficult to find any of his work in English. We have managed totrack some down: here they are.

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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 thisThis web site is dedicated to rescuing these works from obscurity and making them available online, both for reading directly, and for downloading.

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

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