Critical Editions are forgotten or overlooked texts from yesterday that resonate today. Each work of fiction or nonfiction is accompanied by a fresh introduction that puts the narrative in context for contemporary times. What's more, the small books fit neatly into your back pocket.
1. The Treatise of the Three Impostors by Anonymous - Ostensibly The Treatise of the Three Impostors is an Enlightenment-era indictment against the foundations of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That’s only half the story. Published anonymously and attributed to numerous dates, places of origin, and authors – some real, some fantastic – Three Impostors is better understood as a performative act of radical critique and protest against religious authorities. Click here for more information, including paperback and ebook ordering details.
2. Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville - A masterpiece of short fiction, Bartleby is as relevant today as it was when it was first published anonymously in 1853. Melville wrote the story during the Guilded Age, a time when inequality between the haves and have-nots stretched the fabric of society. Today, instead of Vanderbilt and Carnegie we have Bezos and Zuckerberg. Economic injustice has sparked protests worldwide and capitalism seems tenuous. Bartleby, the first occupier of Wall Street, is a frustrated man of our times. Click here for more information, including paperback and ebook ordering details.
3. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg - Published anonymously in 1824 in Scotland, this gothic psychological tale will leave readers grasping for the truth. Weaving themes of good versus evil, psychosis, mystery, and religious extremism all wrapped in metafiction, Hogg's masterpiece reads like it could have been written today. Click here for more information, including paperback and ebook ordering details.
4. Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig - Best known for his biographies and his romantic novels, the novella Burning Secret is a perfect introduction to the Austrian writer. A bored baron captures the attention of a woman and her young son on holiday. But the baron's romantic overtures are frustrated by the boy's refusal to be cut out of the scene. Once "the burning secret" is revealed to him, his childhood innocence is lost. Click here for more information, including paperback and ebook ordering details.