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  • Published: 25 February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780141398815
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 64
  • RRP: $7.99

The Dhammapada




Ancient aphorisms on endurance, self-control and perfect joy, widely acknowledged as the Buddha's own teachings.

'Hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal.'
Captivating aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist dhamma, or moral system.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

  • Published: 25 February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780141398815
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 64
  • RRP: $7.99

About the authors

Gil Fronsdal

GIL FRONSDAL has practiced Zen and Insight Meditation since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University. He has trained in both the Japanese Soto Zen tradition (San Francisco Zen Center with Suzuki Roshi) and the Insight Meditation school of Theravada Buddhism from Southeast Asia. Gil was trained as a Vipassana teacher by Jack Kornfield and is part of the Vipassana teachers' collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He has been the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center, in Redwood City, Calif., since 1990. He is a husband and father of two boys.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born in Steventon rectory on 16 December 1775. Her family later moved to Bath, then to Southampton and finally to Chawton in Hampshire. She began writing Pride and Prejudice when she was twenty-two years old. It was originally called First Impressions and was initially rejected by the publishers and only published in 1813 after much revision. She published four of her novels in her lifetime, Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Jane Austen died on 18th July 1817. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were both published posthumously in 1818.

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775, the sixth child of seven. Her father George was the rector at Steventon, near Basingstoke, and was a prosperous and cultured man. He encouraged Jane to write and read widely as a child; at fourteen, she had written Love and Friendship and at fifteen had finished the ambitiously titled A History of England.

Although Austen’s heroines underwent adventures, Jane herself led an uneventful life. She did once accept a proposal of marriage one evening, only to change her mind the following morning! For the most part it was a quiet family life interspersed with outings to Bath, London and Lyme. Her novels were written in the intervals between family excursions, although not in the order in which they were published. Sense and Sensibility (published in 1811) was originally written in 1795 as Elinor and Marianne. Pride and Prejudice (published in 1813) began life as 'First Impressions' in 1797. Of her other novels, Mansfield Park was published in 1814, Emma in 1816 and Persuasion posthumously in 1818.

Throughout her life Jane kept up regular correspondences with her sister Cassandra, her friends and her nieces and nephews. Although Cassandra removed anything deeply personal from these letters after Jane’s death, they tell of her attitude to her work, describing it as ‘the little bit (two inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour’. This modest assessment was not shared by Sir Walter Scott or by the Prince Regent, who kept a set of her novels in each of his residences.

The Austens moved several times during the course of Jane’s life: in 1801 they left Steventon for Bath. After George Austen’s death in 1805 they moved to Southampton and then, in 1809, to Chawton. In the weeks prior to her death, Jane lodged in Winchester in order to be close to her doctor. Her illness has been attributed to several possible conditions, including Addison’s disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands whose symptoms include tiredness and weight loss), Hodgkin’s disease (a form of cancer) and arsenic poisoning. She died on 18 July 1817.

Jane Austen’s novels have acquired a following which is almost cult-like, and the many dramatisations of her work for screen, television and radio are testament to the books’ enduring popularity. One of her works was amongst the earliest transmissions to be heard on BBC radio: a reading of the proposal scene from Pride and Prejudice was broadcast on 15 January 1924.

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon, near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on 18 July 1817. Jane Austen was extremely modest about her own genius, describing her work to her nephew, Edward, as 'the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory, on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour'. As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were published only after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1817 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov was a Russian author and playwright who has been hailed as the master of the modern short story. Born in 1860 in Taganov, he studied at medical school before becoming a writer. Among his best known short tales are 'The Steppe' (which won him the Pushkin Prize in 1888), 'Ward No. 6' (1892) and 'The Lady with the Dog' (1889), while his plays include The Seagull (1895), Uncle Vanya (1897), The Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904), all of which are widely acclaimed as masterpieces. He died in July 1904 in Badenweiler, Germany.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, the youngest son of a clergyman. A precocious reader and talker as a child, he was educated at Christ's Hospital School, London, where he began his friendship with Charles Lamb and wrote his earliest poems, and Jesus College, Cambridge.

In 1794 he met Robert Southey and together they planned Pantisocracy, an ideal community to be founded in America, but the project collapsed after a quarrel. Coleridge's poems were published in the Morning Chronicle, and in he wrote 'The Eolian Harp' for Sara Fricker, whom he married in the same year, although the marriage was an unhappy one. He first met Dorothy and William Wordsworth in 1797 and a close association developed between them. Coleridge wrote his famous 'Kubla Khan' in the same year, followed in 1798 by 'Frost at Midnight'.

In 1799 he and Wordsworth published the Lyrical Ballads, which marked a conscious break with eighteenth-century tradition and included one of Coleridge's greatest poems, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. During a visit to the Wordsworths in 1799 he met Sara Hutchinson, who became his lifelong love and the subject of his Asra poems.

In the following year Coleridge and his family settled at Greta Hall, Keswick, where he wrote the second part of Christabel, begun in 1798, and also became addicted to opium. In 1804 he separated from his wife and spent the following years in the Mediterranean or London, returning in 1808 to live with the Wordsworths in Grasmere. In 1809 he established The Friend, a political, literary and philosophical weekly journal, which he published regularly over the next year.

After a disagreement with Wordsworth in 1810 Coleridge left the Lake District for ever, centering his life thereafter in London, where he gave his Shakespeare Lectures. He presented his literary and philosophical theories in the two-volume Biographia Literaria, published in 1817, and collected his poems in Sibylline Leaves. In an attempt to control his opium addiction he entered the household and care of Dr James Gillman at Highgate in 1816. Here he was to remain for the last eighteen years of his life, writing a number of late confessional poems and prose works, including Aids to Reflection, published in 1825. Coleridge died in 1834 overseen a final edition of his Poetical Works.

Poet, philosopher and critic, Coleridge stands as one of the seminal figures of his time. William Hazlitt wrote: 'His thoughts did not seem to come with labour and effort; but as if borne on the gusts of genius, and as if the wings of his imagination lifted him from off his feet', and Wordsworth called him 'the only wonderful man I ever knew'.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt-on-Main in 1749. He studied at Leipzig, where he showed interest in the occult, and at Strassburg, where Herder introduced him to Shakespeare's works and to folk poetry. He produced some essays and lyrical verse, and at twenty-two wrote Götz von Berlichingen, a play which brought him national fame and established him in the current Sturm und Drang movement. This was followed by the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774, which was an even greater success.

Goethe began work on Faust, and Egmont, another tragedy before being invited to join the government of Weimar. His interest in the classical world led him to leave suddenly for Italy in 1786 and the Italian Journey recounts his travels there. Iphigenia in Tauris andTorquato Tasso, classical dramas, were written at this time. Returning to Weimar, Goethe started the second part of Faust, encouraged by Schiller. In 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius. During this late period he finished his series of Wilhelm Master books and wrote many other works, including The Oriental Divan (1819). He also directed the State Theatre and worked on scientific theories in evolutionary botany, anatomy and color. Goethe completed Faust in 1832, just before he died.

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