Art of the Novella Giveaway

I’ve raved before here about Melville House’s The Art of the Novella series. The line includes essential short fiction such as Joyce’s The Dead, Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, as well as less known (to me) but equally brilliant works such as Maupassant’s The Horla (a highlight of my reading year so far) and Heinrich von Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas (the latter I include by reputation, although I haven’t read it yet, as everyone who has seems in awe of it). The pleasure of the series lies not only in the selection and production but in the very delight of being able to pick up a book which can be read, entire, in an hour or less.

Art of the Novella

Recently five new titles were added to the series. Melville House generously sent me a set at the weekend, unaware that I already had them all (I wrote about one of the new titles, Fitzgerald’s May Day, just last week.) So I thought I would distribute them to willing readers of this blog. I’ll give one each to five winners, so please leave a comment below saying which one you would like to receive, and I will draw names from the ether after midnight BST on Saturday 29 August. The draw is open to entrants worldwide.  The five titles are:

Astute readers will note that by opting for a less popular title, you increase your chances of winning it. Unless everyone does that. Good luck.

PS – I forgot to put in the usual rider before the first ten entrants commented below … but if you’re a winner, it would be nice if you’d come back here and tell everyone what you think of the book once you’ve read it.  Or do so on your own blog if you have one, or on Amazon or the like.


  1. Oooh how exciting. May Day would be my first choice but I’m going to ask for Henry James as I think it’ll be less popular…


  2. Ordinarily I would go for Tales of Belkin but seeing as there is already fierce competition for it could you put me in the running for Johnson’s Rasselas. My Dad is a bit of a Johnson expert and I wonder if I might be able to surprise him with some knowledge on his chosen subject. Thanks

  3. Good day,

    I’d love to be considered for Henry James, on the grounds that I need to be educated more. And it’s free.

    Many thanks,

  4. Hi John. I’m glad you’re similarly impressed by the MH novellas. I got them as a birthday present a couple of years ago and also fell for the Horla. Also My Life by Chekov is essential reading.

    As for this one, I’d like to go for the Fitzgerald, please.

    1. They’re great, Stuart. I have about a dozen of them, including Chekhov’s My Life, Flaubert’s A Simple Heart, Proust’s The Lemoine Affair and others. Really though I want them all. And eventually I might even get around to reading them.

  5. Hi John,

    I’ll be very happy to receive any of those since this collection is truly wonderful (I already have Bartleby, the Dead, First Love, the Devil, the Man who would be King and the Beach at Falesa, which I bought at last Brooklyn Books Festival), but as you ask, please fill me under Howells, since I’ve never read him.


  6. Hello there,

    I’d be happy to be part of the draw for Fitzgerald’s “May Day”! Seems to be a great series this…


  7. Ooooh goody–the possibility of free stuff! Please put me in the William Dean Howells drawing. Thanks!

    BTW, if you haven’t read any WDH, I strongly recommend A Hazard of New Fortune.

  8. I’ll throw my hat in for the surprisingly popular Belkin please John.

    I must pick up some of these anyway actually, the reports of how good they are make them very tempting and I’m a sucker for a good novella.

  9. Yes I thought the Pushkin would be the runt of the litter myself, Max.

    You really should pick some of them up; and of course it soon becomes apparent, when you do, that one is simply not enough…

    Deb, thanks for the Howells recommendation.

    1. That John, is precisely my fear. I printed some titles from the website that looked promising, then realised that if I got them all I’d be down a hundred quid or so.

      They have made some excellent selections, my only hope was that physically they were disappointing. Sadly, it seems not so…

  10. Put me in the drawing for the William Dean Howells. I want to read him and would prefer a novella rather than a monster novel.

  11. I may as well throw my name in for the Howells book. I read his “Indian Summer” quite a number of years ago and was very impressed.

  12. Please may I have a place in the Henry James ha!t? Thanks truth be told I own no novellas so all would be welcome

  13. Well, as I’m an Australian I won’t put my name down, but I just had to add that I am a bit of a fan of novellas – not only because they are short and therefore you can read more of them, but because being short they often have to be tight and concentrated and, as a result, can have a read punch. My favourites include Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a death foretold, David Malouf’s Fly away Peter, and Elizabeth Jolley’s The newspaper of Claremont Street BUT there are so many great ones out there. I must look into this series and see whether we have them downunder.

    1. I just finished reading The Master and thought it was fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed reading Henry James, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy a book about him, since his life seemed so constrained. The Master made me understand the conflicting elements of James’ character–his emotional isolation and his desire, which he could never quite fulfill, for an emotional connection with others. Also, I loved how Toibin showed how seemingly incidental events would plant seeds that many years later would yield creative results. Such a good book, it made me re-read both The Golden Bowl and The Wings of the Dove.

      1. “loved how Toibin showed how seemingly incidental events would plant seeds that many years later would yield creative results.” – these are exactly my thoughts. And I’m surprised by how much Toibin can say without actually spelling out the truth.

  14. dear John,

    please put me down for May Day. i delayed reading Fitzgerald – now i can’t believe i wasted so much time. count this as my attempt to gain some back. . . .


  15. I would like to read Alexander Pushkin’s “Tales of Belkin”. Nice looking books too. I’ll be back to let you know what I thought of it, of course. Thanks for the blog.

  16. I bought one of these novellas last month–the Lemoine Affair.

    JS: Howells is one of those intriguing literary figures who drifted in the back ground of so many things. Re: Howells, I’d recommend The Rise of Silas Lapham.

  17. Hello – I’ll enter for the James please – thank you!

    It looks like a lovely series – thanks for bringing them to my attention…

  18. Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

    Great contest. By the way, I counted the entries so far (through Philip at 6:53pm):

    Fitzgerald: 7
    Howell: 13
    James: 10
    Johnson: 7…er, 8
    Pushkin: 10

    The tally had nothing to do with my choice, but I was curious. Seems Howell is the most popular. Small love for Fitzgerald?

    1. I chose to be entered in the WDH drawing because (1) he’s one of my favorite writers and (2) I didn’t think too many other people would choose him. Ha! I’m surprised–and, I must admit, pleased–that there seems to be some WDH love here. Fitzgerald doesn’t need any more champions. His legacy will be kept afloat by every high school kid who has to read The Great Gatsby. I’d love to see WDH experience a revival of interest in his work. When I was in high school (admittedly, a long, long time ago) we had to read The Rise of Silas Laphram. I don’t think that’s been required reading for decades.

  19. Thanks for doing the number-crunching, Kerry. I’m surprised too by how the votes have panned out, though I guess people may be saying they’d like to try someone less well known. I know that my next read from the series will be the Howells.

    1. Rest assured you shall be included Bren. Previous winners of draws have been in Malta and the US so a mere shot over the border would be no problem (plus these books are light so postage costs will be low).

  20. I haven’t got any of those so I’ll take anything that may come my way! 🙂

    But if I must pick one, I’ll go for the one with the most enigmatic title – A Sleep and A Forgetting.

  21. Sorry for the delay in putting the results up. The winners are:

    F. Scott Fitzgerald, May Day: giftsilverpoem
    William Dean Howells, A Sleep and a Forgetting: Anamika
    Henry James, The Coxon Fund: Mary
    Samuel Johnson, Rasselas: Sarah
    Alexander Pushkin, Tales of Belkin: Annabel

    Congratulations! I’ve emailed the winners so please let me have your address so that I can post your book to you.

    1. Darn! Congrats to the winners. Where’s the best place to purchase this rather delectable looking set from, John?

  22. Congratulations to the winners.

    John, you’ve inspired me to buy the Pushkin anyway, I’ll link here when I get round to blogging it since I probably wouldn’t have got it (at least anytime soon) but for your competition. I do hope those who win or who are similarly inspired to buy come back too, it would be fascinating to read people’s thoughts on these – though I fear the consequence will be my eventually buying all of them…

  23. Congrats to the winners and drats to me! John, you do realise the agonies I will now endure during this book-buying-embargo month, don’t you?

  24. Yes I do lizzy, and I can only apologise, particularly as it was your blog which first led me to the Art of the Novella series! If only you’d slipped me an appropriately sized bung, I could have fixed it for you.

  25. Message for Max:
    Everyman’s Library has a very reasonably priced edition of The Collected Stories of Pushkin and it includes The Tales of Belkin, The Captain’s Daughter and A History of Pugachev.

  26. The engineer in me wants to calculate how many people are requesting each book and then make my choice based on that. Sadly, the reader in me just wants to read that Fitzgerald. Reader: 1, engineer: 0.

  27. As you can see from the above, Anamika has now read A Sleep and a Forgetting and has written a very enticing review of it, which reminds me that I really want to read it…

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