From the editors of Penguin Books and Penguin Classics

“The schoolhouse being deserted, soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue; and the plough boy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.”

 Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"


Friday Final Lines | Every Friday, we offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic to finish up the workweek.

“I suppose that is the thing about New York. It is always a little more than you had hoped for. Each day, there is so definitely a new day. ‘Now we’ll start all over,’ it seems to say every morning, ‘and come on, let’s hurry like anything.’ London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something particularly good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it. There is excitement every running its streets. Each day, as you go out, you feel the little nervous quiver that is yours when you sit in a theater just before the curtain rises. Other places may give you a sweet and soothing sense of level; but in New York there is always the feeling of ‘Something’s going to happen.’ It isn’t peace. But you know, you do get used to peace, and so quickly. And you never get used to New York.”

Dorothy Parker, "My Hometown"

On September 11th, please take a moment to remember all those lost in New York, as well as in Washington and Pennsylvania.

Did the Google Doodle in honor of Tolstoy’s 186th birthday look familiar? That might be because the artist, Roman Muradov, also did our Dubliners Centennial edition! Here’s what he had to say about Tolstoy and Joyce:

I hardly need to say that making a tribute to Leo Tolstoy was a daunting task. No set of images can sum up a body of work so astonishing in scope, complexity, and vigor—its memorable scenes come to life with seeming effortlessness, fully realized in the immortal lines and between them. Tolstoy’s lasting influence is a testament to the power of his art, which will remain relevant as long as the questions of life and death occupy our minds, which is to say – forever.

Recently I designed and illustrated the Centennial Edition of James Joyce’s Dubliners for Penguin Classics, which was a similarly challenging assignment. I felt that the only way to do justice to a book like Dubliners was to imitate some of the author’s literary techniques in visual form. I froze the crowd on the cover between movement and paralysis, played with less obvious links between the stories, in short tried to evoke the atmosphere of the stories without giving away too much of the narrative or details.

Over the decades since his death in 1986, Borges’ global stature has continued to grow. “Today one could consider Borges the most important writer of the 20th Century,” says Suzanne Jill Levine, translator and general editor of the Penguin Classics five-volume Borges series. Why? “Because he created a new literary continent between North and South America, between Europe and America, between old worlds and modernity. In creating the most original writing of his time, Borges taught us that nothing is new, that creation is recreation, that we are all one contradictory mind, connected amongst each other and through time and space, that human beings are not only fiction makers but are fictions themselves, that everything we think or perceive is fiction, that every corner of knowledge is a fiction.”

The BBC asks, “Is Borges the 20th Century’s most important writer?”

“Buddha means the awakened one. Until recently most people thought of Buddha as a big fat rococo sitting figure with his belly out, laughing, as represented in millions of tourist trinkets and dime store statuettes here in the western world. People didn’t know that the actual Buddha was a handsome young prince who suddenly began brooding in his father’s palace, at the age of 29, till finally and emphatically he threw up his hands and rode out to the forest on his war horse and cut off his long golden hair with his sword and sat down with the holy men of the India of his day and died at the age of 80 a lean venerable wanderer of ancient roads and elephant woods. This man was no slob-like figure of mirth, but a serious and tragic prophet, the Jesus Christ of India and almost all Asia.”

Jack Kerouac, Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha


Monday First Lines | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week.

“Most of the characters that perform in this book still live, and are prosperous and happy. Some day it may seem worth while to take up the story of the younger ones again and see what sort of men and women they turned out to be; therefore it will be wisest not to reveal any of that part of their lives at present.”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


Friday Final Lines | Every Friday, we offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic to finish up the workweek.

SIMENON REDUX: MAIGRET ON FILM

Last year, Anthology Film Archive ran a great series of films based on Georges Simenon’s work. This weekend, they’re doing it again! In timing with Penguin’s new translations of Simenon’s work and the 25th anniversary of Simenon’s death of September 4th, they’ll be screening Jean Renoir’s Night at the Crossroads (with a conversation between Simenon’s son and his biographer!), Julien Duvivier’s A Man’s Neck, and Maurice Tourneur’s Cecile is Dead!

Head over to the Anthology Film Archive website for more info and schedules and don’t forget to brush on your Simenon, starting with Linda Coverdale’s new translation of one of the great Maigret novels (and movies), Night at the Crossroads.

Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy the last weekend at the beach and your last chance to wear white, but don’t forget to take a minute to think about what today means. Plenty of great reading options: Steinbeck, Zola, Sinclair’s The Jungle, and James’s The Princess Casamassina. For something a little different, check out Ernest Poole’s The Harbor. Poole, the first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, writes about the plight of Billy, an aspiring writer torn between sympathy for the working class with an appreciation of middle class social mobility. It’s an incendiary documentation of labor relations by an all-too-underappreciated figure in 20th-century American fiction.

Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy the last weekend at the beach and your last chance to wear white, but don’t forget to take a minute to think about what today means. Plenty of great reading options: Steinbeck, Zola, Sinclair’s The Jungle, and James’s The Princess Casamassina. For something a little different, check out Ernest Poole’s The HarborPoole, the first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, writes about the plight of Billy, an aspiring writer torn between sympathy for the working class with an appreciation of middle class social mobility. It’s an incendiary documentation of labor relations by an all-too-underappreciated figure in 20th-century American fiction.

kalebattle:

They arrived today.

I didn’t realize that each book comes with a bookmark attached to the dust jacket. They’re beautiful, but I don’t know if I have the guts to detach them!

Epic photoset. Sometimes an artist just gets it right. Coralie Bickford-Smith just got it right on these. Beautiful books.


Classics Photo of the Week | Tumblr is full of amazing images of Penguin Classics. so each week we select one of our favorites. Tag your photos as “Penguin Classics” so we don’t miss any!

“In one of these houses, Tukten said, he would be staying with his father’s sister. Accosting inhabitants, calling his name, I walk my bicycle round and round the square, under the huge painted eyes, the nose like a great question mark, the wind-snapped pennants—Tukten? Tukten? But there is no answer, no one knows of Tukten Sherpa. Under the Bodhi Eye, I get on my bicycle again and return along gray December roads to Kathmandu.”

Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard


Friday Final Lines | Every Friday, we offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic to finish up the workweek.