From the editors of Penguin Books and Penguin Classics

“She saw in the rainbow the earth’s new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven.”

D. H. Lawrence, The Rainbow


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

Everyone seems to be abuzz over Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick, but how exactly did Knickerbocker become a popular term? In 1809, New Yorkers were all talking about a series of classified ads concerning the whereabouts of a Dutch historian named Diedrich Knickerbocker. The rub: Knickerbocker was Washington Irving’s ingenious invention, the narrator of his smash debut, A History of New York. In her introduction, Elizabeth Bradley explains, "New York is still imbued with Knickerbocker, even if most of its citizens no longer know who Diedrich Knickerbocker was.A consciousness of all things Knickerbocker hovers at the edges of the city’s everyday life."

“A mark of a classic, to me, is that we cannot really imagine it ever did not exist.”

Aimee Bender, from her introduction to James and the Giant Peach
Need something to read for Shark Week?
Might we recommend Peter Matthiessen’s Blue Meridian? Shark Week trades on great footage of sharks in their natural habitats, but it wasn’t always this easy to get a look. When Peter Gimbel went on a quest to capture the first footage of the great white shark (later to appear in the 1971 film Blue Water, White Death), he invited Matthiessen, one of the great travel/nature writers of our time, to chronicle the voyage. Blue Meridian is his account of that voyage, climaxing in a breathtaking sighting off the coast of Australia. To top it off, these events famously inspired Peter Benchley to write Jaws. We sadly lost Peter Matthiessen earlier this year, but he left an incredible legacy of both non-fiction and fiction, and if you’re looking for a great shark read you’d be well-served to start here!

Need something to read for Shark Week?

Might we recommend Peter Matthiessen’s Blue Meridian? Shark Week trades on great footage of sharks in their natural habitats, but it wasn’t always this easy to get a look. When Peter Gimbel went on a quest to capture the first footage of the great white shark (later to appear in the 1971 film Blue Water, White Death), he invited Matthiessen, one of the great travel/nature writers of our time, to chronicle the voyage. Blue Meridian is his account of that voyage, climaxing in a breathtaking sighting off the coast of Australia. To top it off, these events famously inspired Peter Benchley to write Jaws. We sadly lost Peter Matthiessen earlier this year, but he left an incredible legacy of both non-fiction and fiction, and if you’re looking for a great shark read you’d be well-served to start here!

Check out what’s new from Penguin Classics in August!

Essays in Idleness and Hojoki, Kenko and Chomei

Two works on life’s fleeting pleasures by medieval Japanese Buddhist monks, but each offering an opposing worldview. One withdraws from society to live a secluded life in the mountains; the other hold more fascination for worldly affairs. It’s a book both witty and wise, centered on the the small, quickly vanishing things we value.

The Book of Master Mo, Mo Zi

This is a complete text of the writings of Master Mo, an essential Chinese philosopher. Covering still-relevant topics like ethics, ancient warfare, anti-imperialism, and a political hierarchy based on merit, this new edition of his long-neglected work will go far towards advancing your understanding of ancient Chinese philosophy.

Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense: Collected Poems, Lewis Carroll

We previously published this in Coralie Bickford-Smith’s beautiful Hardcover Classic edition, and here is it now in paperback! Ali Smith (she of the painfully beautiful Artful) said, it “made me nearly fall off a chair laughing [and] leaves me seriously happy every time I open it.” Get ready for a plethora of brillig and slithy toves!

Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb, François-René de Chateaubriand

One of the single most important works of French nonfiction, Chateaubriand’s memoirs have finally been translated into English by Robert Baldick. Chateaubriand lived through some of the wildest moments in European history (Waterloo, the French Revolution, etc.) and his immensely entertaining autobiography gives us his unique take on all these events.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
“You couldn’t accuse Willie Wonka of being reasonable: in a world of children who’ve grown up too fast, he’s an adult who has somehow managed to hang on to his childishness. He’s the opposite of what you’ve been taught to expect from a mentor: where other writer supply their child heroes with grown-ups who teach them how to become grown-ups themselves, Willia Wonka is there to remind Charlie not to grow up too far or too fast.”
—Lev Grossman, from the introduction to our Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features cover art by award-winning cartoonist Ivan Brunetti.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

You couldn’t accuse Willie Wonka of being reasonable: in a world of children who’ve grown up too fast, he’s an adult who has somehow managed to hang on to his childishness. He’s the opposite of what you’ve been taught to expect from a mentor: where other writer supply their child heroes with grown-ups who teach them how to become grown-ups themselves, Willia Wonka is there to remind Charlie not to grow up too far or too fast.”

—Lev Grossman, from the introduction to our Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factorywhich features cover art by award-winning cartoonist Ivan Brunetti.

“People trying to attract the good will of a sovereign usually offer him something they care a lot about themselves, or something they’ve seen he particularly like. So rulers are always being given horses, arms, gold brocades, jewels and whatever finery seems appropriate. Eager myself to bring Your Highness some token of my loyalty, I realized there was nothing more precious or important to me than my knowledge of great men and their doings…”

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. Tim Parks)


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

vikingpenguinbooks:

hay gurl

Obviously this is our Penguin Classics photo of the week. How could we even possibly consider anything else?
Classics Photo of the Week | Tumblr is full of amazing images of Penguin Classics and each Thursday we select one of our favorites from the past week. Tag your photos as “Penguin Classics” so we don’t miss any!

vikingpenguinbooks:

hay gurl

Obviously this is our Penguin Classics photo of the week. How could we even possibly consider anything else?


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

Wilfrid Gibson, “Air-Raid”

Night shatters in mid-heaven:the bark of guns,
The roar of planes, the crash of bombs, and all
The unshackled sky pandemonium stuns
The senses to indifference, when a fall
Of masonry near by startles awake,
Tingling wide-eyed, prick-eared, with bristling hair,
Each sense within the body crouched aware
Like some sore-hunted creature in the brake.

Yet side by side we lie in the little room,
Just touching hands, with eyes and ears that strain
Keenly, yet dream-bewildered, through tense gloom,
Listening in helpless stupor of insane
Drugged nightmare panic fantastically wild,
To the quiet breathing of our sleeping child.


For the centenary of the Great War, every day this week we offer a poem in remembrance.

“One who sees former abodes,
Sees heavens and hells,
Who has reached the end of births,
Sage perfect in knowledge,
Who has perfected all perfections,
Him I call a Brahmin.”

The Dhammapada (trans. Valerie J. Roebuck)


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