Classics

Penguins, Green

Penguin has released a new series of cheap and cheerful classics. I think I have raved about the ingenuity of the reissuing of the Orange classic series before and bringing long forgotten classics back to the mass market. It’s also nice to see Penguin continue to embody the company’s original idea that good literature should be accessible to all. I just love how they freshen up the old titles. The new Green series harks back to the original Green crime series. The titles all look amazing and, of course, those lovely looking green spines wouldn’t look too shaby on my bookcase next to the numerous Orange Penguins I have collected. First off my list to purchase will be this:

greenpenguin

 

I read it awhile ago after a serious hunt and sourced it at a library. That copy was old, dusty and smelled a little mouldy. It was a wonderful read and now it will be great to own a copy too. You can find the complete list of the fifty titles here.

(Disclaimer: It looks like I’m raving a lot about Penguin but this isn’t a paid advertisement. I just really love how they keep invigorating old Classics!)

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New Orange Penguins

The titles of the next batch of the popular Orange Penguins have been released! There are 75 titles this time in celebration of Penguin’s 75th year. They all look so exciting and I want so many of them already. I’m a bit disappointed that they’re publishing The Wizard of Oz and  Nausea after all the trouble I went to find them and have just recently bought them! Also delighted, but also very annoyed, that Shirley Jackson is being published too along with M.J. Hyland’s debut novel (which I also just got).

I’m pretty excited that they’re publishing Muriel Spark since I’ve heard many positive reviews of her writing on other blogs. The list is quite inspiring and I love it. There’s a few F. Scott Fitzgeralds, Kafkas, interesting inclusions of writings by Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol, plays and some excellent Australian writing.

At the moment, there doesn’t seem to a list up and only a video which is slightly annoying. You can view it here:

I’ve listed them here but I can’t make out some authors.

  • The Wizard of Oz – Frank L Baum
  • Foe – J.M. Coetzee
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • The Prophet
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps
  • One Hundred Great Books in Haiku
  • The Invisible Man
  • Obernewtyn
  • The Lady in the Lake – Raymond Chandler
  • Seven Little Australians
  • Poems – Michael Leunig
  • The Little Prince
  • Our Sunshine – Robert Drewe
  • Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
  • Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  • Three Tales from the Arabian Nights
  • I Can Jump Puddles – Alan Marshall
  • It’s Raining in Mango – Thea Astley
  • Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
  • The Psychology of Love
  • The Ghost Road – Pat Barker
  • Washington Square – Henry James
  • The Trial – Franz Kafka
  • Therese Raquin – Emile Zola
  • Hamlet
  • How the Light Gets In – M.J. Hyland
  • The Go-Between – L.P. Priestly? Hartley?
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • On Natural Selection – Charles Darwin
  • Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
  • Howl, Kaddish and other poems – Allen Ginsberg
  • The Shiralee – D’arcy Niland
  • Beowulf
  • Postcards from Surfers – Helen Garner
  • From Russia with Love – Ian Flemming
  • Hard Times -Charles Dickens
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
  • The Sheltering Sky – Paul Bowles
  • Civilisation and its Discontents – Sigmund Freud
  • The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx (what about Engles?)
  • Raffles
  • Nausea
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Philosophy of Andy Warhol – Andy Warhol
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
  • The Lost Estate – … Alain-Fournier
  • Hedda Gabler and other plays – Henrik Ibsen
  • How we are Hungry
  • Confessions of an English Opium Eater – Thomas de Quincy
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Selected Poems – John Keats
  • Book of Longing – Leonard Cohen
  • The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • In the Winter Dark – Tim Winton
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  • Surrender – Sonya Hartnett
  • The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Playing Beatie Bow – Ruth Park
  • The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Periodic Table
  • The Happy Prince and other stories
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  • Around the World in Eighty Days
  • The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
  • Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
  • Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
  • To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Inferno  – Dante

Edit: Penguin has put up the official list. And also thanks to Dominique for posting the link to the list earlier. It’s pretty exciting!

What do you think of the list?

Review: “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James

I sobbed in despair: ‘I don’t save or shield them! It’s far worse than I dreamed. They’re lost!’

Henry James’ curious gothic short story remains very ambiguous. More well known for his novels than short stories, exploration of women and society rather than gothic, horror tales, this short story shows a lesser known side of James. Turn of the Screw is told to an unknown narrator while he is staying in an hotel. The story survives in an old journal that once belonged to the young governess who is now long dead. It is her tale that we hear.

Taking up a governess position in the isolated country side, she is placed in charge of two young children who have been recently orphaned. The children’s guardian, their uncle, while generous with his wages and flexibility to the young governess has one condition – that the governess must never bother him with anything and that she should deal with everything as she sees fit. Once installed in the isolated mansion, the governess (who remains unnamed) suspects that something sinister has taken place on the grounds. She instantly falls in love with her young charges, Flora and Miles, who appear to be the most beautiful and angelic children. However, the governess soon realises that they are haunted by Miss Jessel, the previous governess, and Peter Quint, a previous groundsman.

Turn of the Screw is unlike any other gothic, horror story I’ve read. There’s the suspense and the chills and thrills but the horror is what you imagine yourself. The ambiguity throughout the story, with James refusing to spell out in detail what the exact horrors are, keeps the suspense up. While it is short story, the writing is very dense and intense and it seems so much more than a short tale. Character’s are so in-depth that I didn’t realise that the governess remains nameless! It is, however, not an easy read but it is one of those tales that I will go back to from time to time in order to gain new understanding.

Penguin/Bill Amberg Leather Classics

Penguin has teamed up with Bill Amberg to design and release six Penguin classics with beautiful cream leather covers. I didn’t know who or what Bill Amberg is so I googled him and it’s a leather goods brand for those who aren’t in the know.

The books, from what I can see on the Penguin website ,are:

1. Evelyn Waugh “Brideshead Revisited”

2. Raymond Chandler “The Big Sleep”

3. Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

4. E.M Forster “A Room with a View”

5. F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”

6. Truman Capote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

I wonder what the price are for these though and whether Bill Amberg played a role in choosing the titles. They’re highly tempting and they are released just in time for Christmas this year. I wish they did “Jane Eyre” though, because I would definitely buy that. I love Penguin – and I love how they are always invigorating and putting out new designs for the classics and never letting them sit on the backburner.

Would you buy these books?