Penguin prepares 80p short classics range

Penguin prepares 80p short classics range

Penguin will launch a new range of short classics, priced at 80p each, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books.

The 80 titles in the Little Black Classics range, released in February 2015, include short stories, poetry, essays, drama and histories, all complete and unabridged, running to 64 pages apiece.

Penguin described the series as “beautifully designed, complete mini books to be collected, shared and enjoyed”, adding that the titles showcase the “enormous range and diversity of the world-renowned Penguin Classics list . . . across continents, eras and genres.”

Among the Little Black Classics will be “unfamiliar works from very familiar authors”, including Jane Austen’s The Beautifull Cassandra, Charles Dickens’ The Great Winglebury Duel, John Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes, and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.

“Surprising” writers on the list include composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; My Dearest Father is a collection of the composer’s personal correspondence with his father.

The list features 48 translated texts—from languages including Persian, Chinese, Greek, Russian and Arabic—including Virgil’s O Cruel Alexis and 17th-century Chinese writer Pu Songling’s Wailing Ghosts.

Simon Winder, publishing director of Penguin Classics, said: “Our hope is that everyone looking at the Little Black Classics will notice and enjoy quite different things, but also that they will trust the series enough to try things they have never heard of.”

Winder chose the texts, along with editors Jessica Harrison, Marina Kemp and Cecilia Stein.

Jim Stoddart, art director at Penguin Press, said: “The design of the Little Black Classics chimes with Penguin’s heritage. The white panel across the middle and the centred tiling is a friendly wink to the original tri-band look of the 1930s and 1940s.”