Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Penguin Modern Classics 3 – French Classics

It has been decades since I last read most of the books in the Penguin Modern Classics series, so I can hardly remember what they were about. Whether I’ll ever get around to reading them again is questionable. Besides, having been tucked away on bookshelves for so many years, I dare say they would disintegrate upon opening; the glue that holds them together having well and truly dried out.

So first up in the French Modern Classics I present ancient paperbacks of Albert Camus. It’s amazing that I can still remember the opening sentences of The Outsider – “ Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure”

camus_outsider1970_jacques villon_r duchamp camus_plague1968_michael ayrton
1970 edition – cover “R. Duchamp” by Jacques Villon 1968 edition – cover by Michael Ayrton

Blaise Cedrars was Swiss born, but became a French citizen in 1916.  I have only one of his novels, that being  Moravagine.

cedrars_moragavine1979_thomas hafner_lucifer
1979 edition – cover “Lucifer” by Thomas Hafner

Two early modern classics by well known French luminaries, Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau and Ripening Seed by Colette. I have a large collection of Colette’s books in Penguin editions, but Ripening Seed appears to be the only one I have in the Modern Classics series.

cocteau_enfants1964 colette_ripening seed1961
1964 edition – cover image by Jean Cocteau 1961 Edition – no image credit


I must admit that the next book, Le Grand Meaulnes, the sole novel of Alain-Fournier, was a great favourite of mine when I was in my early twenties. It is one book I really must reread before I die.

I also have a hard cover edition (in French) with a lengthy introduction and biography of Fournier (in English) by Robert Gibson.

fournier_mealnes1970_sisley_small meadows in spring
1970 edition – cover “Small Meadows in Spring” by Alfred Sisley

The novels of André Gide are well represented in the Penguin Classics series and I appear to have four of them.

gide_immoralist1968_van dongen_les fellans gide_pastorale1967_giovanni thermes
1968 edition – cover “Les Fellans” by Van Dongen 1967 edition – cover by Giovanni Thermes
gide_straight1974_matisse_the reader gide_vatican cellars1969_t garbari_the intellectuals
1974 edition- cover “The Reader” by Matisse 1969 edition – cover “The Intellectuals” by T Garbari

Thérèse (Desqueyroux) is Francois Mauriac’s best known novel, chiefly for its unusual structure, which uses internal monologues to illuminate the thoughts of the characters.

Raymond Radiguet died at the young age of 20, but authored the scandalous (at the time) novel, Devil In The Flesh. Penguin included it their modern classics series in 1971.

mauriac_therese1975_chaime soutine_paysage avec personnage allonge radiguet_devil1971_lithograph_valentine hugo
1975 edition – cover “Paysage avec personnage allonge” by Chaime Soutine 1971 edition – cover Lithograph by Valentine Hugo

And finally for French Modern Classics, Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of the The Little Prince.

saint exupery_wind sand stars1969_arabian american oil company
1969 edition – cover photo from Arabian American Oil Company

Next I’ll tackle German modern classics.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Penguin Modern Classics 2–English Classics 2

I first discovered the writings of Mervyn Peake when Penguin published Titus Groan and Gormenghast in the Penguin Modern Classics series in the late 1960s. It was love at first read, and I went on to collect as many of his books that were available at the time and during the 1970s. Titus Alone was published slightly later in 1970 by Penguin.

peake_titus groan1973 peake_gormenghast1969
1969 edition – cover “Fuschia by Mervyn Peake 1969 edition – cover “Steerpike & Banrquentine” by Mervyn Peake

peake_titus alone1970
1970 edition – cover “Irma Prunesquallor” by Peake

I have earlier displayed my diversely published collection of books by John Cowper Powys, and here’s another one – Wolf Solent, the book that put him on the literary map in the late 1920s.

The Green Child is the only completed novel by literature and art critic, Herbert Read, and is a  mysterious political fantasy.

powys_wolf solent1976_graham sutherland_entrance to a lane read_green child1969_ernst_eye of silence
1976 edition – cover “Entrance to a Lane” by Graham Sutherland 1969 edition – cover “The Eye of Silence” by Max Ernst

Stevie Smith was a friend of George Orwell and purportedly based two of the  male characters in her Novel on Yellow Paper on different aspects of his personality.

smith_novel_1972_self portrait
1972 edition – cover “Self Portrait” by the author

Lytton Strachey was of course one of the Bloomsbury Set and penned a number of biographies of famous historical figures. I have two of them…

strachey_elizabeth and essex_qe portrait c1593 strachey_victorians1975_j barrettflorence nightingale
1975 edition – cover “Queen Elizabeth 1 Portrait” c1593 1975 edition – cover “Florence Nightingale” by J Barrett


Evelyn Waugh is represented in my library by two books, both satires – The Loved One about the funeral business, and Scoop, a satire on sensationalist journalism.

waugh_loved one1969_magritte_balcony of manet waugh_scoop1969_quentin blake
1969 edition – cover “Balcony of Manet” by Magritte 1969 edition – cover by Quentin Blake


I am currently reading Helen MacDonald’s wonderful memoir
H is for Hawk which recently won the Samuel Johnson Prize for non fiction. Not only is the book about the training of her Goshawk, Mabel, she also muses on the sad life of T H White and his book on the same subject. T H White is famous for his collection of Arthurian novels assembled as The Once and Future King.

white_goshawk1970_engraving by brodrick
1970 edition – cover is an engraving by Broderick

Finally for the English authored Penguin Modern Classics, four novels by notable Bloomsbury Group member, Virginia Woolf.

woolf_lighthouse1966_ceri richards_red skirt woolf_room1974_augustus john_gwen john
1966 edition – cover “Red Skirt” by Ceri Richards 1974 edition – cover “Gwen John” by Augustus John
woolf_waves1964_vanessa bell. woolf_years1968_gwen john_self portrait

1964 edition – cover “Virginia Woolf” by Vanessa Bell

1968 edition – cover “Self Portrait” by Gwen John

Coming next – French modern classics

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Penguin Modern Classics 1–English Classics 1

Now I’ve got back into posting, today I bring you the first of the Penguin Modern Classics.

I decided to display them by author nationality, so to start off  I present English modern classics.

The first in alphabetical order are two books by Arnold Bennett  set in his birth place in the “Potteries” district of Staffordshire.

bennett_anna1967_victor skellern_impressions of the potteries the 1930s bennett_grim smile1971_victor skellern
1967 edition - Victor Skellern – Impressions of the potteries in the 1930s 1971 edition – Victor Skellern

Next, the wonderfully exuberant novel about itinerant  artist, Gulley Jimson, titled The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary.

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1967 edition – cover “Desire” by Stanley Spencer

Two diverse novels, one by Ivy Compton BurnettA Family and a Fortune – a domestic drama, and the other a war memoir by Keith Douglas, titled  Alamein To Zem Zem

compton burnett_family1962_robin jacques douglas_alamein1969_shapes of derelicts
1962 edition – cover by Robin Jacques 1969 edition – cover art by Douglas “Shapes of Derelicts”

Ford Maddox Ford’s tetralogy Parade’s End also relates to the second world war and has been called “the best fictional treatment of war in the history of the novel”. It was made into a TV series in 2012.

1982 Edition – cover “The Dispatch” (The Captain’s Dugout)  by Marjorie Watherston

Next three novels by E M ForsterWhere Angel’s Fear To Tread, Howard’s End and A Passage to India.

forster_india1965_david gentleman forster_howards end1973_edward de bas_interior
1965 edition – cover by David Gentleman 1973 edition – cover “Interior” by Edward De Bas 

forster_angels1973_augustus john_marchesa casati 
1973 edition – cover “Marchesa Casati” by Augustus John

Coincidently the next two novels  are about children  in unusually liberating  environments – Lord of The Flies by William Golding and Richard Hughes’ wonderful A High Wind In Jamaica, both with great covers.

golding_lord of the flies1967_yves tanguy_transparent ones hughes_high wind1971_lt caddy_view of roseau dominica
1967 edition – cover “The Transparent Ones” by Yves Tanguy 1971 edition – cover “View of Roseau Dominica” by I T Caddy

Aldous Huxley’s first novel was Crome Yellow in which, so I learn, there are intimations of what was become Brave New World.

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1969 edition – cover “Froanna” by Wyndham Lewis

To follow, Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood and Arthur Koestler’s Arrival and Departure.

isherwood_mr norris1973_ernst ludwig kirchner_portrait of graf koestler_arrivaland departure
1973 edition – cover “Portrait of Graf” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1984 edition – cover byKevin Grey

Two novels by women, Rosamond Lehmann’s The Echoing Grove and Olivia by Olivia,  the pseudonym of Lytton Strachey’s sister Dorothy. Interestingly both these novelists had connections to the Bloomsbury Group.

lehmann_echoing grove olivia_olivia_vuillard_lelit1966
1981 edition – cover “The Tea Table” by Edward Le Bas 1966 edition – cover “Le Lit” by Vuillard

I don’t have  George Orwell’s most famous novel 1984  in a Penguin Modern Classics edition,  but I do have Animal Farm with a great cover illustrated by Paul Hogarth.

orwell_animal farm1968_paul hogarth

1968 edition – cover by Paul Hogarth

Next post – continuing Penguin Modern Classics – English authors P to W.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Penguin Books–Penguin English Library

If there’s still anyone out there who still reads this blog, my apologies for the hiatus in posts that extend to two and half years.

I’ve had good intentions of reviving Eye Candy For Bibliophiles, but somehow never got around to composing fresh posts.

Good news! I’ve been scanning books over the past week or so, and have finally scanned most of the Penguin books in my library as well as  the remainder of  books in the general fiction and non fiction categories.

So to get back into the swing of things, I’ll start off with my small collection of books in the Penguin English Library category.  They date from the 1960s to 1980s.

Penguin has recently revamped the Penguin English Library with new covers and includes authors omitted in the first series.

In alphabetical order, Jane Austen is first…

austen_emma1966 austen_ladysusan1974
1966 Edition – no image credit 1974 edition  –Plate from Heideloff’s Gallery of Fashion1797-78
austen_mansfieldpark1966 austen_persuasion1965
1966 Edition – no image credit 1965 Edition – no image credit

austen_prideand prejudice1980

1980 Edition – Portrait of Lady Colville by Henry Raeburn

..then come the Brontes.

bronte_jane_eyre1966 bronte_wuthering1964
1966 Edition – portrait of Charlotte Bronte 1961 Edition – artist Paul Hogarth


1966 Edition – illustration by JWM Turner

dequincey_opiumeater1971 dickens_great expectations1973
1971 edition – Chinoiserie at Brighton Pavilion 1973 edition – A Country Blacksmith by Turner
eliot_middlemarch1965 gothic_1968
1965 edition – no image credit 1968 edition – The Nightmare by Fuseli
hardy_tess1981 JacobeanTragedies1965
1981 edition – Stonehenge by Turner 1965 edition – no image credit


1967 Edition – no image credit

poe_writings1967 swift_gulliver1967
1967 edition – no image credit 1967 edition – no image credit
twain_huckfinn1972 twain_puddnhead1969
1972 edition – detail from Currie & Ivers print in the Mausell Collection 1969 edition – no image credit
thackeray_henry esmond1970 webster_plays1972
1970 edition – no image credit 1972 edition – portrait of a woman by Allesandro

Next up I will show my collection from the Penguin Modern Classics series of the 1960s & 70s.