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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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1966 edition – cover “Red Skirt” by Ceri Richards 1974 edition – cover “Gwen John” by Augustus John
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1964 edition – cover “Virginia Woolf” by Vanessa Bell

1968 edition – cover “Self Portrait” by Gwen John

Coming next – French modern classics

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