Classics

Classics are books that are as relevant and popular now as in their own era. Have a glance through history when you scroll through our selection of time-tested Classics. You might re-discover a forgotten gem!

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

Author: Henry Gilbert Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2021

Part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection (a series of 15 classics for all ages), this new gift edition of Robin Hood is resplendent with embossed gold foiling and an attractive bespoke cover illustration. If you’ve yet to read it, now’s your chance to enjoy a stunning edition at an attractive price. What’s more, Robin’s action-packed escapades are perfect for sharing aloud with the young adventurers in your life. Henry Gilbert’s story of legendary English outlaw Robin Hood has entertained and enthralled since it was first published back in 1819. In all likelihood, though, most people have encountered this champion of the poor through films or TV, so now’s your chance to enjoy the story in written form. As for that story, Robin is the arguably the world’s best-loved outlaw whose adventures with the Merry Men of Sherwood, Maid Marian, good King Richard (and encounters with enemies Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham) have inspired writers for centuries. It’s an archetypal tale of goodies versus baddies here delivered in a spirit of derring-do.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Author: L Frank Baum Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2021

Part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection (a series of 15 classics for all ages), this new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz also includes LF Baum’s Glinda of Oz, the final book in the series in which Dorothy and Princess Ozma see Glinda's help after finding themselves in danger on the Magic Isle of the Skeezers. At £3.99, and featuring a gorgeous gold-foiled cover with enchanting artwork, this edition makes a great, affordable gift, or a treat for yourself if you’ve yet to read the book. We’ve all seen the movie, but returning to its source - this timeless tale of recognising the attributes, skills and magic that lies within yourself - comes highly recommended. There’s a reason movie-makers took inspiration from it, and this new edition is the perfect way to do the same yourself.  While reading the book, it’s worth considering the alleged political undertones of the story - the author was a political activist in the 1890s, and especially interested in the monetary standard of gold and silver. As a result, it’s been asserted that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written as an allegory about the demonetisation of silver, with the tornado symbolising economic upheaval, the yellow brick road symbolising the gold standard, and Dorothy's silver shoes symbolising the pro-silver movement. Yep, you read that right - in the book, her ruby slippers are silver. Film-makers made them red so they'd show up more strikingly against the yellow brick road.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Author: L Frank Baum Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2021

Part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection (a series of 15 classics for all ages), this new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz also includes LF Baum’s Glinda of Oz, the final book in the series in which Dorothy and Princess Ozma see Glinda's help after finding themselves in danger on the Magic Isle of the Skeezers. At £3.99, and featuring a gorgeous gold-foiled cover with enchanting artwork, this edition makes a great, affordable gift, or a treat for yourself if you’ve yet to read the book. We’ve all seen the movie, but returning to its source - this timeless tale of recognising the attributes, skills and magic that lies within yourself - comes highly recommended. There’s a reason movie-makers took inspiration from it, and this new edition is the perfect way to do the same yourself.  While reading the book, it’s worth considering the alleged political undertones of the story - the author was a political activist in the 1890s, and especially interested in the monetary standard of gold and silver. As a result, it’s been asserted that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written as an allegory about the demonetisation of silver, with the tornado symbolising economic upheaval, the yellow brick road symbolising the gold standard, and Dorothy's silver shoes symbolising the pro-silver movement. Yep, you read that right - in the book, her ruby slippers are silver. Film-makers made them red so they'd show up more strikingly against the yellow brick road.

In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way

In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way

Author: Marcel Proust Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/06/2021

With its sweeping digressions into the past and reflections on the nature of memory, Proust's oceanic novel In Search of Lost Time looms over twentieth-century literature as one of the greatest, yet most endlessly challenging, literary experiences. Influencing writers like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, and even anticipating Albert Einstein in its philosophical explorations of space and time, In Search of Lost Time is a monumental achievement and reading it is a rite of passage for any serious lover of literature. Now, in what renowned translator Arthur Goldhammer says might be likened to a piano reduction of an orchestral score, the French illustrator Stephane Heuet re-presents Proust in graphic form for anyone who has always dreamed of reading him but was put off by the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. This New York Times best-selling graphic adaptation reveals the fundamental architecture of Proust's work while displaying a remarkable fidelity to his language as well as the novel's themes of time, art, and the elusiveness of memory. As Goldhammer writes in his introduction, The reader new to Proust must attend closely, even in this compressed rendering, to the novel's circling rhythms and abrupt cross-cuts between different places and times. But this necessary attentiveness is abetted and facilitated by the compactness of the graphic format. In this first volume, Swann's Way, the narrator Marcel, an aspiring writer, recalls his childhood when-in a now-immortal moment in literature-the taste of a madeleine cake dipped in tea unleashes a torrent of memories about his family's country home in the town of Combray. Here, Heuet and Goldhammer use Proust's own famously rich and labyrinthine sentences and discerning observations to render Combray like never before. From the water lilies of the Vivonne to the steeple and stained glass of the town church, Proust's language provides the blueprint for Heuet's illustrations. Heuet and Goldhammer also capture Proust's humor, wit, and sometimes scathing portrayals of Combray's many memorable inhabitants, like the lovelorn Charles Swann and the object of his affection and torment, Odette de Crecy; Swann's daughter, Gilberte; local aristocrat the Duchesse de Guermantes; the narrator's uncle Adolphe; and the hypochondriac Aunt Leonie. Including a Proust family tree, a glossary of terms, and a map of Paris, this graphic adaptation is a surprising and useful companion piece to Proust's masterpiece for both the initiated and those seeking an introduction.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Author: Victor Hugo Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

A fine exclusive edition of one of literature's most beloved stories. Featuring a laser-cut jacket on a textured book with foil stamping, all titles in this series will be first editions. No more than 10,000 copies will be printed, and each will be individually numbered from 1 to 10,000. It was one of those spring days which possesses so much sweetness and beauty, that all Paris turns out into the squares and promenades and celebrates them as though they were Sundays. A mad priest, a vagabond playwright, a social-climbing soldier, and a misshapen bell-ringer-all are captivated and intrigued by a gypsy girl's beauty and charm. Who will betray her, and who will remain loyal, even beneath the shadow of the gallows? This motley group of outlaws finds sanctuary within the walls of medieval Paris' greatest monument, the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and London

Author: George Orwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

Three francs will feed you till tomorrow, and you cannot think further than that... As a young man struggling to find his voice as a writer, George Orwell left the comfort of home to live in the impoverished working districts of Paris and London. He would document both the chaos and boredom of destitution, the eccentric cast of characters he encountered, and the near-constant pains of hunger and discomfort. Exposing the grim reality of a life marred by poverty, Down and Out in Paris and London, part memoir, part social commentary, would become George Orwell's first published work.

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm

Author: Stella Gibbons, Lynne Truss Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/01/2020

Playful and ironic, witty and warm-hearted, Stella Gibbons gives us her debut novel and the masterpiece that is Cold Comfort Farm. When sophisticated and educated socialite Flora Poste is orphaned at 19 with little income, she descends upon her relatives the gloomy Starkadders in deepest rural Sussex. A veritable bunch of misfits with melodrama galore, the family is taken under the wing of Flora as she looks to release everyone and everything from the clutches of her Aunt Ada Doom and fix their social, sexual and psychological issues. A brilliantly funny tale. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans

Author: James Fenimore Cooper Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/07/2019

If you have watched the film, then forget all you know! For me, the film came first, then I read the book and the two are as different as different could be. This is actually the second book in the Leatherstocking Tales written by Cooper. Just one piece of advice, remember that The Last of the Mohicans was written in 1826, and set some 75 years before that, so there are parts that will likely make you squirm. This is a trip into the past and all that goes with the mindset of those times. Having said that, I find this book endlessly fascinating and yes, I would recommend it. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.  

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

Author: E M Forster Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/07/2019

Captivating, stimulating, and written with the lightest and wittiest of touches. E. M. Forster not only transported me to another place, he also opened my eyes to the times and made me smile. I think I quite possibly discovered my love for Italy having read A Room with a View as a teenager. The characters pop with such vivid intensity, and Italy, well I felt as though Italy was performing just for me. A Room with a View is a beautifully entertaining and lovely romance, with just a little bite. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

The Waves

The Waves

Author: Virginia Woolf, Kate Flint, Kate Flint Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2019

A formally innovative work of modernist fiction, Virginia Woolf's The Waves is edited with an introduction by Kate Flint in Penguin Modern Classics. More than any of Virginia Woolf's other novels, The Waves conveys the full complexity and richness of human experience. Tracing the lives of a group of friends, The Waves follows their development from childhood to youth and middle age. While social events, individual achievements and disappointments form its narrative, the novel is most remarkable for the rich poetic language that expresses the inner life of its characters: their aspirations, their triumphs and regrets, their awareness of unity and isolation. Separately and together, they query the relationship of past to present, and the meaning of life itself. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers, which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed The Waves, you might like Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A book of great beauty and a prose poem of genius' Stephen Spender 'Full of sensuous touches ... the sounds of her words can be velvet on the page' Maggie Gee, Daily Telegraph

The Daniel Defoe BBC radio drama collection

The Daniel Defoe BBC radio drama collection

Author: Daniel Defoe and Phillip Palmer Format: Audiobook Release Date: 03/01/2019

Three lively retellings of Daniel Defoe's classic novels, plus two bonus programmes about his extraordinary life and far-reaching influence. Robinson Crusoe and his Farther Adventures An imaginative blend of the famous castaway tale and its lesser-known sequel, this thrilling drama sees Crusoe setting sail for the far north. Facing danger in the Siberian wastes, he keeps terror at bay by telling his companions campfire tales of his many adventures on his beloved island. Starring Tim McInnerney as Crusoe. Moll Flanders When Daniel Defoe meets Elizabeth Atkins in Newgate jail, she recounts her stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches life that took her from prostitution to prosperity - but culminated in destitution. Inspired, Defoe mixes fact and fiction to re-invent her as one of his most engaging characters: Moll Flanders. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Jessica Hynes as Elizabeth Atkins. A Journal of the Plague Year Writing a fictional journal of the Great Plague of 1665, Defoe soon comes to be haunted by the characters he is conjuring. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe. This exciting new collection of reinvented tales will also include two bonus programmes about Daniel Defoe himself:Defoe: Merchant, Writer, Convict, Spy by Philip Palmer - A biographical drama about Defoe's life, starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Niamh Cusack as his wife Mary. Defoe: The Facts and Fictions - A documentary by Mark Lawson, exploring the far-reaching influence of the pioneering author.

Audiobooks of the Month
(L'Etranger) The Outsider

(L'Etranger) The Outsider

Author: Albert Camus Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/09/2018

Camus' sparse parable about the human condition is one of the great stories of the 20th Century, here adapted for the stage by Booker prize winner Ben Okri. A faceless man who can no longer pretend, Mersault commits a senseless murder under the glare of the Algerian sun. On trial he feels distanced from proceedings, he is castigated for not expressing remorse, for not crying at his mother's funeral, and is forced to confront the hypocrisy and injustice of society. In an age where we are being increasingly told what to feel, The Outsider is a blast of uncompromising honesty. Albert Camus, French novelist, essayist, philosopher and Nobel laureate, was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. Ben Okri, author of The Famished Road, is one of contemporary literature's most important writers. This adaption brings them together for a rare dramatisation of one of modern literature's most celebrated works.