Welcome to the Penguin Classics newsletter for March 2011. Read on for Victorian poetry, Modern essays, Big Smoke detectives and small town antics...
Spunyarn: Sea Poetry and Prose
by John Masefield
'I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by'
Everyone loves a bit of Victorian melodrama, and John Masefield
's life story has it in spades. Orphaned at a young age (his father had died in a mental asylum), he was packed off to sea by his aunt at the age of just thirteen and forced to make his way in the world. His experiences on board the 'rotten' and 'infamous' HMS Conway provide the basis for this wonderful collection
of poems, short stories and autobiographical extracts, which tell of fearsome storms, grizzled sailors and ghostly spirits beneath the waves...
Jessica Harrison, Penguin Classics Editor
Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and Other Essays
'Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel - only worse'. Sometimes you encounter a writer who makes you realize that everyone else who followed in their wake really is just a pale imitation. Gay Talese
is such a writer. His legendary 1966 Esquire
article on a morose, cold-addled Frank Sinatra taking his unhappiness out on his flunkies - written after Talese unsuccessfully pursued his subject for three months - raised reporting to a whole new art form and pioneered what is now known as New Journalism. It's an incredible piece, and is joined in this new selection
by equally iconic writings on, among others, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro and Peter O'Toole, all immortalized in Talese's silky, rich and immaculately crafted prose.
Louise Willder, Penguin Press Copywriter
The Man Who Was Thursday
G. K. Chesterton
Forget, as people like to say, 24. Forget the Bourne films, forget Inception. For true espionage bafflement, look no further than Chesterton
's masterpiece of terrorism and secret policing, The Man Who Was Thursday
, in which an undercover agent deep in the heart of an anarchist organisation finds that nothing is as it seems, and boundaries and identities are blurring faster than he can deal with. Written over a hundred years ago, this book is as frightening, provoking and witty as anything on the shelves today - and may take the joy out of Sundays for ever.
Sam Binnie, Penguin Press Copywriter
Penguin Classics Book Club
Last month we read The Last Picture Show
by Larry McMurtry
. Here are a few comments from the group:
'In The Last Picture Show
, a tale of adolescence and small-town Southern life, there is a pervasive sense of being stuck - in this tiny Texan enclave, in relationships, in pre-determined roles - and the sharply-drawn characters are constantly bumping up against each other as they try to move within their respective bubbles. The dialogue was often funny and always convincingly succinct - I can see why this translates so easily into an award-winning film' Carrie Plitt
'Thalia, a small town in Texas, is a kind of melting pot for the characters in The Last Picture Show - they don't have much to do except abuse heifers, worry about mo-lestation and sleep with each other. And they certainly do a lot of that. An enjoyable read!' Rose Goddard
'The movie's cult classic status has possibly overshadowed the book over the years, making it seem less essential. But readers should feel darn right obliged to seek it out. It's a bit of an unusual thing for a 1960s male American writer. It's not narcissistic, and it's not about the culture wars. Okay, so there is a helluva lot of sex in there. But at least it's not just the author's own sex life, thinly veiled. Instead it's a balanced, humane, warm and empathetic portrait of an entire town on the brink of existential stagnation, but still clinging hopefully to the American dream. In its communal perspective, and its multiplicity of voices, all muted by a soft, subtle treatment, it bears a lot more resemblance to the likes of Chekhov or Tolstoy than McMurtry's contemporaries like Roth, Updike or Mailer. Maybe that's a bad thing. Or maybe it's just fine' Patrick Loughran
Next month we'll be reading The Tunnel
by Ernesto Sabato
Classics Student Reviews
Take a look at Student Reviews
for the latest reviews this month, which include The Great Gatsby
and The Last of the Mohicans
If you are a student, or know any students who would like to review a Penguin Classic and have their review featured on the website, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
. Copies will be sent out for review.
WIN MINI MODERN CLASSICS GOODIES
This month we're offering you the chance to win a collection of Mini Modern Classics
goodies including one each of the three beautiful limited edition posters of Carson McCullers, Albert Camus and Vladimir Nabokov, a mini canvas bag for carrying around your Penguin Modern Classics in style and ten Mini Modern Classics of your choice.
To be in with a chance to win please email email@example.com
with the subject line MINI MODERN CLASSICS GIVEAWAY and giving your name and address.*
For even more Penguin Classics:
Take a visit to penguinclassics.co.uk
Any comments or questions, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Mini Modern Classics Terms & Conditions
1. No purchase necessary to enter the prize draw.
2. This prize draw is open to UK residents aged 16 years or over, with the exception of employees of the Promoter, their families, agents and anyone else connected with this promotion.
3. Entries must be received by 13.00 Thursday 31st March 2011. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach the Promoter by the relevant closing date for any reason. Proof of posting or sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid. Entries become the property of the Promoter and are not returned.
4. Only one entry per person. No entrant may win more than one prize.
5. To enter email email@example.com with the subject line MINI MODERN CLASSICS GIVEAWAY and giving your name and address.
6. All correctly completed entries will be entered into a prize draw which will take place on Friday 1st April 2011. The first entry drawn at random will be the winner.
7. The prize consists of one each of the three Penguin Modern Classics posters, one Penguin Modern Classics canvas bag, and ten Penguin Mini Modern Classics of the winner's choice as specified via email.
8. Prizes are subject to availability. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the Promoter reserves the right (a) to substitute alternative prizes of equivalent or greater value and (b) in exceptional circumstances to amend or foreclose the promotion without notice. No correspondence will be entered into.
9. The winner will be notified via email or post by 17.00 Friday 1st April 2011. The winner must claim their prize within 14 days of the Promoter sending notification. If the prize is unclaimed after this time, it will lapse and the Promoter reserves the right to offer the unclaimed prize to a substitute winner selected in accordance with these rules.
10. To obtain details of the winner please email Classics@uk.penguingroup.com stating the name of the prize draw in the subject heading 4 weeks after the closing date.
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Alone in Berlin
last week on
BBC Radio 4's Front Row **