Reading Penguin: A Critical Anthology
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Founded by Allen Lane in 1935, Penguin Books soon became the most read publisher in the United Kingdom and was synonymous with the British paperback. Making high quality reading cheaply available to millions, Penguin helped democratise reading. In so doing, Penguin played an important part in the cultural and intellectual life of the English speaking world. For this book, which has its origins in the successful international conference held at Bristol University in 2010 to mark 75 years of Penguin Books, recognised scholars from different fields examine various aspects of Penguin’s significance and achievement.
David Cannadine and Simon Eliot offer wide historical perspectives of Penguin’s place and impact. Other scholars, including Alistair McCleery, Kimberley Reynolds, Andrew Sanders, Claire Squires, Susie Harries, Andrew Nash, Tom Boll and William John Lyons examine more particularised subjects.
These range from the breaking of the Lady Chatterley ban to the visions of the future contained in Puffin Books; from Penguin Classics to the scholarly and commercial interests in publishers’ anniversaries; from the art and architectural histories of Nikolaus Pevsner to the art and design of Penguin covers; and from the translation of poetry to the transcription of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Together the essays depict much of what it was that made Penguin the most important British publishing house of the twentieth century.
coats and golden cars on the profits!”102 When Allegro’s son Mark was born on the 7th January 1957, Glover sent a telegram: “Best wishes to the new Director.”103 Allegro replied that he would take the telegram “to show Joan this afternoon as she languishes in hospital and we shall have a swearing in ceremony over the new Director.”104 In the 24th July letter, Allegro also alerted Glover to his plans to take part in three Granada TV programmes on the scrolls on September 5th, 12th and 13th, timed
memory to your draft Introduction to Wuthering Heights that perhaps our approach had been a little on the parochial side. His “our approach” is minimally tactful; but Godwin’s own approach now makes new demands on the editors: It might well be a valuable idea for the various editors in their introductions to very firmly place their particular titles in their contemporary European context. An effective way to do this probably would be to quote excerpts from contemporary European authors which are
visualized.”6 His response was similar two years later to Clayton Eshleman, who would go on to translate César Vallejo: “[Eshleman] often muffs things that have a perfectly precise meaning in the Spanish.”7 Cohen was particularly taken aback by Eshleman’s translation of “Tango del viudo” [Widower’s Tango], a moving poem in the form of a letter to a lover whom Neruda had abandoned. As it draws to a close, he yearns once again to oírte orinar, en la oscuridad, en el fondo de la casa, como vertiendo
natural anarchist, a would-be Mephistopheles who solemnly insists that the two stumps hidden in his curly hair are the remains of horns, and, indeed, as his machinations grow wider, he does seem to be the Devil incarnate to some of his victims. Dougal must appear to be the Devil to those who are inclined to see him thus, just as critical conundrums must appear to Spark’s readers through the covers of her novels—a challenge that some of the designers discussed in this paper achieved better than
Roberts, along with pieces about Willa Cather and Angela Carter by A S Byatt and Marina Warner. At this point in Virago’s history, the company was once more independent after a management buyout from the Chatto, Virago, Bodley Head and Cape Group, and–as the Keepsake put it—proudly claimed its place in twentieth century social history, looking both to what Virago “has been and will be”, celebrating the past and “inspiration for more than the next twenty years”.32 The Keepsake functioned as a