Wednesday, June 23, 2010


PENGUIN CLASSICS has compiled a list of the top ten essential Penguin Classics every person should read. Each of these ten great works—ranging from poetry to plays to novels and non-fiction—has lasted and enlightened audiences throughout the ages, and they all still have something relevant to say to readers.

The list is as follows:

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

"The Odyssey" by Homer

"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare

"Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville

"Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

"Oedipus" by Sophocles

"Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

"The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri

To celebrate these books, Penguin has produced a twenty-minute video showing what happens to a hapless young suitor who hasn't yet read the Essential Classics. The trailer and clips for all 10 books are below.

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  1. Are they publishing the Oedipus trilogy, or just one of the plays? Also, I realize "Inferno" is a more popular brand name than "Divine Comedy," but you wouldn't only publish Fellowship of the Ring in your ten classics list.

    I've read 8/10, and got a 9th on my shelf (though not a Penguin edition). Not wild about the list, but hard to argue against each book's position as a canonical classic. What are your thoughts on it, Anthony?

  2. I'm 7 of 10. Took a 20-hour audio course on Dante, though, so I'll call that 7.5.

  3. Read most of them, but only watched half the video... couldn't take any more of that obnoxious guy at the party! OMG.. she should have dumped him from the moment he opened his gob.

  4. Yeah ... that guy is MORE than a tool, huh?

    As for the list, while I've read about half of the list (mosttly from college and high school), my major complaint is that they could have segmented concentrations to make it more complete... And how could a list have no Poe??? Or freakin' Hemingway for that matter??? Fitzgerald?? What about Dracula? Orwell anybody???

    I dunno ... 10 titles may be too lacking to be comprehensive or essential...

  5. Good additions to the list, Ant. I'm sitting here looking at one of my favourite Penguins from years past..."The Razor's Edge" by Somerset Maugham...


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