» Emmett Rensin

Paperback : 05 Nov 2009



Perhaps you once asked yourself, ‘What exactly is Hamlet trying to tell me? Why must he mince his words, muse in lyricism and, in short, whack about the shrub?’ No doubt such troubling questions would have been swiftly resolved were the Prince of Denmark a registered user on This, in essence, is Twitterature.

Here you will find seventy-five of the greatest works of western literature – from Beowulf to Bronte, from Kafka to Kerouac, and from Dostoevsky to Dickens– each distilled through the voice of Twitter to its purest, pithiest essence. Including a full glossary of online acronyms and Twitterary terms to aid the amateur, Twitterature provides everything you need to master the literature of the civilised world, while relieving you of the burdensome task of reading it.


From Dante’s Inferno: I’m havin a midlife crisis. Lost in the woods. Shoulda brought my iPhone.

From Oedipus: PARTY IN THEBES!!! Nobody cares I killed that old dude, plus this woman is all over me. Total MILF.

From Paradise Lost: OH MY GOD I’M IN HELL.

"The classics are so last century" 


Follow the authors on Twitter


Will Hammond (editor at Viking) on Twitterature, the Classics and where the joke lies.

Say the word Twitter to a book lover and they will probably roll their eyes at you and sigh. Some of the greatest works of literature - Homer's Iliad, Dante's Inferno, Spenser's Faerie Queene, Richardson's Clarissa, Joyce's Ulysses - are long, sometimes difficult and often challenging. Twitter is the opposite: a free-for-all of voices clamouring for a split-second's attention with zero quality control. This is what makes Twitterature so funny: huge books made ridiculously small; great stories told in silly voices. Like all good pastiche, Twitterature skewers the original work with pin-point accuracy - mocking its grandiosity, exposing absurd coincidences of plotting, parodying its subject's ticks, slips and oddities. The difference, though, and what makes this little collection particularly enjoyable, is that the joke falls just as heavily (well, probably more so) on Twitter. In a face-off between Shakespeare's Macbeth and his Twitter avatar 'BigMac', it's fairly clear who comes off looking worse. So, in a curious way, Twitterature is just as much a celebration of the classics as it is a mockery of them.

What also appeals to us about Twitterature is that while it is most certainly not a serious book, it is, we think, a clever book, a funny book and also a very Penguin book. Penguin's founder Allen Lane took the view that there was a huge untapped readership for great works of literature, so he set about making the classics available to them in cheap editions that the majority of people could actually afford. Hardbacks became paperbacks; huge books became pocket-size. Twitterature takes this logic and pushes it one step further: it reduces the contents, too. As you'll see from the cover, the joke is at our expense as much as anyone's.

It's been enormous fun publishing this book. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Product details

Format : Paperback
ISBN: 9780141047713
Size : 111 x 181mm
Pages : 160
Published : 05 Nov 2009
Publisher : Penguin

Other formats for Twitterature:
» ePub eBook: eBook : £4.49


» Emmett Rensin


Related email updates

To keep up-to-date, input your email address, and we will contact you on publication or when the author releases another book.

Please alert me via email when:

The author releases another book


Shipped within 24hrs.
FREE UK Delivery*

Thank you for signing up.

You will hear from us shortly.
See more, hear more,