Books

The Success and Failure of Picasso

John Berger

In this classic of art criticism, one of our foremost cultural historians grapples with the life and work of one of the twentieth century's most mercurial and prodigious artists. In The Success and Failure of Picasso, John Berger places the artist in the historical, social and political contexts that made his work possible.

Confabulations

John Berger

'Language is a body, a living creature ... and this creature's home is the inarticulate as well as the articulate'. John Berger's work has revolutionized the way we understand visual language. In this new book he writes about language itself, and how it relates to thought, art, song, storytelling and political discourse today. Also containing Berger's own drawings, notes, memories and reflections on everything from Albert Camus to global capitalism, Confabulations takes us to what is 'true, essential and urgent'.

Understanding a Photograph

John Berger (and others)

John Berger's writings on photography are some of the most original of the twentieth century. This selection contains many groundbreaking essays and previously uncollected pieces written for exhibitions and catalogues in which Berger probes the work of photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and W. Eugene Smith - and the lives of those photographed - with fierce engagement, intensity and tenderness.

The selection is made and introduced by Geoff Dyer, author of the award-winning The Ongoing Moment.

How do we see the world around us? This is one of a number of pivotal works by creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision for ever.

John Berger was born in London in 1926. His acclaimed works of both fiction and non-fiction include the seminal Ways of Seeing and the novel G., which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he now lives in a small village in the French Alps.

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and several non-fiction books. Winner of the Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters's E. M. Forster Award, Dyer is also a regular contributor to many publications in the UK and the US. He lives in London.

Why Look at Animals?

John Berger

John Berger broke new ground with his penetrating writings on life, art and how we see the world around us. Here he explores how the ancient relationship between man and nature has been broken in the modern consumer age, with the animals that used to be at the centre of our existence now marginalized and reduced to spectacle.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

The Medium is the Massage

Bruno Munari (and others)

In a dazzling fusion of Quentin Fiore's bold and inventive graphic design and Marshall McLuhan's unique insight into technology, advertising and mass-media, The Medium is the Massage is a unique study of human communication in the twentieth century, published in Penguin Modern Classics

Marshall McLuhan is the man who predicted the all-pervasive rise of modern mass media. Blending text, image and photography, his 1960 classic The Medium is the Massage illustrates how the growth of technology utterly reshapes society, personal lives and sensory perceptions, so that we are effectively transformed by the means we use to communicate. His theories, many of which are illustrated in this astonishing 'inventory of effects', force us to question how modes of communication have shaped society. This concept, and his ideas such as rolling, up-to-the-minute news broadcasts and the media 'Global Village' have proved decades ahead of their time.

How do we see the world around us? The 'Penguin on Design' series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar - a professor of English Literature, a literary critic and a communications theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. Among his other works are The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964).

Quentin Fiore (b. 1920) is a graphic designer renowned for his collaborations with writers including the academic Marshall McLuhan and the futurist and engineer Buckminster Fuller.

If you enjoyed The Medium is the Massage, you might like Bruno Munari's Design as Art, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'The media prophet of the 1960s'
The New York Times

'In the tumult of the digital revolution, McLuhan is relevant anew'
Wired

Ways of Seeing

John Berger

Based on the BBC television series, John Berger's Ways of Seeing is a unique look at the way we view art, published as part of the Penguin on Design series in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.'

'But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.'

John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: 'This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures.' By now he has.

John Berger (b. 1926) is an art critic, painter and novelist.born in Hackney, London.
His novel G. (1972) won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize.

If you enjoyed Ways of Seeing, you might like Susan Sontag's On Photography, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of professional art critics ... he is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation'
Peter Fuller, Arts Review

'The influence of the series and the book ... was enormous ... It opened up for general attention areas of cultural study that are now commonplace'
Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling

'One of the most influential intellectuals of our time'
Observer

Biography

John Berger was born in London in 1926. His acclaimed works of both fiction and non-fiction include the seminal Ways of Seeing and the novel G., which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he now lives in a small village in the French Alps.