Penguin Classics

New and forthcoming

The Experience of Pain

Carlo Emilio Gadda

'The seething cauldron of life, the infinite stratification of reality, the inextricable tangle of knowledge are what Gadda wants to depict' Italo Calvino

At the height of Fascist rule in Italy and following the death of his mother, Carlo Emilio Gadda began work on his first novel, The Experience of Pain. This portrait of a highly educated young man whose anger and frustration frequently erupt in ferocious outbursts directed towards his ageing mother is a powerful critique of the society of his time and the deep wounds inflicted on his generation. Set in a fictional South American country, The Experience of Pain is at once richly imaginative and intensely personal: the perfect introduction to Gadda's innovative style and literary virtuosity.

Translated by Richard Dixon

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

Jeremy Noel-Tod

The last decades have seen an explosion of the prose poem. More and more writers are turning to this peculiarly rich and flexible form; it defines Claudia Rankine's Citizen, one of the most talked-about books of recent years, and many others, such as Sarah Howe's Loop of Jade and Vahni Capildeo's Measures of Expatriation, make extensive use of it. Yet this fertile mode which in its time has drawn the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Seamus Heaney remains, for many contemporary readers, something of a mystery.

The history of the prose poem is a long and fascinating one. Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs it for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed the form at each stage, from its beginnings in nineteenth-century France, through the twentieth-century traditions of Britain and America and beyond the English language, to the great wealth of material written internationally since 2000. Comprehensively told, it yields one of the most original and genre-changing anthologies to be published for some years, and offers readers the chance to discover a diverse range of new poets and new kinds of poem, while also meeting famous names in an unfamiliar guise.

Territory of Light

Yuko Tsushima

'Wonderfully poetic ... extraordinary freshness ... a Virginia Woolf quality' Margaret Drabble

Territory of Light is the luminous story of a young woman, living alone in Tokyo with her three-year-old daughter. Its twelve, stand-alone fragments follow the first year of the narrator's separation from her husband. The novel is full of light, sometimes comforting and sometimes dangerous: sunlight streaming through windows, dappled light in the park, distant fireworks, dazzling floodwater, desaturated streetlamps and mysterious explosions. The seemingly artless prose is beautifully patterned: the cumulative effect is disarmingly powerful, and bright after-images remain in your mind for a long time afterwards.

The Lion and the Unicorn

George Orwell

George Orwell's moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change.

The Lion and the Unicorn was written in London during the worst period of the blitz. It is vintage Orwell, a dynamic outline of his belief in socialism, patriotism and an English revolution. His fullest political statement, it has been described as 'one of the most moving and incisive portraits of the English character' and is as relevant now as it ever has been.

The Forty Days of Musa Dagh

Franz Werfel

Franz Werfel's masterpiece tells the true story of the inhabitants of six Armenian villages on the mountain of Musa Dagh, who choose to defy the deportation order of the Turkish government and are subsequently besieged on the mountainside. Told through the eyes of Gabriel Bagradian, a cosmopolitan Armenian who has returned to his home village with his French wife and son after years living in Europe, the novel is a rich and dramatic epic that powerfully argues for the value of resistance even in impossible circumstances.

Maigret Travels

Georges Simenon

When multi-millionaire David Ward is found dead in the same hotel as a countess who attempted suicide only hours earlier, Maigret presumes that the two cases are connected. When the countess flees Paris after the murder Maigret follows her to Nice and then to Switzerland to uncover the truth.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret and the Millionaires.


'His artistry is supreme' John Banville

'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian

One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each

Peter MacMillan (and others)

A prize-winning translation of the most widely known and popular collection of Japanese poetry.

Hyakunin Isshu is the most famous and popular collection of Japanese poetry, and the first work of Japanese literature ever to be translated into English. Compiled in the fourteenth century, the book is a collection of one hundred waka poems (a precursor of haiku), dating back to the seventh century. It's had a huge influence on Japanese culture ever since it was first published, and is considered one of the three most important works of Japanese classical literature along with The Tale of Genji and Tales of Ise.

The Penguin Book of Haiku

Adam L. Kern (and others)

The first Penguin anthology of Japanese haiku, in vivid new translations by Adam L. Kern.

Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, usually running over three lines in seventeen syllables, and by its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous. Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, this anthology offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form.

Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied here by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.

On Writing History from Herodotus to Herodian

none (and others)

What is history and how should it be written? This important new anthology, translated and edited by Professor John Marincola, contains all the seminal texts that relate to the writing of history in the ancient world.

The study of history was invented in the classical world. Treading uncharted waters, writers such as Plutarch and Lucian grappled with big questions such as how history should be written, how it differs from poetry and oratory, and what its purpose really is. This book includes complete essays by Dionysius, Plutarch and Lucian, as well as shorter pieces by Pliny the Younger, Cicero and others, and will be an essential resource for anyone studying history and the ancient world.

Maigret Enjoys Himself

Georges Simenon

When Maigret's holiday plans go awry he and his wife spend their vacation in Paris, on the condition that he has nothing to do with work. However a case involving the death of a doctor's wife intrigues Maigret and he assiduously follows its development in the papers. He cannot resist playing a few tricks on his colleague Janvier who is running the case and along the way Maigret uncovers something that is crucial to the murderer's discovery...

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret's Little Joke.


'His artistry is supreme' John Banville

'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian'

Classics you can read in one sitting