Penguin Modern Classics

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Great Expectations

Kathy Acker

A punk, fairytale reimagining of Charles Dickens' original masterpiece. Pip, our narrator -- familiar and unfamiliar -- is transplanted to New York City in the 1980s, an orphan whose adventures incorporate desire, gender and identity, the dislocation between sex and love, art and creativity, social unrest, feminism, porn and sadism. She/he becomes a sailor, a pirate, a rebel. Kathy Acker is a literary terrorist and Great Expectations is an author at the very top of her game.

Zami

Audre Lorde

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.

A little black girl opens her eyes in 1930s Harlem. Around her, a heady swirl of passers-by, car horns, kerosene lamps, the stock market falling, fried bananas, tales of her parents' native Grenada. She trudges to public school along snowy sidewalks, and finds she is tongue-tied, legally blind, left behind by her older sisters. On she stumbles through teenage hardships -- suicide, abortion, hunger, a Christmas spent alone -- until she emerges into happiness: an oasis of friendship in Washington Heights, an affair in a dirty factory in Connecticut, and, finally, a journey down to the heat of Mexico, discovering sex, tenderness, and suppers of hot tamales and cold milk. This is Audre Lorde's story. It is a rapturous, life-affirming tale of independence, love, work, strength, sexuality and change, rich with poetry and fierce emotional power.

Football in Sun and Shadow

Eduardo Galeano

'Football is a pleasure that hurts'

This unashamedly emotional history of football is a homage to the romance and drama, spectacle and passion of a 'great pagan mass'. Through stories of superstition, heartbreak, tragedy, luck, heroes and villains, those who lived for football and those who died for it, Eduardo Galeano celebrates the glory of a game that - however much the rich and powerful try to control it - still retains its magic.

'The Uruguayan whose writing got right to the heart of football ... readers were never in doubt of the warmth of the blood running through his veins' Guardian

'Galeano can run rings round our glamorous football intelligentsia' When Saturday Comes

'Stands out like Pele on a field of second-stringers' New Yorker

The Sweet Science

A. J. Liebling

Take a ringside seat next to A. J. Liebling at some of the greatest fights in history. Here is Joe Louis's devastating final match; Sugar Ray Robinson's dramatic comeback; and Rocky Marciano's rise to heavyweight glory. The heated ringside atmosphere, the artistry of the great boxers and the blows and parries of the classic fights are all vividly evoked in a volume described by Sports Illustrated as 'the best American sports book of all time'.

'A rollicking god among boxing writers ... before Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were out of diapers, Liebling was taking his readers on excursions through the hidden and often hilarious levels of this bruised subculture ... the Master' Los Angeles Times

'Nobody wrote about boxing with more grace and enthusiasm' The New York Times

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.

Journey's End

R. C. Sherriff

The moving portrayal of life in the trenches in WW1, now a new film from the director of Suite Française, starring Sam Clafin, Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham and Asa Butterfield

Set in the First World War, Journey's End is the story of a group of British officers on the front line, in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed. Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic.

'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving' Clive Barnes

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.

Blood and Guts in High School

Kathy Acker

'Acker gives her work the power to mirror the reader's soul' William S. Burroughs

'Kathy Acker's writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer' Jeanette Winterson

This is the story of Janey, who lived in a locked room, where she found a scrap of paper and began to write down her life. It's a story of lust, sex, pain, youth, punk, anarchy, gangs, the city, feminism, America, Jean Genet and the prisons we create for ourselves. A heady, surreal mash-up of coming-of-age tale, prose, poetry, plagiarism and illustration, Kathy Acker's breakthrough 1984 novel caused huge controversy and made her an avant-garde literary icon.

Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kathy Acker's untimely death, Blood and Guts in High School is published for the first time in Penguin Classics, acknowledging the profound impact she has had on our culture, and alongside the authors her work pulsates with the influence of: William S. Burroughs, Cervantes and Charles Dickens, among others.

The Pitards

Georges Simenon

'Read him at your peril, avoid him at your loss' Sunday Times

Captain Lannec has finally managed to buy his own ship with the financial help of his in-laws, the Pitards - and they've never let him forget it. When his temperamental wife Mathilde insists on coming along on the ship's first voyage, Lannec becomes increasingly unnerved by her presence, especially when he receives an anonymous note saying he won't make it back to port. As they hit a storm in the Atlantic, jealousy, spite, snobbery and suspicion are churned up in the boat's stiflingly close quarters...

First published in 1935, The Pitards was one of the first novels Simenon wrote when he shelved his famous Maigret series in order to strike out in a new direction and make a name for himself as a literary writer. This gripping evocation of life at sea revolves around class and the tense unravelling of relationships, powerful themes that Simenon would return to throughout his writing career.

On Heroes and Tombs

Ernesto Sabato (and others)

'A novelist of immense power ... uncompromising and original' Colm Tóibín

'I can feel the passage of time, as though it were coursing through my veins, along with my blood...'

One June day in 1955 Alejandra, last of a noble yet decaying Argentinian dynasty, shoots her father, locks herself up with his body, and sets fire to them both. What caused this act of insanity? Does the answer lie with Martín, her troubled lover, Bruno, the writer who worshipped her mother, or with her father Fernando himself, demonic creator of the strange 'Report on the Blind'? Their lives entwine in Ernesto Sabato's dark epic of passion, philosophy and paranoia in Buenos Aires.

'Bewitched, baroque, monumental' Newsweek

Alone in Berlin

Hans Fallada (and others)

A tie-in edition of Fallada's best-selling WW2 novel, to accompany the major new film starring Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson.

Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. When unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France, they are shocked out of their quiet existence and begin a silent campaign of defiance. A deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich in Fallada's desperately tense and heartbreaking exploration of resistance in impossible circumstances.

In the Castle of My Skin

George Lamming

'They won't know you, the you that's hidden somewhere in the castle of your skin'

Nine-year-old G. leads a life of quiet mischief crab catching, teasing preachers and playing among the pumpkin vines. His sleepy fishing village in 1930s Barbados is overseen by the English landlord who lives on the hill, just as their 'Little England' is watched over by the Mother Country. Yet gradually, G. finds himself awakening to the violence and injustice that lurk beneath the apparent order of things. As the world he knows begins to crumble, revealing the bruising secret at its heart, he is spurred ever closer to a life-changing decision. Lyrical and unsettling, George Lamming's autobiographical coming-of-age novel is a story of tragic innocence amid the collapse of colonial rule.

'Rich and riotous' The Times

'Its poetic imaginative writing has never been surpassed' Tribune

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