Browse books in this series

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

Charlotte Brontë's first published novel, Jane Eyre was immediately recognised as a work of genius when it appeared in 1847. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

Pip doesn't expect much from life...His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip's narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London.
Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip's fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?

The Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint

William Shakespeare

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

When this volume of Shakespeare's poems first appeared in 1609, he had already written most of the great plays that made him famous. The 154 sonnets - all but two of which are addressed to a beautiful young man or a treacherous 'dark lady' - contain some of the most exquisite and haunting poetry ever written, and deal with eternal subjects such as love and infidelity, memory and mortality, and the destruction wreaked by Time. Also included is A Lover's Complaint, originally published with the sonnets, in which a young woman is overheard lamenting her betrayal by a heartless seducer.

The Odyssey

Homer (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

The epic tale of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War forms one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats - shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the implacable enmity of the sea-god Poseidon - Odysseus must use his wit and native cunning if he is to reach his homeland safely and overcome the obstacles that, even there, await him.

The Ramayana

Valmiki (and others)

One of India's greatest epics, the Ramayana pervades the country's moral and cultural consciousness. Believed to have been composed by Valmiki sometime between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, the Ramayana tells the tragic and magical story of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, an incarnation of Lord Visnu, born to rid the earth of the terrible demon Ravana. An idealized heroic tale, the Ramayana is also an intensely personal story of family relationships, love and loss, duty and honour, of harem intrigue, petty jealousies and destructive ambitions - all this played out in a universe populated by larger-than-life humans, gods, wondrous animals and terrifying demons.

The Bhagavad Gita

Juan Mascaro (and others)

The Bhagavad Gita, a scintillating jewel embedded in the great Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna set against the background of war. At the beginning of the poem, we learn that there is going to be a great war for the rule of a kingdom. On the battlefield, with armies of the Kuru clan ranged against each other, Arjuna and Krishna explore the necessity of war and the nature of the human soul. The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita encompass the whole spiritual struggle of a human soul, and the central themes of this immortal poem arise from the symphonic vision of God in all things and of all things in God.

The Mahabharata

John D. Smith (and others)

The Mahabharata is the story of two warring factions of cousins - 100 demons in human form against five sons of gods. Woven into this epic martial tale of great and bloody battles are numerous narrative digressions and much religious instruction - including the wisdom of Bhisma, give from a deathbed of arrows, and the legendary Bhagavadgita, spoken by Krsna on the very verge of war. The enactment of eternal conflicts, it is also a vital Hindu text on the nature of dharma - the right way for each person to live his or her life, and the only way to secure an improved lot in future births.

Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

Shipwrecked and cast adrift, Lemuel Gulliver wakes to find himself on Lilliput, an island inhabited by little people, whose height makes their quarrels over fashion and fame seem ridiculous. His subsequent encounters - with the crude giants of Brobdingnag, the philosophical Houyhnhnms and brutish Yahoos - give Gulliver new, bitter insights into human behaviour. Swift's savage satire views mankind in a distorted hall of mirrors as a diminished, magnified and finally bestial species, presenting us with an uncompromising reflection of ourselves.

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

Charles Dickens

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

After reading Christmas Carol, the notoriously reculsive Thomas Carlyle was "seized with a perfect convulsion of hospitality" and threw not one but two Christmas dinner parties. The impact of the story may not always have been so dramatic but, along with Dickens other Christmas writings, it has had a lasting and significant influence upon our ideas about the Christmas spirit, and about the season as a time for celebration, charity, and memory.

Middlemarch

George Eliot (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.

Persuasion

Jane Austen (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortunenor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen's last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all,it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.

Major Works of Charles Dickens (Boxed Set)

Charles Dickens

2012 is the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of our greatest and most important novelists, Charles Dickens. To celebrate we're publishing six of his works in this exclusive and sumptuous boxed set of lavish, clothbound editions, designed by Penguin's own award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

A beautiful new clothbound edition of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of the Château d'If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. A huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, Dumas was inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment when writing his epic tale of suffering and retribution.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swiftpassion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

A stunning new clothbound edition of Mary Shelley's infamous work of horror fiction, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. This chilling gothic tale, begun when Mary Shelley was just nineteen years old, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.

This edition also includes 'A Fragment' by Lord Byron and 'The Vampyre: A Tale' by John Polidori, as well as an introduction and notes

Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the daughter of pioneering thinkers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, eloped with the poet Percy Shelley at the age of sixteen. Three years later, during a wet summer on Lake Geneva, Shelley famously wrote her masterpiece, Frankenstein. The years of her marriage were blighted by the deaths of three of her four children, and further tragedy followed in 1822, when Percy Shelley drowned in Italy. Following his death, Mary Shelley returned to England and continued to travel and write until her own death at the age of fifty-three.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

Mark Twain's great American masterpiece, in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

Mark Twain's tale of a boy's picaresque journey down the Mississippi on a raft conveyed the voice and experience of the American frontier as no other work had done before. When Huck escapes from his drunken father and the 'sivilizing' Widow Douglas with the runaway slave Jim, he embarks on a series of adventures that draw him to feuding families and the trickery of the unscrupulous 'Duke' and 'Dauphin'. Beneath the exploits, however, are more serious undercurrents - of slavery, adult control and, above all, of Huck's struggle between his instinctive goodness and the corrupt values of society, which threaten his deep and enduring friendship with Jim.

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on 30th November 1835, in Florida, Missouri. In 1853 he left home, earning a living as an itinerant type-setter, and four years later became an apprentice pilot on the Mississippi, a career cut short by the outbreak of the Civil War. For five years, as a prospector and a journalist, Clemens lived in Nevada and California. In February 1863 he first used the pseudonym 'Mark Twain' as the signature to a humorous travel letter. A trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867 became the basis of his first major book, The Innocents Abroad (1869). His numerous subsequent books include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), A Tramp Aborad (1880), The Prince and the Pauper (1882), and his masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin (1885). Twain died on 21st April 1910.

'The best book we've had' - Ernest Hemingway

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe's great masterpiece, in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

'Robinson Crusoe has a universal appeal, a story that goes right to the core of existence' Simon Armitage

The Jungle Books

Rudyard Kipling

Kipling's best-loved work, now in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectable editions are bound in high-quality, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

The story of Mowgli, the man-cub who is brought up by wolves in the jungles of Central India, is one of the greatest literary myths ever created. As he embarks on a series of thrilling escapades, Mowgli encounters such unforgettable creatures as the bear Baloo, the graceful black panther Bagheera and Shere Khan, the tiger with the blazing eyes. Other animal stories in The Jungle Books range from the dramatic battle between good and evil in 'Rikki-tikki-tavi' to the macabre comedy 'The Undertakers'. With The Jungle Books Rudyard Kipling drew on ancient beast fables, Buddhist philosophy and memories of his Anglo-Indian childhood to create a rich, symbolic portrait of man and nature, and an eternal classic of childhood.



Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865. In 1882 Kipling started work as a journalist in India, and while there produced a body of work, stories, sketches and poems - notably Plain Tales from the Hills(1888) - which made him an instant literary celebrity when he returned to England in 1889. His most famous works include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901) and the Just So Stories (1902). Kipling refused to accept the role of Poet Laureate and other civil honours, but he was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1907. He died in 1936.

Jan Montefiore has taught at the University of Kent since 1978, where she is now Professor of 20th Century English Literature. She is the author of Men and Women Writers of the 1930s (1996); Arguments of Heart and Mind:Selected Essays 1977-2000 (2002); Feminism and Poetry (3rd edition, 2004); and Rudyard Kipling (2007).

Kaori Nagai is a Research Associate at the University of Kent and author of Empire of Analogies (2006). She has also introduced Kobo Abe's Face of Another and Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills for Penguin