The End of a Popular Era

I recently read in The Bookseller that Penguin will be dropping their Popular Classics list and couldn’t help but feel a little sad. As a child my parents house was littered with them; I remember my mother’s beloved copy of Pride and Prejudice and taking the popular classics edition of Macbeth to school for English class. The popular classics are iconic to say the least and have played a major role in my reading history. I remember being poor in college and being overjoyed at finding a £2 copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray that I could annotate for class.

Penguin stopped doing illustrations on the jacket and gave them all a bright green cover with white text which was easily recognisable and became no less a fixture in bookshops. It’s a shame that classic literature will no longer be available so cheaply – the other Penguin Classics list is priced at £7.99 – as it may have encouraged people to give them a go.

When I moved to London I found that old battered copy of Dorian Gray while I was packing. My annotations are scrawled and squeezed in the margins, important quotations highlighted in pink and numerous page corners are folded down. It is well and truly tatty, but it has pride of place on my bookcase and always will. Popular classics, you will be missed.

Sophie Robinson, Publishing Assistant

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