Penguin Classics Newsletter | December 2009

The Last Station and Tolstoy's Last Steps

The Oscar buzz this holiday season begins for The Last Station, with an all-star cast including Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy, Helen Mirren as his wife, plus James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti. The film adaptation of the novel by Jay Parini explores Tolstoy's tumultuous final year and his struggle with the privileges of fame and success, which led him to leave his family and the press behind to live humbly in his final days. Published in time for the movie's release, Last Steps: The Late Writings of Leo Tolstoy, edited by Jay Parini, is a collection of Tolstoy's autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters related to the last year of his life.


Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons, Turgenev's masterpiece, is a perennial favorite and a touchstone of nineteenth-century Russian literature. It had a profound influence on the work of Turgenev's contemporaries—Russian and English and French alike. Peter Carson's beautiful new translation reveals it to be undiminished in its power to speak both to the particulars of Russian politics during the rise of the Bolsheviks and to the universals of generational divides, of coming of age, and of the cycles of the life span writ small—on the level of the individual—and large—on the level of the national. This new Penguin Classics edition features an afterword by the great Tatiana Tolstaya, one of Russia's foremost writers and public intellectuals.

  Little Red Riding Hood  

The Prince

Ruthless. Cunning. And, well, Machiavellian. The Prince is a seminal Renaissance work, and one whose reputation precedes it, for better or worse. In this Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, the great Tim Parks delivers a thrilling new translation that helps it to shine both as a masterpiece of its time and as one with striking relevance to ours.


The Actual

Another stunning work from Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow, The Actual details the unfolding of Harry Trellman's secret, forty-year passion. A loner throughout his life, Bellow's protagonist is a man who cannot seem to find his place in society, until a billionaire plucks him from the crowd, discovering Harry's talents of observation, as well as his secret unrequited love. Finally armed with the support and means to confess his feelings, Harry Trellman stands ready for an enormous change. Joseph O'Neill, the author of the recent national bestseller Netherland, contributes a reverent and perceptive introduction to this new edition.



Holiday gift ideas from the staff of Penguin Classics!

Elda Rotor, editorial director
The Short Novels of John Steinbeck

John Siciliano, editor
Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin's Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Kristen Scharold, editorial assistant
John Steinbeck's East of Eden

Lorie Napolitano, editorial assistant
Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo

. . . And don't forget about these great gift ideas for just about anyone on your list:

Great Ideas

Couture Classics

Hardback Classics

Graphic Classics


Penguin Classics On Air

Check out the new season of Penguin Classics On Air, a new online audio program from The Publisher's Office at The Penguin Classics staff presents new episodes on the first Mexican American novelist, vampires, philosophy with jokes, the Swedish Gone with the Wind, and Tolstoy's last days. Listen to our earlier shows and enjoy interviews with specialists and scholars; excerpts from Alan Walker's Reading the Classics from A to Z blog; and First Pages with Editor in Chief Stephen Morrison.

Episode 5 features an interview with Jay Parini, author of The Last Station—now a major motion picture starring Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, and Paul Giamatti—and editor of Last Steps: The Late Writings of Leo Tolstoy.

The Top Ten Essential Penguin Classics
Penguin Classics has compiled a list of the top ten essential Penguin Classics every person should read.  Watch our short video to learn more about each of these ten books.




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Reading the Classics from A to Z
Marathon 2


With one complete cycle under his belt, Alan Walker, our Senior Director of Academic Marketing and Sales, embarks on yet another Penguin Classics reading marathon of one book by an author per letter of the alphabet. Check out the Penguin Classics website for Alan's latest blog entries (B to C), as well as his entire first marathon. Check out the Penguin Classics website for Alan's latest blog entries (D), as well as his entire first marathon.


Classics Calendar

2009 Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention in Philadelphia December 27-30

Visit the Penguin booth to see our latest titles and meet the Classics staff in the Exhibit Hall of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.


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