Launched in 1946, Penguin Classics was born of publisher Allen Lane's desire to create affordably priced editions of "Greek, Roman and other classics"
translated by contemporary writers for contemporary readers. Seventy years later, the series's distinctive covers are fixtures in libraries, classrooms, bookstores…and occasionally the Bas Bleu catalog. This "reader's companion to the best books ever written"
collects 1,200 Penguin Classics titles encompassing 500 authors and spanning 4,000 years of history. The listings— comprised of book title, cover art, and a brief descriptive paragraph—are arranged chronologically by topic, beginning in the Ancient World with a 1960 translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh
(c. 2100 B.C.E.) and ending with the First World War. Of course this handy reference doesn't include all
of "the best books ever written,"
but it is a wonderful resource for readers looking to deepen their reading and explore much of the work—both well-known and overlooked—that formed the backbone of Western literature. Plus the vibrant cloth-covered tome will look so handsome on your coffee table! (KG)