Why the classics now?
We’re seeing in the industry, a growth of beautifully designed books I suspect as a reaction to the ephemeral nature of ebooks. Macmillan Collector’s Library books are beautifully designed, pocket sized hardcover classics produced to the highest quality. What’s on the outside is an indication of what’s on the inside - the very best stories that have stood the test of time.
What’s the demand?
Classics have always been in demand with a range of price points and formats available from cheap paperbacks to a growing offering of expensive hardcovers. In recent years we’ve seen the success of newly discovered classics such as Stoner or Suite Française. These are mature books with profound truths which both in their own way allow the reader to travel back to a particular culture or place. And of course costume dramas in film and television continue to delight with magnificent series such as War and Peace and the highly imaginative Dickensian and remakes of great favourites such as Poldark.
What can people learn from reading the classics?
Reading the classics gives people the chance to reroot themselves in the best stories. Books become classics because they have stood the test of time. These stories endure and retain relevance to the modern world. Classics may seem dated in terms of their language and social systems but they endure because they are still relevant today in terms of the big themes like love, loss and dealing with adversity.
If you as a reader revisit the classics you ground yourself in quality and go back to the source. For example, this Autumn I’ll publish Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield. She predated writers such as Helen Fielding and India Knight with her immensely witty take on a woman’s life in the Home Counties. And then in 2018 I’m publishing two books by H G Wells, The Time Machine and War of the Worlds. Both of these books paved the way for the genre we know as science fiction and fantasy.
This blog post first appeared on BookMachine: What’s current with the classics?