At Penguin Classics our mission has always been to make the best books ever written available to everyone. And that also means constantly redefining and refreshing exactly what makes a ‘classic’.

That’s where Modern Classics come in. Since 1961 they have been an organic, ever-growing and ever-evolving list of books that we believe will continue to be read over and over again.

New Modern Classics

Browse the books that have recently been published into the Modern Classics series.

Now Available

Understanding a Photograph

by Berger, John; Dyer, Geoff

John Berger's writings on photography are some of the most original of the twentieth century.

An Essay on Typography

by Gill Eric

How do we see the world around us? This is one of a number of pivotal works by creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision for ever.

The Outsider

by Camus, Albert

Albert Camus' portrayal of a man confronting the absurdity of human life became a classic. Yet it is also a book filled with quiet joy in the physical world, and this new translation sensitively renders the subtleties and dreamlike atmosphere of The Outsider.

Collected Stories

by Stegner Wallace

In a literary career spanning more than fifty years, Wallace Stegner, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, has created a remarkable record of the history and culture of twentieth-century America.

The Night Manager

by le Carre John

In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carre creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.

Babette's Feast and Other Stories

by Dinesen Isak & Blixen Karen

All the stories have a mystic, fairy-tale quality, linked by themes of angels, the sea, dreams and fate. They were among the last to be written by Isak Dinesen, and show her as a master of short fiction.

Also available

An Accommodating Spouse

by Jolley Elizabeth

This is vintage Jolley, filled with quiet wit and keen observations of human relationships and their frailties.

Adam's Bride: Penguin Special

by Jolley Elizabeth

This masterly story from Woman in a Lampshade perfectly displays Elizabeth Jolley's remarkable talent for character and story.

Mr Scobie's Riddle

by Jolley Elizabeth

This bleakly comic investigation of old age, exile and displacement shows Elizabeth Jolley at her finest.  It is written with wry humour, melancholy and great warmth.

Cabin Fever

by Jolley Elizabeth

Elizabeth Jolley writes lucidly of betrayal and survival, loneliness and desire, and with compassion for the sad dislocations of love between parents and children. In Cabin Fever, the second novel in a semi-autobiographical trilogy, she beguiles with her particular blend of humour and the serious.

The Georges' Wife

by Jolley Elizabeth

As in My Father's Moon and Cabin Fever, Elizabeth Jolley returns to the themes of discord and harmony between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends and lovers.

The Well: Popular Penguins

by Jolley Elizabeth

A twentieth-century Australian classic, The Well is a haunting and wryly humorous tale of memory, desire and loneliness.

Bastard Out of Carolina

by Allison Dorothy

Bastard out of Carolina is a raw, poignant tale of fury, power, love and family.

Parade's End

by Ford Madox, Ford

Ford's masterly story of destruction and regeneration follows the progress of Christopher Tietjens as his world is shattered by the Great War.

The Pursued

by Forester C.S

C. S. Forester's 1935 thriller The Pursued, lost for decades, rewrote the traditions of crime fiction to create a dark, twisted portrayal of obsession and retribution.

Fever Pitch

by Hornby Nick

In this hilarious, moving and now-classic book, he vividly depicts his childhood life, his time as a teacher, and his first loves (after football), all through the prism of the game, as he insightfully and brilliantly explores obsession, and the way it can shape a life.

A Heart so White

by Marias Javier

Haunting and unsettling, A Heart So White is a breathtaking portrayal of two generations, two marriages, the relentless power of the past and the terrible price of knowledge.

The Man of Feeling

by Marias, Javier

The Man of Feeling is the haunting story of the birth and death of a passion, told in retrospect. Intricately interweaving desire and memory, it explores the nature of love, and asks whether we can ever truly recall something that no longer exists.

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me

by Marias, Javier

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me is a gripping and moving meditation on the hold that the dead have over the living.

The Penitent

by Singer Bashevis Isaac

The Penitent is the story of Joseph Shapiro, a disillusioned and aimless man who discovers a purpose to his life through the Jewish faith.

King of the Fields

by Singer Bashevis Isaac

A fictional exploration of primitive history, Singer's novel portrays an era of superstition and violence in a country emerging from the darkness of savagery.

Love and Exile

by Singer Bashevis Isaac

From pre-First World War Warsaw to the New York of the 1930s, Isaac Bashevis Singer traces the early years of his life in this autobiographical trilogy.

The Life of Right Reverend Ronald Knox

by Waugh, Evelyn

Ronald Knox - priest, classicist and brilliant, prolific writer - was one of the outstanding men of letters of his time. The renowned Oxford chaplain was a friend of figures such as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, and was known for his caustic wit and spiritual wisdom.

Miami Blues

by Willeford Charles

The Way We Die Now

by Willeford Charles

Sergeant Hoke Mosely is struggling: his division chief is making ominous plans for him, a man he sent to jail for murder has moved in across the street, and he's stuck on one of his toughest cold cases yet.

Sideswipe

by Willeford Charles

New Hope for the Dead

by Willeford Charles

Essential Boxed Gift Sets

The Essential Steinbeck Boxed Set: Cannery Row, East of Eden, The Grapesof Wrath, Of Mice and Men

by Steinbeck John

One of the finest and most influential social novelists of the twentieth century, Steinbeck remains a best-selling author in the UK. Collected here in this covetable and must-have boxed-set are four of his major works, including the Pulitzer-prize winning The Grapes of Wrath.

The Essential Orwell Boxed Set: Animal Farm, Down and Out in Paris and London, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays

by Orwell George

George Orwell was perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture and one of our most significant political thinkers. In this covetable boxed set are collected together four of his essential works, including the seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The Essential Camus Boxed Set: The Myth of Sisyphus, The Outsider, The Plague, The Rebel

by Camus Albert

One of the twentieth century's most prominent authors, and a philosopher in his own right, Camus was a major influence on modern existentialist thinking. In this covetable boxed set are gathered together four of his major works, including his most famous novel, The Outsider.

The Essential Fitzgerald Boxed Set: The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, Tender is the Night

by Fitzgerald F Scott

The author who most epitomises the decadent jazz age and 'the lost generation' of post-World War One America, Fitzgerald remains a best-selling author worldwide. Collected here in this covetable and must-have boxed set are four of his major works, including The Great Gatsby.

The Essential Kafka Boxed Set: The Castle, Metamorphosis and Other Stories, The Trial

by Kafka Franz

The term 'Kafkaesque' takes its place in the English vernacular, demonstrating his huge impact on modern thought. In this covetable and must-have boxed set are collected together three of his major works, including the magnificentMetamorphosis and Other Stories.

Penguin Modern Classics introduces Hubert Selby Jr.

The Demon

by Selby Jr Hubert

The Demon explores the dark side of a man's ambitions with unflinching determination. Harry White's story is a gripping twentieth-century tragedy.

The Demon

by Selby Jr Hubert

The Demon explores the dark side of a man's ambitions with unflinching determination. Harry White's story is a gripping twentieth-century tragedy.

The Demon

by Selby Jr Hubert

The Demon explores the dark side of a man's ambitions with unflinching determination. Harry White's story is a gripping twentieth-century tragedy.

Previous releases

The Riverside Villas Murder

by Amis Kingsley

A mummy is stolen from a small-town museum and a soaking wet man collapses in fourteen-year-old Peter Furneaux's living room bleeding from the head, as a suspected student prank becomes a murder.

I Want It Now

by Amis Kingsley

 With his unerring eye for absurdity and class satire Kingsley Amis shows us what happens when money meets naked ambition. 

The Anti-Death League

by Amis Kingsley

In this surreal comedy of soldiers and spies, Lieutenant James Churchill and his colleagues find themselves questioning their purpose. Are they for death or against it? These men of action will travel between the barracks, the lunatic asylum and the house of an aristocratic nymphomaniac in search of answers.

The Folks That Live On The Hill

by Amis Kingsley

Harry Caldecote is the most charming man you'll ever meet, a convivial academic who devotes his life to others. He is on call when his alcoholic niece falls into strange hands, when his brother threatens to emulate Wordsworth, when his son's lesbian lodger is beaten up by her girlfriend. 

New Maps of Hell

by Amis, Kingsley

In this hilarious, inspiring and provocative series of essays, Kingsley Amis introduces every reader to the wonders and value of science fiction writing.

L'Abbé C

by Bataille, Georges

Charged with sensuality and a heightened, dreamlike atmosphere, this novel portrays the darkest and most profound aspects of human experience.

My Mother, Madame Edwarda, The Dead Man

by Bataille, Georges

In these three works of erotic prose Georges Bataille fuses sex and spirituality in a highly personal and philosophical vision of the self. This volume also contains Bataille's own introductions to his texts as well as essays by Yukio Mishima.

Literature and Evil

by Bataille George

'Literature is not innocent,' stated Georges Bataille in this extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, arguing that only by acknowledging its complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely.

A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: The Collected Stories

by Drabble, Margaret

Margaret Drabble is one of the major literary figures of her generation. In this collection of her complete short fiction from across four decades, she examines the intense private worlds and passions of everyday people.

The Magician of Lublin

by Singer Bashevis Isaac

Set in Warsaw and the shtetls of the 1870s, Isaac Bashevis Singer's second novel is a haunting psychological portrait of a man's flight from love.

Enemies: A Love Story

by Singer Bashevis, Isaac

Published in 1972, Enemies, A Love Story is an astonishing novel that blends humour and pathos to create a rich, humane portrayal of a man who cannot escape his past. 

The Slave

by Singer Bashevis Isaac

 In The Slave, published in 1962, Isaac Bashevis Singer creates a dreamlike portrayal of isolation, rejection, love and the meaning of sacrifice. 

The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer

by Bashevis Singer, Isaac

Isaac Bashivis Singer's work explores humanity in all of its guises. This collection of forty-seven short stories, selected by Singer himself from across the whole of his career, brings together the best of his writing.

Jules et Jim

by Roche Henri Pierre

Henri-Pierre Roché was in his mid-seventies when he wrote this, his autobiographical debut novel. The inspiration for the legendary film, it captures perfectly with excitement and great humour the tenderness of three people in love with each other and with life.

The Devil in the Flesh

by Radiguet Raymond

Written in spare, haunting prose when Raymond Radiguet was still a teenager, this semi-autobiographical novel became an instant bestseller and its author was hailed as a genius, before dying tragically at the age of twenty.

The Golden Apples

by Welty, Eudora

The Golden Apples is an acutely observed, richly atmospheric portrayal of small-town life in Morgana, Mississippi.

Ending Up

by Amis Kingsley

At Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage in the English countryside, five elderly people live together in rancorous disharmony.

Complete Stories

by Amis Kingsley

The short stories of Kingsley Amis - the great master of post-war comic prose - are dark, playful, moving, surprising and extremely funny. This definitive collection gathers all Amis's short fiction in a single volume for the first time and encompasses five decades of storytelling.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

by Le Carre, John

Le Carré's breakthrough work of 1963 was an award-winning number one global bestseller and brought him international renown, redefining the spy story as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining.

The Secret Pilgrim

by Le Carre, John

In this final Smiley novel, the great spy gives his own humane and unexpected answers.

The Russia House

by Le Carre John

In his first post-glasnost novel, le Carré captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them.

A Murder of Quality

by le Carre, John

In his second novel, le Carré moves outside the world of espionage to reveal the secrets at the heart of another particularly English institution. The result is a pitch-perfect murder mystery, with Smiley as master detective.

The Perfect Murder: The First Inspector Ghote Mystery

by Keating, H R F

The Perfect Murder introduced Inspector Ghote: Bombay CID's most dogged, dutiful officer, and one of the greatest, most engaging creations in all detective fiction.

Under a Monsoon Cloud: An Inspector Ghote Mystery

by Keating H. R. F.

A man is dead and inspector Ghote knows exactly who killed him.  Now if he can just keep it a secret . . . 

Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg

by Keating H. R. F.

A body with no organs and inspector Ghote with a mission – but no clues.

Inspector Ghote Trusts the Heart

by Keating H. R. F.

Some crooks have tried to snatch the plump son of a business tycoon, and have accidentally made off with his playmate instead. But they're not changing their plan: a payment is to be delivered to them or a small corpse is to be delivered to Inspector Ghote.

The Tunnel

by Sabato Ernesto

Infamous for the murder of Maria Iribarne, the artist Juan Pablo Castel is now writing a detailed account of his relationship with the victim from his prison cell: obsessed from the first moment he saw her examining one of his paintings . . . 

Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious

by Freud Sigmund

Building on the crucial insight that jokes use many of the same mechanisms he had already discovered in dreams, Freud developed one of the richest and most comprehensive theories of humour that has ever been produced.

Someone Like You

by Dahl, Roald

These eighteen tales of the macabre show Dahl's dark brilliance as a short story writer.

Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying

by Dahl Roald

During the Second World War Roald Dahl served in the RAF and suffered horrific injuries in an air crash. In these tales that draw on his war experiences, he conveys the bizarre reality of life in the air and the nervy jollity of the Mess and Ops room.

The Divided Self

by Laing, R D

Laing's radical approach to insanity offered a rich existential analysis of personal alienation and made him a cult figure in the 1960s, yet his work was most significant for its humane attitude, which put the patient back at the centre of treatment.

Aloft

by Langewiesche William

In the essays collected here William Langewiesche considers how flying has altered not only how we move about the earth, but also how we view our world and our place in it.

Collected Stories

by Bowles, Paul

In these hauntingly beautiful stories of abandonment and vengeance, extreme situations lead to disturbing conclusions.

The Spider's House

by Bowles, Paul

Bowles's most masterly novel combines his classic themes: the conflict of Eastern and Western cultures and the trials of otherness.

Up Above the World

by Bowles Paul

Up Above the World shows Paul Bowles to be a master of the tension and horror of rising viciousness.

Let It Come Down

by Bowles Paul

This dark terrifying novel is arguably Bowles's greatest achievement.

The Graduate

by Webb Charles

Told with wry, deadpan humour, this brilliant anti-establishment fable was the basis for Mike Nicholas' acclaimed film starring Dustin Hoffman, and is a classic of the 1960s counterculture.

Man's Fate

by Malraux Andre

Man's Fate, winner of The Prix Goncourt in 1933, is a gripping story of conflict, free will and our power to shape our destiny.

Heroes in the Wind: From Kull to Conan

by Howard Robert E

This is writing as sheer, relentless excitement, from the grandmaster of pulp fiction. The indomitable Kull faces a deadly plot from the priests of a serpent god, and sleeps through centuries to lead an army in an epic conflict . . . 

Interzone

by Burroughs, William S

Interzone shows the evolution of William Burroughs from the terse, fiercely confessional writer ofJunky to the wild, brutal fantasist of Naked Lunch.

Letters 1945-59

by Burroughs William S

Burroughs was itinerant not just by disposition but often by legal necessity (his accidental, fatal shooting of his wife and constant drug troubles required regular relocation), so letters were lifelines for the outcast and works-in-progress for the writer.

My Education

by Burroughs William S

Exploring and embodying Burroughs' provocative ideas on writing, painting, consciousness and creativity, My Education is intense, vivid, wry and laconic – and a revealing journey into the mind of a great writer.

The Cat Inside

by Burroughs William S

In The Cat Inside, Burroughs is touching when writing of the many strays he took in over the years, disdainful of dogs ('self-righteous as a lynch mob'), always erudite and surprisingly caring – it is a genuine revelation, for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.

The Hustler

by Tevis Walter

Death Kit

by Susan Sontag

In America

by Sontag Susan

Fantastic Tales

by Calvino Italo

Tarka the Otter

by Williamson, Henry

The Death of Grass

by Christopher John

The Shiralee

by Niland D'Arcy

All My Sons

by Miller Arthur

After the Fall

by Miller Arthur

The Glass Menagerie

by Williams, Tennessee

The Flood

by Le Clezio JMG

Terra Amata

by Le Clezio JMG

Fever

by Le Clezio JMG

Junky

by Burroughs, William S

The Wild Boys

by Burroughs, William S

Exterminator!

by Burroughs, William S

The Yage Letters

by Burroughs William S. & Ginsberg Allen

On Photography

by Sontag Susan

Susan Sontag's groundbreaking critique of photography asks forceful questions about the moral and aesthetic issues surrounding this art form.

The Medium is the Massage

by McLuhan, Marshall; Fiore, Quentin

Design as Art

by Munari, Bruno

Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as 'the new Leonardo'.

Anthem

by Rand, Ayn

Hothouse

by Aldiss Brian

Siddhartha

by Hesse Hermann

The Mortgaged Heart

by McCullers Carson

Steppenwolf

by Hesse Hermann

On the Road

by Kerouac Jack

The Bodysurfers

by Drewe Robert

The Merry-go-round in the Sea

by Stow Randolph

The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea allows us a precious glimpse into a simpler kind of childhood in a country that no longer exists.

Cat's Cradle

by Vonnegut Kurt

My Father's Moon

by Jolley Elizabeth

Cabin Fever

by Jolley Elizabeth

Elizabeth Jolley writes lucidly of betrayal and survival, loneliness and desire, and with compassion for the sad dislocations of love between parents and children. In Cabin Fever, the second novel in a semi-autobiographical trilogy, she beguiles with her particular blend of humour and the serious.

The Georges' Wife

by Jolley Elizabeth

As in My Father's Moon and Cabin Fever, Elizabeth Jolley returns to the themes of discord and harmony between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends and lovers.

Marry Me

by Updike John

The Assistant

by Walser Robert

Clock Without Hands

by McCullers, Carson

The Victim

by Bellow Saul

The Actual

by Bellow Saul

Ravelstein

by Bellow Saul

To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account

by Bellow Saul

In the mid-1970s, Saul Bellow visited Israel and To Jerusalem and Back is his account of his time there. 

The Dean's December

by Bellow Saul

Albert Corde, dean of a Chicago college, is unprepared for the violent response to his scathing articles on city corruption and his involvement in the trial of two black people charged with killing a white student. 

The Empty Space

by Brook, Peter

In The Empty Space, groundbreaking director Peter Brook draws on a life in love with the stage to explore the issues facing any theatrical performance.

The Theory of the Modern Stage: From Artaud to Zola: An Introduction to Modern Theatre and Drama

by Bentley Eric

In The Theory of the Modern Stage, leading drama critic, Eric Bentley, brings together landmark writings by dramatists, directors and thinkers who have had a profound effect on the theatre since the mid nineteenth century, from Adolphe Appia to Émile Zola. 

Monkey Grip

by Garner Helen

Inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1970s: a world of communal living, drugs, music and love. In this acclaimed first novel, Helen Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways.

Postcards from Surfers

by Garner Helen

Remarkably honest, often very funny and always woven in ways that surprise, these stories tease out everyday life to show the darkness underneath – but also the possibilities of joy.

Science Fiction Omnibus

by Aldiss, Brian

This new edition of Brian Aldiss's classic anthology brings together a diverse selection of science fiction spanning over sixty years, from Isaac Asimov's 'Nightfall', first published in 1941, to the 2006 story 'Friends in Need' by Eliza Blair.

POPism: The Warhol Sixties

by Warhol, Andy; Hackett, Pat

A cultural storm swept through the 1960s – Pop Art, Bob Dylan, psychedelia, underground movies – and at its centre sat a bemused young artist with silver hair: Andy Warhol.

Love in a Fallen City: And Other Stories

by Chang Eileen

 Love in a Fallen City, the first collection in English of this dazzling body of work, introduces readers to the stark and glamorous vision of a modern master.

Herzog

by Bellow Saul

Is Moses Herzog losing his mind? His formidable wife Madeleine has left him for his best friend and he is left alone with his whirling thoughts, yet he still sees himself as a survivor, raging against private disasters and those of the modern age.

The Adventures of Augie March

by Bellow, Saul

A penniless and parentless Chicago boy growing up in the Great Depression, Augie March drifts through life latching on to a wild succession of occupations, including butler, thief, dog-washer, sailor and salesman.

Henderson the Rain King

by Bellow Saul

Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe.

Mr Sammler's Planet

by Bellow Saul

Mr. Artur Sammler, Holocaust survivor, intellectual, and occasional lecturer at Columbia University in 1960s New York City, is a 'registrar of madness,' a refined and civilized being caught among people crazy with the promises of the future (moon landings, endless possibilities). 

It All Adds Up

by Bellow Saul

Saul Bellow's fiction, honoured by a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer, among other awards, has made him a literary giant. Now the man himself and a lifetime of his insightful views on a range of topics spring off the page in this, his first non-fiction collection . . . 

The Lucky Country

by Horne Donald

When it was first published in 1964 The Lucky Country caused a sensation. Horne took Australian society to task for its philistinism, provincialism and dependence. 

Memoirs

by Williams Tennessee

When Memoirs was first published in 1975, it created quite a bit of turbulence in the media – though long self-identified as a gay man, Williams' candour about his love life, sexual encounters, and drug use was found shocking . . . 

The Feminine Mystique

by Friedan, Betty

This groundbreaking and life-changing work remains just as powerful, important and true as it was forty-five years ago, and is essential reading both as a historical document and as a study of women living in a man's world.

Love in the Time of Cholera

by Marquez Gabriel Garcia

Florentino Ariza has never forgotten his first love. He has waited nearly a lifetime in silence since his beloved Fermina married another man. No woman can replace her in his heart. But now her husband is dead. 

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Marquez Gabriel Garcia

Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy with comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century.

All the King's Men

by Warren, Robert Penn

All the King's Men is considered the finest novel ever written on American politics. Set in the 1930s, this book traces the rise and fall of Willie Stark, who resembles the real-life Huey 'Kingfish' Long of Louisiana.

The Centaur

by Updike John

Interwoven with the myth of Chiron, the noblest centaur, and his own relationship to Prometheus, The Centaur is one of John Updike's most brilliant and unusual novels.

Of the Farm

by Updike John

Joey Robinson is a thirty-live-year-old advertising consultant working in the urban jungle of Manhattan. One day, Joey decides to return to the farm where he grew up, and where his mother still lives.

Humboldt's Gift

by Bellow, Saul

For many years, the great poet Von Humboldt Fleisher and Charlie Citrine, a young man inflamed with a love for literature, were the best of friends.

The Dangling Man

by Bellow Saul

Expecting to be inducted into the army, Joseph has given up his job and carefully prepared for his departure to the battlefront. When a series of mix-ups delays his induction, he finds himself facing a year of idleness.

Collected Stories

by Bellow Saul

This is the definitive collection of short stories by Saul Bellow. Abundant, precise, various, rich and exuberant, the stories display the stylistic and emotional brilliance which characterises this master of prose.

More Die of Heartbreak

by Bellow Saul

Kenneth Trachtenberg, the witty and eccentric narrator of More Die of Heartbreak, has left his native Paris for the Midwest. He has come to be near his beloved uncle, the world-renowned botanist Benn Crader, self-described 'plant visionary.'

Seize the Day

by Bellow Saul

Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In the course of one climatic day he reviews his past mistakes and spiritual malaise, until a mysterious, philosophizing con man grants him a glorious, illuminating moment of truth and . . .