I first stumbled across the beautiful fabric-covered, hardback Penguin Clothbound Classics in Waterstone’s Bath where a table at the front of the store had all different editions of Jane Austen’s novels a few years back. I’m pretty sure it was during the Jane Austen celebrations that take place all over the city every September.
I ended up buying my Mum the clothbound copy of Persuasion, her first Austen novel, and now mine too, as her cheap 70s paperback was falling to pieces. When she passed away, I took on the beautiful edition and my collection began. I went on to buy the rest of Austen’s novels one at a time – I only allow myself to buy one a month (they’re fairly pricey!). I now have the full collection and it ended up tying into my 2014 reading goal to read the three Austen novels that I hadn’t yet – Northanger Abbey, Emma and Mansfield Park. I’m currently reading my final Austen, Mansfield Park, so the challenge will be complete!
But I couldn’t stop with the Jane Austen. Next came my favourite non-Austen classic, Frankenstein, and the beloved classics that I plan to read over the coming months – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Dracula.
I still have loads more on my list to collect – Great Expectations, Metamorphoses, Anna Karenina, Cranford, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Vanity fair, Little Women, Tess of the D’Urbervilles...yeah, I have a problem.
And this isn’t taking into account the newly discovered Penguin English Library for the smaller, more modern classics like HG Wells, EM Forster, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edith Wharton. They’re beautiful, well-priced paperbacks that I’m betting are going to make another gorgeous collection.
You really can smell an English Lit grad from miles away can’t you...
(P.S. Apologies for the terrible photos, both my phone and iPod are dead and my iPad was the only option...)
Do you collect any special editions?