Modern: New Little Black Classics

By Jo Phillips

What’s better than a book for just £1 or £2? The availability of 46 classic works of literature for just £1 or £2. And beginning on the third of March, that’s exactly what will happen.
To celebrate the anniversary of the Penguin Classic, which began in 1946, Penguin Books is releasing 46 new Little Black Classic paperbacks.

Penguin's Little Black Classics
And while the new classics are all by canonical authors of other generations, the themes of the stories are all quite relevant to our modern age. In some instances, the prevalence is as simple as the inclusion of “Waterloo,” an excerpt from Victor Hugo’s 1862 Les Miserables, which modern audiences still love, reading the original novel, and adapting it into a musical and films.
Similarly, “Is This a Dagger Which I see Before Me,” a collection of Shakespeare’s soliloquies and poems. The title work is a monologue from Macbeth, another story that holds a strong interest amongst audiences today, as just a few months ago Justin Kurzel directed the latest film adaptation of the centuries-old play and stage performances of Macbeth continue to happen worldwide.

Two of the stories in the new collection—Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Modern Detective” and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Lot No. 249”—are especially relevant thematically to modern audience interests. Poe introduced the notion of the detective story to English literature in 1841 with his novel The Murders in The Rue Morgue, and Doyle famously expanded the genre in the later 19th century with his Sherlock Holmes character.

There’s something ageless about these types of mystery stories that hook and engage audiences and continue to do so today, evident in the recent popularity of new Paul Hawkins novel The Girl on the Train or Netflix shows like Making a Murderer that get people talking. Though we’ve found other ways aside from literature to get our fill of suspense, but there will always be a place for the classics in the detective genre.



And since these new additions are Little Black Classics, they’ll be small and chic little books you can bring along with you anywhere from your morning commute to your R&R breaks.

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