When buying classic literature, are the Penguin Classics a good choice?

#1Maestro_AaronPosted 6/25/2014 8:50:12 AM
I'm buying a bunch of classic books, and I'd rather them all be from one imprint. It would have to be paperbacks as hardbacks are way too expensive, since i'd be buying 20 or so.

Which publisher is generally regarded as the best? Is Penguin Classics the way to go, especially considering I'd be including the works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy?
#2Magus1947Posted 6/25/2014 12:15:07 PM
On average, Penguin is a safe choice. Signet and Bantam both put the text too close to the center of the book for my tastes, so you really have to stretch open the book to read. So far Don Quixote is the only one where I found Penguin's translation unreadable (Grossman's was much better). I haven't read any of Penguin's Russians. For a while, people were auto-recommending the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of them, which are not Penguin, but the pendulum seems to have swung around to calling P&V overrated.
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#3bluPythonPosted 6/25/2014 12:41:54 PM
I'd put the money towards a kindle. SO much better than physical.
#4FLAWLESSCROWNSPosted 6/28/2014 4:39:03 PM
Penguin is garbage, flat out. I have two to three Penguin books and each literally fell apart while I was reading it. And all the extra stuff they put into their books is dumb and pointless. Nobody's reading those sixteen introductions, which spoil the book for you as well.
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#5toxicpiePosted 6/28/2014 11:41:55 PM
Wondering the same thing myself. The Iliad and the Odyssey are written very well, but are quite heavy going. Think Lord of the Rings. As befits the tone of the original, so I like that, and I imagine the other "epics" will be similar.
The other ones I've read, Aristophanes' comedies, are hilarious, absolutely fantastic translations. Useful stuff at the back, too, to give you extra information about puns and jokes you wouldn't understand.

I like the sixteen introductions, I think the context and extra information is really interesting. And they're easy enough to ignore if you don't want to read them.
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#6SlamslatePosted 6/29/2014 12:32:01 AM
Penguin's Count of Monte Cristo is great.
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#7kdogg2077Posted 6/29/2014 5:50:02 AM
I don't waste money on paperbacks.

I do one of three things.

1. If the book is a classic it is probably available for free on Project Gutenburg. Download it and read it on your PC, tablet or phone.

2. If you don't want to do that, borrow it from your local library.

3. After having read these classics pick the ones you like best and buy them in a nice hardback version.
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#8JurassicBondPosted 6/29/2014 11:36:35 AM
kdogg2077 posted...
1. If the book is a classic it is probably available for free on Project Gutenburg. Download it and read it on your PC, tablet or phone.


If it's in English this is fine, but for foreign classics I want a more modern translation if it's available.
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#9KingKilvasPosted 7/3/2014 7:34:38 AM
Penguin Classics in my experience have been great editions. I had Jane Eyre assigned in a class and I greatly enjoyed their edition of it.
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#10progame13Posted 7/3/2014 8:47:06 AM
If it's a non-english classic, research translations. These vary wildly in quality, and the generic, older translations aren't always that great.

If it is english, go with your gut. I personally like the Barnes and Noble Classics a lot, but they tend to switch styles fairly often.
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