Monday 8 June 2009

Great Ideas Round 4

As they did in August 2008, Penguin are planning another 20 of their Great Ideas books for August 2009. Only a few of the covers are available as yet, but it would seem that they're going with purple as the single colour used (the first three series used red, blue and green).

This last, textless cover is appropriate for Writings from the Zen Masters. If I'm not mistaken, that tiny purple artist's seal is a stylised Penguin.

Some of the other titles suggest a certain amount of barrel-scraping: Shakespeare's On Power, for example, appears to be bits from his plays presented out of context. On the other hand, Robert Louis Stevenson's An Apology for Idlers ("An irresistible invitation to reject the work ethic and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, such as laughing, drinking and lying in the open air.") sounds like just my cup of tea.

At the moment I'd imagine these covers to be mostly the work of David Pearson, but I'm willing to be proved wrong.

UPDATE: Phil Baines, one of the designers, has let me know who's behind these beauties. "Hi, same four designers as previously, David Pearson (art directing and designing), Phil Baines, Catherine Dixon and Alistair Hall."

Of those shown above, Orwell and Johnston are by Pearson, Locke and Kant are by Dixon; de Maistre by Baines, and the Zen book is by Hall.


Anonymous said...

What an original blog! I'm so happy I found it!

JRSM said...

Thank you, Christy!

Anonymous said...

Is a list of the new titles available anywhere?

JRSM said...

It's not yet on Penguin's website, but the list of titles is:

1. Why Look at Animals? by John Berger
2. Decline of the English Murder by George Orwell
3. The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion by Arthur Schopenhauer
4. Utopia by Thomas More
5. Writings from the Zen Masters by Various
6. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
7. The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
8. On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings by William James
9. On Power by William Shakespeare
10. Of the Abuse of Words by John Locke
11. On Solitude by Michel de Montaigne
12. An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?' by Immanuel Kant
13. An Apology for Idlers by Robert Louis Stevenson
14. Of the Dawn of Freedom by W. Du Bois
15. Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid by Virginia Woolf
16. Revolution and War by Karl Marx
17. Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey
18. Consolation in the Face of Death by Samuel Johnson
19. The Executioner by Joseph de Maistre
20. The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Kevin Arthur said...

I love these designs and I've bought a few of the books in the prior series, but as books to *read* they're a bit lacking. I'd rather have the Penguin Classics versions that include introductions and notes. I like these for collecting, but honestly I'd be happier to collect them as postcards.

JRSM said...

It's especially annoying when they turn out to be EXTRACTS from longer books--especially when Penguin was founded on publishing complete, unadulterated texts. But they do look very pretty!

Phil Baines said...

Hi, same four designers as previously, David Pearson (art directing and designing), Phil Baines, Catherine Dixon, Alistair Hall. Of those shown, Orwell & Johnston + DP; Locke = CD; de Maistre = PB; Kant = CD; Zen = AH.

JRSM said...

Magic! Thanks, Phil: I'll update the post with that information. Beautiful work, by the way!