Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Radio 4 Loves Capuchin!

Just an advance notice that one of the titles from our second batch, The Dark Flower by John Galsworthy is to be Radio 4's Book at Bedtime in late December. 

We'll keep you posted as to when exactly it will be broadcast. As Radio 4 commented to us "It’s a great book". We're glad that Radio 4 are with us in bringing this title to a new audience. 

Monday, 6 October 2008

a thought from the Capuchin Classics team...

Here at Capuchin Classics, we know that the UK is cited as leading the world in the amount of books published per-capita, with an estimated 130,000 new titles every year. A new book of fiction is published in the United States every 30 minutes – however it it estimated that a staggering 34% of those books are returned to the publishers for pulping.

At a time when more and more publishers are offering print on demand services and Katie Price's (pictured) most recent book sold 44,000 in a single week, one would be forgiven for asking, ‘Who is protecting our literary cannon?’ And ‘Do we really need 130,000 new titles published a year when there’s such a wealth of good writing already in existence but threatening to disappear?

This is why our unique series offers the discerning reader a wide range of reprints of outstanding works that have been undeservedly lost to sight or are no longer easily available. Capuchin's founding quest is to make available great works of literature, be they from ancient Greece or twentieth-century New York. 

“When Mendelssohn first came to Capuchin Classics headquarters in Kensington Church Street in 1829 and spoke of ‘Bach’ to his music-mad hosts the Horsleys, they thought he must mean CPE Bach.  They had scarcely heard of his father, Johann Sebastian, whose music simply wasn’t known until Mendelssohn himself began to change all that in the 1830s. The same can be said of literature, it is like a bran-tub containing works of high talent and originality which a change of fashion, the caprice of taste, chance oblivion, the unopened bottom drawer, have kept them out of or denied them entry into the repertoire.

By what trick of providence, or by what lone champion, do we now read Emily Dickinson or Gerard Manley Hopkins, or Lampedusa’s The Leopard or the searing insights of Nietzsche? The civilisation of Man is a chronicle of buried treasure and forgotten glories.”  - Tom Stacey, CEO of Capuchin Classics

Capuchin Classics has the blithe mission of rummaging the great bran tub, unwrapping what they find, holding each item up to the light and inspecting it for genuine literary quality, and if it passes their test putting it before twentieth-century readers.…

That's why October 2008 sees the release of the following (click on the titles for further information)

Juan in America By Eric Linklater (Foreword by Alex Linklater)

An unjustly neglected masterpiece of the picaresque. Set in the year before the 1929 Wall Street Crash, Juan in America is part romantic adventure, part roustabout, part hilarious commentary on what was the New World.

"A magnificent frolic" - JB Priestly 

How I Became a Holy Mother and Other StorieBy Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Foreword by Francis King)

A timeless collection of stories from Imperial India, told with the wit, penetration and humanity of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala at her greatest.

"A writer of genius" - Sunday Times

"Every one of them is brilliant... An astonishing writer" – Observer

The Hireling By LP Hartley (Foreword by Jane Feaver)

A profoundly human story of lost love and lost lives. By the bestselling author of The Go-Between.

"One of the best novels he produced" - Daily Mail

Kidnapped By Robert Louis Stevenson (Foreword by James Naughtie)

A classic of swash-buckling adventures which, to quote from James Naughtie's foreword, "makes you shiver, not only at the crack of the boat on the rocks or the approaching soldier's tread on the Highland road, but in the quiet moments too. He [Stephenson] understands everyone's fear of a solitary fate."

Tell us what you think about our latest titles. 

Read all about it! Nightmare on Wall Street

Dubbed "a magnificent frolic" by JB Priestly, Juan in America is one of the four new titles to grace the shelves of the Capuchin Classics library this October. 

Eric Linklater's witty and original prophesy of the great Wall Street Crash of '29, is a remarkable and entertaining account of a society unwittingly on the brink of a slump. Readers of Juan in America, will discover uncanny similarities with the current Nightmare on Wall Street. 

The Capuchin team are also glad to announce that our foreword writer, Alex Linklater, is appearing on Radio 4's Open Book programme for a discussion of his grandfather, Eric Linklater, and how Juan in America came about. Catch it on Sunday the 19th, or when repeated on Thursday the 23rd of October (both broadcast at 4.00pm-4.30pm).

To read more about Linklater's amazing life, click here.

Friday, 22 August 2008

The Green Hat

We are delighted to see more positive opinions on Michael Arlen's The Green Hat, this time coming from fellow-blogger Random Jottings. 

Those of you of loved the book as much as Random Jottings (and me) might also be interested in knowing that the novel was adapted first into a play, and then, in 1928, into a movie with Greta Garbo, called A Woman of Affairs.

Monday, 18 August 2008

A Couple of Suggestions

The English summer seems to be (temporarily?) over, and the best of the Olympics usually takes place very late at night, so if you are looking for inspiration, here are a few interesting web-reads:

1. Start planning your next holidays with the help of the Top 10 Literary Destinations List, as announced last week by the travel website Trip Advisor; you might not have to travel far if you pick the first two, but my personal vote goes to number 10.

2. In the Guardian Books Blog, Alison Flogg tells you everything you need to know about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which rewards the worst opening line for imaginary novels (my personal favourite is Tim Ellis').

3. And finally, thanks to the wonders of the New York Times archives: you can start preparing for the publication of Tolstoy's Tales of Sexual Desire by reading the original 1890 review, describing the sensation caused in Russia by the publication of "The Kreutzer Sonata".

Friday, 25 July 2008


We have updated our catalogue on the website: have a look at our new & improved list of just published and/or coming soon books, and tell us what you think!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Other People's Bookshelves

Have you ever spent the pre-dinner conversation moments at someone's house browsing their bookshelves? Ever waited, at your new friend's or new date's home,  for the first opportunity to be alone, so that you could go through their books? And, most importantly, have you ever wondered what was on the bedside tables of Sylvia Plath, ee cummings, or WH Auden?

I See Dead People's Books, the latest project by LibraryThing, gives you the possibility to find some answers for this last question: yes, you can actually have a look at the bookshelves of some of your favourite authors. Of course, as Graeme Allister points out in the Guardian blog, "many of the books are predictably familiar", and the lists cannot actually be read as a complete representation of anyone's literary preferences - they have been put together through various different methods, mainly with the help of American academic libraries, and they cannot account for those books that were sold or disposed of by the authors or by their families. But the idea still has an undeniable charm.

And you might find out, for example, that Guy de Maupassant's short stories featured  in Faulkner's library, or that Ernest Hemingway was a fan of Rudyard Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills. Or, even, that he shared with Francis Scott Fitzgerald an interest in G.K. Chesterton - but while Hemingway himself preferred The Incredulity of Father Brown, Fitzgerald was keener on The Napoleon of Notting Hill

The website even tells you about what state the copies are in - whether, for example, they are pocket editions or leather-bounds, and whether their owners wrote anything in them (apparently, Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound were very active scribblers).  It might not be the most academically accurate way of learning about your favourite writer's influences, but it is hard to resist the curiosity...

Monday, 14 July 2008

3 for 2

And just in case you were looking for more good reasons to visit our website, we've just started a 3 for 2 offer on all online orders.

(This is our online preview of another similar offer starting at the end of summer... keep reading our blog and we'll keep you updated!)

A Journey Around the Blogosphere

Back in the days when we didn't have our own blog, we were nonetheless keeping track of our fellow bloggers' comments, ideas and discussions on our books. 

So, before anything else, here are our belated thanks to all those who enjoyed our books and were kind enough to tell the web about them:

  • Back in March, in the middle of the Hesperus week, stuck-in-a-book Simon found out about Capuchin Classics. His interview with our chรขtelaine Emma Howard can be read here, and makes for an excellent introduction to our series. We also really enjoyed Simon's reviews of Michael Arlen's The Green Hat (particularly the "witty treacle" metaphor!) and of Pamela Hansford Johnson's An Error of Judgement. 
  • In April, the bookaholic Dovegreyreader was impressed by An Error of Judgement; she also anticipated our publication of her "old favourite" Green Dolphin Country by Elizabeth Goudge, which has since then come out with a new introduction by best-selling author Eileen Goudge (you can get the new edition here).
  • In his blog for the Times Online, Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, mentioned our new edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula - and, more specifically, the new introduction written for it by award winning broadcaster, journalist and author Anthony Lejeune. Download it here to find out more about Bram Stoker's interest in Irish actors, Sheridan Le Fanu's "dreamy tale of Lesbian vampires" Carmilla, and The Sublime Society of Beef Steaks.
We can't wait to hear more from the book-lovers' online community, and we hope that this blog will provide the opportunity for a many good chats on the books we love (as well as a chance for you to tell us about that one book you have desperately been looking for and would like to keep alive).