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. 

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