Penguin Great Ideas Series

Penguin are great for creating new editions of well loved books and they also do beautiful box-sets such as this one, which I was lucky enough to be given for my birthday a few years ago.

Penguin’s Great Ideas was comprised of five series, each numbering twenty books. The Editor of Great Ideas, Simon Winder, said on finishing the series, “The very simple idea was to republish books mostly already available through Penguin Classics in a form close to that recognised by the book’s original author – to strip away the accretion of prefaces, introductions and notes which were so important to studying an author in favour of just presenting the text itself, so that once more the reader can open The Social Contract and simply read ‘Man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains’.

I bought the Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf from the first series a few years ago. Last week I was on Amazon buying a new CD wallet for DJing and I wanted a little treat too, so I bought David Hume’s On Suicide from Series 2 and George Orwell’s Books vs Cigarettes from Series 3. They’re slim volumes, the sort of thing you’d read in an hour, but they contain much to think about. They’re generally under a fiver and so they’re easily collectible at that price.


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