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Old 06-09-2010, 04:19 AM   #1
HarryT
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Penguin Classics on iPad

I'm very pleased to see that what appears to be the entire range of "Penguin Classics" is available in the UK iBook Store. These are my favourite range of "scholarly" editions of the classics, and they always have excellent introductions and notes, as well as authoritative versions of the text. I think I'll be buying quite a few of these!
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I'm very pleased to see that what appears to be the entire range of "Penguin Classics" is available in the UK iBook Store. These are my favourite range of "scholarly" editions of the classics, and they always have excellent introductions and notes, as well as authoritative versions of the text. I think I'll be buying quite a few of these!
I'll not be buying anything from the iBook Store except drm-free titles, or until the DRM is removable.

Of course, to be able to buy any at all, I'll have to wait until the iBook Store is available on something other than an iPad.

I've found that even Penguin versions of classic books can contain occasional typos and OCR errors in the ebook versions. e.g. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002RI9KQ8/ has several, especially in the second half of the book.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I'm very pleased to see that what appears to be the entire range of "Penguin Classics" is available in the UK iBook Store. These are my favourite range of "scholarly" editions of the classics, and they always have excellent introductions and notes, as well as authoritative versions of the text. I think I'll be buying quite a few of these!

I like to read books without introductions or notes, because books speak for themselves. I did enjoy discussions in English lit classes in college, but that was more a give-and-take, with various perspectives. "Expert" analysis and such always seems suspect to me. Reminds me of a scene in "Annie Hall," in which Woody Allen overhears a blowhard professor analyzing an author's work, then imaginarily pulls out the actual author, who tells the blowhard that he has no clue what his work is about, lol. Once, I attended an author talk, at which the author said one of her books was being taught at one university with a high-brow analysis of its structure, which she said was flattering but wrong.

Last edited by Maggie Leung; 06-09-2010 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:21 AM   #4
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I like to read books without introduction or notes, because books speak for themselves.
Only if you understand what they are saying.

For example, Anthony Trollope's "Barchester Chronicles" books satirize many aspects of the "establishment" of his day, but you wouldn't know it just by reading the books, unless you happened to be an expert on 19th century British politics and the Church of England. You can get a lot more out of many classics by having a good set of footnotes to point out the underlying sub-text to you. That's why I have a bookshelf full of "Penguin Classics" editions.

Let me give you an example of this:

This following text is from Trollope's "The Warden":

Quote:
Dr Grantly was blessed with a happy, thriving family. There were, first, three boys, now at home from school for the holidays. They were called, respectively, Charles James, Henry, and Samuel. The two younger (there were five in all) were girls; the elder, Florinda, bore the name of the Archbishop of York's wife, whose godchild she was: and the younger had been christened Grizzel, after a sister of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The boys were all clever, and gave good promise of being well able to meet the cares and trials of the world; and yet they were not alike in their dispositions, and each had his individual character, and each his separate admirers among the doctor's friends.

Charles James was an exact and careful boy; he never committed himself; he well knew how much was expected from the eldest son of the Archdeacon of Barchester, and was therefore mindful not to mix too freely with other boys. He had not the great talents of his younger brothers, but he exceeded them in judgment and propriety of demeanour; his fault, if he had one, was an over-attention to words instead of things; there was a thought too much finesse about him, and, as even his father sometimes told him, he was too fond of a compromise.

The second was the archdeacon's favourite son, and Henry was indeed a brilliant boy. The versatility of his genius was surprising, and the visitors at Plumstead Episcopi were often amazed at the marvellous manner in which he would, when called on, adapt his capacity to apparently most uncongenial pursuits. He appeared once before a large circle as Luther the reformer, and delighted them with the perfect manner in which he assumed the character; and within three days he again astonished them by acting the part of a Capuchin friar to the very life. For this last exploit his father gave him a golden guinea, and his brothers said the reward had been promised beforehand in the event of the performance being successful. He was also sent on a tour into Devonshire; a treat which the lad was most anxious of enjoying. His father's friends there, however, did not appreciate his talents, and sad accounts were sent home of the perversity of his nature. He was a most courageous lad, game to the backbone.

It was soon known, both at home, where he lived, and within some miles of Barchester Cathedral, and also at Westminster, where he was at school, that young Henry could box well and would never own himself beat; other boys would fight while they had a leg to stand on, but he would fight with no leg at all. Those backing him would sometimes think him crushed by the weight of blows and faint with loss of blood, and his friends would endeavour to withdraw him from the contest; but no, Henry never gave in, was never weary of the battle. The ring was the only element in which he seemed to enjoy himself; and while other boys were happy in the number of their friends, he rejoiced most in the multitude of his foes.

His relations could not but admire his pluck, but they sometimes were forced to regret that he was inclined to be a bully; and those not so partial to him as his father was, observed with pain that, though he could fawn to the masters and the archdeacon's friends, he was imperious and masterful to the servants and the poor.

But perhaps Samuel was the general favourite; and dear little Soapy, as he was familiarly called, was as engaging a child as ever fond mother petted. He was soft and gentle in his manners, and attractive in his speech; the tone of his voice was melody, and every action was a grace; unlike his brothers, he was courteous to all, he was affable to the lowly, and meek even to the very scullery-maid. He was a boy of great promise, minding his books and delighting the hearts of his masters. His brothers, however, were not particularly fond of him; they would complain to their mother that Soapy's civility all meant something; they thought that his voice was too often listened to at Plumstead Episcopi, and evidently feared that, as he grew up, he would have more weight in the house than either of them; there was, therefore, a sort of agreement among them to put young Soapy down. This, however, was not so easy to be done; Samuel, though young, was sharp; he could not assume the stiff decorum of Charles James, nor could he fight like Henry; but he was a perfect master of his own weapons, and contrived, in the teeth of both of them, to hold the place which he had assumed. Henry declared that he was a false, cunning creature; and Charles James, though he always spoke of him as his dear brother Samuel, was not slow to say a word against him when opportunity offered. To speak the truth, Samuel was a cunning boy, and those even who loved him best could not but own that for one so young, he was too adroit in choosing his words, and too skilled in modulating his voice.
The description of Dr. Grantly's three sons above is actually an extremely witty satire on three of the leading Bishops of his day, but there's absolutely no way that you'd know that, as a modern reader, unless you have a good set of footnotes to tell you.

Last edited by HarryT; 06-09-2010 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:43 AM   #5
Maggie Leung
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I can see value in such limited cases. I'm a big Gutenberg reader (read four of its books in the past four days) and haven't found need for notes, but maybe we just have different tastes.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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I can see value in such limited cases. I'm a big Gutenberg reader (read four of its books in the past four days) and haven't found need for notes, but maybe we just have different tastes.
There's no need for notes with any book, but my point is that, without footnotes, you'd have just read the above text, and not had the faintest idea that there was anything behind it other than its apparent description of a family - you'd have missed the entire point of what Trollope was saying, which, of course, his contemporary readers would have grasped immediately. A good set of footnotes will let you get a lot more out of a book than reading it "unaided" will.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:30 AM   #7
Maggie Leung
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There's no need for notes with any book, but my point is that, without footnotes, you'd have just read the above text, and not had the faintest idea that there was anything behind it other than its apparent description of a family - you'd have missed the entire point of what Trollope was saying, which, of course, his contemporary readers would have grasped immediately. A good set of footnotes will let you get a lot more out of a book than reading it "unaided" will.
I think "get(ting) a lot more out of a book" depends on your purpose. I read classics for enjoyment, variation from nonfiction reading. I prefer to do my "studying" in nonfiction. More power to you, however you enjoy your classics.
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