View Full Version : Best Edition of Classics

Qin Shi Huangdi
09-19-2009, 12:10 PM
What is the best edition of classics? Is it the Penguin, Signet, Oxford, Barnes & Noble, or what?

Busy Scissors
09-19-2009, 01:16 PM
The text will generally be the same across publishers so you'll be reading the same book. There are some exceptions where more than one version of the text exists - Ulysses is an example where the canonical version has a somewhat convoluted history. These sort of books are relatively rare AFAIK.

So it comes down to whether you like supporting text to go around the novel - numbered endnotes, an introduction etc. I quite like Penguin's approach which uses a brief intro, some history of the author and then numbered endnotes in the novel's text that explain terminology and include some light critical analysis. You're free to ignore the endnotes of course - some people find them distracting. I find all this sort of stuff helpful for the more involved Classics, or for non-English lit that I am less familiar with.

If it's a foreign language novel then the translation can make a huge difference, but this will clearly be stated on the book. The more popular classics will have the same translation available across publishers.

Qin Shi Huangdi
09-19-2009, 01:20 PM
Speaking of Penguin Classics I've noticed that the Penguin edition of East of Eden by John Steinbeck doesn't have any footnotes.

09-19-2009, 01:34 PM
I may be old fashioned, but I still really like the Constance Garnett translation of Brothers Karamazov.

I know it gets bashed, but to me, it was very powerful and a great translation.

Ronald C. Semone
09-19-2009, 01:56 PM
I'm still partial to the ones I grew up with and which are a source of a lot of my knowledge of books I haven't otherwise read: Classics Illustrated comic books.

Night, so be it
09-19-2009, 02:02 PM
Penguin are generally pretty good. Vintage are good also, though I'm not too keen on the red spines. This may be simple coincidence, but Vintage seem to have some of the stronger translations, i.e. Edith Grossman with Don Quixote and Pevear/Volokhonsky with War & Peace, Brothers Karamazov etc., though they have their critics I find them pretty solid. Oxford are a strong option, they seem considerably cheaper than Penguin and of only a slightly lesser quality.

Horatio Hellpop
09-19-2009, 09:50 PM
As for actual editions, regardless of current publisher: The third edition of Frankenstein is cinsidered the definitive one, although I prefer the first.