Those masters of genteel cover design, Penguin Books, have come up with a rather lovely solution to those pesky old backlist titles. They’ve been repurposed as the Penguin English Library, a collection of what will eventually be 100 classics designed by the infallibly classy Coralie Bickford-Smith and issued in a lovely set of trade paperbacks. What Penguin really excels in, of course, is the template—that eye-pleasing formula of type and design and proportion and a perfectly-placed penguin. Combine that with some good color choices and those nice rubber-stampy images, and you have yourself a cohesive, pretty series that probably wasn’t too labor-intensive to put together.
I had originally thought “English Library” referred to books from the UK, but a closer glance reveals work by Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton—I suppose “English-Language Library” doesn’t have quite the same cachet to it. It wasn’t just the series name that had me fooled at first, though, but the fantastic video that accompanied its launch. It was directed by Woof Wan-Bau, but pays all sorts of homage to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Yellow Submarine, British animation classics that have my brain hardwired for wonder: