Tuesday 21 August 2007


One of my first posts on this blog was about twins in literature, and sparked off quite a little frenzy of puzzling. Well, looks like Vintage have had the same idea, though perhaps a little bit differently.

A few other bloggers have mentioned this, but none of them are twins (so far as I know) and thus I have the upper hand on discussing it. Possibly.

In publishing a series of classics, somebody in the Vintage offices had the alarmingly good idea to print these alongside Modern Classics - or, for those who don't like an ovymoron before breakfast, modern books which they anticipat
e will become classics of literature. What a great idea! And hats off to whoever was in charge of cover designs, as they have done rather a brilliant job. Each pairing has a very identifiable 'look', so that they are obviously connected, whilst retaining something intrinsic to the individual novel. As Susan Hill says on her blog, when buying a classic, I'm going to make my purchase decision based on cover - it's not as though Middlemarch were, to use the parlance of football sticker collecting, a rare one.

Here's a confession to make. Out of their ten pairings (Crime, Fantasy, Fear, Lies, Love, Lust, Monsters, Satire, Sin, Youth) there is none for which I have read both the Classic and the Modern. Shocking. What's perhaps even more surprising, for regular readers of my blog, is that I've read a fairly even split of Modern
and Classic.

This is a great marketing plan, but also tackles both ruts which avid readers sometimes fall into - either a diet of solely pre-1950s literature (my own personal menu), or only reading that which hits the shelves this minute, and preferably a few hours before the rest of the world does. Vintage Twins will mean we can all broaden out reading, while making connections within the ongoing canon.


  1. So which one are you in that picture Simon?

  2. I've tried the address in two different browsers but can't find the "twins" book info. Interesting concept. I'll bet all of us could come up with some pairings of old and new. I'm with you, pre-fifties, though I would include the fifties. Though I am older now, when I was your age, I was an old soul as you seem to be. I am gradually and pleasantly growing into that soul, as I'm sure you are as well.


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