My Oxford World’s Classics Editions
I’ve started another book collection. Why? Well… because I can. I already collect the Penguin Little Black Classics, Vintage red spines, and the Penguin English Library editions. Now I’m also collecting Oxford World’s Classics.
The Oxford World’s Classics are strangely tactile and very easy to read. Plus, they’re packed with so much extra information including introductions, chronologies, footnotes, further readings, interviews, etc. The extra information is worth just as much as the book sometimes.
I’ve only just started this collection, and as I do with the Vintage red spines and Penguin English Library editions, I am collecting these books secondhand.
Here are the books I currently own in Oxford World’s Classics editions:
Cousin Phillis and Other Stories by Elizabeth Gaskell
I’ve been on an Elizabeth Gaskell reading high over the last 12 months. I read Cranford in the first lockdown and North and South in the second. This is a collection of short stories she wrote, which were edited by Charles Dickens. I’ve started the first called Lizzie Leigh and it’s really good.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
I’ve never read any Jules Verne before, but his stories are surprisingly short and well-known by name if not by the actual story. You’ve probably heard of Around The World in 80 Days and the Journey to the Centre of the Earth, but I’m not sure how many people have ever actually read them.
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
I’ve wanted to read The Monk ever since I heard about it in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This is one of the gothic stories that the heroine reads, and it warps her impressionable mind. This is the story of a monk who loses his faith and is corrupted by lust. It was widely banned when first released in the 19th century.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
This is a very controversial and difficult read, by all accounts. But I’m interested to read it. Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist who wrote a novel about a slave called Tom, to show the white community the horrors of slavery and the humanity of slaves. Whilst it may have done its work in the 1800s in raising white sympathies, the character of Tom is actually very problematic in the modern era for his servility and self-hatred. I want to read more from this period of time, but this is not a story that holds up well in modern day.
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
I love Shakespeare. I’ve performed, read, and seen many plays over the last few years and I would really like to read more of his plays, particularly his historical plays. I’ve decided to collect his entire works in the Oxford World’s Classic editions, rather than get a bulky Complete Collection which I would never read as I’d likely not be able to hold it! I saw a production of Measure for Measure a few years ago and it was superb.
Richard III by William Shakespeare
I’ve never read a historical play by William Shakespeare, mostly because they’re barely historical – they’re creative non-fiction with additional characters and based on legend and rumours. Richard III is possibly the most biased story of King Richard III, but I want to read it for myself to see how the characters are portrayed.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
And lastly, for the time being, I got Macbeth. I read Macbeth in parts at school during GCSE’s but never read the whole text front to back, so I’m looking forward to diving into the story fully.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
So, I have decided to try some Tolstoy this year. Instead of going for Anna Karenina or some of his shorter post-conversion works, I’ve gone for the tome that is War and Peace. Go big or go home. I actually enjoy the story of War and Peace, with the love stories intertwined with the wars and morality of elite Russia in the 19th century. I’m interested to see how the text holds up to the adaptations I’ve seen.
The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus
I adore Greek Mythology, this is not a new thing. I decided to get the Library of Greek Mythology from Oxford World’s Classics, because this is also an index of all Greek myths, in chronological order with summaries of each story. It is basically a condensed and adult version of a Greek Myth collection by Apollodorus and translated by Robin Hard.
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
During the second lockdown, I watched the movie adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans, and whilst I can’t say I was enamored with the acting, I was interested in the story and thought I would give it a go. I’ve never even heard of James Fenimore Cooper, but this novel was written in the 1800s shortly after the wars in question so there should be reliable context behind it.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
And finally, I realised I didn’t own a copy of The Wind in the Willows. I’ve read this story twice in my life, once at primary school and once at secondary school, but I haven’t read it in many years. I thought I would give it ago when the mood takes me.
There we have it. Those are all of my current Oxford World’s Classics editions. Have you read any? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading!