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The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection: More than 1000 of the Greatest Classics

3.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0147503077
ISBN-10: 0147503078
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The Penguin Classics Library: Available for the first time in one complete collection only at Amazon.com.

For more than half a century Penguin has been the leading publisher of classics in the English-speaking world. Since the publication of the first Penguin Classic in 1946--E.V. Rieu's translation of The Odyssey--Penguin's mission has been to make the great books of all time available at a reasonable cost. To this end, Penguin is dedicated to making sure that these books speak to contemporary readers by embracing excellence in scholarship, translation, and book design.

The Penguin Classics list is organic. New books are brought into the series and others are removed as tastes and interest in literature evolve. Penguin's ability to react to the always evolving universe of great literature is one of the many things that has made Penguin the leader in classics publishing.

Now, for the first time, the entire line of Penguin Classics is available in one complete collection for home, office, or institutional libraries. The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection currently consists of 1,082 titles, all great works of literature totaling nearly half a million pages. From Renaissance philosophy to the poetry of revolutionary Russia, from the spiritual writings of India to the travel narratives of the early American colonists, from The Complete Pelican Shakespeare to The Portable Sixties Reader, there are classics here to educate, provoke, entertain, and enlighten readers of all interests and inclinations.

The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection

From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages--laid end to end they would hit the 52-mile mark. Approximately 700 pounds in weight, the titles would tower 828 feet if you stacked them lengthwise atop each other--almost as tall as the Empire State Building. But don't worry, a nice set of bookshelves will hold them side-by-side just fine. To see the full list of titles, organized alphabetically by author, start browsing here. Among the highlights:
  • Anonymous (39 titles)
  • Charles Dickens (19 titles)
  • Graham Greene (16 titles)
  • Henry James (20 titles)
  • William Shakespeare (47 titles)
  • John Steinbeck (23 titles)
  • Browse the Top 100 Bestselling Titles

More Penguin Complete Collections

Interested in other Penguin Classics Collections? Explore the comprehensive selection of titles contained in The Children's Library, The Complete Greeks and Romans, The English Collection, and our two-volume American Collection. These smaller libraries, part of our Complete Collections Series and also only available on Amazon.com, are nevertheless among the most complete libraries of their kind available, containing titles selected from the breadth of the Penguin Classics list.

The Children's Library

The Complete Greeks and Romans

The English Collection: 19th-Century British Fictions

The American Collection, Vol. 1: Foundations in Literature

The American Collection, Vol. 2: Foundations in Democracy

Bestselling Favorites

The Grapes of Wrath

The Odyssey

The Crucible

Featured Author: Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Augie March


Henderson the Rain King

Featured Author: Graham Greene

Complete Short Stories

The End of the Affair

Our Man in Havana

Featured Author: Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence

The Portable Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome

Featured Author: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Portable Mark Twain

Featured Author: Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities

Great Expectations

Oliver Twist

Featured Author: Gustave Flaubert

Sentimental Education

Madame Bovary

Three Tales

Featured Author: Arthur Miller

All My Sons

The Portable Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman

Featured Author: John Steinbeck

Cannery Row

East of Eden

Of Mice and Men

Featured Author: Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Complete Short Fiction

Featured Author: William Shakespeare

As You Like It



The Beat Goes On

The Portable Beat Reader

On the Road

The Portable Sixties Reader

Monster Mash


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


From Russia with Love

War and Peace

Crime and Punishment


It's All Greek to Me

The Republic

Medea and Other Plays

The Iliad

When in Rome

The Aeneid

The Annals of Imperial Rome

The Erotic Poems

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin (March 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0147503078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0147503077
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 763 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,956,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Apparently no reviewer so far has actually bought the complete Penguin Classics Collection. So here's a review from someone who has.

This is an orgy for a book-lover. I have had a wonderful time from the moment I placed the order. They arrived in 25 boxes shrink-wrapped on a wooden pallet, over 750 lbs. of books. It took about twelve hours to unpack them, check them off the packing list (one for each box), and then check them off the list we downloaded from Amazon.com. They take up about 77 linear feet.

I have always loved Penguin books. They are a special publisher, and I would not have considered this sort of purchase from most other publishers. Since I have already read perhaps a quarter of these titles in my life, you can see that I have an affinity for their selections. Penguin books don't just contain the text of the book. They generally include editorial material with biographical, historical, and bibliographical information that is scholarly, well-written, informative, and very useful in adding to the enjoyment and understanding of the book.

Why buy a collection rather than picking the books I want? This is like having books recommended by a good friend who knows what you like to read. Yes, this collection contains books I wouldn't have necessarily thought about picking up and reading. That is one of the real pleasures.

Why buy paperbacks when hardbounds will last longer? Have you have tried to put together a hardbound collection of over 1000 titles like this? It would cost a lot more, for starters. Not all are in print, even classics. If you don't like good quality paperbacks like these, will you settle for a foxed used hardbound copy? I will concede that the print is small.
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Format: Paperback
First, I have a confession to make. I have not read every page of every text of this collection.

There. I said it. I admit it. I'm reviewing something I've not read completely.

That said, I think that few people will be able to honestly admit to having read through all of the 1000+ vlums of the Penguin Classics Library. This is one of those series, like the Britannica's Great Books series, that collections in one format all of the greatest works of literature. I had the Britannica series, and gave it as a gift to a local library; this same library had been given the gift of this Penguin Classics collection, so I was able to thumb through it.

I grew up on Penguin Classic editions. I still have several dozen on my shelves, from classics of English literature (Beowulf, Piers Ploughman, Shakespeare plays, Silas Marner, Tristram Shandy, James Joyce, etc.) to classics of literature from other languages in translation (ancient Greek and Roman texts through to more modern authors in Spanish, French, German, Russian and other language traditions). My first edition of Tacitus was a Penguin Classic; my first version of Plato's Republic was a Penguin Classic. These are wonderful editions.

The one drawback vis-a-vis a series like the Britannica Great Books is that there is no over-arching thematic structure, no reader's guide such as Britannica provides. It is just you with more than thousand titles. On the other hand, the breadth of this collection is incredible, over ten times the titles and material of the Britannica collection. The Penguin Classics Library could provide almost anyone with an entire lifetime of reading.
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2 Comments 74 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I've long been admirers of Penguin classics' editions. They are one of the very few publishers who tend to publish neglected classics and introduce them to the modern readers. Their book printing and editorial procedures are second to none, and their introductions often enlightening. Therefore, it seems like a no-brainer that I recommend this suite of Penguin Classics Complete Collection.

Well, no...if only for one reason. 1000 books would take you like, 15 to 20 years to read right? Unfortunately by the time you get to the one-quarter of your survey, these poorly produced books would have disintegrated. You heard it, these paperbacks won't last. You would have spent your money for nought.

Paper quality has always been Penguin Classics' Achilles heel. I've often asked them via email why they would not produced their books on acid-free paper for a pound more, which I'm sure bibliophiles would be more than willing to pay (their paperbacks are never cheap in the first place). Their response has always been an eerie silence. My edition of Moby Dick, published by the Penguins, is 6-year-old. To the untrained eye, this book looks like it is pre-owned by Melville. The book has browned so badly that there are times I cannot make out the words, and certain pages are so brittle that I tremble to flip the pages over. Moreover, a disgusting odor taints the air each time I try to read it, making me quite ill. I will have no choice but to dump it despite my love of Melville's classic. The chances of this book making past 20 years is NIL. I would have been happy to have this on acid-free paper that would last for decades, for a couple of pounds more or so.
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