Early next year Faber will reissue several titles from throughout its 85 year history as part of its new Modern Classics line. Focusing on work that is at least 25 years old, be it fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry, the paperbacks will contain supplementary material including readers’ notes, introductions and reproductions of articles of note from the Faber archives, and will be adorned in their own livery designed by Faber art director Donna Payne. The initial line-up of ten will be published in April 2015, joined by six more in June.
The ten titles slate for April are: Nightwood (1936) by Djuna Barnes (with an introduction from Jeannette Winterson and a presumably much older introduction from T.S. Eliot), Selected Poems by T.S. Eliot (with an essay by Seamus Heaney), Pincher Martin (1956) by William Golding (with an afterword by Phillipa Gregory), The Remains of the Day (1989) by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) by Hanif Kureishi (with an introduction by Zadie Smith), Self-Help (1985) by Lorrie Moore, Venice (1960) by Jan Morris, Look Back in Anger (1956) by John Osborne (with an introduction from Michael Billington and an afterword by David Hare), Ariel (1965) by Sylvia Plath and Housekeeping (1980) by Marilynne Robinson.
Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page tells The Bookseller: ‘Throughout its 85 year history Faber & Faber’s reputation has been as a publisher of important literary work. This Modern Classics list is a new showcase for these often brave choices, to draw attention to them again for a new generation of readers. This is not a list of our bestsellers but of books we sincerely believe have classic status, a status relating to all the forms of literature embracing poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction.’
Hannah Griffiths, Faber’s associate fiction publisher in charge of the list, says of the selection process: ‘It’s been a hugely pleasurable task, like visiting a second hand bookshop and following your nose, seeing covers you like or a name you’ve always meant to read. The criteria we’ve applied to the title selection are simple: the books have to have been originally published by Faber, at least 25 years ago. This was to give us a real sense that these are books that can justify the term “modern classic”.’