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Oooh, the new design is very nice indeed! I actually didn't think I had any Oxford classics. Think again... just a cursory look revealed four, a Katherine Mansfield, a Herman Melville, a Kipling and a macabre anthology deliciously entitled 'Tales of Terror from Blackwood's Magazine'. Sounds like a Halloween read to me!

I've just acquired a copy of Shirley myself, a book which I've never read. Sounds like I might have a treat in store.


Oh. My. Gosh. You must must MUST let me know how you like Les Liaisons Dangereuses! It's one of my all-time favorite books.


The covers are awfully similar to Penguin, but the red type on the spine makes the books look so much more smarter than Penguins. I wonder if this new rub means a higher price?

dark orpheus

I love the new OWC covers. Oxford has finally caught on that even "classics" needs a good make-over once in a while.


The new design looks European to me, which I like. I love OWCs--I think they have much better notes than Penguin, and the books are better quality, but they go out of print too fast. I look forward to stocking up on these new editions!


I think the new design looks lovely! When I worked at the book printers, the only decent (to my mind) contract we had was with the OUP classics series. I took a LOT of orphan file copies home with me... You've chosen three fantastic novels, Danielle, and I look forward to hearing about them.


I like the new look much better than the old.

I have a question for you, also. Are you the same Danielle that entered my Georgette Heyer Giveaway at Books 'N Border Collies? I have a winner named "Danielle" that hasn't claimed her prize.

Have a good weekend!

Dorothy W.

I like the new look, although I don't quite get what makes them more contemporary and less "academic." It just looks different to me. Anyway, I have some of the old Oxford books and even more of the kind before that -- the kind that were all yellow. Any of the OWC books will catch my eye in a bookshop.


Cath--I have a smattering of them on my shelves. It seems like B&N where I do some of my local shopping doesn't really have lots of them (I think they tend to carry mostly their own classics line and then a few of the other publishers). I'm looking forward to reading Shirley as well.
Jordan--It's been on my list to read for ages, but I never seem to get around to it. Now that I have this nice new copy I hope to get to it soon.
Matt--They remind me a bit of Hesperus Press books. I need to look at Penguins (I keep picturing the black covers and spines with the illustration). I think the red is sort of snazzy. Actually the prices seem comparable to before. I noticed that Shirley is the bulkiest of the books I got and it only costs $7.95--the others were a bit more.
Dark Orpheus--Yes, there's no reason why classics can't have nice covers as well. I like the redesign as well.
Sylvia--Maybe they'll be bringing OP titles back into print with the new covers. They do have really good extra content. I should compare sometime between my other classics publishers. I only wish footnotes could be at the bottom of the page (I tend to not always flip to the back of the book).
Litlove--Lucky you to take in orphan OUPs! It's sad to think of them as being homeless! And I'm looking forward to reading all of these!
Lezlie--I'm so sorry I haven't checked back--yes, I did put my name in your drawing (I can't believe I actually won!). I've been so behind (as usual) on blog reading. I will email you!
Dorothy--I don't think I have any really old editions. I wonder if the thinking is that the older covers are just so distinctive as OUP books, that a very different look will catch reader's eyes that might have passed by them otherwise? I sort of wondered about that, too.


These are pretty! I do so enjoy seeing new book designs. Of course then I want a library filled with the new covers but that would get quite expensive I guess :)
I am still coveting one of the new Persephones by the way!


I agree with you. I like the sleek new look very much. Thanks for the sneak peak.


Iliana--Wouldn't you love a job designing book jackets? I always thought that would be really fun. A shelf or two of these would be really nice. And the new Persephones are really gorgeous, too! And they are even a bit cheaper than the regular dove grey covers!
Kathryn--I've not yet seen these in stores, but I've been trying to stay away this summer (though I still seem to be accumulating books just as fast). I love the little detail from the illustration that's on the spine. I definitely lucked out getting three in the mail.

Ann Darnton

I noticed these last time I was in Waterstones and though how attractive they look. It's always a problem, I think, choosing which edition of a classic novel to buy because the quality of the editing can be so variable and it isn't always easy to spot just from a quick flick through. OUP are usually spot on though so I can see a number of these finding their way to my shelves.


Ann--I never used to pay attention to what edition of classics I bought--generally it would be those cheap little Signet classics. But I am much more interested now in the end notes and the criticism, so I like an edition with more information. The contents of these seems to be the same, only the design is updated. They do seem very eye-catching.


Love them! I didn't realized they'd introduced a new look, but I really do approve. Lord knows I have plenty of books on my shelves (these classics included), but I might end up with quite a few more thanks to the new aesthetic.


I rarely read / buy classics, but I must admit the revamped OUP titles look very nice.

I have read The Black Tulip and highly recommend it. It was one of the first books discussed in my (now defunct) online book group. If you visit my blog there will be a link somewhere to find out what others thought of it.


I love the new covers! The Black Tulip sounds really interesting; I read the Laclos last year and didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.


It's true the new OUP books are nice (but, don't they look a lot like the Penguin ones?) , yet I'll miss the old covers and tenderly preserve those I do possess. Are the new covers wider than the old ones? Because they seem larger in your picture (if they are, thay would be a big plus!).


Very pretty. I will miss the red banner though. I relied on it to find them on the bookstore shelves!


These are nice!! I really like this new design. Updated and modern, but still great cover images. Well done.


Andi--I had a lot of old Signet Classics, which I ended up getting rid of in favor of nicer trade size editions by other publishers--so I do the same thing as you!
Kimbofo--Thanks--I'll check out the links (I know you have them on your sidebar somewhere). I'm looking forward to reading Dumas-and the story looks very tempting!
Eva--I've been curious about the Laclos for a long time, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I saw a movie adaptation a long time ago, but I think it's faded enough from my mind so the book will seem new to me.
Sophie--I think they are the same size actually. With the larger illustration they seem bigger, don't they? They do have a similar feel to the Penguins, but the Penguins have black spines, don't they. I actually like the Penguins, too.
Stefanie--The older books did have a distinct look, didn't they? These still have the red on the spine, but it's a bit smaller. I like the little detail from the cover on the spine.
Tara--I like them, too, they're nicely done and I can't wait to finish S&S to start reading one of them!


As a designer it is fascinating to read a post about the redesign of a series of books from this perspective.

How did I find this page? Because the designer of the previous version blogged about it! see:



Could anyone tell me what the quality of the new books is like? I have tried ordering classics from both penguin and Modern Library, and both publishers have reduced the quality of their paper/binding etc. Are books in the new oxford edition quite durable?

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