1,217 Classics: Inside the Penguin Classics Archives

Penguin Classics

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Henry Eliot takes a dive into a world-famous list covering 4,000 years of literary creations

Dig around the Penguin Classics archives with author and literary archivist Henry Eliot, as we survey the 1,217 books that make up this world-famous list.

See the cover designs, recommendations and stories behind the books in the Penguin Classics list, which spans 4000 years of Greek tragedies, Icelandic sagas, Japanese epics and more.

The Penguin Classics list is geographically and chronologically the largest library of classic literature ever published. Henry Eliot has spent months in the archives in Rushden while compiling The Penguin Classics Book, handling and documenting every first edition in the Black Classics series to produce a reader’s guide like no other.

Join us to find out what he learned along the way. 

Henry Eliot has spent the past decade immersed in literature, working for creative industries and organising literary tours of all kinds. His projects have included a mass public pilgrimage inspired by William Morris for the National Trust, an interactive app edition of The Tempest featuring Ian McKellen and a recreation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to raise money for the National Literacy Trust. He is the author, with Matt Lloyd-Rose, of Curiocity.

Image: Cover artwork from The Penguin Classics Book


Name: 1,217 Classics: Inside the Penguin Classics Archives
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Member Ticket: £12.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546