New York Review Books Is Republishing Forgotten Classics, Children’s Books, And World Literature (And Here Are The 5...


Kristian Wilson writes:

Maybe you can’t remember the title, or maybe it’s out of print, but, if you’re a book nerd, you’ve got at least one book that got away. Rejoice! One publisher is out to change all that. New York Review Books republishes classics, children’s books, and world literature in new, affordable editions.

Bringing these titles back isn’t a difficult task, as editorial director Edwin Frank points out. Speaking with The New York Times, Frank notes that theNew York Review Books (NYRB) is “picking at low-hanging fruit” by republishing titles with lapsed copyrights, “only, no one knew the fruit was out there.” Many of the publishing house’s titles come from household names — including Anton Chekhov, Walt Whitman, and Tove Jansson — but are lesser-known works that haven’t been in print for years.

Not all of NYRB’s titles are particularly old, however. As the publishing arm of literary magazine The New York Review of Books, the house also deals in recent nonfiction, including Joan Didion’s Fixed Ideas and Bill Moyers’Welcome to Doomsday. Ian Buruma, a New York Review of Books contributor, will see his 1994 title, The Wages of Guilt, reprinted in September.

Despite these contemporary credentials, the tiny publisher has cornered the market on reviving nearly-forgotten novels, poems, and stories. Among its more prominent reprints are Daphne du Maurier’s Don’t Look Now, Barbara Sleigh’s Carbonel and Calidor, and Linda Rosenkrantz’s Talk.

NYRB currently offers books in six series, including NYR Children’s Collection, NYRB Poetry, and Calligrams: a unique series devoted to titles from and about China in antiquity. If it seems as though the house is pulling its material broadly, even randomly, your impressions are correct. The publisher set out to be mosaic when it was founded in 1999. The aim, Frank states, is to provide a “whole mix of things that a curious person might be interested in, which would take you back and forth from fiction to certain kinds of history.”