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Penguin Collector 92

The final proofs have been checked and approved, Collector 92 has run through the machines at Short Run Press in Exeter, delivery has been taken, packing undertaken, and all that remains is for the postal service to wing it as quickly as possible to PCS members.

Its most substantial article is a superb analysis by Robert Crowe of how the translators of the Classics, and particularly of Longus’ ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ [L59] dealt with sensitive issues of sexual behaviour in the climate of the 1950s, and quite differently after both the law and attitudes changed in the 1960s — with a lot of help from ‘Lady Chatterley’.

The mailing will of course bring members’ copies of 'White Horses’; and the ‘Collector' includes a delightful piece by John Miles, the designer of another ‘lost’ Puffin Picture Book. Whereas ‘White Horses’ has been delayed in publication for nearly 70 years, ‘Noah’s Ark’ [PP114] appeared as planned in 1958, but has since largely disappeared. For it made a cut-out model of the Ark and its animal cargo. Noah and Mrs Noah, the elephants, camels, horses and tortoises were eagerly separated from its pages by keen infant shipbuilders: very few copies indeed have survived intact. John tells the story of his own idea from its start, and the illustrations demonstrate how he carried out his fine artwork in its realisation.

Readers of the ‘Collector' will be relieved to know that it’s not all just pretty pictures. Billy Crawford writes with great knowledge of Penguin books, as he has almost finished reading every one of the First Thousand. He selects a Ten, his own choice of the very best of the first 19 years of Penguins; and tells evocatively of having been taught at school by the author, or compiler, of one of them.

The writing ranges widely: from Naomi Games’ personal memoir of Hans Unger, another cover artist; to Argentina and New Zealand and Penguins sold and bought there; to Sally Addison, in an extract from her MSc dissertation, adding another perspective on Peter Mayer’s huge achievement at Penguin in the 1980s; David Edwards and Bill Woodbridge explain their own Penguin enthusiasms; and we conclude with a bundle of brief contributions, from Jonathan Croall setting straight the financial results of Penguin Education through Paul Lickiss finding Pelicans in hard covers to Vince Morris finding a Penguin in a Penguin.

The ‘cover story’ of PC92 is an article by Kathy Mezei, writing from Vancouver about Terence Greer, who lives in the same city. Terence has lived a long life and worked in many fields since he was a student at Twickenham School of Art with, among others, the photographer Lewis Morley. In the early 1960s, he illustrated a dozen Penguin covers and one Pelican, and they are all illustrated alongside Kathy’s perceptive text.

And it really is the cover story, as Terence Greer has allowed us to use a previously unpublished drawing on the front cover of ‘Penguin Collector 92’. Tom Etherington, equally generously, has designed a cover which does it justice, very much in the minimalist tradition of Penguins in the later 1960s and into the 1970s and 80s. So this ‘Collector' completes Terence’s Penguin work some 45 years after his first covers, and after the seven that he did for the novels of Muriel Spark. All will be revealed when the PCS envelope reaches you, in the UK in the next few days, rather later in the rest of Europe and the World.

Posted on Wednesday, 19th June 2019