The Vintage Classics Europeans series – with covers provided by textile design firm Wallace Sewell, these are must-have editions of European masterpieces, celebrating the warp and weft of a shared literary treasury.
In Europe by Geert Mak
In 1999, journalist and historian Geert Mak criss-crossed the continent in the simple yet monumental quest to trace European twentieth-century history as the world slipped into the twenty-first. In Europe is a dazzling account of that journey, and combines the larger story of Europe with intimate, vivid detail.
It is also now a poignant reminder that the European project was then and is now a unprecedented experiment; that we still have `a great deal to tell each other and a great deal to explain.’
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary begins where many other novels end: with marriage. But Emma Bovary is ill-prepared for the prosaic reality of life as a country doctor’s wife, and so plunges into a doomed search for passion and delight, flitting from fantasy to religion, from hedonism to devoted motherhood, from shopping to extra-marital sex.
Flaubert’s brutally beautiful tale is subversive in its sexual frankness, revolutionary in its influence and an inexhaustible pleasure to read.
Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
Widely regarded as the world’s first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of a noble knight and his faithful squire as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. Except the knight is not really a knight, his princesses are servant girls, his enchanted castles are inns and his giants are windmills.
Don Quixote’s goodness is real however, and his wish for the world to be full of adventures and passion is so profoundly human that, four hundred years after its first appearance, his story still crackles, beguiles and inspires.
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa
It is the spring of 1869 and there is talk of revolution in Sicily, by day the rattle of firing squads and by night the flickering lights of bonfires lit by rebel bands. Prince Fabrizio knows that beneath these outward signs of transformation, the sensuality, languor and corruption of his native land will never change. But can his family’s ancient power endure?
Lampedusa’s macabre myth remains astounding relevant, reflecting any modern edifice of power and money just as surely as it shows us a corner of Italy long ago.
Death in Venice and Other Stories by Thomas Mann
Aging writer Gustave von Aschenbach is disappointed by Venice. The skies are leaden, the air is thick and sultry, and a sickening stench emanates from the murky labyrinth of canals. It would hardly be sensible to stay, especially not when rumours of a `sickness’ spread through the city. And yet Aschenbach cannot leave: he has seen an entirely beautiful young boy and has fallen under an enchantment. He must stay near the boy, though never speaking to him, even until it is too late.
Also includes the stories ‘Little Herr Friedemann’, ‘The Joker’, ‘The Road to the Churchyard’, ‘Gladius Dei’, ‘Tristan’ and ‘Tonio Kruger’