New Classics Series

New Directions Publishing (New York, USA)
Series Dates: 1939-1955
Size: 7.25″ x 5″

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New Directions began publishing in 1936 and in 1939 initiated a series of what they saw as cutting-edge classic reprints, very much similar to the Modern Library which started half a century earlier (with a dozen “modern” literary classics, primarily by European authors). Pre-WW2 New Classics Series books have a plain dust jacket. After the first seven titles, around 1950, Alvin Lustig began designing the jackets. His fantastic mid-century modern style have made this series very collectible. Titles were added to the series through 1955.

The titles are numbered (up to 36). Most of these titles are not difficult to find, but can be highly priced if they have the Lustig jackets. The more difficult to acquire titles are Fitzgerald and Hesse (due to their cross-collectibility).

Below are examples of earlier (1939) and later, Lustig-designed jackets (1952) for the same title, Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell.

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Titles in the series include:

Alain-Fournier, The Wanderer, New Directions NC 16
Barnes, Nightwood, New Directions NC 11
Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil, New Directions NC 17
Boyle, Monday Night, New Directions NC 20
Conrad, Under Western Eyes, New Directions NC 33
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, New Directions NC 9
Flaubert, Three Tales, New Directions NC 7
Forster, A Room with a View, New Directions NC 5
Forster, The Longest Journey, New Directions NC 4
Hesse, Siddhartha, New Directions NC 34
James, The Aspern Papers, New Directions NC 27
James, The Spoils of Poynton, New Directions NC 6
Joyce, Exiles, New Directions NC 13
Kafka, Amerika, New Directions NC 10
Lafayette, The Princess of Cleves, New Directions NC 31
Lawrence, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 19
Lawrence, The Man Who Died, New Directions NC 18
Lorca, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 36
Mallarme, Poems, New Directions NC 28
McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye, New Directions NC 24
Owen, Poems, New Directions NC 25
Patches, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 12
Patches, Selected Poems (enlarged), New Directions NC 12
Pound, The ABC of Reading, New Directions NC 30
Pound, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 22
Rimbaud, A Season in Hell, New Directions NC 2
Rimbaud, Illuminations, New Directions NC 14
Rukeyser, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 32
Sartre, Nausea, New Directions NC 35
Stein, Three Lives, New Directions NC 3
Waugh, A Handful of Dust, New Directions NC 8
West, The Day of the Locust, New Directions NC 29
West, Miss Lonelyhearts, New Directions NC 15
Williams, The Glass Menagerie, New Directions NC 23
Williams, In the American Grain, New Directions NC 1
Williams, Paterson, New Directions NC 26
Williams, Selected Poems, New Directions NC 21