Modern Masters

Publisher: Viking Press (1970-1976); Penguin (1976-1980)

Years: 1970- 1980

ISBN format: 0-670-019xx-c

Related Series: --

This series, published simultaneously by Viking in paperback and hardcover editions, focused on 20th century thinkers, both their biographies and their ideas. After Viking was purchased by Penguin late in 1976, the series continued without series numbering as Penguin Modern Masters. Titles include "Leon Trotsky" (1978) by Irving Howe, "Emile Durkheim" (1979) by Anthony Giddens, and "Melanie Klein" (1980) by Hanna Segal.

More Information

PW, Jan. 19, 1970, at 65:

Some of the most important thinkers of our time will be represented in the new Viking Press Modern Masters series edited by Frank Kermode. Each book in the series, which gets under way in May, will be an original available in both cloth and paper editions. Each will contain biographical information and reading lists of books by and about the subject. In May the first four titles will be shipped. These include (at $4.95 hardbound and $1.95 paperbound): “Albert Camus: Of Europe and Africa” by Conor Cruise O’Brien, “Frantz Fanon” by David Caute, “Che Guevara” by Andrew Sinclair and Alasdair MacIntyre’s “Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic.”

Ad, PW, Jan. 26, 1970, at 179 (blurb announcing the series):

Each volume in this unique series will be about a man who has changed, or is changing, the life and thought of our age; each will be written by an authority, free to approach his subject in his own style and way of viewing. With biographical information and reading lists; 128 to 160 pages per book. $4.95 cloth. $1.95 paper.

Ad, PW, Feb. 9, 1970, at 16 (full-page ad just for this series).

Modern Masters Series to Be Original Penguin Titles, PW, Oct. 4, 1976, at 39:

Modern Masters series, which were edited for Viking by Frank Kermode, will be published as Penguin original titles henceforth. They will be known as Penguin Modern Masters. The first book to be published under the originals program will be December’s “John Maynard Keynes” by D. E. Moggeridge. In December two titles will be put into paper for the first time: “T. S. Eliot” by Stephen Spender and “Ezra Pound” by Donald Davie. Three titles will be converted from Viking Compass to Penguin editions: “Claude Levi-Strauss” by Edmund Leach, “Karl Marx” by David McLellan and “Einstein” by Jeremy Bernstein. The next group of Penguin Modem Masters can be expected in March 1977. The list will be headed by two originals: “Antonin Artaud” by Martin Esslin and “Ferdinand de Saussure” by Jonathan Culler. The prices for the individual volumes range from $1.95 to $2.50.