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Penguin Books

A Farewell to Arms, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Ariel, Poet's Pub

company publishing paperback begun

a paperback publishing venture, whose intention was to make good reading available cheaply, begun by Allen Lane (190270) in 1935, when its first ten titles appeared; priced at sixpence each, they included A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers, Ariel by André Maurois, and Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater. By the end of 1936, the year in which Penguin Books was formed as an independent company, one million books had been sold. Having begun trading from a disused church crypt in Euston Road, London, in 1937 the company moved into specially built premises in Harmondsworth. The literary quality of Penguins, together with their high standards of book production and typography, established paperback publishing as a central aspect of the British book trade. The non-fiction Pelican series launched in 1937 was the first of numerous subsidiary initiatives, which also include the Penguin Shakespeare (1937), Puffin Books (1941), the imprint for children's literature, and the Penguin Classics (1946), which has published over 750 major works from the literatures of the world. The publication of D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1960 gave rise to the twentieth century's most celebrated trial for alleged obscenity. By the 1980s international sales of Penguin titles were in the region of 50 million copies annually. Fifty Penguin Years (1985) is a copiously illustrated history of the company.

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