A new BBC Radio 4 series celebrates forgotten classics

BBC Radio 4 has asked ten of Britain's leading authors to select books which they feel have achieved 'classic' status but which have fallen out of fashion or even out of print. Each author will put the case for their nominated book and an online vote by the audience will select one to be adapted for broadcast on Radio 4's Classic Serial.

Crime novelist Val McDermid proposes Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, while William Boyd has chosen a comic autobiographical tale The Polyglots by William Gerhardie. An author well-loved by Folio members, Anthony Trollope, is championed by his distant relative Joanna Trollope for one of his lesser-known novels, Miss Mackenzie, the story of a spinster who suddenly finds herself sought-after because of an unexpected inheritance.

In a commentary piece on the selection, Erica Wagner writing in The Times, wonders why it is that some books and authors fall undeservedly from grace. The author whose disappearance she laments ('one would have thought his name would live forever') is Bruce Chatwin. The new Folio Society edition of Chatwin's greatest work The Songlines, is an especially fine one, with Simon Pemberton's gorgeous, innovative illustrations. We can't help but feel that if this edition doesn't make his name live forever, then at the very least it's a wonderful way to introduce someone to Chatwin's lyrical, timeless prose.

Read more about the Radio 4 selection here

Or read the full commentary from Erica Wagner here

last modified: Mon, Sep 12th 2011Bookmark and Share
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