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11th March 2022

And we cannot end a week of Persephone books meant (meant) to cheer us up without having Miss Pettigrew, our bestselling title which remains a total joy. Interesting that it was published just as Penguin were becoming a deeply influential publisher: what a difference it would have made to its fortunes, and eventually to Persephone Books, if it had ever been a Penguin. Well, not necessarily: the novel we publish next month, A Well Full of Leaves by Elizabeth Myers, came out as a Penguin in 1947, four years after its original publication and still sank without trace. So if Miss P had been a Penguin it might have had an afterlife, like so many Penguins on all our shelves (The Pursuit of Love, Brideshead Revisited, Mariana), but might not. (The list of the first ten Penguins is a fascinating topic; one would not have chosen any of them nowadays. That says something fascinating about the literary canon and taste.)

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